Wednesday, January 11

Coming Out

I'd like to share a dream, an itch. A reoccurring thought that nurtures and inspires other dreams while weaving it's way through me, making itself into my future. The first time I remember making sense of it I was a kid 'playing' with my girl friend Megan from across the street. I don't remember how old I was, I only remember the topic of conversation and the look of the light on the cement walls of my basement, sheets hung as partitions separating the play area from my Mom's work area, and sitting daydreaming about my future. The subject of conversation was 'if we could live anywhere we wanted...'

Of course the dream has changed since I was a kid. I use to want stables and horses and the whole idea was based on my vague idea of living on a ranch. There were animals in pastures and growing things and trees lining the whole of it. It's all still there, in my imagination, but now there are structures and more useful animals. And there are other things too. Like for example...People. More specifically...Kids. Now the nut shell of the life I want is this: A piece of land where the earth gives me what I need to grow a family and grow old with the ones that I love.

Ariel was born to some of the richest soils on the earth. A year round growing season for some of my favorite plants including but not limited to Eggplants. The climate, other than this unprecidented drought year, is perfect for entertaining my pastoral daydreams. This and the constant smell of the rain just on the edge of the next wisp of grey cloud, helped me to love that soil, those sunsets, the eucalyptus that give the horizon contour. Living on the outskirts of a small city on la pampa, I imagined my life with a few kids and some close friends on a plot of land far from civilization. I imagined a place secluded from most Argentine reality, so far from people that might take advantage of us and our North American capitalist roots that we would be forced to make a way for ourselves on the land. Of course we would need no forcing, this is part of the dream.

I dreamt about how we would meet a lot of our needs. Our need for an energy source: solar, wind, hydro; our food needs: seeds, greenhouses, root cellars, clean water. The most enjoyable needs to daydream about were how we would bring up those five beautiful children that we wanted. I had planned out a structure. It was simple, rustic; with strong bones and wide open spaces. Reading nooks and learning spaces with a little winding staircase that led to a star observatory on the roof. Chairs you could melt into a book with and tables with running water and art spaces. It was my version of what people straight out of a Charlotte Bronte novel would have done for being educated. With a little guidance and discipline combined with the natural processes of human curiosity and the world around them. Of course it was based on a firm spiritual belief that being close to nature would spark a flame and a curiosity for life that isn't found by spending your life in the suburbs, in public school, as I was. I had brief moments of fire-fed learning and growing, academically. But I think I've always recognized that the system I was educated in was stifling. I knew that few saw in me what I saw in myself and I bleieved that eventually I would figure out how to pull it out of myself on my own. I'm still trying. And sometimes I can't say I have the remotest idea how.   

And now I find that reality puts me far from that dream. But there's one piece that I follow still. Of course I haven't given up the idea of homesteading somewhere. After school, after Ariel finishes his quest to feel realized in some professional capacity, haven proved himself in two worlds, two languages, two cultures. But, after living in my current situation for more than five years, I've realized that there is no reason to wait for a lot of those things until I live in some pastoral paradise.

And as my children, who finally came, grow, I realize that this is one part of my dream that I need to cling to more than ever. They grow, they change, they learn new words and attitudes. The people that they are, regardless of the setting, show more and more color. With the culture of our family, what we choose to bring forward out of our own experiences as humans and children, I see a great need to let my children decide for themselves what they want to learn and how. I don't know what I've done to them to make them this way, but they are both highly suspicious of me. It just doesn't work to present something to them and say 'here, learn this' or 'come on don't you think this is interesting and fun, I do, don't you?' I know my kids and I know it doesn't work. So I guess this is a coming out of sorts. This isn't a subject I talk about very much, I guess I don't like having to explain myself when the inevitable doubtful questions come. I don't think that this is new for anyone I know, or who know me.  But it's stronger in this suburban ghetto than it's ever been in my romantic imaginings of cleaner air and more plentiful soil. When I imagine myself, when I imagine my kids, who are still young, I know that there is one thing that has always been the same.

My two oldest will have to suffer through a kitchen table and a back yard farm in the suburbs for a school house. I'm still trying to work out the details. I'll follow my own rugged way and I may have my eyes blindfolded half the time walking forward with faith, but one thing is for certain: I Am a Home Schooler. 


Lisa and Andy said...

I love your dream, for it is similar to mine. I agree that you shouldn't wait to begin incorporating any of those things you want into your life. I have made that mistake....and now all I do is dream. It is awesome that you are homeschooling. I think about it, but I suppose I'm afraid I would fail.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

I hardly have the patience to help with homework and reading let alone homeschool. Like the previous poster, I suppose I'm afraid I would fail. I'm afraid that I would miss something important and THEY would fail, and that would be on my head. I am all about parental involvement, and I am in awe with admiration for those who have the know how to do this.

Evelyn said...

Yay for you Andrea! I have been considering this for my kids, especially with my son's special needs. Keep us updated please.

Tara said...

Please keep us updated! I really am curious about homeschooling and I'm not sure whether I want to do it or not when the time comes. Good luck!