Monday, October 27, 2008

glass castles

yesterday i got to check something off my "things i want to do someday" list. i sat down and read a book in one day. it was the glass castle. the book was good, though i read it out of sheer determination to check off something from the invisible list than being unable to put it down. it's a heartbreaking memoir of a child to two adventure junkie parents, by some accounts putting themselves willingly in a constant state of chronic extreme poverty. (i.e. they owned land worth $1million dollars and yet they grew up largely in the most squalor of conditions in the heart of a west virginian coal mining town) the kids were rarely in school, instead being taught at home through life experiences. this book is both a hand swat and nod to unschooling oddly enough. the dad was an alcoholic genius and the mom a depressed artist. anyways so much of the book makes sense in terms of voluntary simplicity but what to some might be unschooling i think was more just neglect and self interest on the part of the parents. i mean isn't that just frosting on a turd sometimes to say kids were "unschooled" when really their parents just let them wander around aimlessly exploring? i have some fanatical & fantastic homeschooling friends one of which i've spoken with about her experiences with unschooled kids, who in her opinion by and large turn into video gaming, unpassionate teenagers. if that's how you roll, do it with all your heart and soul i say. but come on, balance folks.


that's a little ditty about the book from the author.

needless to say we ate leftovers all day because mama was on the couch under a warm blanket, cup o' hot tea in hand, turning page after page after page until the window no longer provided enough light to read. only then did i peel myself free from the pages long enough to switch couches and flip on the light. depending on your opinion this day was wildly productive or wildly unproductive.

i dont know what kind of hippy dippy children im raising up but aug said he wanted a tree for his birthday and a telescope for christmas. this delights me. now if only i can convince my landlord to let us plant a tree then we're all set! i wonder how much "indoctrinating" im doing to aug. we all like to think we are raising our kids in a PC way but that just isnt the case. we have feelings and passions and we of course think these things are right and true. so we pass these "truths" on to our kids who turn into non-PC adults. i realized this when we were driving to pick david up from work and we passed, as always, a mercedes dealership. this is the same dealership that months ago augustine commented that our car was "embarrassing" by comparison. this time though he said, without any lead in to a conversation "mommy, people don't need new cars. all that matters is that they get you where you're going." YES SON! i was very happy that he had come to that conclusion. a conclusion no doubt that we in our house believe about all sorts of stuff. anyways, i gave him a really big hug for such mature deductions about the world. now i've just got to teach my kids to raise their fists in the air and scream FIGHT THE POWER or something and im all set.

onward to photos, more on flickr


our kids with their cousins (david's sisters kids) i miss them already! boston had better treat them well.






oh and my lovelies came in the mail today

7 comments:

Idzie said...

Cool blog...
I actually found it from searching unschooling! As an unschooling teenager, I'm fascinated by that educational philosophy, and love reading about others unschooling journey's... And it makes me rather sad when people have bad opinions on it! In the book you read, it could quite possibly be considered neglect, but your friend's comment made me really want to respond to it! I know many unschooling teens, and they're all amazingly intelligent, individualistic people. Yes, some are ardent video-gamers. Some WERE ardent video-gamers. But I don't see why that's automatically bad... It's a stage that perhaps some people need to go through.

On an entirely different note, your comment on hippie kids made me grin. For years my mother would say that corporations ruled the world, and I would roll my eyes. Now, I'm a very cheerful green anarchist, and tell my mom about all the awful things that the corporations who control the world are doing!

Idzie

Trisha said...

HI, Sorry if this is kinda stalky, I don't mean to be. I saw Olive's birth on You tube and looked at your little family. I saw in one video that your husband had an OSU t shirt on and was pleased to see you are in Columbus, I am in Cincy, I had my first son (Wolfgang Orion) January 2008, I saw your video while researching homebirth. I did end up at hospital but am planning a second child hopefully at home. Since Ohio has gone so underground with the home birthing, did you have any trouble finding resources for help? I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your family on youtube. You can find me at Livejournal under Supurrkitten. I don't post too much but would love to read your journal. Bless your family they are wonderful and sweet and you seem to be great parents.

Thanks for being so inspiring, positive and photogenic and raising a great next generation.
Trisha Hilton-Mills Mama to one Wolfe and 4 cats and wife to one comic book loving grown boy!

jenny mae. said...

idzie - i should clarify that the book claims nothing on the topic of unschooling. that was my deduction based only on the fact that they didnt have a ton of formal schooling at certain parts of their lives and instead just let them roam and explore, learn for themselves. the book is actually rather a nod to the philosophy though in that all of the kids were labeled gifted once they entered a traditional education setting. i think unschooling can be done and done well with great success but i think it could be incompatible with a lot of kids personalities and there is where you have the bored, gamers who sit around and dont want to do anything productive.

trisha - you dont sounds stalky at all! quite a few people have made a similar comment :) we found our midwife via the mothering.com forums and through person to person recommendation. i know there are at least 2-3 midwives in your area who do homebirths.

Idzie said...

I'd argue that unschooling is actually compatible with virtually all personality types (and the unschoolers I know are certainly a diverse lot!). And my point about mentioning gamers before was that it's not a bad thing! A gamer is not a "non-productive" person. A friend of mine who's an artist is also a gamer, and says some of the best artists out there are in the gaming industry. If you're interested in hearing more positive stuff on gaming, here are a couple of links...
http://sandradodd.com/game/nintendogold
http://sandradodd.com/game/nintendogold

Idzie said...

Ooops, that was supposed to be two sepperate links... Here's the second one.

http://sandradodd.com/videogames

rachaeldear said...

jenny those look huge, how big are you going?! maybe its just the computer's scale...

jenny mae. said...

rachael those are 1 inch.