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Avant parenting, Japanese style

Sometimes I wonder homeschooling is a sign of madness.

Then it occurs to me that parenting is probably a sign of madness. It certainly is for the men: they could go off and do the mighty hunter routine and go find another cave to live in, but instead they stick around with us. For the women, it’s less easy. It’s hard to reject flesh of your flesh, if you know what I mean.

Hard at work at Japanese Culture Club

This comes up because I’m exhausted. Today I ran “Japanese Culture Club” for four homeschooled girls. It used to be three, but four is a definite improvement. We added an older, calmer girl to the mix and gave it a good stir. Not quite the craziness of the three ingredient mix, if you know what I mean.

In the fall we did Nature and Baking Club with the three girls. That was exhausting but also easy. When my son was four, he and I went for lots of walks in the redwood forest that I’d been living next to for seven years and learned the names of the plants. We took photos and did research and then wrote a book about it. So teaching about the redwoods was something that I’d done before, and we did art and poetry and lots of playing in the creek.

Baking also comes naturally to me. I grew up in a house where lots of cooking happened, but baking was a powerful thing. My little sister still hasn’t forgiven me for making her grease the brownie pan over and over in exchange for getting to lick the bowl.

My brother and I were once inspired to make cheesecake and we stayed up til midnight waiting for it to get cold enough to eat.

But Japanese Culture Club is something different. Instead of something from my past, it’s something I’m planning for the future. The kids and I have been interested in learning Japanese for a while, but we’ve never done anything about it. Then I got a bee in my bonnet a couple months ago and decided that we were going to study Japanese, just do it. But in order to make myself do it, I had to raise the stakes. Thus three, and now four girls coming to my house weekly, expecting me to know a few words of Japanese, a song, and a meal.

Hard at work in Japanese club

Hard at work in Japanese club

Today was good morning, good afternoon, please, and thank you. It was tempura vegetables and teriyaki. Singing “Bun bun bun” about a bumblebee. At the time it didn’t seem like much. But it was.

It has left me drained and thinking about that flesh of my flesh thing. Now, why am I here when I could be living in that quiet, orderly cave I used to know? Why am I learning Japanese rather than sitting my kids down with a video from the library?

Working on the future is so much harder than enjoying the past.

Posted in Education, Homeschooling, Parenting.


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Continuing the Discussion

  1. parenting style - StartTags.com linked to this post on February 5, 2010

    […] research, please check out the Parenting Style Application by Signal Patterns on Parenting.com. …Avant parenting, Japanese style Avant ParentingAvant parenting, Japanese style – Sometimes I wonder homeschooling is a sign of madness. … Avant […]

  2. Homeschoolers. Will work for learning opportunity. – Avant Parenting linked to this post on March 26, 2010

    […] experienced, rational homeschooling mom friends was with me and my kids recently on a fieldtrip for Japanese Culture Club. My son has been jealously passing up most of Culture Club (cue music) because he really is […]

  3. Our Japanese Blog » Blog Archive » How we got to the beginning linked to this post on August 17, 2010

    […] We all decided to switch our topic to “Japanese Culture Club” — all the moms got a kick out of saying that. Every week, I had five girls at my house learning a few Japanese words, doing Japanese arts, cooking Japanese food, and singing Japanese songs. It was fun and exhausting. (Read my blog about it here.) […]



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