Saturday, July 22, 2006


Or as my husband said, "sometimes a case can be made for canceling our subscription to The Washington Post."

I'm am greeted this Saturday morning to my darling girls working with their daddy in the kitchen to make a bowl of pancake batter. I make my coffee and oatmeal and sit down to the paper. Suburban bliss, I'm okay with that, when I lived in the urbs, life was pretty similar. Anyway, what do I see on the front page of the Style Section but a cartoon derivative of Roy Lichtenstein of a boy and a girl embracing, with her thought bubble "This summer, maybe..." Oh no. Yup, unfold and its an article about girls losing their virginity in the summer with mid-life reminisces. Can't read it. Won't read it (not past the jump, at least). Glorifying the loss of virginity as a teen is irresponsible and pointless. I really don't want to read about some woman in her 40s who lost it at 16 to a guy with a Trans Am. Ick, I need a shower.

So, while I'm not reading the article, I will fill my time with some better thought bubbles of what the girl should be thinking instead of "This Summer, Maybe..."

"Should I really, knowing that he is probably at his absolute worst right now?"

"Will I embarrass myself with the memory of his Trans Am in a major newspaper in my 40s?"

"This will really get my dad back for being a jerk!"

"This will really get my mom back for being a witch!"

"I can't wait to tell all my friends so they'll think I'm cool."

"I wonder if lying and sneaking around in order to have sex when I'm so young with someone so undeserving will have harrowing repercussions for the rest of my life."

At least this article is on the front-page of the Style section (the section which includes the comics) with an eye-catching cartoon. We wouldn't want this generation of young women missing out on the victories of the sexual revolution. And what better way to let our teen daughters know that its time for them to have sex?

Monday, July 17, 2006

She Knows How Its Done

Stephanie has an awesome post over at Life Without School on her response to the oft-heard remark by non-homeschoolers "I don't know how you do it." I did a post of my own on the same subject last year -- not as good as Stephanie's, but then, not as long, either ;-)

If you read the comments on Stephanie's post, you'll see me shooting my mouth off to "take the red pill." No, I'm not telling anyone to vote Republican, its a reference to the movie The Matrix.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Deep Thoughts at Trader Joe's

Why did they change the name of their banana-vanilla yogurt from "banilla" to "vanana"?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why School Is Wrong

Okay, maybe this will only appeal to homeschoolers or unschoolers, but its my blog. Its called Animal School. I'm having trouble with my computer playing it all the way through and this post will be a nice reminder for me.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What If I'm Not Wasting My JD -- Part 2

I updated and expanded my post and posted it over on Life Without School. I got a bit more radical this time.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Issue of Play

Do you ever read something, like an article, and then think about other things you've read that respond to it, argue against it, support it? I do, maybe because the issues important to me are so few and I read infrequently.

Today's Washington Post has an article, Kids' Game or Animal Instinct?, about play -- animals playing, humans playing -- and why its important. Of course, I love these articles because I always find support in them for my homeschooling decision. Do I need justification or do I just post these things in hopes that someone understands me? Dunno, don't care; posting to my blog keeps me off the streets.

In light of concerns about homeschooled children getting socialization, I found this particularly interesting:

So important is play in learning how to fit in with others that some studies -- of orphans tied to cribs or kittens deprived of play -- show that they are more likely to become social misfits.

There was some study that came out of Stanford months ago that suggested that kids in daycare may suffer from lack of social skills. Interesting, you'd think they would play a lot in daycare, maybe they are tied to their cribs? Dunno.

The other article I think of as I read about the importance of play are articles about schools and the battle over getting a minimum amount of recess time set as county policy. Shrinking recess in elementary school really upsets me -- kids need to run and play. Oh well, I've addressed that problem in my family, recess lasts the entire day.

Finally, have I ever mentioned that Mr. unclimber read Jonathan Frazen's The Corrections a couple of years ago and always comments on the parallels between the educational system and prisons?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How Do You Like Teaching?

I was asked that by some parents I met on the beach while on vacation. Their daughter will be attending a private school for kindergarten for which she had to pass some test. Poor thing is going to their fourth-choice school, she failed the group interview at another one because she didn't talk. She's 5 and her lack of desire to speak in a group situation with strangers dings her from the private school. Well, I suppose some lessons are best learned early. Exactly what that lesson is, I will leave to the reader to determine.

As a homeschooler, how do I like teaching? I don't. Not that I don't like teaching, I don't teach, at least not the way I remember my teachers teaching. If there's an analogy, but I can't find it. I sort of exist around my children, watching. They constantly amaze me with their learning, especially the oldest. She has figured out that when she wants to spell a word, she simply has to recall where she read it, find the book and the word, and viola, she can copy the word. I didn't teach her that. Or did I? I think I mentioned that process a year or so ago, so either she remembered or figured it out on her own.

Suzanne came and told me that 16 plus 16 equals 32. I asked her how she knew that and she told me she figured it out on her toy abacus. Oh good, because I can't figure out how to work that thing despite several internet searches. Its probably better I didn't find any usage tips, I might have tried to teach her to use it.

She has also figured out that if she wants to use her Learning Wrap Up of states and capitals that she needs to get her U.S. map placemat to find out the capitals of the various states. Thats learning without teaching. Well, maybe I suggested that to her a few months ago as well.

So maybe I am teaching, I really never noticed. She is definitely learning, though, I notice that all the time.