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  1. #121
    Bess58's Avatar
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    Hi crabbcakes,

    very interesting to hear about the homeschooling. It seems that there are all sorts of varieties. Maybe this is a cultural thing? I have the impression that people in the US value their individual freedom above everything else. I mean, that's sort of how your nation started, isn't it? People emigrating because they sought religious freedom, or escaping from oppression or poverty and building a new life according to their own ideas. Here people rather want to fit in; even in the subcultures of young people it is all about being different from other groups, but everybody does it the same way - I hope I could get across what I mean.

    Anne, is it true that British people are different again in this respect? They seem to be famous for their eccentricity. Is that so, or is it just a prejudice? I'm asking because I have a female friend who is British. She is my age, but she once said that she cannot wait to get older in order to become an eccentric old lady.

    Crabbcakes, I can hardly comprehend how you get all this work with your children done. To me it sounds as if a day cannot have enough hours! And Anne, my condolences for having two teenagers in the house. Isn't it true that we never stop worrying about them? It is a difficult time when they are almost grown, but you still worry about things that might happen to them. I also had my share of worries when my daughter was that age - we got to see a number of emergency rooms. For some years, she had a tendency to have her head in the wrong places - got kicked at the head during physical education at school, got a bottle thrown at her head while partying in a park or simply bumped against her boyfriend's head with her own by mistake etc.

    Back to another round of work! In other news, I actually sold some pairs of earrings today. I like it if a hobby pays for itself instead of costing extra money. Can you tell I am quite frugal? Single moms have to be that way ...

    Looking forward to reading from you soon again!

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bess58 View Post
    very interesting to hear about the homeschooling. It seems that there are all sorts of varieties. Maybe this is a cultural thing? I have the impression that people in the US value their individual freedom above everything else.
    You have hit the nail on the head. We Americans accuse each other all the time of being "sheeple" and following the crowd and whatnot, and always mean this to be a grave insult on one's character. If I can assert that there are American national cultural virtues, this would be the biggest. You can see the results/effects of this idea/belief in all parts of daily life here, from religion to education to medical care to anything at all that's possible to buy. One of the biggest turn-offs for most Americans is to have somebody say "well, it was okay, but there weren't many choices" about anything at all.

    I won't debate whether these choices are right, or desirable, or healthy, or even real choices - sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't - just depends. What we are is a bit schizophrenic about how far to take this individual freedom thing and in which directions - we debate this kind of stuff on a personal and national level all the time, and frequently reference the European countries and Japan (because they are developed countries with more homogenous cultures than ours), both pro and con.
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-30-2012 at 02:59 AM.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by annedawso View Post
    I can't believe how many seem to home school in America. The only concern I would have is how would you know if the kids were getting a decent education or if they were getting brought up properly. Though when I have sometimes seen the school gun shootings I have thought how do you cope with it all. I take it the schools in America are free.
    The public schools and charter schools are free, as in no tuition is charged, but parents will tell you that they aren't really free at all. There are school supplies to be purchased (paper, pencils, notebooks, art supplies, rulers, calculators, backpacks to hold all of it, textbook covers...) and many public schools now charge entry fees for any fine arts or performing arts classes, if they even still have any, that is. There is the lunch that needs to be either purchased each day or brought from home. Many mothers volunteer in the elementary schools, doing everything from being hired to help the school nurse (who is frequently shared between several locations, hence a warm body needing to be in the nurse's office - like the volunteer mom) to conducting all manner of fundraisers for new equipment for everything from the school gym to the classroom to the playground. Then there are the cupcakes and such for the entire class when your kid has a birthday (because everybody else's mom makes them for their kid), and the costs of field trips (museum tickets, etc...). And probably more I just can't think of right now.

    All private schools and church-run schools (grades Kindergarten through high school levels) charge tuition. Homeschools cost as well, as you are responsible for finding or funding everything. All colleges, universities, trade schools, and everything else at a higher institution of learning have tuitions (although in the case of "state" schools, they are subsidized by the government).

    You'll have to explain the "getting brought up properly" thing, especially in connection with schooling. I think I know what you mean, but I don't want to assume anything and be wrong.

    Re school shootings - I can't answer to that. I don't worry about it here as I homeschool, and I don't believe that the locals worry about it either, even though this county is gun-soaked. There just aren't any murders here. I checked the crime statistics for my county, and from 1994 through 2007 (which is all I found tonight online put out by the county police), there were zero murders for that entire time period. We get our fair share of thefts, though.

    As to who is getting a "decent" education, that is left up the parent to define, as we tend to have differing ideas of what a "decent" education means. Just like the reasons to homeschool, there are things parents want to see in their kid's curriculum, and some things they consider harmful, objectionable, wrong, or useless and want left out.

  4. #124
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    Just delurking to say how interesting this discussion is. As an aside, Australia does frequently feel (I'm an expat Brit who has spent a fair amount of time living and working with Americans) to me like an odd hybrid lovechild of the UK and the US. The Aussies have a fair dash of the rugged individualism (and the dark side of that: screw the law) that I associate with US culture. Right, back to lurk - please carry on, I'll pull up a chair
    My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60211.html Into RPG table top games? Check out FateStorm and (in development) Vanguard!

  5. #125
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    Hi Crabbcakes, Bess and the delurked Badgergirl,
    I just assumed that the vast majority of kids went to school in each developed country. I am really surprised to find US has so many home schooled. We are similar to the costs -cost of uniforms etc add up. Plus cos the kids attend a church school we pay an annual fund. An irony I know being Atheist and sending kids to church school but it doesn't stop me believing in Christian ideals even if I can't believe there is a God up there.

    I suppose what I mean by being " brought up properly" is without an official education system how do you know that there parents aren't letting them watch tv all day etc. I find it a bit worrying that children in some families may not have any interaction with others in society. You hear so many dreadful stories in the UK that but for the intervention of outside bodies would never come to light -abuse etc. I am sure there are loads in the UK that never do come to light. I was reading an article about how predatory men target single parents for their daughters. There are some sick individuals everywhere.
    There has been quite a lot of coverage of the US election here. I haven't really watched it but it is incredible the publicity and hype around the elections. Think we are copying you as ours are going more show biz.

    Glad there is no gun crime where you are. It is like everything else cos the incidence of it happening is reported on our news we think it is happening all over America. Like most British people it is beyond my comprehension to have a gun. Even my hubby in the police has never had a gun. He has to rely on his baton and CS gas when there is trouble. Though they do have armed response units if there is a dangerous situation. Think quite a lot of the drug criminals have guns but they tend to use it on each other - thank goodness from a selfish view point.

    Bess- not sure about UK eccentricity. I think like most countries we have such a mix of people that it is impossible to generalise. Working in a University I meet quite a few eccentric academics as well as a lot of dull and boring ones. They always say Liverpool people are very friendly and chatty which in general I find we are, whereas from the South thay are generally more reserved.
    There again there is also a perception that Liverpool people are lazy, unemployed and always feel sorry for themselves. Sure there are some, but I think it can be said about anywhere.

    Badgergirl, I always thought Australia was more wild than the US. I am having my eyes opened now I tell you by Crabbcakes. Think in the UK we are used to following rules. I suppose I quite like having boundaries set, I am too conformist for my own good.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bess58 View Post
    Here people rather want to fit in; even in the subcultures of young people it is all about being different from other groups, but everybody does it the same way - I hope I could get across what I mean.
    Yeah, I think I know what you mean. I'll tell you what I have told Americans and Germans who ask me my opinion of the essential differences between the US and Germany - it is that if you are the kind of person who seeks safety more than freedom, you would be very happy in Germany; and if you are the kind of person who craves freedom more than safety, you would do better in the US. Because to get that feeling/accomplish the goal of safety and security, you WILL get told by the German government (national, state, and local bodies) how to live much more than here, and some will find happiness in that and some won't be able to abide it. And with a freedom-based model, you will always have a few who take this in harmful directions, and you need to be able to believe that having freedom for all is worth the possibility of running into one of these nut jobs.

    One of my favorite stories of Germany (always told to disparage Germany and amaze Americans) is of how the Standesamt has the right to refuse your choice of baby name - and does. That one is my sure-fire jaw-dropper in a crowd of have-never-travelled-overseas folks.
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-30-2012 at 04:06 AM.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by annedawso View Post
    I suppose what I mean by being " brought up properly" is without an official education system how do you know that there parents aren't letting them watch tv all day etc. I find it a bit worrying that children in some families may not have any interaction with others in society. You hear so many dreadful stories in the UK that but for the intervention of outside bodies would never come to light -abuse etc. I am sure there are loads in the UK that never do come to light. I was reading an article about how predatory men target single parents for their daughters. There are some sick individuals everywher.
    anne - I'm just quoting you here so I remember to talk about this as soon as I get home this afternoon... have lots to say. See you all then!

    ......okay, I'm back.

    anne - re the TV example you gave: in short, you don't know if someone is letting their kid loaf around on the sofa all day. But I am not willing to submit to government oversight into my home, or be forced to send my daughters off to a school, just to ensure that I'm not doing that. The vast majority of parents who homeschool wouldn't dream of such a thing, much less allow it. There exists already a whole shitload of laws (and the agencies that enforce them) in the US where people who have concerns about the welfare of a child can notify authorities anonymously, and it is my contention that the laws already enacted are sufficient. The current situation here is such that pissed-off anti-homeschool grandparents and neighbors and just anybody else can call their local child-welfare office and start some investigation into the peaceful lives of unsuspecting homeschoolers, who then have to call (and pay) their lawyers to defend themselves against overzealous social workers and agencies that think they know better than any parent.

    I am an adult who suffered long-term child abuse, and it was never caught by any public school authority, let me tell you (it came out via another pathway). I am all too aware that the potential exists for abuses when a child stays home. Yet I still think homeschooling is a phenomenal educational pathway.

    I see it as nothing but wonderful when parents are willing to put the time, sweat, money, and tears into attempting this. I have told my kids time and again that I will have learned more than they when we all decide we are done with our homeschooling journey, and I mean it. And that isn't a bad thing. In may case, I was shocked at what I had never been taught in my 13 years of public school (I went K through 12th grade), and I went to respectable schools. My kids get to see me research and read and find resources and admit that I do not know everything, and then do it all over again, ad nauseum. THAT in and of itself is one of the best teaching examples I could ever hope for. And you get a better-educated citizen (the parent(s)) to boot.

    In the case of religious homeschoolers, even the ones whose parents belong to churches I oppose (for philosophical reasons), I am willing to grant them the freedom to do their thing. If I don't give them that right, they have the right to dictate my choices to me, which is unthinkable.

    Everybody doing their own thing can only benefit our society - if more people are ardently interested and participating in the education of the next generation, more solutions and choices will be found for simply every possible situation. The possibility that each and every child could get an education that suits them best.... OMG - I won't want to die, because heaven will already be here on earth!

    As far as socialization goes, I am of the firm opinion that most public school socialization is not really socialization at all - it is anti-socialization. Where else on this earth do you find strictly segregated large groups of same-age children - who are thusly involuntarily segregated for their entire childhoods?? This doesn't happen in real life. In real life you meet all ages, everywhere, all the time, and you get to CHOOSE whom you see and whom you don't. Homeschoolers get out and about in their search for materials and classes and information and private lessons. There is no way at all a homeschooler cannot be socialized - even if their parents restrict their circle to home and church, as church will have a group of people in it as well. (Now, I didn't say that a kid would relish having their social circle restricted in such a way - but he/she will still be socialized, even if angry at his/her parents.) My definition of real socialization is when a young person is comfortable around both genders, different races, and all ages (nasty people excepted - I won't get along with them and don't expect my kid to, either). I think that the sociologist's definition of socialization is when an individual can function in their respective culture, and I haven't heard of too many homeschoolers who fail that criterion, either.

    In public schools, the kids all label each other and form cliques and gangs and in-groups, and then proceed to shut each other out for being different in any way. It was that way back in the 70's and 80's when I went to school, and it is true today. All of the homeschool kids I have ever seen look at each other as holistic humans, and it seems that the freer the homeschool education is, the more that kid is apt to accept another just the way he/she is, even if radically different. I found my best friends in public school and married my high school boyfriend, so I know you can begin lifelong relationships there as well. But the school shootings we have in the US aren't happening in homeschools - they are happening in public schools.

    I don't have answers to the tragedy of abused kids. I wish I did. I do know that this kind of stuff has been happening since the beginning of the world, so I don't see regulating homeschoolers as any kind of improvement on the situation. My aunt in Florida tells me that she can't support homeschooling because the local school district she retired from has to deal with migrant worker parents who claim homeschooling and then take their kids out to the fields to work alongside them. My answer to that sounds harsh, but I think is correct - for the sake of two fists full of kids, I am still not willing to penalize everybody else who may benefit from this form of education. I am willing to support private groups who look for other answers as to why those migrant worker parents feel forced to keep their kids away from school (any school), though, and I think those answers will be more complete and lasting.
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-31-2012 at 09:52 AM.

  8. #128
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    Well Crabbcakes you sure know how to put forward a convincing arguement. I can totally see why you homeschoool. I can imagine you must have you said learnt loads yourself. I have never thought about schools the way you mention ie segregated age groups. Probably cos it is just the norm for each generation to do it.
    The way you describe homeschooling I can only see it as a good thing.
    I think in the UK most of us are are too set in our ways though to even consider homeschooling. I certainly am. I have been lucky with the schools my kids have attended. There has never been any bullying and they have had an excellent, caring, environment. In fact it worries me some times that they will not be street wise enough when they do come across bullies/thugs etc.
    You are right about the tragedy of abused children. It happens in each Society and there is no easy answers to any of it.i hate watching the news now cos I feel sick when I hear of yet another tragedy, whether it be abuse, accidental death etc.

    Anyway we are back from holidays, the kids go back to school Monday so the summer holidays are nearly officially over.
    My eldest is studying pharmacy at University so he is really interested to hear about paleo research etc.

    Just been watching Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the Republican convention (well my husband was watching it and I wa looking up from my iPad.) I find it all so theatrical, it is real show biz. I would imagine I would be a Democrat if I lived in the US, though I imagine the Republicans would be popular with those who ont want governments to be involved in their lives. All very interesting.

    Am going back to my really difficult circuit training tomorrow and not looking forward to it. Though will be glad when it is done.
    Plus I like weekends as we have fried bacon and eggs -yippee.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain homeschooling to me, I actually understand why people do it now.

  9. #129
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    Wow, this debate is getting more and more philosophical! May I - with all due respect - point out why I disagree with you again, crabbcakes? And I think it's even a similar point that we disagreed on in that other thread ... Maybe this is what you meant when you said that Germany was a socialist country.

    You see, I have a feeling that the US-mentality is "every man for himself", and that the government is just a necessary evil that likes to peek into people's bedroom windows. In this context it is absolutely logical that every family wants to have the right to take the education of their children into their own hands.

    Many Europeans, on the other hand, feel that there is a form of mutual agreement between the citizens and the government:We pay our taxes, health (obligatory) and pension insurance and abide the law, and in turn the state / government has the damned obligation to see to it that every citizen has at least health care and the bare necessities, whether they have work or not. And the public school system is a part of this.

    Of course there is a lot of political debate about HOW the government provides for all this, if schools are good or public welfare sufficient, but this is the general understandig. And back to homeschooling, here we mostly hear about it when religious extremists - be it evangelical christians or islamic fundamentalists - refuse to send their children to public schools where they might learn "sinful ways" (again and again we had big discussions about whether muslim girls should be allowed to do school sports, especially swimming training, in mixed groups, i.e. with boys present, or whether female muslim teachers should be allowed to wear their headscarves to class - by the way, they are not, decision of the German supreme court). On the other hand there is a lot that is not okay in the public school system, and I am convinced that big changes are necessary, because it is a very rigid system where children from poor families, immigrants or young people that are just different from the rest - even very gifted children - tend to be overlooked or ostracised or get only inferior degrees.

    I also have a completely different experience with "segretated groups of same-age children". My experience has taught me that children need these "peer groups" for their development. My daughter has been in same-age groups from a very young age, and I feel that this has done her nothing but good. As I was also involved in the supervision of our after-school-playgroup - it is also true that when you want more than the basics provided by the government you have to do it yourself -, I often had the opportunity to see how well even smaller children are able to solve their problems without intervention by grownups. Amazing really!

    Another thing that is amazing is how, in this thread, we are able to voice different opinions and exchange our points of view without any heated debates. I think some of the "big threads" out there could learn from this. I'd rather hang out in the journals with likeminded people.

    On a primal note - ouch, isn't that the section of the forums where we are supposed to write about our primal ways? - today I tried pumpkin for the first time in my life. Pumpkin / squash is not very well known here as a vegetable, but very popular among the low-carb crowd. So today I made the pumpkin into a sort of purree like mashed potatoes. I liked it very much, because the taste is similar to potatoes, you just have to get used to the orange color. Better than the mashed cauliflower that many primal people like (tastes slimy to me), or mashed root celery (taste is too strong for me). Tomorrow I'll try to make primal "Kartoffelpuffer" with it (for the not German speaking people: these are potato fritters made with a dough of raw potatoes, eggs and onions). A traditional meal in many regions of Germany and with as many names. Here in Cologne we call them "Rievkooche" or in Hochdeutsch (standard language) "Reibekuchen", and this is something that I have been missing for years. Maybe the pumpkin fritters will just hit the spot! By the way, I used a small pumpkin that is called a "Hokkaido squash" here, maybe you know it by another name. They are smallish, between one and two kilos, round, and are either orange or green.And a great advantage for a lazy housewife like me: You don't need to peel them, the peel gets soft through cooking.

    Oh my, now I again wrote such a long post in another language. You guys give me a great opportunity to exercise my English.

    Here, a very busy weekend is beginning: Nor peace for the wicked, as they say. Tomorrow I am off for my monthly visit to see my brother, sister in law, niece and nephews and to visit my mother in the nursing home (alzheimer's, very sad). Then, on Sunday, there is another flea market where I'll try to sell my jewellery.

    "See" you all soon!

  10. #130
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    Hi Bess,
    I always say I should listen to both sides of the arguement before I open my big fat mouth or more in context let my fingers do my talking. I agree that we think cos we pay our taxes in the UK that the majority of people believes they have a right to a Government that provides decent schools, health service etc.
    I personally would prefer to pay more in tax if it improved help for the disabled, the elderly etc. there is a country in Europe, think Sweden were they had a vote whether to raise or reduce taxes. They actually voted to raise taxes, I couldn't see that happening in the UK unfortunately as there is a growing perception that benefit claimants are lazy and that those on disability benefits are cheats. I find this really demoralising.
    I think my preference is a socialist society where we all pay taxes to contribute to help others. Unfortunately for me we have a right wing Government who seem intent on bettering the rich at the expense of the poor.
    Though from what Crabbcakes says homeschooling is the best option for her. Crabbcakes - Without sounding patronising (I hope) you come across as a really good mother who is determined to give your kids the best start in life. Considering we speak the same language it is amazing how different our countries are. Maybe though it is something to do with the fact you live in a rural community as I imagine my views would vary greatly from my rural counterparts.
    I wonder if you lived in Europe your perceptions would change re schooling?

    Bess -your English is excellent. I quite often forget English is not your first language. Your pumpkin sounds very nice, I must try it.
    Minor corrections- I would say "practice my English" not "exercise my English" and I assume you meant to say "no peace" not "nor peace"
    I know I make loads of spelling mistakes as I tend to type quickly and the spellchecker isnt always effective.
    Enjoy you visit to your gpfamily and I hope your mum is as well as she can be. Also good luck with selling your jewellery.

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