Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I have twin boys who'll be going off to school soon, and we are undecided about how we want to educate them. I've thought about homeschooling, which my husband favors. But this would tie me to the house, and I would have to give up a career that I love. I favor a Montessori school or the local schools, but my husband is against them. Do you have any hints for the both of us?

-- Monica and Dave W.,

Sausalito, Calif.

DEAR MONICA AND DAVE: There are pros and cons to all forms of education.

Montessori schools involve child-led activities. There are children of mixed ages learning together, and they have activity stations instead of a teacher at the front of the class. It's nontraditional in many ways. They are also expensive schools. If you have not already visited a Montessori school, I urge you to visit one to see how it works.

Homeschooling does require one parent to stay home much of the time, but this way, you can go on field trips with your sons at museums, aquariums and more. However, if you have a career that you love and need to give up to stay home, are you sure you wouldn't become unhappy with this choice? It's a question I think you need to consider. Talk to other people who have done homeschooling and get their point of view.

With traditional schooling, thousands of children go to local schools and end up forming friendships, joining sports teams and doing fine in life. But here again, look closely at your local schools to see which subjects are taught. Also, speak to the teachers or administration and get their feedback.

Like I said before, there are pros and cons to every method of teaching. You just need to find the method that you feel is best for your two boys.

DEAR HELOISE: This time of year is great for adding compost to your planting beds. Take a rake and work it into the soil before you plant anything. Then put your plants in, and once the plants start to poke through the soil, be sure to add a thin layer of natural mulch around them to help keep moisture in the soil.

-- William K.,


DEAR HELOISE: My daughter bought a smallish drawstring porous bag for me to put soap slivers in. It has a rough texture, and I use it as a washing towel. It works very well.

-- Leonce Haydel, via email

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