Tuesday, July 28, 2009
fitting in, part 1
Watch out for these dudes in about ten years.
Ok, wait. You'd better watch out for them now :)
A couple days ago the boys asked me if I could color their hair.
And said Yes.
(It's just washable markers. Works like a charm, and comes out slick.)
What does this have to do with anything? Namely, the title?
When I was in 10th grade, I colored my hair blue. On a whim. But 15 years ago if you colored your hair blue, you were a freak. Part of the alternative crowd. Now they have cheerleaders...teachers, even, with red and purple streaks. Now its fashionable. Its cool.
Anyway, my blue was totally temporary. (Washable markers, again.) And it was kind of fun...and a little frustrating...to wrap my head around the responses that people gave me regarding my new 'do. One teacher freaked out, seeing as how before that day I was apparently a Barbie Doll, super awesome student. But on this particular day, not so much. Now, I was one of those "alternative kids". I didn't fit the Barbie doll super awesome student mold anymore. (Interesting, since I didn't think I ever really had.)
I was kind of stuck in school, seeing as how the Barbie Doll thing never worked out (cheerleaders weren't too keen on my sarcasm) and the alternative crowd never worked out (they said I was just a poser). So there I was in a suburban mini-city (high school) where people ask "so what crowd do you hang with?" and no answer to give.
People, and their crowds, can be so elitist. Segregating. Rigid. Fenced in.
Fast forward 15 years. Present day.
I'd like to say that things have changed, but I'd be lying.
I've been thinking a lot about the end part of this darling's post, where she talks about having conflicted feelings about unschooling. I've also read (and re-read) the comments that were left. The whole thing gives voice to exact thoughts I've had on the same subject.
I think when you try to define a way of life whose basic belief is freedom, you run into all sorts of problems. How do you put a fence around that? When you start to define it, it becomes less of what it is, sometimes. I mean, if the point of unschooling is that the kids are free to learn, why do we have people snubbing their nose at kids who might want to pick up a workbook one day? Or play a game that (gasp!) might be described as downright edu-mah-cational?
I'm a member of some unschooling groups/lists, and sometimes I don't get it. The way things get picked apart, the somewhat elitist attitude that some seem to carry for subscribing to that way of life...or the you-clearly-haven't-done-your-research-about-unschooling-because-what-you're-doing-is-not-unschooling conversations that go on. Oh really? So if I'm not unschooling, what the F am I doing? I've never really understood how something based in freedom and flexibility can sometimes be so...rigid.
I mean, really. How can you not "fit in" to freedom? Isn't the point that everything fits?
I just get tired of groups. And rules. Boundaries that make no sense. Definitions that change. Trying to fit and knowing you don't. But still wanting a name. Wanting a way to identify yourself, if only to find other people like you. It was the same 15 years ago as it is today. Is it ever ok to do just do what we want? To hop in between groups...and maybe not fit into anyone of them?
Perhaps, when people ask what kind of homeschoolers we are, I should just answer...
"we do what we do".
and smile sweetly.