First, a little music:
- "She Dreamt She Was a Bulldozer, She Dreamt She Was Alone in an Empty Field," godspeed you! black emperor
- "Strange Apparition," Beck (diggin’ the super-catchy piano riff)
- "Crime," The Clean Prophets
- "Hello Mrs. Darkness," Reverend Horton Heat
- "Morning Song," Zero 7
- "Close to Me," The Cure
- "Spy vs. Spy," Combustible Edison
- "Old School," Dangerdoom feat. Talib Kweli ("My born days I used to blow out the candles/and every Saturday watch cartoons ’til noon/and then I switch to Ralph McDaniels/I was makin’ up a miracle flow over the cereal bowl")
- "Should I Stay or Should I Go?," The Clash (I am never sure how to order a run of punctuation marks like that)
- "Apnoea," Kasabian (my favorite new British snot-rock band!)
And now a report on the doings of the Jedi Temple Academy.
I am seriously considering expanding our student roster by one. Though I’m the most pro-public school homeschooler around, there are Developments in Fisher’s educational career that are leaving me less than thrilled.
Fisher wants to be Cool. He wants to be Cool so desperately that he’s losing a good chunk of his real self in the drive to be hipper, faster, and smarter-assed than the next kid. He wants attention from the other kids in his class, and I’m afraid that in the process he’s turning into a bit of a jerk. Not constantly, and (I hope) not irrevocably, but he’s acting just like one of the jerky cool kids we all remember from elementary/middle school.
The really amazing thing is how little time he needs to spend away from school before he sheds that troublesome veneer and starts behaving like my goofy obsessive utterly uncool sweetheart boy again. Usually all it takes is about 40 percent of a weekend, and he and Rhys are the best of buddies again, coming up with wild pirate-related schemes and making menus for their fictitious restaurant and suchlike. He asks if he can work on the story he’s writing on the other computer; he comes, Rhyslike, into my office and stands behind my chair waiting for me to acknowledge him so he can clamber into my lap and bruise me with his bony hips and elbows.
And his schoolwork is less than stellar. He’s gotten in trouble several times in the last couple weeks for doodling inappropriate doodles in the margins of his worksheets (always the worksheets!)–the most recent episode was one in which, rather than dutifully answering the questions about shipboard life posed in Scholastic News, he "improved" the goat featured in the Xeroxed illustration by adding a pile of poop beneath its butt. Even the papers that are not doodled on (very few of them) look like he lollygagged around until thirty seconds before the assignment was due, then scribbled any old thing on the paper and handed it in.
I’m not blaming his performance on the school system, except perhaps to note in passing that his behavior seems very like that of a child who is Not Challenged and thus Bored Stiff. But he should be able to control himself enough to do a good job on his assignments, then perhaps turn his attention to a worthwhile book (or, more likely, one of those godforsaken Star Wars novels he loves).
Also: poem memorization. Rhys recently memorized the first stanza of "Block City" by Robert Louis Stevenson. ("What are you able to build with your blocks?/ Castles and palaces, temples and docks./ Rain may keep raining, and others go roam/ But I can be happy, building at home.") When Rhys presented this to the family over dinner, Fisher wanted to impress us with the poem his class had committed to memory:
In a garden
In a tree
In a flower
Lives a bee.
I lied. I have a comment, and it is this: he could be spending his time doing more challenging things. I don’t want him to do what smart kids often do, which is get bored in school and occupy their attention in negative ways. That’s a train that is very hard to stop once it’s been launched into motion.
Well, darn it, I was going to do some deep philosophical musing about educational philosophy and "home school" vs. "home learning" and the concept of unschooling, but I sorta got sidetracked. Maybe next time.
So am I a huge coward for not pulling Fisher out of school because I like his teacher and don’t want her to think I think she’s not doing a good job? I think she’s doing a fantastic job with the resources available to her. My kid’s just weird.