Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Own Mind: Homeschool Atheist Momma: Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology

My Own Mind: Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology: JOIN US on this week on The Secular Parents this Sunday night at 8PM CST as we explore how reading and disc...

Total Inoculation: Fables, Folk Tales, Mythology

secular tv, atheist parents
JOIN US on this week on The Secular Parents this Sunday night at 8PM CST as we explore how reading and discussing fables, folk tales, and mythology with our children is an excellent tool to inoculate them against believing in stories of magic. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Global Climate Change is a Hoax

secular homeschooling, teens and writing,  homeschool, climate change is a hoax
We started with The Eyes of Nye: Global Climate Change, followed by watching some speakers speaking on the topic of  global climate change as a hoax and reading some data on various news sources. John got it immediately, how one type of data and argument is far more compelling and meaningful than another. We did some reading on the subject and enjoyed a wide internet search. Now let's see how he puts his paper together and creates his own argument!

YES, this is a project to get a writer-phobic child writing.

We went on to discuss how to read and research material with an eye to developing a writing topic. His ability to brainstorm ideas floored me; I hope that way of thinking translates into creating a good paper.

If you have never seen the climate change opponents, I highly recommend spending some time with your teen, watching debate and conversation on the subject. The difference between both sides is amazing and telling, especially in how they approach debate with some proponents. John learned so much just from observing and discussing style. 

What I am enjoying about the project we are working on is that we are learning the writing process as well as learning so much about an issue that is important to him. He is also learning so much history of the topic, opponents and proponents of the issue, side topics such as legislation and the automotive industry's reaction to the data and the industrial revolution, he is appreciating the vetting process, the brainstorming process, even the early stages of developing a topic and exploring widely.

It makes me proud to see him embracing this project!

Is Global Climate Change a Hoax?
Good grief, what do you think we are over here, Crazy????


Other posts you might enjoy:
A Little Teen Reading
Reading the Classics
Teaching Adolescent Writers
On Being an Atheist Parent
Why Do We Learn?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Guess I'm a Hypocrite

secular parenting, atheist blog
This past week I was visiting my brother in Detroit, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, he would say to correct me.
I was awake quite late, as I do, and I decided to do what is, apparently, called a Vanity Search. I searched my own name. I've never thought to do it before and it was delightful to reread old blog posts and comments to friends.

I wasn't surprised with much of what I found. Lots of this blog, the Carnival of Atheist Parenting blog, the many comments I make on blogs, The Secular Parents on SecularTv, and the like. But I also found two different blogs that mentioned me by name. One of the authors of the blog called me a hypocrite (check his/her blog out of you like) because of my statement and meme My life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist. The amusing part of the blog post, which seems to meander and become kind of confusing a bit, is this statement:
How can you know you live a better life, such as asserted by Karen Loethen, My life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist. if her standard of a good life is based on the subjective criteria of man? What happens when someone thinks that a more meaningful and happier life is to shoot a dozen people in cold blood?

What happens when someone thinks that a more meaningful and happier life is to shoot a dozen people in cold blood? 
Good grief! Did I mean that I thought shooting people was OK when I said that my life is far more meaningful to me and far more genuinely happy since becoming an atheist? 

Or is it possible that this writer has taken a very simple and profound reality of mine and has tried to warp it into the fears and misinterpretations of the religious people who can not see beyond their fears and misunderstandings? Correct me if I am interpreting the blog post wrong because it really seems as though much of the commentary rather supports my point of view...except for that part about atheists being hypocrites.  

Or maybe, as my friend Gen suggested, the blogger is trying to sell cheap tickets to the Caribbean. 

Anyway, to my knowledge this is the only time anyone has bothered to read my stuff (or see it on Pinterest or whatever) and reply to it, so I'm grateful. If I'm ever in Lee's neck of the woods and in need of appliance repair, I'll give a call.

You might also like this post:

My Writing Process Blog Tour
PC Enough?
An Unfortunately Necessary Evil
Why I Accept Your Beliefs as Valid for You
Moments of Reflection
That Hideous Dance Between Faith and Critical Thinking

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Essential Secular Family Bookshelf

SecularTv, Secular parenting, atheist parenting

Be-Asia, Rayven, and Karen invite you to join us this Sunday night at 8pm CST for The Secular Parents where we will talk about The Essential Secular Family Bookshelf.

Join in live on CHAT and share your favorite secular titles!

What are your essential titles? 
Both for parenting and for books for the kids to read?


Books and Other Things for your Lively, Lovely Young Heathen Children

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

He's So Bright That I Call Him Son

sons, homeschool, poetry
My son in incredibly sensitive. He has been that child who would respond to the background music of a show before I even noticed that any music was playing. He will be upset by any person trying to control another person in any way. He will sound it out whenever he notices a quiet person feeling alone. He's the kid who will say it rather than keep quiet. He is deeply in tune to the emotions of the people around him. He is also deeply in tune to his own feelings.

Yes, John and I often commiserate over how difficult it is to be an empathic person in the world at large. For his part, he struggles to keep a positive attitude.

He's fourteen now, the age of angst.
I would never belittle this age, or make fun of it, or tease a person experiencing the pain and struggle of figuring out who they are, (as was done to me constantly; who would do such a thing?) what the world is doing, what the meaning of all of this is...

Nearly every day he and I have conversations about what has happened as he's moved through the day. He can be quite overwhelmed with his feelings so we talk often about ways to cope, ways to handle overwhelming feelings, how to comfort oneself, how to express oneself, and how to manage the intricacy that some issues bring. 

The other day we talked about journaling and poetry. As a former angst-er myself I told him that I used to write tons of terrible poetry and that I've written books and books of journals, trying to find my way out of cognitive cages of my own construction. He was surprised that I had enjoyed a balladry period. I didn't know what effect that conversation would have on him.

In the past two days he has written tons of poetry, good poetry, bad poetry, deep poetry. He is a veritable dilettante odist . His thoughts are rich and metaphorical, emotive and universal, ambitious and adept. More importantly, he is discovering a new part of himself, as he told me, that seeks to express itself through metaphor so that more people can relate to it. A part that appreciates the exquisite difference between two synonyms. A part that is empowered by language.

On top of this new exploration of his, John has figured out exactly what is so amazing about this writing effort: 

I'm a poet, and I didn't even know that I was!
Get it?

Other posts you might enjoy:
He's So Scawy

My Son Doesn't Like to Write
Growing Pains

Monday, March 16, 2015

Trivia Question...

(besides the obvious)

Find out on The Secular Parents!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Secular Parents...In The News

secularTV, secular parenting
Have you seen the new episode of The Secular Parents?
Did you know our show can be found on SoundCloud as a podcast?

He's So Scawy

atheist parenting
John was in the other room doing some vacuuming. I heard the vacuum stop and he walked into the room where I was sitting and said, Mom, I have an idea for an extracurricular activity.

I set aside my work and asked What's that, Son?

I think we should try to summon Satan.

Me, thinking that I had no idea what people do to in such a case: I don't know how to do that. You do the research and get back to me.
He's so scawy

John: Thanks, Mom.
He then poked his head back in to the room where I was and said, But no blood sacrifices! I'm not sacrificing any virgins; that's just not fair to us as a group... and he went back to his work.

What has your heathen kid said lately?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Ten Questions No Atheist Can Answer: LOL

atheist parenting
Godless Mom's blog is one that I enjoy pretty regularly, if I ever find some time to read my favorite blogs. Her wit and wisdom are huge breaths of fresh air in the blogosphere. Have you read her blog?

I would love to be as irreligious in my rants as she is! When I first saw her post entitled 10 Questions No Atheist Can Answer, based on a piece on ChristianToday, an online Christian magazine, I thought I would do what Godless Mom did, ask myself the incredibly challenging questions that:

Here are the dreaded and challenging questions along with my thoughts, written before I read Godless Mom's answers:

How Did You Become an Atheist?
I read the bible and about a hundred other books on the history and philosophy of religion, had about five hundred conversations, thought and thought, prayed and prayed, and came to the conclusion that every religion in its entirety is man made and that there is nothing supernatural, miraculous, or religous.

What happens when we die?
The molecules in our body break apart and return to the carbon and water cycles. The combined particles disperse, returning to the earth system, which is a part of our solar system, which is a part of our galaxy, which is a part of the universe.
The people in our lives find ways to move forward with our nonexistence. Any monuments we have built in our lives continue toward their eventual particle dispersion.

What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
If an afterlife of this nature were to actually exist I would be eternally suffering and I would be eternally disappointed at the futility of such a continued existence. Both eternal punishment and eternal reward sound so incredibly sophomoric that such a plan can only have been constructed by a monster of a weak creator. 

It makes absolutely no sense.

Without God, where do you get your morality from?
My sense of what is right and what is wrong come from the culture in which I live as well as from my own common sense and learnings.
I can never be convinced that the kind and well-meaning people who utter this question truly believe that they would become rampaging tyrannical evil-doers without a magical voice in their heads. In fact, every single person reading these words can name at least ten people who are from a religious tradition and who lack kindness, compassion, and general goodness. Each of us can also likely name at least ten people who are godless and who are incredibly beneficent and good.
In fact, I believe that most people are generally well-meaning and good-hearted.

If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
That is absolutely what I believe.
In fact, I have murdered and raped every single time I ever wanted to. I have also robbed people, destroyed things, injured bystanders, and called out every single evil instinct that I have ever wanted to call out.

But I do believe that good deeds are rewarded, right here in our lives or in the lives of those around us.

Furthermore, I am certain that everyone who is reading this at this moment has also murdered and raped exactly as many times as they wish they had. Call it common sense, call it a sense of humanity, I just don't see most of us out there seeking to create havoc and misery in the world.
Of course, some people DO behave in this way, and all of the religions in the world don't stop them.

If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?
What do you mean, exactly, by meaning?
See, I think that this is a trick question because our lives are as meaningful as we make them. When we do good, when we seek knowledge, when we forge connection, when we create beauty, when we live with grace we are creating meaning.

Whereas, finding some sort of magical meaning after death is truly not having meaning in life...See?

Where did the universe come from?
When we use our senses and our intellect we are far more likely to discover clues to our origins. Personally I doubt we will ever figure out what started everything. Big Bang?  Maybe, but that theory doesn't explain what happened a whisper of a moment before the existence of the tiny spacial irregularity that banged into everything. As this is our best theory to date I'm going with it until something better comes along.
Also, I'm quite comfortable with the honest answer of I don't know.

What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
I don't know.
I have also known people who have claimed to have a secret world underneath their bed. I have known a person who claimed to be the lord. I have known a person who thought he was hearing special transmissions from outer space meant specifically for him. I have known a little person who believed that her best chance for affection and compassion was to insist she had sixteen personalities inside of her. I have known a young man who was certain that a spirit was hounding him. I have known a person who felt certain that the entire planet and everyone on it was conspiring against him and were planning evil deeds against him. I have known a person who claimed that her twin lived in a mirror. I have known a person who thought her thoughts could injure me physically and spiritually. I have known a person who thought she could call spirits down on people who looked askance at her.
There is true mental illness in the world.
There are coincidences.
I would not attempt to explain a claim without knowing more about the claim and without thoroughly examining the evidence.

What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
I think that each of them have a certain brilliance. Each of them is also a human being with flaws and all. I think that their voices are each quite distinct and, further, I know that their voices are not the only ones in the secular movement.
I have also thought that the atheist community was lucky to have a cutie like Sam Harris on our side.

If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
Because human being want/like answers and in the absence of answers will create them. I have seen young children do this right before my very eyes.

Is that it? Am I supposed to be transformed?
Well, I found the questions unremarkable.  LOL

You may also enjoy these posts:
On Being an Atheist Parent
I am an Atheist
Thoughts and Humanism

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I am Not Political

secular parent
...but I often think that I really need to be.

I am appalled at so many stories in the news, yet I seldom do anything about it and I seldom take any political action. I have friends who are so active while I just shake my head and type No Way, that's not fair!  But I do little else.

Every so often I sign some online form if it's not too hard to sign in.

What about you?  Do you get involved in social injustice?

I just saw this article on the Oklahoma house passing a bill that would restrict the right to marry to people of faith and would mandate all marriage licenses be approved by a member of the clergy.

And this on the heels of that minister who "rehomed" his adopted daughters because he thought that they were possessed by demons. 

I am fuming!!!

Where is the bill in all fifty states stating that parents should understand freaking REALITY if they are to raise children?  Where is the governmental action requiring that all people who choose to adopt a child or who choose to create a child prove that they are not being told what to do by invisible people in the sky? Where is the governmental committee set aside specifically to make sure that this country stops making an ass of itself?

These two stories are just small examples of the i-n-s-a-n-i-t-y that the Christian majority or other religious zealots allow, condone, or somehow support. I am absolutely steaming tonight!!!!!  

Where to start?  What makes sense as a starting point for finally taking action? I write this blog, I have an online show for atheist parents, I write in other places online...but I need your help.

What can the average person do?

Co-Parenting, Atheist and Religious Person

seculartv, atheist parenting
Join "The Secular Parents" LIVE Sunday Night at 8pm CST for our show on SECULAR FAMILIES in the News! Let's explore the many issues and solutions!

We invite you to join Be-Asia McKerracher, author of The Secular Parent blog and author of Secular Parenting in a Non-Secular World and Karen Loethen, author of My Own Mind blog and contributor to Atheist Republic online atheist magazine.

Follow SecularTv to get timely notice so that YOU can join in the conversation.


I am looking for individuals and couples 
who co-parent for this show.
One partner should be atheist 
and the other religious.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Not Exactly Down Time

homeschool unschooling

Okay, two things.

I've been feeling quite the need to rest with my new cardiac arrhythmias to figure out and we've had guests in town for the past week. The heart stuff is well-tended after by my GP and by my cardiologist and I'm feeling quite comforted by the results of the many, many, many tests that we have run these two weeks or so. No need to worry, Dear Friends.

For this variety of reasons, no proper lessons have happened under this roof for about ten days.

HOWEVER, I want to tell you about some of the things that John and I have been doing together that has been so interesting and fun. We are doing three things. The first one is sharing favorite videos with each other. Really spending time in each other's online worlds and with each other's favorite things.

I recommend this. It is delightful, informing, and so interesting knowing exactly what is going in to the ears and head of my kid! He watches some pretty excellent Youtubers!

Friend's Visit
Second, John John and I have been watching Crash Course World History by John Green together. When we do this we watch each episode twice:  once for the entertainment value (which is considerable) and once to take notes and to really hear everything that goes by so quickly in John Green's inimitable reparte. We then Wiki everything we don't know, research the people, places, and events mentioned, and follow our own interests until they run out. It has been fascinating!

And third, we have watched several episodes of Penn and Teller's Bullshit.  Unless Penn's irreverence really offends you, these shows can be phenomenal.  Truly.  Today we watched an episode on gaming, season six, I think, that was great. We both felt truly informed after the show. We also enjoyed the episode on Wal-Mart.

Our very beloved friends from Pennsylvania have returned home, alas, and we are missing them already. But a return to our "usual" best friends is very welcome as we have been missing them too.

And I have put out this new episode of "The Secular Parents" entitled Deconversion Stories.  
Leave comments on you tube if you watch it....


It can feel quite alarming when you are unable to stick with lessons for one reason or another, but I've been reminding myself not to worry, living life is lesson!
And we humans are truly able to learn all of our lives! As homeschooling parents, as parents of a child participating in any form of education, what we truly want for our children is to catch the bug. We want them to WANT TO KNOW MORE. We want them to continue life long learning. And that's why I'm so confident that our not-exactly-down-time is not really down time...

You may also like these posts:
Do You Need a Homeschool Strategy?
Dear Me: Being the Mom
Unschooling:  Our Fall-Back Mode
Natural Learning
How to Homeschool

What are Homeschool Kids Like?