Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Different Ways of Going About Things

Diary of a Goldfish is hosting the 4th Disability Blog Carnival. I don't really know what a Disability Blog Carnival is, but from what I understand, the topic is 'different ways of going about things'. That's a topic I think I can write about now. I'll write about homeschooling, and the unusual kind of education I'm getting, which is so much better suited to me than school.
In school, you are expected to learn a certain way, a way that is not how I learn. The things that were really hard for me were: being with nasty kids all day, not showing my work in math because I a) was doing different steps and b) hate to write (typing is fine, but writing on paper too much tires my hand out so I minimise what I write), having to switch subjects so often and especially having others dictate to me what I had to learn.
I'm now homeschooled. This is suited to me because I learn best alone or with people I like, doing things in whatever way works best for my mind instead of following strict steps, obsessing on one thing until I feel it's time to move on and choosing my own things to learn. I can only motivate myself to put out the effort to learn something if it interests me. If it doesn't interest me, all that happens is that I get frustrated, annoyed and bored.
There are some problems with homeschooling for me right now. That is that since I'm not following any curriculum, people can't do what they seem to enjoy doing - look at my credentials and get a rough idea of what I know. If you know what medical students are taught, and you meet a medical student who knows what Flourescence in Situ Hybridization is (a test to make certain 'marker' genes light up), you know they will probably also know a pile of other stuff taught before or around the same time as that. Since I learnt about FISH by researching Angelman Syndrome in my free time, it came along with other knowledge, not the stuff taught in medical school.
In terms of math, I teach myself math formulas when I need them. I figured out by myself how to determine percentages, and do it by 100/n*x. That's also how I determine IQs, not the ma/ca * 100 you see in psychology textbooks (I like to buy used psychology textbooks to read for fun) but 100/ca * ma.
There is no problem for me right now. The potential problems are in the future. I'll try to get into college, but if they don't accept me or they do but I can't fit with the system, I'll do what I want to do with my life other ways. I'm working on a behavior survey into Kabuki Syndrome which I'll submit to a medical journal when it's done. You don't need a medical degree to publish in journals, you just need to produce work that is of good enough quality.
I'm also writing books. You don't need any credentials to write books. I'm writing fiction as well as a book for parents of kids with chromosome anomalies (and anyone else who wants to know more). Lately I've been researching bats a lot, an old obsession revived so I can write about part-bat, part-human people in a story I'm working on. I'm also thinking of getting jobs such as babysitting disabled people, or maybe working in a petstore.
Had my parents clung to the idea that there's only one way to get an education, I'd be much worse off now. The emotional cost of being in school was too much for me. I might evn have commited suicide - I know I considered it. So it could be literally true to say that by homeschooling me, my parents saved my life.
PS: I sound less mature in this one than I usually do. I don't know why. My writing style sometimes spontaneously changes. Sometimes it's clearly because of what I've been reading, like when I'm writing like a doctor after reading a medical journal, but other times I don't know where the change comes from.

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