I really don’t understand.

I don’t write consistently. Should I? I don’t always have a lot to say, but I do have thoughts that come to mind every day. Maybe I’ll just write those and expand on the idea if I find the time or inspiration.

Like this one from yesterday.

Why is it that telling women that taking care of their children is a good thing and that under no circumstances should you try to kill your child considered a “war on women”?

I mean, if you don’t want to care for children that is fine, don’t have them. It is a preventable circumstance now. You can have sex and NOT get pregnant. You can choose to have children later in life. You can choose not to have them at all. But passing them off for someone else to care for shouldn’t be a first choice. It should be one that you make because circumstances have gotten you to that point and you have to do something. It is not ideal or preferred.

And killing them? Abortion? People talk about pregnancy as if it is an unavoidable part of life, like a woman’s menstrual cycle. I just don’t understand.

Harvard Classics on Education

Last December I got the Harvard Classics set for my birthday because my husband is awesome. I committed to going through the “Fifteen Minutes a Day” Reading Guide. There’s a whole years worth of selections that, according to them, helps create a well rounded educated human being. The funny part is that it’s written for “boys and girls from twelve to eighteen years of age”. Well, I’m pretty far beyond that age but I never read this kind of stuff when I was a kid, so why not read it now!

Years ago I came across “A Thomas Jefferson Education” and I heard Oliver DeMille (the author) speak about it. It made so much sense to me. In my opinion, it all boils down to the idea that no one can educate anyone else. It’s something you need to go get for yourself. And for each person it’s an entirely different path and destination. It isn’t “educate yourself with the same books and experiences that Thomas Jefferson did”, it’s more like educate yourself the WAY he did, by reading what excites you, speaking and writing with mentors and peers, and experiencing the world around you.

So here I am years later still reading and just getting started in writing about what I’m reading. I haven’t found any mentors in my classics though. There just aren’t a lot of people in my immediate area that are willing to spend time educating themselves. I can continue to be an example to my sons though.

Back to the Harvard Classics! The reading list is old. I find what I’m supposed to read that day and start to read it, but if I’m not comprehending any of it, or I can’t see any link to my world, I just put it aside. There isn’t much on that list though. Some things I’m just really not interested in and I know the reading list is circular so I’ll see the author or subject again in the future, so I just skip it this time. A few times over the years of reading, I’ve come across something I hadn’t found relevant in the past but this time it was timely.

I’m also reading the “Lectures” book of the set. I really enjoy reading these. The one I read most recently was “Lectures on Education”. One of them I was fuming at because I felt it was so off. It was by Professor H.W. Holmes. It came off as pretty authoritarian and communistic, filled with the ideas of the “common good” and “political control”. What was really upsetting reading it was that much of the ideas he was putting forward are what our public education system is using and it isn’t working out anything like he had hoped, or is it?

“For the public interest goes far beyond the need of supplying to all a uniform minimum of schooling. Democracy means far more in education than the warding off of danger from illiteracy. It is a crude and at bottom a wholly mistaken view of public education which confines it to the “the three R’s” or to those admitted necessities and such other subjects as the common good may dictate for the common school. The public interest is not met by merely elementary education. It is met only when every prospective citizen may secure without undue sacrifice that extent and kind of education which will make him most efficient in his fundamental social relationships, including his vocation. The state needs knowledge, efficiency, insight, and idealism in industry, commerce, the arts, science, philosophy, religion, and family life as much as in citizenship more narrowly defined. The only logical result of the thoroughly social character of education is public support of every socially profitable kind of schooling, with commensurate public authority.”

There are loads of problems with this, the least of which is the idea that the United States is a “democracy”. Democratic Republic. We vote for representatives that operate under a predetermined constitution. Anyway, the system of making sure everyone has the same basic education to promote all these “socially profitable” things is the exact opposite of what made this country grow and become great in the first place. Individualism, self-educating, and self-reliance is what creates the kind of human being that can rule himself. The education this man is promoting is what creates citizens and a ruling class. Which is exactly what we have now.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the essay about “Huxley on Science and Culture” by Professor A.O. Norton. “So clear and simple is it, indeed, that one constantly forgets that the printed page is before one. One seems to be looking directly at the thoughts expressed rather than at the words themselves, just as one looks through a clear window at a landscape.”

Have you ever read a book like that? I have. Poetry can sometimes do that, but Jane Eyre was one that made me feel as if I were looking right into that world. I wanted to reach out and hug the characters, or yell at them to stop and see what they were doing to each other. Makes me want to read it again.

Smallpox

According to my list I was supposed to read a few of Voltaire’s “Letters on the English”, parliament, government, and trade. BUT! I was thumbing through and found “On Inoculation” and it sounded much more interesting considering the recent uproar about vaccinations in California.

I learned something very interesting about the smallpox inoculation. It came from the Turks! They are the ones that figured out that people that had a minor infection were less likely to die from it. Contracting through the skin also made it less terrible, and the young and healthy rarely died. It’s a very interesting letter. You can read it here.

http://www.bartleby.com/34/2/11.html

It’s not long at all, a five minute read. And the Wikipedia article was interesting as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inoculation#Importation_to_the_West

I find it fascinating that France forbid people to get these inoculations and now in the US they are forcing people to get them. Both were wrong. A free, self-governing people should be examining evidence and weighing the risks themselves for each and every vaccine that comes out. Convince me why I should risk the effects of either the disease or the vaccine.

What ever happened to just thinking?

11921658_727950003977007_2195181590544296651_nI’ve seen this chart pop up on a few friends Facebook page lately, in different forms from different schools. It bugs the crap out of me and I’ll tell you why. Of course I will! It’s why I have this blog!

You don’t need to sleep by a chart. Or do anything else by a chart for that matter. What if, call me crazy, even if your kids go to school and need to be up and going at a certain hour, you saw your child sleepy and grumpy from not enough sleep and you thought, “Maybe we should get to bed earlier?”

“But my kids won’t listen to me!”, you say. Well, then let them be tired for awhile. They will realize their own body clocks faster if you just let them decide for themselves what is enough sleep and what isn’t. And that doesn’t mean you need to be up with them and not getting enough sleep yourself. Your kids can be shown how to respect other people living in the house and still do what they believe is necessary for their own happiness and well being. It is possible.

I just don’t see how a group of people, supposedly self-governed, voting citizens, would need to see a chart about when to put their children at a particular age to bed. I’m thinking, if you can’t see your child is tired when you wake them up (at such an ungodly hour for a child, by the way) and think that maybe you should work with them about getting to bed earlier so that you all feel better, how do you get through the rest of you life without such instructions?

I know, I’m being harsh, but for God’s sake people, really?

Losing a Facebook Friend

I’m in shock. A Facebook “friend” stated she wasn’t interested in anyone else’s point of view. She has stated that she was irritated with the political posts from her liberal friends, that she wasn’t interested in reading them, and that she would “unfollow” friends that posted such things. I replied that I usually viewed political posts as “rooting for their team”. She replied that the game they were playing could ruin her life.

Now, I don’t usually post about politics. Mostly because it’s a deep subject and the medium of Facebook status isn’t really a conducive to getting the idea across. Most people post silly quips or quotes from their recent favorite politician, or attack the other side personally. I try to ignore these because it is like they are playing a game. Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, it’s two sides of the same coin. Really, they are all about trying to control the public in their own fashion, to serve their needs and want of power.

Another thing that bothered me was that I do want to know what my friends think about politics and religion, among other life important things. To me that is what a friendship is, being interested in what each other are thinking or believe. I also consider myself a life learner. We never stop finding new and interesting things. If I shut out other people’s ideas, especially if they disagree with me, aren’t I shutting out growth. Don’t I consider myself done with learning and set in what I believe is the right thinking and way of doing something, if I refuse to hear any other ideas? Her last reply was that she didn’t care to hear anyone’s views. And that ended out Facebook “friendship”. I have no interest in hearing from a person that does not care to hear my point of view.

I do care what other people think, even if their view is completely opposite of mine. I want to know why. What is their reasoning? Maybe my view of the world or system isn’t completely correct. I might learn something from that persons reasoning, either that my view is correct or that they have insight I hadn’t heard before and need to adjust my own thinking.

When I post something, either here, on Twitter, or on Facebook, I’m reaching out to others with my ideas. My hope is that someone will read it and it will broaden their own view or confirm their experience. I am open to discussing, rationally, my ideas and way of thinking. I don’t assume another poster is trying to change my mind about something. I assume they are doing the same thing I’m doing, looking to help others in some fashion. I enjoy commenting and reading other people’s comments, that is, until they get to personal attacks and fallacy. That happens a lot and it’s when I walk away because there is no discussion there. Even then I’ve learned something.

Writing is really hard too. People can’t see your facial expression or body language. They think you’re being a smart ass when really you’re just asking a question. Or they think you are serious when you were just trying to be facetious. You have to use more words to get your real point across and most people aren’t looking to read an article on Facebook. I started to comment on some things on Facebook recently because I had questions about them. I’m wondering if I should stop. I like bringing things here to really think them out but so few people read this that discussion here is next to nil.

Well, I guess I’ll just keep plugging along! I am sad that I lost a friend but I’m more sad that someone I used to know pretty well has shut themselves off from learning, especially since it was a homeschooling, libertarian friend. It’s disappointing.

Emerson’s “The American Scholar”

I was touched by the whole thing. I believe I would agree with him generally, but not on all points. The sad part is that I’m reading through what I highlighted yesterday and can’t remember why I wanted to remember that particular piece. I must have been inspired or touched by it somehow but now after a days hustle I can’t remember what it was. It’s lost because I didn’t write it down immediately. That makes me sad. Sometimes I wish I were just a tad smarter.

I’m going through the piece again trying to find the spark.

Here we go, “The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about like so many walking monsters – a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.”

Have we become so separated that we don’t even realize that we are all “man”. We all have that in common, don’t we? You may be rich, black, working class, or a libertarian, but we are all man. We all have humanity in common.

“The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm.”

This made me think about myself and the way I think. When I’m reading an article or a book, or watching a movie or tv program, I think “You know, this reminds me of education in the US.” I used to think I was obsessed, or self-absorbed. Why can’t I stick to the topic? I know why! Because I don’t see my life and “sink into the” homeschooler. I see Man homeschooling. Everything I see outside relates to that which I do. I’m a wife, mother, and self-educator. I’m a Christian and a Libertarian. But ultimately, I’m human and that is what ties to me to others who are on different paths. I’m not separate and alone. Like Emerson says, I’m not walking around amputated from the trunk of humanity. I’m a useful and needed member of a larger whole.

I’ve got one last thing and then I need to run off to my evening chores!

“Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book, than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system.”

This is why we read, watch, and listen to so many different sources whether they agree with our original principles or not. They help us learn more about the world we live in. They inspire us to more that what we already know. If I read something that is outside my original set of principles and I can understand and agree with what it is saying, shouldn’t I take another look at my principles and see if I am correct in my original idea or need to change something? If my ideas are correct, then reading something against them will only confirm my idea. If my ideas are incorrect, the new information may help me correct them, or at least broaden my horizons. But we don’t read something and adopt its ideas fully (made a satellite) without thinking and judgment. We stay our own system and bring that new information in as a satellite to ourselves.

There is so much of Emerson that I like, especially this book. I can’t wait to read more!