She Might Not Use the Word Unschooling But . . .

30 06 2010

a rose by any other name WOULD smell as sweet! Check this out from Dana: Learning more deeply by learning less.

Rape and Incest Impregnation All God’s Plan, Claims Senate Candidate Sharron Angle

29 06 2010

In an segment that has gone unnoticed since it first aired, the Tea Party-backed candidate told the Bill Manders show — a favorable platform for Republican candidates — that she opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest. A pregnancy under those circumstances, she said, was “God’s plan.”

Colleen: “Unschooling Is Like A Game Of Super Mario Galaxy 2”

29 06 2010

Unschooling Is Like A Game Of Super Mario Galaxy 2″:

I thought of myself as the support crew. I wasn’t there to win–-I was there to support Jerry. And once I accepted that I was the sidekick, I had fun–-especially once it hit me that my role as player 2 in the Super Mario Galaxy games is exactly the same as my role as an unschooling parent! I’m along for the ride. I’m not leading the way, but every now and then I throw in something new. Sometimes it’s helpful and Jerry wants me to keep at it and sometimes he asks me to back off. But, I’m always covering his back . . .

I’m happy to follow along behind, collecting stars as I go.

Why Educate Our Kids? For Fourth of July Fireworks

28 06 2010

In the movie Pretty Woman, high-school dropout Julia Roberts pulls out a veritable bouquet of multi-colored condoms from her high boot, to display for her over-educated, condescending customer Richard Gere:

“I’m a safety girl!”

The humor comes from her juxtaposing with no apparent irony, the high risk of her illegal business activity selling pretend fun, with her high protection provisions against its very real danger. (And later she sneaks away from her high-risk deal to floss her beautiful teeth.)

I am in contrast no hooker, less looker, low risk and high safety — a fireworks wimp, also a wimp about breaking any law, come to think of it. A REAL safety girl.
Though I admit my flossing is sometimes spotty . . .

“[I]llegal explosives devices are not fireworks. Illegal or improperly used fireworks can cause severe injuries or even death.”

Favorite Daughter though not yet 21, is all grown up in her thinking and feeling. She got home very late last night from road-tripping with her boyfriend and his best friend, through the Deep South up to a family lakeplace in Indiana. She showed me snapshots and talked for half an hour about the amazing Chicago Museum of Science & Industry where they spent a whole precious day (rather than canoeing and canoodling.)

She showed me the cryptic crossword puzzles she had tackled during the long drive days and chortled over the most maddening clues. Then we came to what they had bought:

1) a (need I say tacky?) pistol-packing deer dressed in rebel cap and Confederate battle flag, with a big jug of moonshine between its folded front feet, planned for a gag party gift. I can’t figure out why its antlers are detachable because it doesn’t turn into a flask or anything; maybe it’s just to cap off this dim-witted derogation of a beautiful animal not known for brains yet certainly smarter than its derogators, to underline the demented, hairy, spitting, smelling, self-loathing, belly-scratching stupidity of this entire ill-conceived creation.

2) roadside fireworks illegal to sell here, from one of the Carolinas or maybe Tennessee. For a fun family Fourth of July.

I don’t know much about fireworks legal or otherwise, any more than I do about firearms legal or otherwise, except that they sure seem related in how they work and what they’re used for, why they appeal Read the rest of this entry »

Accountability For–and From–the Mouths of Babes

27 06 2010

True story about the power of schoolthink to shape lives, for life. Nothing much has changed except that now, between well-meaning researchers and profit-meaning test corporations, almost all kids are being labeled for dysfunction. Not just actual orphans. I’ll make this a “First Thinks First” link too.

An Essay from an Academic-Turned-Unschooling Mom

by JJ Ross, Ed.D.
(as published online by the Indiana Home Education Network)

Maybe I need a regular alarm clock.

When I wake to news radio as is my custom, the golden-throated stories I hear in half-consciousness stay with me, imprinting my mood and thoughts. Yet the accurate details of which news is made — facts my fully alert mind would have recorded and filed for recall — escape me almost entirely. Thus I’m left with a sort of deja vu sense of the story, sure that I “know” but off-balance about how I know. (Could this be the way divine revelations are experienced, as beyond explanation or objective proof?)

In any case, as an academic, I’ve been embarrassed over less. Fortunately parent-directed education is not a traditional academic setting!

It happened again, as I awoke this morning. Suddenly my mind was filled with stuttering orphans used for 1939 experiments, in the then-nascent science of speech pathology at some university in the Midwest — Iowa? As I said, I was half-asleep — and it turns out that the orphans weren’t stutterers at all. They were purposely TOLD by the university they needed speech therapy to correct a tendency to stutter, given a few weeks of “sessions” to see if the bogus diagnosis and intervention could create stuttering rather than curing it, and subsequently were returned to their regular orphan lives with the only noted effect being a new hesitancy in their speech. (Itself a sign of stuttering, I mused, but then I wasn’t really conscious.)

The news story continued. Some 50 years later, a journalist discovered the dusty thesis and tracked down a few of the now-elderly participants, who had never doubted what they’d been told as children by those university experts. This “educational experiment” had caused them to live their lives believing they had a scientific tendency toward communication problems, a diagnosis some say was destiny, making them hesitant and reclusive, removing some options, limiting their identity.

But here’s the truth, the journalist says — it was all a lie in service of experimental research. You could have been a contender!

Lawsuits are pending.

The university named a building after the now-dead “father of speech pathology” who supervised the orphan stuttering studies. His protege, Mary Somebody (told you I was semiconscious, remember?) says she regrets that ethical standards in 1939 weren’t what they could have been. There are some quirky legal points about sovereign immunity in place at that time in that state, whichever one it was but that’s not the part that imprinted me for the day.

My own random-abstract take on it is not legal or even scientific, but educational. Power of Story. Humans are impressionable, especially children. Facts and ideas and judgments can enter a child’s mind and lodge where they land, almost like radio news flowing into a brain whose daytime defenses are asleep.

This educational research was high-minded, meant to help children Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Jackson: Son, Father, Wholly Ghost

25 06 2010

This is a reposting from Michael Jackson’s untimely death one year ago, a meditation on what is *most* important about parenting above all else, what lives on forever in one form or another. Is it the parent first, or the child? See some thoughtful discussion at the OP here.


Remember that Michael Jackson “homeschooled” his kids.

And when he was the child instead of the father, was what he got as parenting, “right”?

Joe Jackson told the BBC that he whipped Michael with a switch and a belt . . .When asked about Michael’s comments that he was so nervous seeing his father that he regurgitates, Joe Jackson’s comment is, “He regurgitates all the way to the bank.”

Just a reminder to temper our parental self-righteousness in the public policy square, as this summer’s hysteria heats up over the UN daring to champion the Rights of the Child, and the US education department addressing national school standards . . .

When it comes to Michael Jackson’s children and OJ Simpson’s children, Octomom’s or Jon and Kate’s Eight; Gov. Sanford’s children or John Edwards’ children, in or out of marriage; Sarah Palin’s special needs baby (and her teen-parented grandbaby, her daughter/s maligned by a late-night comic, her 18-year-old son off to a misbegotten war in the Middle East, whew!) never mind a whole world full of hungry, poor and health-threatened children, literally mutilated or enslaved children, abused and neglected children, church-cult-terrorism indoctrinated children. . .

Whose side are we really on?

See also
Latest Homeschool Freakout

Teach the Controversy: UN Convention of Rights of the Child

Will Marriage Defenders Fight This As Immoral Too?

24 06 2010

There will be many travelers on this journey . . .
Mary Nell and I call ourselves the “New American Family,” and perhaps we are a Marriage of Three. . .
I have no answers for others, offering only what I have done and learned and chosen, knowing that it was right — for me.