Reasons to NOT Support Operation Christmas Child

Schools and individuals are already taking advantage of back-to-school sales to gather supplies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. While I think it is great to try to give extra joy to others, I want to write to urge people not to support this program. I have a whole list of reasons (see below), but right now (November 2015) I am editing this to add the most important reason at the top. Franklin Graham, the head of the group that runs OCC, promotes fear and hatred. Here is an example of a post from his facebook page. You can check his Continue reading

Homeschooling Topic of the Week: Afghanistan

I noticed the book The Sky of Afghanistan, by Ana A. de Eulate and Sonja Wimmer, with the library’s collection of new kids’ books. The title of the book brought to my mind images of Canadian and American airplanes, but the front cover shows a young girl flying through the air, her arms outstretched. I checked the book out of the library with a stack of other books. It took my children a little while to get interested in it. The text of the book is somewhere between blank verse and what I don’t quite know how to describe other than inspiration Continue reading

Paying for blogs?

“Writers deserve to get paid for their work” says a popular blogger in defense of putting her blog behind a paywall. The arguments and comments made by her fans and detractors alike fascinate me because they touch on several important issues such as what work is and what we use money for. While some online forums, resource webpages and newspapers do use paywalls, the majority of us are unused to paying for blogs. Yet we are willing to pay money for books and magazines, so why not blogs? One could imagine an internet where five or ten cents is automatically Continue reading

responsibility, the ability to accept criticism and pit bulls.

I’ve written about some of the questions around bullying, and whether individuals need to grow thicker skins or be treated gentler, and about boundaries and people’s different abilities to accept criticism. In all of these there are questions of what is normal acceptable behavior, what to do when different people’s behaviors cross those lines (is someone being firm or being a bully), and how people deal with criticism (are others being too judgemental or is the person being oversensitive). Now similar questions come to my attention in an article about pit bulls: “Pit bull owners live in a dream palace, where all dogs are good, Continue reading

Thoughts on a City Council Meeting

I went yesterday to a city council meeting. I was there with just over 30 people to watch the passing of a motion to have our city council request that the provincial government reverse the cuts to the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit. So the part I was there for took all of three minutes and was passed with the full support of the council. Pretty dull, but good to have done. Of course it wasn’t the first thing on the agenda, so I had quite a bit of time to sit and watch as the council went through Continue reading

Personal Responsibility in the Age of Unlimited Choices

Have you ever heard of “cafeteria religion”? The term refers to the idea of people treating religion like a buffet table where they can pick and choose what parts they want rather than accept someone else’s menu. It is an idea I’ve had trouble with for a while. On one hand I can see definite problems with the pick-and-choose idea. How can truth be truth if the measure of it is what you want to accept or not? On the other hand, what’s the alternative? Even those who belong to reasonably strict churches or religions are just following the beliefs Continue reading

Can fast food be vindicated?

I agreed to take part in a blog tour of the book Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen. Lisa Tillinger Johansen is a registered dietitian and health educator who teaches a variety of classes on diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, weight management, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and healthy eating for adults and teens. She holds a Master of Science degree in nutritional science, Coordinated Dietetics Program, from California State University, Los Angeles. I can agree with a couple of the main themes in the book Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen. She makes the argument very clear Continue reading

Adventures of Baylard Bear and the portrayal of adoption.

I was sent a copy of The Adventures of Baylard Bear by Lucinda Sue Crosby and while the story has its cute moments it has some huge problems. Since I use books to explore life and the questions I have about life, I felt it worthwhile to go ahead and write up a review on this book, even though I do not recommend it. The story starts off with a baby bear being abandoned at an orphanage. It explains that the bear’s parents lived like other bears hunting, fishing and gathering fruit but because humans have entered the forest their way of life Continue reading

What to remember on Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day and its American counterpart, Veterans’ Day, are coming up soon. November 11th is a tricky holiday where on one hand I’m not comfortable with the idea of glorifying war and on the other hand I want to acknowledge the risk soldiers have taken and the sacrifices they, and their families, have made. This year my thoughts are shaped largely by the book  A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War by Jonathan Atkin. The picture of the war I gain through that book is of a war that whole countries felt drawn into. It wasn’t sending off their soldiers, Continue reading

the biggest problem in homeschooling circles

The biggest hesitation I had in writing yesterday’s post was a line near the bottom of the post, the one mentioning that the organization Kids Need To Read offers a special package of LGTB friendly books. I hesitated mentioning that because I know people would view that in different ways. Some people would think it is a good selling point while others would be turned off by it. I’m not sure which way my audience here leans so why bother mentioning it? Why not just ignore that detail about the organization and focus on the less controversial aspect of sharing Continue reading