Thank you so much for great year! My resolution for next year is to be able to write on this blog about how I get better at taking care of myself while I am homeschooling. And running a startup. This coming year I want to tell you about weight loss. And marital bliss. And no more yelling at my kids.

But the truth is that this homeschooling journey has never been about having my act together. And I really appreciate that you’re coming along with me anyway.

Thank you for keeping me in line when I get too preachy and thank you for encouraging my preachiness when I start to lose my homeschooling confidence.

Also, thank you for allowing me to post pictures of my kids as they grow, because I was never good at taking pictures of my kids’ lives until I had a reason to for my work. It is messed up, I know, but at least I will have a record of my kids’ childhoods now.

This photo is them playing King of the Hill. I think they are about to roll down the hill. I hope when I look back on our homeschooling adventure I remember it as full of these smiles of excitement and anticipation.

Posts You Liked the Most

Kids Who Play Video Games Do Better as Adults  3200 likes

The Real Reason Parents Don’t Homeschool 700 likes


Posts Where I Learned So Much From Your Comments

Black Boys Need Credentials  80 comments

I Knew I Needed to Investigate Homeschooling When...  70 comments


My Favorite Tirades

School Reform is Dead. It’s About Family Reform

Educated Parents Take Their Kids Out of School

The Media Lies about Childcare


Happy 2014! And cheers to a snowy fun new year.


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12 replies
  1. Commenter
    Commenter says:

    I’m going to hijack this thread. Everybody keep your hands in the air. We’re flying to end of the year affirmations.

    I do not always agree with PT. I am annoyed by circular proofs, “evidence” that isn’t, and links that go to disproofs of the thesis of the link. I do not believe that letting your kids play video games all day is superior to having them in school (truthfully, I’d wager it’s about even), and haven’t seen any real evidence that supports that theory.

    That said, this is still my favorite homeschooling blog. I find PT’s ideas interesting and thought-provoking, and this blog has attracted a group of regular commenters whose agreements, disagreements, and screeds almost always add something to my thoughts and to my understanding of what I’m doing with homeschooling.

    It’s always changing, homeschooling. Some people go into this dark forest with the map of a fixed curriculum. For some of them that leads inexorably to the other side (for some it fails utterly). I say what’s the point in that anyway, if what we’re trying to find is our own way and what we’re trying to develop is skill at finding one’s own way in a forest. So we draw maps as we go along. And sometimes we crumple them up and start over again.

    This year we sat down as a family (Mom, Dad, and the 9 year old) and talked about goals. At work, Mom does this every year, and so did Dad when he worked. This year we are trying it at home.

    One of the things I know I’m moving towards in homeschooling, which seems self-evident to me, is an end to the category of “special things the kid has to do because he’s a kid, but adults don’t have to do.” That was school, and is one of the failings of school. Children naturally want to become adults, and if the adults they know don’t do school, then naturally they don’t want to do school either, and many of them soon cotton to the falseness of the idea that school is something they must do to become adults. What children naturally want to do are the things they see their adults doing all day, be it work, gardening, or fiddling about on the computer. Our child becoming an adult is not a matter of fixing a deficiency in him, but in us all growing closer together with common purpose and improving our world together. Anybody who thinks he doesn’t have as much to teach me as I have to teach him is just not living in the same world we are.

    We’re trying to take a concrete step towards that vision in sitting down as a family to set goals for which we are responsible, to ourselves and to each other. We came up with goals for ourselves, helped each other define them to make them concrete, measurable, and achievable, and also agreed on goals for each other. We surprised each other. We will hold each other accountable. This isn’t a special penalty for childhood, it isn’t a remediation of the deficiency of childhood, it’s a fundamental skill for all of us, a key element of forest navigation.

    So here’s another part of the map we’re creating for ourselves, and I share it with you, as many of you have shared with me, helping me understand what I’m doing here and helping me come to this point. My children are happy, we’re all having fun, and we embark upon 2014 with excitement and joy. I wish you all the best in your homeschooling journeys in 2014.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This comment is so uplifting and wonderful — and so right on target about the mistakes I make, too! I love this comment. It’s a great way to go into the new year!


  2. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    For me, the homeschooling blog surpassed the career advice blog long ago for helping me figure who I am and how I got to this point in life.

    It has also given me so ideas on how to be a better aunt, sister, and cousin. All jobs I intend to elevate to a higher priority this coming year. Everybody needs help and support, and who better to give it than family? Especially a family member that is not in the throes of raising kids?

    The links always make me feel smarter too, and that is always appreciated.

    Thanks PT!

  3. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:


    I’m looking forward to following you on your hs journey in 2014. This little community here has helped me get through the initial hump of self doubt in the beginning and has helped give me the confidence to keep going. It helped me get over the initial misconceptions and stereotypes that come when you say the word “homeschool”‘and hence my handle. My kids are socialized, more so than being in traditional school. I wish I had been homeschooled even though I did enjoy parts of being in traditional school like the extra curricular activities, I think if I had been homeschooled I would have been able to specialize in math or engineering instead of being forced to take subjects required to make me well rounded.

    I found your blog at a crucial point when I was debating going back private school and I’m so glad I did, it literally helped our family correct course and stay homeschooling.

    I miss your posts when you are gone too long, and I love all the dialogue we have here.

    Happy New Year everyone!


  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Penelope, I too love your blog and the community here. Since discovering your blog a few months ago I’ve been inspired to start my own blog, homeschool my boys using a more self-directed approach like I’ve always wanted to, and educate myself on the benefits of video games (my boys love them and I’ve been so proud of keeping them screen-free). I love your blog because your opinions are backed by research and your career expertise. I find myself bringing your blog up in most social situations where homeschooling comes up.

    Most of all though you’ve made me see that it’s ok for my son (who wanted to try school for the first time this year in 4th grade) to return to homeschooling just so he can continue to train in his chosen sport. Thanks to you he’s back to homeschooling (though he’s never home) and thriving.

    Happy New Year! Can’t wait to learn more here in 2014.

  5. C.A. Lewis-McCarren
    C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

    Wonderful = Penelope Trunk:

    Authentic. Honest. Passionate. Makes Mistakes. Makes Bad Choices. Makes Excellent Choices. Learns From Mistakes. Isn’t Perfect….Doesn’t Want To Be. Inspiring. Frustrating. Innovative. Uses Profanity. Prays. Beautiful Smile. Sometimes Sad Heart. Very Caring Mother. Working-On-It-Wife/Partner. Gardener. Multi-Tasking Chef with Phone Attached. All Around Very Cool Blog Friend.

    I thank you for being a little part of my life Penelope and sharing a little part of yours with me. Blessings for a very purposeful, profound and joy-filled 2014 for all of you. ~c.

  6. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Commenter, you are like crack to my love of reading about all things homeschooling and child raising. PT is too, but I know where to find her. Is there any other way to stalk you? (And actually that goes for mbl, mh and red rock too…and I’m probably forgetting some…)

  7. mh
    mh says:


    My favorite post didn’t make your list — the one with your reality show pilot.

    Honestly — the goats!

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