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Everything posted by Wind-in-my-hair

  1. It seems to be the right time to begin first grade; my son just turned seven. I know that's late by many people's standards, but he has had decent phonics education, his printing is coming along great, and we've kept up with the basics in math. We revived our efforts to use Right Start B and it now feels like just the thing for us. And believe it or not, I really like the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching phonics and spelling, as confusing as it is to read about in Volume 1. I would like to follow an overall CM approach that is literature based and can be completed in under 2 hours. The problem is, finding literature has been tough. I have a very negative visceral reaction to some of the vintage books out there, and I dropped many of the AO Year 1 selections after trying them. I know the books are supposed to be enchanting, but I felt a lot of dissonance with them on my lap. That's the only way I can explain it. I'd like to have at least 10 books on various subjects to rotate through. I want to do a more global approach to cultures, history, and literature rather than a Western Judeo-Christian-oriented approach, which is a significant deviation from the classic CM roundup of literature. But I believe there are probably homeschoolers that have felt the same way. Can you recommend anything to me? Here is what I was looking at: Virginia Hamilton's books Books illustrated by the Dillons Story of Mankind Story of the World Holling C. Holling's books
  2. Paul's gospel doesn't figure into the UU's (very liberal) tradition, so I thought it odd that we would have dismissed something egalitarian in his message if there were one. I sort of suspect he needed to get his message across, and perhaps he relied on women in that capacity. Its a shame that they were denied agency in the growing church after what was probably a sincere and energetic ministry at the grassroots. Its sort of like the expectation that comes with revolutions or war efforts, where women do a lot of the same work as men, and then, back to the same pigeonhole as before. But, at the same time, I can't ignore when Christian women speak out against misogyny. I used to keep on top of breastfeeding-in-public laws and scandals, and I cannot ignore when Christian women refer to Christ being nursed by his human mother as a defense against being asked to leave the pew when they breastfeed their infants at church. That we can ignore the deep symbolism of a divine child being nourished by mother's milk, and regard the image of ordinary mothers doing that for their babies as somehow inappropriate, is messed up.
  3. This article really got me thinking some weeks ago. Feminism has a long history traced back to the 1800s, when most of its champions would have been Christians. But this article actually positions Paul as someone who promoted egalitarian values within the early Christian community. Its amazing how many faiths use the same Bible and get so many different interpretations. http://www.sojo.net/magazine/2009/08/empowered-god And I liked this article, too: http://www.sojo.net/blogs/2009/11/18/boys-are-warriors-and-girls-are-princesses-spiritual-gifts-are-not-divided-gender
  4. I have boys; I don't want them restricted by their gender any more than I would want a girl to be denied the sort of womanhood she chooses. What I do want for them is to be firm in their self-worth and flexible in their expectations of what sort of familial roles they should take on. I think that in this day and age, most families will still be some variation of the traditional family, and I think that even where there is religion at the center, there will still be more equality just by virtue of being a 21st century family. I see the male-headed family as still being important. Families have to organize themselves in some way that works, and history has shown us a dominant style of doing so. Its just that the system became arbitrary in its wider applications; when the modern era gave us fields that relied more on the individual and the use of one's mind, it didn't make sense to uphold strict gender roles that denied women the use of their talents, as well.
  5. Well I think its profound how we fail to see ourselves in the people we exploit. That's all I can say.
  6. My college friends were in exactly what you described. But the caregiver who looked after the child of the people I met on the beach was an empty nest-er, I believe. The going rate for YMCA childcare in my local community is about $20 per day per child, so perhaps she felt she didn't need to charge more than that? I wonder why the couple didn't offer her more if they could afford it, though. Rarely, you find someone who's more concerned about your kid than about making money. That's a blessing, and I'd be showering her with extra something if that were my child's caregiver.
  7. I feel like this is what gets a lot of people into those online schools that overcharge for the degree that spells out what they already could do. I hope if you decide to pursue a career or education you make it about something you love. As far as I know, real estate is still open to people who want to learn on the job after brief training in principles. Not everyone likes sales, though, but all the skills you mentioned would be great in that capacity. Some of my friends have become doulas, which means they are self-employed and also need all the skills you mentioned. Many women in my UU church are accountants: it seems to be another one with options for adult education and flexible work hours.
  8. So that's the caregiver criteria I've seen on Canada's immigration website. Pretty crappy to think about. One of my friends (I attended U of T for a year), Anglo Canadian, not an immigrant, was a part-time nanny from highschool all the way through her university years. She carried pictures around of the children she cared for. I admired the level of responsibility for such a young woman: I had only worked at Starbucks! Another states-side friend of mine nannied while she attended Amherst. Again, what a thing to do for a family. On the beach I met of family of two working parents, both engineers, with one child. They loved their caregiver: for just 20 bucks a day she takes their toddler shopping, spoils him in ways that are out of her own pocket, and cares for him out of her home, posting pictures on FB so the parents can see what he's up to from their desks. The thing about all the above women were that they were childless -- never had a child or had grown children -- but I cannot imagine asking someone to leave their children to come overseas and be my child's nanny. How weird. Does Canada have a policy that let's these families reunite in Canada, or is immigration going to leave them cold?
  9. Just look at the vitriol coming from this article, in the guise of a rational discussion: http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/30/longer-maternity-leave-not-so-great-for-women-after-all/ She is implying that the opportunity at the executive level in the US is equal to or better than European systems that strive to uphold universal opportunity. According to her argument our system is not broken if some people are rising to the top -- its the ceiling's more important than the floor view. That is a very common attitude in this country. Her book is a 3-star-er, with the most ratings being either 1s or 5s, on Amazon. Divisive and skewed rhetoric such as this does not get us anywhere. And I know this is an oldie, but Peggy O'Mara was/is my mama-hero. Here is a view I agree with wholeheartedly: http://daraluznetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Postpartum_Postpartum_Depression.pdf "We need a national policy to support families to successfully balance work and family" (p 3 para 3). How many on this forum enjoyed the days of Mothering magazine?
  10. I guess the impetus is that they are considered fixtures in the workplace. I mean, in insurance, you would look at the aggregate rather than the individual, so "all other things being equal" between a perfectly matched man and woman in a field doesn't matter; its the gender group as a whole that determines who is more of an asset than a liability. If women have barriers to keeping their jobs, that would naturally cost the company productivity. In medical insurance, pregnancy is considered a cost to be shouldered by women. They do not look at the man and look at the woman and say, okay, he's had 3 children and she's had three children, and as far as we know all things in their reproductive capacities and the rest of their health are equal, so we will charge them the same premium. No, the women of the pool bear the costs of everybody's fecundity.
  11. The article pointed out that despite getting parental leave, the tax code in Germany favors the 1 income family, and the lack of child care contradicts the promise to hold jobs for mothers. I think the author suspects that the German mothers are making choices based on cultural norms and should rethink their decision in light of what they could be missing. I often need that kind of reminder as I weigh the pros and cons of keeping my kids out of school. What we have here in American capitalism is a promise to moms that they can take off enough time to heal from the physical stress of birth -- I have heard of anywhere between 4 weeks to 12 weeks, with pay during that time being either a fringe benefit or coming out of sick pay and vacation. Regentrude suggests that with a parental leave policy it would be possible to see more women choose stay-at-home motherhood, at least for the months and years when the child is developing attachment, and not lose their jobs unless it is a choice they are making to leave the field. This may sound socialist, but it is not; it is legal protection and responsible workplace policy. It helps retain talent and diversity in the workforce while also promotes family values -- who would be opposed to seeing those kind of reforms? We don't have what Germany has -- a system that already sees it as the government's responsibility to provide long-term family leave, some of it paid, and that, as the article cited, even passed a law to create nurseries but hasn't acted to uphold it. I think her expectations as a European are what they ought to be, and I don't think those German mothers will be begging to have our system supplant theirs anytime soon.
  12. The poster I responded to had said that lack of day cares wasn't the problem, that it was in the culture of re-hiring caregivers (and I responded to clarify whether that was the US or Germany being referred to). A parental leave policy like regentrude explained is had in Germany would be a start, to ensure that parents have the means to bond with their new baby without risk to their job security, before we could even begin to wonder if better childcare options could be made available to working parents. I will agree with regentrude that the US's problem with its lack of parental leave policy is bigger than West Germany's culture of opting-out mothers, though I observe it wouldn't be effective to have a great parental leave system on the one hand and scarce options for childcare on the other. Five years with absolutely no contact with the field would be a deterrent. I think that is why the #2 article I had posted made the observation that even if a woman's income is entirely spent on childcare in her absence, the long-term payoff to staying in the field outweighs the expense. Having a career has immediate and compounding long-term benefits for the individual, so I can see why the writer of article #2 felt so strongly about her choice to hire a nanny and return to work after 6 months parental leave. It would be part of a responsible family leave policy to provide a means to stay connected to the workplace if the parent intends to return to the job after a certain amount of time. I think the 6-week unpaid maternity leave that most women get in this country is crap! If you want to parent longer than that -- and I would hope most compassionate mothers and fathers would, look at the article #2 author who stayed home for 6 months -- you'd have to quit your job and re-apply when you wanted to go back. That's a big hassle, and it sends a clear message that parenting cannot be reconciled with individual job security -- you need to be supported by a spouse who does not need to spend copious amounts of time with their infant. New dads shoulder an extra burden instead of getting to partake in parental leave also.
  13. I think it is important to see systems of power objectively, and try to see their practical or moral premises, and answer questions about their broader impact. Patriarchy as a system deserves a better investigation than I am giving it here. I am most interested in talking about sharing power as well as responsibility between partners in marriage, and all the ethical implications that that entails. It means calling out the problem that marriage is considered a union, but that the whole may also be broken into a head and a subordinate. Don't we tend to seek partners that are equal to us in the most important aspects? And don't we abandon inequality and absolve difference when we love somebody deeply? This question strikes a deep nerve in me. I am hoping for a resolution. The internal inequalities, as I would call them, are a little bit harder for me to swallow than the external ones -- demographic history that could be explained in efficient terms. Deep moral codes from millenia ago hold women as unequal to men, or more benevolently, as strictly different in assigned purpose or function. I can accept that family arrangements strive to fulfill needs -- all sorts of which might be more readily met in a traditional way. But I do not see inequality as a natural precursor, or a positive outcome, to how a family is formed.
  14. Are you talking about Germany or the US? -- just to be clear. I agree with all your points, except I do think that universal access to quality childcare is missing in the US. However, there would have to be a change in the hiring culture before we could expect that to change at all.
  15. (First bolded) Its hard for me to imagine that self-esteem can be divorced from decision-making. There seems to be always some level of personal interest in the outcomes of our own choices, even if its small. (second bolded) Of course a sous chef is an important helper to the chef, and indispensable in a busy kitchen. But does a wife need to be compared to a sous chef? In an arrangement such as marriage, is that really a fair comparison? In a sous chef's job, it is assumed that the chef could do all that work -- he is in possession of all the knowledge and training -- but he has a helper. But a marriage is usually founded on deep needs -- mutual gratification -- and love that takes more than words to understand. I cannot imagine any member of such a deep union being the helper to the primary, without some sort of emotional ramification. At the same time, no one can argue with your points on love and natural attraction, mutual respect, personal choice of family dynamics -- and the security of tradition. Families fulfill deep needs in the human psyche, and that is why I advocate for plurality and deeply respected equality. In patriarchy, looking at it from the outside again, it is believed that the family owes its existence to the male head, and that the family is his privilege and his responsibility to uphold. That view does not inherently contain abusive elements, but it is unjust if one takes a look from a societal perspective, because it denies that there can be any other way. It assigns power based on responsibility -- yet it freely ignores the large responsibilities assumed and benefits created by the domestic-bound partner. It also makes it difficult for non-traditional arrangements to work even on an individual basis, because in creating a broad fraternal security network it leaves other people out. Also, it looks at the male head's status in his work life as being the very justification for the family to exist -- that form of radical individualism we have in America. In reality, families are an important part of human well-being. The family can and should be regarded as supporting its provider(s) just as much as those people are supporting and upholding the family. In that case, there should be no disparity between the domestic and working roles and the people who assume them. Added: Our children will inevitably become part of families as they mature into adults, whether they have children or live as a couple, or form micro-social groups that function like families to create well-being for the individuals involved. So when I say "upholding the family" above please know I mean a very broad view of it.
  16. I think its important that you mentioned the uniqueness of US culture. Individualism would have had a lot to do with convincing people to embrace feminism at every stage, and it is also where arguments in favor of patriarchy come from. I often feel like patriarchy works here -- because so many people uphold it -- and families that it doesn't actually work for, for practical reasons (ideals aside), get blamed for not being hard-working, or having moral shortcomings. Personally, I feel that a lot of my moral worth is judged by my and partner's ability to uphold a certain standard of living, and that the ideal really is kind of an upper-middle class one: A mom that stays home while a father earns plenty of money; her career will fall to her again when the kids are a certain age, but its not essential to the family's income. At a certain level of income, it does not matter what your political or religious views are -- an ideal becomes tenable, and you can choose it or not. The first article pointed out that feminism made its earliest victories among upper-class people on the right -- they had the resources to provide home-based childcare.
  17. It may be a matter of how Americans and Canadians approached the question, what they thought the most appropriate answer should be.
  18. I think that the message of charity and forgiveness clashes with the view of Jesus as warrior liberator in his second coming. We are supposed to love our enemies -- until they are destroyed by supernatural forces. I also take issue with the human sacrifice as penance for human inequity - if taken literally. I imagine that because an execution of a well-loved person as Jesus would have been a terrible thing to face, his followers did not want to believe he died in vain. Story telling is a means of expressing our deepest emotions, longings, and ethereal experiences. The Hare Krishna community believes Jesus to have been a transfiguration of the god Rama/Krishna and blends elements of both Hindu and Christian themes. I think it is an interesting interpretation, and reminds me of how fluid and plastic the tenets of religious belief can be.
  19. 1. The first one describes feminism's complex bi-partisan history, its victories as well as defeats, very engagingly: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/11/16/lift-and-separate What do you think of the 1970s vetoed Continuity of Child Development Act? This author seems very passionate about its lost, potentially positive impact. I wonder what would have been the impact - would it have been beneficial to have the "vast moral authority" of the government to endorse the non-traditional family and make life easier for those families who are that way by necessity? 2. This one talks about the very high rate of stay-at-home motherhood in Germany compared to France and Sweden and asks why there are so few options in the social infrastructure for things like childcare in Germany: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/world/europe/24iht-letter24.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0 I know some people from this forum are from Europe. Is there anything you'd add to the information in the above article? 3. What do you all think of this statistic: "Americans are vastly more (52 percent) than Canadians (18 percent) to believe that 'The father of the family must be master in his own house'" (Statistic from Environics 2004 Social Values Survey, appearing in Canada and the United States: Differences that Count, 3rd Ed., Eds. Thomas and Torrey, 2008, p 47 para 2). I think it is interesting how America splits over gender issues, and how we compare to some other western countries. There is a lot to think about, to say the least, let alone to apply a particular point of view to the decision or necessity to homeschool one's children. But I think about these issues a lot as I decide whether hs-ing will work for us long-term.
  20. I had stumbled across these: http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/026317, the Story of Western Civilization series. They are designed for remedial readers, with comprehension questions following each reading. I thought about using these as read-aloud/ attention-to-detail training for the early years and then using it as oral reading exercise and sentence writing: Since we are doing Spalding I thought these might fill a niche in simple reading and writing exercise, but I also like the very minimalist, highlights-only approach to covering history. It would be necessary to flesh them out with a variety of readings from more literary sources, such as Story of Mankind or CHOW or Guerber's books, I think. Maybe try the resource Ancient Science, which is recommended for the logic stage in WTM. http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?id=023655. The projects are divided up by civilization.
  21. http://news.utoronto.ca/meet-ta-named-forbes-30-under-30-list ar-students#?utm_source=UofTHome&utm_medium=WebsiteBanner&utm_content=engRecordNoFemale This was the university I spent a year of my life struggling in its philosophy program! I imagine its engineering program is extremely rigorous. When I lived there the culture was very co-ed, inclusive, progressive.
  22. I have thought about just enrolling my own children in school and enrolling myself in college. "Wouldn't it be healthy to show them my own drive, instead of push and prod at theirs," I often wonder. And its likely to happen, as I am actually liking the idea and planning my life accordingly.
  23. I actually wrote a perfect love letter to my 7-year-old son, yesterday. I left it on his bed beside his winter clothes, and sent him up to get dressed after he had breakfast. It read: "Dress warmly because we are going SLEDDING today. Love, Mom." And we went sledding for 2 hours while Dad and little bro snuggled at home. :thumbup:
  24. Did your doctor work with you closely to create that kind of schedule? I would like to know more about how I might follow a reasonable program that minimizes worry but gets the job done. Can you recommend any books or sources that helped you create a custom vax schedule?
  25. We stopped drinking so much coffee and started trying a lot of new tea. We are much more mellow and focused in the mornings, no longer temperamental from the caffeine highs and lows. My son didn't want to go over his Spalding phonogram flashcards with me, so I bribed him with the promise to make him some paper airplanes if he could get through at least 10 or so. He agreed, and then, I had the idea of writing the phonograms he struggled most with on the paper airplanes I made him. He was so excited that he kept taking out the flashcards and finding phonograms that he wanted me to write on new paper planes, and in extreme giddiness we threw them all around and called out the phonogram sounds.
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