Sunday, August 24, 2008

Unschooling Vs. School -- a teen's experience

I just wanted to post a shout-out to this blog I read today from a teenager who has written about his experience going to school for the first time (as a ninth grader) after unschooling the previous 8 years or so. He sounds like a really cool person, and is a great writer. He talks about his firsthand experience with loss of motivation caused by going to school, and about how easy it was for him. It confirmed my experience that most of what I learned I learned outside of school.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Why I Don't Support the Troops"

This letter from a reader of the Berkeley Planet newspaper got me to thinking about how I feel about the military. I see all the time those yellow ribbon things saying "support the troops" and remember even peace activists saying "support our troops by bringing them home." I have never felt that way. I just realized that the reason that I didn't like the strategy of saying that you can support the people in the military and at the same time not support war is that I think that anyone who is in the military has signed up to participate in war. How is this any better than becoming a gang member and shooting other gang members? I know that there are people who feel that the military is a way out of poverty, but there are other, more constructive ways. I support anyone who is willing to work for peace, and that does not include soldiers. If you want to use a gun, take up target shooting or something.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Things that bug me

These are things that bug me constantly, bouncing around in my head and torturing me incessantly. I hope that writing them down will help get them out of there, because some days I just want to whack them out!

1. My son has no sibling. I never thought I would raise a child without a sibling, but that's how it's worked out. I grieve for the sibling he has never had. I am constantly envious of anyone I know who has more than one child -- even strangers on the street. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how it sucks to be "fertility challenged" and getting too old to even see the reproductive endocrinologist. I am consumed with self-hatred for bringing a child into the world without any workable plan to give him a sibling (such as doing IVF instead back then and freezing some embryos to save for a sibling). I spend much of my time researching (fruitlessly so far) a cure for PCOS. I am simply miserable that I've had no luck (and had a miscarriage recently to boot).

2. My son will never know his maternal grandparents, and I do not have my mom to help out, talk to, back me up. I feel incredibly lonely and abandoned without her here. I am insanely envious of people who have their parents, and especially resent them complaining about them when they have no idea how hard it is to parent your child with no parents of your own to turn to (even if they may interfere too much, it's still something, love or whatever, for the child). I was recently at a birthday party where the birthday child had not only both his grandmothers there, but also two of his great-grandmothers. I was again, so consumed with envy, and angry for my son. My son will never ever have that. He's met his paternal grandmother, who is quite ill, once in his life, for a few days, which he barely remembers, and she is really quite out of it at this point. She hasn't even sent him so much as a frigging birthday card since he was a baby. I hate it that it angers me to see grandmothers doting on their grandchildren. I'm not angry at them, I'm angry at myself for having a kid knowing he'd never have that. And angry for him, and sad for him, that he won't have that extra love in his life. And angry at my mom for dying. And angry at myself for not doing more for her when she was alive so that maybe she would have lived. I feel overwhelmed that he's only got one generation, not two or three, to love him. Nobody who has their parents still alive can possibly understand how crappy it is. And I don't actually know anyone else who is in this position.

3. We live in an apartment. There are good things about it, like lots of other kids (although some of them are mean), but mostly it sucks. I hate it that we can't walk out our door and still feel at home. I hate it that we have nowhere to grow things. I'm so jealous of all the moms I meet who have homes. I hate myself for being jealous. I never expected to raise a child in such a place. It feels very wrong to me. But housing here is too expensive for any other options. Unless I go to work and put my son in daycare and full day kindergarten, which I hear is a nightmare. I feel trapped.

4. My son has terrible teeth. I don't even know how many fillings he's had now, there are so many. I hate that. And I have no idea what to do about it. I hate that.