July 15, 2008

An article flashed by my eyes the other day. The title said, 10 fun things you can do to be healthier. Something like that. And the list went like this: exercise, eat well, sleep more, play more, relax more, drink red wine, eat dark chocolate, have more sex, laugh more, make art.

That's the list, approximately. All, we have heard many times. But the simplicity caught me off guard. More than that, the permission of it, caught me off guard. Here is a list of permission.

Sleep More. Work Less. Have More Fun. Eat and Drink The Good Things. Isn't that a little bit amazing? Isn't that an odd challenge? Doesn't it give you a small thrill to contemplate? I should SLEEP MORE? Like nap? Like now? When? I will be a better person if I sleep more and eat more chocolate and drink more red wine and then go for a long walk? Simply put, yes. Yes.

Homeschool has the same thrilling odd feeling. Imagine yourself sitting in class when you were 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 (you get the idea.) Imagine if a grown up walked in and said, you are free. Go forth. Take a nap, eat some deliciously good food with some wine and chocolate, take a walk, and then get to work making seriously fun art. Does that not blow your fucking mind? Can you imagine the liberation of it? Really, put yourself right there in the seat and try to set yourself free.

Because, you know what? I think most of us never really get out of that seat. Not really. We live there, no matter where we are in life. We live in the mental state of drudge, in which we were schooled so ruthlessly. At least, I do and more completely than I care to admit.

A friend just had the privilege of going to a workshop with a very famous successful well paid contemporary artist. He began the workshop by walking in the room and writing one thing on the black board. "No Fucking Rules."

Yes, homeschool is kind of like that. Not, no fucking rules. But certainly, make up your own rules. Make sure they involve a natural working rhythm of life that is relaxed, happy, full of good food, and heavily skewed to the artistic side of life. Skewed to what is creative, productive, and what actually works in a sustainable and reasonable life.

At least, our homeschool is like that. And its good to sit here this morning, contemplate what it might have felt like to have been given permission from the beginning, and to make these ideas very conscious. To carefully, wisely, and certainly choose permission. I like that. Maybe I'll nap on it this afternoon, just to be sure.

But just saying "I'll nap on it" racks me with guilt. What about everyone who can't nap on it? What about the entire frantic and relentless way our society grinds? What about hurry? What about more work? What about my exhausted husband?

It is really difficult to silence school mind, that perpetual teacher pushing you to sit down, shut up, and produce pages full of computation (more money, a cleaner house, a billion favors oddly due to an endless stream of people.) We don't even need the building. We have habitualized the mental formula. My school mind is very industrial, seeks relentlessly to improve, and does so I should add, in a generally ineffective way. What more could we expect from an industrial and governmental formula?

I'm sorry, dear industrial school mind, but your way doesn't seem to get the children raised up so good. It seems to stress them out, teach them to whine, encourage competition and divisiveness. And its is dangerously difficult to escape. Yes, I had better nap on it right away. And maybe serve wine and chocolate and fresh home made bread for dinner and then we had better go take a walk and get to bed early and see if we can't wake up a bit freer, a bit happier, a bit healthier.


Annie said...

Ha! Without even realising it I try and follow all ten things the article suggests. I focus a bit more on eating dark chocolate and a bit less on the sleep more option thanks to have such a small nursling but it's good advice!

No fucking rules. I might write that on my white board next to my shopping list.

Love your post.

silvermine said...

My phrase is "Everything in Moderation". Work, play, sleep, cleaning, food, etc.. Not too much sleep, not too little. Eat some of the finer yummy foods, but don't gorge on them so you gain 80 pounds. But don't diet, either. I work part time. My house, wel, I wish it was perfectly clean, but I know that's unrealistic. Okay, I should know that unrealistic, but I still want to try.

I'm not perfect at it. But moderation in all things is good. I think society is insane right now, seeing everything in black and white: carbs are bad! Vegetables good! Fat bad! Exercise good! If a little vitamins are good, a ton must be better! (NOT!) If a little school for kids is good, how about 10 hours and homework! And so forth.

It's all or none, black or white. No grey, no moderation. It's crazy.

MOM #1 said...

I'm so glad you blogged this today. I've been stressing over school this and work that and a little bit of everything else . . . that's exactly the kind of read I needed this morning. Well, it's afternoon, but I'm a late bloomer, so I'm just starting my day.

So I guess I don't need to "sleep more," but all the rest I really need to work on. LOL.

Heather said...

Great post! Permission from the beginning, that would have been nice. And you're right on with the institutionalized mind. Why do we feel we NEED permission? Because we're made to feel like we can't govern ourselves without the guidance of experts. The experts said to do it, so it must be okay. Otherwise, we'd just have to feel guilty for slipping into what was so perfectly natural and good - eating good food, sleeping, playing, and otherwise enjoying life.

Katherine said...

Heather, that's it exactly. And teach our children in such a natural way. Not because we are in competition for a gross national product higher than china's. And not because School Experts will test them. But because its human.

Jeeze, I think I'm coming down with something. I can't think straight. Did that just make sense? Why hit post? Just to say, thanks for getting it!

Amy said...

I loved this post. I might link to it later, if that's alright with you.

I've also been enjoying your Holga photos. I just dropped off my first two rolls of film from my Holga to get developed, and I am anxiously awaiting the results. I can't wait to find out if any pictures turned out interesting.

regularmom said...

Ah, yes. This makes so much sense. And it is so hard to silence our school minds.

Thanks for this post.

jax said...

found your blog through a link on another - had to pause to say that this an excellent post, and well worth meditating on further. While eating chocolate. :)