Saturday, September 04, 2010

NOT Back-To-School (Or regular school that is.) Presenting the School Of Magic!

So, now I know why I haven’t been blogging much. It’s a holiday weekend. This morning I had a bit of a lay-in, but once I was up, it started. It took me 30 minutes of trying to play one uninterrupted game of Bejewelled Blitz to understand why I haven’t been posting much lately. It seems that I can’t get through 60 seconds without someone saying, “Mom!” or “Honey....?” For me this translates into a feeling of being constantly on call. There just doesn’t seem to a be a moment where I just fold deeply into myself and ruminate.

But, I’m not here to complain. I just wanted to take a few moments to cheer on the fact that yet again this year, we will be not going back to school. And I’m here to jump up and down and express my extreme happiness for the personal growth I’ve experienced simply by being fortunate enough to be surrounded by good friends.

Some of you may remember that I was part of this awesome home school group called PALS Enrichment Programs. Many of you may remember that we moved back to Pittsburgh from London because we simply could not see home educating Winston without such a group around us. So, it was very hard to be forced to leave this group after giving three years of significant time, energy and financial resources. But - to me - a socially healthy environment is the first and foremost reason to home school. So, given that I was unable to provide leadership to allow for this, I had to go.

How fantastic! Community is what you make it. You don’t need a 501 C3 tax-exempt status, rent a fancy building, or insurance to facilitate your child’s whims and notions. You need some Mamas and Daddies who care about listening to their children and figuring out a way to meet those needs.

And, WOW! I’m lucky. Last year, I asked Winston what his educational objectives for the year were. He said, “Magic.” I rolled my eyes and said, “Great” in a rather snippy tone of voice. One year later, thanks to a homeschooling Mama friend, we are opening the “School Of Magic” next Friday.

Children are profoundly intuitive creatures. They are amazing. I can’t believe I wasted an entire year on a rigid, unhealthy home schooling group only to wake up an embrace my son’s genius. My friend, C, started talking about “what will we do” when we realised we couldn’t return - in good conscience - to PALS.

“I dunno,” I said.

“What does your unstopping day look like?” she asked.

“Not what I want it to look like,” I said.

“I know what you are saying, sister,” she said. “Mine only wants to study magic.”

“I know!” I said. “WTF! Next year is testing year for us! I can’t work with this.”

“I think I’m going to go with it,” she said. (Insert here that the backyard of her house leads out to a magnificent forest with a crazy amount of wild edibles that she has been studying.) “I think I’d like to offer and herbology class.”

“Cool, we’ll be there!”

Two days later, I call her on the phone. When she answers, I screech, “EVERYTHING IS MAGIC!” Wizards, witches, shamans...they were scientists. They observed and recorded the world around them. They experimented. They failed and succeeded and recorded their experiments. A School Of Magic is the School Of Life! This is why we are home educating our children. We want them to have fun, observe, record, fail, try and generally soak up all of the magic around them everyday!”

And so it begins after a few e-mails to some friends asking whether they thought their kids might be interested in hanging out, hiking through the woods, gathering herbs, making potions, blowing stuff up and talking about some “famous wizards”, our School Of Magic opens next Friday.

Next up - I gotta work on this trusting my child to be a self-directed learner thing. Educational objective = magic? Yup, sure ‘nuf. I’m just sorry it took me a year to figure it out.


liveotherwise said...

Fabulous post Christina, and yes, aren't we adults slow at times? It has taken me nearly a year to realise that my children are educating themselves even when it looks like just gaming, or vegging, or fiddling on too...

Anonymous said...

Hi Christina Springer! Are you the author of "Black, not Hispanic"? I am a publishing assistant for Skinner House Books and we'd like to use that poem in a book we're publishing this Fall. If you are in fact the author, would you be so kind as to email me contact info? You can reach me at Thank you!

Catherine Bates
Publishing Assistant
UUA/ Skinner House Books
Boston, MA

Karen James said...

Wonderful post, Christina. I hope to see more!! I think of you often. Much love, K.

Joxy said...

LMAO, oh gosh this has made me grin hugely!

I am a witch, I practise magic and I'm a home educator. And yup magic is esentially science :-)