Thursday, December 15, 2011

Remembering childhood

A friend sent me a link: Little Girls or Little Women?  The Disney Princess Effect.  It's worth a read, though it's long.

People often feel the need to challenge me when I say I plan to homeschool my kids.  People I don't know will tell me that I "should" give school a try to see if it will work out.  Uhm.  How about if we give homeschooling a try and see if that works out before you rush to fix something that isn't broken?  I don't understand the rabid opposition.

I don't know who my kids will be when they are adults.  I don't have an end goal in mind.  But I know what I want them to remember.  I know what I want their self-esteem to be based on.  I know what patterns I want them to have as their default affectionate behavior for the rest of their lives.  I like to plan ahead.

It really bothers me that my family denies my memories.  They remember things as being "not that bad".  But I say that they were not at the bottom of the shit-pile.  Of course they remember things differently.  They had a different experience.  I know what I want my daughters to remember.  Other people seem very confident that whatever their kids remember is fine.  They will have whatever life they have.

I honestly have trouble with that.  Shanna hated preschool and came home with stories about the kids telling her that she is weird and they don't want to be her friend.  She cut the mohawk herself.  Yes, we had previously added the pink streak, but it looked very different in longer hair.  It was cute.  Now... she looks less cherubicly sweet.  She's still cute and all, but it's a very different look.  Yes, yes, I could have forced her to "stick it out" and "try to find a friend" but give me a break.  No.  Not yet.  At some point she will have to do the hard work of sticking out a tough thing.  It's not preschool at three.

I want my kids to remember being challenged in ways that they can manage.  I'm not training my kids to fit into the public school system of behavior.  I'm shooting for how I want them to be at eighteen.  I'm trying to figure out a very different set of scaffolding.  I don't want her to get used to silently doing work by herself while other children play together.  I see no reason to include that as a prominent part of her early memories.

We can be at home working together.  A lot of what I like about smoking less pot is that means the kids can wander in the garage when I'm writing.  I have to bark at them a bit to get them to let me alone enough to work... but they will learn.  That's ok.  I have to defend this space.  When you walk up talking to me, if I put a finger up, freakin wait until I look up to talk to me.  Or I will be very grumpy because you interrupted my thought.  Yeah, I want them to remember that.  It will be a lesson that serves them well in life.  They need to see more of it.

If I want to be able to work in my home, I need to be able to work in my home.  I need to start getting my kids used to seeing that.  It's going to be interesting.

I think I became a teacher largely in part because I didn't know much about the other options.  My sister told me the entire process of becoming a teacher when I was fairly young, maybe ten?  She wanted to be an English teacher.  So when I went to college I always took extra English classes.  I knew I could pass them and I wanted to keep my GPA up.  I didn't take more than required in Maths because I was terrified of bringing my GPA down.  And I shouldn't have passed Statistics, but the teacher liked me.  I never tried any class outside of the areas I already had expertise.

I got through high school without really taking Biology, Chemistry, Physics... anything.  I was raised to sit around and read books and think about sex.  Most of the books in our house were historical romance novels of the really-graphic-sex variety.  Once I got passed The Babysitters Club I transitioned into reading my mother and my sister's books.

I have really strong feelings about how the culture of ones early childhood decides your adulthood.  Above all else I want my children to go forward in the rest of their life knowing that they have the right to ask to have their needs met and get it.  I want them to understand that adults have needs too and I want to learn how to balance everyones needs.

I think that we need to sit down and make some long-term goals.  If we don't have communal goals and something we are working towards then we are tilting at windmills and wasting resources.  I don't like wasting resources.  It makes me really angry.  I want money to be as effective as possible.  In order to do that you have to have a communal set of goals.

The reason that people sink together or rise together is decided largely by how they treat shared resources.  My family stays in the whole because they take turns who is acting out by spending a bunch of money.  It's cyclical.  Denise is the worst now that Uncle Bob is dead.

I feel like I have gotten off track this year.  I'm not going to admit how much money has come and gone.  I feel horrified.  There was the standard 401k investing, but no other saving.  That's not ok.  A whole year of that is not ok.  Well, no more trips to Scotland or the French Laundry.  No more major house renovation.  This is why I don't feel like I get to bitch.  Instead of saving we had an adventurous year.  And we didn't go into debt for any of it.  I think that it's ok that we had a lavish year.  We can afford it.  But we can't have a year that good every year.  That may be once a decade.

We need to start saving.  How much?  How far into our lifestyle are we going to cut?  This is going to be a stressful series of conversations.


  1. A bunch of my cousins, my sister, and myself were all homeschooled/unschooled for varying amounts of time. I like to think we all turned out more or less okay. We have all grown up to do interesting and unusual things.

    In other news, although my life is ultimately probably very little like yours, really, your blog makes me feel less alone, and makes me want to be a braver person.