Friday, August 25, 2017

High School Colonialism and Post-Colonialism Syllabus

High School Colonialism and Post-Colonialism Syllabus:

Research the following:

1.       Define the following terms: Colonialism, post-colonialism, Third World, Global North and South, “West and the Rest”, Tricontinentals

2.       The Doctrine of Discovery and Liberation Theology

3.       History of European Colonialism (include Columbus, Leopold of Belgium, and look at colonialism in the Americas, Australia, Africa, and Asia)

4.       Independence and Liberation movements: especially Gandhi, Che Guevara, Frantz Fannon

5.       Corporate globalism, Nestle, and Fair Trade movement

6.       Relationship between women’s movements and feminism and colonialism/imperialism

In your research use:

1.       These books:

a.       A Short History of Colonialism by Wolfgang Reinhard

b.       Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction by Robert J.C. Young

c.       Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

d.       The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fannon

e.       Others as you find them

2.       These TED Talks:

a. “How the colonial past influences how we see the world today”

b. “African post-colonial development”

c.       And others as you find them

3.       Documentary Films:

b.       And others as you find them

4.       And other resources, articles, and websites as needed

Final Paper:

The final paper should present your research findings and your thesis about colonialism and post-colonialism.

Minimum length: 4 pages, single spaced, 12 point font

Include an annotated bibliography

Due Date: December 1, 2017, See Rubric for further expectations for grading

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Weird, Lonely, Unsocialized Homeschooler

Last week I was sitting with a group of other homeschooling moms, watching our kids play at a park and chatting casually about all things homeschooling. My own mom joined me there, which launched us all into a conversation about what has changed in homeschooling in these two generations. Turns out I wasn't the only 2nd generation homeschooler in the group, although the two other moms who had been homeschooled had only been homeschooled for a portion of their education, and had also attended both public and private schools.

So what has changed? This is only from my perspective and from this conversation .... I have no statistics or data to back this up. But what I see has changed is:

Social Acceptance

When I was a kid being homeschooled, it was still perceived as a really weird, fringe thing to do. When I saw homeschooling represented in the media or discussed in the news, it was always in a negative way or framed as something for super over-achiever kids like Olympic athletes or geniuses.

Now homeschooling seems to be much more accepted as another possible choice ... a minority choice but not just for the super fringe of our society.

And that might have something to do with ...

Greater Diversity

The homeschooling population is getting more diverse. People are homeschooling for many different reasons, with different philosophies and methods, and in all sorts of communities (rural, military, urban). But there is also increasing racial and religious diversity.

Networking and the Internet

New ways of communicating are making it easier for homeschoolers to find each other, as well. When I was a kid, my parents were part of the state homeschool organization and had some support groups they could be part of, and we did know other homeschoolers ... but only a handful. At one point my parents organized a "science scouts" type of group for about 6 kids. And that was it. It was OK .... I made friends through dance classes or theater productions, so I wasn't completely alone or "unsocialized" (that whole issue is a whole other post!), but I also didn't have a homeschool community.

Now, there are many homeschool communities. We are part of a Meet Up group online that has almost 300 families in it, and they organize all sorts of events, ranging from a casual gathering at a park to a structured workshop or field trip.

My kids are growing up with other homeschoolers, and in a more diverse community than I did. They are being accepted in ways I was not. Things have changed, in a good way.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

High School Anti-Oppression/Anti-Racism Syllabus

Here's what I've put together for another of my High Schooler's social studies:

High School Anti-Oppression/Anti-Racism Syllabus:

Research the following:

1.       Define the following terms: prejudice, bias, discrimination, oppression, racism, privilege, systemic/institutional racism, intersectionality, environmental racism, and white supremacy.

2.       Define the following: ageism, ableism, anti-racism, classism, feminism, heterosexism, homophobia, reverse racism, sexism, tokenism, transphobia

3.       Social Darwinism and eugenics

4.       United States history from the point of view of the oppressed (see books below)

In your research use:

1.       At least four of these books (you can search for others as well):

a.       A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King Jr., for Students

b.       A Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen

c.       A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski

d.       An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

e.       A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

2.       Watch and use the discussion guides for at least two of these movies:

3.       Watch and discuss these documentaries:

c. I Am Not Your Negro

4.       Read from at least 3 of the following books as well:

a.       Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

b.       Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

c.       We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

d.       Waist High in the World by Nancy Mairs

e.       Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

Final Paper:

The final paper should present your research findings and your thesis about oppression and racism in the United States and what is needed for us to become an anti-oppression/anti-racism society.

Minimum length: 4 pages, single spaced, 12 point font

Include an annotated bibliography

Due Date: November 1, 2017, See Rubric for further expectations for grading

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

High School Gender/Women's Studies

As we transition to High School, we are shifting from unit studies that were very free-form (pick a subject you are interested, mom will get you as many resources as she can find, spend a month exploring them, write a paper and create a project) to a syllabus structure with set topics.

From the list of options, he chose for the Fall: Women's Studies, Colonialism and Post-Colonialism, and Anti-Oppression/Anti-Racism

Here's the syllabus I created for Women's Studies:

High School Gender and Women’s Studies Syllabus:

Research the following:

1.       What is gender? What have been the changing understandings of gender and gender roles in American history?

2.       When did the Women’s movement first begin and who were the central figures? (Seneca Falls) What were the issues between the women’s movement and racial justice movements?

3.       How has women’s inequality been established/enforced throughout American History?

4.       What was the “2nd Wave” of Feminism? Who were the central figures and events of this moment in history?

5.       What happened to the Equal Rights Amendment?

6.       What are the current trends and voices in Feminism and Gender Justice, around the world? (look for diverse voices representing women of color and trans people as well as white American women).

In your research use:

1.       At least two books considered classics in the field, such as:

a.       A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

b.       Woman in the 19th Century by Margaret Fuller

c.        Ain’t I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth

d.       The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

e.       Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

f.        The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

2.       Find at least 4 gender or women’s studies TEDTalks and watch them

3.       And look into at least 4 websites (such as the following but not limited to them):



4.       Also, Interview at least 3 women or non-binary gendered people in your family or community about how they’ve experienced their gender in our society.

Final Paper:

The final paper should present your research findings and your thesis about gender discrimination in our society and where we should go from here.

Minimum length: 4 pages, single spaced, 12 point font

Include an annotated bibliography

Due Date: October 1, 2017, See Rubric for further expectations for grading

Monday, July 24, 2017

Back to the Books!

Summer is a great time for learning like what I've pictured above: outdoors, field trips, hands on, travel, adventure, exploring. Summer is also a great time for building, gardening, preserving and cooking food, and taking part in community through the many (often free) events, festivals, and camps to be found this time of year.

But we school year round. So, although we have been on break from the books since early June, we are about to go back to them! Summer can be a good time for books, too.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

High School Literature List

The biggest change coming up for our learning adventures is High School!

When I started thinking about what our high school plan would be, I started with the part that would be the most fun for me ... the reading list. I wanted a list that was a bit of the Classical Conversation, but also strongly multicultural. Here's what I've come up with so far (a work in progress, always open to suggestions).

High School Reading List:

English Literature:


Bronte Sisters

Jane Austin


Oscar Wilde

American Literature:




Edgar Allen Poe



White Women’s Literature:

Sylvia Plath


Kate Chopin


Harper Lee

Handmaid’s Tale

Multicultural Women’s Literature:

Their Eyes Were Watching God

When the Caged Bird Sings

The Color Purple

The House on Mango Street

Joy Luck Club

Classical Greek/Roman:

Plato, The Republic


Oedipus Rex







Albert Camus


Victor Hugo

African American:

James Baldwin

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A Raisen in the Sun

Letter From a Birmingham Jail

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Native American:

Sherman Alexie

Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese

An Incovenient Indian, Thomas King

Ignatia Broker

Moccasin Thunder

Asian American:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

It's Been Awhile ....

This blog has been long neglected. For 2 1/2 years!

In those 2 1/2 years, we fell into a happy rhythm with our homeschool, found a good software package for helping organize our school, rearranged our furniture and house to find the "right" set up more times than I can count, incurred far too many library late fees on the giant piles of books we checked out, and got one kid done with Middle School and the other done with Elementary School.

I stopped blogging here for many reasons, and it is harder to blog about family life and homeschooling as your kids get older and want more privacy. Truly, their stories are not mine to tell, and it gets tricky to separate my story from theirs. However, this homeschooling and educational journey is a story I want to tell, and my urge to write and chronical is no longer fulfilled by Facebook or any other short-form social media sharing, so here I am again.

And I'm back to blogging with a bang! I could have just tried to restart this blog, but no .... I also went and started another! Here I'll focus on learning adventures, and I'll write about sustainable and intentional living over at My Purple House.

So, if anyone is reading this, welcome!