Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lu is six months old!

Talula made six months yesterday! Sniffle. She's sitting up and she's got two teeth, and she's the Ambassador of Morning, greeting us each day with big smiles and shrieks of delight. She is loved by many, especially her big sister, who has recently taken to wearing her in a sling when she gets the chance.

Yesterday, we went to swim at the indoor pool at the Southwest Community Center. It was so much fun. They have a huge slide. Tania had a blast and made some friends. Talula loves being in the water. She's so much fun. My kids are Pisces and Cancer, a fish and a crab, so they are born to swim.

We opened some presents last night (shhhhh...) that we received in the mail. Oh! I forgot to mention our Christmas tree. For the love of all things tiny! We got a tiny tree that sits on our living room table. The best part? It's actually a rosemary bush! So I can replant it after Christmas. And the house smells like rosemary. Joey made a popcorn garland to go around it.

Look at the camera, Lu!

Crap! Lula blinked!

Crap! Nia blinked!

Damn. Hand in the mouth. Oh well, all eyes are open. Works for me!

I wanted to link to this video of George Carlin talking about education. There's swearing, but what he says is dead right. Have a listen.

If you aren't able to listen, he basically says that the American education system has been set up to provide obedient workers for the elite. He isn't the first person to say it --- John Holt and John Taylor Gatto (read JTG's NY Teacher of the Year acceptance speech) come to mind --- but it's a message worth repeating over and over again.

Along the lines of what George Carlin says, I've been re-reading Guerilla Learning recently. It's a book about how to support real and meaningful education whether you homeschool, send your kids to private or public school, whatever. I guess one message that parents should take from the book is that your child can have a meaningful education regardless of where they go to school. This has been really important for me as Tania has been showing an interest in returning to school. I am not sure if she is serious, but I need to prepare myself if she is. An excerpt:

Guerrilla Learning is telling your son it's okay for him to focus on physics (or history, or engine repair) class, even if that means letting history (or physics, or engine repair) slide. It's staying up till midnight helping your kids care for an orphaned bird. It's asking your neighbors if they'd let your daughter play their piano a few hours each week. It's telling your stressed-out son that there's no rush; he doesn't need to start college right after graduating from high school (or learn to read by the end of first grade, or keep up with his friends' computer expertise, or learn to drive next summer). Or allowing your sixteen-year-old daughter to start college now, if she feels she's ready. Or letting her ride her bicycle from Virginia to a summer camp in Oregon. It's trusting your kids, trusting the universe: the sky will not fall if your son doesn't take Advanced Placement courses or if your daughter doesn't belong to the National Honor Society. And Guerrilla Learning is relaxing--knowing that you've made a lot of mistakes as a parent (and an educator) and that you'll make a lot more, and that that's okay--your kids are resilient; it's not all up to you, and life will provide.

In a nutshell, Guerrilla Learning means taking responsibility for your own education. For young people, that includes thinking clearly and seriously about one's own goals, interests, and values--then acting accordingly. For parents, it means supporting your child in doing so. It might mean giving your child a kind of freedom that may seem risky or even crazy at first. And it also means continuing your own involvement in the world of ideas and culture, continuing to read, to think, to discuss, and to create--and being a walking, talking invitation to your kids to do the same. In this chapter we'll begin to describe conditions that can help learners to take responsibility for their own educations.

So, speaking of Tania wanting to go back to school...I'm not sure I mentioned it in previous posts. She basically wants to go to school to make friends. The girl is social. This is my fault for not taking the initiative to get involved in homeschooling groups and for not signing her up for any activities. Well, actually, she was against activities when we moved here. But now, I'm signing her up to take soccer, judo, and ice skating through our local community center. She is really excited. Starting in January, she'll have things to do on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. And, maybe she'll like one of the activities enough to stick with it. And, maybe she'll make some friends. And, we did make some friends at the cookie party that we may play with on a regular basis. So, maybe she won't want to go back to school.

But, I also have to think about whether I am going to be able to stay home with her forever. It's looking like not. Times are tough, and I have a high earning potential. I may have to return to work. Joey may be able to stay home with the girls, but everything is up in the air right now. And I'm really depressed about it. I have what I once thought was a brilliant idea for a non-profit organization I wanted to start. See my other blog. But lately, I feel like a crazy shut-in who has no concept of reality. I just saw this need in the community, all communities really, for a workplace where motherhood was supported. Why can't I have a job where I can bring my kids to work? I can't think of any job that I've had where my kids wouldn't have been able to be there. Why don't employers have this option?

Well, you can see that I have a lot on my mind. Is it Christmas that does this to me?

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