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robertogreco : denisjohnson   2

School is out -
"The important thing about home schooling isn't getting away from school. It's getting back into your home."

"Then the canine squad searched the local high school, and found a joint in a car. Would they get around to searching the grade school our kids attended? No. But a police sergeant brought a dog around and introduced him to all the kids. And you can bet there wasn’t any discussion of the Fourth Amendment with the pup, Fido, Sparky, I really didn’t care what his name was. I just didn’t want him included in my children’s education. I didn’t want them taught to sit still for suspicionless searches.

I wrote more letters to the local editors, actually the same letter in many moods — funny-sarcastic, terrified-hysterical, insane-obscene — then we took the kids out of school.

Did we have any doubts? Nothing but doubts. I’d taught elementary school for a year in my 20s, but in addition to getting some classroom experience that wouldn’t apply in this situation, I’d only proved to myself unassailably that I wasn’t qualified to teach children anything. Daniel and Lana were willing and curious, but a little confused. Cindy didn’t know where to start either, so we agreed to start anywhere.

And we did. We started getting up later and hanging around together and Cindy and I tried to teach Lana and Daniel, formerly of the third and fourth grades, what the professionals were teaching over at Mt. Hall Elementary. We began by spending about three hours at it every weekday, using a first- through eighth-grade mail-order curriculum from the Calvert School, a correspondence outfit that’s been in business for a century. I didn’t like it any better than real school, and pretty soon I wasn’t helping much. In fact before long it began to seem to me not only possible but maybe even desirable and perhaps even wonderful that our children would develop into ignorant savages.

To anybody curious about the essentials of home schooling, I’d say that’s the key attitude: a willingness to fail utterly at doing what the schools do. Because what the schools do is stop the children from doing what the children can do.

Within a year, none of us really cared any more what the professionals were teaching. What we’ve derived in the way of a system continues to evolve, but I’ve just conducted a survey among the participants, and here’s how things presently stand:

Everybody has to be up by 8 a.m. on weekdays, and sometime before lunch the kids have to do their chores (laundry, dishes, dog food) and complete one lesson each from the Saxon Math curriculum. The kids presently don’t seem to know how many Calvert School grammar lessons they’re expected to do per week. Two? Three? It’s three, actually, but the irregularity makes it easy to skate. Once a month or so I put them to work writing an essay, using examples from a college textbook, the only thing handy. Sometimes they finish, and sometimes I forget I ever assigned it. Three days a week we drive to town for singing lessons, dancing lessons, tae kwon do. In the winter they go skiing every Friday."

"Just as people used to ask me how much my Great Dane weighed and how much he ate, people invariably ask about home schooling — “How will the kids be socialized?” When in turn I ask what it means to be socialized the answers vary wildly, but everybody seems to agree that there’s no better way to get it done to you than to be tossed into a kind of semi-prison environment with a whole lot of other persons born the same year you were."

[via: ]

[Note: This came up again (through Austin Kleon) when Denis Johnson died on May 26, 2017.]
1997  homeschool  education  unschooling  deschooling  denisjohnson  children  parenting  society  socialization  learning  sfsh 
june 2016 by robertogreco
I’m just a working-class guy trying to take part in the conversation that all the smart people are having. What books should I read?
QUESTION (in part):

"I’m just a working-class guy trying to take part in the conversation that all the smart people are having. This brings me to my question: What books should I read? There are so many books out there worth reading, that I literally don’t know where to start."

ANSWER (in parts):

"We’re not on a ladder here. We’re on a web. Right now you’re experiencing a desire to become more aware of and sensitive to its other strands. That feeling you’re having is culture. Whatever feeds that, go with it. And never forget that well-educated people pretend to know on average at least two-thirds more books than they’ve actually read."

"Come up with a system of note-taking that you can use in your reading. It’s okay if it evolves. You can write in the margins, or keep a reading notebook (my preference) where you transcribe passages you like, with your own observations, and mark down the names of other, unfamiliar writers, books you’ve seen mentioned (Guy D. alone will give you a notebook full of these). Follow those notes to decide your next reading. That’s how you’ll create your own interior library. Now do that for the rest of your life and die knowing you’re still massively ignorant. (I wouldn’t trade it!)"

"Ignore all of this and read the next cool-looking book you see lying around. It’s not the where-you-start so much as the that-you-don’t-stop."

SEE ALSO: the books recommended

[Orginal is here: ]
books  reading  literacy  2013  advice  learning  lifelonglearning  canon  wisdom  ignorance  readinglists  lists  recommendations  curiosity  booklists  notetaking  notes  observations  education  religion  libraries  truth  howilearnedtoread  readingnotebooks  notebooks  howwelearn  culturalliteracy  culture  hierarchy  hierarchies  snobbery  class  learningnetworks  oldtimelearningnetworks  webs  cv  howweread  borges  film  movies  guydavenport  huntergracchus  myántonia  willacather  isakdinesen  maximiliannovak  robertpennwarren  edithwharton  denisjohnson  alberterskine  karloveknausgaard  jamesjoyce  hughkenner  richardellmann  stephengreenblatt  harukimurakami  shakespeare  vladimirnabokov 
march 2013 by robertogreco

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