I may have told this story before, but it’s one of my favorites.
I was taking a nonfiction writing class at Columbia, during grad school. It was a big deal for me, because it didn’t fit into anything related to the stuff I was officially studying. I had been pretty strict with myself up until then about focusing, but I really, really wanted to take a writing class.
It’s a good thing I took that class, because I met two amazing friends there, and now we have a writing group. But that’s not the story. That would be a sort of boring story.
So I was working on the memoir that I’m always sort of working on about homeschooling/unschooling, and some other girl had been an escort all through college, which is how she paid for Columbia, and some people were writing individual essays in which the words all sat in exactly the right places. I felt like I should figure out a way to include more sex in my story. But there wasn’t really any sex to include for a lot of it, and when there was, it wasn’t very relevant to the plot.
And meanwhile, everyone was asking me about homeschooling and I was trying to clarify things. And this one guy, who was otherwise perfectly intelligent, kept asking me the most frustrating things.
“So was it just that your parents were social outcasts in high school?” he said, with a straight face.
. . . → Read More: The guy I will never convince
I was interested in fashion as a kid. When I was ten, my favorite outfit was tights, a giant bright green shirt with a ballet company logo (I think it belonged to my mom), and a hot pink shiny plastic belt. One of the reasons why this was by far the best outfit ever was that the belt had come from a floral-print dress I had worn on my sixth birthday, which meant that I was really shaking things up.
My dad and I had this little tradition. Every year around or on my birthday, he’d take me shopping for a birthday dress. It was the only time I got dresses, and I always picked a really girly one, with flowers and frills. The 6th year dress was especially significant, because we got it on the day I had three cavities filled. THREE. I have never had a cavity since then, which is awesome, because it was a very traumatic experience.
But the afterwards was great. I got a milkshake and a new dress with a shiny hot pink belt.
And when I matched the belt with the green shirt, I felt really creative, and like I was continuing the legacy of the dress. It was a badge of strength. And general awesomeness.
. . . → Read More: Wearing whatever I wanted
I grew up in a hick town. Well, not entirely. Until I was twelve or so, my family lived in a part of New Jersey that wasn’t at all the way I imagine people imagine New Jersey. There were cornfields at both ends of the street, with big farms to tend them. There were horses everywhere. People parked big, fat gleaming pick-up trucks in front of aluminum sided ranch houses with browning lawns. There were hunters in the woods. We didn’t worry too much about getting shot, though. We knew exactly where they were allowed to go and where they had to stop. We knew the borders of everyone’s property. We only followed the stream so far. We were covered in ticks.
Really. Everyone in my family has had Lyme Disease. I thought the pink medicine was delicious.
. . . → Read More: Hick town unschooled kid
When I think about homeschooling my eventual children, here are some of the nice things that occur to me:
1) We can live anywhere. And then we can move and not worry about the new schools.
2) We won’t have to have the public/private debate and end up worrying that our kids aren’t in the most advantageous environment if we choose public or that we don’t have any more money if we choose private.
3) We can travel as a family, and it can count as schooling. Maybe we can do this on a boat. Boats sound nice in my fantasies. There was that family a while back who sailed around together for a year, and the mom wrote a book about it (of course). I can’t imagine this working very well when I was a kid, because of my brothers. They chased each other around the house a lot. And then the house felt small, even though it was a house. But maybe I’ll have quieter kids. Bear is pretty quiet. And calm. And low key. I’m really, really hoping our kids turn out just like him and practically nothing like me. I also hope they get his nose, because it’s adorable.
(I googled “boat” and got this. Amazing. source)
. . . → Read More: A few reasons why homeschooling my eventual kids will rock
I’m reading David Brooks’ “The Social Animal.” He spends a lot of time strolling along the meandering life-paths of his purposefully uninteresting characters. The characters lie flat– tables upon which Brooks places a generous buffet of juicy social psychology theories, layers and layers of glistening cultural psych experiments conducted on college students, tart, textured neurology research pertaining to love, baskets of plump education theories, and a few perky sprigs of common conclusions about sexual selection and beauty.
This is the bit that inspired me to write this post:
The people in the executive suites believed that the school existed to fulfill some socially productive process of information transmission– usually involving science projects on poster boards. But in reality, of course, high school is a machine for social sorting. The purpose of high school is to give young people a sense of where they fit into the social structure.
Wow, block quote. I’m feeling this enormous urge to put a citation in a parenthetical below. I’m resisting. Resisting….Resisted.
I like how David Brooks almost always writes with authority. If people are going to have opinions and write them down for other people to read, they might as well believe in what they say. And then they might as well make it clear that they think they’re right. It’s much more fun that way.
Am I the artsy one?
. . . → Read More: Avoiding the sorting bins