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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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Month Day
Topics: words

Word of the Year 2017: STRETCH

Do you have a “Word of the Year”? This is my ninth year doing this tradition! I almost didn’t pick one for this year, but I’m really glad I changed my mind.

I knew from slightly before 2016 started that it was going to be a doozie of a year. I was not only right, but I vastly underestimated exactly how hard it was going to be for me. Without a doubt, 2016 was the absolute worst year of my life (and honestly, I’ve had some pretty bad ones before then)… With my intuition and foresight informing me ahead of time that 2016 was going to be rough for me, I chose the word “Flow” for 2016. I envisioned the storms-a-comin’ with me floating through them, remaining intact the entire time. That image helped me through some really tough days. Without that, I may not have survived all the storms I went through.

What I didn’t anticipate is that allowing myself to roll-with-the-punches and go-with-the-flow, I would curl up physically and metaphorically into a ball of tightness that has now become so stiff with the atrophy of it all, I can barely move without pain (physical, mental, and emotional). I protected my core so heartily, and necessarily, that I now am covered in a unique armor I’ve never seen nor felt before. I want to keep that armor as it’s waterproofing me and keeping me tough, but I don’t want to be all stiff inside of it. Life isn’t worth living in that stiff state.

With that in mind, I’ve chosen the word STRETCH for my “Word of the Year” for 2017. Each day this year, I want to focus on stretching my physical self, my body: arms, legs, back, feet, hands, neck, torso, so that I’m no longer in a tight little protective ball getting stiffer and achier because I curled inward for so long. I want to focus on stretching out my body systematically and productively. Each day this year, I want to stretch my mental focus and allow my attention to more quickly go elsewhere when situations, movies/books/television/stories, people, conversations, food, or whatever-crossed-my-path no longer deserves my attention. Life is too short to spend it concentrating on things that I don’t care about. Each day this year, I want to stretch my emotional focus so that I allow the intensity of my emotions and the deep truths behind them to shine in my writing and personal life. I’m actually the most emotional person I know, and I can cultivate my emotions by allowing myself to be more me. This year, I will stretch.

Month Day
Topics: vision boards,words

Word of the Year 2016: FLOW


After fighting another whirlwind year, I’ve decided that I would like to concentrate on going with the flow. Thus, my personal Word of the Year for 2016 is FLOW!

Flow. Like a flowing river. I am in the river, but I can’t change the river’s direction to turn it around 180 degrees immediately. I have the power to slowly guide it with my influence, but I don’t have the power to stand still and say, “Stop and turn around! Get out of my way.” Yet, I’ve been trying to make my life-river stop and turn around a lot this past year. This has caused me frustration, anger, and deep sad disappointment. I feel as though I’ve completed my 2015 SERENITY goal, but I have more to work on in the area of acceptance and change. I need to go with the flow more.

As I have with every word of the year that I’ve chosen (this is my 8th year choosing one!), every time I have trouble breathing, I’ll remind myself of my word. I’ll prominently display it in some specific way in my home as a visual reminder. I’ll say it aloud when I need it. It’ll seem new and silly at first, but then it will become natural and feel right.

I’m asked sometimes why having a word of the year is so important to me. It’s not right for everyone. I find my life to have unnoticed rhythms that, if left unfocused by me, cause me frustration, self-doubt, and a sense of not growing. I don’t like this. It’s important to me that I expand in who I am and work my way towards it. So, each year I pick a word that suddenly feels like the idea that I personally need for personal growth. My words have changed each year, but my long-term goal is the same: to Do Life Right. I give myself gentle and not-so-gentle reminders as to what that means. My personal growth areas change over time.

I know already that 2016 will bring me many hardships. I already know what some of them are. I don’t know, however, of all the beauty and love it will bring me. I hope to go with the flow on all of it, and appreciate each beautiful moment as it happens. I call that FLOW, and I’m looking forward to floating in my life river when I feel like floating, and creating little dams when I chose for the river to flow in new ways. I can already feel it happening, not just around me, but with me and through me.

Month Day
Topics: music,video

They Might Be Giants Appreciation Day 2015

Hooray! It’s TMBG Appreciation Day 2015 and since We Might Be Fans, my daughters Zoe (18) and Teagan (14) decided to make music videos using a couple of their favorite They Might Be Giants’ songs.

Without further ado:

Month Day
Topics: Do Life Right,empowerment,photographs,words

Word of the Year 2015: SERENITY

Wow, what a struggle! I had a harder time picking a word for 2015 than any year since I started this yearly tradition. Last year’s word RADIATE still has me on a high!

I ended 2014 doing something I’ve never done in my life: I danced ballet on a stage in front of a real audience. 🙂 It was exhilarating in ways I can’t even describe, especially when all my childhood memories surrounding dance are of the adults around me telling me that I was horrible at it and that I should stop (because I’d never be able to do it). Flashback to about a year ago: I was struggling to find something new to try. Every time I signed up for something, it was cancelled. Time and time again this happened, and I was starting to think it was a sign from the Universe telling me that I shouldn’t try anything new in a formal setting. As I shared this with my now-14yo daughter, Teagan, she suggested something that she’s been suggesting for about 5 years now: Why didn’t I just sign up for ballet classes? After all, I was going to dance studios for her all the time (she’s training to become a professional ballerina), so why not take a few classes, too?

With the encouragement of Dancing in the Streets AZ (the only studio I’ve ever seen that ENCOURAGES new adult dancers to sign up for classes even when they don’t have a clue what they are doing), I finally started taking classes in August 2014. While nearly every single class has left me feeling like a total idiot, something else has been growing inside of me since that first class. I’ve felt braver. Brave feels good. Incompetent, yes, but stronger and fiercer I’ve become. Not knowing what I’m doing, but still doing it, won’t kill me. But! Being a role model for the kids and teens who see me returning even though I’m the worst student in the class has been quite satisfying.

To reward me for my efforts, and the fact that I showed up for Nutcracker auditions, I was cast in two dancing roles: a party parent, AND a Dancing in the Streets original role as the “Queen of Sweets”. I even wore a tutu! Let me tell you about this tutu… I think it was made for me. If you’d have asked me some general adjectives for a tutu for me, they would have been: copper and orange colors with some brown and gold, flowy and long (but not too long), a little asymmetrical, fun, and flattering on my body type. This tutu was perfection for me. I wish I could have kept it, although what would I have done with a tutu in everyday life? I even wore a crown meant for a queen and wore stage makeup (first time ever)!

After the performances, people who didn’t know me (and people who did!) all used one adjective to describe how I was on stage: RADIATING! I was the worst dancer on the stage, no doubt, but I don’t care. I fulfilled my 2014 Word of the Year and it’s brought me moments that I will never forget (especially all the long conversations I’ve had about all of this with my daughters)!

Here are a couple of photos:

Lisa as the "Queen of Sweets" in Dancing in the Streets AZ's Nutcracker 2014

My "Ballerina Doll" daughter, Teagan, and me

Which brings me to 2015… How could I top 2014?

Well, I can’t. But, what I can do is bring what I need NOW into my life.

For the past few months, I’ve been a little overwhelmed by fear. Some of the fear has been real, yet some of it has been imagined (but still feels equally real!). I’ve been working on this with my acts of bravery, and I even considered the word BRAVE as my word of the year. But, it didn’t feel quite right. Neither did others that I tried on: BELIEVE, JOY, PEACE, EXPLORE.

Then, as it usually does, one single unexpected word kept popping up in my periphery: SERENITY.

It even showed up in an airplane magazine ad here (on the final day I was deciding on my word):

And, it fits. So, that’s what I’m going for. While not religious (but extremely spiritual), and not necessarily looking to rewatch all the episodes of Serenity (although my daughter, Zoe, insists that we now must), I’m still on the quest this year to feel serene, despite the challenges that come my way (and I’ve already had quite a few…).

May 2015 bring you what you are looking for, too. I’ll be rooting for you!

Find me gabbing on Facebook here: Do Life Right page, Wright on Time Books page, my personal page.

Month Day
Topics: Arizona,books,Do Life Right,homeschooling,photographs,Tucson,Unschooling,Wright on Time

World’s Best Roadschooling Convention!

My family and I are getting super excited for tomorrow. It’s the first day of the “World’s Best Roadschooling Convention” right here in Tucson, Arizona. I’ll be giving the key note address at 7:00PM tomorrow evening (and hosting a Moms-only circle Saturday morning)! Greg and Zoe will be on an Unschooling Panel Friday afternoon from 1:00-3:00PM.

The convention unofficially started for me yesterday, as several other authors and myself had a lovely afternoon of talking about our books and signing books at Mostly Books in Tucson. Here’s a photo:

Month Day
Topics: empowerment,guest post,photographs,words

Zoe’s Word of the Year 2014: NOW

The following guest post is written by my 17 year old daughter, owner of the award-winning Exogeology ROCKS! website, Zoë Bentley:

Late last December, in 2013, I chose a word of the year. This is the first time I’ve had a word of the year, even though I’ve known about the concept for the past several years since my mom chose words of those years. Until recently, it just didn’t appeal to me. So many of the example words I’d heard sounded cliché, boring, and cheesy. Hope, joy, courage, creativity, prosperity, etc., all good things but all uninspiringly overdone from my point of view. It was a challenge coming up with a sufficiently non-cliché word.

My word of the year 2014: NOW.

There are two main reasons I chose this word. One of them is straightforward and a common goal: I want to do things now, rather than later. Everyone knows putting things off doesn’t help anyone. It’s nice to have a reminder to urge me on. I know it’ll take a while to get used to, but I’d like to make doing things now into a habit, for everything from finishing homework projects to eating that leftover Halloween candy.

Of course, I can’t do everything at once, which brings me to reason two: I have a lot of things I want to do, and sometimes I can get overwhelmed trying to figure out which ones I really want to do, and when. Do I want to take classes in the fall, or do I want to travel, or do I want to spend time on some other project? Or this? Or that? I want to do everything, or at least a whole lot of it! Plus, I want to figure out the best way to reach my further-in-the-future goals. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time to do everything, and I don’t have quite that much energy. Fortunately, not everything has to be done now. A lot can be done later. Yes, this is counterintuitive, I’m aware, but it’s not completely at odds with my first reason. The point is, this year I want to do what sounds fun right now, at this very moment. I want to remind myself that I have time to do many different things, so I can stop stressing about doing everything at once. I can only do so much, so I want to focus on what I’m currently doing and have fun doing it.

This year, I want to do things now, and I want to thoroughly enjoy that now.

Month Day
Topics: Do Life Right,empowerment

I’m 2.7% Neanderthal; how about you?

In the late spring/early summer of 2012, I decided that it was high time for me to find out more about my genetic makeup. Since DNA testing was finally priced in a way that was reasonably affordable for someone with a high interest in knowing this sort of thing, I went for it (it was $299 then; ONLY $99 now!). After researching the various companies that do this type of testing, I chose 23andme. I have been absolutely thrilled with the ONGOING results that they’ve given me.

The test is simple: Fill the plastic tube (that they send to you) with saliva, then mail it back in their ready-made box. Results slowly come in starting about 6-8 weeks later. I did my test about a year and a half ago, and I’m still regularly getting new results. 23andme has hundreds(?) of questionnaires that you can choose to fill out or not, depending on how much help you personally want to be in the studies. From these they figure out the correlations between specific genes and what they mean.

So, I’m 2.7% Neanderthal. What are you?

With my testing, I’ve been able to confirm a lot of things, but I’ve also had a few surprises. I mean, it’s pretty obvious to anyone looking at me that I have red hair and blue eyes. But, who knew that I have a little bit of African in me? Wow! And, I’m a little bit Jewish. That is a huge shock. I’m also 4.0% Iberian… What’s Iberian? Huh. Who knew? Not me. Awesome!

I was also was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s in my DNA that I get nauseous under about a thousand circumstances. It’s not my imagination! 😉 My happiest surprise is that I’ve met a 2nd cousin who I didn’t know existed (she was adopted as a baby, and we still don’t know who her biological parents are), and this is what it’s all about!

What’s the biggest thing you think you might be surprised about in your DNA? Are you worried about anything?

Through 23andme, a person can find out where their ancestors came from, what diseases they are apt to get (or not get), what drug reactions they might have, and so very, very much more! I very highly recommend it.

Check out my DNA ancestral makeup:

Month Day
Topics: empowerment,guest post,words,zen

Greg’s Word of the Year 2014: RESOLVE (Guest Post)

Many thanks to my husband, Greg, for this guest post:

I’ve never chosen a word of the year before. I guess no single word sounded right, and it sounded like too much effort to find the perfect one when I was already very busy. This year though, I’ve decided that I want more focus to what I’m doing so it just felt right to pick a word to represent that. In fact, I considered “focus” as my word. I also considered “manifest”, “intent”, and “committed”. I was looking for something to help me with my desire to get things accomplished. Finally, I happened upon “resolve”.

I like that resolve has two related meanings. As a noun, it reminds me to do everything with determination. If it’s not part of some larger plan, if it’s just passing time, I don’t want to be doing it. That’s not to say that I don’t plan on having any fun this year. I do. But I no longer want to read pointless web pages or watch bad TV shows or movies. I have so many things that are on my list of things to do and see that I shouldn’t spend my time on activities that are the equivalent of junk food.

Conversely, if I am choosing to do something, I want to do it fully. If it’s worthy of doing, it should be worthy of my concentration. Whether it’s work or entertainment or socializing or learning or rest, I should do it with resolve.

The other meaning of resolve is as a verb. I want to resolve my outstanding issues. I have too many to-do lists lying about. Too many e-mails waiting to be dealt with. I want to clear out my backlog and resolved long standing problems. Some of these are just a matter of spend a half an hour (or how ever long it takes) to complete a task I don’t enjoy in order to fix something that’s irksome. Others will be a matter of deciding that it’s not really something I ever want to do. Either way, my list will shrink. It will feel be good to feel a sense of resolution. It’s only three days into the year, and I already feel better.

I’m not going to try to fix everything at once or set up some rigid schedule. I’ve tried both before, and they don’t work. Instead I’m just going to work on making something better each day. To shorten my to-do lists in some way. Clearing my desk is going to take some time (both figuratively and literally), but I feel better with each additional square inch of empty desk I see.

So that’s my word–resolve. Now I’m off to watch a movie. Fully. One I’ve been waiting to see for months. Happy New Year!

Month Day
Topics: Do Life Right,empowerment,vision boards,words

Word of the Year 2014: RADIATE

What is YOUR word of the year for 2014?

I’ve been fairly active on Facebook the past few years, and I’ve seen an increase in how many people are giving themselves a “Word of the Year” rather than resolutions that never come true. I love this! 2014 marks my 6th “Word of the Year” and I’m super excited about it.

Do you know what this “Word of the Year” business is all about? Well, it’s been around for quite some time, but it’s summed up quite nicely in Christine Kane’s Word-of-the-Year Discovery Tool. Simply put: (1) Pick ONE (and only one) word that succinctly summarizes your hopes, goals, dreams, and desires for the upcoming year. (2) Surround yourself with your word all year. (3) Reflect as you personally see fit.

For 2013, I gave myself the word ANCHORED. After having lived several years where I felt anything but anchored, having ANCHORED as my go-to word this past year has given me a new stability I’d been craving. My family and I are comfortably home in our lives and relationships, and it feels simply lovely. 2013 was an inward year for me, full of introspection (hey, wait, I’ve never had a year that wasn’t full of this!) and embraced introversion. Embraced, I say, as I’ve fought my anti-extroversion tendencies in past years. This year, I embraced my authentic introverted self–PROUDLY!

With this in mind, it came to me as a complete surprise that 2014’s word kept screaming to me… I finally had to accept it for the word that I desire to take me to the next level of my human experience. My 2014 word of the year is:


Yes, I am a radiant being. Yes, I am always (now!) my authentic self. Yet… not a lot of people are seeing my full shine. This, though I am anxious and excited about it, is what I’m trepidatious about sharing with the world. Yet, it’s truly who I am, so I can’t wait to show this side of myself to the world.


Month Day
Topics: food,guest post,holidays,vegan,vegan recipe

Vegan Cranberry Sauce

Zoe Bentley’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

  • 12oz cranberries (I used fresh)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup organic vegan sugar

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Stir and continue boiling until cranberries pop. If the pot looks like it’s about to overflow, turn down the heat and keep stirring. Once all cranberries have popped, turn down heat and cook until the sugar water is dark red and thick and the cranberries have lost their shape. Taste and wonder why nobody else likes cranberry sauce, then realize there’s more for you. Serve immediately (warm) or chilled.


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