Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I follow a wonderful blog called “Enjoying The Small Things” written by a phenomenal photographer, writer and mom, Kelle Hampton. Kelle’s has two beautiful daughters, the youngest of whom has Down Syndrome. Kelle writes of daily activities and she does so in a way that never ceases to make me smile. She’s definitely a “glass half-full” kinda girl!
Yesterday, Kelle wrote about fuel vs. filler in life. I encourage you to read about it HERE.
I’m sitting at my desk, sick with a URI, tallying up hundreds of dollars in medical bills and listening to the sound of my IV pump steadily humming as it infuses my liquid immunity (IVGG). I need some fuel. Any ideas?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This fall Christopher returned to public school. I will be the first to tell you that I think that the faculty, staff and administrators we are dealing with are phenomenal. They really are! I am grateful for thier genuine care and concern and their talents and professionalism. Even the bus driver is Heaven-sent!
All that said, I will always be a fan of home schooling. I know that it isn’t for everyone but in Christopher’s situation it was a God-send.
Recently we had a retired educator in our home. They made no bones about how delighted they were to hear that Christopher is back in public school. OK. I’m delighted, too. It was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. What bothered me is that they went on to say that they had some home schooled students in their (high school level) classes and that those “home schooled students were socially retarded.” They further mused, “They didn’t know how to not be the center of attention.”
There were a couple of things that bugged me about these statements. Beyond the use of the R-word, there is the fact that when push-comes-to-shove, the best most educators can do to discredit home schooling is to harp on home schooled kids’ social skills.
Socially, home schooled kids are DIFFERENT, often BETTER and certainly not “retarded". Home schooled kids may have no idea how to raise their hand to talk, or “line up with a buddy”. They may not understand the ins and out of demerits, attendance policies and dress codes. I would venture, however, that most home schooled kids are well-behaved, polite and articulate. They are used to interacting with adults (ironically, they grow up to BE adults, interacting with other ADULTS!). As for “being the center of attention”… that seems somewhat subjective. I can see how it could be annoying for a teacher in a classroom with 25 students. I’ll give them that, although I haven’t seen that among the home educated children that I know.
In my mind, it all comes down to one thing: Does the education prepare the kids to go out into the world and be responsible, contributing members of society? This should be the goal of public, private and home educators. In my estimation, most home school parents do a fabulous job of meeting that goal.
Thankfully, the educators we are dealing with now are aware of the value of Christopher’s home schooling. They know that we’re on the same team!
If you’re a public or private educator: Thank you for your service and dedication. If you’re a home school parent: Rock on!
Monday, October 11, 2010
It feels wonderful to give! I don’t have too much to give (materially) anymore but when I do get the chance it feels great! Do you give?
Most of you know that I’m a pretty outspoken conservative. I think the government has WAY over-reached it’s purpose and that our country is suffering badly as a result. I join many of my friends in ranting at the “government is the answer” mentality. Tax-and-spend isn’t fixing anything and it is creating an entire class of people who are dependent on the government when they ought not to be. That said, there are people who cannot self-sustain for reasons such as disability. We need to help those who cannot help themselves and teach those who CAN to do so!
Now, before you go labeling me as a hate-mongerer or racist, let me explain. I’ve heard the saying “If I give my money to you, it’s charity. If you take my money and give it to someone else, that’s robbery.” I agree with that statement. BUT, part of the reason that the government has injected itself in every arena of life is that people have neglected their charitable obligations. That’s right. I said OBLIGATIONS. In the Old Testament, God commanded a tithe. Hindu Sikhs widely practice the tradition of giving ten percent. Muslims are obligated to give Zakat, to help care for other Muslims in need. The New Testament encourages cheerful giving, caring for others and charity. In short, most of us are told to give! Even in ancient Greece, the concept of “pay-it-forward” was used to encourage giving (it obviously wasn’t called that but the principle is there). Benjamin Franklin referred to the principle in a letter to Benjamin Webb in 1784. He wrote:
I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.
It’s not enough to rant about your taxes being too high. There are people out there who legitimately need help. SOMEONE has to help them. Won’t you be the one?
The poorest among us are rich compared to most of the world. Find a worthy cause or neighbor in need and GIVE. It feels GOOD! If we do our part, we can put the Welfare State out of a job! Let’s try!