November 01, 2005

Reviving "Reviving Ophelia"

I picked up a paperback copy of Reviving Ophelia the other week for a quarter at the library book sale. As the mother of a daughter (pre- preteen), all I can say is this is an appropriate time of year for scary and horrifying reading material. I don't have the book with me at the moment, but all I can say is that the book was written over 10 years ago and in that time the cultural situation to which Mary Pipher refers has only deteriorated. I don't know that I'm learning anything new but rather having some fears and concerns and other assorted thoughts confirmed. The prime one would be that control is not a bad thing, if exercised wisely. Hold your children close...

On a similar note, we've been spending lots of times with our friends, the H. family, who moved back here recently. They have a daughter Laura's age and a son Daniel's age, and all five get along like a house afire. Mr. H is Tom's best friend since first grade, and they were married a few months before we were. The H's had hs'ed earlier this year, from January to June, but after moving here decided to put the kids in the local public school a) to make some friends and b) because they have lots of extended family here, and some of the sisters in law aren't exactly open to hs'ing. But after a couple of months now, the kids are getting bored, especially their son in first grade; while he's been reading for several years now, his classmates are only just learning the sounds of the letters. Mrs. H has asked to borrow some of our hs'ing books -- especially the "What Your xx Grader Needs to Know" series by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and Rebecca Rupp's similar one-volume effort -- and I've been more than happy to oblige. Our family is silently urging them on, especially because it would be much easier to get the kids together without dealing with the public school schedule.

Next Tuesday after piano lessons we have our facilitator meeting. In Alberta, we're required to register with a hs'ing board, and we're assigned a facilitator (you can change boards as often as you want, and also request a different facilitator from your board if you don't think s/he is a good fit with your family), who comes to visit twice a year to check our progress. Our board and facilitator are very low key and very trusting in Tom's and my ability to know what's best for our kids, thank goodness. In part, it's because -- surprise -- the board is not secular. It's nominally Catholic, and many of the facilitators and families are evangelical Christians. But they are all homeschoolers first, and Alberta Education Department bureaucrats last; in fact, they are all more than willing to take on the oodles of paperwork on behalf of the families registered with them.

The kids are eagerly awaiting Mr. M's visit next week. Laura is planning to move her ever-growing Post-It Note bookworm -- each note has the title of a book she's read since becoming a bookworm herself -- to the kitchen so he can see it, and working on her "diary" (which replaces her formal grammar and spelling lessons twice a week now -- her idea, and she's having great fun with it). Daniel wants to show Mr. M how he can read now, and carefully writing out a list of camping supplies to demonstrate his penmanship. Davy, who as a kindergartener technically isn't registered yet, doesn't want to be left out so he's readying his binder for "facilitator show and tell." Mr. M won't know what hit him after Hurricane Farm School bowls him over with enthusiasm lol.

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