Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Homeschoolers making news

I have the distinct feeling that no one reads this, but just in case they do, I thought I would post a bit about a new famous homeschooler.

Christopher Paolini was homeschooled his entire life, graduated with a high school diploma at the age of fifteen, and then went on to write the book Eragon, which is now a major motion picture and was also a New York Times Bestseller. I am always very pleased to read about new, intelligent, successful homeschoolers, and especially about creative ones. I am currently reading Eragon, and so far I like it very much. It's not the best book ever written, but can certainly carve out a successful niche in the fantasy genre and is an enjoyable read for a Christmas vacation. I'd say the book is just as good as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and possibly as good as Terry Brooks's Sword of Shanara (sp?) series.

It is interesting to me how many homeschoolers and geeky people and usually those of high intelligence enjoy fantasy novels. In reading about Christopher Paolini, I discovered that his favourite books growing up where mostly fantasy, including the Dune and His Darkest Materials books. I've always been drawn to fantasy and science fiction, but especially fantasy and worlds of elves and faeries and mythology and magic and wonder. I still harbour a special fascination for faeries and mermaids and Star Trek: TNG is my favourite TV series.

I will update more when I've read more of Eragon, or better yet, have finished it. I will also continue to discuss the lives of notable and successful homeschoolers. :D

Thursday, 29 June 2006

I Heart Squeeze (the band, duh!)

If I didnt love you Id hate you
Watching you play in the bath
A soap suds stickle back navy
A scrubbing brush landing craft
Your skin gets softer and warmer
I pat you down with a towel
Tonight its love by the fire
My mind goes out on the prowl
If I if I if I if I if i

If I didnt love you Id hate you
Im playing your stereogram
Singles remind me of kisses
Albums remind me of plans
Tonight its love by the fire
The wind plays over the coals
Passionate looks are my fancy
But you turn the look into stone

If I didnt love you
Would you sit and glow by the fire
If I didnt love you
Would you make me feel so
Maybe love me
Oh if I didnt love you

If I didnt love you Id hate you
Cocoa mugs sit side by side
Its time to poke at the fire
But its not tonight
Looks I find
Taking a bite on a biscuit
The record jumps on a scratch
Tonight its love by the fire
The door of your loves on the latch

If i, if i, if i
Didnt, didnt, didnt
Love you, love you, love you

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Random Meme

Your Body Image is 24% Unhealthy, 76% Healthy

You're body image is quite healthy, though you're sometimes a little bit too hard on yourself.
Chances are you've got a rockin' body - so enjoy it!

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Homeschooling and Preparing for the University, I

I would love to meet homeschoolers from other countries: obviously their experiences would be nothing like mine. It's no secret that, in America, there are many supporters of non-traditional education that are of the fundamentalist Christian variety. However, there are also a lot of liberal-minded individuals who homeschool their children, because they want to enable their children to actually be 'liberal' or 'free' and learn what they want whenever they want to learn it. John Holt's _Growing without Schooling_ was an important catalyst for the 'unschooling' movement, which actually preceded the larger 'homeschooling', evangelical-minded movement.
I first came across the 'liberal' (whatever that word means anyway) version of 'unschooling' when reading _The Teenage Liberation Handbook_ by Grace Llewellyn. I love that book so very much -- I read it at fifteen and it really encouraged me and inspired me. It made me realise that the real reason I loved homeschooling -- actually, unschooling -- was because I could truly pursue my interests. I read so many books growing up, and lots of 'classics' that were probably way over my head, since I read _Animal Farm_ by George Orwell in seventh grade and _Brave New World_ by Aldous Huxley in eighth grade. One thing my parents really instilled in me was the belief that I could learn and be anything, that I had all the aptitude and smarts necessary to conquer any problem. I was truly fearless.
I really believe that books should never be censored. Even if my parents were very careful about what television shows and movies I watched, when it came to books, I was totally on my own. I read everything I could get my hands on: my favourite authors growing up were Douglas Adams, Piers Anthony, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, and William Shakespeare. My favourite poets were Shakespeare and e.e. cummings. I am in the process of re-discovering e.e. cummings right now. I want to post my favourite poem of e.e. cummings, which I've nicked from http://www-scf.usc.edu/~thier/ee/ :

if i love You
(thickness means
worlds inhabited by roamingly
stern bright faeries

if you love
me) distance is mind carefully
luminous with innumerable gnomes
Of complete dream

if we love each (shyly)
other, what clouds do or Silently
Flowers resembles beauty
less than our breathing

Friday, 27 January 2006

Homeschooling in High School

When I was in middle school, many people asked me what I was going to do for high school. Most assumed that you couldn't continue to homeschool into the higher grades, because the material might become too complicated for the parents. However, like I said before, I started homeschooling myself from grade six (age 11), so that wasn't really an issue. The real issue was making it legal... this is where the Pennsylvania Homeschool Accredidation Agency (PHAA) was very useful. It is an accredidation agency that enables homeschoolers to receive actual high school diplomas, if they follow certain requirements for a certain # of credits and are evaluated each year. The requirements were pretty normal, and you could expand upon them and take extra credits if you wanted to get into a good college or similar.
The requirements are as follows:

3 years of Math
4 years of English
3 years of History/Social Science/Government, with at least 1 year of PA history, 1 year of American history, and 1 year of World History.
2 years of foreign language (recommended 3 years for the college bound)
1 year of art/music
2-3 years (can't remember which) of science
1 year of physical education

I can't remember if there were any others: the program basically followed the standard American liberal arts education. To complete the credit for a year of study, students could read 2/3 of a textbook, write a 2500-word research essay, document 180 days of study on the subject, or a certain # of hours (can't remember the exact #), or complete a high school course or college course if the school district approved. The English requirements were much more stringent. To get one credit of English, a student had to complete ALL of the following:

** Write a 2500-word research paper or a 2500-word work of fiction
** Write four short compositions
** Read 25 books, 10 of which had to be 'classics'
** Complete 1/4 of a grammer textbook

My parents were very good at making sure that my sister and I met our high school requirements, and tapped into the ever-growing homeschool community for specialists if they couldn't provide the necessary materials or expertise. I took 2 biology labs provided by homeschool moms/biology professors and a homeschool mom/veternarian, and furnished with all the necessary dissection materials. I also took a chemistry lab taught by a homeschool mom/chemistry professor. For literature, I continued to participate in book discussions, reading classics from the American, British, and World literary canons. For foreign language, I took Spanish classes through a homeschool educational co-op that were taught by a native of Chile.

I had such a great time in high school. For me, it was a blast!! :)

Currently Listening...

  • Pearl and the Beard
  • The Dodos
  • Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Anna Ternheim
  • NOFX
  • Fairiborz Lachini
  • The Clash
  • Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Does Judy
  • Radiohead: In Rainbows

Currently Watching...

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Mad Men
  • South Park
  • Zach Galifinakis

Currently Reading...

  • Bill Bryson: A History of Nearly Everything
  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The House of Leaves
  • Robertson Davies: The Rebel Angels

Favourite Videos

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