Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Socialism Revolution

“But…Socialization!”

The battle cry – or the final, desperate squeal – of the parent/therapist/adult who refuses to believe that homeschooling is a legitimate educational choice.  After we have covered reading (yes, The Boy is above grade level), history (Ancient, Middle Ages, Civil War…what?) science (Mom’s a molecular biologist – get over it)  math (yes, The Boy is above grade level) inevitably someone comes up with the bizarre argument that, if the child is not in school, then they will not meet other children their same age and therefore not be…socialized.

First of all, I “socialized” our dogs. You see, unlike people, dogs do not have the ability to reason as they get older.  So they have a binary code for the world around them.  LW is Good.  Squirrel is Bad.  So we socialize so they can start to understand the grey area and not attack or pee on other dogs or people who come within their circle.

Humans, on the other hand, are social by nature.  On one level or another, we seek out groups.  In school, we are thrown into a group of people who share nothing more in common with us than our biological age.  That’s not “socializing”, that’s sorting (and not in the cool Hogwarts way).

When the Boy was at public school, LW and I each upon occasion stopped by to have lunch with him.  Even in a crowded lunch room, the Boy was by himself.  He did not interact with his other classmates, nor they with him.  At recess, he played alone.  He never wanted to call anyone to come over and play.  During the year at private school it was made only slightly better by the fact that there were fewer children for him to not interact with.

So, where is the socialization?  Through homeschooling, The Boy and I have met people we never would have met, of ages with whom he never would have been associated.  As we have gone through the year, the group of friends The Boy has acquired are weird and wonderful.   Supportive and competitive.  Challenging and compelling.

He has been invited to more peoples social outings, dealt with problematic interactions, argued and made up with kids of ALL ages.

So maybe he isn’t being socialized, but he is making friends.

Mind Games at the Whitaker Science Center

Mind Games at the Whitaker Science Center

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Listing into the wind

I’m a list maker.

Grocery lists, to-do lists, book lists, movie lists.  If I want to read it, do it, see it or get it, somewhere it is on a list.  And of course, there are education lists.   I make lists of what we will do that day, I make lists to keep us on track, I list resources and I make lists of places The Boy and I should go.  I also like to list the specific things things I want him to learn:  Fibonacci Sequence, Vermont History, Classical Art History, Physics

Here’s the problem with all my lists.  The grocery list gets left at home and the milk is not picked up.  The To-Do list generally grows as few things actually get finished and more things occur to me.  I am half-way through a dozen books with about a dozen more I want to add.  And movies?  Well, I love movies and do see a lot of them, but I have over 100 years of cinematic history I need to catch up on!

And one list runs into another.  A grocery list on one side of a piece of paper could have a book list on the other side.  A list on my phone about home schooling resources has turned into a list of unrelated computer sites.  A to-do list is fine, but sometimes there is the long term to do and the short term to do.

That brings us to the lists for The Boy.  The list for the day is a real thing, but it is as often as not shoved to the side as we are sent spinning off the tracks.  A trip to the library to get books on the Civil War had us leaving with three books on snakes.  A planned day at the Smithsonian became a discussion of weather patterns.

Now, none of this really bothers me.  I don’t see these lists as anything set in stone,or rigid, unchanging rules.  Our lists are jumping off points, the beginning of the discussion as we wipe the sleep out of our eyes and reach for the second cup of coffee.  There are the things we think we want to do, and then the things we find we really do want to do.  And there are things I think we should learn, and things the Boy surprises me with.  I am sure the Fibonacci Sequence is vital and theoretically very cool, but if The Boy is interested in snakes?  Then we can move the Sequence down the list and shift reptiles up to the top.

Snakes, huh?  I guess I should put a trip to the reptile habitat on one of my lists.  But which one?

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