Posts Tagged ‘Phys. Ed.’


We’ve been kind of busy here in the ‘Hood lately, doing some really awesome stuff.

I somewhat reluctantly accompanied my friend to see her favorite band, Kasabian, when they came to D.C. I was reluctant only because I was so very unfamiliar with their music. What little I’d heard was a bit too . . . ethereal for my taste. But I love this friend dearly, and no evening out with her is ever bad, so of course I was on board.

Kasabian

Serge, just being Serge.

THEY WERE FUGGING AMAZING.

We had a really, really good time, and not just because the show was fabulous and my friend was reduced to little-girl squeals of delight and she got to meet members of the band. No, the best part for me is what I always experience when this friend and I get together: a return to myself.

As mothers, our world often becomes our children. That is as it should be, as far as I’m concerned, (though that’s not a universally-held belief). I love being a mother almost as much as I love my children themselves, and I would not change my status as full-time mom unless I had no other choice.

But the fact remains that we are not only mothers: we are still women; still citizens; still wives and volunteers and professionals and writers and neighbors and learners and many, many other things as well. It is easy to get so wrapped up in our children’s lives and caretaking that we — I forget about the rest of me. Worse, I often remember the real me but relegate her to lowest woman on the totem pole.

Going to these clubs and concerts with my friend makes me not just honor those parts of me that are so often shunted aside to make way for parenting; it makes me feel as though all my parts are whole again. (more…)

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Several of my homeschooling lists seem to be discussing both video games and homeschoolers’ superior preparedness for the coming zombie apocalypse.

My favorite comment (from Morgana, a woman I have no doubt I’d be friends with IRL) came in a thread about strangers grilling us about whether our kids are really learning anything outside of school. Her response to them is a blunt but honest “None of your business.” But —

If I get any further questions, such as what we learn at home, I tell them that I only teach the basics: How to survive a zombie invasion, ways to take out a ninja, and how to run a successful pirate ship.

One of Aengus’s favorite video games is the Call of Duty franchise, particularly the Nazi Zombies minigame. He believes zombies really are possible and that the government is,  in fact, researching them in Area 51. Since I am a big believer in the educational value of video games, even the ones that involve shooting supernatural creatures, I’ve always  loosely considered zombies part of our “curriculum.” But as open-minded as I am to the academic potential of video games, I was unprepared for what happened this week.

When we went to the book store the other day, Noah bought some manga (language arts, art, cultural studies). Aengus? He bought The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, by Max Brooks.

When I started reading this to Aengus, I was pleasantly surprised by the academic topics we touched on. By page nine, we had discussed wilderness survival (life skills), first aid (life skills, health), the afterlife (religious studies), viruses versus bacteria and the transmission of each (health), sex (health), how nerves and the brain work, (biology)  the various body functions necessary for life (biology), reflexes and instincts (biology), and I had defined several vocabulary words for him.

For example: When describing zombies’ five (or six?) senses, Brooks writes

Zombies have, literally, no physical sensations. All nerve receptors throughout the body remain dead after reanimation. This is truly their greatest and most terrifying advantage over the living. We, as humans, have the ability to experience physical pain as a signal of bodily damage. Our brain classifies such sensations, matches them to the experience that instigated them, and then files the information away for use as a warning against future harm. It is this gift of physiology and instinct that has allowed us to survive as a species. It is why we value virtues such as courage, which inspires people to perform actions despite warnings of danger. The inability to recognize and avoid pain is what makes the walking dead so formidable. Wounds will not be noticed and, therefore, will not deter an attack. Even if a zombie’s body is severely damaged, it will continue to attack until nothing remains.

It turns out that in the context of something utterly ridiculous, something created for pure fun, we can extrapolate the study of any number of “academic” subjects. Can you imagine the discussion that follows reading such a paragraph? My son stays home with me, reading this stuff with me, so we actually had that discussion. Multiply that times 365, then by eighteen, and I’m pretty sure his education will be fairly broad by the time he moves out.

On top of which, he’ll survive with all the other homeschoolers.

Aengus’s interest in video games sparked his interest in this book, but also in  iPhone apps, online games, and many television shows, each of which has led to their own discussions. I am a book lover, but as an effective means to learn about the world, I’d say books come in dead last. Helpful and informative, but only in a supporting role. Video games, television, and other electronic media bring learning alive in a very real way.

My kids’ education isn’t leaving a paper trail. It’s leaving body parts.