Saturday, January 6, 2007

The art of Un-Schooling (yes, you heard me correctly...un-schooling)

I am a homeschooler...An un-schooler to be exact. I've never had to read boring grammar books, instead I read books that were 'to old' for me. I never took any writing classes, vocabulary workbooks...I went to the library. I have the basics, math, you can't use algebra in every day home life, so I have a book for that. I learned to write by actually writing! When I was fourteen, my writing was atrocious. I had bad handwriting, spelling, punctuation was down the drain. But I started writing. Things and ideas poured out of my pen into my notebooks...I was like a flower that had finally opened it's petals. Grammar came naturally after all the reading I had done, my spelling was smoothed out and my hand writing grew unrecognizable compared to how it was. Two short years later my reading comprehension is at a collage level and relatives find it hard to believe that, yes, Lucy DID write that without any help.

You want to know my secret?

READ. READ. READ. Read all you can get your hands on!! Read the news, children's books, magazines, the classics, blogs. Read even the bad stuff so you know what NOT to do!

WRITE. WRITE. WRITE. Write everyday until you grow calluses on your fingers from were the pen sat. Write down stories, push yourself. You can take ALL the writing classes in the world, but you will still be caught in the mud if you don't actually put the pen to paper!!! Write until your hand cramps, rest a bit, then write some more.

I still don't know what lead me to write. Just one day I felt an itch in my brain so I wrote. I filled pages and pages of paper. What I learned in the process is that writing is not to be abused...I threw away all those notebooks because I was writing junk, I was a good writer, but WHAT you write makes all the difference. I realised what I was writing was trash in God's eyes, so I burnt it.

But of course, that rule only applies if your a Christian.

I inherited my common sense from my dad. Someone told me I'm very sharpe. I'm also very logical, quick to detect fallacies. I owe that to my dad. We have mock arguments about things and we both like to win...whoever has the argument with the least holes, wins.

My parents never babied me, I'm pretty much doing all my school work on my own now. I'm taking a Lit class, learning French and, I hope soon, Latin. We have a plethora of mind games in our house, my sister is a kick-donkey Abalone player, I'm good at chess, I love speed chess. I love the piano...I'm starting lessons in a few days.

I'm not bragging. Just, sometimes people don't realise that, if you make LIFE itself your teacher, its a lot easier, almost effortless, to learn. Instead of having a homemaking skills book, I baby-sit. When I baby-sit I cook the meals, clean the house, hand out discipline. I run the house hold when my parents are absent. My dad used to be a cook, so watching him make a cake or spaghetti was my cooking class and my early math class. He Had me measure, told me what a cup is, what a fourth of a cup is, and so on. He told me what ingredients are best to use here, or how long your supposed to boil something for a certain dish. I remember being four years old, I would drag a chair over the counter and he would let me level the flour with a butter knife, then let me dump it in the bowl, stir it...I STILL love cooking!

I owe my love of books to my mom. Our house is filled to the brim with books. My sister and I ourselves need two or three book shelves in our own room. She read were the wild things are to us, the hobbit, the entire LOTR trilogy. More books than I can name right here. Every night she would sit with us on the couch and read us a story before bed. Every Christmas we excitedly anticipate a box of books for each of us under the tree when we awoke Christmas morning.

I have a good ear for music, I can harmonize and play by ear a little bit. I've preferred classical music since I was two, I would fall into a trance when Vivaldi was on. I grew up with Nat King Cole, Vivaldi, Acapella, Dean Martin ...everything except rock and rap. My dad's side of the family all sings, the LaBrasseurs. My dad has a very good voice and was known at the restaurant as the 'singing waiter'. He's always singing all the time, you know when He's tired if he stops, so, naturally, all his kids sing and love music.

my response to, "Do you ever wish you went to real school?"

Heck no.

(Except with a smile)


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