This is a blog about two of the things I’m most passionate about: homeschooling and children’s books.  I occasionally drift into a few other things. If you’re interested in reading some more of my blogging, especially about homeschool tips and help, you can also find me at the Simplify Blog.

If you’re interested in reading my thoughts about middle school in particular, you can buy my book, Tweens, Tough Times, and Triumphs: Homeschooling the Middle Grades. It’s available here.

I’m a writer and a teacher.  I’ve taught a variety of subjects, in both public and private schools, at a variety of grade levels from late elementary to high school. Now, I teach my twin sons at home.

Mushroom and BalletBoy are my twin middle schoolers.  Mushroom is my passionate, expressive worrywart.  BalletBoy is my cheerful, anything goes child.  Sometimes I blog about how they’re in different places with schoolwork.  As they’ve gotten older, they’ve become more different in their needs and focus for school and more concerned about their privacy. I think it’s important for us parents of older kids to share support though, so I do share a little.

The blog title is a reference to Dodie Smith’s beautiful coming-of-age classic I Capture the Castle.  When I was a kid growing up in the middle of nowhere and then in the suburbs, a rowhouse and a castle were probably equally exotic.  I ended up in a majestic rowhouse instead of a castle though.

Now that I’ve been homeschooling for nearly a decade, I also sometimes help people with their homeschooling journey. If you’re interested in having me be your homeschool muse and getting one on one guidance, visit me at Simplify.


12 thoughts on “About

  1. HI
    Found your site through “Finding the Fantastic in Everything” Would love to follow but didn’t see how. Did I miss it? I love finding new secular blogs. I read your post on Junie B and How to train your Dragon. My husband and I couldn’t agree more:). Here in England there is another series called Horrid Henry that is just as bad.
    Great to find you

  2. Hello.

    I found your site through secularhomeschool.com, and felt compelled to click on your blog because of the name. Those are two names that run through my family pretty consistently. The “middle of nowhere” where you grew up… was it in the eastern part of Oklahoma by chance?

    Sorry for being so nosy! It was just too strange a coincidence for me to pass it by.


    1. Nosiness is okay! But nope. Some of the husband’s roots are in Oklahoma, but he never lived there. My family is all Georgia, but the name is an old family one and comes from bits of my family from Tennessee – my first name is an old family surname. I feel like there aren’t that many Farrars though… maybe there’s a connection 🙂

  3. I came across your thoughtful posts at Secular Homeschool.com. I just wanted to say, “Hi!” I enjoy reading your responses at Secular HS.com and your blog posts.


  4. I found your blog through the forums over at Well-Trained Mind. My family and I (husband, five year old daughter, and 2.5 year old son) live in DC near the Van Ness Metro. My husband and I are homeschooling our kids. Would you be willing to talk with me via email about (secular) homeschooling in DC? If so, would you email me? I looked for a “contact me” button on your blog but could not find one.

    I am hoping to begin meeting other DC homeschoolers for a number of reasons. I’d love to have other parents to talk with about the highs and lows and challenges. Also, my daughter would love to meet other kids who are homeschooling! I’m especially interested in meeting DC families since we don’t have a car (although we do use Zipcar).

    Also, was your family ever involved in the NOVA preschool homeschooling group? I was on the Yahoo list for a while when my daughter was small, but I dropped off because at the time I could not attend the events. As I recall there was a father with twin boys who lived in your neighborhood who participated — could that have been your family? If so, small world!

    Your blog is very interesting, and I will be sure to look for your writing over at secularhomeschool.com.

    Thanks, Helen

  5. Hello,
    I really appreciated your posting on secularhomeschool:

    “I think I would be hesitant if they didn’t teach the more traditional algorithm later on. Otherwise you can end up like this poor kid who wasn’t “allowed” to use the procedural method for addition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLlX61o8fg
    Conversely, I would be worried about a math curriculum that only taught the procedure.”

    At this point we had decided to publish the procedure part of the long division, whilst we have a whole lot of material about the concept.

    Your contribution is making me think again about it, and, as I was envisaging it a year ago, I might go into the translation (we’re french…) of the three hour long course about conceptual initiation of the division process that already exists in French.

    Feel free to look up the “procedural” part of long division as we already have eloquent feed-backs… Yours would greatly be appreciated by my team.

    Best regards,

  6. Well weird. I just ran across your blog as I was researching some DC homeschooling resources. As it turns out, my homeschooled ballet is in class with yours. 🙂 I should really be more social in those hallways, I guess!

  7. Hi there!

    I am a graduate student at the Catholic University of America. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in piano performance. I have been teaching piano for two years and have also been a part time staff at a local elementary school. This semester I am looking to expand my private piano studio and welcome more students of all ages and all levels. Do you have any recommendations as to where I can sign my self up as a homeschooling resource?

    Thank you and wow your blog is very interesting!

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