It’s been quite a while since I posted anything – sorry! I have been caught up in college applications for quite a while now – they’re the most tedious and time consuming thing I’ve done, I think. But I’ve been doing some other things, too.
I now have a daily internship with Do713, a website that lets Houstonians know all the cool events that are going on in the city. I’m enjoying it a lot – I get to learn what it takes to manage a website, and I get to see all the cool stuff going on in H-town! I also love the people at my office – they’re mostly film people, writers, and computer programmers. It’s a pleasantly artsy place.
My puppetry friends and I recently finished a show for a Dia de Los Muertos celebration at one of my favorite museums, the Lawndale Art Center. It was fun, but really hard work.
I decided to assign myself a lot more classes through Clonlara – it’s gonna be hard to get all the credits I need, actually. But I know I can do it, and I’m really excited about it too!I’m taking Electronics/Basic Engineering, College Algebra, Composition, Literature, American Government, and Economics. Whew. I’ve been tackling most of these just with reading so far – I read a great book on basic electronics called There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings. For composition, I’m counting all the writing I do for Space City Rock as credit. I do a lot of it, trust me. For Economics and American Government, I’ve been using The Ludwig von Mises Institute heavily. I’m taking a College Algebra course at Houston Community College, and for Literature I’m currently reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The other projects I’m working on are more in the arts category. The creator of Houston’s Suchu Dance (which I love) has created a choreography contest, in which somebody submits a video of a short dance piece that they’ve created and performed. I’m entering this contest with my friend Rachel. I’ve never done any kind of dance before, (but I really really love to watch it) so it should be interesting!
I’m also thinking about entering a teen art competition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. I’ll let you know more about it when I have a better idea of what my submission will be…
Anyway, sorry it’s been so long! I’ll keep you all posted on college and all my other projects.
Everyone has started going back to school now, so no longer will I have friends to play with 24/7. I’m okay with that, though. I’ve got quite a few things planned myself.
Some friends and I have succesfully organized a small local homeschooling group. Our hope is to be able to do some projects and cool stuff together, and generally just to learn from each other. Two of the members are twin brothers who are very interested in musical theater and military history, one is a girl who loves rock orchestras and roller derby, and then there’s my dear friend Ciaran (who is currently obsessed with permaculture and poetry) and myself. We’re a pretty diverse group, and I think we’ll gain a lot from being together.
So, if you’re going back to school today, I’m sorry.
Tonight’s agenda? Listen to the Rolling Stones, read some James Joyce, and watch movies with my homeschool friends. Jealous yet?
Wish you were here!
For a while I was thinking about simply not worrying about teaching myself any math this year, since I have all the math credits required to graduate Clonlara. But the fact is, I will most likely face math in college, (this really depends on where I end up going and what I major in…) or else I’ll test out of it. So I have to learn some math. But math textbooks are generally boring and tedious enough to make one weep at the sight of it, so I set out in search of a better resource…
I found it when a couple of my unschooled friends suggested a website they had used. It’s called Khan Academy, and it’s truly an incredible example of how much one person can accomplish. Salman Khan has created a huge library of teaching videos, (over 1600!) all of them easy to follow, that he has made free and available to everyone online. They’re great videos for visual learners (like me) – I’ve spent all day reviewing algebra, trigonometry and geometry with them. Next, I plan on moving to pre-calculus.
Whether you love math or you’re more like I am, Khan Academy is a good place to look for easily understandable explanations of math concepts. Below, Khan outlines the content of the database he’s compiled and gives suggestions for how to tackle all of it.
So I’ve been allowing myself a little break over the summer, but things are about to start picking up.
Clonlara, the program I’m homeschooling through, starts its semester on September 7. I’ve been putting together my curriculum and reading list, and planning for the year. Through this process I discovered that I only need one thing to graduate Clonlara – a half credit of American Government! I’ve been thinking about how to go about earning this credit, (suggestions are appreciated!) while also putting together some just-for-fun classes that will show up on my transcript, even though they’re not required. A little extra credit never hurt anyone.
But my schedule will not be totally blank, despite the minimal graduation requirements. I’ve already landed two internships – one with a local radio station, KPFT, and the other with the Houston Center for Photography – and I just applied for a job at a resale clothing store. Who ever said homeschoolers are lazy?
So right now I’m just reading, writing, and catching up on classic films, and planning for my family’s trip to Ireland in September (I’m going to read Dubliners by James Joyce while I’m there!) I know I’ve been quiet for a while, but don’t worry – I’ll be very diligent about letting you all know the things I’m learning about.
For a lot of people, unschooling is scary because it means that you’re responsible for the way that you spend all of your time. Creating a kind of “schedule of priorities” is a good way to plan some of your activities while leaving room for the flexibility that every unschooler wants.
Remember that unschooling is an opportunity to specialize more than you would in school – in other words, you can focus on the things that really matter to you without worrying about the subjects that you aren’t interested in. Although this is great, it’s easy to get a little lost if you don’t have at least a general idea of what you’re aiming for.
Clonlara, the homeschooling program that I’m enrolled in, is helping me as I create my “classes”, but not everyone is lucky enough to have that kind of help. If you’re creating your schedule from scratch, I’ve got a couple suggestions.
1. Read Blake Boyles College Without Highschool. Whether you’re in high school, college, or have already graduated, this book has some great tips on organizing how you spend your scarce and precious time. It will also point you to some potential adventures that you hadn’t thought of before.
2. Think about the things that you love doing. Sports? Painting? Underwater basket weaving? Make a list. Think about which things you want to spend the most time doing, and how you can best learn more about them/ advance your skills in that area.
3. Look for classes, internships, job opportunities, and volunteer organizations in your area that pertain to the things that you love doing. Looking in the classified section of your newspaper or on your local Craigslist is a good idea.
4. Plan around the things that you have to do. If your parents are making you take a math course at a community college, for instance, account for the time spent doing that, and make sure not to schedule anything else at the same time.
5. Connect with people and organizations that are interested in the same things you are. For example, getting to know the writers in your city could be very beneficial when you need somebody to recommend your work to a publisher!
6. Don’t get stuck planning. Instead of thinking vaguely about all the things you will spend your time doing in the future, go out and do them! Once you have a basic plan, it’s time to put it into action.
I’ve always had a problem with the public school system, and really with America’s mindset concerning education in general. But only recently have I become aware of just how destructive the government’s role in our education system is. People gasp at the proposition of decreasing the amount of money given to public schooling – don’t you want our children to be educated? The truth is, reducing the amount of government intervention (yes, that includes federal money) in schools would very drastically and very quickly improve the quality of genuine education among students.
Just imagine – a world in which textbooks are not issued by people with political incentives, but by people with the desire actually educate. That’s the kind of world I’d love to live in, and the kind of world I’m willing to help create.