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Homeschoolers. Will work for learning opportunity.

OK, so I shouldn’t have left a post called “Existential Angst” up for so long. Perhaps my readers thought I’d decided to run off to the Himalayas to be a Buddhist nun. Or decided to take my kids on a sailboat trip around the world. Or decided to sell everything and stand by the road with a sign: Homeschoolers. Will work for learning opportunity.

No such luck. Here I am, rushing around as usual, passing by learning opportunities as they stand by the road, trying to thumb a ride.

This is our outschooling year. Next year will be our inschooling year. At least, I hope it will be.


Daruma is a Japanese Buddhist icon which helps you achieve goals

Previously I wasn’t certifiably insane, but now upon this declaration I will be: Next year I am going to homeschool both of my children.

One of my calm, 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 supposed to go to the school we’re paying for. But going to San Jose’s Japantown just couldn’t be passed up. We were going to a tofu factory where they make tofu the ancient way. We were going to see a Japanese Buddhist temple, and eat shabu shabu.

Those of you who send your kids to public schools may or may not care how much your school loses in Average Daily Attendance funding each time you take your child on an unofficial fieldtrip. Those of us with kids in private school can easily calculate how much we lose each day we take our kid out…. but we prefer not to. I do on occasion let my son “be sick” when something important is happening, such as when Apple was announcing the iPad, probably the biggest event in his life this year.

But Japantown came in a close second. We didn’t even bother to use the word sick. We told his teacher he was going on a fieldtrip.

So my homeschooling friend is one of those unflappable moms who says, Oh yes, my kids drive me crazy, with a smile on her face. But about an hour into our fieldtrip, she turned to me and with only a hint of irony said, “You’re going to homeschool these two next year?”

San Jose Tofu

San Jose Tofu makes tofu as the Japanese have been making it for hundreds of years.


The thing is, we searched high and low for the right school for our son, and when we found it, we realized what we were giving up. He’s gone all day, and when he comes home he’s beat. By all accounts, next year in middle school, he’ll not only be beat but he’ll have tons of homework, too! And on top of that, we’ll be paying tuition.

That leaves us badly situated for bringing about the major goal the kids and I have had together: study Japanese and go to Japan. As long as our son is going to his wonderful school, we’ll have neither time nor money to pursue that goal. So it’s off to our homeschooling adventure next year!

Why don’t you just send him to your local public school, you ask?

Ask me again in March… or January…. or perhaps September. My answer may change!

Really, my kids can get along when they have a common purpose. And I plan to sit them down the day after school ends in June, armed with a copy of Siblings: You’re stuck with each other so stick together!, school them in meditation and nonviolent communication, and rev them up for a common goal.

Oh, and I also plan to keep their fingernails cut short.

I’m determined to do it one way or another.

Candy store

We also visited a Japanese Candy store, and tasted a traditional candy for girls' day.

In Japantown, one of our stops was Nichi Bei Bussan, a Japanese general store. The owner told us about the Daruma, little squat eyeless figurines like a Weeble. The purpose of a Daruma is that when you buy it, you paint on one eye. You set a goal, something you really have to work for, and you don’t get to paint the other eye till you achieve it. My son and I each bought one. The day after school ends, we will paint our first eyes, and then start working on our goal.

Come spring next year, we’ll either be on our way to Japan, or on a corner near you.

Homeschoolers. Will work for a little peace and quiet.

Posted in Education, Homeschooling, Parenting.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Hands-on learning – Avant Parenting linked to this post on March 30, 2010

    […] of the work can’t. Some recent trips we’ve taken in this vein was when we went to San Jose Tofu Company and also when my friend Daniella Woolf taught a class in encaustic. It’s one thing to eat the […]

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