Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent

Today is Advent Sunday, the first day of the Advent season. The Advent season is basically a countdown to Christmas, starting with the 4th Sunday before Christmas.
We've decided to start celebrating Advent. My husband is a Christian. Therefore, he celebrates Christmas for religious reasons. I am not a Christian. I celebrate Christmas as a family holiday - a time to spend with those dear to my heart. We may celebrate it for totally differing reasons, but there is one thing we very much agree on - we both are tired of the over-commercialization of the holiday. It is not about what presents or how many presents you get. It is not about filling your room with things you'll have forgotten about in a month. It's not about how much was spent on you or how big your gifts are. This is a season to think about those less fortunate. It is a season to focus on the good things in your life. It is a time to show the people in your life how much they mean to you (which can easily be done without maxing out your credit cards).

So, in an attempt to counteract the commercialization of the season, we have decided to celebrate Advent. Many people use Advent calendars - either store bought or homemade. The calendars generally have a piece of chocolate for each day and each day also has an activity or a part of the Nativity Story. We have chosen to go a different way. Instead of an Advent calendar, we have an Advent tree. Using oil pastels & charcoal, I drew a tree. I printed out pages of activities, using a business card template. Then I cut them out, laminated them, and attached them to the tree with velcro. We don't have an activity for each day of the Advent season. Our schedule simply doesn't allow time for an activity every day.

The activities we've chosen are Secular in nature, but hubby's ok with that. They include watching Christmas themed movies, reading Christmas stories, making donations, and fun family time. The kids will take turns choosing the activities. I know that some people count putitng up the tree, decorating the tree, and decorating the house as Advent activities. We don't, though. Sometime soon, we'll decorate the house & put up the tree, though I'm not sure exactly when.

Today, we went out to finish off our weekly shopping. We didn't do all our regular shopping last week because I stay away from stores as much as I can on Black Friday. Plus, we had a Thanksgiving on Thursday and one on Friday. Anyway, we were at Walmart today & Dea saw this purple tool set complete with tool bag. So, now she wants her own set of tools for Christmas. A few weeks ago, both kids told me they wanted stethoscopes for Christmas. They also want blood pressure cuffs, the reflex hammer Drs use, and various different books. My kids are a bit odd.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am Thankful For.......

With Thanksgiving upon us, I figured I'd write about what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for so many things, really. Many of these are typical - a home, enough food to feed us, enough money to pay the bills & keep our needs met, etc. So, instead of writing a list identical to so many others, I figured I'd go with some of the less 'usual' ones.

Here's my short list of things for which I am thankful:

I'm thankful......

1. .....that the circumstances in my life allow me to stay home. Providing my kids with an excellent, well-rounded education would be much more challenging if I also had to schedule in working out of the home.

2. .....that Dea is finally making some real progress with her therapy

3. ......that I am married to a man who is close to me intellectually, can keep me from being bored with the relationship, and can actually handle my many quirks & idiosyncrasies. You have no idea how difficult that combination is for me to find.

4. ......that I have a family I can be proud of

5. .....that I am not concerned with what other people think of me or my family. Too many people feel the need to lie or exaggerate about their lives and/or family to try to impress other people. Since I don't care what other people think, I have no difficulty being completely honest

6. .....that my children are who they are. They keep me challenged, keep me from becoming complacent, keep me busy, keep me grounded. Besides, I wouldn't know what to do with 'normal' kids

7. ......that I have ADHD. I don't see it as the negative thing so many others see it as

8. ......that I have made my share of mistakes in my life. I would not be the amazing person I am today, if not for the choices I have made in life, both good & bad

9. ......that I am who I am. Ok, this one sounds a bit conceited, but it's true. I'm damn proud of the person I have become. While my choices & experiences have helped shape me, helped me become the person I am, there are also biological factors that play a role. So, I am thankful for the things, over which I have no control, that have helped me become who I am.

I sincerely hope that all of you have equally wonderful things to give thanks for this year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How we do History pt.3

I thought I'd do a post about the Notebooking Pages and Project Books that we do for History.

When Dea was younger, I decided to give Lapbooks a try. So, I explained to her what Lapbooks are and asked what she thought of the idea. She said it sounded great & she wanted to try it. However, the first time we did one, she had fits. She fought about every step. She whined and cried. After that, just the mention of the word 'Lapbook' had her in tears and she'd shut down completely. I decided to try again, but call them something else. I told her we were going to do a Project Book. It was the same process, the same materials, as a Lapbook. The only difference was the name. She was fine. She enjoyed doing it. She didn't fight, whine, cry, or complain. Since then, we don't do Lapbooks. We do Project Books. Since we call them Project Books, we don't feel restrained by size. If we're planning a Project Book, and come up with too much to fit in a Lapbook-sized Project Book (which happens quite often, due to the depth with which we study), we'll expand it to a Tri-Fold Display Board (or, if we don't have one of those, multiple poster boards). Some have argued that this is not the same, that it's a completely different project because it is not restrained to the smaller size. My view, however, is that if it contains the same information & materials it is the same thing regardless of the size it ends up being. I fully admit that my view could be partly due to the fact that the name Project Books doesn't infer the small size that the name Lapbook does.

Sometimes, we do Notebooking Pages instead of Project Books. These cover the same information, but are just writing, not hands-on like Project Books. Like the mini-book templates for our Project Books and the Literature Study guides the kids use, I make our Notebooking Pages myself. I liked the idea of Notebooking Pages, but all the ones I was finding were pages with lines and pictures and nothing else. The pictures would be a distraction to my kids, due to their ADHD (they would color the pictures & add to them, instead of focusing on writing). Also due to her ADHD, writing is Dea's weakest subject. It's hard for her to stay on topic, to organize her thoughts, and when she was younger she wasn't sure what was important to write about if she wasn't given some direction. So, I started creating our Notebooking Pages myself, with minimal decoration and a little direction as to what to write about. These have worked wonderfully for Dea, and the more she uses them, the better she gets at determing what topics are important to study & write about in her studies.

Now, I'm in no way knocking regular Notebooking pages or Lapbooks. Our tweaked versions just work better for us. A page of blank lines with pictures and decorations around it would quickly send Dea into a meltdown. So, tweaking & doing our own version was necessary, assuming we wanted to get the work done without massive fights & tears. What I really like about Notebooking pages is that there is no age limit. As long as the child can write or has someone they can dictate to who will write for them, they can do Notebooking Pages. I also love the fact that they can be used with any resources. They aren't limited to a certain textbook or materials from a specific perspective. So, we can use them with any books, websites, software, educational shows, magazines, etc. We can even use them to compare differing perspectives. Of course, since our Project Books cover the same topics as our Notebooking Pages, they have the same benefits, with the added benefit of being more hands-on.

Jay is doing more Notebooking Pages than Project Books. He likes doing poster boards & tri-fold display boards for his 'museum exhibits', but doesn't like doing Project Books (of any size). I think part of it is his aversion to getting glue on his hands (yeah, my kids are strange, he freaked about touching grass until he was 2). Plus, while they are more hands-on than Notebooking Pages, they aren't as hands-on as the many projects we do. He loves doing the hands-on projects & activities - building things, arts & crafts projects, recipes from the period, etc. However, he really seems to prefer Notebooking Pages.

I love the fact that they don't just get tossed out like worksheets. We have boxes, Rubbermaid totes, and giant storage bags full of the work the kids have done, especially the projects and Project Books of various sizes (the ones that aren't displayed somewhere in the house). The Notebooking Pages get 3-hole punched and stored in binders, 3-hole punched and turned into 'books' by tying yarn through the holes (sometimes with a cover of manilla folder), or stapled together as a book. If they do an especially fantastic job on them, I might even let them use one of the book binding kits we have to turn them into a book.
Of course, the range of topics they can be used for is also fantastic. We use them mainly for Science and History. Any time period we cover, we can use either Notebooking Pages or Project Books. Some of our Notebooking Pages have room for illustrations, so they can draw pictures to go with the info they write (like the pages for WWII weapons). When studying a war, we can have pages for causes, the sides, weapons, important battles, important people, the role women played, etc. The study of an ancient civilization can have pages on architecture, daily life, food, clothing, entertainment, education, the Arts, leaders, inventions & discoveries, and more.

We really try to focus on as many things as we can for each period we cover. I don't like the idea of just covering the big events or the most important poeple. We also like to study what daily life was like (for the poor as well as the rich), what people ate, what they wore, the roles of women & children, what their education was like, what games they played, etc. These are just as important as studying the impact of a war or what differences a specific leader made. So much of the daily life & traditions have been carried over through the years, and are still around (in some form) today. I feel it's important to know where they came from.

One of my main issues with History, when I was in school, was how shallow the coverage was. We never got the opportunity to really go in-depth. I want to provide my kids with the opportunity to learn as much as possible about History. I don't think that a shallow overview really allows the student to gain a true appreciation & understanding of the complexities & intracacies that History has to offer. I've yet to find a textbook or workbook that offered (or even assisted in) a true in-depth comprehension and appreciation of History. Our Notebooking Pages & Project Books have proven themselves to be fantastic supplements in piecing together the giant jigsaw puzzle that is the History of our world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday, we got a bunch of school stuff done. Jay & I finished filling out Lab Pages for some Labs he had done previously. then, we did a few more of his Labs. He has a model of a ball & socket joint that he made. Yesterday, we added oil to it to act as synovial fluid. We filled a 2-liter with water & glitter and spun it around to show how the fluid in your inner ears continues moving after you stop spinning, which is why you get dizzy. We tested the bones that have been soaking in vinegar & water all week. the ones that soaked in water were, of course, unchanged - hard, unbendable, difficult to break. The ones that had been in vinegar were bendable & broke easily. When I asked him why, he stood in the doorway and said "Because vinegar is an acid and it eats away the Calcium." (When I told dh about that, he looked at me and said "We're in trouble aren't we?")

Dea took a unit test for Biology yesterday. She did fantastic, 95%! She's not quite done with the work for the unit, though. She still needs to do a lab & a few activities. The Lab is growing cultures in petri dishes & seeing which ones respond to antibiotics. One of the activities is analyzing (a sample of) yeast population over 5 days. The other activitity is looking for bacterial shapes in pond water, using a microscope. She'll be doing those over the weekend and next week.

Then, they both helping make dinner & dessert. Dea helped make scallops for dinner. Jay helped make pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. Next week, we'll spend most of the week cooking and baking for Thanksgiving. I'm sure both kids will be more than happy to help with that. I won't really have time to help Jay with Science Labs and History projects, so I figure he'll focus on Math & Reading. Dea will do her Biology work and hopefully some other subjects.

I'm starting to think that we won't be able to do a relaxed schedule after the break, at least not with Dea. She has been avoiding some of her work. So, I think we'll have to go back to a strict schedule for her. Jay, on the other hand, is doing pretty well. He has no problems doing most of his work. Sometimes, I have to suggest something, but I think that's just because he doesn't remember every single thing he needs to do (which is totally understandable). For now anyway, the relaxed schedule seems to be great for him.

Monday, November 15, 2010

House full of Vinegar

It's only 8:30 am and we've already started 2 Science labs and done a short experiment. We decided to do the chicken bone in vinegar lab, for Jay's Human Body study, this week. So, we got the chicken bones cleaned really well & put some in vinegar & some in water (he decided to add having some in water, so he could see the difference). We figured, since we were doing that, why not also make a rubber egg. Again, he decided that he wanted to have one in water, as well, to compare the two. Since we were playing with eggs, we also did the Egg in a Bottle experiment. The kids had a blast with all of it, but the kitchen has a very strong vinegar smell to it right now.

Last week, Jay & I built the Parthenon. This week, I'm hoping he'll do a few more of his History projects. I'm going to try to fit in a few more Science labs, too. I'll be pretty busy next week, getting ready for Thanksgiving. So, I won't have as much time for doing Labs & Projects. I figure, if we do plenty of Labs & Projects this week, Jay will focus on Math and reading the library books we have on his current History & Science topics next week..

Dea has been focusing more on her Biology than anything else. She is getting into her History, too. She doesn't spend as much time on her Math as I'd like. She's apparently decided to hold off on finishing reading the Plays for English & instead wants to focus on the Poetry portion of the work. The kids recently found out that one of their cousins is taking ASL in school, which seems to have motivated them to put a bit more effort into their ASL studies. We're going to do some fun Latin review with games, this week. I'm thinking of playing Hangman, maybe doing a matching game, and probably playing Scrabble using only Latin vocab.

Friday, November 12, 2010

But, It's so convenient....

I'm really starting to hate convenience. Ok, not entirely, just the ridiculous lengths to which we (as a society) take it.

Yes, using a microwave is faster & easier than an oven, but most of us still use the oven.  We don't cook roast beef or the Thanksgiving turkey in the microwave. We don't decide not to learn to cook because we can just use the microwave (ok, some people might do this). We (most of us anyway) can cook real food with an actual oven/stove & just use the microwave for speed & ease in certain situations - frozen veggies or reheating leftovers. In situations like that, convenience isn't a bad thing.

My problem with convenience is when they stop expecting you to know how to do something & instead just give you the easy way out. Like calculators. Calculators can be a good thing, if they're used by someone who already has a strong understanding of the concepts & justs needs to be faster (like for work). However, allowing grade school children to use them, instead of expecting them to master basic math concepts, is stupid at best.

I don't believe in rote memorization. I have never forced my kids to use flascards or do drills to memorize anything. My kids don't memorize, they learn. They are not allowed to use a calculator for Math until they have proven mastery of the work. They learn to do math on paper. They learn to do math in their heads. They learn through use, not relentless drills. Eventually, they are allowed to use a calculator. They rarely ever ask to use one. It's simply not an issue in our house. Basic math simply should not require the use of a calculator.

Handing a child a calculator, instead of working with them to master math concepts, is like deciding to introduce a child to the wonderful world of audio books, instead of teaching them to read. It takes away the need to learn a skill they should learn. It tells them that you don't think they can do it. It tells them that learning that skill really isn't that important anyway. It teaches them to take the easy way out, instead of working toward something. It tells them that technology is more important than knowledge & comprehension.

Math isn't the only area, in education, that kids are given an easy out. I had to create study guides for the books my daughter was reading, because I was so unimpressed with the ones I was finding. Every one I found fell into one of two catagories:
1) All the information is given to them. The 'study guide' tells them the themes, the plot, descriptions of the characters, etc. It provides a summary, often so detailed that you could pass assignments & tests and even discuss the book in class without ever having to actually read the book. It hands them all the info they could ever need to convince a teacher that they read the book, all wrapped up in a neat little package & labeled as a study 'aid.'
2) They go to the other end of the spectrum. They consist of nothing more than simple (and I do mean simple) comprehension questions and a list of vocabulary words for each chapter. Of course, the vocab words always seem far below the level a child that would be reading that book would be at & are often listed for more than one chapter (in case they didn't learn the word for the first chapter it was in, we'll toss it in again). The questions don't inspire or require reflection, critical thinking, an understanding or appreciation of the book, but instead are simplistic to the point of being inane.
Either way, what are they learning when they use 'study guides' like those? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Textbooks spoonfeed information, and aren't always as accurate as they want you to think they are. Children simply aren't taught to think for themselves anymore.

Now, I wish I could say that this is only within public schools & that all children in private schools or homeschools are taught to think, master skills, look beyond the surface. Unfortunately, I can't say that. Some do. Some homeschoolers actually make sure their children think for themselves, look for answers (beyond the textbook), encourage out-of-the-box thinking, actual mastery of skills (instead of just enough to pass the test), and introduce their children to as many topics, ideas, and concepts as they possibly can (instead of just enough to get by). Not all do, though. Some just buy a curriculum, follow along, and figure that their child must be getting a superior education because they aren't in a classroom. They may buy Critical Thinking or Logic programs, but never actually expect the child to use those skills outside of the work for that program. Just like not all public or private schools are created equal, neither are all homeschools.

I can understand the ones who are providing an education that is virtually identical to the public school. They might be homeschooling for other reasons, not to provide a superior education. Some of them, due to learning disabilities or other special needs, are providing more than that child would get in public school, even though it's the typical work for the 'regular' classes. The ones I don't get are the ones who are providing an education that is obviously inferior to what the public schools provide. Sometimes, they know they are providing an inferior education & justify it in ridiculous ways. My favorite justification is a religious one - "He's building his relationship with God , and that is much more important than academics". Other times, they are delusional enough to think they are providing a superior education & brag about how 'rigorous' & 'challenging' their curriculum is (because we should all be so impressed that your 13 year old does a whole 30 minutes of schoolwork everyday & is currently reading a 5th grade level book). Of course, when these kids apply at college & don't get in or are told they have to take remedial courses, due to their lack of comprehension of basic concepts, the parents will inevitably blame the schools, calling them anti-homeschool. After all, there couldn't possibly be any other reason.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Horn of Plenty Thanks

Over the years, people have questioned many of my choices & decisions regarding raising & educating my kids. I've been accused of being a bad mom, on more than one occasion. I have been chastised for not breastfeeding long enough. I have been accused of being too strict, too lenient, too mainstream, too unusual, too consistent, too flexible, too unconventional, too protective, not protective enough, etc. Many people seem to have a problem (well, many problems) with how I raise my kids.

I'm sure some of you are wondering what my point is. I'm getting to it, I promise.

The kids and I were discussing being thankful. On a large sheet of paper, I drew a Cornucopia. It is our "Horn of Plenty Thanks." Then, I drew various different types of food & cut them out. The kids are writing things they are thankful for on the pieces of food and hanging them on the cornucopia. So far, they are thankful for:

the fact that they are homeschooled (both)
that their great-grandparents, who died earlier this year, are in a better, safer place and no longer in pain (Dea)
Jay is thankful that he didn't die when he was a baby (he was born very premature)
that he has the ability to read (Jay)
that we have plenty of books to read (Dea)
and more


Now, I know that many people have disagreed with my decisions, and many have questioned my ways. However, can you really argue with the results? These kids are thankful for a roof over their heads, blankets to keep them warm, and food to fill their bellies. They are thankful for those things because they understand that there are people who don't have them. It seems to me that I must not be doing the bad job so many think I am. It's pretty clear that my being too strict, too lenient, too flexible, too consistent, too mainstream, too unconventional, too protective, and too hands-off hasn't screwed my kids up too much.


  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Update on our break

I realized that I haven't really done a post about school since we started our break. So, I thought I'd let you know what we've been up to lately.

I've foud this really cool new tool that I think will be a great asset to our schooling. I want to wait a little bit to tell you all about it, until we've had a chance to use it a little more. Once I have a better idea of what I think of it, I'll tell you all about it.

While I won't tell you much about this new tool yet, I will tell you that it is already helping us to organize our school assignments. We're not doing our regular school schedule right now. We're taking a break to destress from life. Not to destress from school, but life in general. We set some basic guidelines:
1) up to 2 hours of educational TV time per day
2) up to 1 hour of non-educational TV time per day, unless I decide to let them watch a movie (but they can't ask to watch a movie or they lose their TV time for a day)
3) up to 2 hours of computer time per day - the first hour has to be educational or school related in order to get personal computer time
4) at least 1 hour of reading per day
5) at least 2 hours of educational activities (they asked for this)

They have spent a lot of time reading. Jay read George's Secret Key to the Universe. I am so proud of him. Dea is currently reading The Hobbit and started Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl today. They've been watching documentaries on WWII, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Alexander the Great, The Salem Witch Trials, and various wildlife ones.

Dea has voluntarily done Math! More than once! YAY!! She's loving being able to do what schoolwork she wants each day. She's been doing a lot of work on her Biology. She's decided to stop doing Oxford Latin, and is doing Song School Latin with Jay (so they can talk to each other).  She's starting to get back into her History, too (WWII).

Jay has started his multiplication book. He's finished all of the subtraction book, except for the sections on subtracting time & linear measurement. I want him to wait a little to do those sections. He's doing great with multiplication, though. He's really enjoying it, too, which is fantastic. He's really getting into Ancient Greece & Ancient Rome. Today, he finally decided that maybe the Myths aren't quite so boring and wants me to read them to him. Of course, he's loving doing Science and asks to do it all the time. Both the kids are enjoying doing Latin & are really using the words they're learning.

The other day, I was cutting out the pieces for the Parthenon that we're going to build. As I was toiling away with the Exacto knife, Jay was collecting the scraps. When I asked what he was doing, he told me that he was building a jail for Vlad the Impaler. He used every scrap. He said it needed to be strong to hold Vlad, because "we don't want him out on the streets, killing people." Other people might find that conversation a bit strange, especially since he's 6. I, however, find it completely adorable.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What kind of mama are you?

What kind of mom are you? Do you see yourself as Supermom? Conventional? Unconventional? Do others see you the same way you see yourself?

I was just sitting here thinking about this, about the differences in parenting. I'm not talking about the four main types - Permissive, Authoritative, Authoritarian, Uninvolved. I'm talking about Attachment Parenting, Mainstream Parenting (aka Traditional Parenting), etc. I'm focusing on these because they are the ones that people fight about.

You never hear arguments about which is the better parenting style - Authoritative or Permissive. However, fights about Attachment Parenting vs. 'Mainstream' Parenting are all over the place. Although, if you want to really nitpick, Attachment Parenting & 'Mainstream' Parenting would really fall into the Permissive & Authoritative styles.

My issue with the parenting style wars is that, like so many other ridiculous "wars," both sides assume that their way is the only way & is right for everyone. It's simply not possible that different ways may work better for different families or situations. No. Their way is the one & only right way to parent, and you either agree with them, completely, or you are a terrible parent whose kids will suffer untold miseries.

Now, I'm all for making sure that all women are educated about how healthy breastfeeding is. I think it's great that there are organizations to help those who are struggling to breastfeed. However, I think that villifying any mother who chooses not to breastfeed at all or only breastfeeds for a short time is stupid & hateful. How long I breastfed my kids, or if I breastfed them, has nothing to do with you. I don't need you telling me that I was selfish to stop breastfeeding my daughter after only 4 months because it hurt, my nipples were bleeding, and I had to get a job (seeing as I was a single mom) & didn't want to sit in the bathroom at McDonalds on break & pump. I also don't need to hear about how selfish it was to stop pumping after my son came home from the hospital. He never latched on & pumping had never produced enough milk for him. Plus, it HURT & made my nipples bleed. So, shortly after he came home from the hospital (at 2 months old), I stopped pumping & went to formula. I didn't need to hear that I was being selfish or that I was a horrible mom.

If you want to co-sleep, fine. Don't sit there & tell me that you're a better mom than I am because you co-sleep & I don't, though. I am not a bad mom because I put my kids in their own beds instead of spending sleeplessness nights dealing with their moving around & kicking all night.

I am also not a bad mom because my kids don't play video games.
Or... because I monitor what they watch, read, and listen to for sexual content & nudity, but not for violence & language.
Or... because I let them watch horror movies.
Or... because I let them listen to rock & heavy metal.
Or... because I don't force them to go to church.
Or... because I believe that children are fully capable of figuring out their own beliefs, so my kids are allowed to choose their own religious path (or no religion at all).
Or... because I don't feel that they should be entirely in charge of their own education.
Or... because I don't give them free reign to do whatever & go where ever they choose without rules, restrictions, or boundaries.
Or... because I don't see my children as my equals, but as what they are - children who it it my responsibility to raise, guide, and teach; who have less knowledge & experience than I do & therefore are not prepared to be equal partners with my husband & me in the running of our home.
Or... because I don't see them as slaves who have to obey my every command & have no thoughts or opinions of their own, but actually welcome & encourage their feedback & input.
Or... because I don't believe in bribing my kids to get the behavior I want.
Or... because I don't spank for every infraction.
Or... because I will spank if no other form of discipline has worked & spanking will actually have an impact.
Or... because they both have bedtimes, even though they both have trouble falling asleep & staying asleep & need less sleep than most kids, because my hubby & I need time alone, which can only happen after the kids go to bed, and I need me time which only happens when everyone else is in bed.
Or... because I occasionaly have a beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of tequila.
Or... because I have 5 tattoos.
Or... because our house isn't spotless, it's lived-in & a little cluttered.
Or... because my daughter is on medication for her ADHD & Bipolar.
Or... because I sometimes lose my temper and yell at my kids.

I don't fit neatly into one of your little categories. I'm not a 'Mainstream' Parent. I'm not an Attachment Parent. I'm certainly not a 'Free-Range' Parent. I do what I feel is best for my kids & family in each situation. I don't adhere to a strict set of 'rules' that tell me how to parent, so that I will still be considered a certain type of parent. This means that I rarely, if ever, truly fit in. To some, I'm too strict, and to others too lenient. To some, I'm too conventional, to others too unconventional. How conventional/unconventional or strict/lenient I am shouldn't be a problem, since it's MY kids I'm raising, not yours. However, because people are so close-minded & judgemental, it apparently does matter. So many only want to socialize with those who are just like them. If you employ any parenting tactics that they disagree with, they won't associate with you. Just like so many won't associate with those with differing religious veiws. So many people are so close-minded to the views of others. They see the world in black & white and surround themselves only with those who view the world the same way. Don't they see what they're missing by doing this - by not opening their minds & their world to those with a different to view to offer?

My world is not black & white. It's full of shades of grey and so many other colors. It's full of a wide variety of characters. I don't surround myself with only those like me, and not just because I have never met someone like me. I enjoy the variety it brings to my life. The people in my life come from different backgrounds, different religions, different educational backgrounds, etc. My life has included homeless to millionaires, Catholics to Atheists to Pagans, dropouts to multiple degrees, and more. I can't imagine not having that variety in my life, not having those people & experiences in my life. That must be a dull & boring world indeed, where everyone thinks just like you, agrees with you, and sees the world in the same way as you. How sad a life must be if the only place you have variety of views & character is in the online world you also inhabit, where everyone is a stranger, no one really knows you, and you can delete or ignore those who differ too much for your liking. If only you knew what you were missing..........