Homeschoolers at Heart

Lately, I've taken to tagging many of my Instagram pictures with #homeschoolersatheart. After all, we didn't stop being life-learners just because Quentin started attending public school. Both boys continue to ask fascinating questions, and we keep helping them learn to find answers.

This morning, around 7:45, after Luke had left for work but before it was time for Quentin to walk to school, Jude and I started talking about sex and gender. He has taken to calling boys "XY" and girls "XX" lately, after having watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode about genetics (or was it probability?). Jude, who sometimes decides he's a girl, thought that maybe his chromosomes change periodically. Quentin wondered what would happen if someone had two Y chromosomes, either together with an X or without any X. Then he wondered about having three Xs or just one.

Ask me how much I know about genetics. The answer is only the most basic jr. high level information. So how on earth could I answer a question like that? How can parents be teachers after all?

Enter Google. If schools in the cloud aren't a reality, learning in the cloud certainly is. We tried asking Siri, but she struggles with voice recognition when the boys are the ones speaking to her. So I typed in Quentin's question ("What happens if your dad gives you two Y chromosomes?") and off we went to explore genetics and DNA replication.

Together, Quentin and I discovered how Trisomy X, Down's Syndrome, and Turner's Syndrome manifest genetically and physically. We learned that there are key developmental triggers on the X chromosome, and so no embryo can survive without at least one copy.

We had a social lesson, about the ways people can look and act differently, from those who choose to personify a gender different from what their chromosomes have determined for them, to those who have extra chromosomes or not enough and might have unusual features or be slower to understand, and we faced the sad truth that not everyone is as kind and compassionate as our family strives to be - even adults sometimes mistreat people who are different ("They should know better!" said Q).

We are life learners, full of curiosity. In June, we'll be more than homeschoolers at heart; we'll be homeschoolers in reality once more. I can't wait to see what we continue to learn when we have more than four hours together each day to explore. (and I'm thinking again about starting ANOTHER genre blog... stay tuned)


  1. Do you know of any UU homeschooling communities on the web? I'm still a ways away from officially homeschooling Lilly (who is two-and-a-half today, actually), but I've wandered around this site some: It seems not to be in use currently - most recent blog post was in 2005. I wonder if we could get enough of us together to revive it....

  2. While I don't attend UU services I would definitely be interested in a UU spin on homeschooling. Mandie, if anything comes of that keep me informed!

  3. Genevieve, Sarah McLeod is a UU homeschooler/blogger you might check out. I think her homeschool-focused blog is called "Quirks and Quarks." One of her posts was in Interdependent Web maybe 3 weeks ago?? I also posted it on the Raising Faith FB page . . . it was about compassionate parenting. Mandie, I had no idea about developmental markers on the X-chromosome . . . fun and educational!

  4. Some really nice posts on that site, it is too bad they're not active anymore! I know I looked and looked for UU homeschooling groups or UU preschools and didn't have any luck. Though as it turns out, one of the newer families in our congregation are also homeschooling their little boy. I find a lot of use in the secular homeschooling community, and of course design our plans with a UU bent in mind - because after all, that's who we were before we even had a name for it. :)

  5. Mandie! Beautiful blog! I'm now off to google UU homeschooling, I'm so curious about homeschooling, but it would be a gargantuan paradigm shift for myself and family. Thanks for sharing!


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