I’ll admit that I’m not very good a decent conversation. I’ve always been apt to run at the mouth a bit! I just get so excited about a topic or idea that I can’t stop talking about it. I have been aware of it and have tried to change. I’m still working on it!

This morning’s reading was timely because I’m getting ready to spend the day with family and that tends to get me going. I think I’m nervous around people and that makes me talk more. This was a very good reminder to let others speak their mind. This line alone could really help me to remember, “The two chief ends of conversation are to entertain and improve those we are among, or to receive those benefits ourselves;”. I must remember to allow others to speak!

The reading was Jonathan Swift’s, “Essay on Conversation”. And again, an old reading where nothing has changed over the years.


Minimum Age

It makes you think. Doesn’t it? My eldest son told me about this today. His thoughts were that people would think we should lower the drinking age, but his were that maybe we should raise the minimum age to enter the military.

We’ve talked about minimum age regulations before. Things like how old you need to be to drive, work, drink, smoke, etc. He had researched it because he’s heard people say the ages are arbitrary, and they mostly are but they do have a logical reason if you’re coming from a Statist point of view in the first place. I found it fascinating that he looked into it. It was something that was interesting and he wanted to know more about it. And that he could look at it from another point of view even if he didn’t agree with it.

When he brought this comic up, we said we should start a conversation in the world about raising the minimum age to join the military. The premise most people I’ve heard talk of is that, if you’re old enough to go kill people for your country, shouldn’t you be old enough to handle buying and consuming alcohol? But let’s turn that around. Maybe, if we’re going to have a volunteer military service at all, we should be sure that the person volunteering has enough maturity and life experience to understand and make that decision. Why not raise the age to 21 and throw in at least two years of college before you are allowed to join? Can anyone tell me a reason why that would NOT be a good idea?

The Problem is…

It’s not really a problem. I started another website with a blog about homeschooling in California but I just can’t keep it up. I’ve been thinking about why and I think I’ve found a reason. There are several groups that cover the legal options here, so it’s redundant on that end. Also, and this is the biggest problem, I just don’t really separate education topics and life. I don’t see the line. It’s all blurred into one big topic. There are things that I want to write about that are specifically “education” but they are usually in the context of public school and are typically negative.

So I’m considering just dropping the site and concentrating on writing here. I think it would be time better spent.

Following Your Dreams

I was listening to Isaac Morehouse podcast yesterday, called “Words with TK Coleman”. I love his podcast anyway, but when I see those two names together, I know something awesome is about to happen. And I was NOT disappointed. I’ll share my two favorite thoughts with you.

“Fear is something that destroys you from a distance, but empowers you from up close.”

No need to elaborate, right?!

“The goal of following your dreams is not ‘success’.” That’s paraphrased.

That one was an eye opener for me. I’ve had ideas I wanted to pursue, dreams of doing big things, but what holds me back is my track record for failure. I shouldn’t let that happen. It doesn’t matter if the plan never pans out. It doesn’t matter if I lose a few bucks. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t grow to be something that could financially support us. It’s the act of doing something that counts.

I learn something from every dream I follow. I grow. And my children grow and learn from watching me find my passions and act on them.

Now, if can only find the courage to act on those dreams!

Use of Force

I’m reading “Everything Voluntary: From Politics to Parenting” and I came across this gem from Reverend Horatio Potter’s 1837 sermon on “Intellectual Liberty”.

“error is to be refuted, that truth is to be made manifest and its influence extended not by eternal force, but by reasoning…Produce your strong reasons – employ your intellect to shew wherein my intellect has erred or led others into error, but abstain from violence, which can prove only that you are powerful and vindictive, with-out proving that you have truth on your side.”

And producing reasons and discussing how I came to a conclusion or what I believe to be true is not violence against others.

Sentence Structure?

I don’t think anyone invented language. I pretty sure that it naturally evolved. No one had an “ah-ha” moment about putting the noun before the predicate. “Mr. Norton walks.” So why do we torture children with diagramming sentences and picking out verbs, nouns, and adjectives? Someone at sometime (probably a word-nerd, someone fascinated with semantics or linguistics) heard all these words and sentences we naturally use, noticed a pattern of some kind, that most people used them in certain way, and decided to write down all these “rules”. Anyone that hears people speak regularly can pick this kind of stuff up naturally without ever knowing what a interjection is. But now we feel we need to sit young children down and explain these rules whether they are interested or not, as if they wouldn’t know how to speak or write if they didn’t know them in an academic form.

If you are fascinated by the rules of language, by all means study them! But you really don’t need to harass people of any age about it. If your children hear people speak in the dialect and form you desire, they will learn that language naturally. You can hear language in multiple ways. You can listen to conversation, watch TV or movies, play online role playing games, or read books. Just like learning to walk, your children learned to talk. They don’t speak like Native Americans in a old Western movie, do they? So why would they write that way?

Here are a couple links to get the juices flowing in your mind!

Sandra Dodd’s page about “Language Arts”

Unschool Rules!

Reaction to Mean Girls

I saw this post on Facebook yesterday.

I watched it and didn’t respond. I was taken aback that it was obviously a set up, an experiment. Do children actually act like that? I really don’t know. I don’t interact with a lot of schooled kids.

But this morning I was still thinking about the video and how the adults reacted to the mean girls. They bullied them back. Not one of the portrayals showed the adults pulling in all the girls and loving them, or treating them all kindly. They pulled the younger girl aside and showed her extra kindness in front of the mean girls. Or chastised the mean girls for their behavior. What if we did something else?

Children react to their environment. They are only reflecting the attitudes they receive daily. We need to look at ourselves. Is “bullying” on the rise in schools? Why? I don’t think children are any different, but the environment has changed. What has changed? We need to research that. And in the mean time, maybe be a little kinder and understanding to the kids that lash out at others as well as the meek that get the brunt end of other children’s pain.

I would really have liked to see the adults redirect the mean girls attention. I would like to have seen the adult speak to the girls as if they were all equals. I would have loved to see them all talking as peers about a book, movie, or other interest. I’d like to see more people include everyone in their love whether they deserve it at the moment or not.