A Homeschooly Update

Dear Family,

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do.”
― John Holt


Way back at the beginning of the autumn, I decided our family’s homeschooling approach needed a massive upgrade. I’m still planning a separate update on this, but basically: I sat down with the kids and told them that in addition to following their interests over the course of the next year, I was going to implement a semi-compulsory yet very flexible daily educational structure.

Some Forthright Autumnal Quotations

“Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you don’t owe.”

—Dr. Bill Hang, my orthodontist



Ivy: “Knock knock!”
Jem: “Who’s there?”
Ivy: “Butt!”
Jem: “Butt who?”
Ivy: “My butt, right here!”

“I want a ponytail SPROUTING OUT of my head, wik wis, and one in the back, right here, poking up to the sky.”

Ivy: “Kitty won’t eat!”
Me: “Oh, darn, what will you do?”
Ivy, definitively: “She’ll eat. [Grabbing the portable speaker.] And she can have music. It’s good for her!”

A Quarterly Health Report

"I just hope mealtimes last for an hour, every one, and that my kids ALWAYS want me to spoon feed them, for ever and ever!”
—No parent in history


November 2017 Stats (thanks to Darlene and Steve for use of a scale!):

Ben Starling Amaral 1/10/04
Height: 57.25"
Weight: 76.6 lbs.

Jem Reed Matilsky 8/5/07
Height: 55.75"
Weight: 69.8 lbs.

Eliza Ruth Amaral 6/17/12
Height: 44"
Weight: 39.2 lbs.

Ivy Lyn Matilsky 3/2/15
Height: 36"
Weight: 27.6 lbs.


Family Health Update - Summary:

Everyone is alive!


Birthday Request

Dear Family,

I'll admit, I'm not always the best with birthdays. Even when my family makes me the nicest birthday cards ever. I'm just so tired of children crying and requiring feeding after I cook expensive, delicious food for them. And I don't want to get any older. Plus, I'm super tired of Anything Difficult. Plus, on top of everything else, I got my braces installed this week, which means my mouth hurts AND I get to eat everything pureed (and let me tell you, pureed sauerkraut and kale and chicken is Not Good).

Dietary Tweak #7,562, plus Additional Reading

Dear Family,

“Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die by those fated instruments more than the weapons of their enemies.”

—Sixteenth-century British naturalist and physician Thomas Moffett


Several of you have reached out to express Concern relating to the recent health issues in our family; thanks for the virtual hugs! A current update: for the past two weeks, Eliza’s been feeling/behaving MUCH better.

So while Jeff and I are feeling a bit floaty and prone to aftershock-like stress attacks that are different for each of us, the current general trend is way up.

Home Again, Under the Sun

Dear Family

“If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.”
—Author not agreed upon

“We come into this world naked as the girl above the bar
Spend our lifetimes wondering who we are”
—“Strangers,” by Josh Ritter


Some of us are mourning under the desert sunshine, for the awful events of this week. I’m sure other people have eloquent things to say; I extend as much hopeful wishes as a heavy heart can muster.


Eliza’s Ailing Appetite and Her Precious, Mercurial Mind

The key point I need to make clear to a patient’s family is that when you’re dealing with anorexia, it’s not that the patient won’t eat - rather, the patient actually CAN’T eat.
—Paraphrased; a doctor who treats children and adults with eating disorders


“How full my brain is of ideas, and my hair, is: A LOT!”


Thriving Where It Can

“Life thrives where it can.”
--from the interpretive movie at the Arches Visitor Center


Good evening from Moab!

A Spectacle of Days

Dear family,

“Oh, the wonderful and long days of summer! Just to hold a whole day in your hand and have it and think that it was empty to begin with but that each moment could, would, contain so much.”

from “The Alley,” by Eleanor Estes


Moab and How We Got Here (Part 2)

A couple months ago, I was trying to bring Eliza and Ivy back from the campground restrooms when I noticed a man watching us. “Just to let you know," he said, "my daughters are 18 and 22, and it doesn't get easier!"

“Great, thanks!” I said. “Good to know!” 

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