Tag Archives: Homeschool

Real Life?

19 May

(Click here for this post’s year-old predecessor)

My current moment of celebration has been brought to us by this fact: I graduated high school last Friday night. 

It follows then, that now I’ve been on the receiving end of a surplus of advice and/or inspiring comments. I’ve been told both that my life has finally begun and that nothing really changes after graduation (Don’t be a motivational speaker, friend). Mm, and yes, my college plans have been questioned seventy-nine times in the past three days.

But even that is not enough to bring me down at the moment. I had a blast graduating, I did so with some terribly cool people, and I am super stoked to no longer be asked what school I go to, or what I’m doing after graduation. (the spirit of the second question will still be present often, but I choose to at least appreciate the change of tense)

I am no longer a high schooler. 

This is joyous news.

But I have a mission in today’s post, one that I must not forget – the geek speech. I mentioned this topic last year, when I got super stoked about putting fandom references in my grad speech and wrote a post (linked above) about how I would let you in on it someday.

That day is here. I have linked every otherwise-unidentified reference for explanation purposes.

 _________________________________________________

*pats microphone*

First off, what a turnout!

How wild is this, huh?

All we did was complete twelve years of schooling. And now look at us. Dressed in glorified trash bags. How far we’ve come.

But where to begin on the list of people we couldn’t have done this without?

I do feel like it would be an injustice not to give a shout-out to my school curriculum, so as much as I’d like to ignore Abeka and Saxon, I do have to say thank you to Adventures in Odyssey and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for being the thinly-veiled education machines that made up a good chunk of the important things I learned in my school years.

And of course, I have been immeasurably blessed by the people in my life. My friends are the best, most fantastic friends I could ask for, and my family is beyond marvelous. I can not say enough good things about them, and I could not have hoped for anyone better to be raised around. My parents, especially, have been so much better to me than I deserve. I want you all to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are loved. By so many, and so much, and by no one more than me – except maybe One. I thank the Lord for you daily, which leads to the next order of business – thanking the Creator who made every bit of this possible. Thank you for your strength, your wisdom, your unconditional love, and of course, for this moment. For all these bright young men and women who are ready to get down to business to defeat the tons of opposition that we may face.

After all, the protagonist of every story finds herself in a battle at some point.

And we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one. Cos it is, you know? It’s the best. Remember, all of our stories have already been written by the best author our universe has ever produced – or, actually, the best author that ever produced our universe. And stories are not meant only to entertain, but to teach. There are lessons in stories. The moral of the Three Bears, for instance, is never break into someone else’s house. The moral of Snow White is never eat apples. The moral of WWI is never assassinate the Archduke Ferdinand. What will our stories tell others? That’s up to us. But we really ought to make it interesting, make it inspiring. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. And you know God does not create anything that doesn’t make some sort of glorious difference in the world. After all, no artist can resist signing his work.

The world didn’t come with any extra parts, but it didn’t come with any that were interchangeable either.

We all have something that no one else has, and that thing is exactly what the world needs, and the thing we need to give away.

In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” This place is not our home. But any good houseguest knows that you should leave a place in better condition than when you first arrived in it. It’s no different here – except that you don’t usually find opposition when you try to clean a guesthouse.

The world, however, will do what it does best and tell us to do what everyone else is doing, and to stick to the status quo but the status is not quo. The world is a mess, and we just need to… school it. It is our job to educate the world, to go and make disciples. Be fishermen, be fishers of men. So we’ll beat on, boats against the current. And, I don’t know, fly casual.

Madeleine L’engle once said, fittingly, “When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

This isn’t my favorite truth to accept, but it’s definitely a pre-requisite. I don’t pretend to be grown-up now, but I know I’m on that road. I mean, all children, except one, grow up, but our pace on that journey, the way we deal with the walk, who we become along the way is all on us. And this milestone we call graduation, it means growing up far, far less than it represents it.

Regardless of age, you have always been important, you have always been something. Age just reveals the facts that always were, and experience uncovers the you that always was. Never let people look down on you because you are young. Set an example.

And if you’re ever discouraged, the world gets on your back, and you find yourself beating yourself up and saying that now would be a really good time for you to grow up – don’t ever allow yourself to be downtrodden. Growing up is an adventure, not a destination – and that’s your secret.

You’re always growing up.

Thanks for sticking with me today and for the past years.

Catch… you… later.

_______________________________________________

In closing, I just want to extend the warmest thank you to my excellent friends who used the moment after to yell out,

“No you won’t!”

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Additionally: Because Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

16 Oct

Let me tell you a thing about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

It’s marvelous. Eleven plays on three theaters for around nine months. The actors are consistently superb, and the the plays never disappoint. I look forward to OSF every year, and try to glean as much advance knowledge about every season as I possibly can.

For example, I found out they were doing My Fair Lady around September of last year, so I have been looking forward to this season for something way too long. I watched the previews, researched the actors, counted down the days, and finally, finally, actually went to OSF and watched the plays.

I went with a group this year, as I have every year since 2010. It started out as a thing my literature group did, but each year, more people come who want to go to OSF with group rate tickets, and this time around we ended up with about fifty people, mainly teens and a few of their parents.

So obviously there was some carpooling involved, and, once again obviously, there was a lot of singing involved in that particular process. The people in my car were really good sports about this (you’re a woman of steel, mom). I shared a ride with my friends the Wasp, the Invisible Woman, the Scarlet Witch, and Mockingbird.

(Those are real people, by the way. Those may not be their real names, but I promise I didn’t just name four of my imaginary friends.)

Heading up the group is a person about whom I have blogged before, so you can feel as though you already know her (we’ll call her Martha Smith). You may remember a few months back when I spent an entire post trying to calm myself down because someone insulted my favorite book?

There she is!

I had thought I’d passed this particular stumbling block of rage in my life; I respect this woman after all, she is very sweet most of the time, and she used to write nice things in the margins of my essays when I was in her class.

The second morning we were in Ashland, Martha Smith called us all together after breakfast to talk about the play we had seen the night before, and the play we were going to see that night (I talk about those plays here). Somehow, it turned into a talk about something else entirely.

“I read a lot of books to find the right ones for our class. One of which was Wrinkle in Time, which was completely irredeemable, no value to be found…. I just wouldn’t waste my time on it.”

Read those last two sentences again, replacing “Wrinkle in Time” with the name of your best friend, and you’ll have a ballpark idea of how I felt. And I was in the front row, man. There were people around me. So, instead of growling like a feral dog, like I did with the whole email fiasco, I turned to the Invisible Woman and mouthed “Get me out of here.” She’s a good soul, and gave me her hand to squeeze until the subject changed.

But it came back.

Days later, but the subject did come back.

We had a couple more days full of unbridled awesome, brought to life by unhealthy amounts of references to fictional universes, quoting British dramas, singing show tunes, and using My Fair Lady-inspired pick-up lines (Hey girl. I’ve grown accustomed to your face).

Thursday was our last full day, and its most anticipated-events  were showers at a swimming pool (Up until now, it had been forty-something teenagers with no showers for three days. Not ideal.) and an interview with an Ashland actor.

Our group has been doing this since 2011; we kidnap an actor as he tries to leave the theater and lead him blind-folded into our midst. We then pelt him with weird questions until he weeps. (at least, that’s what it feels like)

It’s good fun!

This year, we interviewed Joe Wegner, who played Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

One of the questions was about whether Wegner knew the actor who played the easy-on-the-eyes Robin Hood (John Tufts), whom our group had seen in Heart of Robin Hood the night before.

When Wegner answered positively, and mentioned that Tufts had recently had a baby with his wife, the girl in front of me headdesked.

Just let her head fall down on the table in defeat.

It was tragic.

I widened my eyes, distanced myself from her, and hoped that I wasn’t quite as painfully obvious when I fangirled.

And then I went home and blogged to strangers about my fangirlisms.

Hm.

Moving on?

Halfway into the interview, in between references to Game of Thrones, Zoolander, and Bruce Almighty, Wegner began to address a question regarding the actor casting process.

“Actually,”

he concluded,

“I’ve been cast for this one play, you guys might have read it; it’s actually a world premiere, Wrinkle in Time?”

Evidently, I forgot that real people were sitting around me, because I gasped like a drowning woman and adopted a facial expression not unlike the one I had on while Robin Hood was gallivanting around the stage with a certain ring.

So, you know.

He continued,

“I play Calvin.”

I got to talk to this actor afterward, shake his hand (Didn’t want to creep him out by tackling him and telling him what a perfect Calvin he would make), and ask him about who was playing Meg.

She’s perfect, by the way.

Everything is perfect.

Wrinkle in Time and Ashland and Calvin and Meg and sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows

What?

Sorry. I’m fine. Let’s get back on track here.

It’s worth mentioning that at the end of the trip, my friend Lestrade (once again: real person, fake name) talked to Martha Smith and confronted her with the beauty that is Wrinkle in Time and why it had a profound effect on her.

Martha even sort of apologized to the Madeleine L’engle fans the next morning.

Good on you, mate.

This was a fantastic trip, as it has been every time I attend. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is up there with Christmas on my list of favorite annual events. And while this trip certainly set the bar high…

I’m very excited for 2014.

Maybe I should read Wrinkle in Time again to prepare.

Real Life

27 May

Last Saturday evening, I watched seventeen homeschool kids graduate from high school.

For me, it was mainly a two hour long reminder that next year, it’s my turn.

And then I have to start thinking about real life.

Be right back, I have to stress-eat myself into a stupor.

I was just talking to Invisible Woman about this, as she is graduating in my year. As we stood in a room crowded with people congratulating our friend who starts college soon, Invisible Woman said, “It seems like, as I get older, the graduates keep getting younger.” Right? I thought it would take forever to get to graduating age. Spoiler alert: It took a lot less time than that.

So let’s get serious. I suppose it’s time now. It’s time to start planning my life.

Whoa, slow down. Not that serious. I’m thinking as far ahead as graduation ceremony speech. Let’s not get carried away, here.

One thing is known about my speech so far (besides the pre-requisite thanking of my enormously spectacular parents and Creator). It must be one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever written. I want it to be subtle enough that non-fangirls and boys will just think that the speech is riddled with oddly-put cliches, but to those in the know – every word a reference. There should be Doctor Who and Lemony Snicket and Disney and Sherlock and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dr. Horrible and Fawlty Towers and Star Wars. There needs to be random selections spoken in a British accent and others to be pronounced as if I were Will Ferrell. And if I can blackmail one of my friends into completing a quote for me from the audience, I most definitely will.

I want to warn you all. I just might try the speech out on you to see how it goes over.

Graduation day is your last hurrah to your school days before something like real life begins (which I am, in fact, going to try to start planning), is it not? So what is the point in its being superfluously “adult”?

The day may come when I must act like a grown-up, but it is not that day!

That day we fight graduate!

Home Teached

17 Apr

Hello there, I’m a homeschooler.

Now, let’s get something out of the way – I am not painfully shy. I am not friendless. I am not forbidden to watch movies above a G rating. And I do not think I am better than you.

Boom! In case you haven’t yet figured it out, I would like to maliciously attack a stereotype today. A stereotype that has gotten in the way of several potentially pleasant conversations: homeschoolers are all the same, sad bunch of backward kids. And they are to be pitied.

Let me just clear up that definition real quick.

Expectation vs. realityYes, on occasion, you will find a homeschooler like that quiet, quivering, unsociable one you are now picturing in your head. They are not unheard of, but assuming that we are all like that is like me assuming that all kids that go to a public school are stuck-up Draco Malfoys. It’s just not true. I guess my point is, generalizations are always bad ideas (and no, the irony of that statement was not lost on me). Lest we forget, social ineptitude is not an exclusively home-schooled trait.

My mum has a friend who used to be a school teacher, and she seems to subscribe to the other popular homeschool stereotype that homeschoolers don’t actually learn anything throughout their schooling experience. She cornered me after church the other day and decided to help me unleash my potential by pelting me with fifty billion questions (or so) about what I was going to do once I graduated.

I had the urge to tell her that I didn’t want to get extra education; instead, I wanted to marry a farmer and move to Montana to raise thirty-seven children (and double that amount of livestock) and never take a shower. And probably wear the same denim skirt for the rest of my life!

… I did not say that. (I celebrate my small victories)

I did, however, decide to dodge her in the future.

To help you all to avoid being this person in a conversation, I have some tips for you:

  • Don’t act like homeschoolers are some mysterious breed of animal.
  • Don’t give them a pitying look and whisper, “Do you… like being homeschooled?” This question in itself is not terrible – just don’t ask it as if you are speaking to something that might die any second.
  • Don’t ask if they have any friends. (Really, guys? Really?)
  • Don’t ask “How do you meet people?” Would you ask a public schooler whether they’d ever met someone outside of their school? No, because it’s weird. I call double standard!

Need additional information? This guy says it way better than I do.

Good talk, everyone!

You are now prepared to meet the wild homeschooler.