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T.J. Nakano, 13

Don’t buy him Thomas the Tank Engine toys for Christmas.

By Jake Malooley |

Van Buren Street and Wabash Avenue

Why are you in such a rush? I’m running away from the zombie horde. I have to get to Grant Park, which is the safe zone.

This is a zombie apocalypse game or…? No, this is real life!

What’s on your Christmas gift wish list? Weapons to fight the zombies! [Laughs] It’s for the greater good.

I’m guessing Santa won’t be bringing you weapons. Okay. I’ll take an iPod or an iPad. Would Santa bring me tofu burgers?

More likely than any Apple product. Kids want iPods and iPads now, though. They don’t care for Thomas the Tank Engine anymore.

Where do you go to school? I’m homeschooled. It’s fun. Like, yesterday, in my chemistry class, I played with dry ice. You learn more independently because you don’t have someone telling you what to do. You take on responsibility to learn as opposed to feeling forced.

“Homeschooling” still makes people think your mom is teaching you U.S. history in a makeshift classroom in the garage. Not the case, right? Not the truth. We have a bunch of awesome classes that are taught by homeschooling parents and great teachers that are hired by the homeschooling group. At the Harold Washington Library, we have a homeschooling group that meets every week. The classes are small—like a couple of people—so you get a lot more attention than you would in a public school.

Does homeschooling make you feel alienated from most other kids? Alienated? Like aliens…and zombies?