"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another reason I homeschool...

A Little Boy By Helen Buckley

Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy
And it was quite a big school.
But the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking in from the door outside,
He was happy
And school did not seem
Quite so big any more.

One morning,
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
Today we are going to make a picture.
Good, thought the little boy.
He liked to make pictures.
He could make all things;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats -
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, Wait.
It is not time to begin.
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
Now, said the teacher,
We are going to make flowers.
Good, thought the little boy.
He liked to make flowers,
And he began to make beautiful flowers.
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said, Wait!
And I will show you how.
And it was red, with a green stem.
There, said the teacher,
Now you may begin.
The little boy looked at the teacher's flower.
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher's.
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over
And he made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,
When the little boy had opened
The door from outside all by himself,
The teacher said:
Today we are going to make something with clay.
Good, thought the little boy.
He liked clay.
He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks -
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.
But the teacher said:
Wait, it is not time to begin.
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
Now, said the teacher,
We are going to make a dish,
He liked to make dishes,
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.
But the teacher said, Wait
And I will show you how.
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
There, said the teacher.
Now you may begin.

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish,
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his dishes better than the teacher's.
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again
And he made a dish just like the teacher's.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait,
And to watch, And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn't make anything of his own any more.
Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved into another house,
In another city,
And the little boy had to go to another school.
This school was even bigger than the other one,
And there was no door from the outside into his room.
He had to go up some steps,
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.
And the very first day
He was there,
The teacher said:
Today we are going to make a picture.
Good, thought the little boy,
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do.
But the teacher didn't say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy she said:
Don't you want to make a picture?
Yes, said the little boy,
What are we going to make?
I don't know until you make it, said the teacher.
How shall I make it? asked the little boy.
Why, anyway you like, said the teacher.
And any colour? asked the little boy.
Any colour, said the teacher.
If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colours,
How would I know who made what?
And which was which?
I don't know, said the little boy,
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.



The Animal School: A Fable

by George Reavis

Animals in the Animal SchoolOnce upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.




Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A boy and his dog


Spencer fell asleep while he was petting her. It was just what the boy, and the dog, have been needing.




Something kind of cool

Last week was Paxton's last ball game of the season. It was a great game, and a great season for that matter. We took Sophie along to watch, and she sat patiently and happily with us on the bottom bench of the bleachers.

After the game, the coach handed all the parents a letter, along with an individual assessment of your child. Paxton's first few sentences said this:

"Paxton improved the most out of any player on the team this year from start to finish. He should be very proud of himself. He always gives his best and his behavior was exemplary during practice and at our games"

Everyone knows how I feel about anything school-like in nature. I abhor tests and grades, gold stars and progress reports. But this was cool. He's found a sport he loves and he's working hard at it. He should be proud, and I'm proud too.




Sophie

Ten days ago we got up early, got dressed, and headed to PetSmart to be there when they opened. We got there around 9:30, a half hour after they opened, and a half hour before Noah's Ark Pet Adoptions was scheduled to start showing their dogs.

An hour later we left with a 20 pound bag of puppy food, a food dish, a box of biscuits, a bone... and oh yes, a one year old Shepherd mix who answers to the name of Sophie. Anyone who has heard me talk about Sophie has been told the same thing: She is just a gentle, gentle soul. For her first few days, she was quiet, calm and reserved. Now that she's more comfortable, her playful puppy is coming out. But still that gentle spirit is there. We fell in love with it as soon as we met her. She obviously did not have an easy life for her first year, which is hard to understand, as she is the sweetest, friendliest girl on four legs.

Sophie loves to chew (and being the puppy that she still is, she is still figuring out what is and what isn't acceptable to chew on) Thankfully, she's very apologetic and accomodating when she has something she shouldn't. No running away or playing tug-of-war. She loves to chase her tennis balls - a gift from the adoption organization - in the back yard. She loves to roll around in the grass. But her favorite thing? Gratefully following her new people from room to room, stopping and resting for pats, kisses and snuggles. She is a joy, and she is the perfect addition to our family.








Thursday, November 06, 2008

My kids and the election

Oh, where to begin...

Two days ago, we as a country elected Barack Obama as our next president. It is, to be sure, the beginning of a new era for the United States, but also the end of a long and complicated campaign and election process. As always, we have involved the boys every step of the way. We've talked with them about the candidates, we've answered questions, we've shared our - at most times, very differing - views. We've discussed the issues. We watched the results as they unfolded.

And now here we are. This is what I hope my kids have learned, and will continue to learn, from this election:

First, I believe they already knew this, but I hope it cements for them that the color of your skin and the name on your birth certificate truly does not matter, that a black man, or white man, or asian man is no more or less capable of running a country. For that matter, gender doesn't matter either! This election brought Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin into their consciousness, and for that I am also thankful. Our kids are growing up in a time when racial and gender barriers are breaking down right in front of us.

Second, I hope they learned that it is up to them to research, to search their hearts, to form their own opinions. So that when the time comes they can vote their OWN vote, not someone else's. I hope they learned that even among family and friends (and at times, ESPECIALLY among family and friends) that this is one area that can prompt some strong, and vastly different, opinions and that that IS OK! I hope they learned how to respectfully disagree and to stand strong in their own beliefs. I hope they learned that they could support a candidate of their choice without feeling the need to disparage someone else's. I hope they learned that if something sounds too extreme - whether good or bad - then it probably is, and that the truth is much more likely to be somewhere in the middle.

I hope they learned the difference between good, honest campaigning and mud slinging. I hope they learned about sportsmanship. I hope they learned what a heartfelt and gracious consession speech sounds like, and why McCain was right in quickly shutting down the "boos" from the crowd.

Finally, as we move into the next four years, I hope that my kids see that this is a time for HOPE and not fear.




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