There is a history of women, subversive and marginalized, who gather to heal, dissent, bewitch or even birth. Alone and together, these women work to save and secure, to sanctify and celebrate. We know these histories. We’ve read these stories. During this unprecedented pandemic, the women came again. For me, in my village, they transfixed our simple street into an unlikely neighborhood, a place where children feel safe, loved and protected. For you, perhaps, they showed up differently; nevertheless, they were there, and they are here.

Like so many, as the chaos over COVID-19 climbed and debates about educating our…


Why Children’s Book Clubs Make A Difference Now More Than Ever

For a long while, I’ve held a deep belief that reading, in both a solitary and communal way, has an impact on who we are and how we interact in the world. That guiding notion, along with my love for children, took me into teaching. I’ve worked with students of all ages, and whether we’re in a small group setting or a large seminar discussion, conversations about books usually transform into conversations about being human.

With distance learning in full effect, schools have admirably adjusted, and that adjustment has…


We’ve been home for a while now. On many days, children rise and shine and then sit in front of their computers. Let’s refresh the learn-from-home experience. We can enrich the current school model and support our children to get the most out of distance learning. Here’s how:

Review before you begin. Reflecting on what came before helps to inform what will come next. Try journaling as a way for your student to review and also to support writing skills.


I missed writing yesterday, and as I sit here now, I can’t even remember yesterday. The days are blurring, and time both races and slows simultaneously. Today began with my daughter hissing at me, “I hate reading.” An eye roll, a foot stomp, and a heavy belly flop onto her bed followed her words.

I don’t believe my children are meant to be mini-versions of my husband or me; in fact, I sort of loathe when people view their children as ego-boosting fruit, ripe for the tricking. …


I’ve decided to chronicle my experience as a Mom engaged in distance learning with my two children, both elementary school age. If you’re curious how things are going in one small town home, read on. Without a doubt, we’re living through a tumultuous time. The purpose of my distance learning diary is to connect and share, even under the umbrella of isolation. Even more than that, though, I’m writing to remember.

March 30, 2020. Day 1.

I didn’t sleep at all last night because my seven-year-old daughter was frightened. After trying to soothe her in her own bed, I gave…


Why Distance Learning Is Awesome

Today is Friday, March 27th, and on Monday our local public school system will begin its first distance learning program. For many people, myself included, there’s some anxiety about how this is all going to go. When I drove to our elementary school to pick up chromebooks for my own children to use during this initiative, I grew increasingly nervous. How is this possibly going to work? How are my children going to get anything out of this? Will they be ready for the next school year?

The irony of my own anxiety about all…


Ten Tips to Turn Your Makeshift Homeschool into Bliss

With schools closed across the country, parents are frantically putting together a homeschool experience for their children. In many communities, distance learning is on the horizon, but even that experience seems like another unnerving layer for parents and students. I’ve been a middle school and high school English teacher for almost twenty years, and now I’m home, just like you, trying to navigate educating my own elementary school age children.


Sometimes, my illusions haunt me. They infiltrate, steal and suck the joy out of a moment so quickly that the experience becomes entirely about the illusion, the story of what was supposed to happen. For a long time, these illusions, like quicksand to memories, corroded certain experiences in my life and left me with nothing but rancor.

Some say the desire for belonging is part of our sacred human experience. They say, when we don’t feel belonging, we fracture. Of course, belonging and fitting in are different things. Kids want to fit in, in school, on their sports teams, in…


Do you know the legend of the Holly and the Oak?

When I was young and pregnant and in graduate school, one of my courses focused solely on trees and the forests they inhabit. For hours each day the class walked through neighboring forests examining and revering nature’s impressive formations. As we traversed through the trees on one of these late August expeditions, my sagacious professor explained the ancient story, the mythical folk tale about the everlasting battle between two of nature’s fiercest kings, the Holly tree and the Oak tree.

“In many Celtic traditions,” he said, “these trees are…


In my family, when I was growing up, and still to this day, it mattered where you went to school. A person’s educational background said a lot about her; in fact, in many ways it defined her. As I came of age, this was an important part of my family’s narrative. Even though we have a blended family, complete with steps and halves, the emphasis on education was a common thread for all of us. So for me, that story unfolded in boarding school, then at an elite all women’s college, and then from there, I went on to earn…

Laura Milligan

Laura Milligan is a teacher and writer. On medium, she often shares personal essays. On social media, @readwritestart

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