Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apologies, Unschooling, Comments, and Love

1. Decided to work more on my singing.  I want to learn more songs in their entirety.  I'm thinking of working really hard on one Australian song. Learn all the lyrics.   I was trying to choose between "Flame Trees", "Tenterfield Saddler", "Where I Stood", and "Scar".  After some thinking I decided on "Tenterfield Saddler".   But then I turned on my Pandora radio and "Scar" came on.   I took that as a sign, so I'm going to try and learn that one.  And on a personal level, out of all the songs, it's the one I can relate to the most.    

2. One of my Australian Facebook/Blogger friends had a lovely quote on Facebook today.

"Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he(she) is exactly the person he(she) is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he(she) just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be". (Water Giver)

I didn't know what Water Giver was, so I looked it up.  It's a book, written by a mother. It looks pretty good.

3. Read great post about cooking from blogger mentioned in #2.    Like me, she isn't into cooking.   She talks about how it seems most everyone else must love it, judging by how many cooking shows are on television.

4. Andrew has a post about LOL, but it didn't make me LOL.  It was interesting though.   He talks about how it's overused; that people use it when they don't mean it.  I'm pretty sure that when I write it, I really did laugh out loud.  I laugh out loud quite often when reading on the Internet.  Now if I write ROFL, that would be a lie. I don't think I've ever rolled on the floor while laughing.   Do I want a rug burn? No, not really. 

For me, I think I more often laugh out loud without writing LOL than writing LOL when I didn't really laugh out loud.      

5. Listened to a pretty Kate Miller Heidke song.  It's called "Don't Let Go".  Here's a video of the song.   It's about how we lose touch with our friends because we're too busy.   I'm sure most of us can relate to that.  Either we're too busy, or they're too busy. Or we're both too busy.  And these days, with stuff like Facebook, we have too many "friends".  We drown it it, and it becomes hard to keep up with our real friends.

6. Laughed because one of my friends pointed out that I vaguebooked on yesterday's post. I'm sure I vaguebook at least once or twice, on every post. Or maybe we should call it vague-posting.  

7. Got an email about a music group called Straight Arrows. One of the members is named Owen Penghlis.  I gotta wonder if he's related to Thaao Penghlis.  

Here's one of Straight Arrow's videos.  I can't say it's my type of thing.

Here's their MySpace page.  

Oh.  Never mind.  I just looked at Owen's name more closely.  It's Penglis, not Penghlis.  Oops.

8. Read article about the Japanese government apologizing to Australian prisoners of war (POW).    Some POW's feel it is too little and too late.  It took a bit long to happen, but I feel better late than never.

In some ways, I think late apologies ARE better.  If an apology comes quickly, it's usually from obligation.  There's that message of okay, let's just get over it, and move on; throw it under the rug.

I think REAL apologies take time.  It takes time for people to admit that they are wrong.   It's takes a long time just to admit it to yourself.  These days, we so often hear celebrities and politicians apologizing after they've said something offensive.   Do they really mean it?   I doubt it.  They're just trying to save face.

I'm not saying all timely apologies are fake. I've realized I'm wrong quickly after saying something; and then I apologized.  But that's probably rare. Usually, it takes me awhile to realize I did something wrong.  Usually, it's days or weeks though....not decades.

9. Read an article about the My School thing.  It's all about money spent per student, and resource gaps.  The idea seems to be that more money equals better learning.

Why should learning be so so expensive?   I understand why it would be that way in the past.   Students were very dependent on text books.  I remember hearing stories of children who had to learn using outdated books.  That's not okay.  Is it fair for a 1990's student to be learning from a 1950's science book?  No.

But life is different these days. As long as we have an Internet connection, we can easily obtain up-to-date information.     

This is what I feel children need for learning.

A) a computer with internet connection so they can do research; and a word processing program so they can write. 
B) Access to a fairly decent library where they can get books.
C) Paper and writing materials so they can write and draw.
D) Various math manipulatives, and they don't need to be expensive ones.  
E) a few board games, and maybe some computer games.
F) some balls, jump ropes, climbing ropes, etc. to help with their physical activity.  

If a school can afford more than that—if they can buy fancy microscopes, instruments, treadmills, guest speakers, etc, that's great.  But I don't think that's all necessary.

To me what's needed is a different attitude towards learning.

I think our school systems see education as a necessary evil that our children must endure in order to become successful.  It's boring.  It's not fun.  But you have to do it. And then one day you'll be free.   As some people have been saying lately,  It gets better!  meaning life will improve once you're done with school.

Our attitude as unschoolers is that learning is WONDERFUL. It's fantastic. It's something we can't stop.  It's like breathing and eating.  We start learning the day we're born. Hey, we might even learn a few things as a fetus. Then we continue to learn as we live our life.

Here's a post I wrote on my unschooling blog awhile back.  It kind of illustrates some aspects of the unschooling philosophies.  

Anyway,  my question for people who are firm believers that school is an absolute necessity:   If that's true, shouldn't babies be put into a classroom as soon as they're born. Otherwise, who will teach them to roll over, sit up, stand, walk, talk, etc?  And why should anyone ever finish with school? If we need it for learning, shouldn't we keep attending until the day we die?

10. Read article about a Julian Assange movie.  People magazine is asking who should play him.   They suggest Julian Sands, because he looks like Assange.  Julian playing Julian.   I'm looking at pictures of Julian Sands.  Yeah. I can see some resemblance. I don't think it's a major resemblance though.  

11. Continued to read Love Song by Nikki Gemmell.   I loved this sex scene:  It was so big! Every time he came close to entering I jumped back because it grated, it scraped, it was stuck and eventually get it off I yelled and that was it as far as I was concerned.....

I think it's a great description of first-time sex.

12. Learned the first few lines of Missy Higgin's "Scar"

He left a card and a bar of soap with
scrubbing brush next to a note,
That said "use these down to your bones".
And before I knew I had shiny skin and
it felt easy being clean like him,
I thought "this one knows better than I do"

I'm trying to think of  the times I've felt pressured to conform for someone.   I think some people see me as a free spirit...a rebel. I don't usually fit in with the mainstream.  But still.  There are times that I change myself to try to please someone.  I think it usually happens when I have a crush on someone.   Sometimes I think I don't even know I'm changing for someone, until the crush/relationship is over.   Then all of a sudden I realize I'm no longer tied down to that opinion.

13. Tempted to buy a $42 book.  It's about Australian architecture.   I still have a lot of gift certificate money.  But do I want to spend that much on one book?   Probably not.   I probably sound weird to Australians, since that's probably close to the normal amount you guys spend on books.

Here's a book for $24.50, but there's not much information about it on Powells.  I want something with a lot of pictures.  Ah!   eBay has some more info. It has 300 black and white photographs, and 30 color ones.  That sounds fine to me. I might order it.   

14. Ordered the book. I have to order $50 worth of stuff to get free shipping, so I also ordered a Melina Marchetta book, a Lian Moriarty children's book, and something by Geraldine Brooks.  

15. Looked at My School article and thought more about it. If I'm understanding it right, private schools are getting more government money on average than government schools.    That's a bit crazy.  Plus, you have to consider the fact that the private schools are also getting tuition and private donations.   So private school kids are getting a higher priced education.   I'm not going to deny that it's preferable to go to a school in a nice building, with nice furniture, and great supplies.  It definitely helps to be comfortable and pampered. I just feel it's not the only factor. There are more important things, like teachers, classmates, educational philosophy, etc.

Then there's a question of how do you judge the teachers?  Is it one that's entertaining?  Is it one that has very high intelligence?   Is it one with students who score high on tests?    I think we all have different values.   If Jack was to go to school, my ideal teacher for him would be humble, ready to admit mistakes, and she'd have no shame in admitting she didn't know the answer.  The teacher's goal wouldn't be to fill the kids up as if they were empty vessels.  Instead, she'd see herself as learning along with the children.   She would never assume that she knows more than the children just because she's older. She'd happily accept the fact that as children could learn from her, she could learn from them.     

 16. Received Allison Dubois' newsletter in my email.  She mentioned the Queensland floods.   2011 has gotten off to a slow start and I for one am ready to hit a fast forward button. I have said many prayers for the people in Queensland suffering through the mass flooding and destruction, as I’m sure many have. We’re all ready to move out of the crazy weather around the world in to something more comfortable. It seems like it’s one thing after another but we are resilient and will weather this storm too!  

It's really cool that she mentioned Queensland, but weird that she didn't mention Christchurch.   What's up with that?

Speaking of Dubois, the other day I was thinking of how some people have such unreasonable and high expectations of psychics.   There's this idea that if you're psychic, you should have no problems because you should have been able to foresee the problems, and then avoid them.  If something bad happens to your family, it would prove that you're not a real psychic. But wouldn't that be the same as believing a doctor's family should never get ill.  My sister's a nurse practitioner.  Her husband's a doctor.  They still get sick, and their children still get sick. Why?

Life isn't perfect, not even for those with special skills, knowledge, or talents.

17. Because of an email, I thought of the pros and cons of restoring commenting abilities to my blog.

Here are the pros.

A. I will satisfy those who want comments returned.
B. I will give people a chance to advertise their own blogs.  They can comment.  If people think they sound interesting, they can follow the link to their blogs.
C. I will look less weird, uptight, bitchy, etc.
D. There's a chance that people could have interesting conversations with each other on my blog.   Although that rarely happened for me.   I can't remember many times in which people talked to each other via comments.  I think it would be cool if they did though....well, only if it was civil and friendly. 
E. I will not feel silly for the fact that I closed comments on my blog, but still allow comments on the Facebook page.

Here are the Cons....well, actually I think it's easier to give the pros (rather than cons) of each position.  So, here are the pros for keeping comments disabled.

A. It will mean I'm not giving into peer pressure.
B. I won't feel sad about the lack of validation I receive.  I find I DO get less sad about the lack of comments on Facebook.   I figure it's a pain for people to go all the way to Facebook and comment.  So I have that excuse for them.   Commenting is very easy on a blog, so when people read and fail to say anything, it hurts my feelings. I don't have the best self-esteem.   Silence makes me imagine people hate what I said, or that they don't care that I'm feeling sad, mad, sick, etc.   
C. I feel compelled to respond to every comment, and sometimes I don't know how to respond.   I get stressed out about that.   So....back when I had comments, there was a part of me that was desperate for comments, and another part of me that got totally stressed every time I received one.  
D. I have made some really great friends through my blog.  It came about because they read a post and emailed me.   If I allowed comments, would they have chosen to email me?   I don't know.   I personally need one on one conversation with someone in order to feel that they're my friend.   I'm getting a bit tired of public relationships. They don't feel like real friendships to me.  I like when people comment on my Facebook page, or leave me a message on my wall; but I prefer getting emails and private Facebook messages.    
E. I find that with public conversations (such as blog commenting)  I sometimes end up revealing things I don't want to be revealed.  I get into the conversation, and I forget we're on a PUBLIC forum.  Then I'm embarrassed.   Disabling comments helps prevent me from doing that....although sometimes I forget and do it on other people's blogs.
F. Disabling comments allows me to feel popular.   When I look at Statcounter, I feel my blog is fairly popular.   When I look at the amount of comments I used to get, I feel very unpopular....especially when compared to other bloggers I know. I end up feeling like a loser.  I know. I'm pathetic.  I have no excuses for myself, so let's just move on.

18. Read Christine Milne's editorial on the Green Party's website.  It's about the carbon tax. I like this line.   When we go to the supermarket, most of us want to buy the healthier or greener options available, but we think twice if they are more expensive. The same goes for industry and investors - they currently use coal because it is the cheapest alternative.  I think that is such a good point; and I can relate to it.    I want to shop more responsibly, and sometimes I do.  But then other times I go for the cheaper option.

19. Read about another possible cyclone in Queensland. Instead of naming this one something like Betsy or Gwen, how about we call it please-go-away or enough-is-enough.
20. Realized that Firefox lets you search your browsing history. This is very helpful, because sometimes I forget to link to something, and then I have to struggle to find it.  

21. Finished reading Love Song by Nikki Gemmell. I ended up liking it a lot.  It's a beautiful and sad love story.  I think it's one of those stories that make you want to run out and hug everyone you love.