Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The New York Times had an article a few days ago on how schools are actively dissuading children from having "best friends". It is far better, according to the schools, to have bunches of people that you play with equally.

Isn't that just a grand idea for extroverts that like to interact with lots of kids at once?

Is this just another way that they are actively discriminating against the 25% of the population that is introverted?

Introverts, generally, prefer one-on-one interactions with a few close friends and can be overwhelmed by large group interactions. Ask me how I know.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Body Image

Is anyone else shocked when they see photos of themselves?

I don't notice it as much in mirrors, but when I see a photo of my family... I am always caught off-guard. I gaze at the kids and how cute they are, then I am struck - "Who is the chunky middle-aged woman with my kids? - OH MY GOSH!!"

While on the outside, I am middle-aged and a bit overweight... on the inside, I still imagine the thirty-year-old image of a thin, athletic woman. It is just so incongruous.

I just covered the gray for the first time yesterday. I am still feeling out what I think of resorting to such extremes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

and, that would be check-mate

As I've already bragged, B is quite the young chess player. So, in the interest of keeping everyone intellectually alive around here - I have taken up the game.

Z won't play with me (he likes the idea of playing, but not the implementation).

I won't play with J - I am a bit too old to feel comfortable with my husband spotting me pieces at the start of the game, and he is simply too good at spatial relations for me to take. That said, he isn't fond of playing scrabble with me either (I clean his clock there).

But, I'll play with B. The sad thing is that we play about even right now. While I will improve as I can visualize how the pieces move more effectively, I may only get a year of chess play in before I am completely outclassed by him.

We've played about eight games now. He's beaten me in seven. I took him by check-mate once.

I've never enjoyed losing more, even though I am really trying to win.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another reason

I promise I'll get to the point, but we have to meander a bit before I can get there. Sorry, it's how my brain works. I realize that this doesn't really fit with the usual "assignment" and, I'll probably lose style points for failure to be organized. Ok, but at least it isn't a late assignment (oh, it is? nevermind).

Last night J and I went to a big benefit for a local organization. We like the organization and are happy to contribute. We like loads of the people involved. I was genuinely looking forward to going. But, as we walked over, we were discussing how we were kind of tired and steeling ourselves to go. We were gathering the energy to participate and communally trying to see how it would play out. We sat, as it turns out, with two lovely couples and had a really enjoyablely time. So, why so reticent?

We are both introverts. 75% of the population might consider this too much to understand - that a night of partying in a crowd looks, from the outset, exhausting and stressful. That, hanging out with a lot of people (even people we genuinely enjoy) is tiring. Most folks would find it odd that we love a quiet evening of just chatting on our porch with no extraneous music or noise or that I can sit in a silent home (or office) for 10 hours straight and the time just slips away.

I remember coming home from school exhausted and disappearing in the woods or to my room for hours. The constant barrage of people (not all nice and not all friends) in school wore me completely out. Add to that the stress of paying attention, getting the right stuff from here to there, and dealing with being a kid - wow, did I ever hate school.

Am I surprised, then, that Z disappears to the bathroom for 45 minutes the second he steps off of the bus? Z can disappear in a book or somewhere for hours and not be heard from at all. Z is also introverted. It is readily apparent from his behavior that large groups are as confusing to him as they are to me (less so to J, who simply prefers solitude, but doesn't share my uneasiness).

Why is it, exactly, that we think putting all children (introvert and extrovert alike) in one room with twenty other loud kids (sometimes the players switching constantly throughout the day) for six hours straight and expect them to perform well there? Will any introverts select careers where they'll spend all day jostling in space with a bunch of other people? Do they need social training to deal with that barrage on the senses?

Maybe there should be little spaces that introverts can carve out as their own? They could decorate their little spaces and visit one another (in controlled amounts) to practice the kind of one-on-one friendships that they will foster as adults. They can recharge their minds and bodies with some solitude intermixed with cognitive exploration.

Hey, I have an idea - they can do that at home - ok?

We could call it homeschool. Gosh, wish I'd thought of that.

And, I really wish I'd thought of that when I was a kid.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homeschool it is.

The "ayes" have it. We have really concluded that I can't screw things up any worse than the school already is, and at least maybe he'll feel better about himself.

The positives:
  • He can pursue things that interest him.
  • He loves to read, but will have the autonomy to choose his own readings (with the caveat that he must represent several genres).
  • No more writing repetitive chapter summaries for 30 chapter books just for the teacher to check whether he has read. (this is gifted curriculum?!)
  • He will practice writing something, anything every day (this may be our major homeschool battle). But, perhaps he will learn not to fear the "blank page".
  • His psyche can only improve if no one is beating him down about his failure to achieve constantly.
  • He will get one-on-one playdates regularly (where he is comfortable, happy, and has good friends) and spend less time in large groups of kids where he is less comfortable and less accepted.
  • He feels strongly that he wants a good education, but he will be empowered to take some responsibility there.
  • No worksheets!!! (unless he chooses them)
  • We may recover the charming son that we have lost to stress and being overwhelmed by the system.

The negatives:

  • Will he lay on the floor all day, rolling around and playing with plastic people; or is that just how he "de-stresses" at the end of a hard day at elementary school. That is, sometimes that is fine - but, will he do it all of the time?
  • Can I keep him off of the computer/Wii/tv? (Screen time is really deleterious to him).
  • Lots of time with a child kicking around my office (I so hope that he won't be disruptive, distracting, or difficult - although these characteristics would be unusual for him).
  • Will he become too reclusive? Or, will it be refreshing for my little introvert to not be forced into large groups six hours a day?
  • Not too much room for homeschool networking - I work full-time.
  • Will he be able to adjust to "real" school when he returns? Will he even want to?