• Two dwarf hamsters were in my hand.
    depression,  meaning of life,  parenting

    Letting Myself Off the Hamster Wheel

    As a homeschooling mom, one of my goals it to ensure that my kids don’t think their worth comes from how many projects they do or how much schoolwork. It doesn’t come from how many books they read or how many friends they have. Recently, I’ve been realizing that goal has to apply to myself as well. One of the easiest things for me to do is to slide into believing my worth comes from what others think of me. No, that isn’t quite true. I slide into believing that my worth comes from what I assume others think of me. I start thinking my value comes from how much…

  • accepting criticism,  education,  parenting,  the ethical life

    treating children like rational creatures

    I was reading a philosophy book the other day, and I came across this interesting passage by John Locke: Remove hope and fear, and there is an end of all discipline. I grant that good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature; these are the spur and reigns whereby all mankind are set on work and guided, and therefore they are to be made use of to children too. For I advice their parents and governors always to carry this in thier minds, that children are to be treated as rational creatures. As I read the first two sentences of that passage, my mind…

  • This is my daughter's hand reaching out to touch a thistle. It seemed strangely appropriate.
    activism,  parenting,  politics

    How does one homeschool, with all the intensity that involves, and be a compassionate, informed person at the same time?

    Sometimes it is really hard to keep balance. How does one balance parenting with everything else? I don’t want to undervalue my husband’s contribution to our family life – his is amazing – but I suspect I’m the support pole the children lean on and there are times when the burden of having them lean on me feels to tough. I feel all hollow and empty and like I have nothing to give them and then I’m so keenly aware of them pulling on me, talking to me, seeking approval and asking for attention and I don’t know what to do. There are people in the world whose houses are…

  • parenting

    Emotional chaos

    Parenthood can be wonderful. It can be filled with blissful days of reading to kids, watching them play, making all sorts of great memories. But it can also be incredibly difficult, particularly if your child doesn’t seem to fit the norms. I look back with exhaustion at the last almost-ten-years. I remember all the times when I’d gaze enviously at the other mothers sitting nicely talking with one another while their children played, while I had to be constantly interacting with my children. I’ve wondered why in the world my child couldn’t play with other children without freaking out. There are times when I’d leave an event exhausted from the…

  • parenting

    why some parenting advice is more useful than others

    Parenting advice from strangers is a bit like being told “go three blocks and turn left” by someone who knows where they want you to get but not where you are to begin with. It’s not exactly going to work. There’s a post over at Homeschooling Hatters about the blogger realizing she should have taken another safety precaution, one she didn’t because she assumed her child was too old to need it, but as the author says “Remember, with children like this? ┬áThere is no minimum age for disaster… but there isn’t a maximum, either.” She has some simple, very concrete advice to people: anchor bookcases and dressers to the…

  • memes,  parenting,  politics

    Valentine’s Day

    Valentine’s Day is one of those weird non-holiday holidays. There’s issues with the ethics of cut flowers and a need to buy ethical fair-trade organic chocolate. There are those who complain about it making single people feel bad and others who say its all just a marketing scam. Yet this year, despite the strangeness, I’m drawn to the idea of Valentine’s Day. See the 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day. In Canada it’s the day of the missing women memorial march remembering native women who have been murdered and/or trafficked. In other countries it is the day for One Billion Rising, an anti-violence against women organization that has come under criticism…

  • how do we know what we know is true,  parenting,  politics,  science

    vaccines and the selling of fear, distrust and a sense of superiority

    I read an article today about a family in New Zealand where a young boy came down with tetanus. His father is speaking out about their decision not to vaccinate, admitting that it was the wrong decision and hoping to spare others the pain they have had to suffer. The following stuck out to me: He’s not stupid. If anything, he was just a little bit too smart for his own good. The Williams are the one in 10 parents who opt out when it comes to vaccination, not out of ignorance, but because they think they know everything. Williams said they believed they’d done their research but now admits…