School Is Cool!

comments: 55











We made it! We made it through the first week of school, and it was seriously awesome. I could not be happier, and Amelia is over the moon. She's asking to do school on Saturday and Sunday. How sweet is that. It's so much better than I expected. I haven't felt this much peace in ages. Our teacher came over on Wednesday. I could've sat and talked to her for hours. She's just so cool. Amelia can definitely stay enrolled in her school and participate in the school's distance learning, and this was such a huge relief to me. I didn't even know how big of a relief it would be until the moment of confirmation, and then I literally felt a weight lift. Her teacher said that they would have a Zoom meeting every morning and then have both computer assignments and assignments that she could do in an actual notebook. Group cheer! Let me just say, and those of you who have computer experience and small children right now know, it is trippy to watch them navigate the mouse and, like, place and resize objects (like stars and hearts) on their selfies, and write with pen tools, and just do stuff like that. I mean — does that not totally blow your mind? I definitely didn't teach her to do that. I think it's wonderful. Watching her morning meetings, seeing all the little kids on the screen wiggling, falling off their chairs, looking so much older, with their sweet little bedheads and their kittens and their bowls of breakfast cereal, my heart overflows with love for all of them, and I realize that I have missed seeing them all so much. I used read with many of them as a volunteer in the classroom every week. Since Mimi is in a 1st/2nd grade split class, half of the kids are the same from last year and I know them. The other half are new first graders, and we know some of them, too. They're all just so sweet and cute and wonderful. The teacher asks them to un-mute themselves, one by one, and tell everyone their favorite color. The second kid to go says "turquoise" and then at least half of the class follows by also saying turquoise. :) I text Andy as I'm watching, See, this is why they need this. They need each other, even if it's only on-screen right now. This is real, these windows of life, too. They are in this together.

After her class meets at 8:30 every morning, we then go into the dining room and do circle time, and then we start Queen Anne's Lace Homeschool. We've been drawing, printing, doing cursive, playing the recorder, painting, reading, and learning to crochet. Today Andy did social studies and science with her. Math starts next week. Also French (were using Muzzy BBC).  We worked on crochet for the first time yesterday. It's part of the Oak Meadow curriculum. It was your basic disaster. She got super angry when she couldn't make a foundation chain. I watched her hands and thought, "Hmmm, yeah, this is too hard. Her left hand is not coordinated enough to hold the chains and the working yarn, and she can't make her right hand manipulate the hook at the same time. It's okay. We'll try again another time, maybe in a few months." She was so mad she threw the hook across the room and then sobbed. I was cool — it's okay, honey, it's hard, it takes a lot of practice — and we put it away and went on with the day. And then last night after I got back downstairs after putting her to bed I found on the sofa her yarn and hook and a foundation chain of about seventy-five chains that she had done quietly while I was making dinner. She didn't even say anything. I couldn't believe it! And that moment was a gift that I'll never forget, and I think it will be a good metaphor for this year. Note to self: Don't underestimate this kiddo. She will surprise you!

Took the kitten to the vet today. The way they do it is that you come to the office, call when you get to the parking lot, they come out and get your animal and take it in, and then the doctor calls you after the exam. The doctor was adorable. I don't remember his name but I've never met him. He was gushing about Agatha: "Oh my gosh, she is adorable! She's just so cute, she has such a cute face, I mean it's like round, but fluffy, and it's just so cute! Everyone was freaking out she was so sweet. She let me do my whole exam without any problem. She's adorable!" I was laughing. He gave me the report (she's healthy, but has a slight heart murmur). At the end he goes, "Okay, they'll bring her out soon. The girls are taking selfies with her right now." Ha!

Such a proud mama of all my little girls!


This update makes me so happy! Yay for school starting off well! Yay for Amelia crocheting! PLEASE post lots of kitten pictures on Instagram!

This is such a wonderful post! I have been reading your blog for years and although it only gives a "slice of life" I felt the family I have come to know through it would excell at homeschooling, honestly couldn't be happier for you all. The crochet story was especially cool. Please tell Mimi I am 46 and I can still barely crochet. I got to the 'throwing across the room' stage and gave up! How cool that she sat down by herself and worked it out. I think you are going to have a great year.
The Agatha story cracked me up 🤣 how cute they all loved her so much. I'm not surprised!

oh the kittie face cookies!! they are so cute! and i love your plants around your stairs to the porch. so beautiful. well, i'm now inspired to get back to work on my sweater that i just yesterday discovered i've completely messed up. that mimi has the constitution to sit and quietly keep trying something that upset her so much is a wonderful thing. what a beautiful soul.

Home school sounds perfect - learning how to be a good well rounded human as well as an educated one! Heart murmurs in kittens are very common - ours grew out of his by the time he was a year old.

Congratulations! I am thrilled for you and knew that you and Andy would be brilliant teachers and Amelia would be a wonderful self- motivated learner. You will have so many countless days of rewarding experiences. It sounds like you have the best of all worlds. Your wonderful crochet story reminded me so much of the 4 year old daughter of a friend who was learning to swim. Her mom asked her to swim across the shallow end of the backyard pool and she refused, so she just let her splash and play but as we sat, I watched her swim a short distance to the steps, then she moved a bit further away and swam that greater distance and so on until she ended up swimming the whole distance with no coaching, no accolades, just her own ability to break down the task, her own drive to master a skill and experience the pleasure of personal achievement. Kids want to learn. They just need to feel supported and to be free of pressure. You are incredible parents and Amelia is proof! Have a fantastic year

I LOVE how you took Amelia's first day of school photo...even though she is being home schooled!!!...I say BRAVO!! and good for you...I home-schooled my two kids, it definitely sets a different atmosphere...a very GOOD one...I know that it is not something you just JUMPED into, but carefully thought through, and determined what was the BEST plan of action for Amelia!

WELL DONE, Mom and Dad!!!

Oh your posts bring me such joy! Thank you for sharing. I wish I could have snuggles with that kitten she's a poppet :-)
Amelia's crochet story reminds me of when I was learning to knit and I called my aunt, my go-to for all things crafty, and complained that I kept dropping stitches and it was all rubbish. She replied, my dear, I still do that - last week I was so cross not only did I throw my knitting on the floor, I also jumped on it!
Hooray for homeschooling and good intentions and Amelia's quiet perserverance, you are all doing so so well in this time of uncertainty. Thank you again for letting us have a peek at it all. says: September 08, 2020 at 10:45 AM

You're not really a knitter or crocheter until a needle or hook or skein has gone flying. Welcome to the tribe, Amelia. :)

Such a lovely post. Did my heart good.

Joyce Hobbs says: September 08, 2020 at 11:16 AM

Thank you so much for a positive story. This home schooling is very trying for everyone!

LOVE LOVE LOVE how you can still combine the cozy oozy wonder of your lives with the amazing technology and have it all meld together. And yes I've had to take our dog to the vet and they come out and get him and then phone. And gush away at what a great doggo he is (cause he is) and the techs use such high happy voices he forgets his manners and loses his happy mind (he's a 100 pound pit mastiff) so that's a whole lotta happy. Thank you for keeping it real and cozy too.

Your posts warms my soul! Love the first day of school photo!! Glad to hear it's all going well with homeschool! Have a great school year!

Alicia, we homeschool at our house too and I have tried for years to get my 7-year-olds to crochet or knit, and mostly I get excited faces until they realize how much coordination is required! So I feel for Amelia. Good for her for going back to it. I have a couple of other suggestions if you hit another wall. The first is a knitting nancy—we have a couple that are made of plastic, but there are nice wooden ones available and you can also DIY them out of four popsicle sticks and a cardboard toilet paper tube. My kids end up with long, long chains of yarn following them around the house, but it seems to give them the same pleasure I get from crochet or knitting, so I’m willing to deal with it. Another option one of my boys found was similar to a little knitting Nancy, but was large enough to make hats and scarves. I believe we found a number of sizes at Michael’s, called knitting looms. The success level was really high and he was so proud of his creations. Good wishes to you all as you embark on this year. It can be such a gift for everyone. Take care.

Please, please, what is then name of the vine on your front porch??? Thank you. Yourporch and entrance look lovely.

Julie Smith says: September 11, 2020 at 07:17 PM

Sounds wonderful. Xoxo.

Been thinking of you with all the violence in your city - hope you’re ok....

Sue Collins says: September 12, 2020 at 05:17 AM

Our thoughts are with all who are experiencing the terrible fires in Oregon and elsewhere in the US, such as those in Australia in January.
We watch in disbelief that this is happening as it did here and hope that an end to this season of fire comes to an end very soon. Heart-breaking...

Marie Raskin says: September 12, 2020 at 07:01 AM

I have seen the terrifying images of the heavy fires in Oregon. I hope that you and your loved ones are doing fine.
My thoughts are with you.
Lots of love from Brussels (Belgium - Europe).

I have been thinking of you as fire rages parts of your state. i wish you, your family and friends well. 2020 has been difficult to put it mildly, and your corner has been shaken especially hard in the last month. Sending Arohanui much love from New Zealand.

Nancy Nussbaum says: September 14, 2020 at 05:17 PM

Hi Alicia, I believe you are in Oregon and I want to be sure you and your family are safe. I am sick over the fires. Sending prayers.

Just wanted to leave a note my Love, thoughts and prayers are with Portland and Oregon during these fires... from Northern California—( we’ve had almost a month of smoky days at this point).

Oh, yay! This sounds just grand, Alicia! I'm so delighted to read this post. It sounds like you found the perfect "middle path" for this era we are in. I do think our kids will gain some value from the distance learning that will help in the future, when they are back in person full time. They will have mastered tech that will carry them through the decades ahead. And one day they may pay that forward as well.
Now, I cannot WAIT to see what you have planned for autumn...

Michaelanne Neal says: September 15, 2020 at 01:54 PM

I LOVE this post!!! I can feel your joy and excitement...and HOPE that everything will be OK...Even BETTER than OK ...It will be GREAT :) Sending hugs to all THREE of you girls! <3

I switched to homeschool for my first grader because the virtual school requirements (only 5 minutes of break, video on at all times) resulted in tears and everyday. Now that we are homeschooling, he is much happier and so am I. He's even given presentations to the family on Canadian geese and dragonflies. :-)

Roseanna Jakubowski says: September 18, 2020 at 09:03 AM

So looking forward to a post from you to know how your family is doing. I know there are many of us concerned for you due to the fires.
You have been in my prayers. Sending love you way.

I’m so glad! That was lovely to read.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at