HOME Is Nowhere Dense!

22 06 2013
Originally submitted to Liza Sabater’s Culture Kitchen by JJ Ross on 7 January, 2006
Accountability | Books | Creative Class | Culture | Education | Homeschooling | Language | Liberalism | Life | Memes | Parenting | Science | Think Tanks

HOME-omorphism – continuous transformation. Homeschoolers, especially classic liberals and libertarians, would be drawn to this in droves, wouldn’t you think?

And by definition, home-omorphism happens with one-to-one correspondence! How much better could it get?

What do you do, the polite stranger in the market would ask – oh, we’re heavily into homeomorphism, I would say, our facial expressions and body language transforming continuously and enigmatically right in front of her, as she gapes. Let’s go play chess, I would then say to my child, in affectionate one-to-one correspondence. Right after the opera and ballet, corresponding child would answer, to my happy assent. More gaping.

Continuous transformation is the best part of homeschooling for Thinking Parents, why I personally love how my family lives homeschooling as continuous transformation – it’s like never having to graduate and leave college! We’re still there, baby, delving into everything all at the same time, meeting minds, burning through the library and the midnight oil discovering something new and stunning every day, including the most RADICAL words and ideas, setting our own pace and schedule, world by the tail, hoping our support holds out, lounging on the lawns, alternating between the organic homegrown and the cafeteria candy counter . . .

For example – do you know the full name Fletcher Christian gave his half-Tahitian son on Pitcairn Island after mutinying on the Bounty? This is not a state standard for history credit and no one cares if you answer first, or ever. But I am Red Hat and AARP-eligible (not a member, just eligible, that’s a clever essayist device to tell you I am in my second-half century of life, not your usual omnivorous college student sucking the marrow out of every moment) and I learned this only yesterday, reading aloud in the car with my two unschooled children, 15 and 10, in a science book we heard being discussed on NPR’s Science Friday and then went straight to the bookstore to find. Like a treasure. Why? Because we COULD – and because we wanted to, couldn’t think of anything we’d rather do than find out more about the Power of Story continuously transforming around that historical mutiny – which as it turns out, it does.

p.s. – I wasn’t driving while reading, our homeschooling is no threat to society! We sat in a parking lot for almost an hour, unable to stop reading, and when it was time for dance, the kids groaned – not because they don’t love dancing, but because they were loving the story of the moment too. Fully engaged in their own lives for their own reasons —

Oh, and if you want to know the answer to our little trivia question or why its power of story so fascinated us, you’re gonna need a little home-omorphism of your own. I’m not telling!

But here’s something I will tell about, something else liberals and libertarians might want to know about the infinite wonder that is homeschoo-, I mean, home-omorphism. Continuous home transformation that manages to “preserve distances” has its own fancy word (isometry?) so in my home, we specialize in that – no boundary raiders and boobs trampling through OUR homeomorphism! Military recruiters and marketers and pushers of everything pursuing our kids, self-serving lobbies playing poker with our inalienable human rights, schoolfolk telling us they know best, heck, homeschoolers are just like everyone else – don’t we ALL need to do a better job of preserving distance, even in our home-omorphism, but at least we’re worlds better protected from invasion and tyranny than the publicly schooled families I know, who might as well just sign one all-purpose permission slip the first day of government preschool: “Here. You take ’em.”

Our admirable and continuously transforming (thus itself homeomorphic?) democracy needs to do a much better job of preserving distances, for all of us – these days we’re more citizens of a demographic than of a democracy. Surely there’s a rightful distance to preserve between democracy and demographi-garchy – or if there isn’t, there oughta be!

Homeschool home-omorphism is a very smart radical fringe in my view, one with the best fighting chance of “individual self-determination within preserved distance.” Whereas school looks a lot like surrender to me, more undemocratic servitude than democratic preservation of private distances.

So in education politics, we always come down to: what DO we teach our children, so they can best preserve and protect their own freedoms?

I read somewhere that con-serving and pre-serving can’t be liberal even when it comes to liber-ty, still thinking about that, sounds too simplistic to me. Maybe I’ll get my always-college-like Thinking Kids to help me figure it out, study the power of story, better synthesize the principles we want to live by and figure out where we fit — besides fitting perfectly into our home-omorphing of course.

What if we ALL did that, in our own private families, with one-to-one correspondence — freely see “fit” however we see fit? – instead of the squeeze play between religious literalists and NCLB defining our every value and purpose on this earth, labeling our every lesson and defining our every thought and expression, about everything, with a test every Thursday? Praise the lord, pass the ammunition, and sprinkle on some more of that continuous transformation!

And oh, I saved the best argument for liberal homeschooling for last – because we got interested in math the other day, I can tell you something else NCLB standardizers may not want to you or your kids to know: “perfect” home-omorphism earns a special label, that should be the name of a classic 60s rock band, if it isn’t already –
Nowhere Dense!


Note to lifelong union loyalists steeled to write off anything (even liberal) homeschoolers might say: Mr. Christian’s Christian name for his one-to-one corresponding son is hidden somewhere in this blog. If you’re a homeomorph at heart, you’ll go looking and maybe learn something about yourself as well as history – if not, we now return you to your regularly scheduled public programming.



One response

22 06 2013

This was its own post but it’s short and relates, so adding it here as comment just to save it from oblivion (I remember these things at the oddest times and then if I can’t refer back to the exact words, it makes me isane.)

I saw the last half of “Extreme Home Makeover” last night, the Bartlett
family I think
, with their own kids plus four adopted teens living
out in some flat, dusty, empty place, a family united by horses and

The show pros had knocked down their whole house to build
the perfect custom dream home from the ground up, all-new for this
mold-breaking, blended, good-hearted bunch of folks.

Little Homeschool on the Prairie could be filmed there, without a
whisker of change needed.

Something like 600 community volunteers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in business donations, all workin’ haaarrrd! — so I was pleasantly teary and enjoying the complete and dramatic change of it all, right up to the moment when they had toured the whole house and sprang the Really Big Surprise out back — a brand-new little red schoolhouse. Literally! A separate building for their family to “homeschool” in, with the steps up to the door of its red clapboard outside, and six little school desks all lined up inside, with a big teacher desk up front and the blackboard and maps hanging down around the walls.

Well, except that there were laptops on each little desk in this big one-room homeschool-house — but if I learned anything in my own school career, it’s that it doesn’t matter what new jazzy stuff you build to improve teaching and learning, not if you adopt the same old foundation and work from some old set of blueprints that trickled down into the public domain for common use, from the handful of truly innovative designers who first created them in generations past. . .

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