Saturday, July 11, 2009

Austen and True Life

Austen was recently sent a series of questions from MTV's True Life. Actually, both boys were, but Cody refused to play.

It appears they are trying to do an episode on homeschoolers. We have no idea if Austen will be one of the three kids shadowed. I have many mixed feelings about the whole thing. But Austen wants to give it a shot, and see where this leads. So far..we have been playing lots of phone tag with one of the producers. So, who knows?

As I read Austen's essay to MTV, it reminded me how I went about deciding whether to homeschool or not. I read books, went to conferences, etc. But what I really wanted was the perspective of the kids themselves.

I asked Austen if he would mind if I printed his essay on the blog. He was busy playing some alien game on the computer so he grunted "I don't care!". I asked him if he even heard me. He responded with, "huh?". I asked him again. A smile followed by, "I don't care."

So while it is really tempting to fill in details or clarify many of Austen's statements in his essay..I am going to refrain. This is Austen's homeschooling "story" in Austen's words:

My name is Austen Bates. I am 15 years old. I live in a very small town in the TX Hill Country.

I think my life could best be described as "busy but fun".

I have been homeschooling since I was 6. My brothers and I have a lot of say in what we want to learn. I spent most of elementary school playing and listening to books.

In junior high, my mom took a job working full time at the local Boys and Girls Club. My brothers and I spent most of our time at this Club. We read books, practiced instruments and played math games until the schooled kids arrived. Then we helped read to the little ones and helped serve snacks. After that..we played, played, played with the other kids.

My mom cut back to part-time work. At this point, my older brother and I started more structured learning in the mornings. We were now later junior high and high-school aged. I write every day, work on a problem set from the Saxon Math series and read for at least two hours a day. I have some learning differences so the math and writing have been sort-of tough for me.We are usually finished by noon, giving us plenty of time to play. (yes, again with the play..I like to swim in the river in my back yard and ride my four-wheeler). Truth is I am usually busy helping at the Club, working on Odyssey of the Mind problems and with Civil Air Patrol.

While we do have a set time to study, what we read and write about is pretty much up to us. We do belong to a homeschool co-op that we prepare for weekly. Last year we studied Ancient History/Lit (Socratic Discussion), Biology and did Octa-Tetra designs. This year I am starting a two year Integrated Physics and Chemistry progam. My friend Mandy and I asked for culinary arts(cooking) and jazz ensemble. Rumor has it we will begin in the Fall.

This summer I am working at the Boys and Girls Club and reading some books for World History. Oh and playing (yes..still) a lot. What I like about the way we learn is I have a lot of time and a lot of freedom. I'm not sure what is tough about this lifestyle. This is what I know.

I guess I would really like to have the chance to study cooking more formally. I hope to open a cyber-cafe one day and would like to learn more about cooking now, not when I'm in college. My dad is a good cook..but my mom..not so much. She's the one home the most.

I'm not sure about challenges and goals for the next 3-4 months. I would like to get further on the gyrocopter I hope to build. It would be really nice to be on an Odyssey of the Mind team that makes it to World Finals. I've made it to State about 4 times. I'd like to make it to the next level.

Thankyou for your time.

Austen Joseph Bates.

1 comment:

Sardine Mama said...

OK - well, this makes me look ridiculous! You guys do a LOT!! I can't even imagine what on earth Joel would write about.....BTW - I asked my kids if they wanted to be considered for this MTV episode and they all said No Way. I am the only attention-lover in this family.