Open thread

Published by Lori Pickert on October 1, 2010 at 03:20 PM

You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not. — Isabel Allende


Comment by Alice on October 1, 2010 at 06:08 PM

Someone said that letting my daughter school at home was showing her how to 'escape', to get out of doing that which she doesn't want to do. But you know, I really can't think of anything harder than being responsible for your own life - studying yourself and following your own inclinations. I would like her to come out of it all knowing herself - and yes 'writing her own legend'. I am sure it will be a lot of fun along the way, and rewarding - definitely not the shortcut suggested.

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 1, 2010 at 06:45 PM

i've heard that as well. it's "escaping the real world". which is odd, because i always think the real world is a better approximation of the real world than public school is. :D

interesting that people continually suggest we're letting our kids off the hook by homeschooling, when really we're -- as you say -- making them *more* responsible, more involved, and more a meaningful player in the learning process.

one thing i hear a lot is that homeschooling means kids won't have to confront bullies and learn how to deal with, as one person said to me, "all the losers in the world". (charming!) one, if the first thing they think of when they think of public school is bullies, that's certainly interesting. and two, where do they get this image of hs'ed kids living in a bubble? you still have boy scouts, girl scouts, 4H, co-op, playgroups, dance class, art class, summer camp, neighborhood kids, soccer, swim team, drama club, Sunday school, and on and on and on to get to know all the lovely varying types of people there are in the world, including bullies. we do homeschool in the real world, after all, not in an alternate dimension of rainbows and sparkly unicorns. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 1, 2010 at 06:48 PM

pulling this up from the end of the last open thread, because i don't think many people saw it:

I need help. How can I keep my kids (ages 8 and 12) from fighting and bickering with each other All. The. Time? The 12 yo says something sarcastic/critical, the 8 yo blows up, and everything goes to crap. Rinse and repeat all day. I honestly don't like them very much right now and can't let this go on. I'm working with him on his tone and baiting tendencies, as well as his apparent need to critique her every move. Jeff and I are both working with her on her lack of emotional control and sensitivity to every slight. But they are killing me right now. It doesn't help that it's 95 degrees by 7AM and it's just too hot to go anywhere (of course they'd still just fight there too). I can't homeschool if all I do is referee fights. I'm in a terrible mood all day because they're so unkind to each other when they've not been that way prior to the last 6 months or so. This isn't how we treat each other around here and it has to stop. Ideas? -- Sarah

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 1, 2010 at 06:48 PM

and another one:

I was wondering if anyone is using a IPhone app like Evernote to take notes and assist in journaling about their kids learning. I find that even if I write stuff down I have the notes everywhere, in my bag in a notebook in the car stuffed in my wallet...I am hoping to use Evernote to compile everything in one place and then digitally or by had transfer it to a "notebook" But wondering if anyone is already doing this... -- Sabrina

Comment by Tine on October 1, 2010 at 07:05 PM have to go to school to learn to deal with bullies? Interesting! I would have thought that you would need to learn to handle yourself, and then you'll be able to stand your ground when the bullies show up. But that's just my opinion. I would homeschool from tomorrow if I wasn't the main breadwinner in the family. I think it is the best way to go. I have chosen a private school for my kids, and have to listen to a lot of BS for doing that. People want me to choose public school instead. I believe we all make the choices we believe to be best for our families - public school, private school or home school.

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 1, 2010 at 07:19 PM

tine, seriously -- the two main concerns seem to be 1, not learning how to deal with bullies and 2, not knowing how to force yourself to do things you don't want to do. they make school sound so wonderful. ;)

i think your reasoning is much better!

(and i also think that kids who are working on a large, meaningful, ongoing project that they care deeply about will do best with that whole "mm, i see that i'm going to have to do X to meet my goal" epiphany .. i think they're much more likely to realize it's a necessary part of meeting your own goals than kids who just get used to 24/7 "stuff i don't want to do".)

my kids went to private school (mine! :D) before being hs'ed and we got tons of grief for that, too. :) out of the frying pan and into the fire! why are people *so* interested in telling us how wrong our choices are?

you are chock full of common sense and equanimity, which makes you a rarity. :)

Comment by Tine on October 1, 2010 at 07:35 PM

Usually, when I people start giving me grief about the private school, and I say "I respect your choice, please respect mine. I have chosen what I believe to be best for my children, and I am sure you have done the same" then they get offended!! That only tells me, that they do not feel good about their choice of school and they want me to tell them, that they did the right thing. It frustrates me, but I ma learning to live with it ;-)

Comment by Alice on October 2, 2010 at 05:19 AM

>why are people *so* interested in telling us how wrong our choices are?

Because ithey are avoiding writing their own biographies - easier to analyse another persons 'mistakes' than look at your own life:

Sarah - Do you know the Rosenberg, non-violent communication books? They help you understand your own needs - and perhaps that will help work out what the kids are looking for and not finding (hence the bickering).

I think that it is a paradox that school is where you learn to cope with bullies. Seems like a self-perpetuating situation.

Thanks for your reply, Lori, about avoiding work. I think that analogy could be that previously she had an office job and now she is self-employed. Would you blame someone for leaving their office job if there was no respite? If they had to take home work eveyday, on the weekends, during all the major festivies and their summer break?

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 2, 2010 at 01:15 PM

tine, i think when you say "i respect your choice", they hear "i DON'T respect your choice". this is like when i say "excuse me" to people i accidentally bump at the store and they look at me like i meant "excuse YOU". :^)

it's hard to choose an alternate path without getting this kind of reaction (in my personal experience, anyway). people just think you're commenting on *their* choices by doing something different. it does seem to indicate insecurity -- why would my doing something different make them so defensive? maybe that's the thing to do -- say "don't you feel good about your choice?" and they'll say "YES!!" and then you can say with a smile, "great! i'm happy for you! so anyway..." ;^)


"Because they are avoiding writing their own biographies - easier to analyse another persons 'mistakes' than look at your own life." maybe some people make their choices almost automatically, going along with the crowd, so they don't "own" them. if they *were* telling their own story, they would presumably have made a conscious, deliberate choice -- and wouldn't need to defend it to someone who made a difference choice.

YES re: bullies at school as a self-perpetuating situation .. i mean, you're talking about circumstances that, like prison, or like rats crowded in a cage, *create* the situation, then saying that kids need to learn to deal with it. dealing with difficult personalities is unavoidable in the real world; any interaction with a group of children and/or adults will bring up situations that are instructive for the future. there's no reason to set up a situation that exacerbates bullying then say it's necessary for life.

i think your analogy re: avoiding works. who would?! :)

Comment by Jill on October 5, 2010 at 01:53 AM

okay, this is really not on topic, but when I saw the quote it reminded me of Donald Miller`s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Have you read it?? So good!

Comment by Nic on October 6, 2010 at 05:34 AM

I love this quote! Jeannine Parvati Baker also talked about writing your own mythology- such a liberating concept! It suggests to me that we can then re-empower ourselves in the present to create the future we WANT to see. So if we don't want our kids learning bullying techniques (either to be a bully or avoid bullying) then we CAN actually avoid exposing them to bullies (makes sense to me). That idea that they need to be exposed to bullies to learn how to deal with them is a bit screwy to me, because how far do you take it? So if we want them to know how to deal with drugs and sex abuse do we take them to seedy places to prepare them? Um, or do we bring them up with love and care and surround them with strong, loving people who they can learn to be safe and assertive with? Just taking that idea to the extreme there...
anyway I think that people criticise other people's choices exactly because they are threatened by them, either because they don't understand them or because they aren't sure if they're doing the right thing themselves. It's nothing personal, it's just really hard for some people to think outside the box. One of my kids goes to a catholic school, one's starting Montessori soon and one is homeschooling, so i get there's no one way that's going to work for everyone but lots of people don't get that. Thanks for this thread, Lori, it's really interesting!

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 9, 2010 at 12:57 AM

jill, that book looks great — i just put it on my library list! :) thank you!

nic, good points. i think there's a common opinion that kids raised in a generally happy environment will be walking marshmallow peeps who can't defend themselves or deal with the hard blows that life is inevitably going to deal them .. like homeschooling creates a bubble existence where nothing bad ever happens and everything is pink unicorns and rainbows. which, if you homeschool/unschool in this particular dimension, isn't going to happen. as i seem to say again and again to people, we live in the real world every day — why do people think public school is more real than regular life? :)

i agree that most people who attack your choices are insecure about their own. you're really going to keep them guessing with your three. :)

and thank YOU! :)

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