I’m gonna sail right out on the Atlantic
I’m gonna catch me a fish that’s bigger than gigantic
I’m gonna cook up a fine fish tea
It will be like some kind of Galilee
I’m gonna do it all some day

I’m gonna do it all some day
I’m gonna do it all some day
You may not believe a word I say
But I tell you I’m gonna do it all some day

I’m gonna climb way over that old mountain
I’m gonna shout in a place where no-one hears me shouting
I’m gonna swear so loud
I’ll strip the silver lining from a cloud
I’m gonna do it all some day

I’m gonna fly in a silver winged space rocket
I’m gonna pick out the stars and put them in my pocket
I’m gonna bring those stars back down
So I can spread celestial light around
I’m gonna do it all some day


More Karine Polwart here.)
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

--Leonard Cohen

I've going through a period of intense reflection. I'm feeling calmer, like what will be will be. No responsibility to become something, to make something of myself. I'm just realizing that when I rejected the old push for a career and impressive (to the outside) lifestyle I was only rejecting the form, not the expectation. I accepted it, only diverting it into a prettier (to me) form, that of the respected thinker, the true artist, the intuitive writer. But with expectations comes pressure and with pressure comes paralysis. I think I have made a mistake in thinking of myself as a writer in the first place. Doing so makes it about something other than the content itself... having to fulfill that label, live up to it. Prove it. Maintain it. Profit from it.

Forget your perfect offering.

I feel wide open this morning. Or I did, for a moment, when the sky was vermillion and bright orange and clear pink clouds. I witnessed the world with absolute clarity, like unstuffing my nose and being able to smell again. I'm closing back up now. It's familiar and plain again. I think, I think, I have been depressed all my life. Not a lie-in-bed-crying depressed, just a floating beneath the surface depressed. It's a place where you can remember all you have to be thankful for but still not feel the benediction. I so badly want to move beyond that. Everything is about that now, even when I'm not consciously thinking about it.

I hate to say it, but I don't really know how to be around people and still do that. I'm trying to think of one person I can feel completely and utterly safe and unselfconscious around, and I can't. Except for my children, and I worry that it's because they are still so much a part of me, and that when they are older and we have separated in spirit, I may not feel completely safe around them either. And although I can say that I feel absolute safety with them now, I can't say that I know that they necessarily feel the same about me. How can it feel safe to be yelled at? To be given a talking-to? The world is so broken. Or maybe it is just adults that are broken, and children in the process of being broken. At the same time, I know there is something that is not broken. It was there a few minutes ago. It's somdwhere. Now, I just need to figure out how to stop getting in its way and let it in, and hold onto it.

rebels

All the people we admire and teach our children to admire -- the history-makers, the world-changers -- have been rebels, and they accepted that sometimes that meant being an outsider. -- Deborah Markus


(Thanks to Ren for finding the quote.)

scary school nightmare




How did it come about that such a crazy process like schooling would become necessary? Then I realized that it was something like engineering people -- that our society doesn't only produce artifact things, but artifact people. And it doesn't do that by the content of the curriculum, but by getting them through this ritual which makes them believe that learning happens as a result of being taught. -- Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

the sweetest thing (a birth story)

Rowan has just turned three years old and I've been thinking about her birth day.

She was one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen.

My labor with her was so different from the others. I'd never before had any sort of pre-labor signs that my body was getting ready to give birth. This time I had weeks of cramping and loss of mucus and bearing down urges that felt wonderful to oblige.

I'd also never had prodomal labor before. On a Saturday evening I started having contractions that continued all night. Sunday morning they stopped. Sunday night they started again; Monday they stopped again. I was fine with this, actually. I was not very happy with myself about being so impatient during my previous longer-than-average labor, so I'd determined to embrace this labor no matter how long it took. It felt wrong to me not to honor such an important event, and being petulant and bored seemed to me not very honoring.

When I opened myself to accepting the process, I fell into a different reality, a state of harmony and bliss. It was like being in love, except with the focus on simply living this pregnancy rather than on another person. I floated through those days. I mostly lay in bed, daydreaming under the soft glow of a string of lights, watching sunlight filter through the window onto the watercolor walls of my bedroom. Scott took care of the kids and once in a while joined me and having him close to me felt so good. I wore flowing garments and reveled in the hugeness and softness of my body. I conserved my energy in all this sleeping and dreaming so that when my uterus began working on becoming snugger and snugger around the baby I wouldn't become exhausted being kept awake from the intensity of it.

The afternoon before the birth Scott thought I'd appreciate some time to myself, so he took the kids with him to play basketball. I wish I'd had a way of contacting him because I would have called him to come home. My family had been acting as a cocoon, and I felt the absence of their love keenly. I started to get weepy and to pine. That evening when they returned my uterus became active again, and it didn't stop this time. As we went about our evening routine, the contractions became stronger and stronger. We ate dinner. The kids fell asleep watching cartoons. I paced the house in the quiet and dark, my family sleeping around me. I leaned on door frames and moved my hips around in a circle like a belly dance. I knelt in front of an upholstered recliner and buried my face in a pillow and moaned and breathed deep.

At one point while pacing the house I was passing through the dark kitchen and noted the luminescent green numbers of the stove clock, and thought to myself that the baby would be here within a few hours, but that if that didn't happen maybe I would call my friend Pam. Pam is a midwife in the truest sense of the word. She loves and respects women and their journeys, so she would be the one to call if I thought I needed extra support.

Around 2:00 a.m. it suddenly came into my awareness that the baby was going to be born in the bathroom, and I very methodically began dragging cushions from the sofa to line the floor. I didn't think about it at the time, but what I was doing was creating a nest. I lined the cushions with thick blankets and set pillows against the wall. I lit a single candle and set it in an adjacent room so a soft glow reached me, just enough to be able to make my way around without fumbling.

Shortly after I finished, labor became very intense. The baby was moving down and putting pressure on my sacrum. My back felt like it was being ripped apart. I had a fairly serious back injury many years ago and I have a congenital hip deformity that's got some scar tissue around it, and I think this has made all my births harder than they would have been naturally. This is the point in all my labors where I start wailing and swearing and throwing my body around. There's a theory that such carrying-on creates stress and tension, and perhaps that's true for some people. For me it releases it, and having done it both ways I know from experience that it's the thing that's going to bring the baby to me the fastest.

After about an hour of this I found myself pleading with whatever higher power may be, telling it that I'd had enough, that this wasn't necessary, that it had to stop now. And very abruptly, like an answer, it did stop. There was no pain and there were no contractions that I was aware of. I understood that this was the "rest and be thankful stage" that occurs sometimes when the baby drops, when the uterus needs to become snug around the baby again before it can continue efficiently contracting. To me, it felt like a miracle.

For about an hour I was in utter bliss, waves of endorphins washing over me. I'd been on my hands and knees, but now I sat back against the wall. Curious, I felt to see what was going on, and my vulva felt engorged and slick. I was very pleased about this because it was evidence that hormonally everything was proceeding normally. I was very relaxed now and fell asleep with my head cupped in my hand.

I estimate I dozed for about an hour, and then I was literally propelled back onto my hands and knees with a ferocious fast-building contraction. As soon as I was able to move again I went to the bedroom door to call for Scott. So as not to wake the kids, I said his name softly. I love this memory, because this is a man who is very difficult to wake normally, and he'd been sleeping through all the noise I'd been making, but at the murmur of his name he woke instantly and leaped up and to my side.

He came back to the bathroom with me and knelt behind me, putting pressure on my back as I directed him to do. Between contractions I leaned back against him, warmth and strength radiating from him, still half-asleep. This was an enormous comfort to me. It felt like he was inside it with me, in a very primal place, so different from the previous births where he was an observer.

It was hard. I can't imagine anything being more painful. I said I didn't want to do it anymore. He'd seen this before and knew it meant that the baby was almost here, and said so. I felt up inside for her and there was a half dollar-sized spot, round and soft. Her head, surrounded by a thin membrane. I bore down a bit and my body responded and she moved down. I bore down again with the next contraction, now with a "throwing down" sensation accompanying my efforts, and then once again, and her head was out. Scott and I said at the same time, "the head, the head!" I received a vivid vision of her turning inside me exactly as it happened moments later. A catch in my throat and a rapturously warm slosh of water, and out came the rest of her body.

I sat back and gathered her into my arms. Scott went to get a blanket to put over her. We sat and spoke to each other in low tones. Light was just beginning to come up in the sky.

After a while I began to feel chilled; Scott got my robe and put it around me, then blankets for both me and the baby. I started to feel restless, uncomfortable. My consciousness began to expand to include the room around me. It was like a sphere expanding. Whereas before I was aware only of my body and the baby and Scott, now I saw the walls of the bathroom and the hall beyond it and felt the wet blanket beneath me. This shift in consciousness occurred, I think, when the placenta separated. I wanted to get up, move around. Scott helped me, with me still holding the baby, and we walked to the living room. He put towels on the recliner for me to sit on, but I was still too restless to sit. I told him to get the scissors and that I would cut the cord, which was now cold and limp. I tied it carefully, cut, and handed the baby to him; I then squatted over a bowl, half supported by the sofa. I felt like kneading my belly lightly, so I did. It felt right. I felt like tugging on the cord a bit, so I did. It felt right. I had another "throwing down" sensation and the placenta slipped out into the bowl. I looked it over briefly and saw that it was intact, then I washed my hands and settled into the recliner with the baby, now nursing, and went to sleep.

learning all the time* (me, that is)

After our initial missteps trying to teach Jake to read, we began to understand the inherent problems with directed and coerced learning: people tend not to retain what they learn when they're not developmentally ready, when it's not of interest to them, when it has no relevance to their life, and when they have no choice in the matter. These things also make it more difficult for them and put them at risk for resenting and resisting learning. Naturally we wanted to avoid that, so we made a conscious decision to let him decide when and how it would be best for him to learn. It was not the easiest thing to sit by patiently while he went one year, two years, three years beyond the age it's commonly thought children ought to be reading at. Looking back, though, the perfection of his unique personal process is apparent. So with Noah we haven't had a second thought about it; we haven't broached the subject with him at all. He's eight, and will be nine in three months. Occasionally I notice that he's picked up a word, but aside from that haven't paid much attention to where he is in the process. It's so funny to me that it was at this same age with Jake that I can remember myself feeling some anxiety over how "long" it was taking.

Well, this morning Noah came running up to me and said excitedly, Linda, look what I just read! 'Links to Metroid Fusion For Gameboy Advance'! I was happy for him and replied, That's great sweetie, that's really wonderful!, meaning, it's great that he was able to read it. He bubbled on about it for a while before I really started listening and realizing that what he was excited about wasn't the fact that he was reading, but that the game links to his gameboy. Just to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding, I asked him. He looked at me a little funny like I was being dense, and affirmed what I'd thought I was hearing. He was taking the reading itself for granted. It looks as if it's been so gradual and natural a process that the dichotomy of not-reading/reading isn't even meaningful to him.

Wow. I'm kind of blown away. (And feeling a little sheepish about my unthinking assumption.) It's true that we haven't made learning to read an issue for him, so... it's not. Could it really be that simple? It seems so.

*alludes to the classic John Holt book, Learning All the Time

gentle remindings (The Natural Child Project)


Let your child be a child.

No child was ever spoiled by too much love.

Be authentic with your child.

Listen openly to your child's needs.

Believe in your child's good intentions.

Find the humor.

Look past the behavior... what is your child feeling?

Have fun with your child today!

"There is no reason why we cannot say 'No' to children in just as kind a way as we say 'Yes'." - John Holt

"Play is really the work of childhood." - Fred Rogers

"The best way to make children good is to make them happy." - Oscar Wilde

Children thrive in a peaceful and loving environment.

A child needs love most when things go wrong.

Children reflect the treatment they receive.

***



When I was at the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference this past spring, I got to meet Jan Hunt, the force behind the amazing Natural Child Project, one of the most important parenting websites on the internet. She had a little table set up to sell things to support the website, and on a whim I bought a pack of her parenting cards.

Now, I'm not one for self-help paraphernalia. I assume, for the most part, that it's too corny to have any real value. And I also don't like to buy things just for the sake of buying them -- I have to really want it and have a pretty good idea it will be of use to me or something I'll really enjoy, and I didn't think this about the cards. So it was an odd thing for me to do to buy them.

They sat on the shelf for a while. Then I took them down one day and was looking at them and Jake asked me what I was looking at it, so I explained the concept to him. He thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. He thought that every time I found myself getting frustrated or mad that I would do well to look at one to remind me of what was really important. I mused on that a while and thought, well, okay, it is a good idea, because even though I already know these things, it's true that in the passion of the moment I often forget that I do. So I put the cards on a lower shelf, in the kitchen, so I would pass by and see them frequently. But the problem turned out to be that once I got caught up in an issue I'd be so involved in my feelings about it that I wouldn't remember the cards until it was too late.

One day R solved this problem for me. Because the cards were now within her reach, she got her hands on them, as she does everything that is in her reach. It didn't initially look like a solution; it looked like her making a mess that I would have to clean up. It also looked like something I had spent money on getting mucked up (I know, this is completely irrational considering that I didn't care that much about the cards initially.) But I can never totally keep up with the material chaos she creates, so the cards have become scattered. They pop up in the funniest places, all over the house (as in the above picture, stuck in the decorative scroll work on a door.) And because my fits and tantrums tend to happen all over the house, this is very convenient. I'll be in the middle of a rant and suddenly notice a parenting card lying there on the floor. The sight of it in itself, even before I've read the inscription, gives me pause, and almost instantly defuses me.

They really do work. I wish I could send a stack of these cards to every parent on the planet.

tomato melon broken down truck day

One of my favorite things about summer is that I get to eat tomato sandwiches. Of course tomatoes are available at the grocery store throughout the year, but it's only in the summer that they're worth eating because that's when you can get them straight out of the garden. Just in case you don't know, this is how to make them:


assemble the following:

one just off-the-vine,
sun-ripened,
preferably heirloom tomato,
with a good balance of sweet and acidic,
sliced thick

buttermilk bread, lightly toasted

mayonnaise


I grew up thinking I didn't like tomatoes. Actually, that's true for a lot of produce: corn, peas, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pineapple, lettuce, spinach... I still don't love green beans, but I don't despise them either, like I did when I thought that the sickly yellowish rubbery things that come out of the can are just they way they are. And I'm still wary of beets and turnips. But, OH! Lettuce straight out of the garden! Tender and buttery, not bitter and dry. And cantaloupe! I used to loathe cantaloupe, but that was before I'd ever had one that was aromatic as a flower, sweet like candy, with a melt-in-your mouth texture. But you just can't get such a thing in a store. It's a crime, what we've been denied in the name of availability and economy. Thank god for farmer's markets.

Speaking of my former dislike of cantaloupes, the funniest part of it is that I'm now selling the things. My father-in-law is a farmer -- a sort of gentleman farmer, a horticulturist. He went to school to learn about this stuff, late in life. And now he's known in these parts as "the melon man" -- I'm constantly running into people in our medium-sized town who know him. "Oh, you're related to the melon man!" people say, gushing. I gain instant good will by association. I think it's partly because in the climate in which we live, it's not the easiest thing to grow melons. So people really appreciate someone who can. Partly also because my father-in-law so genuinely enjoys his vocation, and people respond to that.

The coolest thing about it, though, is that the kids get to be part of the market sub-culture. It's just a really neat thing, and I'm very grateful for it in our lives. Not that it's particularly easy. Today I did a market by myself, with all four children. It was a busy market, too. I'm exhausted. Field work is hard work, but you can get to this sort of zen place with it. It's much harder to get to when people are constantly coming at you, a steady flow of them, expecting a smile, a recommendation, correct change, for four hours straight.

Funnily enough, the zen place came at a time when I'd normally least expect it: when, on the way home from market, the truck broke down. After the initial torrent of swearing, and after I realized that we going to be able to get safely out of traffic, I fell into a deep calm. It occurred to me how great it was that I'd already dropped off the crates, that I wasn't on the highway, that it wasn't raining. My oldest is big enough now (!!!) that he was able to push this huge truck while I steered in neutral. I was pretty amazed by that, and then not surprised after all. We sat on the grass under a shady tree near the curb and drank soda and listened to barking dogs. A Fed Ex driver with a kind face stopped to ask if he could help. The baby wanted her brother to hold her hand, hugging her baby doll to her with her other. We walked through a neighborhood of happy-looking bungalows we'd never slowed down enough to notice before, where the air was still and golden and the houses fronted by wildflower gardens. Cars stopped for us when we needed to cross a busy road. We walked by a skate park shaded by trees and a freeway, populated by dozens of teenagers, being free for the time being. Strangely, I didn't feel an urge to hurry, and didn't feel burdened by the heat and by the slower pace of the children and by the heavy bag I was carrying. We walked like it was just exactly what we wanted to do.

We were really tired when we finally got home. Not too tired to make a tomato sandwich, though. Made with tomatoes which, by the way, my son bought as a present for me. He doesn't like tomatoes, but he knows how much I love them, and my plants are not bearing much yet. He was thinking of me when he wasn't with me, of something that would make me happy. It gives me such a feeling of security, that he loves me like this. Sometimes, at times like this, you feel like that's all there really is, that it's all there really needs to be.

the truth is out there

This is the sort of thing that will come up in your head, I suppose, when you have a grandmother who collects alien-themed trinkets, a friend who paints aliens, and a mother who loves sci-fi.
Willow: The aliens are going to be coming and they suck brain juice and they'll be parking on the trampoline.

Linda: What makes you think that?

Willow: They've never seen Earth. The son might want to see it and the dad might say yes. And they might try to peek in our windows.

Linda, to Scott: Did you plant that in her head?

Scott: [looks innocent]

Linda, to Willow again: So, what do you suggest we do to prepare for this?

Willow: Put milk and cookies out on the table outside and then while they're eating the milk and cookies we sneak outside and get into the car and go to Grandma's house. So that's my basic plan.

Linda: How long will we have to stay at Grandma's?

Willow: I don't know, that depends on the aliens.

Linda: Well what makes you think they want to come here anyway? Why aren't they going to [neighbor's] house?

Willow, totally seriously: [Neighbor's] house is a little freaky for aliens.

That last bit totally had me cracking up.

I have to add that we did have the conversation, before and after the above exchange, about whether aliens are real and how likely it is that even in the event that they exist, that they'd be able to visit Earth and that they'd specifically choose to visit *us*. Although I don't want to make her think I know something that I actually don't, I did go so far as to assert that it's simply not going to happen. It didn't help dispel her feeling for the possibility. We also talked about the spurious notion that aliens would find our brains an appealing meal. Would you want to eat an alien brain, I asked her? Maybe, I said, they're thinking the same thing about us. She wondered then if the reason they're not visiting is because they're scared of us, and what we could do to let them know that they don't need to be. She eventually decided she'd like to meet one. Maybe I have an Ellie on my hands?

learning how to type

Jake is excited about working on his book and kept badgering me yesterday to take dictation. I said I was too busy but he could write it himself if he wanted to. I don't know how to type, he said. I'll show you, I said. I labeled the keys with the proper finger numbers and left him to it.

I was in the kitchen washing dishes when he came in to ask me for help spelling.

Mom, how do you spell wow?

W-O-W.

No, wow.

W-O-W.

Mom, that's not what I'm saying. Wow. Wow. Like when something is happening and you're doing something else.

I have no idea what you're talking about.


Finally he used it in context for me and I realized that he wanted to know how to spell while. Oh, I said, you mean why-ul. He looked at me strangely. That's when it dawned on me (with something of a shock) that actually we don't say why-ul unless we see the word standing alone. We say wahl when linking it with other words. (Which my brain misunderstood as "wow" because "wahl" clearly isn't a word.)

Language is such a funny thing.

Anyway, he ended up with 130 words, and today has been badgering me again -- but this time to get off the computer so he can do some more writing.

Necessity. Means. Desire. This is how it happens.

on underachievement

For a long time I had nightmares about school; only in the past couple of years as I've been deschooling myself (and unschooling my children) have the nightmares ceased. Josh Shaine, in his essay Underachievement From the Inside Out, eloquently puts into words how something as simple as homework could do this to a person.

I did okay in school, in terms of grades and testing. I generally got Bs. A scattering of As, a few Cs (which always made me feel ashamed,) and once even a D (which, along with a lecture from the teacher, made me feel like the lowest scum of the earth.) For the most part, I only did as much work as it seemed was needed in order to keep attention off me, because even more than I hated homework, I hated negative attention. Still, I more often than not did not do my homework, and I suspect that in most cases what coasted me through was the fact that I was a nice, untroublesome kid with a sweet face, and maybe to be pitied (fat, unpopular,) along with the fact that I tested reasonably well. In other words, I didn't do the work that I was supposed to in order to receive those grades; they were gifted to me by sympathetic teachers, who while disapproving of the fact that I was "not living up to my potential", couldn't bear to not pass me.

It's not that I had cognitive difficulty with the work. It's that to do work that was boring and pointless and meaningless was emotionally difficult for me. It was the pain of doing something (as Josh writes) "that goes against your grain, something internally offensive." If I managed to do it, the quality was mediocre. At the time I didn't see it as being a problem with the environment, though, I saw it as a problem with me. Somehow, like the other students and teachers, I defined "smart" as "the ability to do the given work well". If I was smart, surely I would find schoolwork interesting and meaningful? Surely I would be able to make it look good even if I didn't? This misunderstanding about the nature of intelligence created and fed a feeling that I had no natural talent, and therefore it was pointless for me to try to excel at anything.

I started to question that assumption when I went to college, in the few classes where debate was encouraged and work looked at communally. I could see for myself, now, the quality of others' thoughts and work. I could see what kind of work was graded well and why. And that's when I figured it out -- the standards and judgments handed down by those in positions in authority are not objective. They never have been.

It took me longer to come to the realization that there's nothing wrong with me for feeling a deep aversion to schoolwork -- that is, work that somebody else has chosen for arbitrary reasons that have nothing to do with me. The fact that my inner self rebels at this isn't a problem, it's a blessing. It means that I am smart, that I am not in danger of wasting my life doing things that aren't going to result in some benefit to me, or doing things just to please others, or doing things because "that's just the way it's done."

I get it now. I only wish I'd had someone like Josh to talk to then. As he says,

Your ideas are valuable. Your feelings are worthwhile. Normality is overrated and misapplied. You are more important than the sum of your grades.

You are not to blame for a poor fit with the schools. You are not to blame for learning the lessons the schools worked so hard to teach you - of your own inadequacy and failure. You are not a bad person now, and you were not then. You did not ever intend to cause pain through your non-performance of their work.

Don't give up.

Live.

those weird homeschoolers!

Recently on the Mothering.com forums there's been a discussion going on about the mainstream perception that homeschoolers are "weird", and in particular that homeschooling makes them weird. I addressed it as an issue of egocentrism in this post. Some of the other responses I've been enjoying look at it from a different perspective -- that of embracing the banner of "weird" and seeing it as a positive thing. I'll let them speak for themselves.
[...] my own family lovingly calls me "weird". My husband calls me "eccentric". I am open-minded to unconventional things. I have zero desire to fit in with anyone or to conform just for the sake of doing what everyone else does. Subsequently, my kids not only get some of their personality traits from my genes but they are also being raised in an environment where their parents make unconventional choices and don't care about conforming. This describes MANY homeschoolers I know, by the way, people of all walks of life.

Sometimes, I think that public school parents must represent more of a Bell Curve, since they have the most numbers. And I think that homeschooling parents must be a somewhat self-selected crowd. So, I'm probably not saying this clearly at this time of the morning, there probably is a higher degree of weirdness in the homeschool group, but this weirdness would have otherwise been in the public school sector. I don't think homeschooling really causes weirdness but it probably just gives already existing weirdness an equal opportunity to exist, whereas it would be stomped on in public school.

Personally, I like being weird. After 30 something years, I have come to embrace my weirdness. If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge or started binding their feet for fashion, I would not follow. I think for myself and I don't care what the other Moms are doing or what they think about me. I'm raising my kids the same way: be whoever you want to be and feel good about it. They would have been weird public school kids too except that they would have crappy self-esteem from all the tormenting. The choice isn't between weirdness and coolness. It's between creativity and conformity. And it's between development of self and hating of self. It's between being who one naturally is and hiding who one naturally is. --Kerry H.

.......

I went to an unschooling convention type thing and I was shocked at how weird the kids were. I came home in a panic and talked with my S/O and a friend about it. My thoughts were, "what if my totally cool kid turns in to a weird kid?" I know, I'm silly. What makes him cool? He can hang with the best of those other commercialized kids, knows all of his pop culture and can recite most spongebob lines to perfection.

My S/O and friend surprised me. The said "It sounds like those kids were just not too afraid of being themselves." I thought about it and it was true. The kids that I saw being weird were having a really good time with each other. They weren't standing in a corner, trying to be cool. They would be the kinds of kids who would actually be the first to get on the dancefloor, ya know? They were accepting of each other too.

So, if my son becomes weird, I'm ok with it. I'd much rather he be himself and weird than conform to what he thinks is cool according to his school peers. I'd rather that he like something, or be some way because it's what he truly feels, rather than "everyone else likes it or acts this way, so it must be right." --Lisa D. in Seattle

.......

"Normal" people do not change the world. They don't take chances, they don't stand out. The "average" person is almost completely invisible.

I want nothing less than absolute weirdom for my children, they deserve much better than to simply be "normal". --Shaggydaddy

.......

My son was weird when he attended public school and he's weird now that he's learning in his homeschool.

What has changed is that he's a more joyful, spontaneous, peaceful weirdo.

He doesn't worry about other kids harassing him because he enjoys reading Steven Hawking's books or plays D&D on the weekends. He doesn't have to listen to other kids teasing him because he doesn't participate in an organized sport. He doesn't feel pressure to keep quiet so that attention isn't drawn to him in the classroom.

Homeschool didn't make him weird, but it did make him free. --anonymous

.......

Well, I was public schooled and I'm weird. My kids sleep in and out of our bed. I nursed them for years. I gave birth at home. They are not vaxed. We eat traditional foods: raw milk, grass fed beef, (gasp) BUTTER! I homeschool. I'm a flipping freak in this society. My family is all the healthier and happier for it.

My kids are not as shy as I was at their ages and feel perfectly comfortable asking to join in with stranger kids at the park. My 6 1/2 year old daughter went up to the librarian, with no prompting from me, to ask where the Froggy books were. She doesn't know she's supposed to be nervous and cowed with adults. My son doesn't know that since he doesn't have all of the "cool" stuff public schooled kids have he really shouldn't feel so confident and enter into conversations with his soccer team mates, cracking them up with stories of his father's boyhood.

Yep, my kids are weird too. I think they will lead and not follow because of it and have a happier, more self possessed awareness.

Weird is really OK. --Laura G.

a few things

Quotes of the day:

"You don't need to know the keys to play a song, all you need to know is your spirit." -- Jake
"You forgot the one and only complete best rule: never give up." -- Noah

Willow and Noah have been enjoying the games at Orisinal, most of which are sweet and simple and accompanied by soothing music which Jake says makes him want to go to sleep.

Jake and I have been going to bed later than usual the past couple nights. We get to playing Boggle, he on the PC and me on the laptop, side by side, and we can't stop! I like it because you can turn the board by clicking on it, and most importantly it tells you the words you missed.