Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Getting excited

I started to read online lists of homeschool books. Curriculum possibilities. Tailoring programs to your child's interests. I began to get excited.

On Amazon.com, I found book after book praising the benefits of homeschooling, books following the lives of real home-schooled kids who were successful, teenagers who was ecstatic about leaving the public schools and being homeschooled - or some called it “unschooled,” a term I don’t like because of its negative connotations.

Some kids live on a farm and part of their schooling is taking care of the animals. Another girl spends a part of her day caring for and riding her horse. You can be an apprentice for a craftsman and count that for school credit, learn to weld or build, cook or draw.

I read reviews for a number of books or clicked to look inside them when possible.
Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School Tell Their Own Stories is about kids who rebuild bikes, write to 50 penpals, work with horses, and, judging from some of the chapter names, raise bees, among other things. Homeschool Open House is "like being a fly on the wall of different families who are homeschooling." And The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education really got me enthused. The reviews, called Must Read, Fantastic, and Life Changing, extolled the virtues of homeschooling over and over, and suggest that suffering through school is not a necessary evil. There is another way, a better way.

But the book I ended up buying is more practical: Homeschooling: The Teen Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old. I figured that I needed some useful information, basic how-to's: How to overcome challenges. How to deal with people's concerns or objections to homeschooling.

While clickig around, I stumbled onto a DVD about North Korea called Seoul Train, a documentary about the underground railway for North Koreans escaping into China. I love learning about situations like this, painful stories that the world at large knows little about. This is the type of thing that I'm really looking forward to sharing with my children, getting them impassioned to do something about social conditions. Persecution. Abandonment. Street children. Slavery. These are either glossed over or not mentioned at all in school. They will be part of my curriculum as well. I want to make the world and its heartbreaks come alive for my children.

I ordered a copy of Seoul Train.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)