I just became a Kwame Brown Fan

Most of his videos are loaded with profanity and also truth.  I am not going to defend 100% of everything he says and he sure 100% doesn’t need me to. I am just saying that because I don’t want to talk about the 5% I don’t agree with.

 

 

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Update

A reader asked for a general update on the fam.  I have fifteen grandchildren now, from a one year old up to an 11 y.o.  Four of them are boys, each of the four daughters who have babies has one son.

All are doing well, active, crazy, fun, adorable, and practically perfect in every way.

A couple needed speech therapy, and I have to tell you, Covid restrictions are ridiculous for that.  They can either do it thru a screen, which might work for an adult, but it’s not great for a frustrated child.  One of them, more than once, has heard the therapist praise the child for getting a sound right when it wasn’t right, and vice versa, because of the faulty connection. To meet in person the therapist is required to wear a mask, which defeats the purpose.  These are the rules for the clinic, and finally a private therapist who does not have to mask up for person to person lessons was found and more progress (and happier progress) was made in week one than previously.

I’ve been asked by the oldest grand-daughters to teach them hand sewing and crochet, and I have tried, but I am not a very good teacher of the handicrafts.  I hardly know how and why I do what little I can do, so it’s hard for me to explain this to one of them, or to show them what they are doing wrong when they make mistakes.  And when four or five at once lean over my shoulder clamouring for attention and help, then I get twitchy and  anxiety levels rise.  But we are working on it, slowly, slowly, slowly.

A couple are taking music lessons.  Recitals have been virtual only, but we get to attend a real life recital soon.

One of them cries a lot at music lessons and practices because there’s a lot of perfectionism going on and a very sensitive soul who doesn’t want to stop music lessons. I have had a child similarly easily prone to tears, and I’ve often heard other mothers say that if something makes your child cry, you shouldn’t keep going with that something, be it a school book or a chore or a music lesson.  I hate that advice, to be honest.  Tears don’t mean the same level of pain for every person- we all know some just cry more easily than others.  Tears also can be manipulative, they aren’t in either of these cases, but we know they can be and this advice seems perfectly calculated to bait a child into just that kind of manipulative use of tears.  Resilience is a vital skill, and I think it’s better to hug your child and help them work through the hard stuff than to hug them,  throw up your hands, throw in the towell and give up on things that make them cry.  Obviously, I don’t mean go all abusive Victorian schoolmaster or Spartan trainer and be harsh.  Work with your individual child.  I just don’t like the attitude that basically equates tears with an automatic end to any activity that prompts them.

I loved what the music teacher told that one’s mama about the tears.  “It’s okay to be passionate.  My sibling was the same way, and that sibling is now a professional musician performing before major audiences.”  I paraphrase, but the key word there is passionate- passions are high feelings, high feelings bring on high emotions, which includes tears with passionate kids.  Help them work through the tears.

The little guy who was given a horrible diagnosis of probable death by the age of two is now 10, crazy active, sweet as sugar, thoughtful, creative.  His lego creations are astounding.  He recently dug up clay in the backyard, molded it into several cute and artistic figures, and painted them- all on his own. He still has to take special and quite expensive medication, and he has to endure regular blood draws, and they are still hard and painful, but he has become quite the stoic about it, which kind of hurts to see.  His condition is quite rare but it isn’t the one first diagnosed and that means we are not in dread everytime somebody sneezes.

The ‘little boys’ are not little anymore.  They are  teenagers. The older one sounds like a man on the phone.  They live in another state, and its further than I can drive. They are in school and not loving it much.  One does all his work on the computer at home, the other goes to school.  He was working, too, but found the hours too much. They are hoping to come up for a visit soon, but the plans keep getting pushed back.

They are all full of life and vim and vigour, and as my very southern dad used to say for some reason, “Full of vinegar and applesauce.”

The grandkids are all within a drive of a bit over an hour to about 45 minutes, although one family is moving out of state soon.  I’ve cried over that, but since I went to the Philippines for two years and four of my grandchild were born while I was there, I can’t really fuss about it, can I?

In my ideal life, I’d live in the Philippines for six months of the year and here for six months, but I don’t see how that could happen.

 

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Grain-free porridge

I buy cans of coconut milk by the case, so this stovetop method works for me:

In a saucepan, combine a can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of water, 3/4 cup of coconut (unsweetened), 6 T of almond flour or meal, 3 T. of flax seed meal,  1 tsp vanilla and a generous pinch of salt.

Whisk together while heating to simmer. Simmer while stirring to the texture and thickness you prefer. Add water as needed to thin.

 

Good with:

Butter

Jam

Berries

Milk

Maple syrup

Brown sugar

Some toppings more low carb or keto friendly than others.

 

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A Heartwarming Opportunity for a Humble-Brag

I haven’t been crocheting anything lately, which feels weird. For a couple years it was a compulsion. I couldn’t stop making tiny little critters and itty itty pumpkins via crochet.   It seriously was not that much different from a drug. And then, I just quit. I would like to take it up again, but I just find myself doing other things instead.  I was talking about this to one of my daughters, who didn’t see the point. Honestly, it’s not like I really crocheted anything useful.  Children in North America are not suffering from a lack of tiny crocheted turtles, two inch teddy bears, and octopuses in their lives. She said she recognized the compulsion was a major form of stress release, but since I am not that stressed any more, what’s the point.  Do I like it that much?  If it isn’t for stress relief, what am I getting from it, she asked, reasonably enough, I thought.

I gave it some thought, trying to explain, no, really trying to figure out for myself what it is that I vaguely felt a sense of loss over since I was no longer crocheting. I found it.

Crocheting gives me a tangible sense of accomplishment.  I can clean a room but the sense of accomplishment is temporary. A crocheted teddy bear the height of my index finger may be pointless, but it exists.  It stays made once done. Also, it makes me feel competent, and I like the sense of having done a good job at something, and I don’t get that very often.

My 11 year old grandson (Ye old Dread Pirate Grasshopper, for long time readers) had been eavesdropping when we thought he was reading.  He piped up something like, “You mean besides feeding your grandchildren? Because you’re pretty good at that.”

Yes, that made me feel ten feet tall and very competent, but it’s funny because all I’d fed him that day was apples and mandarin oranges, with as much milk as he wanted to drink.  They ate lunch before they came so I hadn’t done any food prep- just bought the fruit and milk.  I even did my shopping online at midnight the night before and had it delivered.  Ridiculously simple.  The way to a male’s heart and all that.

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History: Homeschool Warrior and Pioneer

The African-American March in Homeschooling

By Raymond Moore

About the time talk was spreading that our black brothers and sisters were indifferent to home education, I had the delightful experience of meeting Helen Jackson …in court. The talk was rampant that Blacks feared home education was being used as an excuse for separating Blacks and Whites.

That was not true at all. And I’ll tell you how I know. My Black friends have minds of their own. I found that out when we had three of them on our Research Foundation Board at one time: Mylas Martin of IBM, Harvard professor Stuart Taylor, and Dr. John Ford, who was at various times, Mr. San Diego, vice president of the California State Board of Education, and later president. He is still a consulting specialist who lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California with his lovely wife, Ida. Dr. Ford was chairman of our Research Committee, the operational arm that contributed largely to the pioneering and development of the modern homeschool movement when Reader’s Digest picked up the research from Harper’s and scattered it to 52,000,000 readers around the world. The men were not rabble-rousing, color-conscious activists. None of us even considered at our meetings that they were men of color.
In fact, Dr. Ford is the hero who took copies of the Phi Delta Kappan – America’s leading educational journal – to the California Legislature that destroyed the efforts of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to get all California tots into school by age two and a half. Our cover story on the June 1972 issue of that magazine, and three guest editorials, was a long report of our research that targeted the California early schooling plan. The State School Head was Dr. Wilson Riles, an elegant Black man. But no favors from Dr. Ford!

We lost Helen Jackson’s whereabouts for several years and when we were finally able to get in touch with her we found her story continues logically with five Jackson achievers, Helen’s kids, all well-moored Christians:
o Johnny, age 16, a distance runner who is looking forward to a math/physics major in college.
o Zakiaya, 17, a National Merit Scholar who was president of the student union in her secondary school and has turned down an all-expense scholarship at MIT for $35,000 award from Vanderbilt U. for a career in bioengineering and physics
o Isa, 25, who after accepting a scholarship in chemical engineering from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has formed his own, now nationally known construction engineering firm.
o Malik, 27, a Robert Morris College presidential scholarship grad who is now a financial analyst and software specialist.
o Baqiyyah, 30, near image of her mother, a scholarship student all the way. After 5-years as a missionary, is taking a teaching MA.

We could go on and on about a graphics genius and his well-known editor wife – Art and Pat Humphrey, now of Fort Worth, and deeper into the Lone Star State to Earle and Erma Toussaint of Austin. Both couples have been stars against the backdrop of trials during the early years of the homeschool movement. One of these days we must tell you more about an array of heroes and heroines of all colors and creeds from Maine, Michigan and Georgia to Texas, Colorado, California and Washington. Hopefully that will reach you via an authentic history of home education early in 2001, told by those who were there.

Meanwhile we continue the story of a rare heroine whose hard-working siblings all know what it’s like to occupy scholarship row:

In 1986 Fort Worth Attorney Shelby Sharpe asked me to be expert witness in a class-action suit instituted by Gary and Cheryl Leeper et al. against the State of Texas. I anticipated a tough battle. Some of our greatest homeschool heroes and heroines, starting with Ruth Canon and leaders of the Truth Forum, were from the Lone Star State. Its State Education officials had pained us for years. Make no mistake, whether for good or bad, Texas can be tough. Yet the judge was good news. He opened the way for a little black lady to gently peel anti-family toughs like a hot, boiled potato. She left no doubts that she knew how to peel potatoes. Her little paring knife had a handle of love and a steel blade of truth.
My recollections are not exact; but the nuances are crystal clear in my memory. I remember the kind judge. With him and Attorney Sharpe, my job was a song. His honor freely expressed approval of our evidence. This was Black-Hispanic-White class-action synergy.

The bailiff called the petite mother to the stand from the back of the courtroom, her five young ones strung along beside her. She responded with a smile – nothing supercilious; just confident. Those who know Helen Jackson, know her faith in God.

Three Texas State attorneys, one an assistant attorney-general, were arrayed against her. They knew my background, but obviously knew little about this bit of Black femininity. They hadn’t bothered to check her out, although she was the Black plaintiff in the class-action triumvirate that was accusing the State of harassment for teaching their young at home.

Then all changed! One of the Texas team, I believe the assistant attorney general, lit into her. I feared over-kill, like a sledge-hammer hitting an upholstery tack, but soon found that the sledge was cardboard, and the ‘nail’ was hardened steel. I don’t have the record handy, so I offer only a sketch at best, but the outcome was about like this:

“Mrs. Jackson, Do you believe in women working?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Do you work?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Where?”
“At home.”
“Have you ever had a job?” The questioning moved along in what seemed a taunting or disrespectful tone, including his eyes and body language, as if to find out what kind of broom Helen had pushed. She took it all patiently, even sublimely. The attorney seemed irritated at her quiet freedom.
“Yes, sir” she replied.
“Where did you work?”
“In Houston.” She was brief, determined not to reveal her surprise until the last moment.
“Where in Houston?”
“At NASA.”
“What did you do at NASA?” At this point he smiled indulgently, as if wondering if she worked in the restaurant or in housekeeping. This was the opportunity she had patiently waited for…
“Well, you see, I am a John’s Hopkins University astronautic electronics engineer. At NASA, I was promoted to be the first black woman in space when I discovered that my oldest son was developing serious emotional symptoms and needed me more than NASA did. So I returned to teach him at home. And he is doing very well.”

The lawyer’s jaw dropped. Another attorney dropped her pencil. The judge peered over his spectacles with a big grin. There was some commotion in the Court, but he soon brought down his gavel. He ultimately gave us the case. Although the State twisted and weaseled in order to cloud it, Texas has been among our freest of the 50 states and the U.S. territories ever since.

Shortly after, Phyllis Schlafly, herself something of a heroine, with her Eagle Forum, made Helen “National Mother of the Year.” Often she was compared with Crista McAuliffe, the school-teacher mom who left her family to meet tragedy as the first woman in space. Invariably it was decided that Helen’s mothering way was really the better way.

This article was originally printed in two issues of the Moore Report International (Sep/Oct 00 and Nov/Dec 00)

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