Category Archives: Soap Box

Bullying, homeschool’s double edged sword

I was looking around Netflix today and found two movies that I had planned on having the girls watch, ‘at some point’. Cyber Bully and Bully and it occurred to me to ask them, “Do you know what a bully is?” Both said no, and I realized this is a perfect time for them to learn.

They have watched movies where there is the not so stereotypical ‘mean girl’ but with telling them so often when they were younger that TV is not real they may have gotten the idea that there are not people that behave this way. They have seen the mean kid at the playground, but not attending public school has sheltered them from this and how vicious some people can be. I watched carefully when the mean kids were at the park and was pleased with how they responded from such a short interaction.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing, both were very bothered by what they saw. I think there is the potential it could be a problem later in life if they were not exposed AT ALL to bullying. If we didn’t talk about it, I imagine it would be quite shocking to see. They will probably still be disturbed to experience it first hand, but my hope is that they will be older and more secure/confident and will appropriately stand up for themselves or the person targeted.

I need to dig out the educators pack for Bully that I received awhile back, when it was first released, and we can get a big more in depth with the discussion.

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Why? Why? Why?!

The question of WHY has been coming up a lot the past few days. Why do you choose to homeschool? on twitter, and even the Pagan Blog Project has teaching as a topic. Maybe the universe wants me to blog about this, then again probably not. Teaching is by definition, showing someone how to do something and that’s what I do. I teach the girls, but I also teach them how to teach themselves and to enjoy learning not just memorization.

My 140 character response to the question is very simple,

‘I homeschool because I know them best and how to provide lessons that are tailored to their varying personality/skill levels’

At many points in our day I will notice things that would lead to issues in public school. I realize they would not do well in a setting that requires strict adherence to ‘acceptable behavior’ and would likely be in trouble and labeled with a learning disability or in need of medications. I’ve SEEN what happens when they get bored in even a basic school setting such as religious education in our previous church-they became disruptive, and wouldn’t follow directions. Boredom. Simply moving up to the next class which was a year ahead (and grouped a year or more older by age) solved the problem.

Beliefs, our religion is just something that comes up. When out for a walk and we see a dead animal we can have talks about death, reincarnation, totem animals, decomposition, what that animal ate, etc. There is no distinction between religion, and lessons. It’s just life. We use The Rede for writing practice, and study the various Gods and Goddesses from all over the world. We find dead and dried butterflies or beetles and it becomes an entire morning of anatomy, life cycles, and symbolism just from a walk down town. It’s hard to explain to someone the integration of spirituality if they don’t practice it themselves. Some days the girls just feel the urge to chant and dance, or to meditate.

If you’ve never been the odd child out you probably don’t know what happens in a group of kids, to that person. Ridicule, insults, bullying are the most common. Often the object of of the attackers attention begins to alter their personality in hopes of fitting in. I’m basing this on MY observations of course, but it is not something I would subject my kids too. Even in middle school as an open Pagan I was ridiculed, told I was going to hell, my beliefs were ignorant. I had students AND teachers, for lack of a better word, interrogate me about my views. Art teachers when I made a clay pentacle, keyboard teachers when they notice my necklace, even history class when I would offer more information on a culture’s Gods that the teacher had missed.

I’ve never been told directly that I am not preparing them for the real world, but I DID just read another person’s blog and their experience being told this. Frankly, I find it baffling that someone would consider public school anything like the real world…I found it the exact opposite. They don’t lack for ‘socialization’, and I have no issues saying I am glad they aren’t exposed to the crap behavior of so many other kids. At an age where children are sponges and adopt behaviors of others around them, of course I don’t want their personality tainted. It’s my job to protect them from it, to develop themselves before dropping them into a ‘lions den’.

Are we over the Miley Cyrus twerking yet?

Are you furious about the disgusting performance by Miley Cyrus? How dare this role model for young girls act like this, on public television. What will you tell your daughters, will them emulate her behavior?

I’m going to keep this short…

Why is this girl your daughter’s role model? Because she WAS Hannah Montana? H.M. was a fictional character, with a secret life, a performer…I can’t help but wonder WHY this was an acceptable role model to begin with. Was that young character a person you wanted your daughter to aspire to be? There are plenty of people going into rants on the psychology of this, the sexualization of children, promotion of rape culture, etc. I’m going to stick with a more basic question…

Why aren’t YOU, your daughters role model? Why not a better character…Temperance Brennan, Hermione Granger, if it must be a television character…you could always encourage historical figures. Encourage them to aspire to be intelligent, to be more than ‘famous’. While you’re at that maybe throw in a talk about the difference between the actress and the character they play.

The 20 year old woman, Miley Cyrus, is NOT Hannah Montana. She is a person, she has made a very unwise choice but she does not owe you anything. If you have permitted your daughters to idolize her then you have yourself to blame-not her. I do not condone that performance, but then I don’t need too, she’s an adult, and I am ultimately responsible for what my children are exposed too and who they view as role models.

Can we stop expecting media to parent our children? There is ALWAYS some sort of scandal where parents are screaming to ‘think of the children’…but they are unwilling to do it themselves. This same nonsense occurred with Britney Spears years back, if you follow these people you can always see it coming and yet act surprised.

Also..twerking? Does anyone else HATE that word as much as I do?

I’m not going to address the male aspect of this mess, I don’t have sons.

So now I’m an anti feminist?

‘I’m too pretty to do homework.’

‘My best subjects, shopping (check), music (check), dance (check), math (unchecked)’

‘Born to wear diamonds’

Those quotes are from t-shirts, marketed to young girls, and have caused quite a stir. Mothers are angry, they’ve lit their pitch forks, pledged to boycott, and thrown an all around hissy fit. Over a t-shirt. It seems the terrible combination of words will lead to the degradation, the devaluation, objectification of young girls everywhere. Possibly if they don’t even wear the shirt, so for YOUR protection they’re throwing a fit making sure it’s removed from sale.

I’m baffled honestly, at the anger over a shirt. I wouldn’t buy the shirts, I think they’re ignorant and do portray a negative stereotype which I wouldn’t give my money to promote. BINGO! I wouldn’t give them money so that’s the end of it for me and it should be the end of it for everyone else as nobody is requiring the shirt be bought or worn. It’s a non issue, there are PLENTY of REAL issues to focus on. While I imagine many of these mothers (and fathers) are concerned about other problems I can’t help but think this temper tantrum makes those who would objectify, and agree with such stereotypes, laugh. Bickering amongst each other over a shirt? Dividing women more rather than respecting each others vastly different views on…again, A SHIRT?!

So I’ve gotten the idea that I’m not considered a true feminist because I think a shirt would have no impact on a kid, or worse that self esteem, and academics are impacted more by the parents. If you’ve read my posts long you know when there is an issue which could actually impact the lives of women; proposed laws, abortion, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, and so on I’m gung ho but…a shirt, aimed at young girls. Find information that this company is using child labor, slaves, etc (as sadly most companies are at this point) and I’d join in a boycott….for that issue.

I think we’re a bit better than that, and if we could focus THAT much outrage at some of the atrocities women of the world are subjected to, imagine what we could change!

DOJ Says Tolerance Trumps Right to Homeschool – Todd Starnes

“Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government,”

“parents could not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of the parents’ convictions, because the child has an independent right to education.”

via DOJ Says Tolerance Trumps Right to Homeschool – Todd Starnes – Page 1.

The two quotes from this article greatly disturb me, I’m feeling a tad anxious about the future of homeschooling.

1. Targeting a group in the name of tolerance – that seems like an oxymoron really. They have this opinion about supposed intolerance, yet allow WBBC and Neo-Nazi groups to exist entirely on intolerance. We have the First Amendment, protecting their right to free expression/speech, etc so I guess they only support this view as it pertains to non-citizens. That point is not made clear by Holder so I have to wonder if he feels the same towards Americans.

What I’m beginning to question is tolerance;

1. a fair and permissive attitude toward those whose race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

So forcing this family to send their kids to public school seems very intolerant but it’s ‘for their own good’, because they need to learn to tolerate everyone else? Wouldn’t tolerance require diversity rather than conformity? Forcing this family to conform doesn’t seem to encourage much that needs to be tolerated.  Having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. I did NOT learn tolerance in public school, granted I’m sure there are massive differences between Germany and American schools. 

2. The second sentence comes across as the parents have no rights to make choices for their children, the government knows best mentality. I’m not suggesting that kids don’t have a right to be educated, BUT these children were/are being educated. Secondly why are the kids not being involved in decisions related to their rights, shouldn’t they get to actually exercise them by articulating the method of education they want?

I’m going to end this post, and contemplate it further….I may edit later and continue but for now I’m done.

Carlos Mencia on the V-chip-NSF!

Watching an older episode of Carlos Mencia last night I found this hilariously appropriate after my last post regarding parental responsibility. Enjoy…responsibly. Winking smile

http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/1p5e2c/mind-of-mencia-v-chip

When did we stop being responsible parents?

All over the interwebs floats the story of a 5 year old boy in Kentucky who shot his sister and killed her. The story isn’t much different from one source to the next, and sadly neither is the reaction. I’m finding the issue with this situation to be…

“We need to regulate how guns are stored.”

“Who gives a 5 year old a gun for their birthday.”

“How can a 5 year old own a gun?”

Do you see what’s bothering me about these reactions? I am a big supporter of firearms, my daughters share the same type of gun this child was given. The oldest received it as a Yule gift, so the fact that this negligent homicide (I’m not calling this an accident and I’ll explain why..) even occurred infuriates me, almost as much as the reactions to it. This post appears entirely focused on guns but my true issue is this push the blame, it’s not my fault, irresponsible, victim mentality that so many have adopted. I’m sure most would say that the parents are of course at fault but something has to be done to keep it from happening again. You cannot regulate stupidity out of existence.

First off the cricket is a single shot bolt action .22 which means (incase it needs clarification) it holds ONE, 1, uno rounds. How a parent could forget that it was loaded is mind boggling. This child sized firearm also comes with a keyed lock that holds the bolt open, you cannot fire a round if it is locked. Finally and most importantly, it was left sitting within reach of a child, a loaded weapon. Three terrible choices and this family has lost a child. To me this is not an accident, it was severe negligence that resulted in death. Not that it really changes anything but based on the previous issues I suspect this little boy was also never given proper, thorough instruction in firearm safety.

Why does the focus seem to be on the gun? We need to regulate how guns are stored, and this and that and we ignore that these parents SCREWED UP. Can we regulate common sense? Can we regulate some sort of responsibility? The investigators, the parents are calling this an accident but it’s not. They allowed this to happen, by being careless. Certainly if the rifle wasn’t in the house it wouldn’t have happened but I really can’t feel certain that some other tragedy wouldn’t have befallen these children with parents who lack foresight. Who lack common sense to such an extreme.

I really don’t know what may or may not have happened. What I do know is this increasing trend that people have to blame everything but THEMSELVES, is disturbing. This carries over into so many things-school grades, the size soft drink you can purchase, etc. When did we stop teaching our children that they need to use the gray matter in their skull? I’ve become very pessimistic about humanity, and really don’t think it’s possible to NOT know how to teach your kids better than yourself. Unless you live under a rock, then people are exposed to ideas to information. Most choose not to use it because it requires effort. It’s easier to be lazy and assume ‘it won’t happen to you’. The family this happened to likely had access to the internet, and television and have heard the stories of negligence and yet made no effort to ensure it didn’t happen to them.

“What will it take for gun owners to be responsible”-well MOST are. Most pit bull owners train their dogs properly but we don’t hear about them, we hear about attacks. We don’t hear about the responsible owners because it doesn’t sell, no sensationalism to get people riled up but there are many stories out there of the responsible owners if you dig for them.