more reflections on free speech

I’m still slowly reading a big book about 17th century arguments for and against religious tolerance. It is called John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture by John Marshall. I’m really not used to being stuck in the middle of one book for this long, but it seems like the kids are still always talking to me or climbing on me, and this book requires some concentration to be able to follow it. The book is worth reading though. I’m enjoying learning about the different arguments. I’m enjoying reflecting on it in light of questions about free speech. Arguments for Continue reading

just keep reading, just keep reading

My brain itches right now, with this sense that new ideas are waiting to burst forth. I don’t know yet where they will take me but I can see the seeds. I’ve been rereading parts of Don Quixote in preparation to speak about it in a class I’m teaching. At the same time, I’m reading the book Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau by John Farrell. Among other things the book talks about the ways in which Don Quixote appeals to the possibility of enchanters, both helpful and malevolent to explain the disconnect between his understanding of reality and reality Continue reading

Someone’s judging a homeschooler! Call out the troops. Or maybe, don’t.

Sometimes I read something someone else writes, and I recognize in it something that connects with other issues. Today I saw a post titled “Maybe we haven’t been critical enough of our fellow moms….” I saw it posted on facebook, and in most of the comments on facebook people were being very critical of the blogger, saying that people need to mind their own business and not judge. For my part, the post and discussion threw me into all sorts of confusion. The sense I had from the article was not that someone wants to stick her nose into other Continue reading

GMOs and politicians: how do we know what is true or not?

I had a really good facebook conversation yesterday, in a public page about politics. The topic was one GMOs and I was taking a position that would have been inconceivable to me several years ago. I was arguing against mandatory labelling of GMOs. Someone else made a really good comment saying that the labelling shouldn’t just be “GMO free” or “Includes GMOs” but should have the little symbol so people with smart phones can quickly get all the background information about what type of GMOs were included. He said he’s okay with GMO apples with a gene for browning knocked Continue reading

why we need to listen to children’s perceptions of bullying

Bullies' words are not like water. They don't always bounce off a child. It is up to the adults to listen to how the child perceived the bullying, and help the child find a safe way to understand it.

“Sometimes,” my child said to me, “it is easier to think of the other person as a jerk.” He had been excited about a summer day camp that promised kayaking and archery, but after a day and a half the toll of dealing with bullies was too much. His head was hurting all the time and he was angry and confused. As an extremely thoughtful, sensitive child the bullying raised questions for him about what his place in the world was, how to balance his desire not to see others in pain with his need to protect himself, and whether Continue reading

a big muddle of things that come together, sort of, at the end

Lots of things have crossed my facebook feed the last few days that feed somehow into questions I tend to dwell on. These are questions about how we know what we know, whether we can trust our own ideas, and whether telling someone they are wrong is inherently being mean. Thing one: a math fail My confidence in homeschoolers and homeschooling took a strange shake the other day when I saw a woman online offering some pizza pictures for parents to use to teach fractions. The problem was her pizzas were all cut into eighths in thin lines and then Continue reading

The “Merry Christmas” controversy?

There is a news story about a man in Sudbury who claims he didn’t get as many hours to work at his part time job as a result of his saying Merry Christmas to people. He also quoted Bible verses at his boss, saying that not saying Merry Christmas would be denying Jesus, something he’s not willing to do. The whole story makes me very uncomfortable. People want to claim both that saying “Merry Christmas” is just a little thing no one should be offended by, but also want to claim that it is a religious thing. If it is Continue reading

continuing my homeschooling discussion of the Renaissance

The Borgia family gives a “human face” to talking about the power balances. However reading about them in isolation of other Renaissance rulers can make them seem like some sort of anomaly: unethical, power hungry people in a world of decent citizens. In order to broaden my kids understanding of the topic and because my oldest needs a bit of practice in using workbooks I’m having them go through a workbook Renaissance by Patrick Hotle. I’m also sharing with my kids stories I read about other Renaissance families. Caterina Sforza has a particularly fascinating story. Her first husband was Pope Continue reading

parenthood & choices, in my own life and in news stories

For four days I haven’t had the energy to read anything harder than a novel or write anything at all. I was very physically active during that time, walking more than normal helping my kids rebuild their fort, and getting started on the garden. Emotionally the hard part was helping my children deal with their anger at the neighbouring children who had knocked their fort down, particularly when I was angry myself. I was angry not so much at the knocking down of the fort, but at one neighbouring child’s insistence on denying his involvement even when we had evidence he had been Continue reading

thoughts in response to the “dating tips for feminist men” by Nora Samaran

I’m neither a feminist man nor in the dating scene, but I found this post about dating tips for feminst men by Nora Samaran very interesting. I love the way it captures some of the ambiguities and challenges of life. Listen to your emotions, trust them, but at the same time know that your emotions might be defensiveness and learn to be uncomfortable. Value others, recognize our interdependance. I like the emphasis about on being honest about emotions (and valuing others emotions). I still struggle with having the courage to be honest about my emotions, and deal with the fear I Continue reading