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Home School Chronicles: Down and Out in the Outer Solar System

After years of swearing I would never do such a thing for a variety of reasons, we decided that it would be best for my fifth grade daughter to be homeschooled this year. This has nothing to do with her school, which we love, or her teachers, who we also love, but because of various neurological issues she’s experiencing that make it difficult for her to cope with the pace of fifth grade at the middle school. We’re giving her a year for her brain to catch up with her physical age, basically, and then trying it again next year.

And since I am home, and have a teaching credential, I’m the teacher. I think we’re all feeling a bit trepidacious about this, since she and I have a lot of similar issues, and sometimes, well … we’d all like this to avoid being the Chad and Sarah Grayson Memorial Home School Center. Day one … not bad.

Learned right off the bat that I’d have to teach in 5 minute nuggets, and then she does best with smaller bursts of guided practice. But she cooperates with me, and really still likes the actual content of the work. We may have done this just in time.

Since we’re doing this through her school’s home school program, we’re keeping along with the classroom curriculum, which is all about the solar system right now, specifically, the outer solar system, which means Pluto and that whole controversy, because that’s actually in the textbooks now.

pluto-planetSarah is not happy about the new status of Pluto. It took a minute to convince her that nothing had actually happened to Pluto, that it had not been, Alderaan-like, blasted by the Imperial Death star into more chaff to join the kuyper belt. And we talked about how planets are classified and who gets to make the decision, and why … and we talked abourt Ceres and Eris, and Charon, and decided that, hey, let’s just let them all in. I can undestand how my scientists friends might be freaking out about that, especially in the case of Charon, but hey … can’t we all just get along?

I don’t know if we’ll be attending any “Save the dwarf planets!” ralleys, but we’ll have to see. Found that Youtube and other sites have great resources for supplemental videos. Watched “The Universe: The Outer PLanets” I think it was legal since it was marked as an official play list and listed “for educational purposes only.”

It just figures that this would be where we’d start, doesn’t it?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in life

 

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Returning the favor

It’s father’s day.  Since I have become a father myself, this has always been a day of reflection about my kids and my relationship with them, and how it relates to mine with my own dad. I don’t really buy the conventional wisdom that most conservatives spout, that most of society is moving beyond the concept of fatherhood, that fathers are unappreciated and, most people think, unneeded.

I don’t think anyone thinks of fathers as unneeded at all. Absent? A great deal of the time. But unneeded? I don’t know of a single person in real life who actually thinks that.

I certainly had a great father. I’ve written about him before here: http://therandomavenger.blogspot.com/2006/06/my-father-unauthorized-biography.html but this year, as parts of my life began to fall apart, and others started to come together, I’ve been reminded again of what makes him so great. A lot of guys grew up trying to prove themselves to their dads, and felt like they failed. They just never lived up. I certainly inhaled the same cultural smoke that makes this a right of passage for men in our society, but as I’ve become an adult and a father I realized that with my dad, I didn’t really have to do this. He didn’t always understand me. Hell, I didn’t always understand myself. But he saw who I was and didn’t place upon me responsibility for his own happiness. He never wanted me to be anyone else. He didn’t need a sports hero, or a clone of himself. He didn’t even need to “get me” to love me and support me.

That’s a rare gift. He had certain things he wanted for me: a work ethic, a sense of faith, to stay out of jail,  but beyond that … he just wanted me to be happy and successful.

And that’s what I want for my own kids. They are not me. They don’t have to reflect me. I just want them to be happy and successful in their lives.

And for my father? I don’t need to “get him” either all the time to love and unconditionally support him. He’s a man who’s worked hard all his life, and then gave up what could have been an early and easy retirement to move across country and start his life over again. He did that because he wanted to be in my life and in my kids’ lives. He’s a great grandpa, and a great dad, and I thank God every day for the gift of that. He’s certainly more patient with me than I am with myself. He’s not a perfect man, but I think his imperfections make him a better father. I certainly hope so, because that’s what I’m counting on for myself.

So, for father’s day, we should all return the favor, try to understand our fathers who who they are as people, and love them for being that person. It’s probably a lot of the reason we are who we are.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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