I think as home educators we are constantly re-evaluating what works and what doesn’t. We’ve been struggling around here with a lack of “enoughness.” The kids feel like they’re not doing enough. They are asking for more from me in the way of guidance than they have in the past. And, in spite of all of the great stuff that’s going on, homeschooling has just been a little flat for us. What to do, what to do?
THEN I happened across this post by Miranda. Exactly!
Time for us to do a major revamp of what we’re doing to make sure that we’re moving forward instead of sideways.
You will either find this gruesome or you will appreciate the fact that Evan is combining history with his Lego passion. I give you the Salem Witch Trials in Lego form:
I woke up to find this little guy on my kitchen window, silhouetted in the breaking dawn.
Following the music workshop, there is always a community concert. We made the two hour drive (this is a BIG island) to pick Brad up and spent the day enjoying great music and reconnecting with friends.
Brad is home from his week at the Hawaiian music and lifestyle camp, and brings with him some photos and new life skills.
Now, it may LOOK like he’s going to get a lesson in washing laundry, but no. This is the set up for cleaning octopus. More photos under the fold, just in case some of you are too squeamish to look (though it’s really not that gross).
It sounds like a fun way to make a living, right? Writing for magazines? People always tell me that. What people don’t know is the grind of it. For instance did you know that freelancers query a magazine with an idea to see if the editor is interested? And then we wait. Often for a long, long time. Or sometimes we have exchanges that defy comprehension.
Back in August I sent a story idea out to Magazine X. I heard back very promptly:
Thank you, Ms. Bordessa, for your interest in X magazine. Please review our submission guidelines, attached.
I replied (because really, could she be a little more vague?):
Thanks for your near-immediate response, and for sending along the guidelines. Shall I presume this story is not of interest?
Thank you, Ms. Bordessa, for your question. We do have a small group of freelance writers already, so it is rare for Magazine X to assign a story to someone new to us. I do also take some time to respond to all pitches. If you need a response right away, I am sorry that I will not be able to do so, and in which case you might consider sharing your story idea with another publication. I wish you success in finding a market for your work.
And because I was apparently in a sassy mood that day, I couldn’t let the vagueness go:
Actually, I don’t need a response right away. However I wasn’t sure what to do with the forwarded guidelines – if that was a polite way of saying no, if you really truly want pitches via snail mail, or what. In any case, feel free to hang onto this idea for consideration, in case you’d like to expand on your regular stable of writers!
And then TODAY (note passage of time) I got this:
Thank you again, Ms. Bordessa, for taking the time to share your story idea with us. Unfortunately, we cannot use your pitch on [great and fun stuff]. Again, I wish you success in finding a market for your work.
Here’s what I like in an editor: One who knows what she wants. One who can convey what she needs clearly and who can answer my questions concisely. I’m used to rejections. It’s part of the job. But this kind of response without actually providing any information in unacceptable from an editor, no matter how polite she is.
Brad is away this week at a Hawaiian music workshop for which he was granted a scholarship. He doesn’t much like to talk on the phone, and getting details from him can be painful. We’ve been before as a family, so I know the kind of experience he’s having – hands-on learning with access to some of Hawai‘i’s wonderful musicians. I discovered yesterday that he finagled someone’s computer so he could put a post up on his website (but no email to me, alas). Here’s what he wrote:
I am posting from Keoki Kahumoku’s music workshop in Pahala, HI. I am having a great time. So far I’ve picked up some new vamps and tips from Uncle Sonny Lim, insights from Uncle Herb Ohta Jr., and a finger boot camp from Uncle Moses – opening a coconut by hand and finger exercises. This morning we chanted the sun up at Punalu’u beach. Every night we’ve been singing Hawaiian choir with Auntie Darci Baker; it’s been so much fun – she makes it easy for us to sing well.
Can you just feel the joy in learning oozing from him?
My friend Jody runs Charlotte On The Cheap and just posted about a really cool freebie that seems perfect for homeschoolers no matter where they live. You can get free historical figures bookmarks from the Federal Reserve. Click over to her site to find out how to get your free bookmarks so you can snuggle up with a good book and, say, George Washington.
Once you’re at the Federal Reserve site, take a look around – there’s lots to choose from and it’s mostly free.