Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Congratulations! You've worked very hard for what you have achieved. You have inexhaustibly stumped your way across your states in an effort to get your constituents to believe in you, and your hard work has paid off. Take a break and enjoy your likely-a-bit-neglected family before you start picking out curtains for your office.
Before you pack your bags and head to Washington, or your capital city, or wherever the center of power is for your individual office, I want to remind you that you were chosen because you appeared to display a willingness to respond to your constituents. I don't think the results of yesterday's elections were necessarily a mandate for Republicans. More than anything, I think they were about policy (finally!) and a rejection of a legislature and executive office who don't seem to care about the will of the people. We will not accept that same treatment from you. If you do not listen to us, we will - oh dear, how should I put it? - vote your butts out just as quickly.
So...have a good time in the big city. But remember that 'we the people' employ you. Govern with prudence. Don't spend money we don't have. Enjoy the perks of your office - but not too much. Be sure that power and prestige are false gods. Always keep in mind that you are civil servants, elected as our peers to represent our views. Remember that we believed in you in 2010. And we can just as quickly stop believing by 2012.
Love and all those other niceties,
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I've been joking with you lately that this is your last birthday because you simply can't turn double digits. You, of course, know I'm joking (most of the time) but every once in awhile you cock your head and hesitantly try to read my face and seem to wonder, "Can she do that?" No, sweet one, I can't as much as I wish I could. You will continue to charge forward year after year into what God has for you and there's nothing I can do to stop it. And about that, I'm glad.
What a year this has been! We started second grade at our house in Lake Land'Or, sold that house, hit the road thinking we were heading to Vegas, hung out in the Promised Land, visited our friends up and down the East Coast, spent over a month in Florida with Uncle B, and then finally settled into our new house here in Richmond. Whew! What a crazy time that was, but, all the while, you persevered and were flexible and were a huge help during what I'm sure was a crazy time in your mind. You are a leader and child who is willing to take on any challenge set before you. I can't wait to see what God is going to do with that. It's going to be good. Really good.
I was just telling Dad about how much I enjoy talking to and relating with you. Our conversations over the last year have changed from a mother bossing around her son to a mother relating her son in a new and different way (though I know I'm still plenty bossy for your taste. :)) I am excited about what this next year is going to bring us. New challenges, new learning environments, new friends, new dreams.
So, while this isn't your last birthday, I am going to do my best to live like it is and enjoy every last second of you over this next year. You are one cool cat (with a lot of this and a lot of that...)
Love you. A lot,
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Today my little Simeon turned five. Five! I can hardly handle it. Wasn't I just pushing that blue-faced child out of me last week and watching the doctor gently unwrap the umbilical cord from around his neck? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was praying for that same stinking cord to fall off after it stayed attached for five weeks and could have been nominated for an award for the longest lasting umbilical cord ever? Where did five years go? Someone tell me!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
A few years ago, my husband and I went through a four-day psychological and abilities assessment (think "The Apprentice" for pastors) for people in ministry who plant churches that evaluated whether we should be doing just that. We were tested and interviewed and challenged on all things ministry and personality. On the final day, we knew we had to sit in an hour-long interview with an assessor who would fire questions at us about things that could be hot buttons for us or potentially damaging to our ministry or churches. I went into this thinking that since my husband was the actual pastor and he was the one that would actually be working for the church that it would mostly be about him and that I could just sit there listening.
I was wrong.
For fifty-five minutes of the interview, the assessor wanted to talk about my reasons and motivations for homeschooling. He quizzed me about whether I was trying to shelter my children, what I thought about the public education system, the "socialization" issue (insert eye-rolling here), and whether I actually knew what I was doing.
Let's just say that by the end of the interview, he was completely convinced that I knew what I was doing.
As we talked through all of those things, one of the points I kept hitting home with him and that is one of the biggest reasons I homeschool is this: I am not a fan of institutionalized education. Especially one in which the institution providing oversight and funding is the government.
Too many teachers, too many administrators, too many government bureaucrats have educational - not to mention social and political agendas - that are way far removed from my own. People often laugh when they hear my children spout off on something that they surely must have overheard from me (just tonight my very wise eight year-old was telling me how stupid it is that the government spends more money than it takes in and how concerned he is for the future of our government. Out of the mouths of babes...) I often joke with people that if I don't brainwash my children, someone else will. And I'm only half joking. If anyone is going to set their worldview, teach them about the sacredness of sex, and educate them with the end goal of preparing them to make a difference in this world for Christ, it's going to be me.
Not to mention that I cannot think of even one government agency that is run efficiently and effectively. Not one. So, why would I want an entity whose effectiveness is poor, whose production is meager at best, and who continues to waste money hand over fist to be in charge of educating my kids? Not a chance.
Wouldn't a private, religious school fix my problem then? While a fabulous alternative for many, not so much for me (gosh, it stinks being so picky) because of the other reason I'm not so hot on institutionalized education: I cringe at the idea of putting 25 children who are uniquely created by God in a classroom for seven hours a day to receive the exact same training and conditioning. It goes against everything their Creator celebrates about them. Just this week, my three very different learners have explored Abraham Lincoln and his role in ending the Civil War, practiced their multiplication tables, wandered through the botanical gardens "blindly" trying to imagine what it was like to be Helen Keller, read endlessly about the history of Nascar, watched videos of killer whales and dolphins giving birth, have been read to about dogs, hiked and looked for letters naturally made in nature, and discussed government spending and budget deficits...and it's only Wednesday! I love that their minds can explore and examine anything they are interested in and that their desire to learn isn't curtailed so that we can stay within the government's guidelines.
I hurt for students who are forced to follow one mold for learning and who are stripped of independent thinking, discouraged from having a more diverse worldview, and encouraged to follow the flock that is blindly leading them through the supposedly hallowed hallways. They are like sheep being led to and fro both academically and socially. They are conditioned to ingest information from textbooks that are questionable at best , oftentimes from teachers with agendas far different than our own, required to regurgitate said information, and then are often penalized if their ideas do not fit in with the mainstream. Been there. Done that. Been ostracized - not to mention penalized - for it. (And only made stronger because of it.)
Finally, I'll leave you with yet another wonderfully written piece by someone other than me that reflects my heart for kids and education:"The School for the Animals"An old story tells of the creation of a school for the animals. In this school, everybody took the same four courses: flying, swimming, climbing, and running. Among the students were a duck, a flying squirrel, a fox, and an elephant. These four were highly motivated, and wanted to get good grades, so they all tried very hard.
The duck did fantastically well in swimming and flying, but he lagged behind his classmates in climbing and running, so he focused special attention on those two subjects. However, his feet became so sore from trying to run and his wings were so bedraggled from trying to climb that by the end of the year he not only failed both those subjects, but made C’s in swimming and flying, which had once been his two best subjects.
At the beginning of the school year, the squirrel was first in his class in climbing and running and was second only to the duck at flying. But as the months wore on, he missed so much school from catching pneumonia in his swimming class that he failed everything.
To make matters even worse, because the squirrel constantly squirmed and chattered in class, and had difficulty paying attention, he was diagnosed with a learning disorder. The squirrel eventually was placed in remedial classes and had to be medicated in order to continue with his school work.
The fox was a natural in his running class and scored well in climbing and swimming, but became so frustrated at his inability to get good grades in flying that he began assaulting his classmates. He even tried to eat the duck. His behavior was so disruptive he was expelled from school. He fell in with a rough crowd and eventually wound up in a center for animal delinquents.
The elephant, meanwhile, developed low self-esteem because he couldn’t do well in any of the subjects. When he sank into clinical depression, his therapist persuaded him to try a different school that focused on subjects such as lifting and carrying. The elephant was disappointed, because careers in lifting and carrying were not as prestigious as careers in flying, swimming, climbing, or running. Even though he always felt inferior, he managed to make a decent living and support his family.
The point of this silly story about a school for the animals is that modern education sends every child through a program of study that is targeted toward a “generic” child. It expects every student to be able to follow the same course of study in the same sequence, without considering innate aptitudes or individual differences that are crucial to children’s abilities to learn. Schooling does not take into account differing personality types or temperaments.
Parents who understand learning differences can be more sympathetic with the frustrations their children face in school and more helpful in finding alternative approaches. The two major learning differences among children have to do with learning styles and learning readiness.
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Now go and separate those sheep (and ducks and squirrels and foxes and elephants) from the rest of the flock. By the grace of God and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you will be a way better shepherd than anyone else ever could.
f you're interested in another homeschooling mama's fine words on this same topic, I think this mom does a great job explaining the hearts of many home-educators when it comes to this issue.