I tried blogging at another site, but it just wasn’t happening for me. So I’m on tumblr again at thechaosmuppet.tumblr.com
A New Beginning
My new blog is The Chaos Muppet. You can find me at http://chaosmuppet.wordpress.com/
...and in conclusion
The first year I homeschooled Rhino, I had a lot of feelings. I was unhappy to be homeschooling but relieved to have the option. I was angry there weren’t other options and guilty that I wasn’t working to create them rather than retreating into my little world of privilege. I was scared of Rhino’s initial academic meltdown and proud of her volunteer work and personal growth....
Fun with Missouri's Constitution
Missouri has a new state constitutional amendment on the ballot. In part, the amendment states, “no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.” The intent behind this is to allow fundamentalist Christian students to opt out of lessons on evolution or sex education. But the potential impact...
Wanna know what bad homeschoolers do after they quasi-graduate from virtual high school? Well, the Rhino bad homeschooler enrolls in City Year and learns to make the following elevator speech: “City Year is an education-focused non-profit organization that unites young people ages 17-24 in a year of full time service. Every 26 seconds a child drops out of school. I am definitely not reciting...
The Not-So-Long-Awaited Part 3
Here are two last thoughts on the status of teachers. Neither one of these articles addresses homeschooling, but I think issues surrounding homeschooling are relevant. This article says that teacher bashing is a form of misogyny: http://www.alternet.org/education/156436/the_new_misogyny:_what_it_means_for_teachers_and_classrooms?page=entire It’s interested that nearly all homeschooling...
Teaching: Any Idiot Can Do It. Part 2.
I wrote a post a while back about the disrespect for the teaching profession that homeschooling implies. This was apparently thought to mean that having a teaching certificate is somehow important to teaching quality. I don’t think it is, particularly. I just think that when we make a big deal about it being irrelevant, we lower the status of teachers. One can train a layperson to do a...
Oh my god...it's ending!
Rhino finished the last of her graduation requirements yesterday, which was awesome because it’s been over 100 degrees here, and it gave us another excuse to go out for dinner. For all practical purposes, Rhino is now vegan. One of her doctors thought that cutting dairy from her diet for at least three months might alleviate her cyclic vomiting syndrome, and in testament to how much Rhino...
The Nirvana of Banality
Rhino does not want to be amazing and special and unique. She wants to have gone to prom, graduated, and be heading off to college. Instead, she is staying home tonight, starting an AP bio lab, and trying to find housing in Washington, DC before she has to move there in July. Sometimes being amazing isn’t worth it if you have to be that way all by yourself. No, the company of...
Rhino Kicks Some ISHS Ass
Rhino is taking “Career Planning,” a class required for officially graduating from her ISHS (which she has to do by the end of July, or she can’t do City Year). First of all, Rhino took an equally stupid class on career planning in 8th grade. This class is even worse because it includes a textbook that tells readers not to be friends with overweight people. You think I am...
This is a tough time of year for a homeschooler who is friends almost exclusively with traditional schoolers. The kids who go to actual schools are having proms and graduations and senior trips. Rhino is flopped on the loveseat (inexplicably wearing the new wool hat I knit her even though it’s about 90 degrees). But she is not relaxing. She is trying to finish her Financial Skills class...
One of the largest homeschool advocacy organizations in the country is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSDLA), which may sound innocuous. It’s not. Homeschooling was primarily an interest of progressive hippie-types when people began re-considering it in earnest in the 1970s (re-considered because, at one point, everyone was “homeschooled”). Then conservative...
The Teaching Profession
Teachers have to get a lot of training these days—many districts require teachers to have a Master’s degree. They go through a certification process that involves particular required courses, standardized testing, observation and evaluation. As much as people complain about the quality and focus of teacher training, one can’t deny that teachers do get specialized training. Our...
Countdown to Launch
I know I haven’t posted in forever, and actually, the homeschooling endeavor is beginning to come to a close. Ultimately, I suppose this blog, if I continue it, will have to morph into something else. But before the morph, there are some things from the last several months I would like to consider. Something transformative happened to Rhino this spring. It was a gradual...
A Kind of Grace
So here’s the spicier part in which Rhino’s math complications become more complicated (you can see part one below). My relationships with my father is…complicated. I hear that narcissistic personality disorder was taken out of the DSM V, which I suppose means there isn’t really anything wrong with him. Sometimes I tell my therapist things my father has done and the...
Complicating the Complicated (part 1)
Math is a challenge for many people in America in a way it does not seems to be in all cultures. For instance, a friend of mine from Turkey said that everyone he knew who took the GRE (graduate school admissions test) got an 800 (perfect score) on the math section. I don’t remember exactly what my score was, but it was around the 50th percentile, which considering that I hadn’t had a...
Save Me Again
Rhino is thinking about what she will do next (academic) year. Right now she is hoping to do a year with Americorps. She found a program that deals with poverty and environmental preservation and (the and is very important) does not require applicants to have graduated from high school. I have begun to wonder if Rhino will ever graduate. She is finishing the first semester of AP Bio this...
Although the contemporary homeschooling movement began with radical, anti-establishment hippies, the dominant force in homeschooling now is conservative, evangelical Christians. I absolutely support a person’s right to religious freedom, but I have serious doubts that my support is reciprocated. Lack of religious freedom is less directed at me, however, than it is toward children in...
Deadlines--There's a Reason the Word "Dead" is in...
Rhino has learned a lot of time management skills in the last year and a half, but she has also learned how hard it is for her to manage her time. Part of the problem is that without strict deadlines, her perfectionism demands that she’s never ready to finish anything. Not anything. Ever. Last month she was scheduled to take an AP Bio exam (note that she is still taking the first...
I’m on vacation now and thinking about starting to blog again. Here are few things I’m planning to post about: 1. I have become very interested in the religious homeschooling movement, especially the schooling conducted with curriculum from places like Vision Forum. This movement is connected with the Patriarchy movement, the Quiverfull movement and Stay at Home Daughters....
I Couldn't Help Myself
Or perhaps it’s the “homescholers” who are beyond help…at least if they are Republicans.
Upswim has started a new job with many new responsibilities and a long commute. Regular blogging will return later this fall.
The Third Hand
I’m feeling skeptical about the homeschooling endeavor. Okay, I’ve been skeptical from the get-go, but I assumed there was a learning curve. However, if a curve keeps curving, eventually it makes a loop. This hasn’t been a perfect circle—more of a winding road, but if we’re back where we started, what difference does it make? Rhino (I initially typed...
Truth and Power
I have discovered a new blog, lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com, by a woman who left the beliefs of her upbringing, which were based on the Christian Patriarchy movement, including homeschooling. Someone left a comment on one of her posts in which she discussed some of the limitations of her upbringing. The critic, who identifies himself as “a male evangelical Christian,” (the blog...
The New Yorker can go to Hell
There is an article in The New Yorker this week about Home Colleging. I’m not even sure I can bring myself to read it. Maybe if Rhino were an agoraphobic. Just kidding! No way, never, under any circumstances. Got that? There’s no fucking way.
I think I may have forgotten to mention that Twister is NOT going to Rhino’s former IB highschool. He was accepted late into the local arts high school (public, of course) to study stage tech, and we made him go, for which he should be eternally grateful because he absolutely loves it there. The bounty of his love, happiness, enthusiasm, devotion, and whatever else he is already feeling...
When Rhino was two, she often wanted two things so badly that she could not make up her mind. We are not talking about physical things, but more personality states. For instance, being independent and defiant vs. compliant and having a good time. A prime example of this would be, say, pushing the button at the intersection to make the “walk” sign light up for the crosswalk. I would...
Math for Homeschoolers
Last night, Rhino took the big plunge and enrolled in Precalculus, which is as close to calculus as she’ll probably ever get. But that math is actually not the subject of this post. We are going to focus on something more user-friendly: Arithmetic. Rhino has 7 days a week with 24 hours in each of them, just like everyone else. 7 x 24 = 168 = number of hours in Rhino’s week. ...
I have started my new job, which is good except that it involves 144 miles of commuting per day. Yes, you did read that number correctly—at least you did if you read it as one hundred forty-four. 144. It’s a big number. For the last 7 years, I have been a grad student/postdoc and have had a 1 mile commute. I walked to work. And I walked home. And I actually just worked from...
The Bead Bet is Over
Remember this post: http://badhomeschooler.tumblr.com/post/6470580935/beads-and-bets from June 12? Well, Rhino finished the lab yesterday. At least, she says she did. Does that mean I win or lose?
The Lonely Heretic
So I promised a self smackdown in this post to make up for shameless mocking of conservative/religious extremist homeschoolers in my last post. After all, I myself tend to be a woman of extremes. I’m sure sometime in the past I said I would NEVER do lots of things. And it is entirely possible that one of them was homeschool my kids. Though in recent years, I think I have learned to...
Women Who Say Never, or How Did Phyllis Schlafly...
I recently read two homeschooling blog posts by two different women who said they would NEVER send their children to public school. I put the urls for the two sites at the bottom of this post so that you can read them in their entirety if you like. But I am going to tell you the good parts. And I promise I will give myself a slap down in my next post. Woman #1 says that her position is extreme,...
The Past as Future
Okay, so we are having neverending war (or at least neverending thoughts about the War and Literature class), because we are imitating our government. Is imitation the highest form of flattery? Or just a reflection of how stupid you actually are? Hear that, government? I am going to blame you for my homeschooling woes! But seriously, a little less than a year ago, I began drafing a post...
The War is Over
…and it got an A-
Wrapping Up, Moving On, and a Small Hissy Fit
Rhino has finished AP Environmental Science, is putting the finishing touches on her War paper (Mr. A did the first round of edits with her), and is almost finished with Men and Women in Society (she has to write one short paper, but it doesn’t involve much in the way of outside sources, which means her slow reading does not cause as many delays). She still has substantial work to do for...
War on the Couch
I know you are very, very tired of the war and literature homeschool class, but you are not half as tired of it as I am, because you only confront it on this blog, while I confront it every day in my living room. Over a year ago, Rhino began a homeschool English class on war. I thought it was brilliant on a number of levels. First, her classmates at the IB High School were reading Just and...
Socializing and Socialism
I have gently jested about the problems of “unsocialized” homeschoolers. I have witnessed a few homeschooled kids who I genuinely worried about regarding socialization. We once visited a windowless “cafe” 17 miles up a dirt road outside Talkeetna, Alaska, where 2 school age girls sat watching television on a battered green couch as their mother polished a rifle and fried...
Oh my sweet UU Spirit of Life! She finished a class! Rhino is now DONE with AP Environmental Science. And with a full 13 days before the course expired! Now that’s forethought. She has a full 35 days before her AP Bio class expires and MONTHS before Multicultrual Lit expires. I suppose her classes with me don’t have to expire, but I’m pretty expired myself.
Frustration, Redemption, and More Vomit
Let’s get the vomit out of the way first. Rhino has been doing it again. It’s time for a call to the doctor. Now let’s move on… to the fact that RHINO IS STILL NOT FINISHED WITH ANY OF HER FIVE CLASSES. So she tried to put this off on the vomit, but she returned home from Costa Rica two weeks ago and from SUUSI (Unitarian Family Camp) one week ago, and the vomiting...
My Own Education
Mr. A and I are touring National Parks sans the kids. Fabulous. We will return to bitching about the horrors of homeschooling in August. And the rest of the year too. What normal kid has school in August? Sheesh.
Monkeys, However You Spell Them
Rhino’s most recent Facebook post from Costa Rica: “This weekend I saw baby monkies, rode horses, swam in hot springs, went down a 1/4 of a mile long waterslide 3 times, and did a canopy tour. True story.” Okay, she still can’t spell. But we already knew that. As a friend of our posted in response: “Now that’s an education.”
Let’s start with preschool. Rhino attended an elite, private, very expensive preschool that met our need for childcare at the time (we wanted her home in the morning with Mr. A, who left for work at 2pm. Her preschool ran from 1-4, and I was able to leave my teaching job at 3:30 to pick her up). Philosophicallythe school was dream come true, with mixed age grouping, play based activities,...
My Crystal Ball
So Rhino is off in Costa Rica, and I am here planning her future. Cue music: Bwahahahaha. By my calculations, Rhino could graduate from the University of Nebraska ISHS without doing much more coursework. She definitely needs one more year of English. They require that she take economics and career planning. And there is the question of whether the multicultural literature course can count...