Still Waiting on My Apology, Chris…

Chocolates_and_RibbonIt’s been about a month, now.

Election Night, Nov. 3rd, to be exact. The TV was on. But I was only listening as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews bullied some whiteshirt. I putzed, waiting for Rachel Maddow—a reason to actually watch the screen. Maddow has this really wacky interview technique. She asks a question, and then she shuts the fuck up and lets somebody else talk. Unlike Matthews, who uses the other guy in the room as his straight man.

Suddenly, I hear the word “homeschooling.” I prick up my ears and look to see Matthews pulling off the final wing of Chris Chocola. Who? Turns out he’s a former Indiana Republican Congressman and now is “the President and CEO of the Club for Growth, America’s leading limited-government, free-enterprise political advocacy group,” to quote the CFG website. Enough said. You get his drift.

Matthews interrupted Chocola’s response to forward his own POV… “homeschooling, where you don’t go to public school ‘cause you don’t want to mix with other people…” Then Chris turns up his nose and proclaims he “would consider that culturally conservative, at least.”

I am many things. But “culturally conservative” I am not. Within the hour, I’m banging out an email to Matthews. Short, but not sweet. I scold him for insinuating ALL home educators are living in bunkers. I wish!

Weeks pass. Matthews must have gotten distracted from my apology by the shootings at Fort Hood, troop escalation in Afghanistan and, tonight, by golfer Tiger Woods’ domestic dispute. Again, I was being too lazy to change the channel, just listening to Chris making light of whatever really went down on late Thanksgiving night with Woods, his wife and a golf club.

Matthews confesses he was out of the country when the Escalade hit the fire hydrant. And he goes on to share he was, in fact, in London with his daughter, who’s “going to school over there.” College in London, huh, Chris? I would consider that culturally conservative, at least.

What’s a Metaphor? Cows

meadow.cowsEmily Dickenson is a little too flowery for my taste, but her poetry is ideal to use for our studies, especially as examples of metaphors, similes and personifications. And although I can’t articulate why I know those writing techniques are important in the education of Morgan, they are.

Granted you could read, “The hills untied their bonnets,” never identify the phrase as a personification, yet glean its meaning. But, I believe, the quality and depth of that visualization is enhanced by the acknowledgement of the author’s intent. Oh, she meant to do that…

So if you aren’t using a structured grammar or poetry program that explains those concepts, how are children introduced to them? Maybe unschooled kids read prose or poetry that uses such comparisons; they intrinsically get it and move on without conversation. Because I’ve never heard a kid ask, “Hey, Mom, what’s a metaphor?” Have you?

The same can be said for science—the three states of matter, the water cycle, potential vs. kinetic energy. Math, geography, history, language, literature, even music and art. Concepts build from and mutate into others. Can you appreciate Picasso without being aware of his admiration of El Greco? Probably. Would a kid know to ask who or what influenced Pablo? Would he care? And does it even matter? I don’t know. But all those Devil-in-the-details sure make for a more interesting story.

Knowledge is power.