innocence. it’s a good thing.

This is a post I wrote for my other blog, Eat the Damn Cake, but I wrote it with both blogs in mind. I want my kids to be able to be innocent. Which is why I don’t want them to go to school. Here:

You know what I don’t like? The “real world.”

People sound so mean when they talk about it. Once, an ex-boyfriend who was still hurt yelled at me, “You don’t know anything about the real world!”

I thought of this:

(A street fight. That’s what it sounds like. source)

Or maybe it looks like this:

Whenever people say “the real world,” they mean that there’s another world, a fake one, that someone is trying to live in. And that is always bad.

But I especially dislike it when people talk this way about kids. “They need to learn about the real world.” When people say this about kids, they mean that they’re too sheltered, or too spoiled, or too safe, or too innocent.

Sometimes people defend things as awful as bullying by saying, “Well, it’ll teach them to deal with the real world.”

As though this place called the real world is full of cruel people, just waiting to torment you. What a terrible place! I don’t want to live there!

Click here to read the rest of this post at Eat the Damn Cake!

What does it mean to “act like a kid”?

I recently got interviewed by a reporter from PBS about homeschooling and socialization. She was kind of apologetic, introducing her questions.

“I’ve been talking to a bunch of homeschoolers,” she said. She’d started thinking that homeschooling was really cool.

Well, y’know, we’re a pretty great bunch.

Anyway, she asked me if I’d been unusually self-possessed and confident as a kid. I’ve been asked this in almost every interview I’ve done about homeschooling. It’s kind of an awkward question. I mean, should I be like, “Why, as a matter of fact, yes! I was also brilliant, strikingly lovely, and almost shockingly talented”?

Or should I be like, “I mean, not any more than any other kid…”?

Here’s the thing: I was very self-assured as a kid. I know, because I felt that way, and because grownups were always telling me, “You’re so mature!” And sometimes they confided in me about the divorce they were going through. Or how they felt about finding out their kid was gay.

But it’s been a long time since I thought I was innately special.

I used to think that, when I was fourteen or so, and really cocky, and sure both that every boy in the world was just waiting to fall in love with me and that I was incredibly smart. In retrospect, that might have come off as a little insufferable. A little.

(it was around this time that I went through a phase where I took many “artistic” blurred photos of . . . → Read More: What does it mean to “act like a kid”?

Whose homeschooling is it, anyway?

My mom has really been pretty cool about me writing about my life online. Sometimes she makes a comment like, “One day you’ll have kids and they’ll grow up and complain about you on the internet. Then you’ll understand.” But mostly it’s fine.

I mean, let’s get real. That’s not going to happen. By the time my eventual kids grow up, it definitely won’t be called the internet.

And I try not to complain. Even though, honestly, sometimes I get the urge.

(I mean, really, who lets their daughter go around wearing silk scarves as an entire outfit? I’m kidding, that was a great outfit.)

One of the things that’s confusing about homeschooling is that it is personal and educational at the same time. This shouldn’t be confusing. It should, in my not-so-humble opinion, be way education obviously works. But because education and relationships, especially familial relationships, have been constructed as surprisingly separate concepts in this society, the thought of mixing the two can feel convoluted and weird.

. . . → Read More: Whose homeschooling is it, anyway?

A Teacher Talks

This is a guest post by Kelli Karanovich. When Kelli told me that she used to teach school and is now deeply involved in the world of homeschooling, I was immediately interested in hearing her story. I mean, when I was growing up, people were constantly asking me if my mom had been a school teacher before she decided to be a homeschooling parent. My mom doesn’t even have a degree in education. I know. It’s a little shocking. But let’s hear what someone who does has to say about education, both inside and outside of school. This is Kelli:

I’ve worked in the public school system and the private school system as both a teacher and an adviser. I’ve worked in classrooms built of brick and mortar and in a 100% online environment. Today I’m self-employed as a homeschool consultant. My varied experience has provided me with several insights about education in America, from a teacher’s perspective, and I feel drawn to add these to the remarkable conversation taking place on Kate’s blog.

1. Public school is a great idea which rarely works as planned–A) because attendance is compulsory and B) because its driving principle of one-size-fits-all, standards-based learning will always leave some children behind.

2. There are some extraordinarily progressive teachers working within the public school system who manage to transform classrooms by meeting and then exuberantly transcending the limitations normally placed on this environment. However, these teachers usually only hang around for 2-5 years. After . . . → Read More: A Teacher Talks


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