Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ascending to Heights


YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, MOM!
I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!!!!
, screeched the girl from between clenched teeth, her mother looking up at her from below the mats.


This was the scene that greeted us yesterday when John went climbing at Climb SO IL, a co op class offered by a wonderful mom at our co-op, Ashlea.

John was uncomfortable at first in the gear, didn't like the tight shoes, and felt awkward in the safety equipment, but he and his best friend listened to their lesson given by a facility employee and then took off to climb the walls!


http://climbsoill.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/first-visit-3.jpgClimb SO IL has several different skill areas in their huge warehouse building. The facility has these brilliant walls just for little kids. The walls have the auto-belaying piece on top for safety. Other zones for increased skill levels are dispersed throughout this spacious climb zone.

I didn't get a single picture of John or Demitri on the wall, but I have gleefully stolen these images from the website of Climb SO IL. The boys were absolutely stoked every single time I saw them! And, though their hands were stressed at the end of the climb time, these boys are looking forward to the next time we get to go!


Route Setting Process Blog 1I LOVE the co op because it gives us the chance to expose ourselves to things that we might never have known about or might have avoided trying. 

OH, and the girl who was angry at her mother when we first walked in?
By the time we left she was climbing over two stories high on her belay rope...and LOVING IT.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homeschool Blog Carnival #455 is Up!

If you enjoy the Carnival of Homeschooling, check it out here.

http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2014/09/carnival-of-homeschooling-introduction.html


Sunday, September 14, 2014

The City of Brotherly Love

 secular homeschool, atheist parenting, against homeschooling, negatives of homeschooling
John John and I are planning a road trip! 

Jer told me to make it so, so I have been spending a shit ton of cash tonight planning an upcoming trip to Philadelphia! John and Liz and I have been doing a great amount of reading and watching on American History and where better to visit than Benjamin Franklin's hometown and to check out his first library, Independence Hall, BJ's Museum and Memorial, etc, as well as the many other historical places in and near the city.

Bust of Benjamin Franklin
By Jean-Antoine Houdon
Benjamin Franklin was such an amazing human being; we're excited to visit places that he has been and places that he inspired. 

The Liberty Bell?!
John is very excited to see it.  LOL


Guess what else we can see while there?
Go ahead, guess!

The steps of the art museum that Sylvester Stallone ran up while training for the big fight in movie #1!


I have wanted to go to Philadelphia for years now and John has gotten excited about it too. Too bad Elizabeth will be busy with her classes at the local community college!


Have you been to Philadelphia?
What do you recommend?
Any homeschoolers who would like to meet up at some point?

From top left, the Philadelphia skyline, statue of Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell,
Philadelphis Museum of Art, Philadelphia City Hall, and Independence aHall.

By the way, in case you didn't know it, Philadelphia is often referred to as The City of Brotherly Love from the literal meaning of the city's name in Greek:  philos (φίλος) loving, and adelphos (ἀδελφός) brother.

Philadelphia:  Φιλαδέλφεια

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Want Peace!

Lots of busy-ness and business today means lots of time spent in the car running around from here to there. It also means listening to the radio quite a bit.

Big news today is President Obama's decision to send more troops to the ISIS tumult over in the Middle East.

The kids and I have spent quite a bit of time talking and thinking and discussing and working hard to figure out the centuries-long conflict in the Middle East, knowing that there is not a solution and knowing that the oppressors are operating with the belief that their mandate comes directly from The Lord.


How can any reason, any arbitration, any effort whatsoever trump the belief that one's behavior is approved of and commissioned by GOD?

I don't know the right thing to do. I have no idea what the president or any leader should do. All I know is that the kids and I fervently crave peace in this world that is driven mad by religious extremism. 

We are 100% FOR Peace and AGAINST anything not of peace.

Simple?
Maybe, but it seems that if everyone thought this way, we'd have peace...


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure

evolution, secular homeschooling, atheist
Recently a reader suggested some books for freethinking parents. One of the titles was Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure written by Eileen Campbell and presented by Peter H. Reynolds and New York Hall of Science, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Somon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division.
When Charlie starts to do a report at school about his favorite bird the kiwi, the other students have many questions about how this odd creature can be a bird when it doesn't fly and it has whiskers.  That evening Charlie goes home and, with the help of his stuffed friend Kiwi, a gift from his parents after their trip to New Zealand, Charlie learns exactly how the kiwi birds of New Zealand became perfectly evolved for the island of New Zealand!

http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/97/81/44/24/21/9781442421127_180X180.jpgThanks to Charlie's curiosity, he takes a trip back in time, where Charlie and some friendly travelers learn some interesting facts about how birds evolved from dinosaurs, how evolution works, and how the kiwi, specifically, grew whiskers, became nocturnal, and became flightless, among other characteristics by learning about natural selection and adaptation.
.
The story is dynamic and interesting! I love the illustrations as well. Although my kids are teens, I would DEFINITELY have read this book a time or two to them when they were growing up.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
If you are wanting to introduce this advanced concept to your young ones, this 48-page book will keep their attention and explain evolutionary terms in ways that are very understandable and very clear.
It is probably for ages 4-10.


While looking online for a useful image for this post I came across the website for the New York Hall of Science...NICE!!!!  The page has some video and lots of downloads for use with the book.
Even NICER!


Thanks again, Frau B!

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Other posts you might enjoy:

Book Review by John John
Frau B Suggestions for Freethinker Titles
Ex-Believers Come Hither!
Books for Your Skeptical Children
Secular Homeschool Materials
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Wish More Homeschoolers were Secular


 atheist secular homeschoolers
I've been reading around the blogosphere a bit this afternoon (HEY, I've been cleaning and THAT gets boring!) and I found myself reading some blogs that aren't exactly secular...if you know what I mean.

Here on my blog I tend to say that homeschoolers are not all Christian and are not all teaching non-science.

But...I'm feeling very discouraged right now.

It's true. Isn't it?  Most homeschoolers are fundamental Christian and tend to skew science and history. It makes me sad and discouraged and annoyed and upset about all of those kids out there who are not getting genuine science or genuine history.

DAMN.

All of those people out there who are disparaging homeschool for the way people can hide in it and avoid learning real knowledge instead of of teaching other than a small world view are right.

I find it terribly upsetting that parents who want to do the best for their children are convinced that raising their kids in the church the best that they can offer. The propaganda of the church is probably the best in the world, ever.

People actually ignore, discount, or treat as mysterious the truly corrupt, unsavory, destructive parts of religion and the holy books in order to live in the saccharine, cloying falseness of the facade of religion. I honestly can't understand a preference like that.

Today my kids and I have been having conversations about how to parent. It is so clear to me that kids take what they have learned and pass it down to generations...how I would prefer to see more homeschoolers homeschooling in a secular way.





Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Sinister Side of Parenting



This article The Sinister Side of Homeschooling and this blog called Homeschooling's Invisible Children have been my reading this evening. I warn you, you will not forget these stories of real children who have been horribly abused by their parents. 
The common element in all of the stories is that all of the families claim to homeschool in order to cover up positively horrific abuse.
Which begs the question, without getting all militant on homeschoolers because some parents are douche bag abusers, what can be done to protect at-risk kids who are being abused in abject horror and out of sight using homeschool as their protection?
Does that mean we should be suspect of homeschooling?
The knee-jerk reaction is to impose tons of restrictions and supervision on homeschoolers. 
But abusive people are great at hiding their abuse. No supervision requirement would ever uncover those kids who are being hidden.
From "To Train a Child"
Many of the stories contain references to Michael and Debi Pearl's To Train Up a Child and other fundamental Christian doctrine, but I have no illusions that the people who abuse under those ideas are no more Christian than they are homeschoolers.
I find the existence of people like this abhorrent. Absolutely the antithesis of a homeschooling parent, or any homeschooling parent that I know. 
I have talked to too many people who have experienced subpar homeschooling conditions growing up to act like it doesn't happen. Bad parents can be found in every sphere of life, every form of education (or lack thereof), every religion, every strata, every socioeconomic level, every continent, everywhere. 
Does that mean we should be suspect of parenting? 
 What do you think?????

A little warning:
I am considering moving my blog to WordPress at some point.
If I do this it will take some time!
Just a little FYI for you.


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More posts like this one:




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

For Someone Who Doesn't Believe in God, You Sure Talk about Him Alot

homeschool atheist blog, secular homeschool, raising freethinkers 
LOL...yes, I've heard this one before. The first time I heard it I thought I would spit out my coke.

It was on Facebook a couple of years ago and I was still FB friends with a coworker of my husband at that point. I can't remember exactly what I had written, but it was fairly innocuous. I'm not exactly in your face with this stuff.


She came back with the comment, For someone who doesn't believe in god, you sure talk about him alot.

I thought to myself Do I?

So I took her claim seriously and looked back in my FB statuses for the three months prior to her observation.  Guess what I found. NONE. I hadn't written a single thing except for that one meme that I had posted that day.

None.

But what she was commenting on, of course, is the fact that I am an open atheist and I am always an open atheist and she knows that fact no matter what I post. Her awareness of my disbelief kept her quite upset.

Eventually she unfriended me and I was quite ready for it. This woman is very fond of my husband and I liked her too but her daily Catholic posts had gotten a bit tedious and she was constantly commenting about my atheism. I stuck around for the pics of her kids.


But the REAL answer to her question:  of course I talk about it. The overt discrimination toward atheists, toward reality and logic and critical thinking in this country, toward freethought is ridiculous. And I do intend to stay open about my atheism because it is so very risky to do so in this country. I will talk about it because I think it is essential for the next generations to have reality out there. I sincerely want to resist religion.


The thing is, I understand her comment because this is the stuff that she is told. This is the brilliant wisdom that the church offers to explain atheism to believers in their churches. Trite, ineffectual, shallow stuff. Fear, attempts at humor, attempts to discredit, logical fallacies, insults, and certainty that atheists are so wrong and dangerous and laughable.

Christians actually wonder where atheists get their morality, wonder whether we have anything to truly offer to the world, are doubtful that atheists can truly be patriotic, and feel perfectly in their right to despise atheists. 

Why wouldn't atheist be angry about that?

And so, for someone who doesn't believe in any gods, I guess I DO talk about religion alot. And I will continue to do so ... even if I am the lone voice out here.


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For more posts like this one:

It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

Just in Case He's Real
Atheists Can't Experience True Joy
Your Life Has No Meaning

You Were Never a Real Believer



My Pinterest friend Helena Handbasket commented:
There was a time when atheists were burned at the stake. Now some of us talk proudly about our atheism to let others know they are not alone in rejecting ancient beliefs. The internet spells the end of religion.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's Going to be Worth It


You learn alot about a people when your actions and words announce that you are going to live your own life your own way, when you declare that you're not going to live your life their way. Doing something so wholly revolutionary creates consequences.

You could keep the peace and get in the long line that has gone before you or you can listen to your own drummer, however measured or far away. You could quiet the noises in your head and in your stomach for awhile and shuffle forward with the other people who have not questioned why.

It is the easiest thing in the world to quietly mumble acquiescence, or nothing at all, and simple sleep walk through it all.



I'm not capable of this.
It is not in my make up anymore to stay in line, stay on the path, follow the crowd.

When I was younger I bought into the idea that if I was very good and very compliant, then I would be happy. And I was very good and I was very compliant. But the questions kept coming and the disquiet remained long in to the nights.

And I'm glad of it because that disquiet has made all of the difference in my life.

For my children and for YOU, I hope that you remember to celebrate the freedom to get off of the narrow path, out of the shrinking rooms of what is acceptable, speak your truth, however much your voice shakes. 


Today my daughter has been considering some ideas that used to frighten or appall or confuse her. She is opening her mind to new ideas. She is willing to consider that there is much that she doesn't know.  I hear her in conversations with people as she seeks to learn more about how others think about ideas...and I'm thrilled for her.

Just moments ago she walked into the room where I was and she announced, I'm feeling like such a good person today, Momma! I'm proud to be me today.


So, yeah.
Blaze your own trail because you will discover yourself there.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review by John John

atheist parenting books for freethinkers secular reading materials for kids
The other day a reader named Frau M. suggested that we try the book Why Don't We Go To Church by Gail Miller and Rosalind Eagle, illustrations by Angela Seear. The mini-paperback costs about $15 from Amazon.com, slightly over-priced but about average for micro-published books.

I ordered the book off of Amazon.com and John read it for me. Here is his review of the book:


I thought the book was rather well-written with educated language, simple concepts, interesting and clever drawings, and you could tell that the author has knowledge on the subject. While the illustrations aren't overwhelmingly important to the story, they do illustrate some concepts in the book. I thought it was well-tuned for children rather than for adults. I would recommend it for kids of all ages, it is probably written for kids under the age of ten.

This fifty-page book is about an atheist kid named Dan who moves to a new town and starts school with some anxiety. He worries about making friends and fitting in to his new school.  

Dan makes friends with Alex, who identifies himself as a creationist. The boys have conflicting beliefs so when Dan decides to make primordial soup for his science fair project Dan fears that his friendship with Alex is in danger because of Alex's beliefs. He is right, there is quite a bit of conflict from Alex and Dan is frequently put on the spot at school among the other students.

It was an interesting scene when Alex invites Dan to go to church with him and Dan is put on the spot for his primordial soup project.

Dan is very confused as to why the idea that life came from soup was comical to the people at the church but he eventually learns that the science of life idea is one that the church tends to fumble on. As a result, Dan becomes better informed of the conflict between scientific knowledge and religious belief.

I would recommend this book to atheist and non-religious parents who have younger children because it has some complicated ideas that have been simplified enough to explain to children.