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Ordinary Shoes

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About Ordinary Shoes

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  1. RE your son - sometimes Orthodoxy isn't a great place for some young men who don't have many moderating influences in their lives. I've been Orthodox for 15 years and I've watched the cycle happen many times over. A young guy shows up at church and increasingly becomes militant. He becomes influenced by the hardliners in the Church. Often the hardliners are narcissists who don't care what kind havoc they cause in others' lives. They don't think twice about destroying relationships because they're creating a "pure" discipline. And when everything falls apart, they go on to their next protege. The young guy moves on to something more 'pure' or walks away in disgust from all religion, often causing a lot of pain on the way for his friends and family. Orthodoxy has problems with guru-ism and cultism in the US. Not in every parish, certainly, but it's there often enough to be concerned. Our priests are sometimes very inexperienced and uneducated. You don't need a seminary education to be an Orthodox priest. Some of our priests are very recent converts who didn't spend enough time in Orthodoxy before being ordained. A parish needs maturity and experience to resist that kind of temptation and it's not always there. Young men are especially susceptible to this problem.
  2. One of the problems in the EO Church in America now is creeping fundamentalism. I used to belong to the EO FB homeschooling group and evolution and young earth stuff was discussed there. Some people claimed that there was only one Orthodox position on that issue. Fear of Halloween is another marker. There is more influence from hardliner "celebrity" priests who push headship crap and female submission, etc. I see young women come in to the Church and watch some of them fall prey to all of that nonsense because they think it's *Orthodox*TM. I know it will chew some of them up and spit them out and turn others of them into self-righteous *itches.
  3. I'm right there with you. You can take the girl out of the Catholic Church but you can't take the Catholic Church out of the girl... I love the saints. I don't love the way trad-y Catholics and Orthodox do All Saints Day though. I don't hate Halloween and most of those All Saints activities are anti-Halloween activities. But I love the saints. As James Joyce said the Catholic Church is "here comes everybody." But realistically, it's not that for us anymore. The average RCC parish is fascist, i.e. poor people need to pull themselves up with their bootstraps, 45 is awesome, non-white people should go back where they came from, etc. The Catholic Church of the great saints, of Pope Francis, is not what you find in your average American Catholic suburban parish today.
  4. My journey... it's complicated... I was born and raised Roman Catholic. I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy 15 years ago. I like (or liked) traditional religion and as I like to joke, one can be traditional and sane in Orthodoxy. But it's the Catholic Church that is in my head, not Orthodoxy. But yet I show up at the Orthodox Church every Sunday morning because it's my tribe right now, good or bad. November 8, 2016 was the defining date for me. The day we elected that a-hole. I'm not naive enough to believe that day was unique. I just didn't know what this country was actually about until that day. On that night, I looked at my sleeping 6 year old little girl and knew she deserved something better. And I looked around at the people in church with me on Sunday morning and realized they (speaking generally) were just fine with screwing over my precious daughter. I'm Christ haunted as Flannery O'Connor would say. I don't want my daughter to grow up hating her body. Thinking she's less because she's a girl. But like all good Catholic girls, I'm afraid of hell for me and my kid. People keep advising me to jump ship but I can't do it yet. I've been advised to go to the Episcopal Church but that's Protestant. Some of you might understand why that's matters to me. I hate the prosperity gospel. I hate American exceptionalism. I hate Americanism but I love America. Like I wrote earlier...it's complicated. I'm becoming more comfortable with being condemned as a "liberal" and a "SJW." Jesus is on the side of the poor, not the rich conservative holier than thous. I hope my daughter isn't as conflicted as me. I hope she's courageous enough to stand up for what is right. I've been a coward most of my life. I'm a pessimist. I know the future for our kids is pretty bleak and that I won't be able to give my daughter much. When it all goes to hell in a handbasket, I want her to be on the side of the poor and powerless because that's the side Jesus will be on. As the Blessed Virgin Mary says in the Magnificat, "He has filled the empty with good things but sent the rich away empty."
  5. Actually I don't remember if the article discussed outcomes. If I recall correctly, the article discussed the lack of human interaction for some disadvantaged homebound elderly disabled people. I'd like to see the culture support greater funding for public education wherever it's provided. All of the local school districts have various funding measures on the ballot in tomorrow's election. One of my coworkers today told me that she voted no because her school district wanted money for more buildings and the schools were good enough. I looked up what her school district plans to do with the money if the measure passes; extra teachers to have smaller class sizes in the early elementary years, fund music teachers, fund afterschool intervention programs, among other things. That's the culture - the schools are good enough and don't need more money and who cares about smaller classes and music teachers?
  6. Recently I read about a trend in healthcare, where people enrolled in Medicaid plans had access to some kind of AI. I'm not techie enough to explain it well. Basically a lonely person who was homebound establishes a relationship with this AI 'entity' who is monitoring the person at the same time, looking for potential expensive medical conditions. It was contrasted with someone who had enough means to have access to a live person. It made me think of the trends we see in education. People with means are choosing options for their children where there is human interaction and disadvantaged children are stuck with technological replacements instead of human interaction. I see the discussion of K12 and other similar programs on the local FB group and it does not seem like these are parents with means. Perhaps I'm wrong about that but it does seem that way. My local HS FB group thinks K12 is just fine but my neighborhood FB group thinks the local public school with 30 kids in kindergarten is just fine too. All of us have been sold a bill of goods - that we don't need to invest in education. That our kids can get a great education on the cheap. And I can't help but think that HSing fits into that narrative. HSing is 'cheap' because the work of SATM is never valued. The idea that an untrained mother is able to teach is a kind of vindication of the attack on public education.
  7. My daughter attended private Catholic for 3 years. We were required by state law to submit a form to the County providing notice that she was enrolled in private school. More than half of the students who attend this school have scholarships through a program that is funded by charitable donations that provide the donor with a tax credit. You give to the organization and designate a student and the organization gives 90 something percent to the school which is credited towards the child's tuition. We never participated in the program because we could afford tuition and I felt award about asking our friends to donate towards our child's tuition. I'm sure most of the parents think that the government is not involved in their children's education but those tax credits are offset against the state's education budget. It's essentially taxpayer funded Catholic education. They tried to expand the program a few years ago to offer something like vouchers which could used for private school tuition. It was soundly defeated in a public referendum. The Catholic schools organization campaigned hard in favor of the voucher like program. I voted to defeat it for several reasons. One being that I think that they are very naive to assume that there won't be strings attached to that state money at some point. I suppose the same argument applies to homeschooling. It's interesting that there are no private schools in this state that do not participate in these tuition programs but the homeschooling groups have held firm.
  8. The program we use, enrichment classes offered through a local school district, require no hoops. All we are required to do is document that we've sent the required homeschool notice to the county. This is required for all homeschoolers, whether you are in this program or not. Once we're enrolled, the state allocates 1/2 half of its per student funding to this school district. The school does not offer any academic classes and does no grading. It does not require testing although it offers the state standardized tests and most students opt out. But participating in this program is enough to bar us from joining some of these homeschooling groups because there is state funding involved. I agree that non-traditional homeschooling families need their own advocacy groups but it's hard for these groups to be formed. We're very diverse. We're less motivated by ideology. Plus, families like mine opt in and out of the public schools.
  9. I don't have time to be a part of any HSing advocacy group but it really bothers me that these groups see so many of us as not real homeschoolers because we use programs available to us through the public schools or the state. When I was exploring our options last year I made the mistake of asking about one of these options on the state homeschooling FB group. I was quickly schooled on how that wasn't real homeschooling according to the state organization and my post was deleted. I understand the legal distinction and why that matters but practically, it is harmful (IMHO) to pit one group against another. I've noticed that these *new* homeschoolers like me who use state options don't fit those groups' homeschooling agenda which IMHO explains some of their suspicion of us. We are more likely to be secular or not fundamentalist Christians. I hate to say that it's an us versus them thing but I think explains some of the animosity. When talking about our famiy's choice, I always concede that it's not ideal. But in a truly messed up and underfunded system like the American educational system, does the ideal solution exist? IDK. Perhaps it's like the debate about whether people should buy be forced to buy airline tickets for infants. We know it's safer if there is an accident or turbulence for an infant to be in a carseat on a plane rather than in a parent's arms. But we also know that driving in a car is much more dangerous than flying. If parents were forced to pay for a seat, some parents would elect to drive which increases the overall risk. So what is the right thing to do? I know this is nihilistic but many Americans kids aren't going to receive a good education anyway for all kinds of reasons. Does allowing these families to opt out and park their kids in front of a computer make the kids and families happier? Does happiness matter? So many families are pushed to the wire these days. Parents work all day while their kids are in school and then afterschool. They come home and have to fight with their kids about math homework. Everyone's unhappy. My kid was in afterschool for a few years and it's essentially warehousing kids. It's loud and the kids are shepherded from one activity to another by low paid non-union employees. Kids can't get their homework done in that environment and it wears them out thus making the after dinner math homework fight even more intense. None of these things are good and I don't see how a kid sitting in front of a computer all day is that much worse. My daughter met another little girl in summer day camp who does online schooling. Her mom is a single mother who works and the little girl (I think she was 10) stays home all day and does schooling online. It gave me pause. But then I realized that in this state, you can leave children that age home alone. She was African American and this school district only has tiny percentage of African American students. Was there bullying? The schools here are overcrowded. IDK what the mom's reasons were but is that girl actually worse off? If you look at the standardized test results in this district for AA students, maybe not?
  10. I don't keep up with the local homeschool FB group so might be missing a lot of the discussion there but I've noticed that they rarely discuss any curricula that is discussed on this forum. I see lots of discussion about online options. The one curriculum that I see discussed there that is also discussed here is the Good and the Beautiful. I recently suggested Bravewriter to another homeschooling mom and she had never heard of it. She had also never heard of the Well Trained Mind. It's so strange to me that some homeschoolers have not heard of something like Bravewriter or the WTM. I'll admit that these kinds of discussions make me feel a little uncomfortable. These discussions about clueless new HSing mothers looking for something easy hit a little close to home for me. We're a non-traditional HSing family as I work. I rely on babysitters and a hybrid school that does enrichment but is essentially free babysitting for me. I take what we do very seriously but I know that I'm not doing things in the *right* way. I'm sure there are other HSing moms who look down on what we do. I think these moms looking for an easy way to do this feel like they don't have good choices. Many kids struggle in traditional schools for various reasons. The elementary schools here assign way too much homework and don't have enough playtime. In particular, the neighborhood moms with boys seem to talk a lot about how their sons get in trouble all of the time and are struggling with the work. Kids can be held back for not meeting standards. My daughter cried at least once a week when she was in Catholic school last year. We tried Montessori school during the summer and discovered that the teacher was a big yeller. There are not a lot good options out there and our family can afford private school tuition so we had more options than most families. RE the claims of "love" for curriculum, I think that's a social media thing. ISTM that every parent who comments on FB about their child's school, "loves" it. I think people without very strong opinions don't comment at all and there is a mother thing to convince yourself that where you send your kids is wonderful. My daughter's former Catholic school recently came up on our local FB group. All of the parents who commented "loved" the school and then they all liked each others' responses. I was the lone dissenter and wrote that the school was okay but had some problems. I admitted there were some good things too. No likes for my comments. Some of those parents who wrote glowing reviews for the school have kids who are friends with my daughter. Their kids complain to my daughter about the school. But the mom "loves" it. Schools are constantly discussed on the local FB group and parents always "love" whatever school is discussed, even if their kid is only in Kinder.
  11. True, but these things didn't just happen because the average American is impatient. IMHO, one of the reasons that we are unable to address these issues is that we approach it through a "personal responsibility" perspective. We are not all equally to blame for these problems. There has been a very long term concerted effort to bring about these effects. What we've seen over the last fifty or so years is a transfer of wealth from the people to the few (sorry if I'm getting political). Public utilities were privatized which is essentially transferring wealth of the citizens to a private entity. And now we see that these private entities do not act like a public entity because they are beholden to their stockholders. It's important to realize that this didn't just happen. Some people wanted this to happen because they personally benefited from it. I don't think things will improve until Americans begin to focus blame away from ourselves. Here in Arizona, we have plenty of sun. Why doesn't more of our power come from solar? Because we have to two large utility monopolies which use the power of the state to disincentivize homeowners from installing solar panels because it's not good for their bottom line. We had a ballot incentivize here last year to increase the state's renewable energy standard. Our attorney general re-worded the ballot initiative and then it failed. Many believe that the re-wording was intended to help it fail. These things don't happen. There's a lot of behind the scenes maneuvering to bring about the desired ends.
  12. I just bought this on Kindle. I haven't read it yet but I really like the author's podcasts. Parenting Forward
  13. I spent some time recently looking for progressive children's religious books. There's not much out there. I found this which has not been published yet. Holy Troublemakers
  14. Yes, that was me. It's complicated. My daughter is friends with these kids. People rely on us for things that need to get done. I have been involved in Sunday School for years. This is the first year that I have not taught or assisted in five years. FREEDOM!
  15. That's one of my concerns. I have some issues with church but I don't want my DD to hate it. I told DD that she needed to give it a few more chances. It might improve as the year goes on. Everything is still somewhat new.
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