Friday, April 23, 2010

Soap Box #3

As many of you may know, I watch Glenn Beck. Now most of the time he and I get along great, but lately I've been really annoyed with him. He keeps saying that to solve problems we need to think "out of the box ." Well I hate that. As a homeschooler I have all sorts of opinions about "the box." Why am I in one in the first place, who put me here and why, and is thinking really the best way to get out of it? Once I do get out what then? Every time he uses that phrase it makes me cringe because the truth is I know the answers to all these questions that pop into my head, and the answers make me sick. I'm in this stupid box because somewhere along the line someone made me believe that there is only one way to do a given thing. Despite all the cute sayings about multiple ways to skin a cat and so forth, our culture rewards uniformity. I'm in a box, because I was taught to believe in one. My teachers throughout my life ,in school and out, all believed in the box too. That's how I got here. They couldn't tell me how to be somewhere else, because they were in a box too. So the wide open spaces of my mind were trained into four walls. Now everyone thinking the same way can be very beneficial. It can promote peace and foster comraderie when we're all on the same page, so I can see the allure; however, now we have all these mountainous problems to conquor and only out of the box thinking can save us. I don't know about anyone else, but that sounds like poetic justice to me! So I wonder, is thinking out of the box really going to get us out of it? Frankly, I believe it would be faster and easier just to lift my foot and step outside. After all, I really didn't know what I was getting into, and who would blame me for running away? I have found this to be easy and hard, frightening and liberating, and above all else vital to solving at least my own problems if not the nations. I look around me and ask why? Why do I do things the way I do? Is it because it is the best way or because it just is the way things are done? It has helped me stay out of the box most of the time to ask myself these things. However, there are still times I look around and still see that darned box. When I do I don't just step out and walk away, I jump out, set it on fire and run in any other direction! I don't ever ask my kids to think "out of the box" because I go out of my way to make sure they are never put into one. As far as I'm concerned, looking for aswers "out of the box" just reenforces that there is one. I refuse to think of myself as being anywhere in relation to "the box", and the sooner we stop believing in one the better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Soapbox #2

Last Sunday, as I was giving snacks out in the nursery, one of my friends proceeded to tell me a shocking, disappointing and very true story. Her daughter had recently participated in a mock congress for high schoolers in Madison County, and when she came home she went straight to her room and just sat there. My friend went to see what was wrong, and she was told this: all but two of the students participating had voted in favor of changing from a capitalist society to a communist one. Their rationale was that capitalism puts a price on people and that is wrong. Communism is for the people, so that is good. End of debate. There were four adults of varying ages listening as she shared this, and we were all floored. What on Earth are we teaching our children when in a place as conservative as the one I live in those children would choose communism? Not one of these kids was aware of the history that communism has forged. What about the 10,000,000 Stalin starved to death in one year? What about the 70,000,000 people who died in China? What about all the people who are willing to trust their lives to anything that floats through shark infested waters to escape Cuba? We all came to the conclusion that not only did these kids not get the education they needed, but that they didn't have any personal experience that allowed them to appreciate what freedom is. We all shared stories of what we remembered and experienced during the cold war as children. We talked about the people we knew who had lived through some of these regimes. These things are shared less and less with the young people of this country, and if they choose to embrace an opressive way of life based on what they aren't taught, who will save us from our educational neglect when they rule the world?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here is a sideways shot of Noah's 7th birthday. I didn't realize until after I loaded it up that I had forgotten to turn it around, and now I'm just too lazy! It was a Star Wars party, and we took all of his friends to play at the arcade. He had a wonderful time! I can't believe he's getting so big.
I rolled Gracie's hair in rollers overnight for church, and she ended up with a giant blonde afro. It was soo cute! It lasted for four days.

TaDa!! Our very first egg! I went out today because Mitchell said one of our ducks was getting picked on and what do you know? Someone laid an egg! Mitch fried it up and we all had a bite. Surprise surprise it tasted just like an egg!

Here's Clementine our poor picked on duck. She was missing some feathers and looked like she needed a break, so we brought her inside for a while. She's missing some feathers now, but they'll grow back! Those are bits of celery in the water. She'a a real sweetie.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Becky's Soapbox- #1

It has recently been brought to my attention by a friend that I should write something about all the things I am always going on about. Consequently, I've decided to post an infrequent "column" on my blog. Every article will be titled Becky's Soapbox, so that anyone who doesn't care to read my strong and numerous opinons on everything can skip over it. Here goes!
A recent article by professor Robin West is making some waves in academic and homeschooling circles. I believe her article is an excellent example of a very prevalent problem. It has become common in academic and scientific circles to thrust aside the practice of formulating opinons, and subsequently practices, based on evidence and rigorous research in exchange for the practice of repeating opinions as frequently and loudly as possible until they become accepted as fact by the general public who doesn't take the time to fact check what they hear (climate change is a perfect example of this phenomenon). While Professor West's article about the harms of homeschooling doesn't fail to upset me, I find her lack of proper documentation and research even more apalling. Not once does she reference the numerous studies done that reflct favorably on the practice of homeschooling. Of course one could argue that she is just being fair since she never once cites any studies or statistics that support the idea that homeschooling is evil. The real problem comes when one does fifteen minutes of research and discovers that there are no valid studies or research to support a negative opinion, but significant studies to support the benefits of homeschooling. Dr.West relies on the laziness and lack of education of the public on education. She banks on the fact that most people don't know that two thorough studies have shown homeschooled students to be more active in their communities as adults by a margin of 40%; adults who are homeschooled vote at a rate of 40-50% over the general population; homeschooled adults have a higher rate of satisfaction in their home-lives and a lower rate of divorce; homeschooled adults are less likely to live on government assistance by a factor of almost 100%. These figures are further supported by standardized testing numbers and growing numbers of homeschoolers who are actively being recruited by schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and BYU. The audacity to promote an opinion based on nothing other than personal animosity towards any position should be roundly condemned by academia and the general population. The bottom line to all of this is that if you do not check what you hear, and consequently, what it causes you to believe, you are asking to be lied to. No longer can people expect anyone who has a platform to speak from to be honest. You are your own best defense against misinformation. Unfortunately, I will continue to be upset by tactics like this that perpetuate any kind of misinformation because, despite what I may wish, most people will not double-check, so lying loudly will keep working.
( double check my facts at National Home Education Research Institute)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The kids began waking up for Christmas at three thirty in the morning. Every hour until seven thirty I had to send them back to bed. We had so much fun opening everything!
Santa brought the boys a bunch of legos, and the entire morning stopped for over an hour as they put them together. As you can see, Dad didn't mind the break!

Santa brought Gracie a drum-set because he wants to push me over the brink into insanity! She loves it, and she plays it constantly.
I didn't get pictures of Grace's birthday, but everyone had a blast! We took all the younger kids to play at the Rex. They have a massive room at the back full of moon walk, bounce house obstacle courses, slides and even jumbo basketball! I even got in on the fun and played too! The slides there are fantastic! We really should schedule a grown-up party!

Pre-Christmas Festivities!

So many things are always going on around the holidays! For Mitchell's birthday we took his friends and cousins(who arrived just in time!) bowling. The kids had a great time, and it was a fun mix of friends and family.
I posted these pictures backwards, so bear with me! This is family home evening with the Bairds the Monday before Christmas. We went to Sundae's in Idaho Falls after driving around looking at Christmas lights.

The best part about the whole evening was that the Baird's friend Simon was visiting from England, and he hired a stretch Hummer that seated twenty for the occasion! As you can see, even Steve had to get in on this!

We listened to rockin' Christmas music and watched Christmas shows. There was even a laser show!

We saw some of the most amazing light displays! Two of them were homes that were completely covered in lights, computerized and set to music broadcast on the radio. It was really unbelievable!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Okay, everyone here's my late update. My ducks are not babies anymore, as you can see, they are now fully grown and dumb as a box of rocks, but I love them! For Halloween this year Mitchell saved me the trouble of sewing a new costume on my broken machine and decided to be a zombie. He really looked dead. What can I say -Mom's got skills!

Gracie was, as usual, a ballerina. The picture really doesn't do her justice (my camera refuses to focus), but she was lovely.

Noah WAS Luke Skywalker- no doubt about it! He grew his hair out all month so that it would fall properly. He still refuses to let me cut it!

This isn't the best shot in the world, But what a shot! Mitch was the tooth fairy. He was even covered in sparkles! Now I just need to figure out what I do with a Daddy sized tutu.

In other news, I STILL have hives, but my ulcer is all but healed. We were expecting a baby in June, but sadly that is no longer the case. We'll keep trying! I am really feeling the Christmas bug this year, and I can hardly wait until after Thanksgiving when Mitch will finally let me put up our tree. I started listening to Christmas music Sunday, and I'm hooked. Last week we went down to help Mike with his house, and to see Dan, and the funniest thing happened! My older brother and I officially have weird homeschooled kids! Mitch came in the living room after dinner and said that the kids were all playing politics. Mike and Dan jumped up and went to eavesdrop. They came back laughing and said that the game went as follows:
Jacob: I'm Barack Obama!
Mitchell: I'm Glenn Beck!
Jacob: I'm going to take over everything!
Mitchell: How are you going to pay for it?
Jacob: I'm going to tax everybody!
Mitchell: That's a terrible idea! You're going to bankrupt the country!
You get the idea! We all died laughing and the funniest thing is that they kept going for quite awhile. Maybe many of you will think we put too much emphasis on politics at home, but I have to say I'm pleased to know that my kids pay attention to what's going on around them! In case I don't update again in time have a great holiday! Happy 11th anniversary to Mitch and I on Wednesday!