Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Baking Chocolate

There's a new baking chocolate coming out, and you can earn free chocolate (by basically doing their advertising for them) :

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Structured vs. Unstructured

I've been thinking alot lately about how we're going to proceed with homeschooling next year. I suppose because it is the beginning of school for so many people, and because next year Pauly will be five years old and thus kindergarten age, so I'll be able to be "officially" homeschooling. Right now I guess we're just wasting time. . .

The big issue in homeschooling seems to be structured vs. unstructured learning, and I can't quite decide which side I come down on. Both sides have good arguments and I tend to agree with whatever I'm reading at the moment, but both sides often say things that annoy me about the other side.

For instance, I've seen unstructured arguments that say that they don't believe that children's minds are empty buckets, that need to be filled with a certain number of facts to be educated. Well, that makes sense, but it implies that certain groups (like classical homeschoolers or core curriculum homeschoolers) believe that children are empty buckets. If you look at what those who advocate classical or core curriculums actually say, you see that they believe that children should be exposed to classical myths, fairy tales, fables, and a great deal of history so that they will have the background knowledge necessary when they encounter allusions and references to these things in all kinds of literature. They don't simply believe that having these things memorized is good in itself, but that having been exposed to it is a kind of foundation or scaffold of knowledge, so other information is more easily learned and so the individual can better participate in intellectual or political conversation. Likewise, Classical proponents don't necessarily believe that it is important for a child to have such-and-such a poem memorized, but they do believe that gaining the skill of memorization and recitation is a good thing.

On the other side of the fence, some structured homeschool proponents have gone so far as to say that unschooling should not qualify as homeschooling at all, because the parents aren't doing anything. This just shows that they misunderstand the unschooling idea, because a parent would be active, in fact very active, helping the child learn by providing information, resources and yes teaching when that child was interested in a topic. In some ways, I think that unschooling may be harder on the parent (probably depends on the personality of said parent) because you'd have to be reacting to the child's interests and following his lead, instead of having a plan to follow. Or some structured programs will advertise an education without "gaps in knowledge." This is simply an impossibility. I don't know everything, so I can't expect my kids to learn everything. There's going to be many, many things that they won't learn about many, many subjects.

I think that really the answer (for me at least) is not as clear cut as one or the other. I like much of what unstructured homeschoolers write about the learning lifestyle, but honestly this can occur even if some structured learning occurs during the day also. As a child attending institutional schools, I still did quite a bit of pursuing topics on my own time. I read everything I could get my hands on, basically. But would some small amount of structure offer any benefit? I feel that it would, but I'm not completely sure why I feel that. I think that it could help build self discipline, ie. we can't always do just what we want, but I think that you could learn that through a learning lifestyle that includes chores, etc. as part of basic family life as well. I think that it could help meet goals, and give kids the basic skills they need (like reading) to learn more about what they are interested in. And I think that it could be helpful for me so that I don't get too lazy, and don't follow the kids' interests, and end up not teaching them anything.

I'm stopping now. There's no real point to this post, just me working out my thoughts.

Jokey Song

Here is a "jokey song" that Pauly sang today:

Hey diddle diddle, the bunny and the fiddle.
The cow jumped over the bunny.
The little rabbit laughed to see such sport,
and the bunny ran away with the rabbit!

For some reason, this cracked both of them up.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Church Issue Again

So Bob is talking about going down to St. Michael's for church, again. I don't know what I think. A couple weeks ago he talked to Fr. W about Fr.'s changing words in the opening greeting and final blessing of the mass, which besides being annoyingly nonsensical indicates an underlying theology in which the ordained priest is no different than the laity. Needless to say, the talk did not go well. Basically, Fr. doesn't want to be viewed as different than the laity, except when they question him. And then last week Fr. read that awful poem in his homily:


He was old, tired and sweaty pushing His homemade cart down the alley, Stopping now and then to poke around insomebody’s garbage. I wanted to tell him about Eucharist But the look in his eyes, the despair on his face, The hopelessness of somebody else’s life in his cart, told me to forget it. So I smiled, said “Hi” – and gave him Eucharist.

She was cute, nice build, a little too much paint,Wobbly on her feet as she slid from her barstool, and on the make.
“No thanks, not tonight”, - and I gave her Eucharist.

She lived alone, her husband dead, her familygone, and she talked at you, not to you, words, endless words, spewed out.So I listened – and gave her Eucharist.

Downtown is nice, lights change from red togreen and back again, flashing blues, pinks and oranges, I gulped them in, Said “Thank You Father”, and made them Eucharist.

I laughed at myself, and told myself “You with all your sin and all your selfishness, I forgive you, I accept you, I love you” It’s nice, and so necessary to give yourself Eucharist.

My Father, when will we learn – You cannot talk Eucharist – you cannot philosophize about it. You do it. You don’t dogmatize Eucharist. Sometimes you laugh it, sometimes you cry it, often you sing it. Sometimes it’s wild peace, then crying hurt, often humiliating, never deserved.

You see Eucharist in another’s eyes, give it inanother’s hand held tight, squeeze it in an embrace. You pause Eucharist in the middle of a busyday, speak it in another’s ear, listen to it from a person who wants to talk.

For Eucharist is as simple as being on time and as profound as sympathy, I give you my supper, I give you my sustenance,I give you my life, I give you me. I give you EUCHARIST.

BY: R. Voigt

R. Voigt is not a Catholic, by the way, according to this.

So now we have to decide whether to go down to St. Michael's. I still feel that the people of our parish are family, and I'm not really comfortable leaving. You don't abandon your family just because you don't agree with some of them. But I agree with Bob that Fr. is not going to change. I'm just not sure how this hurts us, since we know better. It may not be getting better, but I also don't think that it is getting any worse. It is so nice to go to St. Michael's, though. I'll bet we don't hear any wacky poems there.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yellow Rose

Isn't she cute? She'd seem a lot cuter to me if she were sleeping at the moment. Here she is showing off in yellow, the color of her favorite Wiggle. She's wearing a yellow bumGenius diaper from Cotton Babies as well. And yes, I actually think of it as her Yellow Wiggle diaper. We have a blue one as well, but so far there's no purple or read bumGenius available to fill out her Wiggly wardrobe. Yes, I'm a freak.

Oh, and if anyone is thinking of buying me or Rosemarie a present, we'd love more bumGenius diapers. We have seven (since I borrowed one my SIL left at my in-law's house) but I'd love more.

My first post

I just started a blog to post about my family. Is this a good idea? I'm not sure whether it is or not. I don't really have much to say most of the time, except about the Wiggles. And stuff.

Here's a pic of my family.