Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Homeschooling vs Public Education by Saralee Sky

There is a phrase in the US Constitution: "To provide for the general welfare." This phrase gave rise to federal taxation to provide such diverse services as science and technology, the environment, health care and education. It was the phrase that gave birth to the public school system.

While you may or may not approve of the public education system as it now stands in our country, it remains a most noble attempt at providing every citizen with the basics, the 3 R's: Readin', Ritin', and Rithmetic. What is so very great about this country is that - while it does provide this basic educational service - we are all free to refuse it and to follow our own designs and dreams as far as educating our children goes.

When my children were young, we lived 2 miles up a dirt road and then another 5 very curvy miles down a 2-lane blacktop to the local school. When I took my oldest son, Joseph, to Kindergarten, he hid under a desk and it just felt wrong to me. So I took him out of school and kept him at home for that year. When the next year rolled around, we tried another school, 45 minutes away along the same curvy road. The ride was exhausting, but the school was wonderful: three rooms, grades K-8 and 85 students total. Joseph loved this school and Teacher Judy.

We made the journey twice a day, went through two oil pans and various other auto parts, and I look back on that time and wonder why I just didn't give up on public education and keep Joseph at home with me. That was a long time ago and the resources for homeschooling were not plentiful. Today I receive a magazine called Life Learning, which encourages homeschooling, self-directed learning and unschooling.

These are radical concepts to me, especially letting go of "teachable moments' and trusting children to learn on their own when they are ready and interested in the subject. I am afraid I suffer from "teacheria" - the unconrolable urge to teach my grandchildren about the tides when we are at the beach, or the seasons when we see a leaf fall, or why it is snowing instead of raining. You get the picture. Sometimes my granddaughter looks at me and says, "Uh-uh," while shaking her head "no." At first I thought she was telling me that I was wrong about whatever I was trying to teach her. Then I realized that she was just telling me to shut up!

So now I will shut up and close this article by saying: if you feel ready to jump into homeschooling or unschooling I say Go For It! If not, be ready to help out at your local school whenever possible, because the government has its hands full providing for the general welfare, and public education has to take a back seat these days to many other concerns.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is the intention to count your blessings every day, every minute, while avoiding, whenever possible, the belief that you need or deserve different circumstances. (Timothy Miller) Trying to maintain an attitude of gratitude is very hard for me. I start out all sparkly and loving and full of thanks, but gradually I sink down into old resentments and self-pity. Why should I be so grateful? Don't I deserve more? More abundance? More fame? More success? More pats on the back?

What do rich and famous people have that I don't have, besides money and fame? Why can't I just snap my fingers and have all that I need, all that I truly deserve?

Is it possible to feel blessed and resentful at the same time? I think so. Perhaps it is higher self and lower self battling it out. My ego says I deserve more, but my inner self says I have all that I need right now to be a fully enlightened being.

Let go, let it go, let it be, let me be. Enough of the ruminations and self pity. Life is good and I am perfect just the way I am and I am good and I am life and I am grateful for each breath I take.

This is the battle of my life. I hope this new year will see me become the truly powerful, loving, grateful being that I know I can be. Medicine Woman. Om Shanti.