Location, location, and location…yesterday, I was at my best friend’s straw bale house on 100 acres of rolling farm land in beautiful rural upstate NY. Our children were playing in the puddles, eating fresh food, and I was feeling loved by the world. It is easy to imagine a new world there.
Now, I am visiting my family in Buffalo, NY. Actually, we are not even in Buffalo, but outside of it, in a godforsaken suburban hamlet that actually withdrew from the Union during the Civil War. Yes, a town in New York that was so filled with Southern sympathizers that it did the paperwork to take itself out of the country. I am in my childhood home, with the two televisions continually streaming CNN and Soap TV and my parents adding NutraSweet to their coffee. Oh, America, where did you go so wrong? I understand, to some degree, all of the people without real choices who eat bad food and watch mind-dumbing TV. What is harder to understand is why so many people with pleasant houses and reasonable amounts of money continue to make decisions that make themselves miserable. My uncle and brother are about to explode things in the back yard to celebrate our independence.
What is wrong with the world? I have been trying to answer that question for the last twenty-five years. I am pretty certain, though, that the world is flipping insane and the less that I have to do with it, the better off I am.
I am inspired to start a list of the reasons to home school. I will add to the list as I think of other things:
Reasons to home school #1, #2, and #3
- People are still trying to decide if evolution should be taught.
- No one can come out and say, “It is OK to be gay!”
- Apples are served cut up and in plastic bags.
My foray into civilization, though, has assured me that I have to figure out how to make a living wage creating decent, engaging, and sane spaces for middle and high school students to learn.
I have made a couple of recent expeditions into Wiz-landia, with reasonable degrees of success.
So you know, I hate technology. I hate it on philosophical levels. I am pretty sure that too much screen time is destroying our bodies. I hate it on practical levels. It always ends up taking 100 years to do something that you think is going to take 5 minutes. I hate is on a political level. I have spent much of the last few years in a place with a weak satellite internet connection and I was able to really feel the digital divide. However, I want off the grid and to interact with sane people and I can’t afford gas, so there you have it. I am going to master this baby if it kills me.
I decided to “schedule” and “launch” a class. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 blastoff! I organized a meeting with an old friend, who was game to be my guinea pig. I expected the whole experience to be replete with mishaps. I was in a rural place with a satellite connection. My laptop sucks and is known to flicker in and out of existence. My friend has an annoying habit of not having clothes on in his apartment. There were so many ways that this could have turned out badly. But it did not! Click, click, launch, and there he was, hanging out in a little corner of my computer screen, with all the appropriate clothing in place.
Buoyed by this success, I decided to check out the online demonstration classroom. I had never been in such a place before and thought that all “chat rooms” were for middle aged men to find little boys. Wrong I was! Manish, a very helpful moderator, answered a lot of my questions and sent me some materials to review. All of my cynical assumptions were proven false! I love it when that happens.
Next step: creating a class.