Parent Hacks admin: Finding a new way

3335966258_dc6eb33dd9_m.jpgAs many of you know by now, I've recently started home schooling my 10 year-old son (hence, yesterday's "mad scientist" photo!). We've been on a rocky path through the school system for the last few years, and it has finally deposited us right where we began…at home.  

Time to be humble all over again.

Parenting, for me at least, has been a process of stripping away preconceived notions about who people are, how they grow, and what they need. At each turn, what I thought was simply "right" was more like one of several options. My ideas of nurturing, of communication, of development, of discipline have all had to change to accommodate the needs of my kids.

And now, I'm doing the last thing I ever thought I'd want to or even could do: I'm letting my son learn at home. We're muddling along, finding what's interesting, questioning a lot (including each other), exploring. In theory, it's fun and exciting, but right now, it feels a lot like yet another bumpy transition. For him, for his sister (who's in 1st grade at the neighborhood school) and definitely for me. A good transition, but not an easy one.

If you notice that a few days go by between updates here at Parent Hacks, that's the reason. I expect that as we get settled into our respective routines regular posting will resume, but I just wanted to give you a heads up in the meantime. Thank you as always for being the remarkable and supportive people you are.

Photo by Kitonlove


  1. Chris (Mombie) says

    Good luck! I wish you patience and excitement as you make your way through this new experience.

  2. Randa // says

    Best of luck! Homeschooling is AWESOME. It’s challenging to be sure, but the benefits are huge.

  3. Susan Bingham says

    That paragraph about ‘stripping away preconceived notions’ is one of the best, most thoughtful, descriptions of parenting that I’ve ever read, and I’m going to have to quote you on it. :)

    Lots of your readers are already homeschoolers, us included. One thing that I know, living here in Vermont, is that it is usually the bumpiest roads that lead to the very best views. Hang in there, and welcome! :)

  4. Cathi says

    Welcome to the world of homeschooling. We’ve homeschooled our nine kids through thick and thin for 25 straight years and are now helping to school our grandkids while we finish our last three. It’s a grand, beautiful adventure and worth every tear I shed through all those years, sure I could never do this. Now my kids are each other’s best friends, and they’ve had educational opportunities they’d never have had in school. And one of the best parts is that I’ve learned along with them!

    Enjoy every moment…like parenting itself, it goes all too fast!

  5. adrienne says

    You know what’s best for your son. I really admire your courage to learn new things for him and allow your life to adapt to your kids’ needs. We’re sending good thoughts your way.

  6. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks} says

    WOW. I am so touched by all these comments. To hear all of this calm, positive reassurance when I’m feeling so shaky and alone in this…how did you know this was just what I needed?

  7. Brenna says

    Good luck – I think it will be amazing! I hope to be right here with you in a few years :)

  8. Sarah N. says

    Good luck settling into homeschooling! My 6yo was going to an alternative school part time but in January we started homeschooling full time. We’re loving it but it is an exhausting challenge.

  9. Sara says

    One thing I really love about your blog (I mean, besides all the fab insider tips you funnel our way) is how you put your family first! Best wishes to you and your son, and the rest of the family, too, as you embark on this new adventure! I love your transparency. Homeschooling is quite an undertaking, but I hope the rewards that meet you will surpass your expectations. Many blessings in the coming days and weeks!

  10. Chris says

    I am in the same boat with you, so know that you are not alone. I just pulled my son out of school last week and am ready to begin some lessons on Monday. There was no point in him going to school and wasting his time there. Learning at home seems like a better option at this time. Good luck to both you and me and the kids.

  11. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks} says

    Thank you, Sara. I really appreciate that.

    I hope to start writing more about my experience not only home schooling, but other ways parenting has caused me to step away from many of my deelply-held assumptions. In many ways that’s probably my best hack…to keep an open mind, even when it leads you places you don’t think you want to go.

    Parenting takes courage. Not all of us have to face that…many of us have kids who do pretty well with the combo of our built-in value systems and the culture we live in. But for those who don’t, parenting them requires incredible fortitude.

  12. Marilyn Terrell says

    Asha, I can’t possibly imagine a better education for a child than growing up in your stimulating household. Most schools dull a child’s imagination and curiosity. Your home-school gives it a chance to blossom. Congrats on your brave decision and thanks for sharing how it came about.

  13. Neen says

    Good luck! I know that home-schooling can be the best method of learning for many children and their parents!

    “Parenting, for me at least, has been a process of stripping away preconceived notions …”
    Ahh, I recognize that place, that’s when I remind myself that I was a much better parent before I had kids! (Which is also my mantra when childless people offer advice and criticism, if I repeat it over and over in my head, I don’t have to swear at them.)

  14. Mitch says

    I can only hope you well enough in all your new endeavors. By the way, Kids just like yours can be the leaders in our homes for saving money and the planet. Help 1MM youth save $100 at home for a total of $100MM. Look out Parents, here we come … Support Green My Parents: The Youth Movement to seed the Green Economy! Earn over $100 at home for families and save the Planet! So vote for 1 million youth to win $250k at then join us on Facebook at I’m counting a lot on you! Thanks.

  15. Boston Mamas says

    You are amazing Asha. I have been thinking of you, full of admiration for navigating these waters.

  16. Alex says

    Hi Asha!
    You don’t know me, but I’ve learned so much from this site. I just finished an advance copy of a memoir and I’d love to pass it on to you. The author pulled her daughter out of school for one year in 5th grade and wrote about it. Just shoot me a private email with an address if you want it.

  17. Katie says

    I am right there with you figuring this all out. I just pulled my oldest son out of public school 1/2 way through 5th grade. I left his 7 year old brother in public school and he’s very jealous. Add in an 18 month old littlest brother and a gluten-free diet required for the 5th grader and we’re having a bumpy time.

    But, I see glimpses of the little boy coming back that I remembered before he became the more distant, more sullen boy I didn’t recognize. I’m happy we’re reconnecting through homeschooling. It feels like a whole new world, one that I was never interested in before, but now can’t get enough information. I enjoy your hacks, keep ‘em coming when you have time and enjoy your son at home!

  18. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks} says

    Katie! Your story sounds so much like ours (including the GF diet, which we’ve since stopped). Thank you for sharing. I wish I could get everyone’s full story!

  19. sarah gilbert says

    it says something about my own path, Asha, that I’m a little moonie over your new way. good luck and may you have all the love and patience you need — I know you will — and please stop by if you ever need a backyard for a really muddy biology project. or another marmalade session.)

    (I have a half-pint of meyer lemon blood orange vanilla marmalade for you, by the way.)

  20. Kerry says

    It must be tremendously reassuring for your son to know that his mom is willing to do whatever it takes to see that he is happy and successful. I am sure you will both excel with his education.

  21. RGs Mama says

    I really like this comment. I’ll be quoting and crediting you and sharing it with my friends. So, very true. And amazing at the fortitude you find within that you never imagine even existed.

    P.S. We’re also embarking on the homeschooling journey.

  22. Lisa says

    I’m now thinking of doing the same thing. We have a lot of concerns when it comes to her schooling. You’re a great inspiration for me to start all over again. By the way, Kids who grow an organic garden with their family, will be healthier, happy adults and more successful adults & CEOs. Support Green My Parents: The Youth Movement to seed the Green Economy! Earn over $100 at home for families and save the Planet! So vote for 1 million youth to win $250k at then join us on Facebook at Thanks.

  23. Megan says

    Asha, I really look forward to hearing more about how this journey is going — and if you are willing to share more detail with us about how you came to this decision, I’d be so grateful. My son is still a toddler but I can’t help thinking ahead to when he starts school. I live in a great school district and know he will be able to get a “good education” here (it’s the same school district I grew up and went to school in)… but there’s so much about the institution of public education that bothers me.

    My impression is that a lot of people who home school do so for religious reasons, but is there a community of parents out there who home school because they find that there are other aspects of the one-size-fits-most approach of a formal school environment that just aren’t the best choice for their family?

  24. healthy kitchen says

    i wish you all the best with this endeavor, and your son is lucky to have such a caring and patient mother like you. while homeschooling can be challenging, i’m sure your kid will do just fine as you’ll be there to guide him through it.

  25. Robin says

    Can any of you “homeschoolers” point me in the right direction? I’m looking for a toddler curriculum for my 2 year old that is moving from a daycare environment to a nanny for the summer…