Monday, December 31, 2012

Sex and God and Shame

The church insists that sex is God's gift to humankind. Yet few organizations are more clumsy or more repressive on issues of sexuality than the church.

I was thinking about how I was raised. Not just how I was raised but how many young women in my age group and before were raised... For us, sex was the taboo subject. It was a subject that everyone wanted to have a conversation on, NEEDED to have a conversation on...but few actually did. Who would we talk to?

I have a uniquely informed perspective on the Catholic church's point of view on sexuality for several reasons. One, I worked as a pregnancy care caseworker for the local Catholic Charities. I worked there at least twenty years ago but WOW oh WOW was that an eye opener. I remember feeling very confused about my job with the girls. A part of the organization that I worked for was so very shaming for young, sexually-active people and my part of the organization was, supposedly, support for a pregnant girl. But we really didn't have support beyond emotional support. In fact, it took me awhile to realize that we were funneling babies into perspective-adoptive parent homes. No wonder that job messed with my mind so much!

And two, I was a pregnant teen in the Catholic church at one time.

On the whole, Catholics in those days that I was growing up harbored such a truckload of shame regarding one's own body, sexuality in general, and sexual maturation during adolescence.   
Many religious traditions want to claim sexuality as a divine activity, while maintaining the vulgar, uncleanliness, and filth of the human body. It's no wonder teens have no idea how to handle their own feelings! Personally, I remember feeling very confused about these attitudes and about the messages that there was something fundamentally unsavory about certain parts of me.

It starts with the human body its self. Both boys and girls from religious homes are often raised with wrinkled noses, zero correct terminology, and staunch discomfort with anything related to their body. I realize that parents addressed these issues from their own comfort zone, there is no blame intended here. But if most of the "knowledge" comes from the church, then why didn't I think to ask this question:  If God doesn't make bad things, they why is the human form treated with such puritanical discomfort?

Is it possible I am a generation behind on this one?????? Are religious families doing better with this these days? Because this is exactly how I and all of my Catholic friends were brought up with regards to knowledge about sex and our bodies. I would love to know that things are improving vastly with regards to the messages we are passing along to our children.

I like being friends with the younger parents 
that it is my honor to know. These parents are thinking people. They call a penis a penis, a vagina a vagina. I can't remember those words ever, EVER being spoken in my home while growing up. Hopefully the forbidden parts of the past are today's open books. I think the way we bring up healthier adults with good self esteem is to make sexuality a topic of conversation that is open and honest and educating.

As our children mature, along come normal human sexual longings, feelings, thoughts.

And WOW does the church have a schizophrenic field day with this one. It angers me when I remember the mixed, shameful messages that children and teens got, that I got, with regards to these normal and healthy energy and sensations in their bodies.  Girls begin maturing physically between ten and twelve, but don't usually get married until their mid-twenties. That's FIFTEEN YEARS of sexual maturity.

Are we really going to pretend that those years are not happening?

I am determined to be open and honest with my own kids about sexuality, at their level, at their interest. I am just at the beginning of this journey with my teen, but we have been working on this issue since the kids were tiny. Hopefully, my kids will grow up with healthy sexual messages and sexual intelligence.


Addendum, Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist of The Thinking Atheist Podcast, spoke with sex therapist Marty Klein.  Dr. Klein's book sounded pretty good.  Here's a link.
Seth also talked to Dr. Darryl Ray, secular author, who recommended his book God and Sex:  How Religion Distorts Sexuality.

Second Addendum:  The Thinking Atheist Podcast from this week is "Atheism and Sexuality" and I highly recommend listening all of the way through until you listen to the conversation with Greta Christina. She is BRILLIANT and speaks so wisely.

If you like this post you might enjoy this one:
25 Ways to Pass on "Love" and "Tolerance" to your Children

All-Knowing, All-Powerful, and Ever-Loving God

atheist blog atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist blog atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent 
One thing I truly struggle with, as an atheist, as a person, as a friend to believers, is that huge gap between what REALLY IS and what believers have to do in order to continue making sense of reality through the eyes of their belief. They must redefine words and phrases again and again. They must find a way to hold "free will" and "God's will" together in one hand and figure out how those concepts can adequately explain things. Somehow they must "explain" the "sins" of the believers of past centuries without devaluing the institution of religion. 

Believers must repeat, like mantra, again and again "God is love."...or else reality would seep in and remind them that bad things happen to believers and non-believers alike. So do good things, and in equal measure. There is NO correlation between "loving god" and violent acts against innocent children.

It's not just that I am still feeling raw and grieving after the massacre of twenty-something tiny school children and adults. It's not just that I am "so sensitive" to the pain of others.

It's ongoing.  It is an awareness that I have the freedom and the delight to embrace the clarity that comes from being an atheist.

There is no god who is going to deliver us from this earth. There is nothing to save us from the losses of our own lives. There is no one between what is "evil" and where we are. There is no one and nothing protecting us from the reality of our own smallness in this amazing and vast universe. And there is no one coming to save us from our humanity.
What exists is nature and we are a part of that.

When a person is willing to go to any lengths to maintain their belief system in the face of a total dearth of evidence, proof, or clear action of any supernatural being, that person has chosen to stay from truth, light, life, love, and the absolute necessity of humans to do for themselves. I wish I could help my friends to see this. But I understand their disinclination to even consider letting go of the binds of the belief.

I remember that feeling that holds them. That feeling, as a child hungers for their parent, that feeling of believing that there was a father-like god who was watching out for me, knowing my every thought, loving and caring for me, holding me in the palm of his hand. I know the gush of warm feelings inside from this belief. I know the communal feeling of a mass. I know the certainty of those eternal beliefs. And I understand the strong desire for it all to be true. The circuitous mind games and labyrinthine maze games one has to play to keep believing.

Far better, in our aloneness, as Carl Sagan would say, to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Instead, I wish all people would see that We are who we have. We have only ourselves to go to for connection, for support, for love. It is the connection between each of us and our beloveds that makes this world tolerable, joyful, even transcendent.

Clarity.  I am grateful every day for the clarity of atheism.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prospective Homeschool Parents, Part 1 of 5

Welcome to this first in a five part series of blogs specifically for the prospective homeschool parent.

Are you online tonight readingreadingreading information on homeschooling and fretting about it?  Is there a possibility that you are considering homeschooling your children and would love to read some advice from seasoned homeschooling parents?  

If so, STOP the presses.  Relax, grab a cuppa.  You have found what you are looking for.

Let me simplify things for you a bit.  I have a large group of friends who homeschool.  Between us we have over 100 years of experience homeschooling!  In order to gather information for you, I asked them all to fill out a survey of sorts, looking for wisdom to share with prospective homeschooling parents.  In the next few weeks I will share much of the wisdom of these the meantime, sit back and relax that brain and keyboarding wrist of yours and read here for awhile, because This blog post is for you!

In answer to the question, 
What advice would you give to someone considering homeschooling their children?
here are the many answers...all for you!

One mother, Shannon, hopes you have some time to do your research:

Do research in chunks. If you do it all at once it can be overwhelming. Legal/regional aspects, curriculum, standards, etc. Do a little bit at a time.

In other words, don't let the prospect of homeschooling overwhelm you.  There is plenty of information out there.  No sense in scaring yourself!

Cathy, an unschooling mother, gives these pearls of wisdom and thought:

I advise parents thinking about homeschooling that anyone can do it as long as they like being around their kids (or can learn to like it). Even parents with dyslexia, school phobias, etc., can homeschool their kids. I also advise being open to seeing what works and dropping anything that doesn't work out. ... don't drop a lot of money on curriculum, at least not right away. You may quickly find that you don't need it. And ...don't feel that you have to "keep up" with the planned curriculum of your local school district. Believe me, most teachers don't keep up, either. And even in the classes where they do, the kids often "forget" whatever they supposedly learn--so result is the same as those classes that don't "keep up."

In other words, You Can Do It!  Relax and take some time before spending any cash at all.  

Marie offers these bits of wisdom:

Before you do anything, learn what they know, and how they learn.  

Take the time to learn what they should know, and what your state expects them to cover in their grade.  
Allow them, and you time to shake off the idea of what school should be, and develop your own path and system, that allows you the freedom to adjust as needed,
In other words,  forget doing anything fancy.  Just hang out with your kids for awhile and see what turns them on, what interests them, and how they like to learn things.  

You don't know everything...that's ok.  Time is on your side!

Angie, with her spunky "can do" attitude offers this:

My advice for a mom considering hsing: Jump in and try it! You aren't going to damage your child by taking them out of school for a semester or a year...or longer. I think people have a fear of even attempting it before knowing what it will really be like.

In other words, trust yourself!  Trust your children!  And trust the process.

As for myself, my advice:
If you are looking for some good books, I have a few titles to recommend.  (see below for book titles and links to  But I admit I haven't been in the market for a book in a long time so there might be great titles out there that I don't know about.
If possible, relax.  Homeschooling is a journey as well as a destination.  Your definition of "wisdom", "learning", and "education" will change.  And so will your idea of what it means to be truly educated.
And, finally, if possible, find other homeschoolers, support groups, online groups, and ask every question under the sun.  Homeschooling parents are notoriously well-educated and freakishly-supportive.  They would love to share their knowledge with you.

Please feel welcome to ask any questions here that you wish.  
I am more than happy to provide support and resources!

The Essential Homeschool Bookshelf

by Grace Llewelyn

by John Taylor Gatto

by John Holt

by Linda Dobson
By Rachel Gathercole


Upcoming questions in this series:

What are the benefits of homeschooling for your family?
What are the negatives of homeschooling?
What are your fears?
What about Socialization???

If you like this post you might try this one:
Ten Facts About How We Homeschool

or this one:
Why Are Homeschooled Kids so Annoying?

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Last night my husband proved his meddle as Great Husband by simply comforting me as I went through a cycle of PMS tears that just kept repeating, cycling again and again from one thing to the next.

It started with my thinking about how much my kids have grown and how their baby and childhood years are behind us, never to return...  How, oh how, can those days be over already? I keep dreaming about my little ones. Sometimes I have a small child in my dreams that switches from Liz to John and back again and I am adoring that child so intensely that I don't want to look away. Yesterday morning I didn't want to wake up from that dream.

Then my thoughts move on to my daughter that I did not raise.  (Her name is Lindsey.) I made a plan of adoption for her in the 80's with a great deal of pain and absolutely NO support. So many aspects of this situation are upsetting, but last night's tears were about how her father's parents never once asked me about her or talked about her or ever mentioned her again in all of the years that he and I were together. We were together for three years after she was born. How can people live in such denial? And, furthermore, what a lovely life to never face the pain, eh? Their loss. And hers. And now, to be living without her...somehow this is our life...our loss...

Then, on to feeling the loss of my wonderful Aunt Elizabeth. I think of her so often and miss her terribly.

Then, on to missing my grandmas. I loved them and was very, very close to my mom's mom.

And then on to thinking about how sad and lonely I used to feel as a child, teen, early twenties, feeling so different and always wondering what did people talk to each other about...

Then, moving along in the PMS tears, to how fearful I am that I am messing up my children for life...

And back to my big they have gotten already...those years, never to return...

OH, I was accidentally off of my antidepressant...better now


If you enjoyed this post perhaps you would also enjoy:
My Boy
That's My Girl

Thursday, December 27, 2012

White Wine in the Sun

This Christmas was spent in Australia with friends.  Barbecue, swimming, and fire play.  And, of course, white wine in the sun.
Our family has had the very wonderful and eye-opening experience of having this major holiday on another continent with different traditions, different activities, different decorations, different sentiment, different music, different traditions, different everything.

This year we had family visiting from America and our beautiful Aussie friends invited us over to share a traditional Australia Christmas.

And I learned something.

Grandma JoAnn and Kids
Family and LOVE are far more important than tradition.  Our holiday has been remarkable, emotional, one-of-a-kind, and completely family-centered.  Although there has been very little garland, very little caroling, and very little purchasing, it has been incredible.  I think each one of us would admit that the family that we are a part of is not perfect.  We each have our foibles.  Each of us has annoying traits.  We are imperfect.  And yet, we are family.  We have shared incredible moments of pure beauty.  And the love wins.

I hope your holiday of choice has brought you love and family
 and moments of sheer beauty.

If you like this post, you might try this one:
To Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra

or this one:
That's My Girl
or this one:

My Boy

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Eve

Christmas Eve here and we are all exhausted from our day at the Australia Zoo.  We had an absolutely fantastic time at this gorgeous zoo.  Steve Irwin had a vision of a refuge for the crocodiles that he would rescue from the wild (or that he would remove from public places when they were being a nuisance...depending on your point of view.)  Australia Zoo is very beautiful.  Animal enclosures were beautiful!!!  It was amazing to see the Australian animals that we have come to love so much.  We loved the zoo!

I wish you a very Happy Christmas!

You might also enjoy:
Yule Laugh

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My SUPER Super Sensitive Kid

Do you have a super sensitive child?
I do.

There is nothing wrong with a super sensitive child. There is no diagnosis or syndrome or spectrum of diagnoses with a super-sensitive person. It is simply an inborn trait, and one that describes my child.

My son John, in fact, is a delightfully-funny, highly-inquisitive, terrifically-imaginative, freakishly wise, outside-of-the-box thinking, active and  bright, genuinely-intuitive, super-sensitive kid. He will cry if some one in the house yells. He will get upset with the slightest raise of volume in my voice. He will remove himself from any situation where he thinks one person is trying to dominate another person in any way in a movie. He will experience some distress if he has to make too many decisions. He will sit nearer to me if he thinks I am upset. He will run from the room if the background music on your movie or TV show sounds too sad. He will not watch a TV show or film where one person is unkind to another person. He will keep a sharp eye on anyone who is angry, hurt, lonely, or anything else but "fine". He reads subtle changes in moods from meters away and can tell who is upset in 3.6 seconds.  He reads distress in any living thing.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, this super-sensitivity trait does not suggest that a person is shy or timid. In fact, John is quite social and friendly. Mostly comfortable in most social situations. An absolute delight.

While reading around cyberspace for this blog post, I ran across a website called The Highly Sensitive Person Book, by a woman, Dr. Elaine Aron, wanting to sell her book. Well, I'm not buying the book, but I am copying/pasting this quote from her website:

Unfortunately, the trait has been somewhat misunderstood in our culture, so that most psychologists and parents tend to see only one aspect of some sensitive children and call this trait shyness, inhibitedness, fearfulness, fussiness, or "hyper" sensitivity. If one could see inside the mind of a sensitive child, however, one would learn the whole story of what is going on--creativity, intuition, surprising wisdom, empathy for others... 

John and I often discuss the difficulties of being hyper-empathic:  feeling overwhelmed with the knowledge and sense of the feelings of others, the propensity to think of the needs of others first, being swamped with awareness of the needs of others, having your own feelings not given what feels like enough attention, the tendency to not ask for ways to get his own needs met, the fact that few others are as empathic and may miss your own need, the risk of some people who prey on the emotions of others, larger-than-necessary behaviors when feeling sad or disappointed or angry, feeling stressed out with "timed" activities or when under-the-gun, the possibility of struggling with depression or anxiety as an adult, or feeling self-conscious and labeled "sensitive". 

But even better, John John has learned to feel proud of his highly-empathic side, to trust that side of him.

As a parent, my job is to help him figure out how to get through the struggles, but even more, to have pride in his unique abilities. It is my honor to be his parent. I find that, as always, he and I are walking our way through this together. 

P.S.  I wouldn't change a thing...except to hope the world doesn't gobble him up.

If you like this post you might try this one:
Would My Son Be Ruined in School?

Will Schools Ever Be Obsolete?

Doesn't it seem like information is so amazingly, readily available that, at some point, schools will become a thing of the past?

For example, if I decide, today, that I want to learn how to learn more about arthropods, I could, today, find out more about arthropods.  In fact, available to me online are huge amounts of information and images and teaching modules and professionals and news and history...whew!  It's almost like I could teach myself about arthropods...

What do you think? 
 Is it a crazy idea? 
a possibility for the future?
 blasphemous? revolutionary?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Mind the Gap

atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist
The gap between "love" and "religious dogma" is getting wider and wider every day... How much longer can believers hang on???

My friends who are believers seem quite unaware of it at this point (or so it seems), but I can see the space between their altruistic and loving intention and what their religious dogma requires of them these days. Not even including the flaming Westboro Baptist extremists. Good people who cling to their religions for comfort and guidance and good feelings are being asked to accept empty platitudes and simplistic comfort...

Some people that I truly love are believers of one creed or another. I know that they are truly, in their hearts, doing their best to seek guidance and "redemption" from their faith. From the outside of those creeds, though, it is obvious how wide the gulf is that they must span in order to maintain their understanding of their gods' words and intentions. Unfortunately, this "comfort" comes with the price of holding the "godless" responsible. It also, somehow, requires wonderfully kind people to ignore the obvious fact the no one was there to stay the hand of the gun man.

The gulf keeps widening. How much longer can they ignore it? How can they explain the psychic dissonance of the claims of their "loving and kind god" in the face of such tragedy and obscenity as the shooting of twenty innocent people, children?

Maybe it's the shooting in Connecticut and it's subsequent barrage of "God is Love" and "We are in God's hands" posts on Facebook that has my incredulity dancing, but how can "they" not see the discrepancy? I can't even BEAR to read that one meme that describes the "lovely smiles" of the kids as they enter God's house. That meme is particularly distasteful and awful. But some people cling to it...because it offers some "sense" to them.

As for like-minded friends to me, this blog post from entitled Connecticut School Shooting:  Processing Grief without God seemed helpful with regards to our shock and horror and loss that we are left with from this horrific event. Our horror that has no crutch upon which to hang it. Instead, we count on our loved ones for comfort, as well as finding a sense of comfort from our own actions.

This country is reeling from such senseless violence. Atheists are, in some circles, being hung with "blame" as we are the "godless". I ask the thinking people of the world to be aware of the attack of these memes. Be aware that you are blaming me and mine when you ascribe to this.

Let us be kind to one another.


If you like this post you might enjoy:
Sandy Hook Elementary School:  The "Godless" to Blame?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homeschooling and Socialization

I was reading a post called "The Results of Homeschool Mis-Socialization" on Libby Anne's blog called Love, Joy, and Feminism. Libby Anne was homeschooled under a fairly standard Christian homeschool method: lots of interaction with the church, lessons at home, great "extra-curricular" opportunities, and a fairly large social group. But Libby Anne reports that, upon starting college, she was terrified of the kids on campus. She felt unprepared to feel a part of the group of students and, further, she felt that she performed poorly in school as a result of that.

I know that many homeschoolers would bristle at the idea that homeschooling played a part in her claim of having not been adequately socialized and prepared for college. But Libby Anne feels she was "well-socialized in homeschool circles but not beyond them." With an acknowledgement that this is Libby Anne's story and, therefore, her prerogative and right to make sense of her life in her own way, it does seem that homeschooling parents have something to learn from her.
I have seen my children roll their eyes and say "BUSES!" when we pull into a parking lot of a museum or zoo or other public place that has a group of public schoolers in attendance. My kids have often criticized public schoolers for rudeness and overall disruptive behavior in public places and prefer to not have to deal with that. Still, does this mean that my kids wouldn't know how to interact with groups of public schoolers?
And, just as a thought I am having at this moment, 
how do public schoolers generally do 
in a room full of homeschoolers?  
I can recall co op events  back home
that public schoolers attended...
I wonder how they perceived the event...?

ANYWAY, my point in bringing this up on my blog is that I am completely willing to find ways for my daughter and son to hang out with non-homeschool kids if they would need this for some reason. At the moment, though, Elizabeth is in an acting group in which she is the only homeschooler. In the group, she tends to stand out for being a homeschooler, as well standing out as an American as well. She enjoys her "stand out" status, and more to the point, she feels very comfortable and confident in that setting.  She doesn't feel the slightest bit frightened or uncomfortable. Or unprepared... 
In the past, though, Lizzie has gone to a public school and she was treated unkindly and oddly and not pleasantly. So her expectations do tend to be that a group of public-schooled kids can be difficult to "break into". This is not because she doesn't have the skills to engage with the children, but because of the struggle of public-schooled individuals to make their own decisions in groups. Individually, Elizabeth reports, it is usually a matter of personality when making friends or not making friends, rather than any perceived different from schooling choices.

Today, as "going to community college" nears for my daughter, Libby Anne's blog post gave me an idea. Elizabeth might prefer going to school for a visit or three with friends who are already on campus, maybe learn the ropes, find her way around...
In any case, I appreciate Libby Anne's honestly and openness with her struggles and I wish her well!

What do you think?

If you like this post, you might try this one:
Nine Disadvantages of Homeschooling

How I Planned to be as a Parent

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School: The "Godless" to Blame?

atheist blog
In our powerlessness, we all want to find poignant information to fill the void. There is none, at this point... 

Let's be wise about what is spread around as "fact" because it undermines the truth of the event for the people involved. As friend said, In everything seek the truth.

NOTE:  "I get comfort from God"
and"I blame those
who do not get comfortfrom God"
are NOT the same thing.
But we all join in together as one, here on my blog, on Facebook, and on other social sources, in our grief, shock, and pain.

I don't know any solution for past or future horrific events and losses such as this. What I do know, it doesn't help a bit to point fingers or to blame any person or group that is different from you in your powerlessness.

It is NOT a "godless society" to blame. Please, all, do not post that meme that offers some "comfort" to you but blames the non-religious. It is simplistic and inaccurate. And I'm going to tell you the truth, this hurts me.

I'm just saying:  if you are in stunned and frightened horror, as we all are, that doesn't change the fact that thinking "I get comfort from my god" is NOT the same as "I blame those who do not get comfort from my god."  My friends who have children, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, are all in a state of fear and shock and horror at how vulnerable we all feel when such violence and loss and terror enters the reality of our world.

One thing I DO know, it is not "godlessness" that has brought such shocking horror and imagined threats-around-the-corner into our lives. It is individual and ill minds and, most likely, mental illness that we must blame.

Let's be kind to one another. ♥

Sadly, I lost a friend over this post.
Yes, she was a friend.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Search Keywords

Bloggers know that we (bloggers) can go to certain websites and check out various statistics related to our blogs.  For example, yesterday I had 273 visitors to my blog. According to the stats, 107 of my visitrors came from the US, 77 from Australia, 22 from the UK, and so on.  I can use those statistics for....something, I'm sure!  LOL

Also using the statistics site, I can tell where people come from, in general, to get to my blog.  One of the most interesting pieces of information available to me is that statistic that tells me what people have searched for in their search engine, which terms or words that they have searched in order to find information, thus leading them to my blog.

The overwhelming number of people who come here by search engine seem to be people who are looking for information against homeschooling or against atheism.  (How surprised they must be to find a blog entitles "Homeschool Atheist Momma."  How they must have to refrain from posting negative comments...  Well, maybe.)  How do I know what people search for on their search engines and get here?  Because each day I get a list of the most popular search keywords used to bring readers to my blog site.
Interested in what brings people here?

The search keywords that are most often used that bring readers here are, in descending order:
  1. evolution
  2. homeschooling
  3. disadvantages of homeschooling
  4. anti atheist
  5. against homeschool
  6. against atheists
  7. how to blog against homeschooling
  8. explaining religion to my child
  9. anti homeschooling 
  10. with love and tolerance you will...
  11. against home schoolers, and, for some inexplicable reason,
  12. love my niece's feet (!)
From this information, there is no doubt in my mind that people "out there" are still looking for information to take down the homeschooling movement.  Or they are looking for data to prove a negative about homeschooling.  Why?  I don't know, but I do know that we still have to prove ourselves and we still have a ways to go before the stigma is reduced.
And, not surprisingly, people are still looking for ways to "take down" atheists.

The world is SO divided along so many different line...sometimes it even makes me, a peaceful person, feel like a warrior!


October 26, 2013 Update:
As for today, the most common Googled words and phrases that have brought surfers and readers to this blog today are:

  • Anti homeschool Blog
  • Against Homeschooling
  • Arguements (sic) for and Against Homeschooling
  • Atheist Mother Blog
  • Bad homesshool days
  • Being an atheist is hard
  • Examples of strong will, and
  • Why I Won't Homeschool


If you enjoyed this post you might try:
Hot Air

Monday, December 10, 2012

Do You Suffer from Persecution?

Yahoo News reports: 

Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: report says

GENEVA (Reuters) - Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.
The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe - sometimes brutal - treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.
But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

This made me wonder how many readers of this blog would report feeling persecuted or discriminated against for their beliefs, atheist or not?

I would like to hear from you!

Also, do I suffer from persecution? 
NO, I enjoy every minute of it.

Persecute Away.  I can take it.


If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read:
25 Ways to Pass on "Love" and "Tolerance" to My Child

Going Back in to the Atheist Closet

Sunday, December 9, 2012

As for Me and My Family...

Homeschool Strategies

Recently, someone asked me this question:

I'm curious, did you find yourself making a big change in strategy from your original plan when you started homeschooling?
And the answer: OF COURSE we made big changes! I have probably changed the way we homeschool about a hundred times. As I continue to educate myself and to learn more about my children and their learning styles, their interests, and their needs, I have made changes in the "usual" way we approach learning experiences. No one expects us to know everything this very moment...we do our best from day to day.
For example, as I learned more about how necessary activity is for my son, I began finding ways to add movement to lessons. Also, I gathered a drawer full of "fiddlers", small toys and gadgets that he could play with while listening or doing lessons. These small hand movements make it possible for the "free" track of his mind to take in the lesson and to focus.
As I learned more about my daughter's interests, I was able to create individual lessons and activities that would engage her more fully. She prefers to be very much the leader in where we go and how we get there. And I had to learn those times when I needed to be more of a leader with her...
As we move forward through skill levels we often switch from one publisher to another. Also as I stumble on interesting websites, we often find ways to include new and interesting resources in our lessons.
Do we make big changes from our original plan?  Absolutely!  
And so will you. Changes are normal and fine. In fact, they show that you are learning and advancing and making efforts to respond to your children's needs and to provide the best experiences possible for your children. In fact, in  no part of your life should you stick, resolute, to things that do not work or that are simply someone else's rules. Make changes that make sense for your family.
In fact, this week I made a major change for my son. I realized that he does better with much more structure than I have been providing for him, especially in math and language. So I have taken a few steps back and changed our approach. Fingers crossed, we'll see how he does with that.

If you like this post you might try this one: 
Homeschool Co-Op Ideas
Habits for a Happy Homeschool 
Note to my Former Self

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Stumbled On This...

I was surfing around on the internet, using Pinterest to take me from place to place and, somehow, unfortunately, I stumbled on a post called "10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Run Smoothly" from a blog called The Homeschool Classroom.  The author's name is Roan.

Why do I say unfortunately
Well, let's look at the ten ways to make your homeschool day run smoothly that are mentioned in the blog post:

1.  Wake up before your children
2.  Have a supper plan each day
3.  Create a routine
4.  Tidy your school area each day
5.  Tell your children the “Plan for the Day”.
6.  Avoid answering the telephone.
7.  Stay offline during school hours.
8.  Have your children’s schoolwork planned
9.  Serve snacks daily
10.  Smile.  

And now let me tell you why this blog post is unpleasant for me to read:
  1. I generally wake up after my son. He wakes up at about the same time as my husband. John John usually gets online even before he eats breakfast. 
    I'm certain that this is incredibly unhealthy for him and I would prefer that you NOT comment on this... 
    Now that we are down here in Australia, he tends to call friends back home at this time and spends time talking with them and playing games together with them. (sometimes even Hide and Seek!)
  2. LOL  I often don't know what is for dinner when I walk into the kitchen to make dinner.
  3. Routine? The truth is, John John does do far better with a routine; I'm sure he would benefit from one.
  4. We often have to go looking for our books each and every time we need them.
  5. Oh GEEZ! Again?!  John John asks me, almost every single night, "What are we doing tomorrow, Mom?" 
    Sadly, my usual answer is "I don't know."
    I'm pretty sure John would thrive in Roan's house...
    Addendum: I just asked him about this and he said "NO, this doesn't bother me, why should it?"
  6. If someone calls, we are excited to hear from them!
  7. We use our computer for lessons much of the time, so this one doesn't work for us either...
  8. I do plan lessons for both John John and Elizabeth, but I'll bet my plans have no similarities to Roan's plans. I have a lesson book for each child and write their daily lessons for them.  ...when I do it.
  9. Snacks? Yes, I often do provide a snack. It's lunch they have to get themselves! 
  10. Smile? Oh yes, I do!
So, I confess that I am not organized. I make efforts, but it's just not me. I further confess that John John prefers structure and organization and I can't offer him much of that. And I won't pretend that that isn't an issue for him...

But Roan is completely right:  
A happy, loving attitude will make every school day flow more smoothly!

If you enjoyed this post you might try this one:  Barely Out of Tuesday

On the Shoulders of Giants

We have enjoyed our years as homeschoolers.  People we run into in the community have really changed their tune over the last ten years.  When we first started homeschooling, the general public was pretty pessimistic about it, quite critical and quite likely to question us and to even quiz the kids about their knowledge.  These days, over ten years later, for the most part when we meet people out in the world at large, we are welcomed!  The homeschooling community has improved its image a great deal.  People nowadays generally reply with "That's great!  I think we would have enjoyed homeschooling."

There are many reasons for these changes in the public view of homeschooling.  So many more people homeschool now.  I've read many different statistics and I believe few of them.  (*wink)  My guess is that about 5% of children in our country are now homeschooled.  Homeschool stereotypes have improved, for the most part, in the media.  I have even seen times when homeschoolers were considered pretty cool in a show, rather than weird.  The types of people who homeschool have moved from the isolated, Christian families and the families with "disabled" children or super-brainy children to your average, middle-class kids.

I mention that first because there are so many improvements in how homeschoolers are viewed, and it is nice to not have to "prove" ourselves anymore.  We who homeschool now are standing on the shoulders of the giants of the previous generations of homeschoolers.  For me, I had Nancy Clavenna as one of the coolest homeschool moms upon which to build my homeschooling persona and my own homeschooling self.

This blog post is in honor of the many homeschooling and parents out there who have fought the good fight, making homeschooling possible for us today and giving us the power to continue the growth and change! 

Nancy, Mary, and Ben
Nancy Clavenna and her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Ben


If you enjoyed this post you may like to try:
Note to My  Former Self
or this one:
My Boy