Thursday, January 8, 2015

Climate Controlled



It is about 10:00 am.  Just came in from the still frozen day - the temperature has gone up from 24 below zero to about 5 below.  The animals' water frozen solid after just two hours.   Everyone made it through the night, I don't know how they do it, but they do.  I gave the goats a little more hay, as I imagine their bodies have to work harder to stay warm.  I know mine does.
Being outside for just ten minutes, feeling the raw cold against the small part of my face exposed.   Feeling the insides of my nostrils freeze and hearing the squeeking of the snow as I walk.  
As I go about topping of the frozen water buckets with hot water, I am thankful to be able to feel this extreme and to appreciate the power of nature.

These thoughts lead me my annoyance yesterday which really probably shouldn't be but was.  Yesterday we received a letter that Emmy is now preschool age (she is 3) and there will be an upcoming meeting for us to attend and then later that evening the school principal left a message on our phone informing us of the same.  Now I don't think there is anything wrong with preschool in and of itself.  But what I do think is wrong is centralized government funded education.  And what I also think is wrong is people just doing something because either it is available, it is what they perceive to be expected of them, or because that is what most people do.   The more hours we put children in climate controlled and mass curriculum controlled agendas, the more I worry about the ability of the child to appreciate the wonders of nature, develop the ability to think for themselves, and I also wonder if all the time away from home somehow contributes in some degree to the breakdown of family.  

The sad part is that we (as a society) are doing this to our children by not questioning and not demanding more.    More autonomy, more involvement, local control.

We are giving up our freedoms one small step at a time.  
Have you watched the movie, The Giver?  Did you notice any similarities to our society today?

Let's not give up - let's feel the raw cold, the scorching heat, the warmth of a three year old 's body next to yours while snuggling on the couch reading a book, the joy when your six year old reads his first words.

 Just because the experts say it so, doesn't mean it always is.

22 comments:

  1. Yes! Very well put. Our children are now grown and have their own children. I watch them struggle with these concepts and then, usually, fall right in line with what "everyone else is doing". And they are missing so much. And the children are missing so much. But what's a Grandma to do?

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  2. Janet WickenheiserJanuary 8, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    I totally agree with you!!! I am currently homeschooling our three boys and love all their different interests so widely varied but soo fun!! I love their enthusiasm about their interests also!! They love to be outside no matter the temperature!! I am thankful for their love of the outdoors!!

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  3. We were able to send our kids to private schools who think like we do. Public schools are necessary to benefit children who cannot afford private schools, and who would never have parents who would homeschool them.
    However, public schools should be community-based and with people of the same interests. This is how they were when I went to public elementary school in the 1960's in my small hometown. Luckily, for high school, when my parents couldn't afford to pay, the Catholic church gave me a free education. I am very much against pre-school /kindergarten education. A child should stay with his/her mother at home until first grade at least.

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  4. Amen Tonya !!! I agree!! I can't believe that they called to let you know...I thought this was a choice thing? I hope your meeting goes well. I will be praying for you. Stay warm! It is -4 here in Kentucky.

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    1. Actually I don't have to attend the meeting at all.. but the letter and call were in the tone as "this is now the next normal step to take".
      Wow - it's even so cold down there.
      Thanks so much for commenting. I tried to visit your blog, but it is private now.

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  5. So I was home schooled, but now I teach public school, but don't send my kids. I'm actually about to stop teaching after my fourth is born at the end of February. I have wanted to do as much as i can for the kids in public school but I just can't be a part of it any more, not to mention the fact that I want to be more involved in my own children's education (right now my mom is the primary educator).
    I finished reading "Free to Learn" a few weeks ago, and it was pretty damn great. You should check it out. It sounds like you will do some serious head nodding as you read it.

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    1. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for sharing. Free to Learn has been in my wish list for some time... just have to get caught up on the money front first - but I did listen to an audio recording by the author and enjoyed it very much.
      Wishing you much joy with the upcoming birth of your fourth!

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  6. I feel your annoyance. It drives me nuts to received endless "It's time for _____ wellness check up!" They ARE well, why do I need to see a doctor?

    I'm very home-centric. I feel that my siblings and I enjoy a closer relationship because we were all homeschooled. I don't see that with my husband's siblings. I'm also happy that I've been able to positively influence my siblings to a stronger home life. My sister saw me have 3 successful homebirths and went on to having her own homebirth. :) After hitting a lot of dead ends with doctors, my brother is seeing the benefit of self-doctoring for non-life-threatening issues. Both my husband and I benefited from having our moms stay at home to care for us as children.

    East or West, home is best! :)

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  7. In most families, both parents work outside the home, so homeschooling is not an option. Publicly-funded preschool provides those families with some financial relief from the high cost of daycare or private preschool and it gives the children a head start. Early childhood education is highly correlated with later success in school and in life. Public education is one of the great cornerstones of our democracy and extremely important for all of us, whether or not we have children and whether or not we choose to partake of the option for our own kids. Most of our future doctors, airplane pilots, city council members, bus drivers, grocery clerks, letter carriers, and everyone in between will be products of public education. As a society, we depend on so many people every day. It's in all of our interest for those education opportunities to be as robust as possible. Yes, pubic school has problems and downsides, and yes, it's wonderful that you are in a position to choose to forego the option, but decrying the entire institution is of no help to all of the many children for whom there is no other choice, or whose parents make the clear-eyed choice to send them there, believing the benefits outweigh any deficiencies. And it is of no help to the teachers who put their hearts and souls into educating our kids. When you get those notices, instead of getting angry, smile when you think of the great opportunity it provides for other kids and for your own children's future--those are their peers, their future co-workers and friends and professionals who will interact with them and provide the services they will need in life.

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    1. Actually Andrea I am not angry about receiving the notices at all... it is more the tone that preschool is just expected now. We do feel blessed to have two parents home, but believe me it is not without huge sacrifice - although when you really break it down it is no sacrifice at all - but others would perceive it to be so.
      I am not against public education 100% - just against people accepting the status quo as the right thing when maybe sometimes it is not.
      Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Gee, Andrea, public education really helped you, right? Surely you know we live in a republic, not a democracy, and it's public education, not PUBIC education.


      Louise

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  8. Yes, I believe that we have the right to educate our children as we see fit. Some choose home schooling, others choose public or private schools. I too am a public school teacher, and I still support a government funded education system. I see many children of the working poor or single parents who must work, and this is their only educational option. I also work with many, many dedicated teachers who put in many hours and spend a great deal of their own money to be certain that these kids on the fringes get the best education available. I teach in a low income district, and these kids are loved in our school. We see them thriving, learning and growing. For many children, school is the safe place in their lives and the only place where they will receive at least two meals each day. When it is super cold or snowing heavily here in Minneapolis, the superintendent in our district struggles with closing the school or keeping it open. She knows that many will not have adequate heat in their homes or enough food to eat that day. I give and receive a lot of hugs each day, and I truly feel teaching in our school is my ministry.

    To conclude, our own four children attended public schools and went on to graduate from excellent universities. They felt very well prepared by their public schools.

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    1. I understand all you are saying and yes, we must not abandon those that need help and public education does have a place in our society for sure. But, what I think we do need to look at more is instead of treating the symptoms (that many children live in poverty, abusive homes, not properly nourished, etc..) , maybe we can start looking at ways to treat the causes... What a huge overwhelming topic that is.

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  9. Oh indeed, that is a topic for another day! In the meantime, it is the innocents who will be left behind, and public education IS filling a gap right now. We have so many children in our school who are sons and daughters of immigrants from Somalia, Mexico, and Ecuador. Where will they learn English if they do not attend a public school? How can they even function in our society without an excellent foundation in written and spoken English? It certainly will not be in a private school their parents could never afford or at home from hardworking parents who do not speak English.

    Yes, for many of us, we see the overwhelming needs daily. But what can any of us really do? We can do the work that God sets before us each day to the best of our ability and entrust Him with everything else.

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  10. Agreed! Someone telling you that your daughter should go to preschool? Preschool?! Man, it is starting young.

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  11. Ooh, love this topic and the lively discussion! I have a three year old too, and although I didn't get a call from the school, I get questioned a lot by friends, family, neighbors (especially with kids the same age)...about when she will start school. It's very much expected, as you say, and I get a little defensive about my choice to keep her home, mostly beacause of the implication that I'm somehow hindering her or even harming her by doing so. I'm likely going to homeschool as well (and very grateful I can have that choice), but even if I wasn't, I just can't imagine sending her off at such a young age! And I worked in the schools (including preschool for disadvantaged kids) for many years! I think teachers have wonderful hearts - but I also feel that parents are the first (and in many cases, the best) educators for their kids. And I agree that our society's disapproval of homeschooling is just one of the many attacks on the family unit. Oh I could go on and on....so fascinating.
    -Jaime

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  12. Hello Tonya, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with what you are saying. We need more critical questioning and thinking in our society.

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  13. Hi Tonya,
    I remember getting letters for my first couple kids, but not the others- not sure why, but not complaining at all!
    My home school friend who lives a school district away, actually had to put up with phone calls from the principal asking her why she was home schooling, and not sending her kids to the local school!

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  14. Whew hot topic! I am so very grateful to never have been bothered by letters or phone calls about schooling. I do agree Tonya that it is so ingrained into our society that as soon as possible our children need to be handed over. I enjoy seeing my children getting to learn when they are ready and through their natural inquisitiveness.

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  15. Tonya,
    This subject is very near and dear to my heart. Your extreme weather is such a great metaphor for the extreme opinions on this topic isn't it. I have been in the preschool classroom for 15 years. In a private christian co-op, where families were very supportive and active in their child's education and the community. And yes sometimes with way over scheduled days, fast food and poor media choices to name a few. And I am a teacher at a government funded preschool for very low income or high needs families. Some kids come from very violent and unthinkable housing conditions. We all know the extremes but not every family in either of those situations fall under those assumptions. Just like not all homeschoolers are the same. Quite frankly some are not that great. For awhile I was a teacher in both classrooms at the same time, while my junior high child was home taking some classes on line and working on building projects. Who wouldn't agree with everything you have said. Your words are so true. If only parents knew there are not only options but responsibility in making those choices. People don't know, at both ends of the spectrum people are just repeating what they know and see around them.
    But I wonder if you didn't have the chance to thank the local school district for the option. And if they would please think about offering it as an option. What if your daughter was not in a safe and healthy environment, what if the public school was not intrusive enough and your daughter fell through the cracks, as we have seen happen. Public education is looked at as a lose-lose institution. Not good enough for most and way to much for others. I don't know what the answer is. And when you are in the thick of it, just trying to survive from day to day, sometimes, moment to moment it's is all one can do.
    Thank you for your thoughts, thank you for opening a small place for me to share my long winded comment. I wish your family continued warmth and peace this winter.
    Traci

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  16. We were blessed to send our boys to a great private school but, even so, decided to take our two youngest out of school when they were Grades 4 and 2 and home school them for four years. Our one son was struggling in school and he really needed that one on one time. This is one decision we have never regretted. Because he is also very social, we gave him the option that he could go back to school when he felt ready. After four years, he asked to head to high school for grade 8 and by that time he was well up to speed and was able to keep up no problem with the workload asked of him. In this private high school the students are challenged to think for themselves and be their own person. It makes a huge difference that the principal of this school is such a strong leader and good role model for the students. He walks the halls and connects with students when the bell rings - just an amazing person.

    Our youngest son is now in Grade 12 and very much interested in computer programming. I think that in a large part, because he was home schooled for four years, he is a self learner and really has self taught himself through you tube videos etc. He entered his project (computer operating system) in the Regional science fair and won to go on to the Nationals. It was our school that encouraged him all the way and is now also encouraging him to enter again. So, yes, I feel that home schooling has given our boys the groundwork for taking initiative in learning, but the high school is now also playing a huge part in their education and keeping them motivated and on task.

    If I would have to do it all over again, I would definitely home school for the younger years at least - it was a lot of work but such good times. So to all of you who are home schooling your children, I wish you well and may God bless your endeavors.

    ck from Canada

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  17. We homeschooled for 6 years, then they went to private christian co op, then they moved on to state (what you call public, in the UK public schools are private schools, go figure) schools because they wanted to in their teens. What annoys me is that we may as well have green eyes and two heads. We are extraordinary. The homeschoolers think we are traitors, the christian schoolers think we've gone heathen, and the state schoolers think we must be reformed nut balls. And yet to us, our choices, our changes, our children's choices ... are all available, they are all God led, and they've all be successful. One size doesn't fit all, and it doesn't even fit one forever!
    I totally agree, more choices, more acceptance of choices, more room to change back and forth ... more room to be an individual! (mini rant ends here lol)

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