• "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" --Mary Oliver

  • Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the little voice inside you the yells, "can't!" But you don't listen; you just push harder and then you hear the voice whisper "can" and you realize the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.
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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Comments

All the girls were Mary and all the boys Joseph. LOL That is pretty funny, yet weird at the same time. I also grew up in a very strict Irish Catholic home. We were a small family by the Churches standards, only 5 children. However I grew up in a more affluent area of the country in Southern California and so most large families either had both parents working or a dad with a high paying job. I did know the few familes with the alcoholic Dad or low-paying blue collar dad and it was rough for them.

I'm certain your experiences in Applachia had an enormous influence on your opinion as it well should. I am a foster parent and have had so many little ones come through my home and often before their 1st birthday Mom is pregnant again, with no intention of getting her act together and it's by yeta different dad and blah blah blah.

As much as I struggle with the use of birth control I often wish Social Services had a big Arch that these people had to walk through and it sterilized them. I mean after watching your 9th infant go through drug withdrawal, knowing you, Mommy caused their misesy why would you not want to stop having children. The problem is Foster-Mom is the one that walks the screaming baby, swaddles the sensory over loaded infant, cleans up the vomit from the reflux and doles out the meds. Mommy might show up once a week to coo over baby. Yes, my experiences have colored my opinion as well. I understand your stance a little better now. I have 8 little people living in my home, 3 sets of sibs and a single where Mommy just loved drugs more than she loved baby. They are amazing children, I can not imagine my life without one of them.

I can honestly say I am really glad we are exchanging ideas Johanna. Not snarking at one another but listening, learning. I know I will think before jumping to conclusions before someone with a differing lifestyle and opinion speaks. I hope some of us have shown that not all large families are over-breeding morons, that homeschooling can be done intelligently and thoughfully. Thank you for your willingness to share Johanna and I respect hte fact that you have not respond with profanity, when so many have, that speaks of your intelligence. Thank you Amy for opening this up and letting this discussion happen. I have learned much.

I rushed in to judge people that I actually enjoy talking with, for that I apologize.

Johanna,
Thank you for the GREAT laugh! :) I choked on my water and nearly fried my computer over the Mary and Joseph thing! Yes, some people are kinda extreme! The whole Mary thing reminded me of some of these Moms that live around here. OK, this won't sound very Christian (might even sound snarky), but I am human...and this just drives me nuts!! We call them the cul-de-sac moms...SUV driving, same haircut and haircolor, fingernails and toenails painted in designs, constantly running around gossiping instead of watching their children, tan in the middle of winter, perfectly dressed with all the accessories, stepford cul-de-sac moms. This is how intros go with a new cul-de-sac mom, "I live on a cul-de-sac off of such and such drive." "Ohhhh really, I live close by on a cul-de-sac off of this lane." UGH!!! And every one of their girls is named, Mary Claire, Mary Katherine, Mary Susannah...sweet Mary, mother of God, give me a break! (and I am not even Catholic) They dress their girls (most are 8 ys old or under) in pretty little smocked dresses with pretty bows in their hair to get dirty at the t-ball field, and they dress their boys in the most uncomfortable sissy looking bubble suits. We aren't talking about baby boys either...no self-respecting 6 yr old boy should be dressed like that! These cul-de-sac moms are mothers of 3 or less.

I promise you, one day I was tired, and if I heard one more stepford cul-de-sac mom call Mary "fill-in-the-blank" at the top of her lungs while trying to sound sweet, I would have gone postal!!! GRRRRR!!! C'mon...high heels in the grass...yanno they will never get past t-ball when they look like that! We ball moms are a serious bunch! LOL Ok, now you know one of my biggest pet peeves!

As for our large family, I want my children to be children, and I make sure they get plenty of play time! I also want my children to know how to work...and much like Nicole, our chores never take more than 1 hour per day. Many hands makes the work light! When it comes to cooking, they just like to help, we don't require it. Maybe we are the exception, and not the norm when it comes to large families...I don't think so, but maybe! My Mom was the oldest of five, and she felt like she was more of a mom than a sister to her siblings, and so she was WAYYYYY different with us than her mother was with her. She reminded me for years not to take away their childhood, no matter if I had 1 or 100. I would say my Mother has the same love/hate relationship about large families that you do!

BTW, we wear pants, jeans, shorts...we save dresses for Sunday or special occasions, and yes...we "girls" cut our hair, although it isn't short...I would say shoulder length, maybe a little longer. No 80's hairstyle and 70's clothing for us...not that there is anything wrong with that. I think the Duggars have some good things going on in their family, but we are different, and have to do what is right for us. We are the Boyds, not the Duggars. We use a very literature rich approach to homeschooling...kind of a mix between classical and Charlotte Mason. Much like their parents, my children are very bright, self motivated, and just blessings to us! :)

blestwith10, one of your posts touched me very much...it brought tears to my eyes! What a blessing you must be to those children!

Ok, time to go bathe a baby, read her a story, and rock her to sleep. Sweet dreams to all!

I guess there are some people that enjoy beng crude. Sounds like your happy being childless blestwith0. I always say if you don't want children, don't have em'. Good choice for you.

I've always felt that people who use crude language and make disgusting jokes are likely pretty uneducated and have not mastered the English language well enough to make a clear, concise point without vulgarity.

Reply to: johanna@hotmail.com

Huh, no... --Not that there's anything wrong with that. --

I take hormones, orally. You know... "the pill"?

Peace be with you.

I guess then I shouldn't start a discussion on early miscarriages caused by the use of the Pill... right?

Blessings,
Nicole

Ha!

Another blog, another day.

I did NOT write the HAHAHA post. Somebody is using my name. I don't make those kinds of remarks, as those of you who have actually read my posts will realize. There's a clone here and whoever you are, you're a real piece of work.

No worries, Johanna.

I think it's probably pretty obvious to everyone. --At least it was to me. That's why I replied to "johanna@hotmail.com".

Traci: sounds like you're in one of those neighborhoods where all the Catholics attend Mass at Our Lady Of The Cadillacs.

I've got lots of stories about big families, after having grown up in one, lived among them, taught them, and in one way or another, interacted with them for the past many years. There was a family named G__ who lived in town. The parents were remarkably fertile and the children were ALL girls-- all 12 of them! They were alike as peas and they all had one eye that turned inward, and the same faded blonde hair. No matter what grade I taught when I was teaching in this particular village, there was one of those G__ kids staring at me. I never knew which eye was watching me. The family was not well off, but the children were not neglected; they were generally clean and seemed happy, unlike some of my students who actually cried when they had to go home from school. I used to feel so sorry for the poor little tots.

Anyway, the father of this group apparently longed for a boy, because every single one of those girls had boys' names with a "lene" or "ette" after it, as in: Joette, Jolene, Claudette, Charlene, Francene,and so on.

Then there was the mother of 14 (for whom I babysat) who tied her babies by the foot in their cribs until they were three years old. The day they were untied was quite a milestone for those kids. Today she'd be in prison; in that time and place, nobody even noticed except me, and as I was a kid myself, nobody paid any attention to me when I talked about it.

I could go on forever...

Okay, so I went and looked at comments and IP addresses and turns out that somoene who was earlier posting as 'critic' has been posting under a variety of different names and being pretty inflammatory- this person also posted as "Blogstander", "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO" and even as Johanna, etc. I deleted a bunch of posts by this person and banned their IP address, so hopefully it will stop. I apologize for not catching this earlier. It is obvious this person was just trying to make trouble and be obnoxious.

Johanna, I'm sorry, I know it's really not funny but your story about the wall-eyed family cracked me up. I went to Catholic school for years and years and knew those fanily with like 6 or 8 kids who the teachers all dreaded teaching the next sibling.

I am curious to get more info on homeschooling. I'm having alot of frustration with our public school system. I looked into the Lutheran school down the street and I just got a funny feeling about the place- it seemed very cold and rigid and that doesn't mesh with my idea of the ideal environment for nurturing kids. I'm currently looking into Montessori school, particularly because I have this crazy idea in my head that when my girls hit junior high/high school we'red going to pack up the family and move either to a ranch in the middle of nowhere or start trekking around the world to get a 'hands-on' education. I don't believe hornonal teenagers are best served by being cooped up with one another and all the drama that goes on in high school. I'd rather have them spend 4 years laying on the beach somewhere and reading books than spend four years getting involved in all their friends drama and angst. Maybe this is unrealistic and over protective... anyway, the Montessori school in our area goes to 8th grade and then has a high-school at-home schooling program that also employs a sort of intership program.

I was relatively *good* kid in high school- I got A's, I rode horses, was president of drama club, sang in choir, played the violin and softball. I still managed to manufacture alot of grief for myself, went through a suicidal period, went through an eating disorder. And I feel like I did well compared to what alot of my friends and peers were going through. I drank a little but didn't do drugs, didn't have sex. Having two girls- I am TERRIFIED of that period- partky because I know how totally isolated and lonely I felt during that time. I never want my kids to feel that.

At the same time, I have known a few homeschooling families and somne of the kids seem so maladjusted- i.e. won't look an adult in the eye when talking to them or acting very immature. It's hard to say what to ascribe to the individual, the parents or the lack of socialzation? Another little girl I know has been kept at home and she is 6 years old and has the most smart, sassy and adult mouth on her because she *thinks* she is a little adult because she has no peer interaction- course, she is an only child. Anyhow, I'd like to hear from people what their experiences with homeschooling has been. What is the time commitment? What about sports and activities? Is mom going to go crazy trying to be mom and teacher? Do dads help out?

Johanna, you would have thought with all the Mary-Somethings that all those families were Catholic...but they weren't!!!! LOL They need to do a study on this area and find out why so many of those women are stealing their friend's baby names! :)

The 12 G.... girls story with the turned eye...that story kinda creeped me out! Made me envision a scary movie!!! LOL

But now, the babies tied to the crib leg story, from what I understand from my husbands grandmother that was very common back then for both large and small families. She told me that they would put their dining-room table leg on a toddlers nightgown to keep them still! Very odd!!!!

Amy, as for homeschooling, different states have different laws and standards, so I won't even try to touch that, but there is a world of curriculum for homeschoolers out there! Montessori would be a great idea...but research it before you go look at a school, and pick a great one! The age you are talking about starting, for high school, they could really handle their own education, and you would really just be there to help when needed.

As for us, we spend about 4 hours a day on school work...maybe a little more if we have projects going for the history, science, or art fair. Now this is a straight 4 hours...get done with one thing, move on to something else. There isn't the chaos that goes along with having 20+ students, so we get done faster. No homework at night either. My children get involved in city league sports, church league sports, and then we have some homeschool sports available in our area. We have Co-op classes every Friday, where homeschool moms, and a few dads, get together and teach classes to the kids. We have a Robotics class taught by an Engineer mom, Biology and Advanced Biology, both with lab, taught by a Biologist mom, PE taught by a former PE teacher mom, band taught by a former band director dad, and the list goes on. We also have homeschool field trips, roller skating day, ice skating days, workshops, and more. Trust me, they get socialization and it isn't just with other homeschoolers!

No, you won't go crazy....maybe for the first month or two until you get used to it...and it is mandatory for homeschoolers, public schoolers, and all-both kids and moms/teachers, to go crazy in the spring!!! LOL Yes, I get Dad to help. If he is home, he gets put to work! Mostly my husband helps them work on projects, scout stuff, etc. He is also the one that runs them around (for stuff like scouts, sports, etc.) if we aren't doubled up that day. I make sure to get some time alone...called my mental health moment! LOL

Do a search on homeschooling methods...there are plenty of them to choose from, and find what would be a fit for your family. Charlotte Mason and Classical are very literature rich. At www.sonlight.com you will find a literature based curriculum. They are Christian, but most of their books are not. You can pick out whatever isn't a good fit for you and not do it. We do what fits for us, and don't worry about the rest...kinda like a public school teacher not finishing the whole textbook. I also like Beautiful Feet Books, www.bfbooks.com. We use Story of The World Volumes 1-4 for world history. They have the stories on CD, and an activity book that gives us projects. We use Apologia for science, and there are plenty of activities to do in those books. Between the literature and the hands-on projects, my children are learning ALOT! I would recommend getting some catalogs and start looking them over. Rainbow Resource has the thickest catalog I have ever seen and the best prices. But really search online to see what the curriculums are like. If you have any questions, just ask, I will answer them if I can! :)

OK, this is long enough, and it is the middle of the night, so I guess I should go back to bed. Sweet dreams again!

Just an FYI: the reason Michelle and Jim Bob had to find a new doctor is b/c a Certfied Nurse Midwife delivered their #15 child and a CNM is not legally allowed to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) in Arkansas.

Another FYI: Through many studies, most homeschooled children have been found to be AHEAD of public schooled students academically. People always bring up the socialization aspect. For one thing, school is about getting an education not socializing. How many of you were reprimanded by your teachers in school with "We are not here to socialize, we're here to learn." For another thing, socializing does not have to happen at school. It can happen outside the school, at the home school co op, at church, at many activities. Just b/c one is with one's parents that does not mean you can't socialize. Children need supervision, more supervision than they get in this day and age. Why in the world would I choose to let my innocent daughters go to a place where someone will tell them that the things their parents tell them are not true, that they may not speak to their Lord and Saviour at school, that they may not share His love with others at school. Where they may get beaten up, teased, bullied, offered drugs, propostioned by boys/girls for oral sex and worse, taught that 'safe sex' with a 'committed partner' is the way to go. NO> my job as a parent is to protect and guide my beautiful children into adulthood, and equip them with the faculties to make the right decisions,according to the bible. Do some research (not calling your daughter or her husband, but ACTUAL studies) on homeschooled students. colleges do accept them, they like homeschooled students. Ivy League schools do accept homeschooled students, they just have to meet the criteria that every other student has to meet. In fact there is a book about a family named Colfax that has 3 sons that were all accepted into Ivy League schools that were homeschooled from day 1 all the way through to graduating from high school.

It is no one's business how many children a couple has. These people support themselves (donations accepted, well of course they were. would you turn down brand new furniture or a vacation if someone offered it to you?), have plenty of money and probably spend more time with their children than most of you. Michelle Duggar is at home with her children, and so is Jim Bob most of the time. Any parent can homeschool their child if they work at it. There are tons of correspondence schools that spell everything out step by step, give the teachers's manuals with the answers, etc. and ones that have DVD teachers, satellite teachers, online schools, etc. They offer testing, and a diploma that are all accepted by the states. It is a parent's right to decide how their child should be educated. It is a parent's right to decide how that child should be raised (barring physical abuse of course, and I'm talking true abuse, like tortuos abuse, not a simple spanking or making the child obey you) and where they should go and what they should watch or do.


The Duggars are doing their best to raise happy productive Godly children. Oh and by the way someone mentioned that all the girls wanted to be stay at home moms. That is not true. On the DHC website it is listed what each child wants to be when they grow up. One girl said a missionary, one said a midwife, and I cannot remember the other two. But even if they did want to be 'just' a mom, why is that a terrible thing? They want to stay home with their child, oh dear, that is just terrible, hmmm? And to the person who said Michelle should find something 'more productive' to do with her life? Well, that statement is so ignorant I feel sorry for you. There is no more important job than being a good parent and raising happy Godly children.
SP

I have no problem whatsoever with home schooling IF (and that's a big IF) it's done correctly. As a former teacher, naturally I came across home schooled children who arrived in my class. Admittedly this was years ago, but homeschooling is not really new. I sent my children to public schools, which incidentally were not dens of drugs, crime, or other such lurid environments as SP's post paints them. Though I have graduate degrees myself and have been a teacher, I do not feel as qualified to teach them, especially in high school, as people who have taken 20 graduate hours of education and a master's degree in their academic specialty.

My three had a nice time in high school, did very well, got into Ivy League colleges, and the public high school was safe, clean, and reasonably well run, although I did have a few complaints about it. However, most of these involved the sports activities, not the academics.

I agree with the socializing; there are other venues for socializing than schools, and far too much socializing is done in school. I'm also solidly for dress codes.

Montessori is very good if the child's personality is compatible with it. Some of the more timid children do not react positively to being pushed as fast as Montessory sometimes pushes them.

But I'm most positively NOT for homeschooling children from religious texts. The idea of public education is to teach children facts, not beliefs, and all children MUST be taught in public or certified private schools, OR by qualified homeschoolers from state-approved materials.

It is NOT the function of the school system to interpret what "godly" might mean to millions of different individuals in the state, and not the business of the state to educate "godly" children. Frankly, most of us have had a gut full of watching another religion's "godly" children blow other people to atoms to prove how religious they are and to gain paradise.

There being no debate about what calculus might mean, or geography, or grammar, that is what public schools teach. If you're one of those persons who believes your children will be irredeemably harmed by learning that dinosaurs existed and became extinct millions of years before human beings walked the earth, then I feel for you. You aren't doing your child any favors keeping scientific facts and theories from them.

As for it being better for children that parents remain home with their children, that is a generality that is so broad that it can't possibly be true. Some people are lousy parents and some are good parents, and that is not a function of staying home or not staying home.

Johanna said,

"But I'm most positively NOT for homeschooling children from religious texts. The idea of public education is to teach children facts, not beliefs, and all children MUST be taught in public or certified private schools, OR by qualified homeschoolers from state-approved materials."


Johanna that is why we live in this country, what our fore fathers died for. Religious freedom. The state does not know what is best for each individual child. There are so many varied curriculums out there that to say a failing institution like our Public Schools or our individual states should dictate what and how we teach our children is a huge infringement on our freedom. I have the right to teach my faith to my children. You have the right to teach your children any way you deem best. They do not have to mesh, but we can not step on one anothers rights.

Perhaps I mis-interpreted your point, but I've got 2-2nd graders,2-1st graders and a Kindergartener who are thriving. I do use mostly religious text books. Then again I do not use a lot of text books,per se, but we read what are called living books. No baby books, or the 'Matt, sat on a cat' kind of books. Nope it's the Little House Series, Where the Red Fern Grows, Teasure Island etc. One of my twins is reading Tom Sawyer. My other twin has a book on Large Cats from the Library and is fascinated by it. I keep getting these "Mom did you know..."about Cheetahs, Lions etc on what they eat etc. This is the same little boy who at 8 memorized all the bones of the human body, because he wanted to. My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE to learn. They are actively seeking information even when I am not teaching them. Public School kills that in a child, as does television. Oh they are enthusiastic in K thru 2 but by 3rd you start getting the UGH and I hate school etc.

Are you aware that the Public School system was put together by the Captains of Industry? Rockefeller, Dupont, Carnegie etc. They sent John Dewey (Dewey Decimal System) on a mission to Europe to study the state run schools over there. They really wanted to contain this huge immigrant population that was flooding the U.S. Dewey's report was that it is everything they dreamed it would be. It kept the people educated enough, but not too much, made them good little citizens and soldiers and trained them to rarely think for themselves, believing they always needed a 'teacher' before trying anything. A select few would rise to the top, not because they were necessarily more intelligent, but they figured out what each teacher wanted. (BTW I was that kind of student. By College I had it down to a science. What I learned I can't tell you, but I got straight A's.) Ahh this was a dream it would keep those pesky immigrants in line and with minimal uprisings. So it was done and with very little change in structure, but an even more dumbing down of content, thus we have today's state run Public School. They DO NOT get to pick my curriculum for me NO WAY!

A funny thing about the PS system and immigrants. These poor, uneducated immigrants were so disgusted with what they were being offered that the Catholic immigrants, Irish, Italian,and Eastern Europeans began Parochial schools and started shipping over Nuns to teach. Of course they were taught in a more classical method (The Trivium)and that did not jive with the big shots. Early Parochial Schools had as much persecution as early modern homeschoolers did or more. Those state run schools do not want any competition.

You mentioned your children were sent to Public School. I would just venture to guess it was in a pretty good neighborhood and most of the teachers were held to a higher standard and parents were by and large involved in their child's education. Where you live makes a HUGE difference in Public Schools. I live in a very rural section of the Pacific Northwest. The local School District is very small. We have 2 Elementariy Schools and 1 Jr. High and one High School. Beyond the few working farms out here and a few commuters this is a very, very poverty stricken area. I saw kids come into the grade school, filthy dirty, hair matted to their heads, hungry. Not unlike your expereinces in Applachia. What is different is that there is a huge Meth problem among the rural poor out here. A quick buck with little work. Our schools are a mess. My children do not need to be in them. This District has a hard time retainng good teachers and so they take what they can get. i.e. those who do not have their contract renewed in the larger Urban and Suburban districts.


If I let the state dictate how I taught we indeed would be reading the Matt sat on a cat and Dr. Suess and after K it's time to get past those.
Most secular texts are so dumbed down it's ridiculous. The beauty of homeschooling is that each child can learn at their own pace. ALL of children read at least 1 grade level ahead. I suspect the twins read at least 3 grade levels ahead.

So no the state does not get to tell me how to teach, or what to read, nor will they keep God out of MY classroom or home.

Amy
Some good authors to look at while pondering Homeschooling are

John Holt-A Massachussets Teacher who received State Teacher of The Year several years running. He desperately tried to better the Public School system from within and gave up realizing it was impossible. His books are Teaching Your Own, How Children Learn, Why Childen Fail.

John Taylor Gatto. He received the same awards fro NY state that John Holt got from Mass. I love his book 'A Different Kind of Teacher' Solving The Crisis In American Schools.

Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore-Anything by them.

Diana Waring

Karen Andreola-Pocketfull of Pinecones. One of my favorite.

Charlotte Mason- A whole curriculum is based on her teaching theories.


Johanna Home Schooling can and should be such a rich, full educational experience. The Public School can not begin to touch the breadth and depth of a good Homeschool education.

For what it is worth, every state does indeed have basic requirements. They vary from State to state. Within that we are givin freedom to teach what we want.

Johanna, you said,

"The idea of public education is to teach children facts, not beliefs, and all children MUST be taught in public or certified private schools, OR by qualified homeschoolers from state-approved materials."

This is precisely why many of us teach our children at home.

First, tho, the schools that I am familiar with here on the west coast, are not primarily concerned with teaching "facts", tho in large part they do teach "facts". They are also very much about teaching ideas. Which is not a bad thing in my book, but if certain ideas are going to be taught, I would prefer to be the one to teach my children those ideas.

Primarily, most (not all, but most) homeschooling parents want to teach their children to *think* independently and to love learning and to know how to access and use resources. Yes, we teach facts as well. And yes, we introduce ideas outside of our belief system to our children.

But the primary concerns in educating a chlld TO ME and to many other homeschooling parents are the three things I listed above.

I believe that if you are a good teacher and you have children who are willing and excited to learn, you can use any text or no text and still have an excellent education, test high on the SATS, and attend a university, successfully getting your degree. I believe this because...well, it's been done.

Amy, about the high school thing and being overprotective:

Overprotective gets as much bad rap as the whole socialization thing.

The deal is, what should kids be doing during their high school years? I think they should either be actively learning with an eye toward a higher degree or they should be working.

Those hormones you mention cause enough trouble. The kids don't need any encouragement from other kids who are having the same hormonal challenges. How frustrating that is!

Instead, provide the kids with the opportunity to really do something important. Working at this age can be so good for a young person. Intense studying can be excellent. These are things where you can really sink your mind into being productive.

High School has long seemed to be a glorified babysitter for people with children over 13. They do provide sports and some clubs and music...that's nice. But in between all that is so much free time to just kind of hang out and share dysfuntions and be disgruntled at the world as a group.

Basically, we as taxpayers are paying a huge group of people to babysit our teens until they get old enough to move on to college or start working full time.

Ridiculous!

I've seen some non-homeschooling families throw up their hands in frustration at the whole middle school-high school thing. They had their child take the GED as soon as the child was old enough (16 here), then the child moved on to community college, and finished up their two years while their former classmates were working on their junior and senior years.

When the classmates graduated, the "drop outs" were moving on to finish their degrees at various universities.

There are a lot of options aside from homeschooling. But I believe homeschooling is one of the better choices.Especially at about 5th grade and beyond.

I know this will probably come up, so I'll just say it now. A person can learn to be an excellent teacher even if they only have their high school diploma. If they start teaching their children at grade school level, they have many years to "learn" to be an excellent teacher...the same way I did. I learned by going to college, but the things I learned best were things I learned while actually being in the classroom and while talking and listening to long-time teachers...especially the master teachers.

The rest of my college classes were merely theory. I'm not sure theory is necessary to make a good teacher.

If a mom who has complete 12th grade wants to homeschool her kids, I believe she can do just as good a job as I...if not better. Motivation to learn is the key for both homeschooled kids and homeschooling moms.


:::::APPLAUSE::::: from the homeschooling peanut gallery!

I have been saying for years that the public school system trains students to be employees not employers. Alabama is in the bottom 10 of 50 states when it comes to education...who wants that for their children?!?!?

You can read most of the Charlotte Mason series online at: http://amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html

Ambleside Online is a homeschooling curriculum free online. Many of the books are available free online, or you might want to buy them. http://amblesideonline.org/

I agree with blestwith10 on her recommendations for reading on homeschooling. I love the Moores!!!

And, I will make a more controversial statement of what I think about why homeschooling is not more regulated: If the state/public school system were to regulate homeschooling, then they would have to live up to the same standard, and they can't!

I just refuse to put my children into a failing system, and I am not willing to put my time, money, and effort into beating a dead horse!

Both my husband and I went to public school, and I went to some supposedly really good schools, but there were bad teachers. I have friends with children in public school, and many of them are complaining about teachers, cost (why do we have to buy supplies, don't our tax dollars cover that?), class size, new and silly rules (like, if your child is sick for 1 day, you must have a doctors excuse, or you will have to go to a high-risk class...this is for the parents!!!), etc. On top of that, teachers were pushing their religious, political, and sexual views on students! Not ok with most of the people I know!

Johanna, all this said, I am not attacking your children's education. I am sure they received a great education...but that isn't a guarantee that the rest of the country is in the same boat. At least in our school, we have a great teacher that loves her students! LOL

One of the main reasons we choose to homeschool is FREEDOM. Freedom from so-called "facts" taught in the schools, freedom of believing whatever world view we desire, and freedom from sitting at a desk 8 hours per day with other children the same age.

My children are free. Free to play, laugh, hang upside down from the couch reading great books, free to jump ahead whenever what they're working out grows stale, free to interact and love their siblings, free to study whatever their hearts desire and focus on where their "bents" lie... I could go on and on.

Socialization is the biggest concern of those who oppose homeschooling, and the least concern of those who actually see homeschooling in action in their homes.

Where else in society do you only socialize with those of the same age/ class? No where.

I'd venture to say that 99.9% of homeschooling parents do it because they care, not because they're lazy. My word, why would they do that when they could shove their children off to the schools and eat bon-bons in a clean house all day?

I enjoyed reading the responses to my latest post. Homeschooling, done correctly, can have advantages over poor public schools, no doubt about it. And that there are really poor public schools is undeniable.

But every good parent, as I have said several times before, is a homeschooling parent. My kids had plenty of time to curl up on the sofa with classic books, watch good films, listen to good music, and they also went to public schools. They had plenty of "extras" like international travel along with visits to local historic sites, museums, and so on. Yes, we lived in "good" neighborhoods, but I taught in schools that were not in good neighborhoods by any stretch. However, I've been out of that profession for many years now and it may be that there is more deterioration than I'd like to think.

But conversely, I would wager that few home schooling parents are equipped to teach older children from junior high school or middle school onward. Have you seen the public school science curriculum recently for seventh grade? It seems to me that it would take a person with an MS in some hard science discipline even to contemplate teaching it.

The more that intelligent, devoted parents retreat from public schools, the worse they will become. It began with the "white flight" in the 60s and 70s when busing came in as an experiment in social engineering. Neighborhood schools evaporated, and now children are trucked to vast buildings containing over 1000 children and their teachers and of course the administration.

OF course, when you have 300 million people in the country, most of them now in large cities, perhaps it would have happened anyway without the busing experiments of earlier decades.

Two of my grandchildren live in the UK, which has an entirely different kind of educational system. Small children there go to local schools to which they can walk, just as I did as a child, and as my children did. The UK's population is almost completely urban. Young children are socialized there far better than they are here, no two ways about it. We could learn a lot from their practices, and should not be too proud to admit that we do have things to learn still.

But then comes the Cambridge exam and the great winnowing-out at age eleven, which few of us would want to see applied here as it does not accommodate late bloomers at all. In theory at least, and in former practice, our secondary educational system is/was actually better than theirs in my view.

Yes, some of this nation's public schools are miserable; many more are good, but could be better, and some are excellent. Unfortunately it does indeed depend on what state you live in, and what neighborhood you have as a home address. That's wrong, but until more people become responsible about child raising, I fail to see how this imbalance can be redressed.

PS-- I went to public schools and was an employer for a period in my life. My son is an employer, also with a public school background.

Public schools in the USA are intended to make good citizens and to give children the education they need to go on at age 17 for whatever additional training or education they choose.

Since nearly all people in a capitalistic system are employees, then preparing them for that life is hardly irrational, although that is not the function of public education. Education is aimed at informing the mind-- that is, imparting the knowledge of known things, for the greater good of society. It is a priceless commodity, but easily becomes a plaything in the hands of politicians, religious leaders, and any person with an agenda, whether religious, commercial, or political.

I do have to say Johanna that I indeed have met irresponsible Homeschoolers. They are not that way b/c they are homeschooling, they would be that way no matter how their children were educated. There are indeed irresponsible parents. In our district the percentage of parents who show up for Conferences is 20% . That to me is inexcusable. The Public School has become a vast dumping ground for the children of irresponsible parents. Those who would not commit to Homeschooling and do what it takes or don't want to pay for their child's education depend on the PS. Yes, there are awesome parents sending their kids to PS. A few good PS's still remain, however, most carring folks see the decay of the system and choose another option. 2 million children are currently being homeschooled, not sure how many are in Charter and Private schools, but from what I understand the numbers are rapidly growing.

Parents who want to give their kids a leg up in this society are realizing in 2006 that the PS is likely not the answer.

My father was a teacher, then a Principal, then a Superintendent of a large So. Cal District. He is apalled at how much the PS system has decayed and how poorly trained most young teachers are now days.

My 2 oldest children were not Homeschooled. I sent them through Parochial school through High School. My son attended a Catholic College in Montana and is now at the U. of Minn getting his graduate degree. It was a lot of hard work putting them through, until they were in high school I was a single Mom. I just knew the best thing i could give them, besides my faith in God was an excellent education.

I really believe until the PS system begins to embrace other forms and styles of learning and restructures itself, there is no hope for it. Then what do you do with all the behavior problems. I mean we all had that 1 kid in our class growing up, but now each class has a dozen. How todays teachers even teach is a mistery to me.

Oh and as for Science and Math in upper grades. Depending on where you live most schools are open to homeschoolers taking a class or 2. Also, there are many good correspondence courses. In Homeschool co-ops there are Moms and Dads who have taught Science and Math professionaly and often open their homes to a few other children for class. We homeschoolers are creative if nothing else! Just because I homeschool, does not mean I am my children's only teacher. I am their PRIMARY teacher, but I am a good delegater as well.LOL


Time to run. Todays science is planting tomato and flower seeds and documenting their lifecycle as they grow. Recess is over!

Excellent points in your last two posts, Johanna.

Two things I want to comment on:

1. I agree that the public school system is failing and that the more responsible families leave that system, the less chance it has of recovering. However, I'm not comfortable submitting my children to the poor system in the hopes that at some point it will recover. Instead I do what people have done for centuries...If a system is failing, leave it behind to die and create a better system or adopt a better system.

2. Yes, employees are needed. But as parents, we all hope that each of our children will be employers or if employees, then employees of high skill. If we have a choice to raise our children to be blue collar workers, white collar workers, or employers, of course our desire will be that our children reach as high as they personally can.

To subject the children to a system that appears to have as their goal to create merely employees is to mirror a sort of communism or...probably more accurately...and aparthied South Africa.

I have children who range from very bright to quite slow. I want each of them to acquire the skills and knowledge that will best enable them as individuals to have as many choices as they can.

I do not believe that any system set up in America cares more about this than their own mother. I also do not believe that there are many gov't run educational systems that offer this at the level that I can at this time.

I do have to admit that I would love a science lab that most high schools boast of. But I can certainly prepare my children for those labs, and then they can participate in the labs at a community college level when they finish their pre- work here at home. There are many solutions to my not having the funding that the gov't schools have.

No matter how you lay it out, responsible and enthusiastic and caring parents will always be able to give a better education to their children than a money-hungry failing gov't school system.

BTW, I grew up in California. My first years of public school were pretty wonderful. I wish my children could have the same at a gov't school nowadays. But even way back then, the middle schools and high schools (at least in CA) were beginning to fail their students. My parents, without even trying, could have done a better job. It would have been better for me to spend those 6 years reading everything I could get my hands on (which I would have adored doing) than to spend my time in (80%) useless classes, trying to avoid the girls who beat people up and suffering all the indignities that children could inflict on each other when there's nothing else more constructive to do.

My high school years weren't hell. They were average. I saw (and have since heard of) true hell during high school. But even my superficially unsatisfactory experiences lead me to believe that almost anything would be better than enduring 4 years of that...even with a great science lab available to me.

Excellent points in your last two posts, Johanna.

Two things I want to comment on:

1. I agree that the public school system is failing and that the more responsible families leave that system, the less chance it has of recovering. However, I'm not comfortable submitting my children to the poor system in the hopes that at some point it will recover. Instead I do what people have done for centuries...If a system is failing, leave it behind to die and create a better system or adopt a better system.

2. Yes, employees are needed. But as parents, we all hope that each of our children will be employers or if employees, then employees of high skill. If we have a choice to raise our children to be blue collar workers, white collar workers, or employers, of course our desire will be that our children reach as high as they personally can.

To subject the children to a system that appears to have as their goal to create merely employees is to mirror a sort of communism or...probably more accurately...and aparthied South Africa.

I have children who range from very bright to quite slow. I want each of them to acquire the skills and knowledge that will best enable them as individuals to have as many choices as they can.

I do not believe that any system set up in America cares more about this than their own mother. I also do not believe that there are many gov't run educational systems that offer this at the level that I can at this time.

I do have to admit that I would love a science lab that most high schools boast of. But I can certainly prepare my children for those labs, and then they can participate in the labs at a community college level when they finish their pre- work here at home. There are many solutions to my not having the funding that the gov't schools have.

No matter how you lay it out, responsible and enthusiastic and caring parents will always be able to give a better education to their children than a money-hungry failing gov't school system.

BTW, I grew up in California. My first years of public school were pretty wonderful. I wish my children could have the same at a gov't school nowadays. But even way back then, the middle schools and high schools (at least in CA) were beginning to fail their students. My parents, without even trying, could have done a better job. It would have been better for me to spend those 6 years reading everything I could get my hands on (which I would have adored doing) than to spend my time in (80%) useless classes, trying to avoid the girls who beat people up and suffering all the indignities that children could inflict on each other when there's nothing else more constructive to do.

My high school years weren't hell. They were average. I saw (and have since heard of) true hell during high school. But even my superficially unsatisfactory experiences lead me to believe that almost anything would be better than enduring 4 years of that...even with a great science lab available to me.

I'm loving this discussion with you, Johanna. You bring up some great thoughts.

Not sure if this was addressed, but there are numerous (literally, thousands) of homeschool curricula out there. One of my favorites is written by Dr. Wile. Apologia science. Not only is this considered an AP course (many homeschoolers, after using his materials, went on to CLEP biology and other college level science courses), but the author is readily available via phone or email to it's users.

Also, I just left a homeschooling list from the U.K. (we were thinking of moving there on military orders). There are parents pulling their own children out of the schools there in droves.

Blessings,
Nicole

Johanna,
I really enjoyed your last 2 posts. Very thought provoking. But still, I agree with OreoSouza's 2 points! I can't leave my children's education to mediocre school systems. The "No Child Left Behind" thing is a joke, or at least around here! Being that Alabama borders the Gulf Coast, we have alot of Hispanic immigrants. Things in our schools are moving slower than ever. We are trying to educate the immigrants, and they don't speak the language, and trying to keep them at the same grade level as other children their age...lets just say, it ain't workin!!! Due to all the time and effort being put into that, the other children suffer by not moving ahead. Let me just say, this isn't about race or border control (not going into politics on this blog!!!)...this is about education, and a poorly prepared system.

I totally agree with you Johanna on the point about the majority of people in this country are employees...we need CEO's of Microsoft, and people slinging burgers at McDonalds (also not going into diet and nutrition on this blog!!! LOL) The problem is that the blue collar jobs are being outsourced more and more in this country. The blue collar worker of old is running out of options, and not being educated well enough to move into a white collar job! We are going to have massive unemployment problems in the not to distant future! Yes, I could see a depression of sorts happening.

As far as homeschooling goes, like blestwith10 said, we homeschoolers are a creative bunch, and many homeschooling moms and dads have degrees and can fill a need. Our homeschool co-op has some great professionals that are doing a great service to those that feel unable to handle certain subjects. I am thoroughly enjoying my second go around with education. It is so much more enjoyable as an adult to learn all this stuff again!

Time to get my little people ready for baseball. Y'all have a great afternoon! :)

I've been thinking back on the large family thing, which is why this whole discussion thing really started.

I'm seeing that there are really 3 catagories of large families...one which is acceptable tho exceptional, the other two which are not desirable, and are apparently the group that this blog entry was started about.

1. You got us basically healthy types...not many of us, in some people's opinions, but we do exist, as most of us are at this point willing to admit.

2. The oddball parents who believe quirky things and name their children all the same name and just basically look odd and might potentially raise more oddballs.

3. Those situations that are actually sick or evil. Parents who don't care for the children, but prefer drugs and having s*x whenever they prefer without considering the natural outcome of s*x without protection, creating large families of neglected and/or abused children.

There are some who think that for various economic or population related reasons, that all 3 positions are worthy of shame. As someone said before, statistics can be created that support any theory. I'm afraid I can't enter this arena because I do't believe in statistics as being above integrity and therefore not a reason to have 0-2 children.

So let's say that group #1 is ok with all of us.

That leaves two groups.

First, about the oddball group of large families. What's the problem with being oddballs? Really? I mean, the reason these families can be odd is because they live in a country where odd is allowed. If odd was not allowed here, then there would be many parts of your personal life that would be infringed upon because your neighbor thinks you odd for your little eceentricities.

Oddity is a part of any culture that expresses individual freedom.

This includes the oddities of the Duggar variety as well. I personally think there are many odd things about Gothard families. Things that just don't sit right with me. I think that families that are all dressed alike look cute...whether there are 2 or 50 members...but mostly think it's cute when they go out. Mennonite families all dress in the same styles, the same patterns used over and over again. They might be odd, but kind of interesting to look at.

Odd is not evil. It's not even bad. Odd is just...odd. And you can laugh at the oddities and strangeness of the Duggars and even be disgusted by their oddities, but the reality is that they are allowed the same freedom to be odd that all of us are allowed.

I think we probably all agree that it's important to teach our kids not to point fingers or laugh at people who are different from them. We start it early the first time our kids see someone in a wheelchair or walking around hitting the ground with a white stick or sludging up and down the streets with ratty hair and rags for clothes and pushing a shopping cart full of "belongings". "He's paralyzed, dear." "She's blind, honey." "He's mentally ill or down on his luck, baby." We explain and expect our children to afford to this person of curiousity some dignity.

We need to be good models to our kids, and not be pointing our fingers at nor deriding those whom we also see as odd. Disagree with there philosophy or value system, fine. Poke fun and jeer...well, not if we don't want our kids doing it.

So onto group #3. The drug addicts and the alcoholics and simply irresponsibly self-centered who create children and then turn their faces away from the children.

In this country, they have been given the right to procreate as they see fit. Not as *we* see fit. But as they see fit.

Not only have they been given that freedom, but our gov't, with the permission of her people, have set up a system with which to support these people in these choices, ie the welfare and foster child systems.

In my opinion, the whole thing is evil begetting evil, over and over and over again. It's ugly. But we've all agreed to allow it and support it.

Throwing tomatoes and derisive names isn't going to change it. Never in any society or civilization that has ever existed in the history of humanity (that we have record of) has evil been eradicated from the population. Evil has always existed. It will always exist. There are those of us who because of responsibility and self-control, can keep evil at bay. But seems like someone somewhere is always popping up and doing things their own way with no regard for other human beings.

This is life. Get used to it. There are bad people who do bad things. Some of those people create many children and then don't care for them or abuse them, and expect the rest of us to pick up the economic tab for them. Which, btw, we are completely happy to do apparently. Isn't this why we make that extra money that we cheerfully hand over as taxes to our gov't?

However, don't mix that #3 crowd in with the #2 and #1 groups. The third is not actually a real "family" in the traditional sense of the word. It's just people begetting people and everyone does as he/she pleases. No familial relationships built here.

I guess you can mix #2 and #1 together. Just remember, that we are *all* free to be odd and nutty. Including those of you who don't like large families much. Take away my right to be different, and you've just shot yourself in the foot, because your right to be different is going to be challenged next.

I went to the University of Washington and majored in Microbiology and philosphy as a double-major, now I continue to take college classes for my own edification and to keep 'in practice' as someday I'm planning to go back. I'll be taking a couple classes at Stanford in the next few months just for that extra little challenge. I studied latin for two years as my language requirement, although I lived in Germany for a while and studied German language at the university level there.

So, I'm fairly well educated. I also work at a career where I do lots of math, analysis and all-around 'thinking'.

Do I feel prepared to tackle my child's education? I don't know, it scares the he_ out of me.

Johanna is right, my husband and I DO homeschool our kids right now. Viola is in Kindergarten. I work on her reading, math, science- everything outside of school. She does workbooks and I'm pretty good about involving her in lots of activities that teach her about science. For example, our mare had a foal last spring and Viola knows all about how baby horses are made, how the embryo grows and all about the birthing process. We were lucky that she got to be there for the birth and handle the foal in its first moments of life. I don't think you can get a learning experence like that in public school- well, obviously. So, yes, we do alot of learning outside of school. Like Johanna, we've tried to expose our kids and continue to do so, to all sorts of things: good music, books(we've read Black Beauty and The Secret Garden and The Boxcar Children with Viola this year so far), art, nature...

We live in a good neighborhood. It is an older neighborhood with a homeowner's association, sidewalks and tree-lined streets. You cannot buy a house in this neighborhood for less than probably 750K these days- though most are going for 800 and 900! And yet, our school that Viola goes to, cannot afford some basic necessities. I have been very frustrated because, for just the reason Johanna cited, I felt like I needed to put Vi in public school, get involved and contribute what money I would have spent on private school to enhancing her learning experience in public school. Well, I tried to contribute money and they told me I'd have to donate it to the school where it would then go to the district. The school would keep half and it would go to what the school felt was most important.. not to my child's class. I find that really frustrating. The other problem I have is that the kids who are special get services: if you are poor, a minority, a non-native english speaker, native american, disabled, blind, deaf, speech or learning impaired- you qualify for special tutoring and extra services. If your child is gifted, then he/she qualifies for special programs. So who gets left out in bthe cold? Yep, your average student who is going to grow up to be the average adult who will be a working member of society.

Viola's cousin is autistic and pretty severely. He has one-on-one, state funded therapy at his home every day of the week- even on holidays. The state pays for him to go to a special school. This is all paid for by the state even though my brother in law works at a computer job and makes around $100K per year. Now, I think services should be provided, but they should be reasonable and parents should have to pay at least what they would pay if their child were 'normal'. It's different if the family can't afford it. But also, there needs to be some balance about who gets what- I mean the money that is spent on this one child who may never be a productive member of society could seriously enrich the lives of tens of kids who are tomorrows bank clerks, doctors, farmers, sales clerks- whatever. Am I making sense here? It is not that I don't have compassion for people who have children who have problems- and I think in an ideal world, our state would pay for services like Edward gets AND there would still be plently left to do everything with the regular kids as well!!

Whomever brough up the point about the lack of diversity in socialization at public schools is totally right and I never thought of it that way- so thank you, good point.

I was fortunate to go to boarding school for high school and they had an idependent learning program. I chose my classes. I studied AP European History, my Shakespeare class had four students in it, I took music theory, Art History, Comparative Literature, Ethics, Ancient philosophy, Acting, Dance- to name a few. Much of the time I also studied independently and did a quarter long 'project' that integrated science, history, etc.. It was a really excellent school that way- my graduating class had 13 students. But, living in cose proximity with other teenagers constantly and not having firm 'accomplishments' beyond attaining good grades... well, I had a hard time.

I wonder if I had been in a larger school with less academic options but more ocial options if I would have had an easier time, found more people that were like me and found my 'niche' a little better.

Thanks for the suggestions of books, Blestwith10, they are already on their way from Amazon.com. At the very least I need to do some research.

Nicole, you say socialization is the least of your worries- how do your kids make and maintain friendships? I do want my kids to experience that.

I also have some special circumstances because I do work and I'm not sure I'm entirely ready to just quit my whole career to stay home. I mean, I work from home most of the time but I do travel a little for work and have to go into the office a few days here and there. When I am home working, I am always available to my kids. I often 'finish' my work day late at night after they have gone to bed or once my husband gets home. But if I were homeschooling, I know I'd need to make major adjustments in my schedule because I'd need at least 4 or 5 hours to devote to schooling them, I am assuming. Know anyone who works and homeschools? hahaha.

Yes, there are parents who work and homeschool. Wish I'd kept track of websites and blog addresses. If I come across any, I'll link you to them. The main thing is that mom and dad pretty much schedule the work so that one of them is home all the time, or, as in the case of a single mom, that a caregiver is available for those times a parent can't be available, and the caregiver is willing to carry on the academics as well.

Amy, you'd be surprised how little time the grade school years take. Up to 5th grade, my kids do it all in under 2 hours. Of course, the rest of the day is still homeschooling (as you and Johanna mentioned, homeschooling is more than just what happens during "schooling hours"). So maybe 2 hours for the basics, and then the rest of the day to concentrate on the extras, such as languages and history and sciences.

After 5th grade, the hours start increasing (unless you are an unschooler or a relaxed schooler...they school 16 hours a day LOL)

I have one going into 7th grade. He does his formal type schooling in 3-4 hours. I expect this to increase to 5-7 hours as he gets older, and then at about age 16 or so, I expect the hours to start decreasing again...mostly because I assume he will have a job and/or be attending community college classes.

Of course, from 3rd grade on, parental involvement hours become shorter and shorter as the child begins to accomplish his schooling more independently. Parents slowly grow from being full-time teachers to guidance mentors, checking and directing and discussing and assigning. That's all part of the maturing process.

Of course, different families do it differently...this is just our template.

I don't know what to say about how the states handle their education monies. I know it's a terrible mess in our state. I don't see any way of fixing it. I can see how it got to where it is, but I don't see how you can back an elephant out of a closet without destroying the closet.

There are great teachers. There are great administrators. And I'm sure there are still some great schools out there somewhere.

But overall, I think the system is so marred that it's best to just start all over rather than to try to heal it.

Excellent, excellent posts from all: intelligent and thoughtful and thought-provoking-- also filled with first-hand experiences. I think we can agree that public schools need one heck of a lot of work, on average. And that now as ever, the "special" child gets far more attention and dollars thrown at him/her than average children.

But here I'd like to say a word on behalf of blue-collar, or "trade" jobs. There are now many institutions opening up that train people for every job from truck driving to plumbing to computer technician. These jobs (I can tell from my days in industry) are what make things tick; they pay living wages and beyond, and they employ large numbers of people who are satisfied with their lives.

When I was a teacher, I observed that the bright children will learn no matter what; they teach themselves and seek out books. Today they probably spend a lot of time learning on the internet. The disadvantaged take up more teaching time than they should when they are included in the ordinary classroom. The average child is what everything in public education is geared toward, although the track system has to some degree attempted to address that problem. But that is very questionable, as children understand what it is in no time and an elite group is created in a public school where the ideal is not to have elite groups. Then you have normal and bright normal children considering themselves stupid when they don't get into the Gifted and Talented Group (how I hate those labels)-- hardly the way to create good self-images or any other kind of positive psychological situation.

It's a very, very difficult situation, and there are many dedicated and educated people trying to solve these problems. To decry the entire system is to insult them and their achievements, which in spite of our obvious shortfalls in American public schools, are many.

Let's face it: a public school system is basically a socialistic institution, like it or not. So when you offer money to your child's class, the system refuses it. Far better, in my opinion, for the parent to concentrate on his/her own child in providing extracurricular resources. When each parent self-educates each child in that way, then then entire system benefits.

And of course, there are always going to be the miserably incompetent parents, who breed recklessly and throw their children onto public welfare systems. They also have to be accommodated.

I'm not against homeschooling across the board, however. IF it can be done right, then it's fine with me. But families like the Duggars, which began this forum, aren't doing it the way it was intended to be done. I'm sure, based on the articulate letters in this forum, there are numerous parents out there who ARE doing it right, and also putting pressure on local school systems to clean up their acts. I'm also very sure the school systems are listening, even though you may not think it. When home schooled children exceed public school children in standardized test scores, you can be sure they take notice, if and when it happens.

As I mentioned, I taught in Appalachia, in rural schools, and also in inner city schools. And I read the newspapers. And, Columbine, for example, happened in a "good" school district, perpetrated by two youths who were identified too late as psychopaths. At least one of them was an only child. Then there are events like the Martha Moxley killing years ago by one of society's most privileged members, and the recent tragedy wherein a homeschooled youth killed two adults and kidnapped his girlfriend. He too was an unidentified psychopath.

There are no easy answers to anything dealing with children, in my experience. And it certainly IS terrifying when all we hear on the news are these horror stories. Perhaps we overestimate the problems and underestimate the real good that either public schools, or homeschooling, do. But as parents, we have to be ever-vigilant, and very determined no matter where we place our children for education, that we really are doing the right thing by them to prepare them for life. And, we have to speak up when we see something that is most definitely not right, even when we don't have all the facts. Facts can be easily hidden after all.

Our public school here stink. Forget the idea that public school is good for socialization. They don't even have recess. The local elementry school does not even have a play ground. They have 30 minuts PE, but it isn't play time, they usually run laps around the field or do other types of exersise, and yeah, they do play sports, but it is all structured. They have 30 minutees (the jr. high has 20) to eat lunch, and talking is discouraged. Sometimes, when behavior has been bad, the children get put on silent lunch. Even in the JR. high my DC go to, they are not allowed to choose who they sit with, they must sit with the class they are in (they break like in the middle of 4th period for lunch) and the teacher sits with them. For my oldest dd, when we first moved here, it took over a week before she even got the chance to talk to anyone. She is now in 9th grade and it is the first year she has been able choose where and who she sits with for lunch.
Oh and you know what she learned in Jr. High? She learned about cutting, anorexia, bulemia, huffing,and suicide. She learned that it isn't *normal* to have parents who are still married and it isn't *normal* when all the chidren in the family have hte same mother and father. She still thinks something si wrong with her because she doesn't want to have sex yet (appentenly everyone else is in a big hurry or already has).
She does well academically, but alot of it she ahs taught herself. (the teachers at the schools tend to be out more than not, and I know of one (is gone now) that spent most of her time talking on a cell phone. Oh yeah, and one day two teachers got in a big argument infront of all the kids and one of them left school crying.
They have had substitues (substitues here are only required to have a highscool diploma) get frustrated at the misbehavior of the children and just leave, leaving classes unattended.
Oh yeah, and did you know (according to one teacher) there is no electricity or cars in Iraq??? And Hong Kong has no toilets. (UH, dh has ben there, and yes there are toilets).
Yeah, right pubic school is so great. I am so thrilled that my dc are in public school.
GEe not only do I have to worry about all the peer pressure stuff, and absnetee teachers, I also get to worry about wheather or not my chidl might get shot at at school. (not the jr. high my dc go to , but the one down the road.......the principal has been asulted and 9 arrests were made in the first week. I am ever greatful my dc don't have to go to that school).
Ok, why do i send my dc to public school? Beleive me I do NOT want to. But that is where DH wants them, so that is where they are.


Jean: that is absolutely appalling. I don't know where you live, so can't say I have any prior experience of what you describe. I've met poor teachers, of course, and poor administrators, but nothing to equal what you describe. You have my sympathy. I think that if I were in your shoes about now, I'd be learning all I could about home schooling, as clearly your children would benefit far more from that than from a clearly grossly substandard school system.

Jean, I really feel for you. My daughter is in public kindergarten this year but the school is one block from my house where I am home most days and it is a really nice neighborhood and I know all the other moms of the kids in her class, three of which are teachers themselves. Our school is one of the best in the area(not that that is saying much) and the environment is pretty good- her teacher is great and Viola loves her. However, it is only kindergarten.

I don't know if I could send her someplace where I felt she wasn't safe and loved. That's why the car seat thing a couple weeks ago really threw me- I felt like her safety had been disregarded (they took her on a field trip where parents drove and her car seat was left behind because she is 6, and here in CA tht is old enough to legally ride without a car seat or booster seat-- but she NEVER goes anywhere without her seat).

But so here is another issue, my husband went to public school his whole life. He went to good public schools because his family lived in Bellevue, WA- a very affluent and at the time very WHITE area with low crime. His experience of public school was probably on par with mine in private school. Plus, he had a stay-at-home mom and took classes at a community college because he was a very advanced student as early as junior high school. He thinks public school is GREAT, AWESOME! I don't know how to convince him otherwise. He is very involved with the girls and school and so is actually at Vi's school most days to pick her up. He usually takes one our multitude of animals and goes a little early to do show-and-tell with the kids (guinea pig, cat, dog, hermit crab, rat, etc.- he has yet to take one of the horses, lol). But, he desn't seem to get that she is only in Kindergarten. I'm already seeing Vi come home with some various attitudes and words that she didn't get from us.

Anyhow, I think he is pretty opposed to the idea of homeschooling- he feels like we should send her because it's just 'bonus', we'll teach her what she doesn't learn there at home. He can't quite wrap his brain around the piece about what she DOESN'T need to learn there.

One thing I did hit the roof about in my children's high school in California was the Berkeley-trained teacher who decided that masturbation was a subject that should be taught in Health, and that it was a perfectly acceptable practice. My poor elder daughter was squirming in embarrassment throughout this class and I had a lengthy talk with the principal, who stopped this zealous young teacher in short order.

Best thing to do is write to the Commissioner of Education in your state, presenting facts, dates, and all the relevant information you can. You can also speak directly to members of the School Board, who may or may not be elected officials in your jurisdiction. You can also complain to the PTA of that school. What you should NEVER do is sit back and accept the situation.

One thing I did hit the roof about in my children's high school in California was the Berkeley-trained teacher who decided that masturbation was a subject that should be taught in Health, and that it was a perfectly acceptable practice. My poor elder daughter was squirming in embarrassment throughout this class and I had a lengthy talk with the principal, who stopped this zealous young teacher in short order.

Best thing to do is write to the Commissioner of Education in your state, presenting facts, dates, and all the relevant information you can. You can also speak directly to members of the School Board, who may or may not be elected officials in your jurisdiction. You can also complain to the PTA of that school. What you should NEVER do is sit back and accept the situation.

Amy you and your husbands school experiences sort of mirror my daughter and Son-in-Laws. Kate went all through school K-8 to an excellent Parochial School, then to a Jesuit High Prep School. She and her hubby want only 1 child maybe 2 and she wants to either send them to Private school or homeschool them. My SIL went to a rural one room school house(no kidding)K-6 and thought Public School was awesome! It really was more like being home schooled. She can not convince him of the mess in the Public School system. They still have several years to debate this as their precious bundle has yet to be conceived.

Before I am asked if it bothers me that she only wants 1 or 2. No not really. Kate is quite an individual. She loves her sibs and no she did not raise them b/c she was 17 when the 1st of the next batch came along. The went off to college at 18. I'm less concerned about the number than I am about Day-Care. No worries I guess there either b/c either myself or her Mother in law would do it.

Katie is going to be a lawyer. She messed around in and out of college aimlessly for several years and now has found her calling. Knowing her, nothing will stop or delay her. She is on a mission. She does not have to repeat my life.

Oh Amy you're a HUSKY!!! That is worse than the whole Duggar thing. SIGH

Well I suppose it's better than being a Cougar (eeewwww).

I am fortunate enough, no blessed really to be a Gonzaga Bulldog! (Big cheesy grin)OOOh my new name
blesttobeaGUbulldog!

The Duggars were on TV again tonight, in one of Discovery Health's endless re-runs of "Fourteen and Pregnant Again." Which was the first program, I think. I didn't watch it, preferring to travel to Mars with our local PBS station. Everytime I hear that syrupy voice narrating the Duggar saga, I get tense.

I'm glad everybody is friends now, but it does not negate the fact that it is plain wrong to have those pigs up there alongside the Duggars for public ridicule. Not to mention the crude remarks that have been left remaining on your blog about them. I wonder if the Duggars could sue for defamation of character or libel or some such thing?

Jean,
Jeez!!! Sweetheart, I feel for ya! I went to some pretty decent schools, and even there they had problems. Then when we moved to Alabama, and I was in the "best" high school in the state, I thought...well this says alot about how crappy Alabama schools are! The drugs and alcohol ran rampant. With rich parents, any problem...throw money at it! We had the suicides, eating disorders, huffing, teachers who smelled like alcohol, teachers who sat their waiting for retirement and not teaching, horrible teachers you couldn't get out of their position without a major court battle and even then probably not! This was the best school in Alabama???!!!??? I know you want to homeschool, but you really need the support of your husband. Start reading books and printing articles off of the internet, and leave them in plain view, but do not push them on your husband. Draw attention to ANY and ALL school problems in both your schools and others nationwide. My friend did this with her hubby, and within 6 months the fella changed his tune and she is homeschooling now! We will keep your family in our prayers!

Johanna,
Ohhh...don't you hate it when they teach something without discussing it with the parents? Have they never heard of parental rights?!? Ok, I will admit that one of our homeschool co-op teachers scared my eldest son when she was teaching the college and career class. I don't know what she said to the class, but my son came home saying he would never take an SAT or go to college because it was WAYYYYY to hard! All I had to say after my ranting was "OFF WITH HER HEAD!!!" LOL

Amy,
Same rules apply with you. I posted to Jean, "Start reading books and printing articles off of the internet, and leave them in plain view, but do not push them on your husband. Draw attention to ANY and ALL school problems in both your schools and others nationwide." Don't push your husband, it will just put a wedge between you. Pray for him, if you are a praying person, and let him know you prayed for him. Tell him that you prayed he would have a good day and come safely home again...something, anything, that would make his heart warm to you for being so selfless. Even if you aren't religious, we all think in our heads the same thoughts...please let him have a good day, come home safe, and be in a good mood when he gets here! LOL

Also, a friend of mine has worked part time (HA! Sometimes it is 40 hours) while homeschooling her 2 boys. Her husband works second shift, and she could give her Jr. High age boys a list of work to do while she was gone. By 6th grade, they can really do alot of their own!

My husband also went to public school. He had a great time...made average grades, had lots of friends, played football...remembers high school as the "good old days." I had researched homeschooling since my eldest was 1, and after discussing it for a while, he said I could do kindergarten at home, and we would see after that. Well, the first time we went to a homeschool function together, he was impressed!!! Needless to say, we have homeschooled ever since!

Ok, a pregnant woman needs her sleep...back to bed with me! Sweet dreams to all!
~Traci...Mama of soon to be 7

Amy, may I ask how old you are?

My sister graduated from UW with a degree in microbiology as well. We're staunch Husky fans! (Get over it Con!)

Blessings,
Nicole

I'm 32- I was at the UW from 1991 to around 1996..

Oh my word! I'm old enough to be everyone's mother here!

OK. Well except for Blestwith10. I'm old enough to be *her* sister tho.

My sister is 38, so we're a bit ahead of you there LOL. She loved UW. It helps that it's in an incredibly beautiful part of the country :o).
Blessings,
Nicole

Okay, so I got some books today...Teach Your Own and Dumbing Us Down. I'm also going to read The Shame of the Nation by Kozol. Dumbing us down is really good so far, I've been reading out loud to Dean. His comment- "Wow, this guy is really cynical". When I brought up the topic of homeschooling.. heh. Dean said, "I don't want to homeschool." And walked out of the room as he often does when we're getting into territory that makes him uncomfortable. Clearly, not the time to pursue it.. because I KNOW this is going to be a totally "out there" idea for him. I want to at least discuss it. The more I think about all this, the more and more I'm feeling that my gut is right that public school may not be the place for my kids. I don't know. I don't know that homeschooling is something that would be for us, but I want to have the chance to talk it out... and if it isn't the right choice then maybe there is something else. I'm still thinking about Montessori.

Yeah, well, my husband said no to adoption and we have 5 by adoption... so far. He loves each and every one of them. LOL.

He's always been supportive of homeschooling, even though his father (his entire family) is extremely academic and he's had to oppose him. I prayed and prayed and prayed for this man and we are extremely pleased with the results we've seen in our family, and in our children.

Keep reading up on it yourself, maybe your husband will become more open minded. In the meantime, you'll be more educated on what homeschooling truly is, and what you want it to look like in your own home.

"Dumbing Us Down" and "Teach Your Own" are two of my favorites. If you can get a copy of "Learning All the Time" by Holt, that's my favorite.

Blessings,
Nicole

If you honestly, sincerely and rationally know that your children would be better off with home schooling, then by all means do it. But don't do it without investing in materials of intellectual value.

Sad as it is, I can't deny that there are public schools that simply ought to be shut down. Sometimes the imbalance in educational quality within one school district is enormous. And not all of us can afford the "best" schools for our kids, because these days the neighborhoods that permit access to them are simply too pricey.

If you've ever seen English or Israeli public schools (they don't call them that but that's what they are)-- that is, schools for the children of ordinary people-- you'll see shabby but clean buildings, but with only of a fraction of the resources American kids have even in the poorest parts of town.

In spite of that, the Israelis graduate some of the brightest scientists in the world, as do the Brits, along with writers and technologists and any other field you care to mention. It isn't a function of money: it's a function of intelligence combined with discipline, hard work and teaching expertise, and the fact that unruly behavior from the children is just simply not tolerated. If they don't get walloped at school, they get it at home when the teacher calls complaining about them.

Yes, likewise there are some very poor comprehensive schools in the UK, but there are also lots and lots of bright kids in redbrick colleges. Even a class-ridden society like Britain, with many of its best students in pricey private schools, can and does graduate smart kids from its national school system.

There's no excuse for our public school systems when they are as lax as described by people posting here. That's the kind of thing that would have me at the next school board meeting. My kids are all grown now, and I'm a grandmother; but believe me, at the time I voiced my objections to problems as they arose. That's the only way to get any action in some cases, if speaking to the principal in the problem school doesn't work.

Oreosouza: betcha I'm older than you are!!!

So, you're saying that hitting kids makes for better education, Johanna? 'Cause I don't even want to open the book on what sort of fury would be unleashed if I came home and found that a teacher had disciplined my child physically. My husband and I don't spank our children. The only time I have laid my hands on my kids to punish them physically has been when they've been caught red-handed about to do something that would have ended their life- like when I had to do a flying leap from across the room to knock Viola away from sticking something into an outlet or when Avery almost dashed into the street in front of a car.

Generally speaking, I bthink there are better ways to get the point across than by 'walloping' my kids. I don't want my children to behave because they fear reprisal. I want them to behave because they make the choice to do so. Maybe this is naive of me, but so far it seems to be working fairly well for us.

Whee... making a little progress. Last night Dean and I had a conversation and I said, "This is what I see for us and for myself and I'd like to know what you see and if it is different then we need to talk about it because I'm not too happy with setting forever for just 'this'." I asked him about his resistance to looking into alternatives for schooling and he said that we didn't have any evidence to show that homeschooling or other forms of education were better. and finally, we got to the heart of the issue- he, like me, is afraid that we wouldn't be able to do a good enough job.

BUT GET THIS! Here is what he said:
"I think we should try it over the summer." He said, "Let's teach Viola a first grade(she's in K now) curriculum over the summer- if she does well and we do well, then maybe she won't go back to public school in the fall."

So, summer is coming up quick here which means I'll need to get my ducks in a row. I'm also excited because Dean has agreed that our youngest, who is three, is ery precocious and we should also start teaching her, as well. I've been worrying alot about her because she has surpassed her preschool classmates and functions on the same level as many of her peers who are leaving for Kindergarten next year. She has many of the skills that Viola, as a Kindergartner, has mastered. I've had a feeling for a while that she would never fit into a mainstream class... so maybe this will be the answer.

So what am I going to need?

Amy,
Hee hee!!!! Great for you!!! Ok, school books..hmmmmm. Well...it really depends on what you are looking for, and what your religious beliefs are.

But, Oak Meadow is a non-religious curriculum that you might like...very hands-on. Check out their catalog at their website...www.oakmeadow.com. Here is some info from their website:

"ABOUT US
Oak Meadow combines a deep understanding of the developing child with strong academic standards. In addition, we not only focus on the blossoming intellect but the heart, hands, and spirit of young children by providing lessons that are both developmentally appropriate and holistic. Therefore, your child will immerse themselves in the creative arts, music and movement as well as language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. Because our curriculum is designed to effectively address a variety of learning styles, children are able to successfully engage with their studies and relax into learning! Our goal is not simply to provide factual information, but also to inspire your child to learn and thrive.

Early Years: Pre School and Kindergarten
Because younger children learn primarily through imitation and doing our curriculum features a great deal of healthy activity and movement. We provide lessons rich in experiential exercises that will stimulate learning through action and imagination. Your child will experience a multi sensory education as they explore a world of color, song, rhythm and verse, all the while learning about themselves and the world around them! Here, the letter B is transformed into the belly of a bear and numbers dance and sing. Learning is alive and your child is a part of the action!"

Here are a few I would avoid:
ACE School of Tomorrow (remedial)
Alpha Omega (somewhat behind public schools)
Bob Jones (Christian School Curriculum with too much busy work)
Abeka (same as Bob Jones)

Hope I didn't step on anyones toes with that list. Having been over a homeschool support group for many, many years, I know alot about curriculum. Abeka and Bob Jones were set up for Christian Schools, and have busy work to keep 20+ children busy. Alpha Omega and Ace School of Tomorrow don't have enough meat in them to make a full curriculum, although you could supplement. Either way, they are workbooks, and not really a fun way to educate. Maybe I will think of something else later!

Ok, time to bathe the little people! Happy homeschool hunting Amy! :)

Amy, THANK YOU!!! :o)

I just chatted with my 13-year old granddaughter in the UK. She's doing a review for some major tests, and she does it online. I searched the site she's using and am passing it along as it might help some of you who are homeschooling. She's in a private school for girls there, but uses the internet to review her lessons at home.

http://www.skoool.co.uk

Once there, you can click on any of the geographical regions you find; I clicked on Kent as that's where she lives. The site is structured to meet national standards there. If there's a similar site in the USA, you might find it interesting to compare the curricula. Clearly the internet is going to be of enormous value to homeschoolers.

Amy-- you're welcome to your own methods of child-raising. I know that there are differing opinions on it, and also that right now in the USA there's a huge outcry against physical punishment for children. Big mistake, in my view, especially with boys, but I'm a minority and I know it. In other countries, children are occasionally disciplined physically at school, hence my remarks. I'll reserve judgment on their results. Teachers here are not allowed to touch children, and that's that. As for spanking one's own small children, that's for each parent to decide depending on circumstances. My own opinion is that you can't generalize about it.

Amy,'

There are so many diverse people homeschooling. Find your local support group for recommendations for curriculum.

Yes, you will run across some people who dress and look like the Duggars, but they may have some good insight.

Also, don't be so hard on yourself or your little one. Make it fun, and relaxed for both. It is just an expirement and she is just 6. She will shock you! I garantee it! They are like little sponges and I thought I knew that, but when I started exposing them to Living Books, like Littel WOmen, and Treasure Island, and the real Winnie the Pooh. They just blossomed.

If I were you, I'd enroll them in the best school I could find and enjoy my free time!

:-)

If you’re worrying about putting on a swimsuit this summer, worry no more: Wholesomewear.com features two-piece swimwear that won’t show any of those areas you’re not proud of. In fact, because “the need for modesty in swimwear is greatest and the supply is almost non-existent,” all the suits show is forearm and a little leg. The suits — for girls and women only — feature a short-sleeved spandex undergarment that comes to mid-thigh paired with a loose outer garment whose fabric “limits cling” and adds “modesty and style.” The ensemble involves more yardage than most kids currently wear to school. Wholesomewear is a favorite link on Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s website, www.duggarfamily.com.

Blestwith0-- I followed every link on the Duggar website and got a fairly good picture of their mindset. Back to 1890-- ah, the good old days! No aspirin, no antibiotics, the only anesthetic was chloroform and some doctors wouldn't use it for women because after all it says in the Bible that "in sorrow shall you bring forth children." The curse of Eve and all that. Women and girls lugged coal and cinders up and down stairs, cleaned out fireplaces, washed on a washboard, made their own soap that was so strong it'd take the skin off-- I know because my grandmother was still making it in the 1940s-- dried clothes on a rope in the back yard, took them down, sprinkled them, rolled them up again, ironed them with flatirons heated on the rangetop, starched the men's shirts and collars and dried and sprinkled and ironed those, took up and beat the rugs semiannually (also hung out over the clothes line), scrubbed the floors on their knees, made their own clothes as well as clothes for the family, took in washing and did some extra sewing to make a little "pin money," prepared their food from scratch (chickens were kept in the backyard and on Sunday, one of them ended up in a pot). They made butter. They helped the men on the farm when needed, in addition to all the household work, up before the sun to start breakfast on the coal or wood burning stove. Most women had little more than an eighth grade education. Oh, did I mention taking the beds apart once a year and washing them with turpentine to keep off bedbugs and other critters? Taking down all the curtains and washing them by hand and putting them back up? And washing quilts. Ever wash a quilt by hand? It instantly weighs half a ton when you dunk it in water. College for women was only for the very wealthy. Most women married between 18 and 21 and promptly had half a dozen kids whether they wanted to or not, and if they survived it all, after a few more decades they buried the spouse and had to move in with one of the children and a daughter/son in law who wished they weren't there.

And those were the lucky ones who lived in small towns and didn't have to do piece work full time like their sisters in New York and Chicago.


Yep, the good old days. Let's bring them back!!! I'm off now to buy one of those modest bathing suits that covers everything. Don't want to be the agent of lust in some man's heart, after all. It doesn't matter if the clothes drag us down in the water and make real swimming impossible and feel like a wet sheet when you come out of the water; the big issue after all is not leading a man to sin. Our comfort and happiness is unimportant.

Considering that 2/3 of the population is overweight and/or obese, I say "cover those people up!!!" I shouldn't feel the need to vomit on my family vacation because a 250 lb woman finds a 2-piece flattering on herslef LOL.

PS- Blest with zero--I think it's really neat that you, with no children, are weighing in here with your opinions on educating children. Thank you for your sage advice.

Oh, so people who don't meet your aesthetic standards must cover up so your oh-so-delicate sensibilities aren't disturbed, Christine? The new fashion fascists are an interesting-- and nauseating-- group.

Never said they had to *meet or exceed* my standards. Honestly though, if you were twice as big as you should be, why would you WANT to wear something that unflattering???

Fashion facist?? If you can sit there and poke fun at the Duggar's choice of swimwear (although I'm not a fan of it, I am also reserving comment), then I should be allowed to have an opinion on beached whales wearing teeny-weeny-bikinis.

PS--being "in shape" is not all that difficult people...

BTW Joanne, from your defensive remarks, are you that woman who is suing McDonalds because of your weight??

I appologize if that last post didn't seem constructive. You all have your qualms about the Duggar's "wetsuits" (did you know that the father is quoted as saying "when the kids get older, they will be the ones to choose whether this type of modesty is right for them")?

I have my qualms about unflattering attire. I think we've seen here that we all have our opinions--that is all they are, OPINIONS! No offense meant....

Johanna, you are definitely an educational and social fascist. You want to dictate what one can and cannot do when it comes to education and family size, but then worry about others wanting to keep themselves and their families modest?! Get a life!

Furthermore, Johanna, you're just like all of those other liberal feminists out there that demand "choice", but want to deny it to those they deem are making the wrong choice. YOU are nauseating.

Well said, Justme! :) :) :) I think it is great to have an opinion, and more importantly, the ability to speak up for your opinion.

BUT, your idea of "sticking up for your opinion" entails putting down anyone who disagreees with you and calling their ways "wrong". Really,it just makes you appear disagreeABLE (Johanna).

PS- unless you are accompanying the Duggars to a waterpark, what do you care what they wear????

Well, this is the first time I've been called a liberal feminist!! (laughing so hard my sides hurt).

I guess Christina hasn't read any of my comments very carefully. But Christina comes off to me like a fascist. You want people who don't measure up to your standards of beauty to stay off the beaches or cover up. That's exactly what your first message on this topic indicated, whether or not you realize it.

People can make any choices they like in adulthood that affect only themselves; but choices affecting the very real and very serious futures of others-- namely their children-- are of interest to all of society. We don't live isolated from each other. When people drop their children off bridges or drown them, that is something society reacts to. When people don't send their children to school OR homeschool them properly, society sooner or later steps in to remedy the situation.

The discussion here is: Are the Duggars doing the best job they can in homeschooling their children, or are they guilty of cultish behavior and religious excess that is very likely to end up badly for their sixteen (at present) children?

Is this kind of homeschooling a good thing, or should the authorities step in and fix what in my opinion (please note those words carefully; I use them a lot) is a very poor educational environment for those children.

Bathing suits are an off-topic subject. But since you brought it up, I repeat: I resent anybody telling the public when it's at a beach or public swimming pool that they must either cover up or not be there because somebody else doesn't want to see the physical realities of varicose veins, cellulite, sagging muscles, or whatever else this fashion fascist finds objectionable. Not all people are as fortunate as I am, in my size 10 bathing suit at my age. Many have health problems, or weight problems, or other physical problems including age. And guess what: not all people have the leisure time and money to spend getting themselves into a state of physical perfection. That shouldn't mean they should be subjected to derision from anyone because they don't meet your arbitrary standards of beauty or physical fitness. Maybe, just maybe, their characters are far more developed, and their brains are full of far more important subjects, than you so far have demonstrated.

And, Christina, if Michelle Duggar wants to drape herself like a muslim, I frankly don't care, though to me it's very silly and impractical. But when she visits that lifestyle on children who have no say in the matter, then I object because keeping young people so far from the mainstream is in my opinion not healthy. I've seen it all before with religious fanatics and it usually ends badly in one way or antoher.

"That shouldn't mean they should be subjected to derision from anyone because they don't meet your arbitrary standards."

But, Johanna, it is perfectly fine for YOU to criticize the Duggars' choice of swimwear???? If they want their children to wear more modest clothing, WHAT DO YOU CARE??? Let them do what they believe is right--since when is modesty a crime?? I see 13 year-olds in mid drift tops and jean shorts that cover less than some thongs i own! God bless the Duggars for not wanting their children's parts to be hanging out like the rest of America's teenagers.

Johanna, I agree with justme. So now, you have been called a liberal feminist twice ;)

Johanna, our prisons are full of people following the "mainstream" way of life. Maybe you should invest your energies in fixing what's wrong there, instead of meddling into the private lives of those who are trying to raise their children to be smart, respectful and law-abiding adults.

The things children are exposed to in most publics schools is child abuse. Maybe the authorities should step in and fix the "very poor educational environment" these children are in, you think?

Having opinions is one thing, but trying to place restrictions on people that don't follow the mainstream is another and it is just plain wrong. What if the mainstream changed to the opposite of what it is now? Would you still blindly be following it, because it would be considered the norm? I think not.

Amy, I just wanted to say thank you for taking down the picture of the pigs. I can only speak for myself, but I appreciate your doing that:) I wish you the best in your decision to/to not homeschool. I believe that education can't be generalized for every kid, and for some, homeschooling is what is best. Many parents send their children to public schools, regardless of how bad the school is, because they want "a break" during the day (as blest with zero suggested). I commend your wanting to put forth the time and effort to ensure your children's academic experience is successful.

Christina sure does make things personal, huh?

Yeow!

Relaaaax a little lady... don't get so worked up. Everybody has opinions, hon!

Would Michelle Duggar get as worked up as you do? WWMD?

Wow! Just coming back in after a few days, and see that:

-the conversation has revived

-Amy and Dean are going to be homeschooling their daughters over the summer...yikes! (LOL)

-And Johanna is possibly older than I am. I might have to give that to her...my granddaughters are not 13 yet.

I need to go see if you've posted elsewhere on your blog about homeschooling this summer, Amy, becausee I don't want to derail this stimulating conversation.

Good idea... maybe I'll put up a new post regarding homeschooling. As much as I'd love to jump into the fashion debate over 'modest swimwear'... well, other things on my mind right now... :)

Amy: never did thank you for the time and effort you take in maintaining this website where we can get together, in lieu of old-fashioned neighborhoods, and thrash things out. So, thank you!!! I've enjoyed these discussions, for the most part, very much.

Good luck with the homeschooling this summer.

Oreosouza: I'm definitely older than you are!! I can remember how great it was when mankind finally discovered fire, because frankly I never cared for raw meat and those fires, though smokey, warmed the caves up nicely. And boy oh boy those animal skins were scratchy. So I'm all for modernity, because it surely is far more comfortable.

Ah, Johanna- thank you! You've had a great deal of very insightful information you have shared here and I, for one, certainly appreciate it.

Actually, I did go and look at the modest swim wear site. And yes, I know it is a free country and people can wear what they want (or NOT!!) to the beach, but I just find this a little over the top. I'm fairly conservative in how I dress. I never wear skirts or dresses that come above my knees. I always cover my arms. Part of this is because I have flappy upper arms and well, my thighs are unspeakable, despite my marathon running and horseback riding. I've always been a little perterbed at my little sisters who often wear mini skirts and camisole top type stuff (trendy teen wear even tho they are in their twenties now). But, I believe in accentuating the positive and in wearing things that are flattering. I've always felt that classy is a much better way to go than trashy. And you don't have to shop in special places to dress nicely without wearing some come-and-get-me-sailor outfit.

But, I'm a pragmatist, as well. Function wins out over form, and I'd never make my kids wear a dress/bodysuit thing to swim in. It just doesn't make sense to me. How can you swim well in one of those things? And wouldn't those kids be kinda embarrassed? I probably would have at that age. I'm not saying that they should wear some skimpy push-up bikini from Victorias Secret, but you can be relatively modest in a one-piece bathing suit I would think. Modesty is about how one acts, as well, not just about what you are wearing.

What's funny is that as I was readibg the bove posts, y'all were making it sound like if you weren't wearing modest swimwear then you must be dressing like a hooker or something. Can't there be a happy medium?

Oh, and just becauser your covering everything up, doesn't mean someone isn't going to lust after you. My husband would much rather have me wear something (sorry is this is TMI for our more genteel readers) less revealing than more because he says that's more tantalizing than putting it on on parade(and granted, I'm talking about our private time behind closed doors), but I imagine that NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO someone is going to be thinking some lusty thoughts, somewhere.

AND, there are some people who find women who are softer and rounder much, MUCH more attractive than a bag of bones like what seems to be popular in the media. In some places in the world, fat is considered a mark of nobility and wealth and is desireable.

My sentiments exactly, Amy. My opinion on people who parade their excessive modesty is that they are prideful. And that is unChristian.

One of my young teen grandaughters (I have two that age) likes the "tankini" style which is, in my opinion, very modest as bathing suits go, and allows vigorous exercise as well as looking good and being very practical.

I've been around large numbers of children and families all my life in one way or another, even if it's just hearing the horror stories at work from parents who are trying various methods of childraising. Over a lifetime of listening, seeing firsthand, and experiencing family life myself first with my numerous siblings, neighbors, schoolmates, and then with my own three children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc., I have come to think that the "happy medium" Amy speaks of is probably the best in most, if not all, things.

Excess in any way creates unforeseen consequences, many of which are damaging and permanent. You can raise children who are modest without forcing them to wear attire that, in light of today's fashions, is ludicrous and brings stares, snickers, and remarks. This kind of thing is very traumatic to adolescents, as anyone who has raised at least one will know.

My own mother, may she rest in peace, believed sincerely that reasonable requests from children should always be honored. She raised seven superachievers with very little money but a lot of faith and hard work and self-sacrifice. I say that in all humility, because anything any of us have achieved is fundamentally because of her. She passed away a year ago, and I miss her more every day.

She was extremely religious, but we never had to dress in 1860, instead of 1960, fashions. A teacher herself, she knew exactly how children take these arbitrary rules imposed on them by parents who may have the best of intentions as they exhibit their zealotry-- but in applying such strictures to their children, they can create a significant amount of damage.

I've visited many "modest" clothing sites myself, and I find that the more moderate (and oddly, in some ways more pious-seeming and less political) among them warn against falling into exactly the trap that Johanna just described--dressing in prairie clothes or tentlike swimsuits and calling it "modest" can be taken to an extent that it becomes prideful and encourages people to look at you and your children much more than they would if you were dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. It's like you're not only attracting attention to yourself, which is sort of antithetical to the goal of being modest, but also shouting to the world that you're more righteous than they are. I find it sort of distasteful, and it's also a little disturbing how some young women who are very into "modesty" seem to end up fixating on sex even moreso than mainstream teens by virtue of constantly thinking about how everything they wear and do is or is not inflaming the lust of weak, hormonally addled men--but on the other hand some people just like that style of dress and find it pretty, so whatever. I will admit to seeing some period movie with Minnie Driver and temporarily entertaining the idea of dressing all in flowing, dramatic, turn-of-the-century gowns from then on, so I'm not really one to talk as far as dressing to blend in.

And talking of not blending in, I propose that we expose those who are so offended by the imperfect human body to a bunch of bikini-clad fat women until they finally go blind. Wouldn't that be kindest for all of us? We wouldn't have to listen to them complain anymore, and they would no longer have to be offended by all of the ugliness and horror around them. ;) I mean seriously, is this objectively really that upsetting? Tanning is bad for you, I personally hate the way it looks, and I suppose I would just as soon people not fry to a crisp and then walk around in front of me half-naked, but I don't actually care. If I did care, I hope I would have the perspective to realize that this was my problem and not theirs.

Johanna, I guess this is somewhat on the topic of properly managing your children's education, so I will ask because I've been curious about your statement a ways upthread. Do you feel that your child's teacher was wrong to speak at length about and advocate for masturbation in health class (a viewpoint which I find totally understandable)? Or do we really still think in 2006 that it's somehow wrong and evil to masturbate and that it should be presented as unacceptable? (a viewpoint which scares me, as is probably apparent from the tone of that sentence--sorry for any disrespect). Thanks in advance for clarifying if you get a chance to/want to do so.

I must say that I have found the comments of the homeschoolers on this page so interesting and thought-provoking. Homeschooling as it is described by you folks seems like a great positive in your children's lives. I am still not a fan of homeschooling across the board, because for all of the great homeschoolers who post here, I still think there are many who are not helping their children by being lax in teaching them, presenting only one side of any contentious issue, or refusing to admit that they are not sufficiently adept at calculus and need help of some kind in teaching it to their children. I also worry about this in the context of a larger problem that I see in society--Americans today seem to feel that if they don't understand something or find it uninteresting, then it's stupid and doesn't matter. Can't do math? Then it's just for those ivory-tower eggheads who don't have anything more important to do. Didn't get good grades? Must be because book-larnin' is dumb and unnecessary. Kids' teacher is young, seems to have different political or religious views than you, or uses an "odd" teaching method? Then she's stupid and doesn't know what she's doing, and therefore your kids don't have to respect her. People who are self-satisfied in this way are going to instill a similar attitude and lack of humility in their children whether or not they homeschool, but perhaps moreso if they do. These are the qualms I have about homeschooling, though I am honestly more kindly disposed toward it after reading everyone's comments than I have ever been before.

I am also one of those people who has no children yet who dares to venture forth opinions on how I would raise them if I did. I consider it a positive to think about these issues now rather than having a baby laid in my arms and thinking "crap, how should I raise this little guy?" And of course the childless among us benefit from all the different perspectives that have been raised here by parents.

I still think the Duggars are famewhores, though. ;) Your average large family isn't practically inviting TLC into the birthing room every time they add another kid and falling over itself to make more and more TV specials--which conveniently come about just as Dad is preparing to run for office. I just can't like that guy. And it seems evident to me that those girls do so many more chores than the boys and are being brought up to cater to men's every whim, regardless of how it's sugarcoated in terms of "jurisdictions" and presented as fair because "everyone pitches in." The whole atmosphere is very toxic to young women, in my opinion.

Johanna, this hit my funny bone in a big way! And I really needed the laugh. Thank you! ROFL

"Oreosouza: I'm definitely older than you are!! I can remember how great it was when mankind finally discovered fire, because frankly I never cared for raw meat and those fires, though smokey, warmed the caves up nicely. And boy oh boy those animal skins were scratchy. So I'm all for modernity, because it surely is far more comfortable. "

To respond to your question, spacecowgirl:

My quarrel is not with teaching about sex in high school, which is an age, whether we like to think so or not, when most young people become sexually active. It is from some young liberal zealot teaching arbitrary values about sex. Examples: Masturbation and abortion: okay. Monogamy: something from the antique past.

My kids and I had frank discussions about most topics, including sex. Masturbation is a fact of life. Why it was brought up in the classroom when it wasn't included in the curriculum, and given the imprimatur from this young teacher, is beyond me. It was also beyond the school principal.

Most of us hold specific moral views on various sexual activities. Being a pragmatist, I know that most people masturbate occasionally, and this includes teenagers, many of whom do it frequently. I don't think it's something that needs to be discussed at length in a mixed gender high school class. If it's to be discussed at all (and that's rather unnecessary because people come equipped knowing how to do it-- they discover how at some point during their development)then it is better in my view for parents and children to discuss it if the child brings the subject up.

Abortion was another subject that got the Berkeley-sanctioned okay, and I objected to that as well. Abortion isn't as simple as it's painted. It leaves emotional scars and sometimes physical ones as well. As I see it, it's an act of desperation, not just a ho-hum means of ending an unwanted pregnancy. There are, sadly enough, times when it's necessary, but to treat abortion as nothing more than brushing one's teeth is to my mind unacceptable. It IS a moral choice. To remove morality from ending an innocent life is more than halfway down the slippery slope.

It's a gripping, agonizing choice that is between a pregnant female and her physician; that's my stand. I never shrank from discussing the lurid details of these things with my daughters, and I'm glad I did it that way. I think in the end it served them better as they entered college and the sexual free-for-all that ensues when you have thousands of older adolescents suddenly thrown together in dormitories, as was the case at Stanford when they attended it.


"famewhores"-- GREAT expression!!

I'm not going to lie, I too, would not be caught dead wearing a wet-suit to the beach....unless I am scubadiving ;) But seriously, Johanna (and others)--do you all go on the Duggar's website LOOKING for more things to make fun of them for? It's not like the Duggars have family pool photos of them all wearing those suits, saying "look at us! aren't we modest! yay wetsuits!" They have a link to the manufacturer, for goodness sakes!

Now Johanna, you really are not the most open-minded person I've read on this blog. I find it hard to believe that you go to the Duggar's website to do anything but find more things to criticize them for. I doubt (I could be wrong) that you check out thier homepage to learn about them. I find that really sad, that in a 24 hour day, you really don't have anything better to do with your time.

Do you not have a job? Housecleaning to do? Errands to run? Friends to talk to? Grandkids to buy birthday gifts for? Seriously, most of us are too busy with a little think called LIFE to think twice about what a family we've never met in Arkansas is wearing to the beach this season. But not you!!! It must be nice to have nothing better to do with one's time....

Something else to think about....I've often heard people comment on how resentment often stems from some dissatisfaction in your own life. Think about it: when you are happy and fulfilled and excited about your life, do you really care to think about stuff that brings you resentment and annoyance? Not usually! People who are truly satisfied with themselves could care less what others are doing. But people who resent others--something is making them angry, and that something is usually inside of themselves, not some people who live miles away....

Johanna, I hope whatever is missing in your life will be filled. I can't imagine what it would be like to derive satisfaction from resenting others. I feel sorry for you, and I hope things get better for you.

I apologize to Johanna, for only bringing up her name in my last post. Credit to BLEST WITH ZERO for searching out that website on the Duggar page--Johanna did jump right on the "criticize the wetsuits" bandwagon, but Blest with Zero, everything I said about Johanna before certianly applies to you as well! Sorry for leaving you out! ;)

Christina, give up. Johanna may have a BA and a MA, but she's full of BS. Sure, she may have some valid points(very few) throughout this lengthy blog, but for the most part, she doesn't know what she's talking about. She has no "firsthand" knowledge of that which she's so opinionated about.

Johanna, thanks for the explanation. I thought it was something like that, more that parents should be the ones to discuss these issues with their kids regardless of the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the issue at hand. (At HAND! Ha! No pun intended, but now that I noticed that I have to leave it there. :) Thank you for your insight and sharing how you handled some of these issues with your own kids.

I agree that they probably should not touch abortion in high school for that reason. It's legal and about 50% of people (arguably--I'm not trying to emphasize the number here, just that both both being in favor of legalized abortion and being opposed to it are in the mainstream) do not find it morally wrong, including myself, so it would not sit well with me if my kids' teacher were to teach it as wrong in school. On the other hand, I agree that there are moral and psychological aspects to abortion that cannot be adequately be touched on in a school setting and that it is something that is best addressed by parents, clergy, counselors, or other adults who are invested in the child as an individual and can be trusted to provide a safe environment for discussion of the topic. Plus you just plain open up a can of worms whenever this topic comes up in school. I moved from Michigan to North Carolina as a high-school junior and my advanced biology teacher actually had us debate abortion in class. Now THAT was an interesting day. And not really in a good way.

I have to say that I was not in high school THAT long ago (OK, so it was kind of long ago, shut up) and by no means did they denigrate monogamy or abstinence. I had "abstinence is the only way" burned into my brain from the age of about 12, and I went to a public school in a fairly liberal area. Just putting in a plug for my teachers there. :)

On another topic... I guess we all have "nothing better to do" since we are posting here (except not, since pretty much everyone here has said that they are busy with a few kids, a lot of kids, work, or other pursuits). I mean, if one has nothing better to do than post about how others have nothing better to do, then by definition you have just as little to "do" as the person you're posting about. Then it becomes this endless pile-on of having nothing better to do. You see what I mean? It's like that Staples commercial where you use the Easy button to find the other Easy button. Everything just implodes and the space-time continuum collapses on itself. Why risk that kind of havoc? :)

Personally I find links like the Victorian bathing suit web page amusing and entertaining, and I doubt if the Duggars would have put the links up if they didn't want others to see them. Especially when you're on TV, you don't exactly put up a web page just so you and your immediate family can look at it. You want people to go there and you want to promote modest clothing web sites, or homeschool sites, or whatever--all the stuff that the Duggars are activists for. It's a great platform to get your views out there. I'm sure they are not shedding a single tear that these sites are being discussed on the Internet at large. I wouldn't be.

Forgot to add: I can't take credit for famewhore. I don't know where it originally came from but I've seen people use it for years and years in reference especially to reality show contestants. No other term is really so evocative.

I went to the Duggar site in an attempt to discover what exactly these people were about. I found out by following the links ("family-friendly" is how they bill these links). They're cultists, and they proselytize for their various beliefs from an enormous number of children to antique bathing suits to the Gothard method of home schooling.

I did some research on Bill Gothard. Not a pretty picture-- he's a sort of version of David Koresh from all I can tell.

Justme and Christina, I don't give a flying duck what you think about me. You're as opinionated as all get-out, in my book. And you deride anyone who doesn't hold your opinions. Boo hoo. What a shame that I don't! That must be because I'm actually capable of sustained thought.

Since you can't discuss but can only hold opinions based on nothing whatsoever except raw emotion, why don't YOU go find something else to do? I'm happy discussing on this site. And I don't intend to quit until Amy gets fed up and bumps us all off.

As for life experiences that you think I don't have-- just another illustration of your ignorance.

Johanna, I don't think long-winded diatribes makes one more intelligent than another.

I don't find anything wrong with others having opinions. I don't care what size family a person chooses to have or if they homeschool. THAT is their business. I might have an opinion on it, but that's as far as it goes. You, on the other hand, deride them for those choices and think there should be intevention from the authorities for their actions(which are within the law, by the way). You go past opinions and on to stomp our freedoms into the ground. I've said this before and I'll say it again, when freedom is taken away from one it spirals out of control and we all(as a nation) get smacked.

Wha?? Johanna has done no such thing (stomp our freedoms into the ground). And I have to agree with Spacedcowgirl in that any of us posting here are choosing to use our leisure time to do so. Uh, just saying... people in glass houses and all that... can't think of a BIGGER waste of time than POSTING about someone else wasting time!

And the whole modesty thing... why advertise? I do agree that it is awfully self-righteous to be running around saying how modest you are. If you are truly modest, in manner of dress, heart and mind, you don't need to tell anyone about it. That is sort of the definition of being modest, right? And I am a fairly modest person, okay aside from a picture of myself in red flannel pajamas on my blog for which I was criticised as being immodest and 'attention seeking' (no, sorry, just bored and playing with my cell-phone camera). I manage to be pretty dang modest just shopping in your regular old stores. Now, I guess if I were Burka-wearing-modest, I'd need some additional resources. And my children, who are 3 and 6, don't look at the human body in a sexual way because I've not drawn their attention to it in a sexual way- they are innocent. I have to wonder- there is a mother who posts about how she teaches her young children to avert their faces from the immodest magazine covers at the grocery store- well, for goodness sake- my girls don't look at that stuff anyway because it doesn't interest them and if they did, it wouldn't be in a way that would be corrupting to them because they are INNOCENT- they do not have the knowledge to feel shame over these things. Sometimes drawing attention to something like that is worse than just ignoring it altogether. Kids don't learn from and mimic magazine covers when they have a positive parent modelling for them.

(stomp stomp stomp stomp!!) Dang. I just bumped my toe on justme's freedoms. Oh well, all in a day's work. Woops, gotta run. Got me a World Hegemony meeting in fifteen minutes.

Johanna, you totally rock!!! Thank you for completely proving my point for me....someone calls you out, and you reply by insulting them! May I present to the jury Exhibit A:

"You're as opinionated as all get-out, in my book. And you deride anyone who doesn't hold your opinions....That must be because I'm actually capable of sustained thought."

"just another illustration of your ignorance"


Talk about "not being able discuss without holding opinions and raw emotion"

Now, I may not agree with Spacedcowgirl's views and opinions, but she does a great job of presenting her views in an un-insulting way, and THAT, Johanna, fosters good discussion. Even Traci, who doesn't share all of your opinions, has thrown a compliment your way!

Why don't you re-read "Exhibit A", and you tell me whose discussion is filled with raw emotion and opinionatedness??"

(I know, I know, justme, Johanna will read the above and find nothing wrong with it, and write me back to tell me that she has a PhD and was debate captain for 4 years running.... ;)

Gee, thanks for the academic promotion-- but I don't have a PhD. Two of my kids do though.

You've just proved MY point-- again.


How so? I gave supporting evidence in my post--where is yours??

Thanks J :)

"Christina, give up. Johanna may have a BA and a MA, but she's full of BS. Sure, she may have some valid points(very few) throughout this lengthy blog, but for the most part, she doesn't know what she's talking about. She has no "firsthand" knowledge of that which she's so opinionated about." just me, wed. May 3

"
Now Johanna, you really are not the most open-minded person I've read on this blog. I find it hard to believe that you go to the Duggar's website to do anything but find more things to criticize them for. I doubt (I could be wrong) that you check out thier homepage to learn about them. I find that really sad, that in a 24 hour day, you really don't have anything better to do with your time.Do you not have a job? Housecleaning to do? Errands to run? Friends to talk to? Grandkids to buy birthday gifts for? Seriously, most of us are too busy with a little think called LIFE to think twice about what a family we've never met in Arkansas is wearing to the beach this season. But not you!!! It must be nice to have nothing better to do with one's time...." Christina, Wed. May 3

Q.E.D.

You know what would shut all of us up, Johanna? You, telling us what REALLY bothers you about the Duggars. Come up with a legitimate answer (and please, not "I'm concerned about the kids" or "They are ruining the economy!" cause those are BS) and we'll all leave you and you opinions alone!

I think that you resent that Michelle still has her sanity even after 16, whereas your psychological limit was 3. Ahhh, that green-eyen monster....

Once again, I hope that you are able to find the fulfillment in life that you are lacking. Cheers, J:)

Wow, Christina, do you know how goofy an argument that is? "If you criticize someone for X, it must be because you are jealous of X". Maybe some of us have a concern for what sort of ideas are being fed to the masses by the shovelful under the new Conservative agenda that has come to the forefront under this administration. Maybe some of us are horrified by the thought of the media iconifying a woman for the NUMBER of children she has, versus the quality of the care she gives those children. Maybe some of us don't like the idea of perpetuating a cultist religion by JUST HAVING A WHOLE BUNCH OF KIDS. Maybe some of us think it is a profligate person who has 16 children and then promotes the same regardless of whether that is a responsible position or not. It doesn't have anything to do with being jealous.

People are entitled to their opinions, whatever they are.

Christina, would you be critical of someone having an abortion? Can you imagine someone feeling as strongly about their opinion as the one you might hold regarding abortion? For every rationalization that abortion is wrong, there will be one on the opposing side that says it should be allowed. And then how absurd would you find it if someone accused you of being jealous because you didn't abort one of your children, because you expressed an opinion opposing abortion? Ridiculous, no?

And how condescending and superior is it to assume that someone else doesn't know their own opinion?

That's funny that you chose abortion to play devil's advocate with. You VERY wrongly assumed that I am for abortion. I am 100% pro-life, so actually, if someone were to shove pro-choice down my throat, we'd have words.

I guess I'm not arguing my point very well, LOL. I'm not saying we all have to be fore the Duggars, or agree with their media fame, or how they live dress, etc. But some of the names that they have been called on this site I find apalling. The pigs, which I credited you for taking down, were uncalled for. People have proven here, (myself included, I will admit) that they cannot state their opinions without being rude to another party. THAT has become the issue here....not some family in Arkansas.

And have you been reading Johanna's comments? Talk about someone thinking her opinion is superior, and that "justme" and myself don't know our own opinions!

PS-
Amy, you seem very concerned that after a 60 minute documentary, the whole world will be following "Duggarocracy". I really don't think that an hour of seeing this family on TV is going to cause liberals to turn from the dark side toward conservatism (That was a joke, although I am a hard-core conservative haha). Bottom line: is this family, in the grand scheme of things, REALLY a world issue??

Compared to:

-For you liberals, I'm sure that war in Iraq is a hot-button.

-The US trade balance

-Public Education

-17 year olds having 3 babies out of wedlock and our tax money keeping her on welfare

-Abortion (aka, killing human life)

-Starving children in Africa

-The environment

-Homelessness

-Diseases

-The demise of social security

-Rapists, kidnappers, and murderers that are on the loose.

-Nuclear war, terrorism, etc.

Seriously people, there are more pressing issues in the world to worry about than Jim Bob and Michelle's procreation!

Actually Christina, I completely assumed that you wuld be Pro-Life- I mean what else? If you actually read what I wrote, you'll see that.

And yes, I did dedicate this post on my blog to the Duggars. And yes, the pig picture WAS called for- I took it down because it was taken the wrong way by a couple of people who I've since come to know as kind, and wonderful people whom I do not wish to offend.

If you look elsewhere on my blog you will find that much of my time (two posts out of hundreds are on the Duggars) is spent discussing other more pertinent topics. Just because there are other things to talk about doesn't mean people can't talk about this issue.

As to the rudeness issue, well, it takes a real politician to express an opinion that someone somewhere won't find offensive or rude in some way. Almost any way you frame something, someone will find a way to take it the 'wrong' way. I don;t think most people here have posted their opinion with the intent of creating malice or causing pain, yet sometimes an opinion alone can do that because we internalize it and assume that it means something about ourselves.

I support the right of a family (or a woman) to have as few or as many children as they (or she) see(s) fit, so long as it is not on the public dime.

Do I think the Duggars are odd? Yes, having that many children seems odd to me. BUT, I have no children by choice and that probably seems very strange to them! I've simply chosen a different path; to own a business, travel, volunteer my time, have hobbies, etc. I don't see the Duggars judging me for my choices on any forums. I'm sure we have differing opinions but that's what they are- opinions.

I believe there is no one true 'ideal' family. Family is what you make of it.

And that's my 2 cents. :)

My bad, I did "actually read" what you wrote. The first line "Christina, would you be critical of someone having an abortion?" could be read either way. I read it wrong, and I apologize for misjudging your assumption.

Annnnnnnnyway, the main purpose of that last post was to alay your fears that the Duggars are taking over the world and brainwashing everyone into moral conservative beings. I think within the year, the novelty will wear off, and unless she has a 17th....well, the DSCH channel will be out a third program, and your blog regarding the Duggars will remain at 2 here insetad of 3, and the democratic party will live on (unfortunately) LOL :)

I wanted to end this post by complimenting you. We do not share the same opinions, but I respect you and the opinions you hold. I know you were thinking of homeschooling this summer. I don't know what your background is--education or otherwise--but you seem like a very well-spoken and intelligent person. If you have any doubt as to whether you are equipped to teach your children, I'd say you are more so than most. I hope you will forgive me for saying so, because I do not know you at all, but from the little I have read of you here on this blog, you certainly seem to have the competency it would take to teach your children. I wish you and your daughters (and husband!) all the best this summer.

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