Sunday, February 17, 2008

Selectively Representing Ourselves

I realized yesterday that if someone, curious about homeschooling, asked me what I did with my kids last week my answer would very likely create an impression of our homeschooling that isn't true. My answer would be something like this;

"Well, Catherine continued to work on her Ancient Greek and grammar. We also started reading a really neat university text on Mathematics. Oh, and Catherine, Harry and I have been working our way through Tennyson's poems on King Arthur."

And I would answer that because heck, isn't it neat that we're doing all that?

Of course the questioner would start thinking we're a clan of awkward geeks obsessed with academics. That I'm not letting my kids be kids.

How to explain that after the Greek and grammar there were 3 hours of cartoon watching? That the Math text was read on the floor with Pokemons being used to illustrate a set? That Tennyson inspired ridiculous jokes (Catherine pointed out that I might not want to read a bit about children being spitted on stakes in front of Harry so we decided that in the future we'll replace that gory bit with the term, "kid kabobs.")? And nevermind the hours spent playing Harvet Moon or Spongebob Squarepants together on the Game Cube.

But then again, next time someone asks do I really want to be truthfull?

"Catherine continued to work on her ancient Greek and grammar and then entertained her brother with fart jokes for the rest of the morning."


Heather said...

I'm usually very vague when answering questions like that. "Oh, you know.. we did the normal stuff: math, reading, history.." If I give specifics, it's usually what book we're reading, which makes it easy to change the subject to JUST about the book and away from what we're doing all day long. I know people are just curious, but it's really not their business anyway. And with some of my family members, their curiosity is based on some concern for whether my children are learning "enough". The vague "math, reading, history, etc." reassures them we're still learning the important stuff. The rest is just fluff, as far as they're concerned.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about that lately too. Someone posted a comment on Michael's WikiAnswer page about problems of "child prodigies" (in reference to him knowing the periodic table inside and out) and I thought "oh if you only had a clue"... the periodic table sits in front of the Webkinz dogs who are pretend peeing on it, while pokemon monopoly characters dance all over it, kirby counts electrons in a magnadoodle drawing and he and his sister decide what's the coolest prank in the Encyclopedia of Immaturity book. Prodigies? I think not. Kids allowed to learn their world and decide what *they* like and what's important? I think so.

Wendy said...

Do you find yourself offering different day summaries to different people? I know I put the worst possible educational spin on our day when I talk to my schoolteacher sister (who hates the idea of homeschooling), while my brother (who is riveted by everything we do) gets the best possible spin.

For example, today I talked to my brother about how we studied the polarity of water sucrose and fat molecules. I told my sister we dissolved M&Ms in water for fun.

Dawn said...

Wendy - Definitely! My family is very supportive and generally hears a detailed rundown. My mil is supportive but unconvinced (she's fantastic actually. Despite not liking homeschooling she's always been behind our right to make that decision) and she only, until recently, got a rundown of subjects we touched on.

Then she learned Catherine was learned ancient Greek, saw Catherine's dialy work blog (in the upper right of my sidebar, "Catherine's Homeschool Stuff") and has really begun to get curious.

That's a point I hadn't thought about but yes, depending on who Im talking to I present what we do differently.