January 22, 2013

The Truth Hurts

Miriam (my oldest) went to basketball practice tonight.  When I picked her up she told me that she'd had a lengthy discussion with an older girl--the coach's daughter--about homeschooling versus public school.  I asked what the other girl had said and Miriam replied that the girl thought homeschooling sounded "boring."

So then I asked Miriam what she said.

Miriam: "I told her that homeschooling was lots of fun because you have lots of free time and you get to see your relatives a lot and you get to go fun places."

In my head: "Yay, yay, yay!"

Miriam: "And I told her that when your mom is pregnant you have a lot less work."

In my head: "Sigh."

Then I thought of one of my favorite musicals--The Happiest Millionaire--when they sing the song, "Let's Have a Drink On It Now!"

If you're not familiar with the song the chorus goes something like this:

Well well well, let's 'ave a drink on it, as me father used to say! When the truth is nobly spoken, it's respect ye've got to pay! So fill yer cup an' lift it up and *clink*, here's how! No shilly-shallyin', no dilly-dallyin', let's 'ave a drink on it now! 

January 20, 2013

Pandora: Completely Superfluous Post

I think I have mentioned on this blog how much I love music.  Love music.  Let me say it one more time: love, love, love, love music.  It used to be my whole life (I was once in 3 musicals at one time--that was busy) :) back in my teenage years.  I think music is a powerful tool to bring people together and create lasting memories.

For example, you see the weirdo in the above picture?  His name is Derek.  He's older than me by 18 months and was my best friend growing up.  He's a strange, strange man and he was a strange, strange boy.  As a teenager he went around singing Weird Al songs and 80s love songs.  Whenever I see Rocky Road ice cream, hear someone say Rocky Road ice cream, or hear a song from the 80s--I think of him.  Did you spend years of your life listening to your brother sing and head bang to I Love Rocky Road, won't you go and buy half a gallon, baby?  No????  You missed out.

And the lovely lady in the above picture?  Her name is Amy.  She's older than me by 36 months and her signature song during our teenage years was "Isn't it Ironic?"  A little too ironic.  She sang it countless times for no good reason and sang it countless times for good reasons.  Isn't it ironic?  I really do think.

I have 8 siblings.  There are special songs linked to all of them.  Plus the dancing.  We. were. awesome.  At my wedding reception we danced to The Chicken and flapped our arms around and leaped about as if we knew what we were doing.  My hubby's grandma said later, "I've never seen a family enjoy each other as much as Andrea's family does."  It's the music.

So . . . the point of this post is that I've found some stations on pandora that are real treasures and I thought I would share them with you in case you haven't discovered them yet.  Sorry I got distracted by the nostalgia--I need some Rocky Road ice cream and maybe make a prank call to my brother to get it out of my system.

#1 pandora station for dancing/enjoying with children: Children's Folk Songs.  It plays a real variety of music from "You Are My Sunshine" to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."  Every once in awhile it will play something completely unexpected like Three Dog Night.  All the songs are catchy, fun to dance to, and easy to sing.  We love this station.

#2 pandora station for dancing/enjoying with children: 60s Folk Radio.  This is what I put on when I feel like dancing with the kids.  It has lots of Simon and Garfunkel, songs like "I Will Walk 500 Miles," and "The Sound of Silence."  Sometimes it has Elvis.  It is laid back folksy music--no hard rock type stuff.  I haven't run into any songs I wouldn't let my kids listen to and it is perfect for dancing and when Mom wants to sing (I know most the songs that play on this station).

#1 pandora station if your daughter is Miriam: Scottish Traditional Radio.  My daughter is obsessed with Scottish things.  I have no idea why.  Once, when she was younger I asked her to do something and she said, "Mother, I cannot for I am a Scottish lass and I must do a Scottish dance."  I thought that would change with time but it has not.  If you like "fancy dancing" then the Scottish station might be just the thing.  Miriam adores it.

#1 pandora station if you are me: Choral Music Radio.  Choral music is my favorite type of singing.  Think cathedrals and the moving line passing between parts and very precise Latin pronunciation.  It thrills me.  Whenever I'm feeling particularly moody (me? moody???), I put this on.  It makes me feel relaxed and peaceful.  It is a gorgeous type of music.

#2 pandora station if you are me: Willie Nelson Radio.  Willie is my favorite singer.  He also makes me feel mellow.  This station mostly plays Willie, obviously, but also a lot of other old country.  I gave up on current country music a few years ago (what is with all the swearing and angry women songs??), but I still love the old stuff.  The good stuff.

A few other stations we have on our pandora list:
Halloween Party Radio
LDS Hymns of Worship
Patriotic Suite
Mumford and Sons (for me when the kids are in bed and I need to rock out)
Classical Radio (for when Miriam wants to be a ballerina)
African Essentials (for when Cowen wants to be a Zulu warrior)
Love Songs (when I want to sing)
Classical Crossover

and about 12 Christmas stations.  I love the shuffle feature.

Do you have any Pandora treasures?

January 9, 2013

Small Rant: Shielding Your Children From the World

I was just surfing the internet reading up on the latest homeschool news.  Always a mistake.  Yes, I should be in bed but I'm trying to recover from a not-the-greatest day by spending some quality alone time.  I'll regret it tomorrow.

Homeschool news always prompts comments.  My hubby forbid me from reading those comments several years ago as they usually make my head explode (red-heads are known for their even-keel personalities after all) but every once in awhile I can't help myself.  I keep thinking that the general public will stop making uneducated, ill-informed comments about socialization and lack of accountability.

They haven't.  

Here's my biggest pet-peeve comment from anti-homeschooler commenters: "Homeschoolers just want to protect their children from the world.  Their children will never be able to handle real life."  (That wasn't a direct quote; I was using the quote marks improperly--just in case you were wondering.)

Isn't it my right to protect my children as much as possible from the harsh things of the world?  Shouldn't every responsible parent protect their children from the worst parts of growing up if at all possible?  Wouldn't the world be a kinder, lovelier place if that protection was in place?  The logic of allowing your children to experience awful things is very questionable.  If a child endures bullying does that make the child better?  Stronger?  More bitter?  More angry?  More unsure of himself?  Is there any research to back up the theory that it will make the child stronger and a more competent adult?  If so, why do we spend so much time passing bullying legislation and trying to remove it from our schools?  If it makes children stronger and more capable of "handling life" we should encourage bullying and reward bullies for all the good they do our society.  

What about sexual harassment?  That's a good one.  If a girl doesn't hear 3-10 nasty sexual innuendoes or crass comments a week she'll probably grow up to be completely unable to handle the workplace where that sort of thing is absolutely not tolerated.  At least, not in any of the workplaces I've experienced.  

What other lovely things must our children experience to truly "handle life"?  Drugs?  Loneliness?  Isolation?  I know--how about the vicious meanness my sister dealt with because she refused to allow other students to use her answers?  Excellent.  Can't manage life at all until you've experienced all that great stuff.  Because I deal with it every single day as an adult.  Right?  Don't you?  

And the next question is when should our children experience all this stuff to turn out the optimal adult? Pre-school?  Kindergarten?  Surely if your child can't handle basic bullying by age 8 he's going to be an utter failure in life.  You should make sure he's getting his fair share of bullying right away.  You don't want him to get behind.  Definitely if your daughter can't handle a reference to her pubic hair (I'm a red-head, there's special criteria for harassing us) by the time she's 12 you might as well give up on her now.  She'll be a complete failure in the "real" world.  

Heavens, why not throw them in daycare at birth so they learn to compete for attention, feed themselves, change their own diapers, and comfort themselves when they get fussy?  Wouldn't want to pamper them.  Babies, after all, are only a few short years younger than the kindergarteners who absolutely must be in school to turn out as decent citizens.

My point is that our world is a harsh, harsh place and whatever I can do to allow my children to remain innocent of that fact, I will do.  For as long as I can do it.  The reality is that we can't protect our children nearly as much or as long as we would wish--regardless of how we educate them.  While I understand people being wary of homeschooling (I certainly was before I tried it) the "bubble" argument is stupid.  No two ways about it.