We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh
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My favorite new read from SPX was the Subcultures anthology, published by ninthartpress. There are a lot of fun comics in here, but the whole of this anthology is greater than the sum of its parts. Taken together, the stories show what members of subcultures all share: an alienation from the culture at large, and a search for belonging.

(Also, I contributed a comic about homeschooling which I’m proud of, and which has not been shown in full anywhere else.)

I’m really wanting to get the kids involved with some sort of volunteer work (mostly Sophie, Izzy might not really be old enough yet lol). The thing is, I can’t find anywhere for a three-four year old to volunteer. I’d love to get us involved helping a local animal shelter or homeless shelter or something, but most places require you to be at least 18 and most of the kid stuff requires them to be teenagers. 

Giving and helping others is a value I really want to instill in them at a young age. Anyone have any ideas for volunteering/charity work that young children can do?

To parents I say, above all else, don’t let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your kids alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can.
—  John Holt

"And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

After researching it, talking about it, mulling on it, dreaming about it and planning for it since Joey was born over 7 years ago, it’s finally the right time to take the full plunge into hackschooling our kids. 2015 is going to be a big, busy, totally awesome year.

Here’s to following dreams and living big.

Want to be sure you never have to deal with school violence?

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Want to be sure your black child gets a good education?

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Don’t want to deal with common core?

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Don’t want to deal with any religious teaching in science classes?

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Want to teach your kids about your religion, be it paganism, Catholicism, Islam, or Candomble?

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Worried that your school system will go against your political views or harass your child for some reason?

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Want to be sure your child will succeed academically?

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There is a ton of evidence that socialization isn’t an actual problem. If you’re capable of being a good parent, any socialization issues that could possibly exist won’t be a big deal.

And if you aren’t capable of being a good parent… why do you have kids at all?

When you set up a scarcity situation, you are always going to whip people into a frenzy to get whatever it is that’s hard to come by, whether it’s a dancing Elmo, a Beanie Baby, or a half-hour playing Minecraft. That’s just human psychology. Make it rare and people want it desperately. And when you limit what your child wants to do and push them toward something else, saying THIS is better than THAT, you create conflict where there doesn’t need to be conflict. They should be able to love books *and* TV, computer games *and* playing outside. But because you have put these things in competition with one another, they have to choose — so they end up rejecting the very things you want them to embrace.

When you force your child’s interests into the sliver, you are denying them the opportunity to get good at what they care about. You are denying them the chance to relax and enjoy themselves. And you are saying, flat out, “I don’t care about this thing you like. I don’t like it.” That’s a path toward having them not talk to you about it anymore. You are forcing them away from you just when you should be pulling them close.

Kids whose screen time is limited are living in constant frustration because they can’t build their skills, they can’t watch the YouTube tutorials another kid made, they can’t learn what they want to learn, and they can never relax while doing the thing they enjoy most because they always have one nervous eye on the clock. They can’t experiment, they can’t explore, and they can’t practice — and those are the key steps of learning that you want them to experience, even when it’s doing something you yourself aren’t interested in.

  • Sophie:I wanna live on Jupiter!
  • Me:We can't live on Jupiter, it's made of gases.
  • Sophie:Oh, gas like in cars? So only cars live on Jupiter?
  • Me:Well... sort of. *launches into explanation of the states of matter*
  • Sophie:We can't live on the Sun either. The Sun is not a planet. It's a star!
  • Me:*proud*
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Lovely :)

So, let me get this straight. You can unschool, and spend your teenage years learning things that fascinate and excite you; spending your time in pursuits that feel meaningful and important; volunteering and working; getting to sleep lots, and slow down when you need to; spending time in social situations you actually like, or at least have decided the benefits outweigh the negatives; and just generally enjoying daily life. Or, you could spend all those years sitting in a classroom, and then go to prom. Why is this even considered close to something that would make someone consider school the better option?

Also, some homeschooling groups organize proms, so unschoolers can get all of the party with none of the school.

why are so many homeschooled kids super creative and brilliant and hilarious and weird and smart  i’d like to count myself among them but i went to highschool so im only like, half all those things he he he

For better or worse, we learn every day, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, whoever we’re with. We learn good things, useful things, handy things - and we learn bad things, destructive things, things we might someday wish we hadn’t learned. Life’s like that. On the whole, though, learning serves us quite well, and we’re constantly arranging and rearranging our learning so it’s more useful to us.
—  Helen Hegener