Blind Pig Homeschoolers and Truffles of Ham

25 03 2011

Even academically indefensible homeschoolers sometimes wind up doing the right thing for the wrong reason or put another way, even a blind pig sniffs out a mouldering truffle now and then (this is a childish play on the man’s last name, get it, get it?)

Either way, if banning Ken Ham for life from churchy corporate-corrupted homeschool conventions is wrong, I don’t wanna be right . . .

Ken Ham, the man behind the Creation Museum and the future Ark Encounter amusement park, has been disinvited from a homeschool convention in Cincinnati next week because he made “ungodly, and mean-spirited” comments about another speaker, according to the convention’s organizers.

Ham also will be excluded from future conventions, according to a statement by Brennan Dean of Great Homeschool Conventions.

Here’s my favorite part though. Guess who Ham’s ungodly and mean-spirited comments were meant to discredit, the man who was also invited to speak and has NOT been banned?

Read the rest of this entry »





Can’t Deny It: You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

19 09 2009





“Hardest Lesson” Is Top Secret, Learned Best Out of School

3 05 2009

Always-unschooled Favorite Daughter marched in her first-ever graduation ceremony last night, seated up front with the perfect GPA president’s list row of students, covered in gold medals and honors sashes as her proud family beamed down, photos to come! But competing against her fellow college students to win academic honors is NOT the subject of this post — quite the opposite.

Dr. Bill Law, president of her college, with Favorite Daughter at graduation

Dr. Bill Law, president of her college, with Favorite Daughter at graduation

What is the hardest lesson of win-lose competition? Losing? — so a child learns through misery, to do anything necessary to inflict that misery on the other guy instead?? COD and his commenters had wise words about kids and sports winning-losing, but today I have some new words of my own too.

Training for everything with the goal of making other people into losers so you can triumph, isn’t my idea of family values to teach kids,  much less my idea of world-class education to serve our national security interests, with the future of the entire human race and our planet as the ultimate grand prize at stake.

Remember the Matthew Broderick movie, “War Games” — brilliant whiz kid trains himself for the highest possible level of gaming competition, matches minds with the very best human scientists and then dramatically beats the most advanced top-secret national defense computer in the world, by teaching it (and himself) the most important human lesson of all: the only way to win is not to play the game.

The win-or-lose game.

JJ Ross has left a new comment at Mrs C’s blog, on the post with a heartbreaking picture of her seven-year-old son burying his head in defeat at his first chess tournament, sitting right next to the winner and her crowing, competitive and way-overly involved (imo) dad, which she headlined as “The Hardest Lesson”:

“Her dad said that she bombed her first tournament and that it’s just like playing an instrument. It’s training, just like a marathon or anything else.”

Talk about competitive, wow. And I don’t mean the child. [shudder]

Just for some different perspective — Read the rest of this entry »





Scholastic Pushing Junk on Kids in Classrooms

11 02 2009

Marketing in schools is a privilege and not a right,” Ms. Linn said in an interview.
“Scholastic is abusing that privilege.”

I don’t see why marketing in schools should be allowed at all. And doesn’t anyone read Alfie Kohn anymore, hmmm, or maybe teachers these days buy “Punished by Rewards” just to get some little plastic tiara packaged with it? 😦

Bribery, Authority and Other Teacher Scripts

Can Unschooled Kids Make the World Less Miserable?

Watch Out Moms!

Thinking Parent Sweet Waffle Kohn Awards

Wonder Bread, Twinkies and My Father’s Oldsmobiles

School Breakfast Stories

School Breakfast Story Part Two: Get Out of My Kitchen





Secular Homeschool Blogging at “Parenting Beyond Belief”

21 11 2008

Here it is, cool! Today evolved and thinking homeschool parents get our own 15 minutes of blogos-phame. Who do you know already in this guest column, who will you find tomorrow, how will you use this to show that homeschooling adds up to much more than the sum of its hardworking helpmeets?

Go see. Link. Evangelize! 😉

We’re just starting to find ourselves and each other in the blogosphere, a search made more challenging by the fact we don’t know what to call ourselves. (Homeschoolers Beyond Belief?) Secular, inclusive, rational, atheist, freethinking? The online homeschooling community fights over the word “homeschool” itself, never mind the weight of all those adjectives hung around it like baggage on a skycap’s cart.

Some of us are trying Thinking Homeschoolers and Evolved Homeschoolers on for size. The main lesson I’ve taught myself so far is that it takes real thinking — knowledge work if you will — with plenty of detours through link farms and those insipid generic “about homeschooling” blurbs, to discover solid secular homeschooling resources that endure.





Dale McGowan’s Guide to Thinking Parent Blogs

12 11 2008

This week’s honor roll of secular parenting blogs at Meming of Life is great. You’ll want to visit them all, so clear some online time to explore and enjoy. And coming next week, secular HOMESCHOOLING parent blogs, hurray! (Should we lobby him to include Snook?)

Here are a few posts to that end. 🙂

Mind Your Head About Home Education and Religion

What Are They THINKING?? Dr. Phil’s New “Christian” Homeschoolers

An ordinary sad case like this isn’t about homeschooling OR Christianity, just an inability to reason for whatever reason — much less provide for or parent these trapped kids (who anyone would feel sorry for and want to help, never mind homeschooling or religion.) To his credit, Dr. Phil refuses to be drawn into elevating it to being about either one. It is about this one wacko dad and how he’s using God and homeschooling to inflict himself on other people and hurt them. . .

Homeschoolers Praying to Guns, God, Government as Trinity

Never mind school reform and the protection from school conquest we homeschoolers thought we were fighting for; these lessons have nothing to do with “school and state.” What will this teach kids about CHURCH and state, prayer and government?
And what will this teach lawmakers about homeschooling?

Is there really nothing wrong with this, not even a little off-sounding, to these conservative Christian homeschool parents? If it’s really a prayer day then it doesn’t belong in the middle of the secular government identified with legal “home education” and conversely if it’s a home education lobby, for the legislative presence and show of strength and solidarity, then it isn’t about prayer and religion; those are constitutionally separated for good reason.

More Than Self-Governing, Social Networks Are Self-Creating

Homeschooling No Perfect Protection for Our Kids But Better Thinking Would Help

Respect the Jeez-its Is Sorry Sign of Our Educational Times

Abortion Politics: Do You Really Want Kids to Think or Just Believe?

We Thinking Homeschoolers need well-written Reason Lifelines most of all imo . . .and the public needs to know “homeschooling family” doesn’t equal reason-stunted religious fringe. So, especially now as those dispiritingly closed-minded “Homeschool Blog Awards” swing into online dominance again, do yourself a favor and read something worthy of real thinking and education, instead. Parenting Beyond Belief.

Thanks, Dale!





Must Read! Call It Compulsory Home Education

10 11 2008

Okay, we had our fun with the lipstick, now back to the real world for Thinking Parents, back to The Christmas Carol’s most fearsome child of man, Ignorance:

‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon
them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers.

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both,
and all of their degree — but most of all beware this boy,
for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the
writing be erased. . .”

America the Illiterate — read it now, those of you who can! Then we can talk, and not about how it makes you feee-ee-eel . . .

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth.

The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection.

This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

This is what the public education system was originally conceived to avoid. Yet here we are. I want to think about how we can start to change it.

Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think.

All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.





Doc Finds Name That Fits School Sock Puppets “Laden” With Logic Disorders

1 05 2008

Great parody of Greg Laden’s anti-homeschool piousness passing as critical thought, over at Alasandra’s — if you can stomach the Tiny Cat Pants-style side show spectacle he’s staging in her comments. I still find it pretty tawdry but it IS hard not to gawk in disgusted fascination . . . .

Here’s the rotten vegetables he and his trolls are flinging at dear Alasandra:

If you have a chance, go over to this site and tell this girl that she should change the name of her blog post. I don’t mind that her post is a parody of a post I wrote. I mean really, I’m made out of rubber and she’s made out of glue … etc. etc. … But she really should not use the term she uses in the title of her post. This girl has shown evidence in the past of being a bit of a follower and I think this term is used a lot by “Doc” the home schooling mommie. But still, she should know better.

At heart I think she is a good person, if also a bit mean spirited, terribly misguided, and, well, not very smart. So if a few people tell her that derivations of the word “retard” are not OK, maybe she’ll have a learning moment. . .





Humanist Unschooling for Easter Weekend

20 03 2008

Here’s some power of story about parents living and learning in this REAL world net, daily.

Appropriate this holy-day weekend? Why not? We’d better start talking and keep talking, figure why our whole system of belief-driven secular policy is irrational (Jeremiah Wright is just the latest example, not the worst — Terri Schiavo might’ve been the worst) and then start DOING something about it, or else the inescapable rational conclusion will be that we  as a people are in fact, downright irrational even about what matters most.

I contributed to this conversation last year with “Teaching What’s Very Important About the Easter Holiday” followed up with this.





Feminist Unschoolers to “Bitch”: We’re Here, Not Queer

22 02 2008

BITCH Magazine spent several months putting together a feature article for which Favorite Daughter and I were extensively interviewed as “feminist unschoolers”, or so we were sold on participating when first contacted. The end result is definitely not the usual media take on home education and unschooling! Fair warning.

“Learning Curve: Radical unschooling moms are changing the stay-at-home landscape” is now online, with reader comments. Here’s mine:

We’re Here, Not Queer

My always unschooled teen daughter and I were interviewed at length for this piece but do not fit this strong queer-punk angle, which unfortunately mirrors other media stereotypes we read about ourselves, just reversing the image as mirrors do.

Someone who did make the article yet still felt the reflection didn’t do reality justice, gave her bloglink above for fuller perspective. So here’s a feminist unschooling teen blog left out of this mirror image altogether, her radically individual identity not hippy, Christian, queer nor punk thus so unsuited to stereotype that she apparently has no reflection at all, like a vampire who can’t even fit the mold-breaking mold. (Does that make her “post-moldern”?)

My progressive, feminist unschooling mom blog — with a longtime online partner who also is not hippy, Christian, queer or punk — is Cocking a Snook!

JJ Ross, Ed.D.

FavD and I are not exactly offended though, just — nonplussed? We think BITCH does much better work portraying the religious extreme of home education stereotyping (the Duggars, Andrea Yates and the Quiverfull movement as patriarchal politics, for example) in a way progressives and feminists — unschooling or not, queer or not — had better learn about and start responding to effectively, WITH unschooling moms and daughters rather than against us for not being in public school.

Lynn suggests Thinking Parents study up on the “Christian Worldview” that political patriarchs are pushing as morality and family values inside and outside of home education, with “no room for compromises – nor respecting different viewpoints. It’s all about culture war…





Mind Your Head About Home Education and Religion

20 02 2008

“This is a difficult issue,” he said. “It deals with the intersection of the two things most important to most people — their faith and their children’s education.”

Here’s the thing — home education and religion are two things, not the same thing. Two things that, however intimately connected you choose to make them in your own private family life, nevertheless are not the SAME thing and shouldn’t be, at least not in law, politics and public policy debate.

Both liberals and conservatives have their own fatal flaws, as authority figures nobly legislating away our individual liberties for our own good. But religious belief in the infallibility of one’s own cause adds a scorched-earth dispensation to any political cause, one that quickly becomes more of a threat itself than whatever good it believes itself divinely chosen to create or impose. No end can justify means so mean.

This is particularly true in education thought and belief (or so I think and believe!)

A la Philip Zimbardo, I want all political creatures to get far enough outside their political “situations” to see this objectively and compassionately as thinkers, rather than from the emotionally fraught power-struggle roles they play within the situation. That is the tremendous value of unschooling for example — after several years of having NO role in schooling whatsoever, it is astounding what you finally begin to see and understand about all the role players within education politics.

Maybe I should just quote Marvin Minsky in Wired:
“I once peeled a label off a London bus.
It read: MIND YOUR HEAD.”

Home education was thrown out as a creationist threat to the body politic yesterday, as Florida officially adopted new science standards for public education. Plus, the sitting board member representing creationist religious beliefs (not modern science education) actually suggested that if the vote went against her legions of believers, her fellow board members would need to enter the witness protection program! I am not making this stuff up, folks; if you are a homeschooling family no matter what you believe about science OR religion in politics, it’s high time to mind your head — time for your reason to think about your beliefs, try to get both on the same side at the same time, and then figure out what to teach your kids about it all, so their freedom to do both can endure.

Yesterday wasn’t the first time, just the most recent. Last spring for the government-celebrated National Day of Prayer, local homeschoolers got so caught up in their beliefs that they clearly weren’t minding their heads. I reasoned they’d plumb lost their heads AND their minds. Read the rest of this entry »





Unity-n-Diversity Speaks Again

31 01 2008

Open call to online homeschool activist types. . .
“Where do we go from here?”