Monthly Archives: November 2014

At the intersection of “privilege” and “minority”

This is really not articulating the full breadth of my feelings on this issue.  Not even close.  And probably not as well-connected or easy to follow as I wish.  I’m just going to put it out there and hope someone gives me the benefit of the doubt that my intentions are good and my fear and hurt about this are real and that I am trying to do something good with it all.

Background:  I am white.  I spent several years of my childhood being the only white kid in my neighborhood.  In Kindergarten, I was walked to the school door by the crossing guard because otherwise the black kids chased me and pulled my hair and hit me because I “didn’t belong there”.  We moved, and although the demographics of my school changed, the makeup of my little area of town was still predominantly black.  I was thankfully accepted there and I know this is largely the result of quickly making friends with the tallest (and wisest) black girl there… by way of having the same bicycle and her thinking I stole it.  Thankfully, her bicycle was quickly within view and the crisis averted.  She sheltered me from a lot of nastiness.  Having come from experiencing that nastiness first-hand, I remain grateful 35 years later for her ushering me into being accepted in that community. Continue reading At the intersection of “privilege” and “minority”

Transitioning from fiction to reality

1510386_10152108528344743_883523461_nWhen you’re a new parent, rarely do you give a great deal of thought to things like Santa, the Easter Bunny or Elf on the Shelf and how those illusions will be shattered.  I mean, I guess if “finding out” was traumatic for you, that might cause you to think carefully about this.  I honestly don’t remember what shattered these illusions for me so I didn’t really think much about it.

Until I woke up one day and it REALLY bothered me that I was lying to my kids.  I’m not sure why this bothered me.  Everyone I knew did it.  Safety in numbers, right?  Because if we go down, we all go down together… I think parents live life by that mindset on a LOT of topics.  Like “How wrong could this be if everyone’s doing it?” and “Well, at least if this is wrong, there are SO many people doing it that I won’t be alone.”  But it did bother me.  I didn’t care how many other people were doing it.  Unfortunately, this thought came after my children were well indoctrinated in the fictitious…  Continue reading Transitioning from fiction to reality

How we handle Asperger’s Syndrome

BigGuy is not what most people imagine when they think of someone with Asperger’s.  They see my personable and extroverted kid who likes an audience and think I’m out of my mind because “THAT’S not Asperger’s”.

Oh contraire… but it is–I assure you.  Not all kids with Asperger’s are the silent, introverted, cannot-look-you-in-the-eye type.  Meet my guy… Continue reading How we handle Asperger’s Syndrome

Totally hacked my son’s education today

Sho ’nuff did.  So, I have not been able to get my act together–especially to facilitate Socratic/thinking discussion.

But I was inspired by my son’s willingness to write when the writing was about the fictitious land he created and made a map for.  Then I saw a TEDx talk on hackschooling.   Suddenly, I remembered the whole reason we’re homeschooling is to allow our kids the experience of learning by way of the things they love–that drive them to learn. Continue reading Totally hacked my son’s education today

Folks, we have a 6-year-old in the house

And she is very taken with the concept that yesterday she was 5, but today she is 6.  Mind-blowing.  She also had a fit today, stating that she is “the worst writer in the world” because she wrote something and her brother couldn’t read it.  Oh my…

Every year I e-mail the social worker that first handled her case and met her birthmother.  His birthday happens to be the same day as hers and had he been able to catch the birth certificate processing in time, our Girly’s first legal name would have been the female version of his.  So he and the social worker that handled the remainder of the case get an e-mail each year with a link to a photo album of pictures.  Occasionally, the first one responds.  I have no idea if either of them still work for the state, but I send it anyway. Continue reading Folks, we have a 6-year-old in the house

Mean girls and bullies exist in homeschooling, too

So, here’s the thing: mean girls and bullies exist everywhere.  If you think that those of us that homeschool are trying to shelter our kids from this stuff (or if you’re considering homeschooling in hopes of eternally avoiding it)… guess again. Continue reading Mean girls and bullies exist in homeschooling, too

We spend a lot of time in the car

I thought of this as I drove the 26 miles that takes 45-50 minutes without traffic to the co-op we’re newly involved in this year.  Traditionally, we don’t travel this far too often.  We have definitely made a similar trip twice before: both times for a specific writing teacher for a half-year because she worked REALLY well with BigGuy (who only ever enjoyed writing with this woman and she really enjoyed him–worth the trip).

Don’t get me wrong, we make trips.  Going into downtown Chicago for museum free days or heading out to a specific location for a special trip–these happen.  Likely more often than most schooled kids; but possibly also more often than many homeschooled kids.  Homeschool families vary in both their tolerance for trekking around and their availability to do so.  My family is out a LOT.  “Homeschooling” is a misnomer because we’re not home as much as people think we are. Continue reading We spend a lot of time in the car

Challenges in educating (all of) our kids

During my Master’s in teaching, I had to review a lot of research that didn’t sit well with me.  Often, my classmates and I would exclaim “No wonder what we’re doing isn’t working!  The research says it won’t!”  Or we would ask “If the research says this, then why is public policy doing the opposite?”  We were told that we–the new, untenured teachers–would have to be the change the system needed.

The current teachers in the schools are laughing right now at the idea of a new, untenured teacher attempting to change culture and policy in a school… Continue reading Challenges in educating (all of) our kids