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.


I saw this posted on Facebook.

41 Stores (And Counting) That Won’t Be Open On Thanksgiving

And this was my response.

“And those that would really have liked to have that that holiday pay and have their family feast on Saturday are pretty bummed. By the way, I couldn’t find out if any of those stores have ever been open on Thanksgiving.
I understand the sentiment, that spending time together on a holiday should be more important than buying things, but not everyone wants to. Some would rather have the money, or need the money.
Think of all those happy families we used to entertain on Thanksgiving Day at Disneyland. It was a sweet check for us AND the people that chose to spend their holiday at the park instead of at home were thrilled with happy memories being made.
It’s the same with retailers. Maybe I’d rather go shopping on Thanksgiving day with my Grandma and have lunch together at a restaurant. I think we need to but out of what others are doing. If you don’t want to shop and you’d rather have a dinner day with your family, then by all means do.

In Defense of Self-Directed Learning

I was listening the School Sucks Podcast this morning and something bothered me. He was interviewing a young man who had dropped out of high school to learn on his own. The conversation was interesting, but I was dismayed when they started talking about “Self-Directed Learning”. You can listen to the podcast yourself for their take on it, but here are my answers.

Is self-directed learning for everyone? I believe it is. There is no one that doesn’t see what they want and make attempts to get it. I believe that public schools as they are ruin this for us. They teach us from a young age that what we want to know is irrelevant and that there is a set of information that we must memorize to “graduate” to the next level and that that is what education is. If left to our own devices, we all acquire the knowledge and skills we need to get what we want. And that is easier to do now than it ever has been in the history of the world. We can be exposed to the whole world through our computers and televisions, practically free. And any information or learning can be had, practically free for the taking. Add to that the loving guidance of a mentor or parent and you have a recipe for greatness across the country. And by guidance, I mean someone watching over you to offer up physical help and share ideas with. I mean someone who really cares about the person you actually are instead of the person someone wants you to be, and offers suggestions and ideas from their perspective and experience.

Will there be some people who grow up and live their whole lives not learning what someone else has decided are the basics? Will there be people that live beneath your level of expectations? Yes, there will be, there already are, and there always will be. As it is, we are creating more of this, not less. Each individual has an innate drive to live their lives the way they see fit. A drive for independence is something you are born with, just ask any parent of a two year old. Our current authoritarian style drives it out of most people. If we leave them alone to develop that, they will become the person they were born to be, not the person society needs or thinks is best. I believe this is the epitome of efficiency.

Is there an academic core that everyone in society needs? I don’t believe so. And even if there was, who decides what it will be? I believe everyone can discover and achieve the academic skills they find they need in today’s world. It does not need to be the same for everyone. To me, a common core of social skills and morality is far more important and the only way we get that is by interacting with the world around us. It cannot be taught but it is learned, learned by experience. We cannot learn it by being segregated by age in a sterile classroom for eight hours a day. We need to be out there at the post office, the grocery store, the amusement park, the museum, the art gallery, the real world.

What about so called “learning skills”? Reading, planning, etc. You can academically sort them into piles and label them, but you cannot teach them to people who do not want them or see the need for them. But we all (if left alone about it) come to our own understanding about them that helps us get to our own decided goals.

I have watched my sons grow this way. I know that it works. And it can work for anyone in the world we live in now. If each person would learn to know themselves, focus on giving themselves their own education, and love and care for the people around them instead of controlling them, this world would be a better place. Our society would create more wealth and have more to give those around us. Stop trying to control the world and just live in it.

Just a little ranting

This won’t be a well thought out or nicely worded blog post. It’s more of a rant.

Charter schools. I’m tired of hearing about how people only homeschool through the charter school’s to pay for classes. Do people not realize that what they are doing is deciding that other people should pay for their children’s karate, dance, or theater class? I do realize that public schools offer these types of things, but when they do, it’s pretty basic.

My sons recently found out that they like to do indoor rock climbing. A new place in our area opened up and someone in our homeschool group put together a group ticket to try it out. They loved it and we’ve been going about once a week ever since. I’ve been paying month to month until we decide that we really like it and will continue to go. Then I’ll probably buy six months at a time. My children like it. It encourages them to be active and keeps them healthy. I pay for it. If they were in school, they’d be playing baseball or running or whatever people do for P.E. these days. And they could do that for free here if we didn’t have the money to pay for the super cool indoor rock climbing. FYI, it isn’t cheap and we really have to set aside money to do it instead of other things.

But a few weeks ago, the owner let me know that they are now a “vendor” for charter schools and if we belonged to one, we could have the state pay for our membership. Really? So now, I’m sure their prices won’t come down because the state of infinite money will pay probably any price because they take it from other people.

Some friends of mine reminded me of this fine fact today and that’s why I’m ranting about it now. Did you know that you pay taxes to the state and federal government so that the states public school children can go rock climbing for P.E.?

State Charter School homeschool programs bug me for WAY more than this, but it’s a big one.