Sunday Salon

sunday salon

Time: // 8:04 a.m.

The scene: // As usual, I’m sitting at my desk in the living room. I spend a lot of time at this spot, doing research, reading, or just watching my kids play outside.

Drinking: // coffee.

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Reading: // Syllabus by Lynda Barry. I started it earlier in the week and though it’s a short book, I’m taking my time reading it. Barry has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a few years now and Syllabus is about some of her past classes. The book includes syllabi, assignments, and is done in that typical Barry style: composition book-like pages and filled with images. I can see why Joy enjoyed this book so much.

Thinking about: // the power of storytelling. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Avid readers love stories and there are some themes we gravitate to, while ignoring others. Stories have the power to change us and give us words to experiences that we ourselves couldn’t voice.

With my daughter starting high school next year, I have the opportunity to create her English class. Previous classes offered for homeschooled high schoolers have been pretty bland, filled exclusively with busywork, books that were written at least forty years ago, and all the authors are white. Nope. That’s not for us.

So I’m starting from scratch: going over standards while figuring out what we should explore from themes to books, documentaries to podcasts. It’s scary, yet exciting at the same time. It also means that I have a ton of reading ahead like old favorites such as To Kill a Mockingbird, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, and more. I have my work cut out for me.

Enjoying: // my last few weeks of pregnancy! I have four weeks left and it’s exciting, though I hope time flies by. I can’t wait to meet my baby girl.

Now I’m off to: // figure out what’s for breakfast. These kids aren’t going to feed themselves (though they’re old enough to).

What are you up to today?

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Clarity

It has been five days since the last time I’ve left a post. I have been given revelation after revelation about the joys and the benefits of homeschooling. I’ve been in and out of books like Guerrilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn and How Children Learn by John Holt, The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole and Home Learning Year by Year from Rebecca Rupp. I’m learning so much that I’m struggling to stick to one book. Here is some of what I’ve learned:
1. That it is so much better to have interest-led learning than standardized learning. It’s amazing how much and how far a child can go when their interests and questions lead them in their education than having to learn something for a good score on a test.

2. Unschooling is not just a method or a philosophy but a way of life for both child and parent. It wasn’t until I visited websites like Sandra Dodd , Home Education Magazine, and Life Learning Magazine did I realize that all my life I have been life learning. I read about something or I hear an interesting fact and I’m off in a direction learning as much as I can before I burn out. Sometimes I don’t burn out. Right now I’m reading as many graphic novels, memoirs, books about homeschooling, and Pulitzer prize-winning plays that I can. I have an interest in it and I’m learning so much. This is what learning should be like. It’s also funny because my essay for class is due Monday and I feel like I don’t have enough time to learn all that I can and have an essay that I think will showcase my talent. Interesting.
3. The wheels in my head are turning and I’m seriously considering homeschooling my own kids. My four-year old Oliver starts kindergarten in September, but I really like the idea of teaching him everything myself like I’m doing now. It’s amazing to me that schools want parents to have enough “common sense” to have their kids starting school knowing the alphabet and numbers . . . but they also want the parents to have enough common sense to “trust” the school system and leave the teaching to them only to have enough common sense to help their children when they are behind according to the standardized system.

I changed my essay’s thesis from what public schools can learn from homeschooling to why homeschooling is so great. So now I am signing off to read all the books I have waiting for me and to visit so many great sites. This is a great way to start the weekend.