Lovely Weekend Reads

weekend reads

“In education, McDonaldization attempts to wipe out any of the messiness or inefficiencies of learning. Instead, it attempts to reduce it to a commodity that can be packaged, marketed and sold. Rather than cultivating a deep, holistic love of learning that touches every aspect of a student’s life, learning is reduced to an assembly line. As we allow this to happen, we impose a mechanistic view of learning (which, in nature, is largely an organic process) and at a great cost.”

Are You Ready to Join the Slow Education Movement?  (Powerful Learning Practice)

“”We want to promote safety with kids,” says Dr. Cora Breuner, an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We truly believe that our teenagers are getting six to seven hours of sleep a night, and they need eight to 10.”

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement calling on school districts to move start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high schools, so that students can get at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night.”

Pediatricians say school should start later for teen’s health (NPR)

“In a July article for The New Republic, William Deresiewicz admonished parents to abandon Ivy League ambitions for their children. Having spent 24 years at Columbia and Yale, he surmises that students at our most elite universities have lost their sense of purpose.

These high-achieving students may be “winners in the race we have made of childhood.” They may have mastered “a double major, a sport, a musical instrument, a couple of foreign languages, service work in distant corners of the globe, [and] a few hobbies thrown in for good measure.” But if they are great at what they’re doing, they have no idea why they’re doing it.”

When Childhood Has Become a Race (Christianity Today)

“All day, everyday.

Our days are spent doing real work in the real world. No busy work, no killing time, no crowd control.

Just learning and working and living, together. So we have time to visit our inventor neighbor to see his latest cedar shingle splitting tool or his DIY apple grinder and press or take a tour of his restored prairie.

And after that the food we harvest and cook from the garden is real. The small business that my children start are real. The robots they build are real.

All of it. Real. Nothing happens here to merely teach a concept.”

Happy to Homeschool (Rachel Wolf)

Schools as we know them have existed for a very short time historically: they are in themselves a vast social experiment. A lot of data are in at this point. One in four Americans does not know the earth revolves around the sun. Half of Americans don’t know that antibiotics can’t cure a virus. 45% of American high school graduates don’t know that the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. These aren’t things that are difficult to know. If the hypothesis is that universal compulsory schooling is the best way to to create an informed and critically literate citizenry, then anyone looking at the data with a clear eye would have to concede that the results are, at best, mixed. At worst, they are catastrophic: a few strains of superbacteria may be about to prove that point for us.
On the other hand, virtually all white American settlers in the northeastern colonies at the time of the American Revolution could read, not because they had all been to school, and certainly not because they had all been tutored in phonics, which didn’t exist at the time. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, not exactly light reading, sold over 500,000 copies in its first year of publication, the equivalent of a book selling sixty million copies today. People learned to read in a variety of ways, some from small one-room schools, but many from their mothers, from tutors, traveling ministers, apprentice’s masters, relatives, neighbors, friends. They could read because, in a literate population, it is really not that difficult to transmit literacy from one person to the next. When people really want a skill, it goes viral. You couldn’t stop it if you tried.”

A Thousand Rivers: What the modern world has forgotten about children and learning (Schooling the World)

{We haven’t started Plutarch yet, but Nancy gives great resources in this three part (so far) series!}

Plutarch Primer, Part III (Sage Parnassus)

I am so excited about Julie Bogart’s Homeschool Alliance, a coaching program for homeschool moms.  I have followed and admired her for years.  Julie, owner of Brave Writer and mom of five adult homeschooled children, has more wisdom and common sense about homeschooling than most people I know of.  I hope to join her alliance at some point. In the mean time, I hope some of you can.

The Homeschool Alliance is Here!

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

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Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Learning to Simply Be (in Nature) Pt. 3: Sabbath

be in nature graphic

Hard work is a virtue. Our nation was built on the Puritan work ethic, and industriousness is a quality we should value in ourselves and our kids.

I also believe that we should value the ability to simply be, especially to be in nature, as I expressed in parts 1 and 2 of this little series. I believe that this ability is something we’ve largely lost in our culture, to our detriment.

While our nation was built on a Puritan work ethic, it was also built around the concept of the seven-day week begun with a rest day, a Sabbath. Are any of us old enough to remember when all businesses were closed on Sunday?

Whether we were religious or not, culturally, down time was built into our schedules. Christians aren’t bound to observe a Sabbath, but it’s a wise practice to set aside a day a week to rest and decompress.

Technology has also enabled us to have our work continuously at our fingertips. We no longer have the rhythm of daylight and dark, work hours and home hours. It began with the advent of the electric light and air conditioning, which expanded the time and comfort in which we could work.

It’s continued with the internet, smart phones, and tablets. We’re almost unlimited in our ability to work wherever and whenever.

Technology is a tremendous gift, but it’s also a double edged sword. I fear we often use it unwisely.

This isn’t a “woe is me, the sky is falling” post. I LOVE technology. What a gift to live in a time with such endless possibilities!

But if we aren’t careful, we will burn ourselves out, because technology allows us to push past our natural limits far more than is good for us.

My family typically chooses a day a week for a lighter load, a day of rest, a day to do things we find refreshing and rejuvenating. It is often HARD to work into our schedule, but when we skip this day for a few weeks, I feel it.

I get stressed, anxious, over-emotional, and overtired. Sabbath rest isn’t a legalistic rule, but used in the context of grace it’s a gift, and one I’m thankful to accept.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you feel that a periodic day of rest is necessary? Why or why not?

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…The Thrifty Home, Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

Tuesday Poetry Teatime: Hollyhocks by Edgar Guest

hollyhocks graphic

Old-fashioned flowers! I love them all:
The morning-glories on the wall,
The pansies in their patch of shade,
The violets, stolen from a glade,
The bleeding hearts and columbine,
Have long been garden friends of mine;
But memory every summer flocks
About a clump of hollyhocks.

The mother loved them years ago;
Beside the fence they used to grow,
And though the garden changed each year
And certain blooms would disappear
To give their places in the ground
To something new that mother found,
Some pretty bloom or rosebush rare—
The hollyhocks were always there.

It seems but yesterday to me
She led me down the yard to see
The first tall spires, with bloom aflame,
And taught me to pronounce their name.
And year by year I watched them grow,
The first flowers I had come to know.
And with the mother dear I’d yearn
To see the hollyhocks return.

The garden of my boyhood days
With hollyhocks was kept ablaze;
In all my recollections they
In friendly columns nod and sway;
And when to-day their blooms I see,
Always the mother smiles at me;
The mind’s bright chambers, life unlocks
Each summer with the hollyhocks.

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

{this post contains affiliate links}

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…The Thrifty Home, Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling

RH graphic 1

RH graphic 2RH graphic 3

Soon I’ll be reviewing The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling by Karen Campbell.  Until then, enjoy these quotes from the book which gives such a lovely taste of Karen’s loving approach.

cozy homeschooling graphic

This is part of Cozy Homeschooling, an ongoing series.  For the rest of the Cozy Homeschooling posts, click here.

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

{this post contains affiliate links}

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…The Thrifty Home, Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

Lovely Weekend Reads 8/16/14

weekend reads

“[W]e moms are without excuse and should flee from entitlement and bitterness.

We’ve established these thoughts.

Been there.

Done that.

Roger, over and out.

Today, however, I humbly want to grab the ear of, well, basically everyone else.

The friend of a mom. The mom with bigger, more independent kids. The single. The newlywed. The grandmother. The widow. The married couple who haven’t had children. The aunt. The uncle. The neighbor.

I need to let you in on a little secret…

the mom in your life with young kids needs help.

Help a Mother Out Part 1: A Cry for Help.  A Call to Arms.

Help a Mother Out Part 2: The How To

-Mrs. Gore’s Diary

“This is what I want for my sons: freedom. Not just physical freedom, but intellectual and emotional freedom from the formulaic learning that prevails in our schools. I want for them the freedom to immerse themselves in the fields and forest that surround our home, to wander aimlessly or with purpose. I want for them the freedom to develop at whatever pace is etched into their DNA, not the pace dictated by an institution looking to meet the benchmarks that will in part determine its funding. I want them to be free to love learning for its own sake, the way that all children love learning for its own sake when it is not forced on them or attached to reward. I want them to remain free of social pressures to look, act, or think any way but that which feels most natural to them.

I want for them the freedom to be children. And no one can teach them how to do that.”

Unschooling: The Case for Setting Your Kids Into the Wild (Outside Magazine)

“Each year I waited for courtship to start working and for my homeschool friends to start getting married. It never happened. Most of them are still single. Some have grown bitter and jaded. Then couples who did get married through courtship started getting divorced. I’m talking the kind of couples who first kissed at their wedding were filing for divorce.

This was not the deal!

The deal was that if we put up with the rules and awkwardness of courtship now we could avoid the pain of divorce later.  The whole point of courtship was to have a happy marriage, not a high divorce rate.

So I humbled myself and took my grandmother out for dinner to hear why she thought courtship was a bad idea all those years ago. She had predicted the failure of courtship back in the 90s and I wanted to understand how and why.”

Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed (Thomas Umstettd)

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

The Frugal Pantry: Cabbage

frugal pantry graphic

In season (winter) I sometimes find cabbage for as low as 28 cents/lb.  This can be the base for so many inexpensive meals and side dishes!  Here are 5 yummy ones.

cabbage cole slawCole Slaw

cabbage rollsVegetarian Cabbage Rolls

cabbage sauerkrautHomemade Sauerkraut (a fabulous source of probiotics!)

cabbage sausage 2Cabbage and Sausage Casserole

A final favorite is one my family was introduced to years ago…cooked macaroni noodles (I think rice noodles would be nice) and sauteed cabbage nicely seasoned and mixed together in a casserole, topped with a generous portion of cheese and heated together.  It was served with homemade cheese stuffed rolls and I still count it as one of the yummiest cheap meals I have ever eaten!

For the rest of the Frugal Pantry series, click here.

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

 

 

Learning to Simply Be (in Nature) Pt. 2: The Practice of Personal Quiet

be in nature graphic

Recently I wrote about how we and our children have lost the ability to simply be in nature, to the degree that we have no point of reference for it any more.

Many of us can’t even picture what it would be like for our kids to spend hours of unstructured time outside. We are puzzled by the idea that anyone would want to do this.

In Part 1, I discussed this phenomenon and a few things that our children have lost as a result of an inability to practice quiet being in nature.

But I believe that what we’ve lost goes much deeper than this, not just for our kids but also for we adults. And I think that it applies to all our time, not just time outdoors.

We live in a culture where busyness is a virtue and stillness, contemplation, and silence are to be abhorred. In fact, if you are not busy every waking moment and if you don’t fall into bed totally spent each night, you are often considered unambitious and lazy.

Certainly we want to be industrious, but I will be honest: most middle-class Americans are more likely to suffer from workaholism than its opposite.

We’ve lost the ability to meditate…not in the woo-woo Eastern sense, but simply to be with our thoughts and feelings and mull things over. We constantly distract ourselves with noise, busyness, and information.

I fear that we are losing creativity. Personally, I’m unable to be creative when I don’t have chunks of quiet time alone. When I do have that time, I find that the ideas come in such a deluge that I can hardly get them all written down.

We’ve lost the ability for introspection and self-examination. I am not one to promote navel-gazing for its own sake, but I do feel that it’s important to make self-assessment. Maybe one reason we have so many pompous people with an over-inflated view of themselves is because they have never had the chance to quietly, accurately self-assess.

As a Christian, I’m concerned that our inability to be still (in nature or otherwise) has hindered our ability to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to hear his whisper over music, TV, and sheer busyness.

While all of these quiet disciplines can take place indoors, my personal opinion is that they are enhanced when we practice them in creation. Our man-made worlds are so filled with distractions…even coffee time on the porch without phone or book or some fiddly object creates a little space between us and the racket that normally fills our days. It’s so worth it to set aside some undistracted time to just…be…

Do you agree or disagree? Is it hard for you to be still or quiet without distractions? If so, why do you think this is?

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

{this post contains affiliate links}

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…The Thrifty Home, Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom