7-list: this week's homeschool lesson plan

The great thing about homeschooling my children is we can follow our own curriculum. I mean, we do all the normal shit so that the state doesn't repo our kids and send them to godless sexually explicit public schools to ruin their lives without them knowing any better, but we also have the freedom to let the kids lead themselves down paths of learning. My oldest is 8, almost 9, and she got into writing poetry this past year, so I've been working with her on listening to beats and coming up with song ideas and writing hooks and even lyrics. I figured if I brainwash her now, she can be like white-bred MC Lyte rural homeschool freak MC-ess of the year in ten years - basically, Psalm One but southern and white. So we outlined a week-long rhyme-writing intensive for this coming week, and I figured I'd share the bullshit with you, random internet homo, for you to laugh at me and be like, "Oh shit! He can't be serious." But I am serious.
LESSON #1 - Sunday: The great thing about homeschooling is that there is no separation of learning shit and regular life, so school is not something separate from your comfort zone for you to hate. It is part of everything. So we have school every day, and then sometimes, no days. It's very free. We are not religious people, although highly spiritual, we just don't buy into any specific brand name of morality. But we do encourage the idea that Sunday is a special day for the more loungin' aspects of your week. I work for myself, and usually six days a week, but I always make sure to either not work on Sunday, or at least only half a day. Sundays we have big breakfasts with plenty of hog and the scrambled up in a frying pan unfertilized ovaries of our pet chickens. But we've also been doing a photo project on Sundays, me and the oldest one, where we go somewhere and take a slew of digital pics. I've been doing 100 per Sunday session, and she's been shooting for like 30 or so pics. This Sunday, I'm gonna take her to my favorite local lounge spot, at the end of a road a couple miles over where I found where the black people live in my county. I grew up in a half-black/half-white county, so where I live now, with it's ultra-whiteness, it sometimes makes me feel uneasy. But I found this road where it's mostly black folks, and the type that have hot rods and broke down trucks or campers beside the house and other stupid opening montage scene type stuff from a documentary by some college kid trying to show how bad and poor country folks are. Well, at the end of this road is the James River, as well as train tracks you can hike along so long as no one catches you. So I figure a good starting lesson for the week of rhyme-writing learning is to just throw in a good Jimmy Smith mix in the truck, and take the kid over there to the train tracks. Jimmy Smith is the king of the Hammond B3 organ, and if you have never jibed up to his non-vocal music, then you are missing the fuck out. Or perhaps you are uptight and prefer electronic anime muzak rap music instrumentals to "lay back" to. I don't know. Anyways, we just soak in some "The Sermon" while heading to the train tracks with our digital cameras, talking about the upcoming week of rhyme-writing, and what she wants to get out of it. Once there, we'll walk along the river, take awesome pictures of dilapidated nonsense and dumped trash, and eventually I'm sure a freight train will come by, either one loaded with coal headed east to Norfolk, or one emptied out and heading back up into the mountains for a refill. Even out here in bumfuck, shitstate, the freight trains are pockmarked with graffiti, which is part of the reason I want to take her out there to take pics. We'll have to duck into the bushes while the engine rolls by, because sometimes those dudes can be dicks about trespassing and all, but once it's gone, you come out and snap pic after pic of fucked up looking coal cars splashed with blasts of color. I'll make sure to mention to her to note how each car is its own separate thing, but still they're all connected and make a whole. Any particular car with a nice name piece, maybe even with a character, is surely a highlight as a single entity of a car, but it's still part of the whole train. And a train ain't a train without all the shit hitched together. So after the train rolls by, we'll go sit down by the river, and I'll fire up a bowl while talking about rhymes and how each line is its own separate thing, like the train and cars, and you can have an awesome line here or there that just blows everybody's mind, but it all has to connect to make a train of thought, or complete verse. And if it's not going anywhere in particular, then it's just masturbatory nonsense. I probably won't say "masturbatory" to my 8-year-old daughter, because I'm not really ready to deal with that type of conversation, so I'll have to think of some other intense way to say totally awesome shit with no point is not as awesome as semi-awesome shit all hitched together with an obvious point to it.
LESSON #2 - Monday: Back to work week for me, so the lesson will have to be after work, probably out in the camper where my best turntable is, and I’ll throw on Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express and Autobahn, and just let it play to see what the kid thinks about it. I am sure, with her knowing this is a lesson of some sort and I’m trying to trick her into learning some crazy shit, she’ll be nice about it. Now let’s be honest, Kraftwerk is like having a couple of blip blooping gadgets strapped onto your ears with aluminum tape, but that was some shit that had early breakbeat DJs going mad, and was the foundation for Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock”. Crazy German robot dance Kraftwerk. And that, along with Bambaataa’s vision of beats, was supposed to be the future of music at two different points. Of course, both of those things sound weird and wacky and completely dated to us now, because you just can’t see how the future is gonna shape up. (That reminds me of one of the last special lessons I gave the kid, about time travel, and how man is a three-dimensional creature, so we have trouble understanding the fourth dimension, and I told her of the Philadelphia Experiment, where the dudes got stuck in the walls of the ship when the Tesla coil failed and all, so now she’s all amped up on being a physicist and figuring out fourth dimensional travel. We’ll probably have to get her in some community college classes in her teen years for the proper science to be on that track though. I am limited in my brilliance, believe it or not.) But the lesson for her here is to play “Planet Rock” after the Kraftwerk, to show her what Afrika Bambaataa got from listening to the same shit, and how he made some new shit. Then we go inside for a hilarious fifteen minute segment viewing of Tron, to show her what people back in the ‘80s thought the future was gonna be like, and how we’re nothing close to that bullshit and never will be. But then we can watch Style Wars, with the early graffiti, and she can see how all these people just ran in different directions with these ideas, and she can compare it to what we saw on the freight trains the day before, because today’s graffiti is on some different shit, but it’s still the same. It’s all in how you filter everything. Plus, Style Wars will expose her to Case, that one-armed graffiti dude who’s on the super-supreme wild style tip, so she’ll hopefully be less likely to throw out that “I can’t do this” cop-out when she gets frustrated by her own limitations and having to push past them. But the point of this day is to just get across, everything around you is your input, and you filter it however you feel best, to make it perfect for you. If Kraftwerk and Bambaataa were nowadays, he would’ve dl’ed that shit on a blog and been like, “LOL, German robots on some weak ish!” and that would’ve been it, then he would’ve went on craigslist to find a tranny to fuck. But then again, it’s environment and filters, and someone out there is stealing instrumentals off the internet, mashing them up to some great wild-assed blends, perfect to have on in the background while fucking trannies you met on craigslist. And that’s awesome.
LESSON #3 - Tuesday: Just out to the camper after work for a simple mix, playing side F of the Aquemini album, with “Liberation”, then fading into “Southern Girl” by Erykah Badu, then letting the instrumental to “Closet Freak” play while I switch out cables and run the CD player into one half of the mixer to cue up “Gaining One’s Definition” from Cee-lo’s solo joint, into the radio version of “Soul Food”, then back to the CD player to let the extended live “Tyrone” play for a while while I set up the radio version of “Cell Therapy” and close out with the beginning of that “Crazy” Gnarls Barkley song, which my daughter will recognize like a motherfucker from 3000 plays on my wife’s robot apple beat machine player. I’m hoping the funk vibe of a lot of this shit will echo the Jimmy Smith I planted in her brain already, but also the point is to be like, do what you like as music, and write rhymes to fit around that. Following a straight hip hop formula is wack as shit, as all the prominent forms of hip hop (both radio bullshit and internet friendly bullshit) are formulaic as fuck to the point it makes me groan more than moan nowadays. But also, I know my daughter doesn’t really like “Crazy” because she’s heard it too much, which can lead to a good point on doing the same shit too much, which not just with a song can also apply to your style. Or words. If you say the same word seventeen times in one set of songs, people are gonna be rolling eyes at your shit. My kid needs to learn that from the jump, but I also want her to know she can mix in some singing or speed talking or even homemade language jibber jabber. This will also be the best time to go back to the “Southern Girl” 12-inch and explain what Rahzel is doing on there, with beat boxing, which fuck, is a dead art in hip hop but also like the coolest shit ever for a wide-eyed kid to hear. I mean, beat boxing is some shit you can cup your hands up to your mouth and give a shot at, right underneath the apple tree in the back yard. I’ve got a heavily rotated old school mix CD that has like a six song segment with The Fat Boys and Biz Markie all highlighting beat box skills, which we can listen to in the trunk while we ride up to the country store for a can of tomato juice for my beer. And I’ll talk about the time I met Biz Markie at the bar in the Richmond Marriott, and just explain Biz Markie. I mean, that’s one big, ugly, goofy fucker, and urban legend is he was a homeless dude cleaning car windshields and freestyling when Cold Chillin’s President Tyrone discovered him. When it comes to stylishness and magazine-friendly beauty, Biz has none of it. Yet he’s like one of the greatest motherfuckers ever in hip hop. And if I’m gonna be brainwashing my kid to be some uber-rhymewriter at age 8, I want her to understand doing her own thing stylishly but in your own style is the most important. I don’t want her running up to me about something she wrote and it’s like a shitty derivative of “Lip Gloss”. I don’t believe in physically hitting my own children, but I’d be mad dissapointed and would browbeat her like a motherfucker over that. So I’d rather nip that in the bud by encouraging her in a different direction. And if she naturally grows into being like some retarded white girl version of retarde M.I.A., then whatever, if she came to that on her own, I can accept it. I can accept my kids being themselves, even if it’s some strange ass gay shit to me, so long as it’s themselves and not somebody else’s stupid fucking nonsense polluting their brain.
LESSON #4 - Wednesday: I guess I haven’t really mentioned it, but each day we’ll be fucking around writing some simple rhymes, so she can get in the practice of doing so, and hopefully by the end of the week, I can cut her loose and just have her read me her rhymes after work instead of me going over them with her. Today’s lesson, I’m just gonna play “Eye Examination” b-side to “Dr. Bombay” by Del for her to soak in at regular speed, then we’ll go back and play it again as slow as the pitch control on the turntable will allow, to study the linguistics. She knows what words mean and already understands, from writing poetry this year, about similes and metaphors, but the great trickery of the rapping music is using linguistics to sound all crazy fucked-up brilliant with your shit, and “Eye Examination” is a great example of kooky linguistic gymnastics, to teach alliterations and also how you can make things that would never rhyme in the read form sound exactly the same when delivered vocally. (I will tell her this is the Bushwick rule.) After a few pages of freewrites, doing sound games, writing nonsense on purpose just to do stupid linguistical stuff with her, I’ll throw on m Sittin’ Sideways DJ Screw mix, real low, so she doesn’t hear all the goddamned cursewords, and we’ll sit there and try to write out eight lines or so of crazy linguistically based wordplay together. And I’ll probably ramble about DJ Screw playing shit at a slow speed and ask her didn’t it sound better that “Eye Examination” song all slow and loungin’, and she won’t care. She seems to like more upbeat stuff, but she’s young, and has yet to smoke weed, much less drink cough syrup, so that might change as she gets older. Also, since I broke down the legendary old school status of Biz Markie yesterday, I plan on this day busting out the 7-inch of “10% Dis” by MC Lyte, to give the best female MC of all-time some shine, and show my daughter that although the rap world is full of macho posturing men in goofy-looking clothing, women can hold their own. Of course, the whole “beat biter, dope style taker, tell you to your face, you ain’t nothing but a faker” line helps me drive something else home with my daughter, who’s still young, so she sometimes when writing about things, will recreate things she’s reading about (fucking American Girls) or a movie she watched, and I’ve been trying hard to hammer into her head that recreating something else is creative, but ultimately not original, and that it’s far better for her to think up her own wild stories than to just mimic other ones. She’s old enough that we’ve explained what plagiarism is and shit, but as a kid, you’ve got shit you love and you want to be like that, so you can’t just yell at the kid for biting something else. But I want her to understand that biting someone else’s shit, far worse than being illegal according to manmade governments acting as if they were god-like, is something that’s more than worth laughing at somebody about. And the person who did it first can come kick your ass. I want my kid to have plagiarism laws mean nothing to her compared to getting her ass kicked.
LESSON #5 - Thursday: This is gonna be all about playing her some Rakim, to expose her to serious mic magic, but combined with spiritual belief and all-around cocksure (haha) awesomeness. I don’t want her growing up stuck in some bullshit Who was the best of all-time? Biggie or Tupac meme, so I’ve got to expose her to Rakim early on. To this day, you can analyze (and over-analyze) so much of what he said it’s amazing. I want her to know what she believes is important should be in her words, not just crazy verbal tricks to make it sound great. Substance goes a long ways, and there are people who may be listening on the other end, and you want to give them something more than momentary attachment to something new for them to have. I’m sure after long boring seminars on Rakim with some “back in my days, we blah blah blahed the real shit” tangents, I’ll bust out a couple Ghostface songs, definitely “All That I Got Is You”, because Ghost is just as spiritual as Rakim ever was, but in a much weirder mystic way, like not nearly as confident as Rakim and it’s almost like Ghost, as cocksure as he seems, really suffers from insecurities from childhood, so he wraps it up in his out of control style. Which is fine, and I want my daughter to know about that too, because I’m sure, with her being my kid, and plus homeschooled in manners like this week’s rhyme-writing intensive, she’s gonna have some issues that she’ll want to mask as well. But the mask is not an American crook’s mask, meant to hide the true identity completely while you make some fast cash; the mask is like the Mexican luchador’s, meant to give you the freedom of your own shortcomings to do battle with outside forces as powerfully as possible, so that you can come back to what’s behind the mask knowing it has not been jeopardized by exposure. And all that leads to one of the redneck ninja lessons (that’s some other shit an older dude who just recently died who was friends with my dad and lived nearby was on; I’ve been meaning to start putting up some of his rojonekku, or redneck ninja, lessons he’s been sharing with delinquent kids for like twenty years now, but he left his box of journals to me, or at least hid them on his property where only I knew about them, and I’ve been sorting through them, and it’s kinda fucked me; dude was intense, so hopefully in the next month or so I’ll start putting them things up) about dwelling in shadows because you can hide safely in the shadows outside of the attention of those who would exploit, abuse, or oppress you. But you are also only in shadows, not hopeless darkness, so your eyes - or outlook - adjust, and you get by. Man, looking back on that last couple of run-on sentences, my kids are so doomed yet so blessed, it’s bothersome. I mean, it looks bad to be teaching kids crazy shit like all this, but fuck, what good does a public schooling do? I don’t want my kids to learn how to pass tests and sit still and listen to the authority figure. I’d rather my kid be feral and make retarded wolf children in the mountains than ever end up some piece of shit regular kid who thinks an afterschool job at Food Lion is great because it gives them extra spending money for clothes at Target.
LESSON #6 - Friday: No lesson today because about three weeks ago, after not being able to understand the BBC Radio 1 website, I accidentally discovered the weekly essential mix is on Fridays when I get home from work, so we can fix dinner, turn up the satellite radio real loud and let goofy Euro-friendly dance music blast so the kids can put on dress-up clothes from the dress-up clothes bin and get their dance on. I even strung up some Christmas lights in the kitchen (which has our biggest open space of a dance floor-ish variety). After I take a shower, I’ll go upstairs and dress normal, but I did bust out some dress-up clothes too last week, my old Duke of Hawaii outfit from a Halloween or two. Basically, I put on this weird brown-haired mod wig my kids have, but my dreadlocks stick out the back at the bottom, like a retard mullet, and I put on these white urban camo pants I have, plus a really tacky rainforest looking leaf pattern white, black, and green Hawaiian shirt. The combo is kind of like looking at the sun, and my wife hated it when it was gonna be my Halloween outfit, but the kids said I looked like the Duke of Hawaii, whatever the fuck that means, so that’s what it’s called now, and I try to bust it out from time to time, to keep my wife on her toes and to induce epileptic seizures in random pregnant women. So yeah, class suspended today, so we can teach the kids stupid dances from the ‘80s while frybread and ground turkey sprinkled heavily with cumin cooks on the stove.
LESSON #7 - Saturday: Saturday morning will be our last regular season soccer game for the kid, and this is her first year of U10, which is also the first year I've let the kids know the score during the games, since the shit up till now should be about learning and having fun. But at 8 and 9, they're old enough to start wanting to win and compete and shit but still have fun. My kid is probably one of the weaker links on the team, but she's improved steadily all year long, and mostly it's about her being more confident, not her being a lazy fat ass or something. But we are undefeated this year and have only been losing at halftime once. So usually after soccer, we have a chill afternoon, so I won't want to get too heavy on her about the rhymewriting, but we have to carry out the week-long plan. Mostly for the last day, I just want her to write some rhymes, even if it's goofy ass 8-year-old girl rhymes, that's still a foundation. Start with some Ant Banks instrumentals (I'd really prefer some Rap-a-Lot in-house producers instrumentals, but the only one I really still have that I can find easily is my three copies of "Ever So Clear"), which we can roll with for a while, then bust out the "In The Trunk" single by Too Short to move from Ant Banks to the DJ Premier remix and go into a Premier instrumental vibe. The main thing will be for her to just get in the habit of writing a rhyme, all the way through, and the goal I'm hoping for on Saturday afternoon is three almost whole verses, not necessarily for the same song, and two hooks. Before this week, we've worked on and pretty much have a running game of coming with hooks for shit that's happening. It's actually fairly amusing because we could be walking through the grocery store buying some food, and all of a sudden she'll bust out a hook about cereal boxes with cartoon characters being placed at the eye level of children. I'm hoping she won't be too fast with the writing, so we can get into a little chunk of various Diamond instrumentals from through the years, and I can talk some nonsense about how Diamond made great beats and was an entertaining MC, and then I can promise we'll work on beat-making over at the PSY/OPS house if she wants, or the next time Boogie Brown comes through town. And hopefully, she'll have a desire to put her innermost thoughts into retarded linguistic patterns of lines with rhythmic end sounds from now on.