Could someone please comment or email me and explain why in the world everyone uses blogrolls… I have a perfectly nice linking system, and yet I’ve noticed that there is a bit of a sub-cultural issue where people only want to link to me if I blogroll link to them I’m feeling blackmailed What makes it so great?! Is it seriously worth it? Will you blogroll me if I blogroll you?
I wasn’t sure what I’d think of Dumbing Us Down after the first chapter, but he’s really kicking up now!
So, here’s my highlights from chapter 2 – The Psychopathic School – and a few of my comments
I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civic classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders…. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
I guess I had never really thought about it, but if you asked me whether or not poets learn their craft through English class… I’d have to say “no”. When I think of my gifts and talents, none of them were made in school. Some were enhanced in school, but school didn’t teach me any of those things.
I guess I’m kind of shocked that I don’t find that fact shocking. Isn’t that what schools are for? Why do I accept that schools are irrelevant in this area?
Senator Ted Kennedy’s office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literact rate was ninety-eight percent and that after it the figure never ecxeeded ninety-one percent, where it stands in 1990.
I had to look this up (of course) and it is legitimate. You can read more about it if you wish, but the interesting thing is that I had no idea that this was the case. Earlier in his book, Mr. Gatto mentions that literacy levels for non-slaves during the American Revolution was close to 100%. He also says that Thomas Paine’s Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population of 3,000,000 with 20% of them slaves and 50% indentured servants. Pretty impressive. Most adults now couldn’t or wouldn’t read it.
So how can this be? I have long been taught that before there was compulsory schooling, people were highly uneducated. All they knew how to do was farm and clean. They couldn’t read, think, or reason. They did the lowest of jobs and lived the simplest of lives. Actually, more of them read than can read now…
Mr. Gatto then discusses the hours that his students spend in various activities each week. They have 168 total hours, 56 of which they sleep, 55 is spent watching tv, 45 hours at school and getting ready for school, and 3 hours in family meals, which leaves them 9 whole hours to fashion themselves. Very interesting. I just attended a lecture on this same topic of how children spend their time.
So once he’s pointed out that those few hours are left, he says that most of them are probably spent in lessons that the child’s parents select for them.
…these activities are just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existance. It’s a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television, and lessons have a lot to do with it.
Looking back, we watched very little tv and we spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves by creating and inventing. It wasn’t until I started reading and learning about education that I realized that this is a big part of what is missing in children’s lives today. I am so thankful that my parents knew better!
The “Curriculum of Family” is at the heart of any good life. We’ve gotten away from that curriculum – it’s time to return to it. The way to sanity in education is for our schools to take the lead in releasing the stranglehold of institutions on family life, to promote during schooltime confluences of parent and child that will strengthen family bonds.
I like where he is going with this. Its not anti-school, but its not pro-the-current-system I’m looking forward to reading more!
Upon Crystal’s suggestion, I decided to check out one of John Taylor Gatto’s books from the library. I did no research, and simply picked what was in stock, so I have been reading Dumbing Us Down. I’m only in the second chapter, so I can’t really make a huge statement yet, but I wanted to blog about this quote
This great crisis that we witness in our schools is interlinked with a greater social crisis in the community. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent: nobody talks to them anymore, and without children and old people mixing in daily life, a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present.
This is such an interesting idea to ponder. I have long been annoyed with our country’s obsession with a very narrow age range: usually around 16-25. It sometimes seems like anyone younger than that age is trying to act older, while those that are older try to act younger.
I had never considered the fact that it does give us a “continuous present” though. What does this do to our country? I think the obvious problem that would arise is that we won’t properly equip the future generation and we won’t learn from the mistakes of past ones. That’s a sad thought.
Children are not valued. Children are not listened to. Children are not treated as they should be – as persons. They are penned up, pushed away, and supposed to fade into the background, and suppress their feelings.
At the same time, the elderly are shipped off and ignored. They are not revered in our culture. Few want to be old. Millions (billions?) are spent each year to make people look younger so that they can run away from the fear of feeling “old”.
This attitude will impact my children. It has already impacted me. I do not want my kids to feel that they need to grow up too soon and I don’t want to act like I am younger because the culture values that (even though I am only 25, so I realize that shouldn’t be much of an issue right now).
This has given me much to meditate upon tonight
These past few days have been very interesting for me. My mom has really been encouraging me in my decision to home school, and it has been a great time of growth
I am reading through Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake, and this quote described what I’ve been feeling as I’ve researched home schooling and Charlotte Mason in particular.
If I had a second childhood, I should like to be educated her [Charlotte Mason's] way in school. To be respected as a person, to be provided for richly with ideas from outside, and yet to be left to develop myself, according to my own inner resources. All of this within the firm framework of reality. Skills mastered, and yet a feast of interesting ideas to which one could react in one’s own way.
I agree. My parents did a beautiful job in raising me and giving me so many of these things, and I look forward, and pray for the opportunity and ability to continue to give my children the same and much more!
In Chapter 4 of The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson explores the idea of a “Servant Mother”. I find this to be a very controversial subject, and I’m really impressed that she took it on.
Last week I was listening to the Natural Moms Talk Radio podcast and Kelly Nault was on the program. Ms. Nault wrote the book When You’re About to Go Off the Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You. I haven’t read the book, but I really enjoyed the podcast. In there they discussed a lot of great things, including the Continuum Concept, which I’m always happy to hear discussed
One thing that I was thinking about during the podcast was Ms. Nault talking about how moms need to take time for themselves. I totally agree. I think that so many moms are already at their wits ends, and then they have nothing left to give to their children. Ms. Nault had three steps towards being a better mom, and taking care of yourself was first and the last one was to take time for spiritual matters. I thought these were a bit backwards, but whatever…
I think that in this chapter Sally Clarkson does an excellent job of hitting the balance point between selfishness and running yourself ragged… and yet at the same time telling you to give yourself as Christ gave. Yes, we have to be full, but that can be taken too far. Allow me to share some quotes…
…children, by definition, take up our time. They’re supposed to do that; it’s the way God made them. But if we don’t recognize or accept that fact…as many mothers today don’t–we’re bound to make things difficult for ourselves and our children.
In my own life, I have noticed that the times that I get frustrated are the times where I’m trying to do too much and I am expecting no one to get in my way. That’s simply not realistic.
I had years of time as a single woman when I was ruler over most of my minutes. I decided when I would eat, sleep, vacation, work, or meet someone for lunch. I decided these issues according to my needs and desires.
But once I had my children, as any mother will understand, my time was never my own again! Children simply don’t fit into neat little time packages.
I can admit that there have been times when I’ve looked back fondly on the days when I could sleep in, go to lunch, or stay up late without fear of someone waking me up just minutes after I finally went to bed. I think its good to understand and expect that this is the way that God made children, and its not something to resent them for. We all needed it as children.
When we realize and accept that serving our children means giving them whatever time they need, whenever they need it, we will be far less likely to fall into… bitterness and resentment…
I regret the time I wasted in the early years of my children’s lives because I didn’t have a realistic understanding of what motherhood would cost me in the regard. I did enjoy being with them– usually. But I also tended to chafe at the demands these little ones made on my time and energy. I would become irritated or frazzled by their whining or clinging to me or crying.
She goes on to talk about how the life of a SAHM is filled with repetitive tasks that are constantly being undone. Kids always need you and if you don’t expect that, you will get upset. She says that this struggle between selfishness and selflessness is a normal battle, but its one that often makes us feel riddled with guilt.
I can’t even express how wonderful it is to read words from a mother who has already been through this phase in her life. Its so nice to be able to learn from her wisdom. She shares her experience when she has her last child six years after her next to last, so she had time to learn these things
I had lived through the early youth of my other three children and had seen that they really did grow up quickly. Finally, by experience, I understood that the dependent stage of early childhood was only for a season. I could see how important it was to enjoy each day and treasure these moments of early life with my children, because the years did pass quickly.
I am so grateful to learn from her experience and for this reminder.
As she wraps up the chapter, she gives some more practical applications for being a servant mother.
We mothers need to recognize what a powerful effect our attitude has on our children. Laying down our lives for them can indeed mean giving up, for their sakes, our right to wallow in our negative feelings. And choosing the path of servant leadership certainly means making the effort to respond in faith to our circumstances and our feelings, turning to the Lord for help in maintaining a hopeful attitude. The beauty of such an effort, of course, is that it has the power to lift us up even as it sustains our children’s spirits.
I read this last night, and it inspired me to set my alarm and get up early this morning. I cleaned the house before bed and set out my clothes for the day. I woke up expecting to wake up (rather than grumbling and surprised that it was already morning), and it has already made such a huge difference. My area of selfishness is definitely sleep. Well… sleep and computer time The time that I get frustrated on the computer is if I’m trying to do work or school and I am unable to concentrate. I don’t take it out on my kids, but I know that they sense my stress. I should devote my time to them during the day and do my work/school at night or in the mornings before they’re up and moving around. Anyways, I’ve learned a lot from this chapter, and I look forward to applying it
Obviously I have known milk’s faults for many moons now. My son is severely allergic, so I know every food with milk, every restaurant with a “clean” kitchen, and all of the reasons to avoid milk. Even still, I wanted to be able to eat cheese when I went out to eat I have been SO stubborn about getting rid of it in my diet, even though I already cook dairy-free meals for my family.
About a week ago I finally made the plunge into veganism. As soon as I cut out milk, I stopped waking up with a stuffy nose and/or a migraine! Its not like I didn’t know that milk can cause stuffiness, so why am I surprised? It is so great to wake up with clean sinuses! Who knew?! This is way better than any bowl of ice cream!
So, if you’re unsure, give it a try! Its not that bad!
Oh, and you know what the best part is? I can kiss my son and not worry that I have some leftover milk on my lips that will make him break out Filed Under: Vegan