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Bad Excuses for Not Homeschooling, Tight-Faced Poets, and Building Self-Esteem Through Next Actions

Resource: The real reason parents don’t homeschool
Link: http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2013/01/24/the-real-reason-parents-dont-homeschool/

Reflections/Notes:

Provocative but fun. Very intriguing. I want to look at the links in the post to go deeper on some of her supporting claims and additional insights.

Homeschooling reduces the cost of living because it leaves you free to choose your neighborhood without having to worry about the school district.

Homeschooling reduces the need for constant fun/vacation-type activities because these needs are often born out of the misery of having to be at school all day.

Living near “cultural opportunities” is overrated. You can create your own and it’s much cheaper and more fun.

The real reason parents homeschool is because they don’t want to be bored at home with their kids all day. But your boredom as a parent is more easily remedied because you can do something about. If your child is stuck at school, there’s not much they can do.

Excerpts/Quotes:

On the inexpensiveness of homeschooling and how it lowers housing costs:

“For example, you can move to a cheap neighborhood. There is no way you need two incomes to maintain a homeschool family because you can live in a very low-cost-of-living area because you will not be using the school district. It does not cost money to do what most kids want to do—which is play and hang out with their parents and their friends. Kids don’t need vacations from a life that is fun. People take vacations from life that is full of homework and waking up at 7am to catch a bus. So the big expenses in your life go away.”

On the illusion that it’s important to live near “cultural opportunities:

“Also, parents live in a fantasy land, thinking they need to live near cultural opportunities for kids. If your kid is totally driven in one area and an expert and needs the best of the best, then absoltuely she should be homeschooled anyway. For all other kids, having a smidgen of dance (track national tours of big dance troupes), hearing one orchestra (we have season tickets in Madison), going to one big city and seeing whatever museums are there (Indianapolis has the country’s number-one children’s museum) this is enough. Kids don’t need the 4000 dinaosaur bones in the Museum of Natural History. If the tradeoff for being near phenomenal cultural institutions is that kids spend eight hours a day in school because the parents have to pay to live there, then it’s not worth it.”

If you need two incomes to pay off your debt, then your kids are the real debt payers:

“Debt can wait. Let’s say you’re paying off a lot of debt. We do not have debtor’s prison. So you can pay it off over 50 years, on one salary, and that would be fine. Or if you can’t pay it off over 50 years on one salary then get a reality check: you qualify for bankruptcy and you should take it. But when you say you need two incomes to pay off debt, do you know who is really paying off the debt? Your kids. Because they have to go to school so you can pay off debt. It’s not worth it.”

The real reason parents don’t homeschool:

“The truth is that people don’t homeschool because they would rather go to work than be with kids all day. It’s understandable. Who wouldn’t? If you are good at work then you have engaging projects, interesting conversation, and an all-round stimulating environment. I like work better than being home with kids as well. And work is a thousand times easier for me.”

Why having two working parents isn’t the best choice:

“in exchange for two working parents getting really cool work environments, the kids have a dull existence at a school that does not cater to them nearly as well as work caters to parents who enjoy work….But you have to weigh the fun of going to work vs the destruction of sending kids to school. Kids do not have enough control over their school life to make it better. But parents have total control over their home life. So they can stop working, rearrange things for homeschooling, and then figure out how to make homelife interesting for themselves, too.”

On the real choice parents must make:

“The real choice for most parents is do they choose to have their kids bored at school or do they choose to be bored themselves at home? And the real question is, which problem is more easily remedied?”

Resource: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/04/19/gwendolyn-brooks-advice-winnie/
Link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/04/19/gwendolyn-brooks-advice-winnie/

Reflections/Notes:

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first black writer to win the Pulitizer Prize.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t hedge. Don’t hold back. Write with force, style, personality, and edginess. Don’t be a tight-faced poet overly occupied with concerns about being prim and proper.

Let your poems speak through you as it desires. Don’t force everything to be happy and inspiring. Life isn’t always neat and nice. Sometimes it’s gross, dark, sleazy, rough. and many other things. Let your poetry have as many dimensions as life itself.

The reader should not expect all of his questions to be answered for him by a piece of writing. The words on a page are just a bouncing off point. The reader should accept his/her reading materials and invitation to do the hard and prolonged work of thinking.

Excerpts/Quotes:

Gwendolyn Brooks on writing with edginess and earnestness:

“In writing your poem, tell the truth as you know it. Tell your truth. Don’t try to sugar it up. Don’t force your poem to be nice or proper or normal or happy if it does not want to be. Remember that poetry is life distilled and that life is not always nice or proper or normal or happy or smooth or even-edged.”

Brooks on the reader’s responsibility for thinking:

“A poem doesn’t do everything for you. You are supposed to go on with your thinking. You are supposed to enrich
the other person’s poem with your extensions, your uniquely personal understandings, thus making the poem serve you.”

Brooks on the weakness of tight-faced poetry:

“I am tired of little tight-faced poets sitting down to shape perfect unimportant pieces. Poems that cough lightly — catch back a sneeze. This is the time for Big Poems, roaring up out of sleaze, poems from ice, from vomit, and from tainted blood. This is the time for stiff or viscous poems. Big, and Big.”

Resource: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Reflections/Notes:

When you start to make things happen, you begin to believe you can make things happen, and then you begin to make even more things happen.

When people complain, ask the what the next actions are. This undermines the victim mindset and forces them to consider what they can change. Consistently asking yourself about the next action does more for your self-esteem than just doing affirmations.

Do things when they “show up, not when they blow up.”

People get overwhelmed when they allow the items on their next actions list to morph back into stuff. Keep things well defined with the next actions question.

Excerpts/Quotes:

“You are either attracted or repelled by the things on your lists; there isn’t any neutral territory. You are either positively drawn toward completing the action or reluctant to think about what it is and resistant to getting involved in it. Often it’s simply the next-action decision that makes the difference between the two extremes.”

“Thinking and deciding require energy. And when you notice something unfinished in your world but haven’t determined what the next action is yet, you’ll tend to be reminded of your fatigue and sense of being overwhelmed! Hence most people’s reaction to their own lists and organizers is negative—not because of the contents per se, but rather because sufficient appropriate thinking has yet to be applied to them. ”

“Avoiding action decisions until the pressure of the last minute creates huge inefficiencies and unnecessary stress. ”

“Perhaps the greatest benefit of adopting the next-action approach is that it dramatically increases your ability to make things happen, with a concomitant rise in your self-esteem and constructive outlook. ”

“Asking yourself, “What’s the next action?” undermines the victim mentality. It presupposes that there is a possibility of change, and that there is something you can do to make it happen. That is the assumed affirmation in the behavior. And these kinds of assumed affirmations often work more fundamentally to build a positive self-image than can repeating, “I am a powerful, effective person, making things happen in my life!” a thousand times. ”

“The next time someone moans about something, try asking, “So what’s the next action?” People will complain only about something that they assume could be better than it currently is. The action question forces the issue. If it can be changed, there’s some action that will change it. If it can’t, it must be considered part of the landscape to be incorporated in strategy and tactics. Complaining is a sign that someone isn’t willing to risk moving on a changeable situation, or won’t consider the immutable circumstance in his or her plans. This is a temporary and hollow form of self-validation. ”

“We are all already powerful, but deciding on and effectively managing the physical actions required to move things forward seems to exercise that power in ways that call forward the more positive aspects of our nature. When you start to make things happen, you begin to believe that you can make things happen. And that makes things happen. “

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