Razing kids

This was my little bit of contact with the homeschooling world for today! Some benighted homeschool football team whose priorities include ‘acedemics’ and ‘atheletics’, somewhere after God and family.  I resisted the temptation to comment.  They don’t like homeschoolers at Science Blogs and probably nothing will convert them.  Besides, its no skin off my nose if some random homeschoolers want to make idiots of themselves, just as, if I were a practicing scientist, I wouldn’t consider the whole enterprise invalidated because some jerk falsified some results.

Anyway, after a while I began to think that, spelling and religious worldview aside, the list is not terrible in principle.  Homeschooling parents are parents as well as educators and probably should put a child’s physical and psychological health before academics, and way before any ridiculous competitive sports (I will get into how I am doing this in practice in a minute).  If they send their kids to school they should still ensure that those are the priorities.  Not that I think intellectual development or education is unimportant.  Just slightly less important.  And for another thing an all round healthy lifestyle is a pre-requisite for successful academics in the first place.   As I find out every time Little Miss doesn’t get enough sleep for any reason.

Right now, we are on holiday which means that academics consist of me asking her maths puzzles and tickling her when she gets them right, her reading comic books and a chapter of history every day,  and….tadaaa… family and spiritual development!

This takes the form of my father’s Special Curriculum for Raising Skeptical Children in which the child learns that any utterance by an adult is just as likely to be BS as not.  The successful student should come up with some suitably pertinent and witty answer that avoids overstepping some invisible line that they have to discover themselves.  My brother and I are graduates of this particular course, but so far my daughter is in rather over her head.  Perhaps understandably, I had grown up in the belief that talking tripe with bells on is a man’s job whereas dh, being of the American persuasion, is apt to verge on the literal.  All in all, she hasn’t had much practice, and her responses have been a mixture of moments of pure genius, interspersed with exhaustion.

My favourite moment so far was when she stunned the old boy into silence for a while with a pun on the word ‘arse’.  It was a good pun, but unfortunately based on her sincere belief that an arse is a kind of donkey.  This morning we reduced her to exhaustion by 11.00 by explaining to her that you could easily understand the nature of the square root if you considered the carrot, which is a conical root.

She rallied round by lunchtime to nearly finish me off at hangman with the word ‘raze’. When I asked her if she knew what it meant she said “yes, you ‘raze’ a child”. I see her point, though I’m not sure if she did.

Fortunately it’s not all cruelty to children.  Grandad does get down on the floor with the blocks and stuffed animals for precisely one hour per day in which he does exactly what she tells him.  After that, we have to rally round to lift him up again with levers and pulleys and he goes off to tinker with his dvd player until it works so she can watch some ghastly film.  And he makes her whatever flavour of ice cream she desires with his own hands.

Grandma tends to stick to natural history and gardening.  This can be a little bit morbid because it tends to revolve around pest species and the things you can do to them. Still, it’s an education.

And me?  I had a lovely nap this afternoon.

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