Sunday, April 29, 2007


Was mining the archives of King Aardvark's blog when I found this the "Ultimate Bible Quiz".

I couldn't resist, and it only took a few minutes.

Check it out!

You know the Bible 97%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

The atheist got a 97%. WOOHOOO!!! Without even once cracking the bible, googling, or doing anything more than making tick marks to determine how many books in the new testament. WOOHOOO!!!!!!

Ahhh sweet irony. I always say I test well. Yeah Me!

If you decide to give it a whirl stop back and let me know how you do!!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

thought crime in America

Imagine you are back in high school. You are sitting in English class (it is a state graduation requirement). The assignment for the day is "Free Writing- write non-stop for a set period of time. Do not make corrections as you write. Keep writing, even if you have to write something like, 'I don't know what to write'. Write whatever comes to your mind. Do not judge or censor what you are writing."

Does the assignment suggest a theme? NO
Does the assignment require a topic sentence? NO
Does the assignment encourage you to proofread your work? NO

Well what does the assignment suggest? Write whatever comes to mind.
What if I'm in a lousy mood? Do not judge and do not stop writing.
What if I'm a potty mouth? Do not censor what you are writing.

Ok- so you want to know what I am thinking about right now?


Here is what one student turned in.

Blood sex and Booze.

Drugs Drugs Drugs are fun.

Stab, Stab, Stab, S…t…a…b…, poke.

''So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P90s and started shooting everyone…, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did.''

Umm, yeah, what to wright about……

I'm leaving to join the Marines and I really don't give a (obscenity) about my academics, so why does the only class that's complete Bull Shit, happen to be the only required class…enough said.

The model citizen would stay around to vote in new board member to change the 4 years of English policy, but no one really stays around to vote for that kind of local crap, so whoever gets there name on the Ballet with a pretty face gets to do what the (obscenity) ever they want with local ordinance.

A person is smart, but people are dumb selfish animals. We can't make rules for ourselves so we vote others to do it for us, but we can't even do that right, I meen seriously, Bush for President? And our other option was John Kerry who claimed to parktake in Vietnam Special Forces missions that haven't been declassified….(obscenity) Bull Shit.

So Power Flower Super Mario.

Pudge, hook, rot, dismember ''Fresh Meat.''

Mostly new/young teachers are laid back, and cooperative with students as feedback and input into the curriculum and atmosphere.

My current English teacher is a control freak intent on setting a gap between herself and her students like a 63 year old white male fortune 500 company CEO, and a illegal immigrant.

If CG was a private catholic school, I could understand, but wtf is her problem. And baking brownies and rice crispies does not make up for it, way to try and justify yourself as a good teacher while underhandedly looking for complements on your cooking.

No quarrel on you qualifications as a writer, but as a teacher, don't be surprised on inspiring the first cg shooting.


What did we learn about the student from this essay?

- Fairly macabre sense of life. Uses profanity.

- He wrote whatever came to mind without judging or censoring it.

- He's joining the marines.

- He resents being required to take 4 years of English. But doesn't care enough to vote in changes to the school board.

- Seems to think that individuals are smart but a group of people are dumb selfish animals who need the government to take care of them.

- Doesn't think highly of politicians especially the presidential choices.

- He likes or is familiar with Nintendo games.

- He doesn't care for his english teacher or the fact that she bakes treats for class.

- He thinks she may even inspire the first school shooting.


That's it. That is all that we learn about the student from his essay.

Now- what are the results of this essay?

1- Did he complete the assignment- YES
2- Did he write whatever came to mind- YES
3- Did he judge or censor what he wrote- NO

So- what grade did he get on the assignment?

Well let's put it this way, what Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student student at Cary-Grove High School, heard about his essay was this...

''You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at interrogation time and at court.''

He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of Disorderly Conduct- which carries a penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Normally Disorderly Conduct is filed for pranks such as pulling a fire alarm or dialing 911. But it can also apply when someone's writings can disturb an individual.

In this case the teacher was disturbed.

Thought crime in America.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Atheists- Would You Die For Your Belief?

Well- I'm on assignment from Sean. He asked me to take a look at this and see what I had to say about this piece of fundamentalist tripeAtheists - Would You Die For Your Belief?

My comments are in bold because I didn't want to give Makarios the satisfaction of having the darker font.

Atheists - Would You Die For Your Belief?

Atheism is a lack of belief in any god, goddess or other supernatural being.

It’s not so far fetched to imagine, sometime in the future another Atheist Totalitarian attempt to put an end to Christianity, to close religious schools, to board up Churches or turn them into factories or warehouses.

I’m guessing here that he is referring to communism- which is a political philosophy and not an atheist “belief”. To be an atheist, does not mean to be a communist. Atheists can have any number of political beliefs- a few examples of which are- libertarian, republican, democrat, constitutionalist, and oh yes- communist or even fascist….

In the absence of historical observation, Dawkins and Harris wannabes shiver with anticipation at the thought of such a utopia. It’s not such a stretch to visualize millions upon millions of Atheists towing the party line for their “Dear Leader.”

This is just plain offensive and designed to stir up in christians the fervor he is projecting on atheists. In the incomplete list of political beliefs I mentioned, how many of people holding those ideals would want to “tow the party line for their ‘Dear Leader’?” Well we’ve seen fascists march in goose step for their beloved father figure, but I’ve never seen republicans do it, or libertarians for that matter.

I read Sam Harris’ book The End of Faith, I don’t remember him ever stating in that book that he wanted to set up an Atheist Totalitarian government. I haven’t read any of Richard Dawkins’ books, but somehow I doubt Totalitarianism is on the menu. If I’m wrong about this- please let me know!

My guess is that this “utopia” that Dawkins and Harris are imagining, hoping for, possibly even shivering in anticipation of is a world freed from superstition. A world where everyone approaches reality with a thinking, reasoning brain. A world where morality is NOT based on the threat of burning in hell for all eternity (a truly sadistic notion). A world where there are no more wars for doctrinal differences. A world with no more honour killings for a woman’s perceived sexual transgression.

The Bible tells us that there is going to come a time when someone, someone who is voted into power will make a valiant attempt to put an end, once and for all, to Christianity and it’s followers.

I think it is the fundamentalist Christians who shiver in anticipation of just this event- doesn’t this signify the nearing/commencing/starting of the rapture??? I’m not trying to be facetious here, are not Christians eager for the rapture?

There are, however, two problems:
- How do you get rid of all those pesky Christians? Are you, Atheist, willing to go that far? Think about it! Because I’ll tell you right now, killing us is the only option to putting an end to the thoughts and actions of we who love Jesus. Taking our children and putting them into reeducation programs won’t be enough.

I wish I knew the debating terms. [Note to self, learn them!] I know this falls into one of the categories.

I will take a stab at describing the problems I see in it without that knowledge.

This question assumes the totalitarian type regime complete with reeducation programs. It also assumes that atheists consider the slaughter of christians and the forceable removal of their children to be a viable option.

There might be atheists out there who would pursue just such a government. There are certainly Muslims out there who would love to do away with all Christians. There is even a Christian movement out there to establish a theocracy right here in America.

Is it just me, or does it seem like he is shivering in anticipation of being a martyr for jesus? Once again, not trying to be facetious. It really comes across that way.


- What if the world leader who wants to put an end to Christianity isn’t an Atheist?
What if Christianity isn’t the only thing that annoys him? What if that list includes Atheists, Jews, and adherents to any belief system except his own?

The book of Revelation in the Bible says that at some point in the future, a world leader is going to demand not just the allegiance, but the WORSHIP of every individual.

What if the world leader that is spoken of in Revelation is a religious person with a religious agenda?

Well let’s think about that. He is suggesting that a totalitarian regime will attempt to form and eliminate any Christian, atheist, Jew…for the sake of simplicity why don’t we call them Nonbelievers.

Oh wait. That situation is currently happening in the world. And what are the Christians, atheists, Jews and other nonbelievers doing? Fighting against it. Nonbelievers standing shoulder to shoulder fighting and dying to prevent the totalitarianization of our country.

What if the heads of Atheists and Christians wind up on the same chopping block?

What are we sheep that we are passively lined up waiting for this?

Dawkins et al would like to do away with Christians. Centuries of experience show how those who have met Jesus will react.

There is a difference between “do away with” and “desire a world without”. Doing away with suggests action- a deliberate extermination. The possibility of martyrdom. Obviously not the way to go.

But what about you, Atheist? What if someone comes along who wants to do away with you because you hold to Atheist beliefs?

Well- There are a swarm of fundamentalists I have read on blogs who are very eager to condemn atheists to an eternity of hellfire and damnation. Some even talk of wanting to stand by the throne of judgment and watch and laugh.

As for in this world, if someone or some group comes along that is upset by a lack of belief in their god, I imagine atheists won’t be the only ones they are upset at. Atheists won't be the only ones this regime will attempt to enslave and wipe out. And even if we were- We would fight back. It is what any reasonable being would do when threatened with death.

Suppose you were given three days to decide > Convert and live, or hold to your beloved Atheism and die a horrible death.

First of all, this assumes that we lost the war and are apparently prisoners.

Second, there are always other options. Give me liberty or give me death. Doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of belief in god, but a political ideal of freedom.

. Are you so devoted to your cause that you’d say, “Do your worst to me. I hold the truth of atheism in my heart.”

The “cause” that would be fought for is not atheism but freedom. The freedom to be what you want. To believe what you want. To live your life the way you want. Sounds a lot like America to me.

. Is Atheism so real and precious to you that it’s worth dying for?
. Are you so convinced of it’s accuracy that you’d say, “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

The FREEDOM to be an atheist is real and precious and worth dying for.

. Does Atheism give your life such meaning and context and purpose that a life without it is not worth having?
. Have you derived such peace from this belief system and are you so certain of it’s worth that you’d be tortured to death for it?

The FREEDOM from god makes every day precious as we are not longing for death so we can be with god. We’ve got one chance at happiness- this life. And this life is precious and worth fighting for and dying for.

Or will you decide that it’s not such a big deal after all? Will you ‘change your mind’ and save your skin?

I don’t know how individuals would decide in the twisted scenario that he has invisioned. I imagine some will choose to "convert" and live and continue the fight another day, some will martyr themselves on the chance of inspiring others in freedom's cause, and some might choose to die rather than live in such a horrific world.

And if that's the case, isn't it possible that if being an Atheist is not worth dying for in those circumstances, it’s not worth wasting your time over now either?

You believe in god. You believe he knows everyone’s hearts. Do you really think he will fall for Pascal’s Wager and accept the worship of someone with his fingers crossed?

There’s a wonderful book by D.C. Talk called “Jesus Freaks” - Albury Publishing, Tulsa Oklahoma. The content is made up of historical accounts of Christian Martyrdom from ancient times to the present day. If you want to know what purpose and calling and a relationship with Jesus look and feel like in the face of death, it’s a good read.

There is a wonderful book by Leonard Peikoff called “Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand”- Penguin Books, New York, New York. It describes a life without superstition. A life that is not centered on death but on living. A life not based on fear and superstition but a life of reason and purpose. A life with morality not based on the threat of hell but on happiness. It means the exacting discipline of defining and pursuing one's rational self-interest.

A code of rational self-interest rejects every form of human sacrifice, whether of oneself to others or of others to oneself. The ethics of rational self-interest upholds the exercise of one's mind in the service of one's life, and all of the specific value-choices and character attributes which such exercise entails. It upholds the virtues of rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride. It does not advocate "survival at any price."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

intellectual dishonesty

Dani said "The idea that God can be eternal leads us to the idea that maybe the universe is eternal, and, therefore, God doesn't need to exist at all."

So your belief in an eternal god has led you to believe the universe is eternal and god doesn't need to exist which suggests he is irrelevant.

Hey everyone- Dani is an atheist!

Dani said, " Although it is possible that the universe itself is eternal, eliminating the need for its creation..."

She is so excited about her new found atheism that she denies god a 2nd time.

Oh wait, now she has doubts...Dani said "...observational evidence contradicts this hypothesis since the universe supposedly began to exist only ~13.7 billion years ago."

No wait, we're back on track for atheism because the evidence Dani is quoting here is theBig Bang theory that says the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

So, let me get this straight, Dani has said
1- Eternal god -> eternal universe = There is no god
Atheism confirmed
2- Big Bang Theory -> There is no god
Atheism reconfirmed

Wow, I'd say Dani has made big strides in the last few days.

"The only possible escape for the atheist is the invention of a kind of super universe, which can never be confirmed experimentally (hence it is metaphysical in nature, and not scientific)."

I'm assuming you mean escape from the idea of a creator of the universe. What I can not fathom is why *you* have invented the idea of a super universe out of whole cloth. No one here has suggested it. You don't define it. And you say it can't be confirmed experimentally.

Now you know we pesky atheists want scientific proof for things, so accusing us of *inventing* a concept that can't be scientifically proven is cosmically ridiculous. Yet here you are forcing the idea of an invented super universe upon me/us and then denying its validity, like that proves your own point.

Correct me if I'm wrong. But do or do NOT the creationists use the idea of a super being to explain the first cause of the universe. A being which *cannot* be confirmed experimentally????

Dani said, The universe popping into existence on it's own or eternally existing violates the natural laws of physics. If we demand an explanation of who created God - that only pushes the problem back a generation, and then begs the question of who created that thing, and then so on until we get to a first cause.

How does a creator NOT violate the laws of physics??? Seriously, tell me which law of physics upholds "let there be light!"

You use the term for debating, "begs the question" yet that is exactly what first cause does. Read the Barker article. All of it. I challenge you to CLEARLY refute it.

Also, if the universe is the first and only cause, how do we determine absolute morality based only on matter and energy? The effect cannot be greater than the cause, so things like good and evil cannot exist in a limited morally relative material universe.

Dani what does morality have to do with the origins of the universe????

Why did you change the subject???

And on the subject of moral relativity- I am really insulted by this assumption. We talked about morality. We talked about how to live morally without the threat of eternal damnation held over you.

And you slip a 3rd argument in there- the "effect greater than the cause". ARGH!!!!!!!

Why are you clouding the issue???

Pick one stick with it, FINISH IT, then bring up something new. And morality isn't new, it's old. If you've got more thoughts go back to the morality post and begin our discussion anew.

Remember the link is READ ME

Refute it or admit to one and all for the THIRD TIME that there is NO GOD!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

what would you do

My next door neighbor, who has the reputation of aggressively converting non born-again people, asked me if I believe in a deity.

Debating online is one thing.

Dealing with it in person....

Well, there is a lot of pressure to that. The social pressure of being polite to someone well into retirement age. The not wanting to tick off the next door neighbor with adjoining land factor. The intimidation of him as a domineering male. The vulnerability of homeschooling my kids, leaving me wide open to social services complaints of a wide variety of unsubstantiated claims that "must be checked out".

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

origins of the universe (cosmology)

Dani said "Let's start by making a casual observation: The Universe is real and it exists. The universe is everything that exists. Everything that exists, exists as part of the universe.

Dani said "An infinite, supernatural Creator who exists outside the natural laws of the Universe created everything. There is no other possibility! God is the first cause..."

For my own clarity let me rephrase and see if I get this right...Every existing thing has a cause, and every cause must be caused by a prior cause, which in turn must be caused by a still prior cause, and so on until we reach a first cause, a being that does not require a causal explanation.

This argument asks us to look beyond the fact that the universe exists to find the explanation for its existence. With the idea that god is the explanation for the universe.

Basically an unknowable being using unknowable methods "caused" the universe to snap into existence. How did it create existence from nonexistence?

Dani started by saying that everything must have a cause and "God is the first cause." Yet, if everything has to have a cause, how did god become exempt?

If you say everything has to have a cause
god does not have a cause.

The conclusion (god does not have a cause) is contradicted by the first argument (everything has to have a cause).

It is not logical to say, "the universe has to have a cause, god is the cause and there is no cause before him."

For knowledge, we build on what we do know to discover that which we do not know. It makes no rational sense to build on the unknown to explain what we know.

"All causality presupposes the existence of something that acts as a cause. To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction: if the cause exists, it is part of existence; if it does not exist, it cannot be a cause...Causality presupposes existence, existence does not presuppose causality...Existence- not "god" is the First Cause." Nathaniel Branden

For something to have caused the universe, it must first exist. To exist is to be part of the universe. You cannot create that of which you are a part.

favorite drink, worst experience with it

My all-time favorite drink is a Long Island Tea. Applebee's makes great LITs!!!! and they are HUGE. Hey, size matters when it comes to LIT!

My worst experience with it came from my hometown (population 900 and falling) restaurant. The LIT came with one of those dippy bar straws that are so thin you get half a mouthful after a minute of trying. They must be just for looks because you can't even stir your drink if it has ice, just bends.

Got my nose close to the drink and all I could think of was rubbing alcohol. That smell from when I would use cotton balls to wipe around Punkin #1's bellybutton stump when she was a newborn.

NOT the mental image you want when you are out with friends trying to get silly.

So, mentally holding my nose, I take a sip and *gag* WHAT did they put in that drink????? It was the most gawdawful stuff I had EVER tasted.

Small town *gasp* can't return it *gag* owner will screw up my *gasp* pizza orders for life. BLECH!

Get LIT just not at the Silver Slipper! HA!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

creationsism v. evolution

Dani asked... What is your belief on the origins of life? Do you think we evolved from animals over billions of years? Why is it that humans are capable of rational thought and we have a conscience, but animals don't? In your opinion, what really sets us apart from all the other species on the planet?

I think what I like most about this ever evolving discussion (ahhh the delicious irony of a pun) is that it forces me to think through a variety of subjects and actually get my thoughts about them down in print.

It has splintered off in so many directions I'm not even sure if all points have been addressed, so if something got missed, by all means bring it up again.

Origins of life- life first evolved around 3.5 billion years ago
Human evolution-
I think the first mamals appeared around 245 million years ago during the Triassic era famous for the T-Rex
I think mamals became the dominent species on the planet around 70 million years ago during the Tertiary Era
I think primitive monkeys evolved around 50 mya
I think the hominid line broke off from the evolving primate line about 4 million years ago and has splintered off into a variety off races that have finally gone extinct- all but homo sapiens sapiens

Human Capacity for Reason- Each time a creature evolves it is in response to environmental factors- competition for food, water, mates, changing climate, drought, etc... Animals evolve differently so they are not competing for the same food source. Our ancestors developed the ability to use their minds. They were not gifted with claws, speed, size, durability. They had a brain that they used to compensate for what they did not have developing tools, shelter, reliable food sources, social structures. Some discovered how to harvest seeds and plant them. Farming led to towns which led to cities. Throughout the process morals developed that were related to survival and religion developed to explain the unexplainable. Why does it rain? Who hung the moon? How do we prevent the Tigris & Euphrates from flooding? What should we do to keep our neighbors from attacking us? What happens after death?

I would recommend a book by Julian Jaynes at this point The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It explains very clearly and quite readably how humans developed into beings with the capacity for rational thought, morals, ethics, the ability to think about the future and live beyond the moment etc... They have it at amazon if you search for the title. Or you may find it at your local library.

Our capacity to reason is what sets us apart from other beings on the planet. The sad thing is that not everyone chooses to think and it is a choice. It's a choice every morning when a person gets out of bed- to live in a fog or to demand clear thinking of oneself. To exercise your brain muscle daily or to let it atrophy with antipathy and laziness. Some actively choose to not use their brain, to blindly follow where they are led, to make decisions based on what feels good or what they wish was true. It can lead to all sorts of evil when people abandon reason for lies.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


This is a carry-over from the comments for "if there is evil then there is a god. WHAT???? "

It has swung around to now discussing morality and its application.

Dani, your post seems to address several different issues...
1- What standard do YOU go by to determine what's morally right or wrong?
I'm assuming you mean in my daily life.

2- Because what's right for me may not be right for you
This goes back to moral relativity which I believe is not a solid basis for morality.

3- and Hitler thought what he was doing was right - So do we just let society decide what is good or evil?
This sounds like you are asking how morality should be used to govern society.

4- All throughout history man's nature has been proven to be wicked
This is actually 2 subjects original sin and human nature

5- and the reason why he needs values is often irrelevant because each man defines the values he must reach and the virtues he must practice to reach them by his own standards.
I'm not sure how you mean this. I have really tried to give this one a lot of thought and break down what you are trying to say.... Man uses individual standards to choose what he values in life and the virtues he must practice to achieve these values.

6- Without an Ultimate Authority to determine justice, how do we ever agree on what is right?
Without using god, are you asking how you and I as individuals would come to an agreement as to what is right and wrong or does this go back to laws and government?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

when bad things happen

I belong to a secular homeschooling yahoo group. On it, one of the member's just posted that she was in a car accident and her 2 precious children were injured. One seriously and will most likely not recover and the other minor injuries, should be fine.

First off, I cannot begin to imagine the horror a mother would experience to have her children suffering while she sits by their bedside unable to do anything. It's actually one of my greatest fears.

Now she posted this info. to a secular website. And everyone is praying for her. Maybe not everyone, but there are 20 posts all saying "we're praying for you". WTF??? This is a secular board. I know that doesn't mean everyone is an atheist, but only one pagan popped up to say she was sending healing thoughts and blessings their way. Everyone else was down on their knees praying. Now, my guess is that the atheist members are for the most part staying silent or wishing them the best (there were a couple of those type of posts).

Now my question is, I would love to express my sympathy. And I will not be praying for her. In fact after she said that the doctors are essentially waiting for her one child to die, people kept reassuring her not to lose faith and that anything is possible.

How do you show sympathy for someone without perjuring yourself and offering non-existant hope that really is more offensive than helpful?

I'm pretty sure the people telling her to keep the faith mean well, but it seems like a shitty thing to say. Then if/when her child dies, it's like it will be her fault because she didn't believe enough.

What would YOU do for someone you know in this situation?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

if there is evil then there is a god. WHAT????

I have been reading the archives of a blog called An Exercise in Futility.

Tommy and Stardust had a lively discussion with Jason about atheism v. christianity and the offensiveness of bumperstickers that were in-your-face-fundamentalist.

At one point Jason made the comment...

"I will say, however, that evil in the world may allude to the existence of God. "

Actually, for me, the existence of evil is a point NOT in favor of the existence of god.

Please correct me if I'm wrong- the bible says that god is omniscient- meaning all-knowing and omnipotent- meaning all-powerful. I'm sure there's another omni that god is claimed to be, but I don't recall it for the moment, and I'm not sure it's relevent.

While I was reading Jason's comment it got me to thinking and I asked myself a question I had never heard before.

Imagine for a moment that you have the gift of foresight and you could see that the baby you have just discovered to be developing in your womb, would become in 20 years die and spend an eternity (a literal eternity not just a long time but an infinite number of years) in the torments of hell. Would you do it? Would you have your child? Would you wish an eternity of suffering on your offspring?

Knowing myself and how protective I feel of my children, I don't think I could do it. I don't think I could bring a baby into this world knowing that after living for however a length of time I could "live" with the knowledge that eternal suffering awaited. Better for the child never to have been born.

Back to the question. Would you wish an eternity of suffering on your offspring? I could not do it. I could not knowingly condemn my own offspring to eternal torment. I love my children, and I don't want them to suffer. Most parents don't want their children to suffer. (Isn't it said that I can't honestly say NO parent wants their child to suffer?)

But what about the genuinely evil people. People, who have caused misery to millions upon millions of people. In all of history, of all the most vile and evil villains who have ever had the misfortune to live. Even of them, I don't think they deserve an eternity of torment. Maybe they deserve to relive every moment of torment they have visited or caused to have visited on another human being, but more than that? An eternity of torment???

No, I don't think they should burn in a lake of fire for all time.

What kind of creature would pick up a ball of protoplasm and begin to sculpt it into it's own image knowing that billions of these new entities not even yet formed would spend a literal eternity in unending torment. What kind of creature wouldn't just scrap the whole project? It's your creation, why do you want any part of it to suffer? Why did you make it capable of suffering that kind of punishment? Why did you devise that sort of end to begin with? How could you create such a creature that DESERVES that? How does that NOT make you the most evil creature that has ever existed?????

Saturday, April 7, 2007

when did you start homeschooling

I am the type of person who, when confronted with a new situation, reads up on it. Found out I was pregnant, got all sorts of books about pregnancy, child-birth, new baby-care etc... Read everything I could get my hands on, decided what made sense to me, threw out what was left and went from there.

My favorite books were the "what to expect" books. I got the What to Expect when you are Expecting book, the What to Expect the First Year book, and the What to Expect the Toddler Years. And each one was worth it's weight in gold. With the 3rd book it gave developmental tips, ranges and your child should be able to, might be able to, could possibly be able to lists. It was like a little competition built in to each chapter, can my Punkin do any of this stuff?

Which is really what got me to looking for educational type stuff. We never allowed brain-dulling toys around our Punkins. All of the toys, especially when they were young, were imagination driven designed to stimulate mental growth, etc.... From chewy, touchy feely toys for babies, to blocks and things to dump/measure/pour for toddlers.

I saw so many parents getting there kids dollies that talk/cry/sleep/burp etc... that there was no room for the child's imagination. A lot of the toys out there are like that. Little barnyard sets where every animal is a button that will tell you "the cow says moo", or "D is for Duck", or whatever. But does not allow the child to set the animals in a row, make the horse fly or the chicken boss the other animals around. The animals just sit there stuck in place waiting to be pressed. Blech.

As Punkin #1 grew older, she became more interested in counting and ABC's so I ordered little monthly learning kits in the mail. They came with a book, workbook, stickers, and an arts-&-crafts project. We had a lot of fun with those pouring over them, filling in the questions, etc...

I think the willingness to homeschool for us just kind of grew out of what we were already doing.

So after reading Ayn Rand's article about the effects of public school on the developing mind, I knew I needed to do something different. Free day-care along with social indoctrination provided courtesy of the government wasn't going to cut it for my little Punkin.

I am very glad I found the Well-Trained Mind. It helped me break the elephant into bite-sized pieces. When you think of education your child as just taking one step at a time and it growing with your child it's not nearly as overwhelming as, "my daughter is 6 how will I ever do chemistry?????"

The next step, after determining on a method for learning to read (100 Easy Lessons) was to find a program for math. What I really needed to do was to touch and feel the options.

Off to a homeschooling convention....

what are you

In my hometown there were 3 churches: the Lutheran church, the Catholic church, the Methodist church, and oh yeah the Holy Rollers. So if someone asked "What are you?" in reference to your beliefs you were identified by what church you went to. I was a Lutheran.

And I was just thinking, if someone had asked me, back then, "Are you a Christian?", I think my knee-jerk answer would have been to say, "No, I'm a Lutheran." And that just struck me as funny. Both funny ha-ha and funny interesting.

It might be that the connotation of being a "Christian" was more fundy/bible thumper- one of those born-again types. My dad took special exception to people being born-again. He figured he was baptised, confirmed, took communion, went to church on Sunday, he was golden.

Anyway, I hadn't really thought much about it until just know.

Friday, April 6, 2007

first things first

Once we made the decision to homeschool it opened up a whole world of new things I needed to learn about. How to teach the basics. Which basics to even start with. That one was fairly easy: reading and math.

There is a debate over how to teach young children to read. Whole word method or phonics. The one is typical in public schools, the other is common in homeschools. The one requires that you memorize word shapes (for example tall-letter, short-letter, tall-letter, tall-letter written underneath a picture of a boy playing fetch with his dog) well that word boys and girls is "ball". OMG. How do they expect anyone to remember tall-letter, short-letter, tall-letter, tall-letter = ball???? They don't. Not really. But THAT is a whole different theory and one I am not going to explore yet.

Phonics will teach you that the letter b says "buh" the a says "ahh" the l says "luh". (Hmmm I've never tried to write out the phonics sounds before, not as easy as it would seem.) Then when you add that t says "tuh" you can read ball, at, tab, blat, etc...

Anyway, the books recommended in Well-Trained Mind for beginning phonics are Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Phonics Pathways.

How the heck was I supposed to know which one to pick???? The choice was made very simple. When I got to B&N one was on the shelf, the other would have to be ordered in. I hate waiting.

Punkin and I had a lot of success using the Teach Your Child book. The lessons were prescripted with the teacher stuff to say written in red. You sit with your child and you both look at the same book and it was a really cozy and cuddly time. She did GREAT and learned to read with really no struggle and no tears. We just took it easy, went slow. Somteimes we would take a break from it for days, even a week or two, and come back, usually repeating the last 4-6 lessons to get back up to speed.

Sometimes I wish that we had used Phonics Pathways or even Explode the Code for a more thorough grounding in phonetic sounds etc... But, Teach Your Child did the job I wanted it to do, which was to get my daughter reading.

ending sentences with prepositions

I know that ending sentences with a preposition is one of the 7 deadly grammarian sins. Because I am aware of it, I find myself doing it constantly. Then I try and think of how to re-word the sentence WITHOUT the preposition and it ends up sounding stilted and stupid. So.... for all those grammar gurus out there who may want to point out the "incorrect usage" I'm giving fair warning. I know it's wrong, and fixing it takes too much times and isn't worth it.

I think I managed to complete this post without breaking that rule though, cool! :-P

Thursday, April 5, 2007

the beginning

My homeschool journey began when Punkin #1 was about 3 years old. I had just read an article by Ayn Rand entitled "The Comprachicos" in a collection of her works called The New Left: The Anti-Industrical Revolution. I knew I didn't want my baby girl's mind to be stunted by modern education. I also vividly remembered the 13 years of misery I endured in a small town public school. I would never wish that on my own child.

I knew I could never stand by and allow her special and absolutely uniquely precious inner-self to be destroyed before my eyes. Then and there my mate and I decided to homeschool.

Then it became- how?????? How in the world do I set about educating our precious punkin????

I looked at many recources, searched the library and B&N for books, methods. Reading anything and everything I could get my hands on it. I came across the Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. I couldn't believe how fortunate I was. A method of education based on building subjects from the ground up, preschool through highschool. Complete with book recommendations, cources of study and schedules.

I breathed a sigh of relief. At last I had a starting point. Whether or not I followed it to the letter, which I don't, at least I had a place to start.