Saturday, January 31, 2009
Well we have a new President. Wait that should be; holy cow! A new era in American history. We have elected a president who is man of color.
It was tightrope walk for me teaching this to the kids. I did not want to miss this very historical election. However I also did not want to harp on the idea that finally a back person was elected b/c the subject is fraught with so many layers that I don't think they can fully grasp.
Also..uh I didn't vote for him.
My kids know perfectly well that my guy didn't win. They also know my guy never wins. My kids had been known to say, during the election season, "Vote 3rd party" Michael was particularly thrilled b/c 3 is his favorite number.
They were prepared that our guy wouldn't win. So I wanted them to understand the importance of this election but I did not want them to think I was happy that he won.
So it was good that the inauguration came around during Martin Luther King's bday. Last year I showed Johanna MLK's speech on Youtube and she really liked the part where he talks about the little children all holding hands.
Obviously the speech doesn't hold her interest long but we listened to it again this year and I plan on making it yearly event. (As an aside if you've never heard the whole speech please go and watch it. It is incredibly moving. The speech will move you to tears and then you might just be crying a little more abut his death. He was truly AMAZING)
This year we had small set back when she saw a video about MLK in Sunday school and some of the video scared her. So we had to tread lightly and then get back into the discussion. But anyway...we talked about how some people thought b/c others had another color skin that they couldn't be friends with them or that they had to drink from a different water fountain. I asked her if that made sense. She agreed it did not. I did tell her that even though many people were wrong in their thinking that not ALL people were like this. That there were people who helped and knew that everyone should get to be friends and skin color should not matter or eye color or anything else about one's appearance. Only how one treats others.
She knows, also, that her great grandmother was known to say, "I don't judge people on how they look but rather whether they can look me in the eye"
What makes it trickier is that I don't have kids who ever once asked me why someone looks different. They never ask about skin color, disability, tall, fat nothing. My kids are just happy to play with anyone who will play them.
I did not want them to now see something they never did before...but how do you discuss the first black president without discussing skin color? Tricky!
So luckily whole foods had some coloring pages for the kids and we got a couple of those and the kids sat watched and colored. I cried.
Aretha Franklin brought me to tears (yup even in that hat) and seeing this historical moment really moved me. I let go of the Democrat being elected for just the inauguration and was so happy and proud that this country with a vile hateful past of discrimination and judgment and violence that all these people came together to say, "It does not matter his skin color, we need a new man for the job" That our country was able to overlook what so many generations harped on; what so many generations murdered for and tortured for. Imagine being afraid to walk down the street lest one white person decide you shouldn't be there...and now so many colors came together and said, "We know what's right" We came together on MLK's bday and elected the first black president. Even a libertarian can see the beauty in that.
My kids however..eh they were a little bored. they were munching on broccoli and thought it would be much funnier to call him barracoli obama.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Doesn't that sound lovely? "Eclectic". It just means that now we do things that some people might recognize as school but not so much so that it might confused for an actual curriculum :)
Everyday after breakfast we do one lesson in "100 Easy lessons for teaching your child how to read" this is what's called, "the DISTAR program and I highly recommend it for any kid wanting to learn to read. It is amazing and really showed me what I was doing wring in the teaching to read department.
The sound blending and step by step approach is easy and quick.
Johanna is learning quickly and even Michael comes over and does the sounds with us. who knows maybe they'll learn to read at the same time.
Wouldn't that be great?
I don't really like or even think it is necessary to push academics but reading feels different to me.
Once kid a can read their whole world changes and they can do and learn anything. So, I am not unschooly enough to leave learning to read up my child. Perhaps if she were struggling, and seriously fighting it, I might consider postponing it; as I did with handwriting but, since she is catching on I see no reason to slow down simply b/c it was my idea and not hers.
So our workload looks now like:
Learning to read everyday for 10 minutes
Johanna has just started an amazing music class and has already decided she wants to play the violin. She goes every week...seriously I wish it were more.
She is also signed up for 4 winter classes at the swamp. The first one got canceled already due to snow and ice. Seems to me they are going to have to hold the winter class in the Spring.
So then the rest of the day consists of playing, picking up toys and alternating being best friends with her brother and fighting him for everything.
I look forward to the day where I hear hr reading to him just like my sisiter did for me.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
"Is she in kindergarten?" is the small talk question of the day.
"No..we homeschool" I say bright and cheerful as if I am just telling them that she goes to school in another town.
Invariably I get;
"Oh I could never do that"
"you must be so patient"
"How do you know what to teach?"
I know some homeschoolers get sick of these questions. For now, and maybe b/c my kids are younger the questions don't bother me. I often find people are genuinely interested and I try to present it as just another choice. As though it were no different then then asking if she went to the local PS and I replied that, "no she goes to whatever private school"
I try to answer without saying how terrible I think the school system has become.
I explain that our initial decision was not based solely on the ineffectiveness of schools but, rather, on my daughter's high anxiety, in large groups. My fear of her getting labeled. All that is true.
I reassure parents who say, "I could never do that" That, in fact, yes they could. I do this not to mean, "Hey do what we're doing" but rather to say, "hey I'm no different than you"
The view of homeschooling is that we parents are either quite religious (nope) or that we are uber organized (uh double nope) and that we have the patience of 3 saints and Mother Theresa (definitely a big ol nope!)
This notion is because people view homeschooling as "school at home" they think what the schools we do. Except the kids have no friends.
That is just not true. Even parents who follow curriculum and teach what the school teaches are not doing school at home.
I can not imagine how anyone can recreate the institution that is school in their home.
For us we are unschoolers but becoming more eclectic. However I would never give this answer to some friendly sand box mom just trying to make conversation. When I am asked "So what do you do; how does that work?"
I try not to get all caught up in trying to represent every homeschooler b/c I could go on and on.
I try to keep it simple.
"Well we mostly follow their leads and incorporate lessons in real life situations"
The surprising thing for me, though, is the reaction of, "I agree with you."
The moms go on about troubles in school, no toys in Kindergarten, too many tests, too much homework, no time to be a kid. All things I leave out for my reasons to homeschool b/c I feel like they might feel the need to defend school.
They never do.
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