Why I haven’t blogged for two weeks…let’s see…

1. We got Emily a pony for her birthday because the horses have turned out to be JUST TOO BIG for her to learn on.

So we’ve spent a lot of time working with the pony. Also Max, my Belgian draft horse, did not adjust well to the pony. He wanted to EAT it. Simultaneously we were having the fence replaced, so keeping them apart was an ongoing labor. Now, at last, they seem to have made their peace.

(Everyone eating hay, with Ben in the foreground.)

2. The election sent the message boards at the Well-Trained Mind website into an amazing tizzy, meaning that the moderators needed HELP. What a circus.

My personal summary of the styles involved: Troublemakers who are Republicans post nasty offensive messages on the board. Troublemakers who are Democrats send nasty offensive messages to the moderators. I finally got on the boards myself and banned all political conversations until the election was over. We’ve tried to lift the restrictions since Tuesday, but whenever we do, chaos sweeps over us. Unhappy Republicans post apocalyptic messages about how their children’s future has been ruined and they’re going to have to move to Canada (I’m unsure how this is better, but never mind), while offended Democrats post in return that they’re SHOCKED and HORRIFIED by the incivility on the message boards.

If you think I’m going to reveal my own political leanings here, you’re nuts.

Word to the wise on both ends of the spectrum: The world didn’t end (HELLO), and it’s easy to be civil and gracious when your candidate won.

ADDENDUM to word to the wise on both ends of the spectrum, after reading today’s batch of emails: Do you realise that you ALL think you’re outnumbered on the boards and made to feel unwelcome because the boards are so clearly dominated by the other faction? Think about that one for a little while…

3. Had to do significant work on the third level of the Writing With Ease workbook series to keep it on track for publication.

4. My sister-in-law/business partner and I had to figure out how to deal with a slew of irate customers who wanted to use First Language Lessons 4 this fall. This book has been a NIGHTMARE. I ended up doing a huge amount of unexpected work on the manuscript myself, due to circumstances beyond our control, and it’s way late. They’re right to be irate, but we’ve done everything we can…

5. I ended up writing several different pieces to follow up on the publication of the Art of the Public Grovel. One was for the Richmond Times Dispatch, which asked me to write about home education after this piece ran. Two more were for the History News Network and the Wall Street Journal…I’ll let you know when the WSJ piece runs.

6. I’m leaving for New York tonight to present the Peace Hill Press titles at W. W. Norton’s fall sales conference. More on this shortly.

7. The first-pass galleys for the third edition of The Well-Trained Mind appeared, courtesy of Norton.

Yeah, the box looks unopened. It is. It’s due back in a couple of weeks but I haven’t actually had time to open it up yet.

8. There are over a hundred unanswered emails in my email box. So far I’m coping by ignoring them, but this is a strategy bound to come back and smack me in the head at some point.

9. Oh, yes, history. In the middle of all that I wrote a pretty good chapter about the rise of the Fujiwara in tenth-century Japan. Must…write…faster…

Showing 24 comments
  • 1. Congratulations Emily! Every little girl’s dream gift!

    2. I’ve been taking a break from the WTM boards for just this reason. My sympathies to you and the moderators!

    3. Keep up the good work. Urban Kid 1 starts 1st grade full-on next September, so I love seeing the new work coming out just now.

    4. Again, keep up the good work. Ya do what you can. People will either understand or not. You can only control what you can control…. if that makes sense.

    5. We subscribe to WSJ, so I’ll watch for you.

    6. I love New York. Hope you have fun in the midst of the work!

    7. Off to pre-order now. I mentioned the U-Kid starting 1st grade full-on next September, right?

    8. One of those e-mails might be from me. I was flipping through my WTM looking something up and had been telling someone earlier that day about how well U-Kid 1 was reading due to OPG. And I thought, “holy **** am I glad that these ladies do this!” I got all inspired and wrote an e-mail.

    9. Huh? (just kidding. mostly.)

    Hang in there. I consider the very fact that you make ANY time at all to blog to be icing on the already very large cake!

  • melissa in Australia

    just wanted to say thank you for everything you have done. your works are greatly appreciated.

  • sleep-deprived

    I have to agree with Urban Mom on the gratefulness meter. I’m in my second year home educating two of our four kids (first grade and kindergarten) – must seem like a cake walk to those teaching the later grades, but I find myself SO grateful for all that you have done to make this journey easier for me – and the results are incredible. My first grader absolutely LOVES to read, and it has sparked an interest in both his younger brothers (his sister is still too young to “get it”). And I have found that I really love teaching them. There’s just nothing like having great resources at hand.

    A great big smoochy thank you! (in a non-offensive, non-partisan sort of way) πŸ™‚

  • Katie

    Loved the Richmond Times-Dispatch article…

    I’m tired just reading your blog, and don’t know how you do all you do! But, I’m grateful that you do!

    My kids and I love all your stuff, but this year, Writing With Ease is a new addition to my youngest son’s life, and he is actually enjoying writing! I never thought I’d say that about him (loves reading, but has never liked writing before!). Thanks much!

  • dangermom

    “If you think IÒ€ℒm going to reveal my own political leanings here, youÒ€ℒre nuts.”

    I’ve always thought that was a very wise move on your part. Also the fact that I’ve never heard a peep from you on the subject of creationism/evolution/whatever.

  • Rebecca

    Dear Susan,

    I understand your frustration with your message boards but I wonder if your point 2 is a good business move? I wonder how many Democrats and Republicans will be taken aback by your vent. I suppose tho that losing a few customers with a vent might not be a big deal…. In retrospect, though, you might want to make the vent private….. I don’t know just a thoughts. I would imagine that this will be all over the net and future and present customers might think twice about purchasing from Peace Hill. If I did not appreciate your work I would not have made this suggestion.


  • mary kathryn

    Y’know, this is the only website of yours that I look at. I think we’ve all had enough politics for awhile. The gloom-and-doomers are ridiculous – just because one loses an election doesn’t mean one must lose faith in God. I remind myself that God can readily use any person who sits in the White House for His ends. You sound WAY TOO BUSY. I will no longer complain about my slightly-frantic lifestyle!

  • Lori

    Yikes, Susan! I don’t suppose my saying ‘I’m sorry’ will do a bit of good. I didn’t have anything to do with the board collapse or anything else but I’m sorry that things got heated up to that point.

    And now we enter the holiday season where family obligations ramp up. Yow. Um, I hope all goes well?

    Blog when you can. Obviously, though, that should probably be way down the list.

  • Susan


    Thanks for the concern–I’m grateful for it! I think it’s pretty clear, though, that I have nothing against either Democrats or Republicans, just the handful of folks who are determined to cause message-board chaos (a very small fraction of the whole).


  • Elizabeth in Canada

    Well, living in Canada is always better, isn’t it? But yes, I get your point…

    And I’m glad that your #1 reason for not blogging looks like so much fun. As to the rest…I appreciate very much what you have already written and published, and I certainly don’t want to put any pressure on you to complete projects just to make my homeschooling life easier. And yet, the mantra “must…write…faster…” kinda sounds like a good one to my baser self!


  • Amber Emory

    You don’t have to write faster on the new history book. I am only halfway through the History of the Ancient World. There’s no hurry. πŸ™‚

  • Anne in Saskatchewan

    Yeah, what Amber Emory said. Plus I won’t be needing First Language Lessons 4 in the fall, so don’t worry about that one either πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Anne. (hoping all troublemaking Democrats and Republicans are stopped at the border!)

  • Mindy

    Susan, I am tired just reading about your life!! Thanks for all the work you do to make my homeschooling journey a better one!! And, thanks for putting up with the garbage over at the message boards. I will never understand people who participate in a message board funded by someone else, break their rules, and then email that person to complain. πŸ™‚ Life is WAY TOO SHORT to get upset over a message board. But, I have had many many laughs and conversations, met quite a few new and learned so much there, that I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate it!!!

  • sb

    ah…I remember my first pony around the 3 or 4th grade. I named her Brandy and that pony was possessed by something really bad – she was just a mean pony. Looking back on those days God protected me from my ignorance with that pony. Got to move up to a big horse around the 5th grade and that was sweet.

  • A Circle of Quiet

    Oh, I love that top picture of Emily and Dan. She looks SO HAPPY. Nice choice.

    Look for a care package coming — it hits the priority mail pile in a.m. I highly recommend you get to it first (-:


  • Renee (Drama Queen)

    SWB – you crack me up! I don’t know that we will EVER be able to go back to civil political discussions after this! Thanks for not shutting down the WHOLE board!

  • Colleen in NS

    I wish I could come down to VA and take over your life for a day or so, so that you could go lie in a field of flowers under a blue sky and deep breathe and not have to think about ANYTHING (except for the faces of your wonderful family).

  • Vicki

    Hi! Oh the pony looks like so much fun! I want one and I”m . . . Well, let’s just say even my kids are older than Emily. I wanted to comment on Number 4 (FLL4). As one of the customers eagerly waiting for the books I know what is making everyone irate! It’s because no one else makes grammar books as great as yours! It’s hard to wait for something this good! Actually, I have been meaning to say thank you for putting the first 20 lessons online. They have been great and have kept us patient until we can get our hands on the new books!

    Hopefully you are actually taking a break to sleep and eat too!

  • lovedtodeath

    I think you are doing a fabulous job making the boards civil again and a great job at closing down threads. Even the ones where (I) was involved. It does seem that some have been on the boards with the goal of starting trouble. With the threads being closed down the boards are starting to become pleasant again.

  • Christina

    “He wanted to EAT it.” I laughed out loud. As busy as you are (and as tired as you must be), you are still so funny. And we just began using the first Writing With Ease. I wish that had been around (or I had known about it) sooner for us. I’m excited to see how it helps my oldest organize and put down her thoughts about what she is reading. Won’t take any more of your precious time. Thanks for all you do for the world of home-educators. You are a super-woman.

  • AJ Leon

    Susan, you are awesome. Btw, you should get into Vlogging, will make it easier to post quick content. Email me if you want to try it out and need some help with specs πŸ™‚


  • Sharla

    I really appreciate everything you do. Your writing has empowered and inspired me.
    ~Thank you~

  • Karen

    Like Christina, I laughed at Max’s reaction to the pony and can picture it.

    My son, who is 8 and has been homeschooled from the beginning, wanted me to tell you that he “really, really” likes English now, thanks to the Language Lessons workbook. We used to use Shurley English, but he found it to be “way too much writing”. Even though he’s doing lots of copywork, and diagramming sentences, he’s ENJOYING it. He wanted to know who wrote the book, and I told him, and he said, “The same lady who wrote my history? She’s a good writer!” He adores his Story of the World, too. Friends who do not homeschool are always boggled when my son declares that he “loves history, and English”.

    So you have a young fan. πŸ™‚

  • nancypants

    UGH! To all that you had to deal with with the message boards. Hate to say it but that kind of thing that you just described is why I got off the boards completely. It was just too much. Except I got off long before the elections because it was already getting to be too much way back in the primaries! LOL Much as I loved the boards for many reasons, I am a happier person… probably with lower blood pressure because of getting off. :^)

    How I would have killed for a pony as a child. I tried to convince my parents that it could stay in the yard and mow our lawn for us. They didn’t buy that idea. LOL

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