Friday, June 27, 2008

Taking a Deep Breath

I have continued to be immersed in planning. It takes on a life of its own, which becomes a bit scary when you think it over — at least, when I do.

Planning while my kids are left to the guidance of Pokemon Stadium and Sonic Hero? (cringing). This kicks off my hypocrisy meter. When you think of it, there’s a lot of fear and concern about the addictive power of VGs and TV. No one ever mentions the addiction a person can have for WORK and how powerful that can be, and much easier to justify to oneself than an entertainment itch. But the addiction to work may even be more of a problem to society than the addiction to play — and in fact, I wonder if they are two sides of the same coin, and the antidote or corrective is something else altogether.

For some reason, we haven’t been spending as much time outside this year as we did last year even with the chickenpox and the trip to Ireland, and I’m not sure exactly why. Particularly when a lot of the Charlotte Mason I’ve been reading emphasizes so strongly the value of outdoor time. When I read her words, I am struck by how the time spent and the investigation and “being” of an outdoor life is a kind of counter to the kind of bright-screen, hurrying mode or life that you can get wrapped up with even up here in the quiet mountains.

I grew up in Alaska — it is said that even the most remote bush village now has a TV, and it has changed the traditional culture. I would imagine our “work ethic” has changed the culture just as much, though no one points a prophetic finger at the weirdness of desiring to wear dull suits or uniforms and go to a prison-like concrete building from 9 to 5 in order to get bits of paper that you can trade in for goods someone else is working in a building or elsewhere to produce in mass quantities. And getting into a yellow mobile container to go to another prison-like building from 8 to 3 and then coming home with more paperwork to bring back there the next day seems just as weird, too.

One more thought — I have to say I am glad that I have been homeschooling for long enough so that I don’t HAVE to buy anything new for next year. I remember those days of catalog uncertainty and this was even before the internet — it seems worse to me now in the cyberworld. Someone mentions a new resource and the “buzz” starts and then everyone has to either buy it or use a lot of mental energy resolving NOT to buy it.

Such anxiety and high hopes and hunger. In a strange way, it reminds me of the courtship days before you find a life partner. It can look almost desperate. In that way, I am glad that not only have we our collection of tried and true resources, but that we have limited income, so not many homeschool resources look thrilling enough to make up for the pain of parting with quite a few hard-earned dollars.

Good books are actually still the best curriculum bargain out there, and the outdoors, and a few art and construction “tools” and a creative family life are even more of a deal.

When I was talking about this with my daughter in relation to classical homeschooling, and thinking about the Brave Writer post “Can we just stop talking about curriculum?” , my daughter, “Why do classical homeschoolers need to curriculum hunt? You can pick up a copy of Plutarch and Plato quite easily.”