Welcome back to Part 2 of our interview with the very versatile Sallie Borrink! Sallie is the “other half” of Arts & Letters, Inc. (along with hubby David), and is doing such a wonderful job editing our WriteShop Primary books.
Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday and learn a bit about Sallie’s homeschooling philosophy, her thoughts on WriteShop Primary, and how she manages life with an active toddler in tow!
On Teaching Writing
Kim: Many parents complain that teaching writing is just so hard for them. What encouragement can you offer the mom who feels insecure in this area?
Sallie: One of the things that thrills me about homeschooling now is that there is so much help and information available online. It blows me away how I can Google almost any question I can think of and find someone who has an answer. So the first encouragement I would offer is that parents can find a wealth of information and helpful people online.
Most parents know more than they think they know. This is especially true in the early years. And, honestly, getting a child excited about writing is so much more important in the early years than getting every jot and tittle exactly correct. One of the things that I like about WriteShop Primary is that children are just encouraged to write. There isn’t a heavy emphasis on getting everything absolutely perfect.
If parents just focus on modeling enthusiasm and respect for the importance of writing, they will go a long way in helping their child to be successful academically. If a child enjoys writing and understands the general process, he or she will have a much greater chance of success in the future since almost every academic subject has a writing component.
So if the parent focuses on making writing enjoyable and developing a love for it, as the child gets older and needs more specific academic help in the area of writing, more often than not the parent will also have grown alongside the child.
Kim: Lest we forget, you’re a writer too! Tell us about some of your own published pieces.
Sallie: When I started writing, I wrote primarily for magazines. I’ve been published in Christian Home and School, ParentLife, The Standard, The Grand Rapids Press and Student Leadership Journal. In recent years, I’ve focused most of my time on writing for clients.
I was an active blogger for three years at A Gracious Home, but decided to take my blog down this past March because I felt it was taking too much time away from other responsibilities such as my husband, my daughter and our business.
I am still writing online at Suite101.com. I write about a wide variety of topics related to education, parenting, homemaking, college, and travel. I am also the Feature Writer for Northeast U.S. Travel. I thoroughly enjoy writing for Suite since it gives me the opportunity to write about anything I want. If people want to peek at a list of my articles online, they are here.
On WriteShop Primary (and Homeschooling Little Ones)
Kim: As our editor, you’ve had the pleasure of spending hours poring over WriteShop Primary! But as a former teacher and future homeschooler, what aspects of WriteShop Primary most appeal to you?
Sallie: I like the simplicity of it. I like the fact that WriteShop Primary is low-key and not excessively academic. As an educator, I think we push toddlers and little children too much too early in terms of academics. My own homeschooling philosophy is probably closest to some combination of Charlotte Mason and the classical view and I think WriteShop Primary fits pretty well with those approaches. And I like the design (and not just because my husband designed it!). I think it is a fun product to use.
On Life with a Toddler
Kim: In addition to the demands of editing and writing, you have an active toddler and a heart for home-keeping. What does a typical day look like for you?
Sallie: There is no typical day in our home! LOL! For a long time I felt guilty about this, but I don’t anymore. Our way of working and living has changed regularly since Caroline was born. She is nineteen months old and I think we’ve probably adapted our way of doing thing about a dozen times since she’s been born. Every time we find something that works, she changes and hits another developmental phase and we have to rethink how we “do” life around here.
Our days vary so much in terms of what we do. David and I both work at home so the three of us are here together 24/7. David and I try to work before Caroline gets up and we always work during her afternoon naps. We’re very blessed that she naps for two or three hours every afternoon or I don’t know how this would ever work!
The rest of the day we switch off working and watching Caroline based on who has the more pressing deadlines. Sometimes it has been challenging when we both have a lot to do, but we’ve always found a way to make it work and meet our deadlines.
Kim: I completely empathize, Sallie. I don’t get much done around here when my two-year-old granddaughter is visiting. It’s hard to be productive when your toddler wants to play with the phone and punch your computer keys!
Sallie: We do eat our meals at the same time each day and Caroline generally does get up/nap/go to bed around the same time. But beyond that, every day is different. The days are impacted by deadlines, appointments with clients, health needs, etc. And, truthfully, that is one of the things that I love about having our own business at home. If the weather is nice, we get outside and enjoy it and work in the evening after Caroline goes to bed. If we want to go to the mall during the day when things are quieter there, we get up earlier and get a few hours of work done before Caroline wakes up.
We did make the decision a couple of months ago to hire a babysitter to come into our home a few mornings a week to watch Caroline while we work. This has made a great difference for us and we’re thankful God has provided a wonderful babysitter that Caroline really enjoys.
For a while I felt guilty admitting that I wanted help. It is easy to buy into the superwoman mentality and think I should be able to do it all myself. But I can’t. It isn’t how God made me. So we are thankful to have the help and I’m a lot happier having some uninterrupted time to work each day while knowing that Caroline is still here with us. Getting a break also gives me more energy to do all of the other things around the house that make a house a home so there is the added benefit of that as well.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a little bit about our lives!