Thursday, July 21, 2005

County Fair

County fairs are an interesting event. There are many sights, sounds and smells that assault the senses. I enjoy watching all the people, especially those that run the fair - the "carnies". I wonder about their lives and what it must be like, living in a trailer and driving all over the country to small communities to give little tikes a ride on the carousel. What decisions did these folks make that lead them to become gypsies of a sort? All seemed very kind to the young kids.

After going around and around the circle in little cars and in strange looking animal seats, William enjoyed the obstacle course so much and went through so many times, that he could barely drag himself up the steps. Even so, he was reluctant to leave. I asked the girls, closer in age to remembering what it is like to be so young, what was the attraction of climbing the same course over and again? The long, high, fast slide at the end, they said. Perhaps I've gotten old, for one trip through would have satisfied my curiosity.

We watched the lawnmower pulls and some sort of demolition derby. The girls saw a bit of the beauty contests and declared no interest in participating. Instead, they enjoyed rock-wall climbing. We all dragged home weary, and with a mom glad that the county fair occurs only once a year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Around this time of year, I struggle with remembering the reasons that we homeschool and what it is going to look like next year. Each year, I start with renewed promises that I am going to be more organized in my reporting of our rather eclectic way of learning. Indeed, I even sometimes try to plan out curricula! Yet, I remain convinced that it isn't our objective to raise mini-Einsteins or grand scholars. We are committed to raising decent people that love to learn and can find meaning in their lives.

Recently, I borrowed a book from the library for dh, On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. I found myself browsing through this small epistle to find a very pertinent (to education) paragraph:

"Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person's obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frquently impelled - whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others - to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant. Closely related instances arise from the widespread conviction that it is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy to have opinions about everything, or at least everything that pertains to the conduct of his country's affairs. The lack of any significant connection between a person's opinions and his apprehension of reality will be even more severe, needless to say, for someone who believes it is his responsibility, as a conscientious moral agent, to evaluate events and conditions in all parts of the world."

Amen to that. My opinion is that school is often founded upon these beliefs, and children are subjected to being crammed with knowlegde which they will never fully master or maybe never even use, in the hopes of producing citizens that can participate in society. Often, it isn't about learning to learn, or about education at all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm Back

My computer suffered a major meltdown, literally, as my ethernet card was fried in a storm. At the same time, it got a virus and so it has taken me awhile to get it all back together. I will try to get back in the writing saddle again. But right now, William is hanging on my neck and hollering!


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