“Spanking”: This is what’s wrong with it

3 11 2011

. . .even when it’s legal and sanctioned by School, Church and/or State.

It ruins relationships and trust. It distorts and destroys love, lives, mental health, reputations and careers. It creates monsters more often than curbing or curing them. Indeed it’s pretty much the opposite of “discipline” considering that the justified, disciplined and accountable person in any physical bullying drama tends to be the suffering, subjugated victim, not the calculated inflicter of pain and humiliation.

Teen daughter beaten by Texas-Judge Dad

See also:

Jessica Alba’s Idea of Award-worthy Parent Performance

Can you go all day without hitting a child?:

Can anyone really deny that we are perpetuating and endorsing the lesson of “might makes right” when we rule over our children using physical punishment?

Stop every kid-hitter you can — teach ’em a lesson!

Thinking about hitting and children

Child abuse is not home education:

Spankings were a minor part of the allegations. Hitting with objects and. . . in anger, yes, but there is much more to this story than that. . .

Read the rest of this entry »

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Asking Candidates About Their Faith (and Extraterrestrial) Beliefs

26 08 2011

“God chose me for that moment!” she thrills . . .

Following up after the GOP debate controversy around asking Rep. Bachmann about the implications of her bible-based wifely submission beliefs should she become President:

This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans.

Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are both affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity — and Rick Santorum comes out of the most conservative wing of Catholicism — which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.

And let’s not skip too quickly over Read the rest of this entry »





Homeschool Dad Sam Sending Sons to School

22 12 2010

Nance and Lynn, Meg and Beta are homeschooler moms who also sort of parent schooled kids. And sooner or later many of us get far enough along in homeschooling to see kids off to college and university (yep, sorry, schools!) and to see that not as giving up identity but the opposite, and such a GOOD thing.

So Sam will have a lot to talk about with all sorts of Thinking Parents, going forward after the holidays. Meanwhile in his signature introspective style, here is how he sees it:

A huge part of my desire to continue homeschooling, I have to admit, is that I’ve allowed homeschooler to define my identity to such an extent. . .It’s like that whole homeschooler thing. I don’t really think that I’m losing the identity or becoming not a homeschooler, I’m becoming more, maybe?

I admire Sam, more and more. Like a homeschool-to-school parent I wrote about here in town, he’s thinking about some school for himself along with his children.

The first time I encountered Sam, he struck me as a young dad who still had a lot to learn about parenting and homeschooling as identity, vastly richer and messier than clear, tidy fundamentalist labels can define and delimit:

Last night an unschooling dad . . .finally sniffed at me and Nance, said even his eight-year-old son understands how calling something by a different name doesn’t make it so.

This dad, let’s call him Sam — because he says that is his name, although it might be an online alias, and I once knew a schnauzer named Sam, but hey, it’s not my business to research and relabel this fellow homeschooler, or worry about whether the name he chooses to use in this context is confusing, disingenuous, or possibly outside the LAW as documented on his official government birth certificate — DadSam says Nance and I are clearly wrong, and he figures we know we’re wrong but won’t admit it and he’s done listening or thinking. . .

. . .who has more to fear here, the definers or the defined?

Now DadSam has learned so much about labels that he can leave them behind and as he says it himself with the wisdom of well-earned education — not mere schooling! — he isn’t losing his individual identity. He’s becoming more, maybe.

Here’s how I had described for Sam, what our son was learning at home, whatever anyone wanted to label it:

He already grasps at some level that learning about the world and negotiating it through relationships with all its inhabitants, no matter how you do it or what you call it, doesn’t mean being TOLD WHAT IS RIGHT.

It means thinking and feeling for yourself, and the words you eventually choose to express it all must be yours and yours alone. Don’t let anyone tell you different, son, no matter what they call themselves or you or your education, your work, play, politics, parents or future children.

Vaya con Pasta. Go with the FSM, Sam and sons. It really is about home, not school, and we’re all traveling companions on the roads home that count.





Because JJ’s a Sucker for Royals, Weddings and English Accents

16 11 2010

Breaking news! You saw it here first!





Homeschooling D-I-V-O-R-C-E With Children

8 11 2010

Homeschooling knows divorce. It threatens the end of homeschooling and even when that bullet can be dodged, it always means CHANGE and there’s lots for Thinking Parents to think about. Some examples are seared in my memory, most recently Unity-n-Diversity and there was the North Carolina cult classic with the mom’s best friend libeling the custody judge online in the name of homeschool defense, remember that one?

Also, how can we fight over divorce without first fighting over marriage, and when or whether there will be children of that union — conceived, born, adopted, kidnapped, abandoned — and how they are to be treated within that family, by society and by the courts?

See “Blurring Family Value lines Might Benefit Us All” and “The Most Important Lesson Whatever We Call It”:

For just one example, I have a good friend IRL I hadn’t seen in years, until Monday. Her life has changed dramatically in the ten years I’ve known her. When first we met, she was a happy, secure, homeschooling SAHM with two beautiful and smart little girls, wanting to start their own home-education Brownie troop. We spent a lot of time together because Favorite Daughter was the same scouting-curious age, and as moms we had values in common, including independent thinking and libertarian leanings.

FavD and I soon lost interest in scouting but my friend continued as troop leader, field trip organizer and general supporter of other families learning without school. She added two little boys to her brood, and the last time I saw her in person was at the fire house field trip, with her fourth child in a big sling, not slowed one bit. The oldest was a joy in pigtails, helping not just her mom but all the smaller kids on the tour.
Until.

From that time to this, this settled and happy mom faced a difficult divorce and the need to find a family-sustaining career for herself, which meant getting different kinds of educational “support” than we typically dwell on in independent unschooling circles — child care and legal advice and putting the older kids in public school after custody challenges and even “going back to school” herself. I know there were times she agonized about her kids, but not whether they mastered the state learning standards and passed algebra — it was what they were learning about life!

Then day before yesterday, we ran into each other Read the rest of this entry »





Do Gas Prices Define “Hard Times” for Homeschooling?

3 06 2008

Dana got me thinking about this today.

I remember the gas wars of the early 70s, when I was a teen driver buying gas for the first time, for my huge, heavy, inherited 1957 Oldsmobile Super88 Rocket — just like this picture, same blue even, except not a convertible.

I doubt if it got even 10 miles to the gallon, but I could get a gallon for a quarter and a couple of pennies, so who was counting? My boyfriend’s family drove ugly little economical stick-shift cars not to save pennies — his dad was a medical doctor employed by academe — but because they were humbly connected to the community, defining themselves as environmentally responsible in those socially conscious “good times” that created the first Earth Day.

His parents could have driven anything, paid any price for gas to go anywhere they chose, because they were so much better off budget-wise than was my shabby-chic academic, politically conservative, school-is-your-economic-ticket-to-ride family story — literally driving My Father’s Oldsmobiles to school and the library and into the economically fickle future — and yet, my boyfriend’s family traveled more lightly through our community and upon the planet than mine.

Or so it seems to me looking back, with new stories on my mind.

But what made those years such good times to both my boyfriend and me, wasn’t the price of gas high or low — any more than the price of gas today makes these times seem like bad times, hard times (much less end times) to me. It was completely irrelevant to our happiness, as it is now.

And without criticizing the stories other folks have in their heads, I need to say that for me, if “now” DID seem like hard times, I sure can’t see how contracting into a little hardshell at home, each homeschooling family pulling into some self-contained, self-sufficiency survival mode script, would help the hard economic times get better. Much less be the change we want to see in the world!

This family’s homeschooling, for example, won’t be helped by mom tilling a garden, hoarding gold or not driving the family car to the library anymore. The economy isn’t so much about her family budget as her community’s thinking. Read the rest of this entry »