Thursday, January 18, 2007

fancy booty

I needed one picture of the book cover, but the picture isn't the story here. While that is Momma peaking around the corner, there's more going on.

The Boy usually picks books that might be considered more appropriate for bedtime reading, but if we've gotten him ready for bed early enough he can increase his bedtime reading at will.

We generally let both boys choose their reading material. It isn't always as easy with The Boy since by reading material I do mean whatever book he wants me or Momma to read to him.

The book is titled "Wall Chart of Human Anatomy," as you can likely see, but I doubt it will ever make it onto a wall. It doesn't really have pages but is instead one long strip of paper folded accordion style to fit between the covers. It is also printed front and back.

The Boy has shown some past interest in this book as well as in other books having to do with anatomy and skeletal structures. This book has great drawings of the different layers of anatomy, for example muscles, nerves and skeleton. It's fairly exhaustive, at least to my non medically trained self.

We've actually laid the entire book out before, stretched to its fullest. I'd guess it's about ten feet long, though I haven't actually measured it.

I don't know what he's learning from this book. He did inform us that "gluteus maximus is a fancy way of saying booty." So I'd like to think he's learning something.


Apparently I'm going to turn back to writing an assload of homeschooling posts, and it's all my fault. I should have not gone offense minded quite as quickly as I did. I got a comment and ran around acting crazy one night, and then I got another comment. Neither comment was especially insulting nor should either of them have been particularly upsetting. Really they weren't, but I assumed I knew what I was talking about, I had some really good post fodder after a couple of dry days and I did that verbal vomiting thing.

If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, click back in my archives a day or two, and you can't miss. I am of course talking about The Pissed Off Housewife who I previously mischaracterized. Her most recent post actually deserves a read and I've lifted a list of questions she asks. I'll try to answer them here and would encourage others to do the same. Consider it a meme, and assume you've been tagged.

There are actually more questions below this list, but this is the initial list. Her other questions are also good, thought provoking questions, and after mulling them over a bit, I might answer, though they're questions to which I may not yet have an answer for me and my family.

So, on with the list:
1. Every child is entitled to a peer relationship.
I don't see peers as age mates as seems to be accepted for children. Certainly there is an average age at which kids tend often to reach certain milestones, but that doesn't mean that they have to be the same age to be peers or friends. My sons fairly often interact with children their age as well as children and adults of various ages.

2. Every child is entitled to more than one opinion
I couldn't agree more, but school is no guarantee of that. I will accept that schools can provide a variety of opinion, but even with that option, kids end up forced into roles that they accept to the exclusion of others, i.e. goths, jocks, geeks, etc. A home that follows any sort of religious belief would tend in general to promote that religion to the exclusion of others. My atheist home tends to promote an atheistic view of the world. I can tell my children about the gods and goddesses of others, but given that I disbelieve, should I alert my children to the belief of others? Or should I go farther and actively make them search those religions just in case they find one they like?

3. People need to learn both patience and structure
Homeschoolers learn these very well I would think. There need not be a structured education to learn about structure. Do we think of structure as the base of the block tower that a child learns must be built a certain way to achieve the tallest possible tower? Or is it the structure one builds out of flour, yeast, water and salt when baking bread?

4. It's important to be part of a community
We are a part of a variety of communities. The people at the grocery store and the library know us. We have friends at Momma's roller derby, both children and adult friends. We have our homeschool group. We have soccer. As the kids get older our community will only expand further as their interests/hobbies also expand.

5. More than one viewpoint is required to educate a child
Here I have a problem with the phrase "educate a child." I just don't see childhood learning as that difficult a process. It's completely natural for kids to learn what they need to know, and especially today, it's so easy to find any information you or your child may need. I don't see what I'm doing as educating as much as I see a responsibility to my kids to see that they continue to grow and learn and always have what they need.

6. More than one method is required to educate a child
See number five! This also approaches the same answer I will give for number seven. Anyone can figure out the basics. I can easily teach my kids the basic math that I do in a day, and when he starts to want/need to learn more, we'll find a way to do that. People unhampered by a fear of learning can pick up (pick back up) math, often as parents much more easily than we ever did in school because we finally have a reason to learn it. My own foray into the associates degree proves this as in my youth I loathed math and took very little knowledge into college in my late twenties. I actually enjoyed learning, even when it was difficult, because I had a real reason to learn and wanted to learn. That's when we all, especially our children, learn best.

7. What if your child is smarter than you are?
I fully expect my child to know more earlier than I would have known depending on their age. Many homeschooled teens are entering community colleges at fairly young ages and picking advanced subjects that are difficult to find other places, much to the relief of their parents leafing through the trigonometry book. Given the technological leaps that characterize our world today, I think we honestly have no idea quite what our kids are going to face in the future. In a hundred years we went from the telegraph to GPS enabled web phones, from Kitty Hawk to the Mars rover.

8. Every child is entitled to a bad teacher. It will help them down the road, they will have coping skills when they have a terrible boss.
I have to disagree. You can change a job if a boss is really bad, but kids are generally stuck with a bad teacher. Bad teachers can truly harm kids and often do.

9. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are really kinda fun. I'm headed out to the local high school this afternoon to score a bag of weed.
I'd prefer not to buy my weed from high school kids. I support the complete legalization of many drugs if for no other reason than to be able to tax them and pull their sales and use out of the black market. I don't think that high school kids should be messing with their brains when they haven't completed their development, so I'd prefer that we sensibly educate our young into the reality of drugs and drug use and addiction. DARE is a lying bastard and one reason not to give our kids to the system.

are my nuts out?

I recently created a speck of drama following a comment from a nice blogger. It wasn't really drama much less a whole speck, but the rant was fun if perhaps not entirely based in reality.

As a homeschooling parent, I spend lots of time online looking for things to drown out the sounds of the kids going crazy. I tried to teach them how to sit down and shut up, and seeing that not work, I'm now teaching them how to be ignored for hours at a time.

The vast majority of people have no idea what it is that we do in an average day. Many people will claim to know a homeschooler or two and use those people as their example of homeschooling. That's a really useless way to make assumptions, but it's also human nature. Most of us homeschoolers learn pretty quickly to ignore most of these people when possible, and it's never easier than when we meet them online.

People don't often approach homeschooling from a place that is accepting of the facts, and they don't often seek real learning about homeschooling before forming their opinions. Those opinions sadly are too often basic, broad generalizations based on something they heard/read/saw on tv or based on that one family they knew that just didn't quite seem right to them.

Though I haven't seen it lately, often someone will post on their blog about homeschooling and use all the same tired old arguments about socially inept kids whose parents didn't teach them science and couldn't teach them math. These nice folks will assume that all publicly schooled children are getting some great education in the mysteries and vagaries of life. Homeschooled children are of course relegated to cultural backwater towns with the lunacy of overly religious, anti-science parenting and the education that goes with that.

The blogger type mentioned above, assuming they are writing for no more than a core of friends and families, suddenly finds that they've become the topic of another blogger as the flood of irate homeschoolers descends upon the comment section with the fire of god and lists of how great we are compared to the lowly heathen public schooler. In turn, some of us tend to fight fire with fire, using our verbal acumen to jump on the doubters as soon as we catch them doubting loud enough for others to hear, throwing a link a maybe even a quote into a post with some hopefully witty repartee.

I did the same thing in my most recent post. I created a character and tried to push a blogger into my description. Perhaps that was not right, but I stand by my characterization as a caricature that I feel is not inaccurate in describing some of the attitudes we homeschoolers too often have to deal with though I have no way of knowing how closely described the blogger in question was.

One problem that we often face when answering the doubters is that they will offer their opinion as concern for the children. The hand wringing and the wails of "who will help the poor baby children?" are often part of the denigration of homeschooling, but again we have to accept that these people, for all their concern, just don't know what they are talking about. It comes from complete acceptance of something (childhood education) that one will not allow to be questioned. It's why the school system can't be fixed and likely won't ever be fixed.

I don't believe that most kids benefit from being taught school subjects. I believe that kids learn, and the best way for kids to learn is to want to. I believe that kids want to learn from the moment their slimy little bodies exit their mothers and that they will learn unless something gets in the way. There is nothing as successful as school at making kids loathe learning. Allowing our kids to learn is the best way to insure that they will, allowing them to learn what they truly need to when they need to while simultaneously giving them every possible tool as well as the understanding that there is nothing they can't learn and that everything they will ever need is available to them if they are willing to work for it.