Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning Dangerously Newsletter #3

Thanks to all the new subscribers; I hope you like it! Once a week now, I'm going to randomly draw a name from the new subscribers from the previous week and give them an autographed copy of YEAR OF LEARNING DANGEROUSLY. This week the winner is Beth Pranger; Beth, get in touch! What can I tell you about homeschooling? Well, there’s a lot of stuff associated with it. I don’t mean baggage; yes, relatives will continue to ask if your child will ever go back to “Real school,” and there’s always a stranger eager to tell you that you’re a selfish freak whose hobby is child-ruining, but after a while that emotional flotsam and jetsam will be less annoying than your children’s stuff, everywhere. I promise you that even if you’re one of those “I can’t sleep until the house is at least partially straightened up,” after you do all that straightening up you’ll put the children to bed and slide in your refuge, your sanctum, your bathroom and find kid stuff. In our case, it’s MUSE magazine, a subscription I thank God for every month, because it’s smart and fun and all members of the family enjoy it. You have a kid who likes to learn new things every month? I cannot recommend it highly enough. My child loves it. But she also loves it as in “But I’m READING that!” and it’s three years old. A sane (read: Not homeschooling) parent would create rules like “If it’s from a previous presidential administration, you’re done with the issue,” but the homeschooling mother thinks “Yes, but it’s education and we’re going to do that unit study on birds so we should keep the issue about Alex the parrot and look, the baby is flipping through it!” If you educate at home it’s kind of like living at work and if you live at work you’re never off the job. All this to say that yes, that is a two-inch stack of weathered magazines in my car; just push them into the back seat before you get in. Now to continue with websites for learning foreign languages: Mango Language Very user-friendly, languages galore. 2. LiveMocha Not intimidating at all and offers users the chance to converse with native speakers. 3. BBC Language Page While not as shiny as the first two, it’s free and it’s perfectly good for starting one off on a language. Also, if you click on the link, you can get a feeling for what British people are like on holiday. Believe me, you need that. Homeschooling in the news this week is an article in The Atlantic, “Paris Was My Middle-School Classroom” and then on the other side of the IQ chart, the youngest Kardashian says she homeschools for about three hours a day because more than that would cut into the work she has to do. Let’s hope she has a MUSE magazine or two in the car to read on the way to work. See you all next week. If you have any questions about specific tools for homeschooling, or general questions about homeschooling, or what to do with MUSE magazines after they can no longer be held together with tape, please write me at Quinn@learningdangerously.com and I'll try to answer them.

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