The Princess and the Prime Minister

By Emily & Lydia*

This blog is co-written by my sister and I. My sister and me.

Emily: Let’s be honest. Little kids are weird. Some are real weird. We were really, REALLY weird. Other kids might have had invisible friends. We had invisible worlds, cities, houses, palaces, hierarchies, servants, pets…. And siblings (you know, because the 9 we had just didn’t make the cut).

Lydia: The main one I played was princess. I know, I know, a lot of little girls play princess. But my princess fantasy was really messed up. Some girls spend hours on Barbie’s Malibu mansion. I spent hours designing a torture chamber for my enemies. Some girls try on their mom’s makeup. I spray-painted my bike black and pretended it was a black steed, the Bucephalus to my Alexander. My princess was very into world dominating.
I bribed my little brother to behave better by promising a throne at my side as prince. My younger sister could be a (minor) princess if she let me play with her toys. My older sister? I made her my Prime Minister.

The weirdest part was that she accepted the role.

Emily: And I counted myself lucky to hold such a high ranking role.

Lydia: We were laughing the other day about how I used to play that I was the heir to a throne and she was my prime minister, but then we realized how odd that is.

Emily: No shit, Sherlock.

Lydia: Why was I such a dick? And why were you okay with that?

Emily: Because you were a dick and being on the same side as a high ranking official who held a modicum of power was better than being thrown in your imaginary dungeon?

Lydia: And that dungeon had chains all ready for you. I recall I informed you of this on a regular basis.

Emily: Yes. Yes you did.

Lydia: The more interesting question is what this rich fantasy life meant to us and about us. All kids tell themselves stories, create fantasies to inhabit in a way that helps them figure out who they are, or who they want to be. So who were we? Who did we want to be?

What do our fantasies say about us that we might be reluctant to admit?

Emily: Or did we let our fantasies shape who we would become? And if we wanted to…could we change our fantasies? Could we change who we are today?
Over the next couple weeks we will explore what these fantasies say about us, and think about how we can learn from the stories we tell ourselves…and maybe rewrite them. And also, to just entertain you, our gentle reader, with the bizarre and crazy imaginings of two crazy kids.

*you can read more of Lydia’s writing here

7 REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL: Or, How I Learned to Bullshit My Way through Anything

by Emily (and Lydia!)

In today’s blog, I would like to introduce our first guest blogger, my lovely sister, Lydia Cooper. (Check out here). My sister and I were both homeschooled from K-12 (relatively speaking. We didn’t really do the grade thing). The homeschooling movement has been gaining popularity since we were homeschooled behind closed doors with the curtains shut. Here, we respond to some of the main reasons people give for why they think homeschooling is the best option for their ankle biters.

Reason 1: Homeschoolers receive a superior education to public schoolers.
Lydia: Homeschoolers are able to do very fun things like reading Les Miserables in French. The only problem is, Mom doesn’t speak French so they will have to read it in English. Emily: I didn’t study enough French to be able to order a plate of pomme frites, so it is a moot point for me. However, without having to study for tests, one can learn so much more useless bits of trivia and random information that has no bearing on real life. Lydia: Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, 800 C.E. Emily: And I can still sing most of the songs from both Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. Lydia: The only bummer is that we never learned the other stuff, like, science.

Reason 2: Without having to study for tests, homeschoolers excel over their peers in math and science.
Lydia: Oh yeah, science: which comes from the Latin scientia meaning “denial of fact.” Emily: We took science? Lydia: Being taught that the world is 5774 years old does add a slight hint of the medieval to our bio-chem labs. Emily: I suppose next you’ll say the world is round. Heaven forbid.

Reason 3: Homeschoolers are more grounded and have more real life experience than public schoolers.
Lydia: To this day, I have never used a combination lock and am petrified of them. I once spent almost forty five minutes in a gym waiting for my friend to get back from swimming so I could put my stuff, casually, in her locker. . . . Emily: I was once a half hour late to a class. Good news, though. Now I know that classroom numbering reflects what floor of the building the classroom is on.

Reason 4: When you are homeschooled, you can do your work in bed, in your pj’s!
Lydia: Sure, but feeding the goats, making ketchup from scratch and corralling all 8 younger siblings is tough on your footie pj’s. Emily: And why would you want to wear your pj’s when you could wear a historically accurate costume to correlate with your studies? Lydia: And on that note…

Reason 5: Homeschoolers get just as much and more worthwhile socialization.
Lydia: What better way to raise kind, compassionate and worldly children than by raising them with seven other homeschooled kids who are the same race (white), religion (evangelical Republican), ethnicity (white), political affiliation (evangelical Republican), and strand of paleo-vegan (Emily: yum. Carob.) (again, white) as they are. Emily: Word.

Reason 6: Public school teachers are, of course, evil….
Emily: Public school teachers, the “fat cats” of the educational world, are paid to smoke their Cuban cigars on the back nine of their private golf courses. We all know this. What else could possibly motivate an individual to teach pre-algebra to a bunch of eighth graders? Lydia: paid summers off?!? Emily: seriously though, being a teacher is one of the most important yet thankless jobs. Pandora – do you want to add something about the altruistic nature of public school teachers and the shit you put up with? Pandora: Um no. I am not altruistic, I do it for the perks, and I don’t put up with jack. . . . .

. . .And, Reason 7: Of course mom knows best what her kids need.
Emily: As is evidenced by the new trend in refusing all vaccines. It’s so much better for your kids to die of measles or be handicapped by polio, rather than getting shot for showing up to school on someone’s bad day. Lydia: Good parents raise their kids in nuclear bomb bunkers!

Reason 8: Sending your kids to public or private school means you are a lazy parent.
Emily: regardless (note: as a previously homeschooled kid, I would NEVER use the word “irregardless”), no educational system removes your responsibility to train your child to be a moral, well-rounded, citizen of the world. At the end of the day, your kids are your responsibility, whether you choose to teach them math and science and penmanship, or have someone else teach them the “basics” of education. Lydia: Just, whatever you choose, please teach more science than medieval fan fiction. And irregardless (note: I’m an asshole), the compassion and integrity your little tykes already have, Emily, means that you’ve already figured out that good schooling isn’t the substitute for good parenting.