Some Headlines

Conrad Black on Trump’s presidency thus far: “It is too early to predict whether he will be a successful president or not. But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.”

The president doesn’t create jobs, but he does make it easier or harder for private industry to create jobs. I think Trump has done that. I also like his judicial picks, the fact that he does not send pallets of cash to terrorists or trade terrorists for known deserters and hold Rose Garden welcomes for known deserters. And he totally rocks at not being Hilary.

Eight women accuse Charlie Rose of groping them, parading naked in front of them, and other abuses. His nonapology says he apologizes for everything but he thought it was all mutual feelings. Some of those women were job applicants in their 20s. One of them was fired after she complained. Some of them complained to his executive producer. She shrugged and said that was just Charlie being Charlie. Boys will be boys, you know? She says she’s sorry about that now. Of course she is. She and Charlie got caught.

White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush is also being accused by a number of women. He also apologizes for everything but doesn’t remember anything the same way they do, but he’s getting help. He must have actually ticked off somebody on the left personally since it’s actually getting covered (the Vox author admits he made her angry). Thrush, btw, is the Politico reporter caught by wikileaks admitting he was a hack and sending his stories in to Clinton and Podesta for vetting. After he was exposed, the NTY hired him.

Reminder: This is how the left defended Clinton for having an affair with an intern young enough to be his daughter, a textbook abuse of power. Look at the excuses and defenses (they are disgusting). The media refused to honestly report the allegations of rape or the fact that he had to settle in the case that made it to court, where he assaulted a female employee, leaving her with bruises, and his use of troopers to procure women. It still does.
INcidentally, four more women have come forward with accusations against Bill Clinton.

He has a long, long history of sexual assault accusations- more than even I realized:
“Tomorrow, maybe Eileen Wellstone — who reportedly told police that Bill raped her in 1969 while he was at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar — finally speaks to the media. Her case reportedly reached the State Department. Tomorrow, maybe, Ronan Farrow calls up Robert Reich, or Strobe Talbott, or Clinton’s other notable Oxford classmates, and asks them what happened. Asks them why they never spoke up; why Bill left Oxford without his degree.”
The left has cherished him, enabled him, protected him (and, again, the literal lady killer Teddy Kennedy got a free pass for decades= the DNC played a 7 minute long tribute video of him as a woman’s rights champion!). You don’t get to pretend to be outraged now. This IS how you got Trump, and why you deserve him.

It’s not like the left has actually discovered it has principles about this. They never really cared about women- feminism is a tool to bludgeon others with, not something applied to one’s own. AFter all, they are still defending Al Franken, and misrepresenting the allegations against him (nearly everybody on the left leaves out the part where he forcibly stuffed his slimy tongue into a woman’s mouth after she had already told him she didn’t even want a kiss in the skit at all and wasn’t going to kiss him).
This is who he is. This is his sense of entitlement. It’s about power. And self-proclaimed feminists have allowed and protected Franken’s abuse of it. He has not admitted what he did, nor has he actually apologized for what he did.

Other news of interest:

Climate scientists have been grossly underestimating the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere by healthy wetlands. The models are wrong.

One border agent dead one wounded in attack in TX Big Bend park

Lois Lerner says if the details of what she illegally did to taxpayers ever become known to taxpayers she will face death threats.

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Children Want to Learn

Part One Here

Children need knowledge, ideas to feed their minds the same way they need milk and later solid foods. They hunger for knowledge. The mind needs regular, healthy meals. Children are born loving to learn. Do you doubt this?

Has anybody ever had to teach a normal child to ask why? Do we imagine that they only started wondering why once they had the word for it? Isn’t it more likely that they have been hungering to learn and find out, and this is why one of their earliest words is the abstract “Why?”

We need to feed these hungry minds.
We do this through ideas, not mere naked facts without context. The goal is knowledge. child needs knowledge just as much as he needs food.
He already has:
The desire for knowledge (curiosity).
The ability to take in knowledge by paying attention.
As much imagination, reflection, judgment, etc. as he needs to deal with knowledge, without the need for outside props.
Natural, inborn interest in all the kinds of knowledge that he’ll need as a human being.
The ability to retain and articulate that knowledge, and assimilate what he needs

Knowledge is the sole concern of education proper, as distinguished from training, games, gimmicks, and lists of facts. We are reaching children’s minds and hearts, not merely helping them memorize. And that *knowledge* is not merely utilitarian or materialistic, but spiritual.

You and your children are learning for the love of knowledge. When that is not your goal or philosophy than you will be using other tools, such as bribes, contests, material rewards, prizes, games, praise, appeals to vanity, scores, grades, stickers, charts, and other gimmicks. When you use these, you communicate that knowledge itself is not a charming enough goal.

All these things can be stumbling blocks and distract from the knowledge itself. It’s like pouring sugar in a drink to get kids to drink it, and they no longer drink plain water because they are thirsty and water is good and refreshing, but because they crave sweets- and they have lost their taste for water. When we do this we not only spoil their taste for knowledge, but we communicate that learning and knowledge are so unpalatable that it had to be sugarcoated to be taken.

That’s why it’s important to think through what you believe about education, how children learn, and about the children themselves. If you don’t have a pretty good idea what your goals and beliefs are, you stand at risk of choosing methods that at best clash, at worst, undermine your goal.

What is knowledge? What do we mean by ideas?

More later.

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PTSD: An imbalance between brain’s signaling systems

“Many people experience traumatic events in life, e.g. robbery, warfare, a serious accident or sexual assault. Approximately 10 percent of people subjected to trauma suffer long-lasting symptoms in the form of disturbing flashbacks, insomnia, hyperarousal and anxiety. If these problems lead to impairment, the person is said to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

It has previously been shown that people with PTSD have altered brain anatomy and function. A new study by researchers from the Department of Psychology at Uppsala University and Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet shows that people with PTSD have an imbalance between two neurochemical signalling systems of the brain, serotonin and substance P. Professors Mats Fredrikson and Tomas Furmark led the study using a so-called PET scanner to measure the relationship between these systems.

The study, which has been published in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that it is the imbalance between the two signalling systems which determines the severity of the symptoms suffered by the individual rather than the degree of change in a single system. ” More here.

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Climate Prediction Fail

I am often accused of being anti-science, or just plain ignorant, because I am skeptical about global warming claims.

James Hanson, NASA’s global warming alarmist prophet, highly respected by global warming alarmists everywhere, has long predicted that by 2018 Lower Manhattan would be underwater and the Arctic would be ice-free.

Frankly, at this point if you’re not a skeptic, you’re ignorant. If this failed prediction does not make you sit up and blink and acknowledge that yes, the global warming camp vastly over-stated their case and they really don’t know enough to be changing policies and damaging the economy based on their predictions, then it isn’t science you believe in.

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Education and Mind (part I)

Charlotte Mason wrote six volumes on education, and in every one of them, in the front of each book, she put a list of the principles she thought were foundational to her method.

In her sixth volume, she did one better and devoted an entire chapter to nearly each one, although it became 20 principles instead of 18.

That sixth volume is titled ‘Toward a philosophy of education.’ That kind of scares people sometimes, especially homeschoolers- “philosophy of education” sounds a bit intimidating, right? Philosophy is for people who live in college towns and who have few responsibilities and never have to do dishes or clean up after sick children, deal with leaky diapers, or clean out the remains of mystery dinners from their refrigerators.

Except that’s not true. That might describe professional philosophers, but we all have a philosophy. It’s just a fancy way to say the way we think about life, the world, and our place in it. Some of us might say we don’t think about it at all, we are too busy living our lives and dealing with the messes. But that, too, is a philosophy. So we have one.

We all need, and we all *have* a philosophy of education. whether you carefully and purposefully think a philosophy of education through, or at least the beginnings of one, or whether you just bought some curriculum and started on page one, or whether you sent your kids to public school, you do still have some sort of philosophy of education.

Thinking it through will just save you some time and unnecessary steps later. As a homeschooler, thinking through what you believe about education will help you choose curriculum, materials, and a homeschooling style that are mutually supportive rather than constantly undermining one another. IT will help save you time and money so you do not purchase and attempt to force yourself to use materials that are contrary to what you really believe about education.

So, what is education to you? What is its purpose? What is it for? Who is it for?

Keep the big picture always before you: In a CM education, three of the distinctive are: the goal, the actor, and the method.

I’m not saying these are the only distinctives- just that these three seem to me to be particularly important.

“What is Charlotte Mason’s goal for education?

I think we could say many things about this, because he did, too. But one of the shortest things she sad is in the early part of volume six, and that is:
“”We seek by education to qualify children for life rather than for earning a living.” Now, learning things in order to earn a living is not always wrong. I think what Miss Mason would say is that this is important, but it is not itself *education,* and it is not the only reason to learn something. When you are looking over curriculum and planning your school year, you do not want everything in your curriculum to be solely about earning a living. Probably in the early years it doesn’t matter if none of it is only about earning a living. In high school you might begin to incorporate some skills and topics primarily for utilitarian (earning a living) reasons, but even then, that should not be the bulk of your time or expense.

What is education? Charlotte Mason believed it was about feeding the mind. Mason said that the mind requires ideas as the body requires food. How do we provide food for our children’s bodies? We serve them plenty of nourishing food, we serve meals regularly. We don’t expect them to just eat whatever they find in a haphazard, careless way on a daily basis (an occasional emergency situation might have us saying ‘just grab a sandwish or a bowl of cereal or whatever,’ and there are some who have to resort to begging (but they are probably not reading this blog). At any rate, most of the time in normal circumstances, we feed regular, nutritious meals). We might study some nutrition so their meals are well-balanced, and we don’t let the children spoil their appetites with too many sweets between meals (we would do well to apply this rule to ourselves as well, in both physical food and mind food)
The mind also needs regular feeding, nutritious food, and healthy servings from a wide variety.

When we feed the body, we don’t try to digest their food for them first and then serve them pellets of vitamins. We don’t do blood tests at every meal to make sure they absorbed the right nutrients. We don’t put windows on their stomachs so we can examine their digestive processes.

We watch the results- they are active, healthy, with bright eyes, clear skin, shining hair, and we assume they are likely getting what they need from their meals.

With the mind- we watch their alertness, how attentive they are, we listen to narrations, we see them making connections, and we see they are getting healthy meals for their minds. We do not administer true/false quizzes, vocabulary tests, fill in the blank pop quizzes, insist they memorize lists of dates and dry facts. We put them in touch with ideas, found in the best books, in well written, language, in good stories. We ask them to narrate in one form or another.

We trust their normal, healthy, unhindered minds to handle ideas in their stories. We might discuss with them in the same way we might play with them and given them physical scope for their growing bodies by taking them to parks, on walks, swimming, letting them climb and run and jump and sommersault down hills. We trust, but continue to supply healthy meals for mind and body and and oversea their healthy growth by providing healthy, natural ways to use minds and bodies.

Narration, telling back, is sometimes hard, but it’s natural. Children tend to ‘tell back’ in many ways on their own even if we don’t ask. Watch and you will see them drawing pictures of things that have happened or that they have seen or heard. They will incorporate those things into their pretend play, and into their talks with you. Narration is just one more formal step to stretch them and move the short-term memory and ideas over into the long-term.

This works, because children are born persons, with minds equipped to deal with knowledge.

Part II

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