One thing I doubt I will ever tire of is hearing about how other kids and their educators (be it parents, public school teachers, private school teachers) spend their days. There’s just something special about peeking into someone’s daily rhythms, and with nearly every conversation with another parent, I learn something new. To be inspired (and to be inspiring) is part of our family culture. We keep our eyes on the prize: maintaining a lifelong love of learning.

There are many, many paths. We’re on the one that works best for us now. But some of the brightest, kindest kids I know—the ones I try to keep close to my own—are on different ones. Some are in traditional public schools, some in alternative schools. Some are on the “school at home” side of the homeschooling spectrum and others are unschoolers (which, by the way, autocorrects to “installers”, but maybe one day…). Each one of them inspires us and adds richness to the way we learn.

Why am I thinking about this today? Well, for one thing, a friend of mine from the States was visiting this weekend. She, too, is in her first year of homeschooling, and her family’s style of learning is radical unschooling. Then, this evening, when I was reading Heidi to my kids, we came to the part where Heidi teaches Peter how to read. Her style is as simple as this: she makes him sit with her every afternoon to memorize his letters and threatens him with a variety of physical and emotional punishments if he does not. In the end, he learns to read and spends some quality time reading to his grandmother.

Many, many paths. [And a reminder that the classics can contain objectionable life lessons.]