All posts in the education category

Have A Very Goopy Christmas, Take Two 

Published December 20, 2015 by April Fox

I posted yesterday about my new blog, Math Makes Me Poop, but apparently I was still suffering from Almost-Christmas-Break Teacher Brain and the link I tried to post didn’t actually work. So let’s try this again: here’s a post from the new blog. I hope you like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop

Kids are Weird, Man. 

Published December 19, 2015 by April Fox

Edit: Now with a real, live, working link to the new blog! Sorry about that. 

Some of you might know that when I’m not writing, I’m teaching. This year, I’m working with a brilliant, hilarious, adorable kid I call Little G, and I’ve created a new blog to chronicle some of our adventures. We do a lot of out-of-the-box learning and I’ll be sharing posts about that, along with the things that don’t always go as planned-like you’ll see in the post linked here. 

The blog is geared toward people who are teaching, parenting, or otherwise care for small kids, especially those with some learning, sensory, or social differences. It’s still my voice though, and even if you’re one of those people who turns the hose on kids that wander onto your lawn, you might like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop 

Mountain of Words Write-A-Thon for Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community

Published November 2, 2015 by April Fox

Hi friends, a couple years ago, I participated in the first Mountain of Words write-a-thon for Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community. I’m very excited to have been asked to participate again this year. Here’s how it works: people sponsor me in any amount they choose (really, any little bit helps) and in return, I promise to get off my butt and work on that novel I’ve been putting off forever. All of the money raised by the sponsorships goes directly to AWITSC, an organization that links writers with children and their families and helps kids learn to love the written word, and to use their words to empower themselves.

As some of you may have guessed, reading what I often post here, I tend to use my words as a way to process things I’m dealing with, to let things out without losing my mind, and to share a little bit of myself with others who might need to feel less alone in what they’re going through. I think that’s a skill that’s so incredibly important for kids to learn, especially with all the challenges they face these days. This past summer, I had the chance to work with an awesome group of middle school students. One was a young lady who was a typical pre-teen (smarter and funnier than average, maybe), but had been through some things that many of her peers had not experienced. Over the course of a couple weeks, I watched her recognize her own strength as she wrote out some of things she had been feeling, but hadn’t found a way to process. Every day at work, I get to help a smart, sweet little boy discover the power of words, and to learn to love even the basics of language through word play and silliness (Mad Libs, seriously, they should be part of every language arts curriculum from first grade right up through high school). AWITSC does even more to help kids learn the power and joy of words, and I hope you’ll consider sponsoring me or sharing this post with others who might do so, so that they can continue. It’s just so incredibly important.

I don’t see a penny of this money. It all goes to AWITSC to help fund their programs. You can find out more by visiting

If you’d like to help, please click the link below and sponsor me for the generous amount you feel comfortable in giving—all donations are tax-deductible. I’ll be writing as much as I can for AWITSC between now and November 15. If you can’t contribute financially (I get it, I’m broke too), please share this post with others who might be interested. I promise this is the one and only time I’ll bug you here about it. If you’d like to write a check, please make it out to Asheville Writers in the Schools, mail to 347 Kenilworth Road, Asheville, NC 28805, and put my name in the memo line. Thanks, all. ❤  <—- there’s the link. 🙂

Asheville’s Helpmate Hosts a Vigil to Help End Domestic Violence

Published September 28, 2015 by April Fox

A portion of the royalties from my latest book, Spine, will be used to benefit Helpmate, a local non-profit organization that helps women and their children who are in, escaping, and recovering from domestic violence situations. 
There’s a popular myth that women stay because they love their abusers and think they’ll change. That is certainly true in some cases, but in many, the things that keep women there are far less romantic: fear, threats, financial limitations, a belief that there are no other options. Helpmate works to educate women and the general public about ways to escape dangerous situations, and provides direct links to resources that help ensure the physical and emotional safety of people affected by domestic violence. 
I’m asking my friends and family to please help spread awareness about Helpmate’s annual domestic violence vigil, this Thursday October 1, in downtown Asheville. Please feel free to copy and paste this message along with your post. 
Thank you, loves. 

“Who Pays for the War?” Posed by my fifth-grade daughter.

Published September 5, 2012 by April Fox

I had the following conversation the other day, when baby girl was telling me about an upcoming fundraiser at the new school she recently started attending. It reads like one of those internet memes, but this wasn’t made up; it was an actual conversation between me and my 5th-grader, and I’m sharing simply to illustrate the point that children know what’s going on. Hopefully, she and her peers will be the ones who are able to make the necessary changes to their world.

Baby girl: Do you know why we have to do a fundraiser? My school doesn’t have any money. I mean really, it has no money. That’s why we had to bring in tissues and paper and stuff, too.
Me: That’s really sad.
Baby girl: Aren’t public schools supposed to get money from the government?
Me: Yep.
[A pause, while she ponders the situation] Baby girl: Are we still in a war?
Me: Yeah, we are.
Baby girl: Who pays for the war?

Roses are Red, Booty Haiku.

Published March 20, 2012 by April Fox

I’m making the minions-I mean the kids-write Springtime haikus today. I hated being told to write a certain way when I was in school, so of course I have to inflict the same torture on them. Baby girl decides to write about catching butterflies and sticking them in a jar.

I peek over her shoulder and see “I like to” written on the first line.

“I like to what?” I ask.

“Catch butterflies,” she says.

“Is that going to fit?” I ask. “Count it out.”

She holds up a finger for each syllable: “I-like-to-catch-butt… oh.”

“Yeah,” I say. “This isn’t the time of year for that, I don’t think.”

Baby girl considers that for a minute. “Mom,” she asks, “Is there ever a good time of year to catch butt and keep it in a jar?”

The kid has a point.

Baby Girl has a Severe Allergy to Pioneer Life, it Seems.

Published March 11, 2012 by April Fox

Baby girl and I are discussing books. She’s rather picky about what she reads, preferring fast-paced, adventure-filled books, but with a definite girly focus.

“I didn’t like the Little House on the Prairie books,” she says.

“I know,” I say. “They weren’t very interesting when you read them before, but you were pretty small. If you try them again you might like them.”

“I doubt it,” she says, with that cynical little twist in her voice.

“It can’t hurt to try,” I tell her.

“Unless you’re allergic to something,” she tells me. “Then your face could swell up and turn red and you could have a hard time breathing and you could get sick and die. Trying something like that again wouldn’t be good. You could have used a better phrase, mom.”

I’m almost certain that she is not allergic to Laura Ingalls Wilder, especially considering that she’s been through the home Ms. Wilder lived in and has had her books on our shelves her whole life, but I’m too tired to argue the point tonight. Besides, I think I’m out of Benadryl-and you never know.

Where the Hell is Lisa’s Car? Or, How My Kid Kicked Prepositional Ass

Published March 7, 2012 by April Fox

There’s a special kind of magic in homeschooling your kids. The closeness you feel as you sit side-by-side reading, the glee that bubbles over along with the lava that pours out from the homemade volcano, the omifuckinggod what was I thinking that goes along with trying to teach anything that isn’t 100% logic-based and static to a skinny bundle of autistic genius… oh yeah. There is that.

Thing one was working in his language arts book the other day. Most of the time, I pretty much leave him alone when it comes to schooling, because he kind of just soaks everything up on his own, figures out math through logic, and remembers everyfreakingthing, including and not limited to that time five years ago when his brother ate all the French fries from McDonald’s and I NEVER GOT MY POTATO FRIES! HE OWES ME POTATO FRIES! Still, there are things he needs to learn, and autistic or not, I refuse to have a kid who doesn’t have a basic grasp of grammar, so after some cajoling and grumbling and threatening to take away the video games on my part, thing one installed himself on the couch with his book and his scowl and his pencil and got to work.

And then the fun began.

“I already know what a prepositional phrase is. Why do I have to do this?”

“Because you do,” I tell him. “That’s your assignment. You need to practice, keep it fresh in your mind.”

Thing one heaves an exaggerated sigh. “Fine,” he says, which translates into, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but if I ever want to lay my hands on an Xbox controller again, I might as well get to work… I can’t wait till I’m the boss of the world. Then we’ll see who’s studying prepositional phrases. Mmmm-hmmm.” I know how the kid thinks. Trust me.

A few minutes later: “This doesn’t make sense. It says to add a prepositional phrase to the end of each sentence.”

“Okay, so add a prepositional phrase to the end of each sentence.” Sometimes the Obvious Fairy needs to visit thing one.

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

Another exaggerated sigh. He hates when I can’t read his mind. “It says ‘Lisa pulled over her car.'”

“Okay, so what’s the problem? Just write down where she pulled over.”



“I don’t know this Lisa person.”

Oh boy.

“Do you know anybody named Lisa?” he asks.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Would you let me go in the car with a stranger?”

“Of course not.”

“Well then,” he says, “how the heck am I supposed to know where this Lisa person pulled her car over?”

“She’s hypothetical, thing one.”

“Okay,  if she’s hypothetical, I can technically deny her existence, and unless someone proves to me that she does exist, I don’t have to write this down, and if they do prove it, they can tell me where she pulled over.”



I’m terrified of the rematch.


The Pissed-Off Cat Theory of Autism and Education

Published March 5, 2012 by April Fox

Take one already cranky cat.
Pull its tail until it tries to bite you.
Stuff it in a small crate.
Spray it with water.
Dangle a hot dog in front of its nose, just out of its reach.
Spray it again. A bunch, like, till it looks like it got caught in a rain storm.
Open the door and try to hug it.
The result is what it’s like trying to get my autistic kid to write about a hypothetical situation for school today.

More on this later, when I can hear my own thoughts.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss.

Published March 2, 2012 by April Fox

my beau likes to call me his star-bellied sneetch
a thought borrowed from seuss; o, the things he can teach
about tolerance, love, and even tattoos
about fun and about things like fish, reds and blues
today is his birthday, this seuss friend of mine
so go out and celebrate, sparkle and shine
live like you’ve stepped out of one of his books-
be happy, be you, and ignore all the looks
from the people all stuffy and rotten and mean
they don’t know, do they? -the wonders we’ve seen.

happy birthday, dear seuss, wherever you are
your words may be small but they’ve traveled quite far
the one thing you’ve taught us that’s truer than true
is that nobody, nowhere, is you-er than you.

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