Earlier this year, the kids and I read a beautifully narrated (and illustrated) book set during the Civil War. Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom is the story of a young Choctaw girl who lives across the river from a young boy born into slavery.

One scene in the story depicts the characters as invisible, which led us to discuss the meaning of suspension of disbelief. My daughter, then eleven, remarked, "That's what religious people have to do."

I used to blog at HomeschoolJournal as Scrappitydoodah. I haven't updated there since the end of 2007. I think I'm going to delete that blog, but first I'm going to be bringing some of my posts over here.

I imagine there must be some simple way of doing that, but it's beyond me, so it may take awhile.

I apologize if any of these are repeats, but I have a feeling no one will really remember me, anyway. Well, maybe Jo....


Happy Hump Day!

I recently received an email from a former family member who has had no contact with us since mid-2000.

I have been thinking lately about whether or not organized, public education at the grade school level had a significant effect on preparing me, academically, for college. What I've decided was that grades 1-6 had little to no effect. At that time, it was more about social skills, conformity and learning how to obey authority, things that can be taught by family.

7th and 8th grades were horrible, also teaching little to nothing, but alerting me and training me by immersion on how to avoid trouble, a valuable lesson anyway, lessons I use even today.

By 9th grade though, it took six teachers who specialize in the various subjects to stimulate the minds and feed the dreams of kids who are serious about preparing for college. Not to say that it must begin here, but I think it was about this time when I started serious, critical thinking and began the knowledge foundation (each course building on its predecessor). For kids who have not had advanced math or science in the early high school years, college can be very tough. I have taught those unfortunate kids who have no foundation in math and science. They have huge dreams, but they're heartbroken when they can't keep up.

I also noticed that by the time I was in 10th grade, all the students had more or less niched into groups, or at least found each other in the crowd. The bad element that was so scary in earlier grades had significantly less influence and power because the serious students protected and supported one another, creating their own little universe. I learned a lot about trusting people and friends by 'joining' the group of Geeks who shared the same academic aspirations as I did. I'm sure the same was true of the Arts, Government, Athletics, and etc. kids.

I believe that too much insulation can make a kid exceptionally blind and impressionable to 'wolves in sheeps clothing' (the very worst kind), and thus vulnerable when eventually on their own. Their [sic] is a lot of calculated malevolance in the world today that prides itself in its covert and clever methods of trapping victims. And, they have lots of tools to use. I believe it is very important for young adults, especially, to be able to identify these types at the deepest, intuitive level. They will not be protected by a verbal lesson. I believe they must learn about it in the proactive, yet protective observatory of the real world.

What are your feelings on this?

Well, I had several feelings, and thought of several replies. For instance:

"Thank you! I had put absolutely no thought nor research into homeschooling. We just did it on a whim! I wanted to shelter them from having any experiences at all outside of our home. But your email has opened my eyes! I'm rushing right down to the local school to enroll my children immediately. We thank you for thinking of us!"

My next pending reply:

"My feelings on this are that it's none of your business."

I considered sending him a nice, long email with our reasons for homeschooling, including links to positive research, photos of them with their friends, anecdotes about their involvement in the community, evidence of their critical thinking skills even at age 6, and so on.

But in the end...I just ignored him.

Since Mondays tend to be one of those days where many of us often find we are not in the best mood, I've decided to devote Mondays on this to blog to posting something that makes me smile, laugh, or otherwise just feel darn good.

I hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time, I was a Christian. (I joke--but not really--that I am a recovering Baptist and Presbyterian.)

I was a homophobic one, at that. I blush to think of those days. It all started in high school, where there were whispers but no one openly spoke of it. I wasn't for sure if I actually knew a homosexual, but I was certain these poor, misguided souls were bound for Hell. (Possibly possessed by demons, too, but I wasn't too clear on that.)

College was a mind-opening experience for me. I have a vivid memory of standing in a Burger King one evening, when a gorgeous blonde Madonna (think pop singer, not MaryMotherOfGod) began making conversation with me. I was confused because I was pretty sure I had never met this girl, but it was clear she knew me. I finally confessed I had no idea who she was, and she said, "Honey! It's me, Ken!" My hair stylist.

That friendship led to introductions and eventually a theater class, and this is where I discovered that people are people, and love is love. I began to question, if not the existance, at least the morals and values of the God I'd been raised to fear.

To say my parents weren't happy about this would be a huge understatement. I remember a rather loud argument with my mother the day I brought my very feminine and outspokenly homosexual friend Shawn home for the evening. She was polite, but the second the door shut behind him, she said, "How dare you bring that into this house?"

One night the phone rang in the wee hours, and it was Shawn. He'd been assaulted by several rednecks (and I can say that, I grew up there) while leaving a gay bar. I drove as quickly as I could to pick him up, and brought him back to my house to nurse his hurts, Mama's sensibilities be damned.

I would like to tie this story up with a nice little anecdote about how Mama's heart softened over the years, but I can't. To her, homosexual equals pedophile and pervert, and no amount of discussion will sway her from her stance that it's a choice that's made for attention. Her unwillingness to listen to logic and reason bothers me to no end, but I don't give up. Each visit home includes at least one conversation in which I try to change her mind, and she rolls her eyes at me and worries about my soul.

Which brings me to the second part of my confession. To this day, I get a mean little thrill out of telling her about my college adventures with all my gay friends at the gay bars. It makes me snicker when I think about it.

It is the middle of the night, and I am sitting in near-silence listening to the haunting call of an owl in the woods nearby. Dog is resting close to my feet, looking up at me from time to time. A breeze is ruffling the draperies and I am doing what I do most nights at this time...regrouping, planning, reflecting, centering. And playing on Facebook. And hitting the Stumble button....

I had this whole wonderful introduction planned, and then my girls got out of bed and my train of thought went down the wrong track, and I can't remember what I was going to write. (See "About Me," where I mention the word scatter-brained.) I'm quite sure it will come to me just about the time I get settled into bed.

Dog is looking at me now, and I can see by her expression she is thinking Would you hurry up already and close that thing down so we can go to bed? I know this to be true, because Dog and I have this connection. (It's amazing, but true, and if you are a dog person, you know what I mean.) Plus, when I looked away from her and back to the screen, she heaved an exasperated sigh and flopped back down. See, of the five of us, Dog loves me most of all. If I leave the room, Dog follows. She is underfoot when I am cooking (some people say this is because she is hoping for tasty morsels, but I refuse to believe it is anything less than her total devotion to me); she watches out the window when I leave and--according to my husband--whimpers until she can no longer see me; and she dozes off and on wherever I am 'centering' until I head for bed, at which point she tries to get there before I do.

Dog and I have this little struggle for possession of the spot next to my husband; we both want to sleep next to him, and sometimes she worms her way right into the middle. Mind you, I'm not complaining, because we love Dog, and even though we said no dogs on the bed when she first found us, it's hard to resist her total adorableness. As long as I get my covers, it's all good.

She is looking at me again and I can see she is getting impatient. I think it's time to say night-night. This devotion thing runs both ways, you know.

Daydreams & Night Things


About Me

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Bleu is a scatter-brained woman who daydreams too much and stays up too late. She is a liberal, non-theistic humanist attempting to single-handedly raise three children while trying to remain grounded and centered. But she's not bitter. *wink*