The DHM is Socially Permissive

At least, according to this political test I am. It’s an interesting test, although, like most tests, rather flawed. I see they put fascism at the end of the Republican spectrum, and I really believe fascism is equally a danger of the Democratic party extremes.


You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an…

Economic Conservative
(65% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist

Note: I deleted the link because I just went back to remind myself of one of the questions I wanted to discuss with the my progeny, and was whacked in the eye with a most objectionable advertisement for a service illegal in most states- I am simply not that socially permissive. So there. I’d delete the whole post, but I dislike revisionist history.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

37th Education Carnival

Over at Education Wonks. There’s always something interesting to read at this carnival, always. So go educate yourselves.=)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homeschooling, Socialization, and Allan Bloom

We last wrote about this back in May. You can read that post here. This post is really the same song, different verse. In response to that post our friend Monica R. from the Grizzly Mama blog wrote, “…I was not at all prepared for the real world when I left high school. I was a fish out of water. I felt as if I had been raised in the woods by a pack of wolves…. ” I think that’s true for many of us.

We started hsing in 1988. When we started our reasons and our vision for
what we were doing could be summed up in about one word- reactionary. We had not vision for where we were going or who we were as a family- we simply knew where we were not going and what we were not doing. That’s a start- but it’s not enough to get you down the finish line. (That little sermonette is a freebie, btw)

We had very specific problems in the kindergarten our eldest (The Head Girl)attended. We wanted to remove her from those immediate problems, address them, and ‘return’ her (like a package?) to the public school in another two or three years when we would be living in a different school district.
Each year we homeschooled we our reasons and our vision expanded. It was not until she was 10 or 11 that we realized we were never putting our children in public school again. We had grown in our beliefs about what this whole parenting/education/learning adventure was all about, and it no longer had anything to with what the schools were like, and everything to do with us and what we were like.

When we first began homeschooling, I was concerned about the socialization question. IN fact, it’s one of the first questions I asked my homeschooling mentor. I
signed up for lots of activities, clubs, groups, and so forth. We dropped them
all as we developed our thinking on socialization further.
We picked up one or two again from time to time, but now we do the things we do
because the activities themselves are worthwhile or valuable to us on their
own. We no longer choose our outside activities based on ‘socialization opportunities.’ We’ve found that what we mean and desire under the category ‘socialization’ occurs in more natural settings and not so much in large herds.

If you or somebody you know is concerned about socialization, I would suggest that you or your concerned friend or family member ask some questions about socialization. If you ask yourself these questions it will help you work out some answers that may surprise you. Here are a few suggested questions to consider. This is by no means an inclusive list. The first question is the most important.

1. Define what you mean by socialization. Write down your definition.

When people ask me the ‘S’ question I always respond by first asking them what they mean by socialization. I have been astonished at how many people do not have any idea what they mean. Allan Bloom said about certain ‘catch-phrase’ words, “These words are there where thoughts should be, and their disappearance would reveal the void. The exercise would be an excellent one, for it might start people thinking about what they really believe, about what lies behind the formulas.”*
I think socialization is one of those words, a word which, like the others Alan Bloom talks about, is not a reason but has been substituted for reason itself. It’s a formula, and most people have long forgotten (if they ever really knew) what it is they mean when they invoke that formula.
In most cases, when I ask somebody what it is he means by socialization, he cannot define it, realizes he hasn’t ever thought of it, and the conversation takes a sharp turn into some interesting territory- but that’s surely another post. In a few cases somebody will have thought about it and will have some sort of definition. In that case, it’s time to flesh out the conversation with a few more questions- not necessarily all of them, your friends are not on trial, but one or two of these would might help bring more thought and less formulae to the discussion:

2. Why do you think so?
3. What do you want from this thing you call socialization?
4. Why do you think that a good thing?
5. Assuming that the goals you expect to see from socialization are good things, have you thought about the best ways to meet those goals?
6. Is public school the best or only way to meet those goals? Could you accomplish the same goals through some other method?

7. Think of other skills or goals you have for your children, perhaps learning Spanish or good grammar, or the times table, or always telling the truth. Do you think they would best learn those things by the same process you have in mind for
socialization?
Let me illustrate:
What I meant by socialization when I first asked this questions was simply good
social skills. A wise hsing mom pointed out to me that if I wanted my child to
learn French I would want her to be instructed by somebody who knew French.
Why then, she asked, did I think it was a good thing for her to learn good
social skills from 30 other 6 year olds who also didn’t have good social skills.
I couldn’t answer her.

Here are some other ‘S’ word questions:

Do your friends all share the same birth year as you?
Do children benefit from friendships with children and adults in other age groups, or should they be isolated the better part of the day with children exactly their own age?
Do your friends all live within the same geographic region (i.e. school district) as you?
Would your child benefit from friendships with people outside your local school district?
Are your friendships based on age and location or on shared goals, interests,
or values?

As Allan Bloom points out, when it comes to these little formulaic words which subsitute for thought, we “have taken these words, which point to a rich lode of questions, and treated them as though they were answers, in order to avoid confronting them ourselves.” We learn some interesting things when we start asking ourselves questions.

Incidentally, it was while on my morning visit to the always thought provoking Wittingshire that I read Allan Bloom quotes above and went off on this little rabbit trail of my own. Bloom is specifically talking about a different set of words, and I believe a reading of that post will reward you for your time. Do pay them a visit.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

E-bay, Small Business, and Big Government

Glenn Reyonolds has done a couple of very interesting posts on E-bay and small businesses.

The first one was ‘Is Small the New Big?’ He quotes Jeff Jarvis, “eBay is fast becoming one of the largest employers in America. Of course, it hardly employs anyone, but it enables a lot of people to employ themselves and run their own businesses: 724,000 people are using it as their full- or part-time employment, up 68 percent from a year go; another 1.5 million use it to supplement their income. Walmart is America’s largest employer with 1.1 million workers.”
E-bay even offers health benefits to their Power Sellers (which we are not, and we’d have to work our tiny, supplemental e-bay business much more than we do if we wanted to become Power Sellers).

Glenn also notes, “You can do things now, as a little guy, that formerly could only be done with a big organization. But what’s interesting is the symbiosis here. The little guys can do as well as they do because of the big organizations, like eBay or Amazon, that they associate with, not in spite of them.
This really isn’t a question of big versus small, because the key is to be both. It’s easier to be small because outfits like eBay are big: eBay’s buying power lets it make group insurance policies available to its sellers on terms they’d be hard-pressed to equal on their own – much as eBay’s website, by aggregating lots of minor sellers into one big marketplace, makes it much, much easier for individuals to make a living buying and selling things via the Internet.”

Some people see that and smell an opportunity for more….

Regulation. Which brings us to Glenn’s second post: e-Bay Nation and the Golden Goose

You remember the story of the Golden Goose. It laid golden eggs, and its greedy owner killed it anc cut it open to get more eggs more quickly. Only, of course, the goose was only able to manufacture a golden egg a day if it was alive and breathing. Dead, its productivity ceased to benefit anybody. I think bureaucrats need to read more fairy tales. Says Glenn:

…now I learn that North Dakota may require people who sell on eBay or other
online “auction” sites to get
an auctioneer’s license
:
To sell things over eBay, Mark Nichols
may be required to take instruction in rapid-fire speaking, breathing control
and reading hand gestures, even though the transactions are done by computer
keyboard and mouse.

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission is
exploring whether people like Nichols, who runs a small consignment store in
Crosby, must obtain auctioneer licenses before they can legally use eBay to sell
merchandise for others.

Regulators in other states are also eyeing
similar restrictions or preconditions, moves prompted by the growing popularity
of online auctions.

To get a North Dakota auctioneer’s license,
applicants must pay a $35 fee, obtain a $5,000 surety bond and undergo training
at one of eight approved auction schools, where the curriculum includes talking
really fast.

It’s easy to make fun of this kind of thing, and
people are. One blogger observes:
“Soon enough, governments will force these guys to wear a suit and tie in front
of their personal computers.”

But even though North Dakota’s
proposal is being targeted for mockery, it’s also being targeted for emulation,
as quite a few other states are considering similar proposals.

Of course, protectionist regulations have always been bad for consumers. We’ve talked about the cosmetology school regulations being used to limit hair braiding businesses of all things (hair-braiding hero).

It’s short-sighted of local and state governments, too, especially in small towns and states where the populations are separated by wide distances. As Reynolds notes:

“Ironically, it’s places like North Dakota — remote, and with struggling local
economies — that should be most receptive to Internet commerce. Thanks to the
Internet (and FedEx, and UPS), location doesn’t matter as much as it used to.
That makes the lower cost of living in places like North Dakota more attractive
to Internet business. As Nichols says later in the same story: “Online auctions
help create a marketplace. You can bring in money from outside the community,
and that’s important to small towns like Crosby.” But only if people let the
golden goose live. “

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The DHM is Socially Permissive

At least, according to this political test I am. It’s an interesting test, although, like most tests, rather flawed. I see they put fascism at the end of the Republican spectrum, and I really believe fascism is equally a danger of the Democratic party extremes.


You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an…

Economic Conservative
(65% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist

Note: I deleted the link because I just went back to remind myself of one of the questions I wanted to discuss with the my progeny, and was whacked in the eye with a most objectionable advertisement for a service illegal in most states- I am simply not that socially permissive. So there. I’d delete the whole post, but I dislike revisionist history.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

37th Education Carnival

Over at Education Wonks. There’s always something interesting to read at this carnival, always. So go educate yourselves.=)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homeschooling, Socialization, and Allan Bloom

We last wrote about this back in May. You can read that post here. This post is really the same song, different verse. In response to that post our friend Monica R. from the Grizzly Mama blog wrote, “…I was not at all prepared for the real world when I left high school. I was a fish out of water. I felt as if I had been raised in the woods by a pack of wolves…. ” I think that’s true for many of us.

We started hsing in 1988. When we started our reasons and our vision for
what we were doing could be summed up in about one word- reactionary. We had not vision for where we were going or who we were as a family- we simply knew where we were not going and what we were not doing. That’s a start- but it’s not enough to get you down the finish line. (That little sermonette is a freebie, btw)

We had very specific problems in the kindergarten our eldest (The Head Girl)attended. We wanted to remove her from those immediate problems, address them, and ‘return’ her (like a package?) to the public school in another two or three years when we would be living in a different school district.
Each year we homeschooled we our reasons and our vision expanded. It was not until she was 10 or 11 that we realized we were never putting our children in public school again. We had grown in our beliefs about what this whole parenting/education/learning adventure was all about, and it no longer had anything to with what the schools were like, and everything to do with us and what we were like.

When we first began homeschooling, I was concerned about the socialization question. IN fact, it’s one of the first questions I asked my homeschooling mentor. I
signed up for lots of activities, clubs, groups, and so forth. We dropped them
all as we developed our thinking on socialization further.
We picked up one or two again from time to time, but now we do the things we do
because the activities themselves are worthwhile or valuable to us on their
own. We no longer choose our outside activities based on ‘socialization opportunities.’ We’ve found that what we mean and desire under the category ‘socialization’ occurs in more natural settings and not so much in large herds.

If you or somebody you know is concerned about socialization, I would suggest that you or your concerned friend or family member ask some questions about socialization. If you ask yourself these questions it will help you work out some answers that may surprise you. Here are a few suggested questions to consider. This is by no means an inclusive list. The first question is the most important.

1. Define what you mean by socialization. Write down your definition.

When people ask me the ‘S’ question I always respond by first asking them what they mean by socialization. I have been astonished at how many people do not have any idea what they mean. Allan Bloom said about certain ‘catch-phrase’ words, “These words are there where thoughts should be, and their disappearance would reveal the void. The exercise would be an excellent one, for it might start people thinking about what they really believe, about what lies behind the formulas.”*
I think socialization is one of those words, a word which, like the others Alan Bloom talks about, is not a reason but has been substituted for reason itself. It’s a formula, and most people have long forgotten (if they ever really knew) what it is they mean when they invoke that formula.
In most cases, when I ask somebody what it is he means by socialization, he cannot define it, realizes he hasn’t ever thought of it, and the conversation takes a sharp turn into some interesting territory- but that’s surely another post. In a few cases somebody will have thought about it and will have some sort of definition. In that case, it’s time to flesh out the conversation with a few more questions- not necessarily all of them, your friends are not on trial, but one or two of these would might help bring more thought and less formulae to the discussion:

2. Why do you think so?
3. What do you want from this thing you call socialization?
4. Why do you think that a good thing?
5. Assuming that the goals you expect to see from socialization are good things, have you thought about the best ways to meet those goals?
6. Is public school the best or only way to meet those goals? Could you accomplish the same goals through some other method?

7. Think of other skills or goals you have for your children, perhaps learning Spanish or good grammar, or the times table, or always telling the truth. Do you think they would best learn those things by the same process you have in mind for
socialization?
Let me illustrate:
What I meant by socialization when I first asked this questions was simply good
social skills. A wise hsing mom pointed out to me that if I wanted my child to
learn French I would want her to be instructed by somebody who knew French.
Why then, she asked, did I think it was a good thing for her to learn good
social skills from 30 other 6 year olds who also didn’t have good social skills.
I couldn’t answer her.

Here are some other ‘S’ word questions:

Do your friends all share the same birth year as you?
Do children benefit from friendships with children and adults in other age groups, or should they be isolated the better part of the day with children exactly their own age?
Do your friends all live within the same geographic region (i.e. school district) as you?
Would your child benefit from friendships with people outside your local school district?
Are your friendships based on age and location or on shared goals, interests,
or values?

As Allan Bloom points out, when it comes to these little formulaic words which subsitute for thought, we “have taken these words, which point to a rich lode of questions, and treated them as though they were answers, in order to avoid confronting them ourselves.” We learn some interesting things when we start asking ourselves questions.

Incidentally, it was while on my morning visit to the always thought provoking Wittingshire that I read Allan Bloom quotes above and went off on this little rabbit trail of my own. Bloom is specifically talking about a different set of words, and I believe a reading of that post will reward you for your time. Do pay them a visit.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Child’s Calendar Beautiful, 7th Year, October

To a Water-Fowl

WHITHER, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps
of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek’st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean-side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast—
The desert and illimitable air—
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o’er thy sheltered nest.

Thou ‘rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain
flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright

~William Cullen Bryant

At the end of Child’s Calendar Beautiful is a collection of mottoes and aphorisms I believe could be used for copywork or cross-stitch samplers. The Editress calls this section ‘Between Whiles.’

Here are the first four:

Aim to be what you would like to seem to be.
+
Time lost is never found again.
~Benjamin Franklin.
+
To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.
~Shakespeare.
+
Life is too short for aught but high endeavor.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Posted in Child's Calendar Beautiful (nature and other seasonal poems from the book) | 2 Comments

Humph.

The Equuschick, in response to Pipsqueak’s Wolf post, was going to post a Sterling North quote from his book The Wolfling. Or any Sterling North quote about wolves at all, for that matter. Having mislaid her copy, she proceeded to search online for over half an hour only to discover that Sterling North is apparantly one the most under appreciated authors in the world because nowhere, short of Amazon and other places where his books were for sale, could she find a single quote. She looked at about ten quote sites.

She is very, very, offended.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The Wolf


“The Law of the Wolves”, by Rudyard Kipling

NOW this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Wash daily from nose tip to tail tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;

And remember the night is for hunting and forget not the day is for sleep.


The jackal may follow the tiger, but, cub, when thy whiskers are grown,

Remember the wolf is a hunter—go forth and get food of thy own.


Keep peace with the lords of the jungle, the tiger, the panther, the bear;

And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the boar in his lair.


When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail,

Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.


When ye fight with a wolf of the pack ye must fight him alone and afar,

Lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war.


The lair of the wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,

Not even the head wolf may enter, not even the council may come.


The lair of the wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,

The council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.


If ye kill before midnight be silent and wake not the woods with your bay,

Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop and thy brothers go empty away.


Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need and ye can;

But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill man.


If ye plunder his kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride,

Pack-right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.


The kill of the pack is the meat of the pack. Ye must eat where it lies; 25

And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.


The kill of the wolf is the meat of the wolf. He may do what he will,

But, till he is given permission, the pack may not eat of that kill.


Lair right is the right of the mother. From all of her years she may claim

One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.


Cub right is the right of the yearling. From all of his pack he may claim

Full gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.


Cave right is the right of the father, to hunt by himself for his own;

He is freed from all calls to the pack. He is judged by the council alone.


Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,

In all that the law leaveth open the word of the head wolf is law.


Now these are the laws of the jungle, and many and mighty are they;

But the head and the hoof of the law and the haunch and the hump is—Obey!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment