Great List of Alternatives to Traditional Schooling

33 Ways to Learn That Are Way Bet­ter Than Tra­di­tion­al School­ing

Nowa­days, I am inclined to think, as Clark Aldrich writes, that “What a per­son learns in a class­room is how to be a per­son in a class­room.”

And, frankly, being a part of the bro­ken, immoral edu­ca­tion-indus­tri­al com­plex, the mono­lith­ic monop­oly for­ev­er, futile­ly try­ing to reform itself isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The cur­rent school sys­tem is so f***ed up, it isn’t work­able.

Extreme Introvert Attack In Progress

Seri­ous­ly. I did­n’t even want to make a post, because it counts as inter­act­ing with the world. But hey, that’s the price of Blog365, right?

I remem­bered those “Writer’s Block” prompts on LJ, and decid­ed to try that as a starter. Who comes up with these things? One of them was about what you’d want to do with your favorite “super­star” if you were alone with him or her. What, are we all 12?

Katie and I had more run­ning around to do today, but it did­n’t hap­pen. I should have planned to have a flare, since we did. We had anoth­er appoint­ment sched­uled tomor­row, but it’s been post­poned. Yay.

I def­i­nite­ly need to find some­thing more uplift­ing to read than Lau­ra Lipp­man. There’s a fair amount of casu­al fat-bash­ing going on in her books. Very look­ist, all around.

Happy Wednesday!

Sam and I had a very nice date night while Katie was out with her beau. He had start­ed mak­ing chili last night, fin­ished it tonight, and added corn muffins. I’m not a big fan of chili (I won’t eat it if Sam did­n’t make it), but it was a very sat­is­fy­ing meal.

The girl is doing very well in the online course she’s tak­ing, and I’m hap­py to say that my semes­ter is going well, too. It’s hard to believe that my baby will like­ly start col­lege cours­es this sum­mer or fall!
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Hap­py Wednes­day!”

Homeschooling High School in College?

It’s be SO long since I updat­ed things here! Not that I think any­body real­ly missed me, but still, I should have kept it up a bit bet­ter.

Katie tried attend­ing a good high school near us, and loved it. She got great grades, was cho­sen to work on the year­book (it’s a very com­pet­i­tive process there), and was even made the chief pho­tog­ra­ph­er right away! She was also get­ting involved in oth­er activ­i­ties, and she made some good friends. She real­ly loved the art class­es, in par­tic­u­lar.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, her health suf­fered. She has severe rest­less leg syn­drome, fibromyal­gia (which caus­es sleep prob­lems), and tru­ly hor­rif­ic migraines in addi­tion to being aller­gic to all kinds of things. The migraines aren’t well-man­aged any more, so that she has a migraine almost every day despite tak­ing Trilep­tal as a pre­ven­tive. She’s had to use her res­cue med­i­cine so much that it’s no longer very help­ful, either. She just can’t get any decent sleep, thanks to the RLS and fibro, which means that she needs a min­i­mum of ten to twelve hours every night, and still wakes up unrest­ed. And our insur­ance has gone stu­pid, repeat­ed­ly refus­ing to cov­er her aller­gy med­ica­tions, in par­tic­u­lar. 1 Right now, they’re refus­ing to cov­er Provig­il, which was the only thing keep­ing her awake enough to even con­sid­er attend­ing school. She’s under doc­tor’s orders to stop dri­ving until the sleep sit­u­a­tion is ame­lio­rat­ed, and has been for some time, so she’s been delayed in learn­ing to dri­ve and get­ting her license.

So she’s back at home, which is a real dis­ap­point­ment to her. We’ve decid­ed to try mak­ing the best of it, and focus on the good things. For instance, she’s no longer held back to any­one else’s learn­ing pace, and she does­n’t have to jump through bureau­crat­ic hoops. She can learn when­ev­er she is awake, hon­or­ing her body’s need for more sleep than most peo­ple.

She wants to take col­lege class­es online, which is how I’m man­ag­ing to con­tin­ue my edu­ca­tion despite health prob­lems. I think it’s a good idea, so now we’re con­sid­er­ing schools and mon­ey. While the Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem schools here in Geor­gia tech­ni­cal­ly have all their core class­es online, the real­i­ty when I attend­ed South­ern Poly was that the entire school usu­al­ly had only one or two seats for any par­tic­u­lar course, and of course those seats were tak­en imme­di­ate­ly.

We’d love to hear about the expe­ri­ences of any oth­er home­schooled teens who are fin­ish­ing high school in col­lege, par­tic­u­lar­ly those who are tak­ing class­es online.

Her even­tu­al goal is art school, and while there is a local school that has an online pro­gram, I just don’t see how it’s pos­si­ble to learn some things through the inter­net. Nei­ther does she. So we’re also look­ing for good art class­es to sup­ple­ment what­ev­er she does online. We’re in Decatur, and since nei­ther she nor I are dri­ving, close is good. MARTA acces­si­bil­i­ty is absolute­ly nec­es­sary!


1 hey insist that every­body should be just fine with Clar­itin, which is avail­able over-the-counter. Not so!

Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 was­n’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer house­mate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

Reading

So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors—especially an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Necessity—is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14–18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too—although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that was­n’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art—you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Homeschool to high school update

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing in school in a while. While there have been some adjust­ment issues switch­ing over to “school” from home­school­ing, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nui­sance, and she and one of her teach­ers just do not com­mu­ni­cate on the same wave­length, but she’s deal­ing with it. She adores her art class, some­thing I’m def­i­nite­ly not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three aca­d­e­m­ic class­es are advanced, and the third would be but was already over­crowd­ed when we reg­is­tered her for class­es. So much for hav­ing trou­ble get­ting into high school as a home­school­er.

The sched­ule isn’t easy on her body or the fam­i­ly, but again, she’s deal­ing. She does have increased fibromyal­gia symp­toms as a result, and has had to add a dai­ly nap to her sched­ule after school.

One of the most dif­fi­cult issues is hav­ing cer­tain lines of dis­cus­sion “off lim­its.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encour­aged to fol­low her inter­ests and inquiries wher­ev­er they lead. While she’s attend­ing a rel­a­tive­ly lib­er­al school, the fact that it is a school means that there are con­straints on sub­ject mat­ter.

Her lit­er­a­ture teacher referred to chasti­ty belts as a medieval urban leg­end ear­li­er in the year, and when she start­ed explain­ing just how very wrong he was, he slammed the dis­cus­sion to a close. If the man is going to be so slop­py with his facts, he should­n’t be sur­prised when he encoun­ters dis­agree­ment!

Sam and I met some­one yes­ter­day who said, “Advanced class­es are how we seg­re­gate these days.” I point­ed out that they cer­tain­ly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, reg­u­lar, and reme­di­al (although the last two weren’t called that, pre­cise­ly) tracks, too. I found it an inter­est­ing state­ment, but we were in the mid­dle of Charis Books and dis­cussing many things, and did­n’t get to pur­sue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?

Will we regret homeschooling later?

I don’t think so, hon­est­ly. And, if she’s any­thing like those who par­tic­i­pat­ed in a recent sur­vey, I don’t think Katie will, either.

…accord­ing to “Home­school­ing Grows Up,” a research study on adults who were home­schooled, 74 per­cent of those who were home­schooled are cur­rent­ly home­school­ing their own children.…The “Home­school­ing Grows Up” sur­vey said that out of the more than 5,000 sur­veyed, 95 per­cent say they are glad they were home­schooled and 92 per­cent say hav­ing been home­schooled is an advan­tage to them as adults.

From Are home­school­ers pre­pared for the real world?