Sunday, November 21, 2010

Skepticon 3, Springfield MO

Skepticon 3 was this weekend and it was a BLAST.
Imagine an entire building full of brilliant, sardonic, BRILLIANT, fun, brilliant, educating speakers and people in the audience. I can assure you, you WANT to be at this event next year.
For one thing, it was totally free! That's right. No admission fee at all for hearing the likes of Dan Barker, James Randi, Rebecca Watson, Joe Nickolls, John Corvino, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Richard Carrier, and some other amazing people!
The Springfield MO area is quite "Bible Belt" so, consequently, our convention was NEWS:

I was very inspired by so many of the speakers, some of whom I'd never heard of before! The brilliance and brains was overwhelming! It was the type of community that makes one feel PROUD to be a part of.
If you can make it next year...WOO HOO! 
New ideas are swirling around in my head. Ideas for this blog, beginning with the new and for always name: Homeschooling Atheists. I have tiptoed around this one for awhile now and I am PROUD to be one of the few blogs by homeschooling atheists! I also have some ideas for our lives here in the Atheist Homeschooling home, on lessons, in our lives, future work, and future study!

Dr. David Fitzgerald, author of many books on HISTORY and PHILOSOPHY. This is that lecture that you have been waiting for, the one that shows you incontrovertible, historical PROOF of all of those things you have always wondered about church history, Jesus, and early writings and stories. GREAT Lecture! I got the book 'Nailed".
His lecture contained so many facts that I simply started photographing his slides so that I could continue the research on my own!
He is a former Associate of CSER, the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, and has been researching the Historical Jesus problem for over ten years. In 2005, he helped director Brian Flemming launch his documentary film The God Who Wasn't There. His lecture "The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus," is now a full-length book: Nailed:Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All.

You want to talk BAD ASS?  This woman was a moderator for a panel discussion and she made the other people on the panels look like AMATEURS!  She rocked!
I have no idea what her name is...

Victor Stengel is a professor of some pretty brain blowing physics classes. Made Jerry feel brilliant. Made me feel puny!

Dan Barker was there! I didn't have my books by him, but I still got his autograph! LOL
You might know Dan Barker as the minister of 19 years who left the ministry and became a foremost speaker on atheism. He also wrote the books "Maybe Yes, Maybe No" and "Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong"; titles designed to encourage critical thinking in the young.

PZ Myers, famous for his website Pharyngula, was a super funny and amazing speaker. He is a biology professor at the University of Minnesota Morris. Jerry was totally star-struck!

There were MANY other speakers and MANY other things I will say about this event, later. I mean, this is just the beginning! In the meantime, I've got some laundry to do, some CT lessons to prepare, and some kids to kiss and squeeze!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Homeschool Questions: Do your children get lonely and bored?

There are many questions that homeschool families hear again and again and this is one  of the biggies:  Do your children get lonely and bored?

Well, yes, sometimes.  Don't all children get lonely at times?  Not 24/7.  Not 365.  Not enough that I think it is a problem.  In fact, it is those days that they are feeling lonely that that homeschool MAGIC happens. 

Before I know it, they are creating a game, making a movie, creating a dance or song, creating some sort of new project, intensely working on an existing project, thinking, reflecting, observing, TALKING to each other, baking, acting out a play, playing on the Wii, laughing in the other room together as they "clean", and, dare I say it...READING!

Loneliness isn't awful, you know.  It can be the very impetus for creativity, innovation, and finding yourself!

Most parents don't EVER want their children to feel boredom or loneliness.  It scares the parents or makes them feel inadequate or something.  MUST FILL EVERY MOMENT!!!  Some families will fill every moment with classes, lessons, games, computer programs, hand-held devices, ANYTHING to keep the boredom at bay.
I submit that it is that very thing that is feared, BOREDOM, that can spur a person, adult or child, to try new things, have a moment to think things through, or simply relax and unwind. 

The kids have a nice group of friends, many individual friends, and plenty of other acquaintances that they know that their alone times are opportunities.

So, what to do about boredom?
I encourage you to reframe the concept of boredom, from something to avoid to something to EMBRACE and to see as an opportunity to think, to become, to observe, and to be BORED!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SKEPTICON Here we come!

Skepticon is the largest skeptic and atheist convention held in the Midwestern United States. Guest speakers are invited to discuss atheism, skepticism, and other related topics. This free event is sponsored by the Missouri State Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and is held on the campus of Missouri State University. There have been two iterations of Skepticon, the most recent held on November 20th and 21st, 2009. Skepticon III is scheduled for November 19th-21st, 2010.

Jerry and I are headed to Skepticon 3 this year! (THANK YOU to the inlaws for staying at the house with the kids while we are gone!) We are looking forward to the stimulating conversation, the atheist humor, and an entire room full of like-minded diners!  And we don't even have to take the RV!  lol

The Amazing James Randi
The Amazing James Randi, PZ Myers of Pharyngula fame, Dan Barker, Richard Carrier, John Corvino, Brother Sam Singleton  the atheist evangelist, Rebecca Watson of Skepchick fame, and many more names are on the SPEAKER LIST!  My husband and I have been fans of several of these folks for years and are looking forward to hearing them speak!

Atheists are such a minority in this country. It's truly amazing to me the strong division in the United States between the believers and the non-believers. If one were to rely on the internet to test the temperature of the country, one would be tempted to say that there is very little to be found in the mid-temperatures.

Maybe I'm just living right. Certainly I have found both the fundamental believer and the angry atheist in my travels, but, for the most part, honestly, I have found people to be good and kind and somewhere in the middle, or at least fairly tolerant of those with differences of opinion...
Respectful, even.

There's no doubt we're in the minority, though, and BOY are we looking forward to conversation about REASON, SENSE, LOGIC, HUMOR, JOY, and GENERAL GOODNESS.

Looking forward to it!!!!!'re it!

Someone sent me the FB "tag" to answer these questions.  Thought I'd spend some time with them here...and TAG, you're it!  Post a bit on yourself, let me know you were here...


1.  What prompted you to begin homeschooling?

It started with an innocent comment from a friend about how I talk to the kids and how I was already a homeschooling mom. I began to realize that she was correct. I started thinking about homeschooling when my daughter was in kindergarten.
I volunteered in her classroom one afternoon a week; it was the afternoon they went to the school library and heard stories read by the librarian. For THREE straight weeks in December, she read Jesus stories. I was angry and confused and upset as hell. No Santas, no snow, no reindeer, no Hanukkah, no dredels, no solstice.  Jesus. In a public school.
My daughter was confused and convinced that I was not telling her the truth.
It was awful and just enough to push me over the line.
That started it.
Now, the reasons why we homeschool today have nothing to do with those early reasons!

2. What homeschooling book/s have encouraged you in your journey?

Does it make me sound like a doofus if I don't read many homeschooling books anymore? I used to read every single one I could get my hands on to and I always ended up feeling totally inadequate...
I loved "Teenage Liberation Handbook" best in the early days of reading (eight years ago). 
Nothing lately, though.

3. Do you have a favorite read aloud?

The kids and I enjoy reading adventure series books aloud. We are currently reading "The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan, one of his new series. We loved his other ones as well. And the kids and I finished "39 Clues" and enjoyed it tremendously. We also love reading poetry aloud. "Mandy" by Julie Edwards (Andrews).

4. If you could only have three homeschooling books/curriculum, which would you choose?

meh… I’m not much into text books. I collect them, but I don’t really use them. I would say various Kingfisher and Usborne books, literature books, dictionary.

5. Where can we find your favorite homeschooling blogs?

I don't have the time to read them, actually. But I love "The Dysfunctional Homeschooler" as I love THE dysfunctional homeschooler...

6. What do you to do to demonstrate continual learning to your kids?

Reading is a big one. I am almost never without a book or three within reach. I answer questions with, “Let’s look that up.” to the point that my kids usually just ask to look things up now. I also try to display a willing attitude to try something new. We’re forever going some place or doing something new, and I always try to remind them to take something away from the experience and we usually reinforce that at home with the next day’s lessons – even if it’s only a question or two. I am a continual learner myself and, although they tease me about it, they see it and emulate it.
We research major purchases together, check out news stories and background stories, science stuff...just everything, really!

7. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a crazy day?

Hot tea, reading, Facebook, movies

8. Is there a quote you find inspiring?

"Question Everything" and my absolute favorite quote, by Carl Sagan:  
Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

Here are MY questions for YOU:

  1. What did you do to prepare for homeschooling?
  2. Where do you find your best support for homeschooling?
  3. Where do you encounter the most difficulty in homeschooling?
  4. How do you challenge yourself to be a better teacher?
  5. What is your schedule like?
  6. What has been your best accomplishment as a homeschooling parent?
  7. What item has made the most significant impact to your homeschooling?
  8. What is the most important thing that you want your children to come away with as a homeschooling graduate?

Tag. You’re it!