We are going to the Apple store because they give free, one-on-one classes. I’m so excited that I don’t have to teach my kids how to add a movie to his blog. The Apple guy is going to do that. And I don’t have to teach my other son to find cool apps on the iPad. The other Apple guy is going to do that. I was never a die-hard Apple user until now. Until Apple made me love that I live in Wisconsin, where it seems that no one else signs up for one-on-one education.
I am making a list of things I don’t like to do that maybe could count as homeschool projects:
Dusting the floor boards.
Cooking Spaghetti 0’s.
Cleaning out my car.
Calling my dad to say hi.
Now that we do not have to prepare for impending strict hours of the start of school, we are visiting family more. Relatives ask if I’m really going to homeschool. They ask it like they can’t believe it and they have to hear it in person.
They ask questions like, “What about high school?” I think, “What about next week?”
I am worried about next week. Should I sign my six-year-old up for two hip hop dance classes, or only one?
He can spin on his head. My six-year-old. I taught him a headstand, thinking I was teaching him yoga. I know that children who are optimistic are happier as adults. So I decided I would teach my kids optimism. And people who do yoga every day have more optimism.
My son did not think of the headstand as a yoga move. He remembered the spinning headstands we watched high schoolers do in Central Park.
I remember the moment he saw it. He was freezing because I told the kids to pack light because New York City is not as cold as the farm, and then it was. And my son had to pee and he wanted to pee in the park, on the grass, and I kept saying, “This is not a farm.”
I want to tell my family that I am focused on optimism, not high school, and when the boys are in their teens, we’ll go to New York City and spin on our heads.
The biggest reason that there’s a huge gap between the education of rich kids and poor kids is the summer. The first summer I lived on the farm, Time magazine published a cover article on the topic which I studied closely.
The second summer, it’s clear to me that kids in our town do not go beyond our town of 2000 people for enrichment. This is remarkable given what the rich kids are doing. The New York TImes just published an article about the breathtaking variety and quality of summer programs that rich kids attend.
The problem with not leaving your home town for the summer is that you never get an outside perspective. You never know where you stand compared to the rest of the world. This doesn’t matter if you never intend to exist in the rest of the world. But I want my kids to be able to choose from a wide range of lives that are not necessarily possible in Wisconsin. Which means I have to expose them to that outside world very early on.
The gap is not so much about achievement at the early satge. It’s about exposure to achievement. And this summer both my boys went to camp in another state. I didn’t realize it, but doing that is equally as subversive as homeschooling my kids. It’s a rejection of my town’s way of doing things.
Melissa took my six-year-old to Texas with her. She is there for good, but he’s there for a week. I was thinking this would be a good method of homeschooling—sending my kid to go visit other people, and see how they live.
After all, it is not lost on me that last time we went to a Chicago suburb for a cello camp, my six-year-old said, “Hey, look at that truck! That’s the dirtiest truck I’ve ever seen!”
And I said, “Yeah. It’s called a garbage truck.”
I need to make sure this stuff happens when he’s six and not sixteen.
Also, I was thinking that maybe I could arrange with another homeschooling parent to send their kid to our farm and we send our kids to their city house. Like, an homeschooling exchange program or something. So I was really curious to see how things would go on this trip.
It went great because he was exposed to things I could have never shown him myself. He stayed in a boy’s house who has a movie theatre inside. He drove in someone’s truck who has a playroom in the back. He ate at a restaurant with a Confederate flag out front, and asked if that’s the flag for Texas.
When Melissa proposed the idea, I thought the scariest thing was that he had to fly back home by himself.
But now that I see what the trip has done for him, I think the scariest thing is that he might grow up and live in Texas.
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