Thursday, March 02, 2006

First Flower of 2006, and other little news

Originally uploaded by SandraDodd.
Well, it's the first flower in MY yard. It's still working on opening up all the way. The color started to show on the last day of February. On the first day of March, the news said we had set a record for the driest winter in recorded history. The next day it rained—not much, but late afternoon when we were picking Marty up from the airport.

Marty went to Legoland. He paid for his own airfare, and he bought viking Lego with his own debit card. The group outing was organized by Live and Learn Conference attendees and friends of theirs, who formed a mailing list for the western U.S., so there were others there he knew from the conference, and some unschoolers he hadn't met as well.

When Marty was at Legoland, it rained. It rained the next day too. It was hot and dry in Albuquerque. By the time Marty's plane arrived here, it was raining, lightly. He brought photos of Legoland, full of flowers. He said Carlsbad, California, is full of flower-market flowers. We just got the first flower of the season.

When Pam Sorooshian visited in January, I bought some not-quite-opened bulbs from Raley's where Marty works and brought them home so they could open, and later I could plant the bulbs in the yard for next year. Pam didn't know about forced bulbs, because she has always lived where flowers can bloom all year.

I'm tired but content. The past couple of weeks were busy and productive and exhausting. Last night the house had just our family, and all of our family, though Marty and Kirby didn't see each other, and I went to bed early (for me, 10:00). Holly took care of making sure Marty's apron for work went into and came out of the dryer. I will thank her profusely, when she wakes up, this afternoon.

OH! That reminds me. ElleGirl Magazine will have a half-page article (fullpage, but large stock art of a girl none of us knows) on unschooling in its April issue. The writer spent lots of time on the phone with three families, at least, but it doesn't much show. Her editor insisted she talk to college admissions officers. She asked me for contacts. I said that Roxana Sorooshian had just spoken with an advisor at St. John's College in Santa Fe that week, and she might call him. I warned her she was likely to talk to people who knew nothing about unschooling. She did. So along with several wan quotes from the unschoolers she interviewed, she had two more solid (but easily refutable) quotes from a school psychologist and a Harvard admissions person. The unschoolers quoted were Holly, Brenna and Roya. Others named were Kirby, Marty, Sandra and Gail, alll people we know. The other two were add-ons for "balance," but it wasn't balance so much as refutation by the unqualified-to-comment. Bummer. It could have been so much better, so easily.

So how do I feel about Holly being used to help sell advertising for glittery eye make-up and studded handbags? If they hadn't talked to us they would have found other unschoolers. If they hadn't wasted our time it would've been someone else's. If I'd had a fancier camera, they'd've used photos of Holly instead of a stranger lying in a field of flowers. But their magazine is about appearances, and unschooling isn't much about appearances at all. Probably it just wasn't a very good match. Those interested in wearing those clothes and that makeup probably need to "stay on track" so they can get jobs writing fluffy articles for New York fashion magazines. The reporter was nice enough, but in the end she got paid real money, while unschooling was shortchanged.

Still, Holly's life IS peaceful, even though we have only one daffodil and not a field of flowers. Her brothers like her. She sat in the hot tub with both her parents last night ("if it's okay with you," she said, when she said she'd like to go in too). She finished her brother's laundry so he and I could sleep. You can't photograph that with any camera.


Andrea R said...

Hi Sandra! I surfed by today specifically because I read the article in Elle Girl just now, even though I have ben by some other times.

Sarah, my 14 year old daughter, was the one who pointed it out to me. She thought they did a reasonable job for a mainstream magazine. At least the idea of unschooling got planted in some young minds. They could have done a lot better, too, but I guess they'd get a lot of flak from parents (and the all-important advertisers) if they encouraged kids to drop out. Hmm...

I do find it ultimately ironic that even though the magazine is the typical teen mag, they try to tout the "be an individual" line - as long as the girls still be individual within their standards?

I'll be interested to see what kind of letters to the editor they get. And I can't find it linked anywhere online, least of all their site.

Which is full of blinking graphics and loads of pink. Ick.

(And I feel the need to justify Sarah getting ElleGirl because she really just reads the music articles. ;) )

samuel said...

Hi, Sandra, I skated over here from Andrea's blog, the whole Elle thing. And it was so nice to be greeted by the daffodil.
You never know what little seed falls some random place and grows. It wasn't that long ago that I hadn't met a particular Sandra or Joyce or Ren, and while I don't really remember the exact path that brought me, I and my kids are better off for it.
Let's count on that article doing some good.

Sandra Dodd said...

You're both right. And honestly, if they had published a GLOWING article, it would have made lots of their readers very unhappy. So this way they can be exposed to the idea and still be reassured (by experts!) that it's not really a good idea.

It will make it easier for them to go to school, and do their homework, and all that. They'll be certain they could never have read the magazine at all if they hadn't gone to school, I guess. And that will be a comfort.

Leslie said...

My 14 year old daughter Mallory and I just read the article in Elle Girl, actually that's why I bought the magazine.
From the article I saw your website and right now I'm reading everything I can get my hands on that has to do with homeschooling or unschooling. This past year is our first experience learning at home. Mal came to us asking to try 8th grade at home not wanting to deal with the madness at middle school anymore, and although it's gone very well the curriculum I purchased is still very structured and classroom like. Mal is an amazing writer and artist and I would love to just let her focus on that for a while but my fears of her being college ready hold me back. I know I still have much to learn but because of Moms like you willing to put the experiences of your wonderful family out there for others to learn from maybe I'll catch up sooner than later.