Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Hearts and Zucchini


JoAnn Hallum

It's a new school year and I have seen all the printables and wooden blocks, the panic and the purchases, the general clamor to figure out how to home educate your kid.

A child is a human, and humans have brains, but they also have souls. They have things that interest them, and usually it’s an inconvenient interest. There are often piles of rocks stuffed into pockets and once I had a child who developed an obsession with collecting milk cartons. Three-year-olds are especially wild in their interests. But go ahead. Sit them down. Show them the letter A. We might as well all be bored together. We need to feed the cogs of the global economy, isn’t that why you were born!?

I am reading the Princess and the Goblin to my 8-year-old. Maybe you haven’t read it but you should know, for safety’s sake, the only way to keep Goblins away is to sing silly songs. A poetic chant. A laugh in the face of reason. The data monsters are real, they have come to the surface. They promise you knowledge but you’ll only get information.

You will have a head full of facts while you drown in reality.

Now is the time for poems. Now is the time to grow hearts and zucchini. Now is the time to read the books that kept us human for so long. There are enough computers. We need more harvest mice scampering by. We need more gardens with thistle and dock. We need the charms of the old words to keep the goblins away.

There was a time when people knew the world was full of forests, but they didn’t care enough about the trees to keep them. The Limberlost swamps are gone. We used to know about bread, and how to make it, but now we can find it easily, in its mummified form. We have lost our way, with pure knowledge, fake bread, and a lack of love. The cure is in the books, it’s in the words, it’s in the silly rhyme you learned in ancient times on a knee.

Beware! If you find knowledge, you will fall in love and everyone will think you are crazy for getting emotional about Charles Dickens. But the Goblins won’t get you, and you will have gotten an education. You will care, and you will know the lyrics to the songs that will carry us through. One, two, hit and hew!

This post is written by guest blogger JoAnn Hallum, a mom of four boys who homeschools them using AmblesideOnline. JoAnn writes on her Substack at JoAnn’s Substack | Collections | Substack

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