Margaret and I used to feel isolated when we had to explain our un-schooling practices (it’s all made somewhat easier by Nate’s and Si’s shockingly successful transition to higher education), but even the NYTimes seems to have noticed unschooling, with gently neutral approbation.
The proprietor of a fountain pen site (I commend his Dollar Pens as inexpensive, light, classically-styled everyday pens) generously invited me to join his page of writers who use fountain pens. I wrote a few paragraphs about remembering my father’s Sheaffer 304 translucent-body pens, my mother’s Osmiroids, my own Rapidograph from student days, and so on. While I was writing my response, though, I realized that my appreciation of fountain pens goes beyond mere deliberate archaism, beyond family nostalgia, and involves the multiple kinesthetic and cognitive aspects of handwriting with a fountain pen. I exhort students to work on their composition by urging them to make beauty with words; handwriting with luscious inks, in fine arcs and lines, feeling the nib on paper, and selecting the best words in the best order, engages more of me than does simply typing on my keyboard.