In a nod to David Gilmour, R and I have started our own private film club. We decided to watch one movie a week when he’s at my house, which ends up being one movie every other week. We decided to limit our selections to documentaries. I have to say that it feels somewhat subversive to close the blinds and sit on the couch in front of a TV screen in the middle of a bright and sunny afternoon, but also very cool. Last week I chose Blind Spot, the film about Hitler’s secretary, which turned out to be little more than an hour-and-a-half interview with the now quite elderly German woman. Not too heavy on the action, but riveting in it’s own way. Quite the conversation starter. This week R downloaded Steal This Film II. I’d never even heard of it, and I love that. We had a good long talk about information sharing etc, stuff that we don’t usually talk about.
I don’t get much of a chance to watch movies, especially not with the kids, so when we do, it’s usually a blockbustery sort of film. I doubt that I would ever have been moved to download and watch Steal This Film, which is part of what makes our little experiment fun. I show him stuff, he shows me stuff, we don’t necessarily expect it to be Hollywood entertainment, and we see things that are new and interesting and different.
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My fifteen-year old son wants to go thrift storing with me tomorrow!
Update: Purchases: one (working!) projection alarm clock with am/fm radio
three matching dinner plates
one camping thermos
one stainless steel rack for purposes unknown
Total cost: $3.82
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Being the ardent supporter of homeschooling that I now am, I’ve confused a few people lately with my support of L in her decision to try grade 7 at public school.
People around me know that I think L would be better served by being able to manage her own time and her own learning goals than having that power taken from her by educators, and that I have some major reservations about her spending the bulk of her awake time every day solely in the company of 28 or so other 12 year olds. Some may consider that sort of environment essential for her “socialization” needs, whereas I worry about her losing her sense of identity in a crowd of conforming peer oriented children. I balk at the thought of all of that wasted time, because I know from experience that she could easily get it all done in half the time at home, leaving her with precious hours in which she could be inside her own head. She could bird watch, volunteer at the humane society, take a class in tribal drumming, hang out with her homeschooled friends, do crafts with her sister, read, write poetry, go for a walk, take an art class, or develop an interest in something totally different, and still be refreshed and rested for the three hours of diving practice she does every night. Instead of re-learning the parts of speech, she could be listening to the CBC, or reading the paper, and beginning to find out about the world in which we live. Instead of participating in endless conversations about the latest fashions, she could be talking to the co-ordinator of the soup kitchen about the plight of the homeless.
I’ve been asked why I wouldn’t insist on her staying at home, if I truly thought it best. After all, isn’t it a parent’s job to make decisions for their children?
My answer to all of the well-meaning questioners is that it is not a parent’s job to make decisions for their child. It is a parent’s job to raise children who can make decisions for themselves.
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Last weekend L and Jay and I watched Juno, the movie that stars Ellen Page as a 16-year old girl who gets pregnant and gives her baby up for adoption. R watched a bit of it, but soon excused himself, and T was at a birthday party.
I watched it once before I rented it with the girls, and when I saw it without them, all I remembered, other than the plot, was the cute soundtrack and the snappy dialogue. Then when I watched it with the girls, I suddenly saw the sex scene (which showed two pairs of bare legs and a pair of underpants around one pair of ankles) in an exruciatingly new way. Same with the one or two references to the act. I kept looking over at L, hoping that it wasn’t going to be embarassing for her to be watching this movie with her mother. I wasn’t too worried about Jay, because she and I have had quite a few talks about sex recently, and for her, talking about it is just like talking about anything else.Take today for example. We’re in the pet store, and she’s standing in front of a tank filled with turtles. squealing They’re mating! They’re mating!
I’m glad that she’s so comfortable with the whole concept, but Miss L never did ask questions about sex, and I wish I’d been a bit more intentional about bringing it up myself when she was younger, because now we’re past the point where it can be absorbed as just another bit of information, and yet it’s clearly something she and I need to feel comfortable discussing. I’m still not sure how she felt about it watching the movie with me, but she did say that she liked the movie, and I’m hoping that she and I can begin to talk about the issues presented in it.
I really don’t want her thinking of me as some kind of dinosaur that needs protecting from the kinds of topics that she and her friends are likely discussing, nor do I think it healthy for us to be like Rory and Lorelei on The Gilmore Girls. A happy place in the middle of those two extremes would be just fine.
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