Friday, February 4, 2011

Confessions of a Never-Homeschooler

Extra, Extra! Read all of Volume Ten! I'm still on the phone (fine, on hold) with so-and-so about this-and-that, so let's get this post oot and aboot...


Confession: I didn't know people ACTUALLY home schooled their children until I went to college. It sounded like a myth, or a kind of educational theory. I rationalized that only people who didn't have schools within a certain number of miles of their home would do that. I grew up in a huge city with tons of schools: public, private, parochial, take your pick! Then I found out Cincinnati is a huge homeschooling city.

I admit: I should have known better.

My father was that parent who made us do extra work when we got home from school. He went to teacher-parent night to complain that we weren't being given enough homework. He always said, "I already know my kids are the best. I want to hear how you're going to make them better."

He also told us to play for fun, climb trees, read books and then write our own. He listened to every single child tell him ridiculous stories, only to have him tell us a better one. Yeah, you want to meet my dad now. Who doesn't?


That being said, my unofficial role as teacher starts next week. I used to tutor, but now I'll be teaching (er, home-catechizing) my three youngest siblings. Three reasons:

1. My sister is the first siblings to go to public high school (vs. parochial) and isn't going to CCD anymore since she was Confirmed in March. She still has a lot of learning to do! (Don't we all?) 

2. From what the two younger ones are bringing home, the catechism lessons are barely happening at their Catholic grade school. I'm not terribly surprised, but it makes me sad to think of all the kids who aren't learning and experiencing the beauty of their faith.

3. My parents are big fans of book-learnin' and all, but they like experience too. We found another of my many 5 Year Plans from college last week, and even though I am generally doing now what I wanted to do then, other things have changed, i.e. my interested subject. I used to want to get a Master's in Publishing. That ship has clearly sailed, or I would probably be in Boston now. Since I am now interested in Theology, my dear parents think I should start with my siblings!

Thus, I begin.

Boo (my baby sister) actually had an interesting insight last weekend: she said her teachers just presume kids think that religion class is boring and so they don't try and just skip through it. But in math class, there are two sections, so that kids who need extra help with math concepts are properly assisted. Why don't they do this for religion too? If the teacher is excited about the subject, don't kids normally get excited and interested too?

Good thoughts, Boo! I once met a math teacher who liked me because I didn't immediately respond, "Ew, I don't get math" when I met him. He hates that response. He thinks it's like meeting an English teacher and saying, "Ew, I don't know how to read. I hate English." I thought that was funny, but it's definitely the same with religion. The not-so-little-anymore kids are actually very open and excited about it, so that is encouraging.

I'd like some input, from anyone who has suggestions. I'll be dealing with a 15 y.o girl, 13 y.o. boy and 11 y.o. girl who all have different interests and levels of understanding. My loose lesson plan is basic catechism, monthly saint reports, Church history and Bible study (starting in OT, as well as having them read the daily readings). All three have gmails, so it'll be a lot of self-study with the materials I provide. I don't get home until at least 7 p.m. (although definitely after 10 p.m. three nights a week), and they have numerous activities, so I'm thinking a big sit down on Sunday, and little individual sit downs during the week.

The three little kids are hilarious, bar none!

An interesting read for those interested in higher Catholic education: a great article colleges, Jeffrey A. Mirus. "Ex Corde Ecclesiae in America." in Catholic Culture. If you're interested in a great round-up of articles, I recommend visiting the Catholic Education Resource Center.


Second confession: I love hospitals. I grew up in them, sort of. My mom's been a cancer nurse specialist at the same hospital since I was little, so I at least recognize the usual suspects. I had a doctor's appointment this morning in the MOB, so I went across to the hospital afterwards to say hello. Today's Friday, so she's in the Cancer Center instead of 4-West because she runs a research study.

So I walked in, and asked for Gigi Robison.

"She's not down yet," said the nurse, and he called upstairs. While on the line, he asked me, "And what's your name?"

"Robison," I said.

The two nurses at the front station burst out laughing and one said to the other, "I knew her voice sounded familiar!" The first nurse then told my mom "your little look-alike is down here, waiting for you."

Now, I may sound like my mother and talk as much as my mother, but I do not look like her. Then came along the other nurses and even Dr. G., to say hello and notice how much I've grown up. I guess I have been gone for a long time! I found a picture my sister, brother and me at the 2002 Cancer Center picnic in a photo collage on the wall too! That was neat, as was finally seeing Mom!


The White Stripes officially broke up on Tuesday, the same day I posted their cover of Bob Dylan's 'Isis'. Sad news.

Here's "Fell in Love with a Girl":


Someone wonderful went through a lot of Simpson's episodes to find "The Full McBain Movie Hidden Across Multiple Simpsons Episodes":

Yeah! Gotta love McBain.


"The moral revolution is confined to sex. We are not allowed to steal another man's money without being put into jail, but we can steal another man's wife. You cannot betray your lawyer without being severely penalized, but you can betray your wife, and SHE is severely penalized. You cannot kill bald eagles or blue whales without being a criminal but you can kill your own children as long as you do it a second before the two blades of the scissors meet in the middle of the umbilical cord rather than a second after, or a second before the body emerges from the birth canal rather than a second after. What kind of logic is this?"


"St. Thomas Aquinas says: "No man can live without joy" (i.e. without ecstasy, which is much more than happiness, because happiness can be somewhat under your control and therefore boring, but joy is always a gift and a surprise).

Aquinas continues: "No man can live without joy; that is why those who are deprived of true, spiritual joys, necessarily go over to carnal pleasures." The origin of the Sexual Revolution is religious. The Revolution could not have happened without the loss of true religion, the loss of spiritual joy, the loss of religious passion, the passionate love of God. The Revolution could not have happened without that, and also without the Pill, of course, which allows us to have sex without consequences and lifelong responsibilities.

We have given up the two deepest, longest, greatest joys, the eternity-long love of God and the lifelong love of spouse and family and children, the two joys that come from the most total self-giving, the radical adventure of holding back nothing; and we've given these up these two great dramatic things for what? For the shallower, temporary, smaller pleasures that are so small because they have to hold back something, hold back total self-giving which includes fertility and family and future and commitment. These are crazy adventures. What a crazy adventure kids are! Having fits is less crazy than having kids. And we are bored and therefore unhappy because we are hardwired for the all-or-nothing, wild, total romance and all we find is some cool, controlled kicks.

So we lie. We pretend we are happy. Our most basic social liturgy is "How are you?" And the answer has to be "Fine," even if your dog just died, your mother in law is coming to live with you forever, your kids think you're a dork, and your wife is collecting the phone numbers of divorce lawyers. We're all fine.

If we're all fine, how come the suicide rate for teenagers rose 5000 per cent between 1950 and 1990? What could possibly be a more unarguable index of increasing unhappiness than that?

And how does Jesus Christ answer that? What does Christ have to do with the Sexual Revolution and its causes and its consequences? Everything. Because Christ alone gives us intimacy with God, and that's the thing the Sexual Revolution is looking for but doesn't know it. As Chesterton said, When the adulterer knocks on the door of the brothel, he's really looking for a cathedral."

--Dr. Peter Kreeft, from "Christian Anthropology versus the Sexual Revolution," an address to the The Catholic Medical Association's 79th Annual Educational Conference (October 27-30, 2010)

For more Kreeft, you can listen to some of his lectures on his website! And read him, too.


Happy Friday! Tonight is my brother's junior high Valentine's Day dance and he is going to wear the cutest pinkish-red bow tie and vest. It's also the one week mark till I fly to Georgia to see my darlin' Vivian for her birthday before she heads off to culinary school in the Big Apple area.

It'll be my first trip of the new year!

It's also the weekend which embarrasses most Robisons: Superbowl Sunday. We only watch if we attend social events, or would if the Bengals experienced the sudden miracle of winning more game. We prefer college (read: UC!) sports over professional (see above). Also, the Steelers are playing and, on principle, we Robisons intensely dislike that team because of the Carson Palmer Incident of 2005. (I know, I know: I'm just fueling Leah's dislike of football now!)

See Conversion Diary for more, yo.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't meet anyone who was homeschooled until college. I'm not going to lie - it still seems a little weird to me. I din't think they were smarter or morally stronger, either.

    Good luck teaching your siblings! I'm searching for stuff to do with a 13 yr old boy, too, since he asked me to be his confirmation sponsor. I talk pretty frequently with my siblings about different Catholic events I go to, favorite prayers and saints, different saints, etc., but they don't give me their insight too often.