Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A short introduction,,

Hello. My name is...well, we've not decided what my name is yet. Mommy calls me chiirrrrrrrruuup. Please help. The other chicks will make funny of me if I'm still being called by my hatchling name, when I get to kindergarten! It is very nice to meet you, by the way...
Oh, so you want to see the beginnings of my wing feathers? Here they are. There, just above my leg? You can see that little line. That is the very first edge of them. I am very excited. First I lost my egg tooth, and now feathers! I am quite the big chick. I just wish I had a name....
Uh-oh. Mommy's going into her "attack chicken" mode. She's a trifle protective. I guess it is cause I'm an only child...sigh. Maybe someday I'll have some brothers and sisters...I hope!
Yes, mom, I'm safe. I know, I should have called you! But really, it wasn't my fault!!!!
Okay, okay. While Chicky-Baby has been grounded by Momma for the foreseeable future, the wing feathers are a fine sign. Momma was *not* pleased at us lifting her baby from her grasp. We had to use a distraction method of extraction...it is a good thing that there are enough of us around here to distract! My sleeves weren't long enough to withstand the pecking, this morning!
We're almost done with our schoolwork for the day--the girls are finishing up their letter-writing (penpals are great for getting in everything from grammar, to composition, to handwriting. Not to mention some artistic work for the not-quite-as-skilled writers among us). Some old friends of ours (#4 &5's godparents) moved to Georgia last month for some Army training--then they will be off to parts north, after the first of the year. We miss them A LOT. And with us running neck and neck on numbers of children, and ages, well, my children miss their playmates and friends. If you are reading this, F family, we miss you LOTS. :-)
One thing I am trying to impress on my children (for now, just the oldest three), is the importance of the written word. Not just the typeset, computerized word...but the actual, put-pen-to-paper word. (It doesn't hurt my case any to still have some of the earliest letters that their father sent me, of course). I love old letters...sigh. And it is such a thrill to sit down and re-read letters from nearly 20 years ago, before the love really began, but the knowing of each other was just beginning. Knowing what was to come, down the road. It is a bit harder to do that, when the letters are emails...even if you print them off, one doesn't see the smudges, the teardrops, the pressure points. Clear, even fonts are nice--if I am typing a letter with a font setting of 16, bold, just so my grandmother can read it more clearly. I will admit, I don't sit down and write as often as I should, perhaps. I definitely *ought* to manually write them down. But while it is certainly easier and less time consuming to sit and type, then hit 'print'...it lacks a certain something. Timelessness, I think.
My children are, thus far, at least, voracious readers (there is nothing quite so pleasing as finding a stack of thick books, up on one's 9 year olds bed...all of them obviously being read). #2 seems to prefer the scientific--not that she isn't offered others, but if she has her choice, she digs out my Audubon field guides, and reads about the unusual bugs out there...#1 is deep in the longer books, like Little House on the Prarie, Little Women, etc. #3, well, she likes to grab a blanket, and read with momma in a comfy chair...and whatever momma picks is just fine (as long as we have a fuzzy blanket to wrap up in, and a lap to sit in, life is good for her). #4 & 5 are in the "we'll sit here for two seconds, and then climb down, so we can go chase something/someone". But we try. LOL.
Reading and writing are so vital...it greatly saddens me that more people don't either know--or worse yet, care to know--how to do them properly. Text messaging is all well and good, in its place. But when text messaging replaces well-thought-out conversation, when what passes for a society's culture is defined by the video game of the season, we're missing something--seriously. It is true, learning starts in the home. But it cannot just stay there. And it cannot be entirely blamed on the family/home, when children grow up with an apparent lack of appreciation for a good book, a decent conversation that challenges the intellect, or a really GOOD piece of music--because the entirety of the culture that surrounds them, has devalued the cultural currency to the lowest common denominator.
Admittedly, I have certain weaknesses in this area myself. Try as I might, I cannot immerse myself in War and Peace. And Dickens bores me to no end. But I at least acknowledge that they are better works than "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". There are works of fiction, and then there are Classics. And while a Classic will always be a 'work', the reverse is not true. I think we've forgotten that, in our craze to get our children to read. Simply reading trash, while it *is* reading, is not the same as reading something like Beowulf (not abridged), Treasure Island (ditto), or Wuthering Heights (ditto again). Dumbing down our books, eventually dumbs down our minds, and in time, our culture. "Making books more accessible" has done nothing more than cheapen the work of the original author. Why do we persist in lowering the bar, when we ought to be setting it juuuuust a bit higher than we think that they can reach, and challenge them to reach it? The pursuit of a greater "self esteem" has ended up giving us a generation of adults who feel great about themselves--for doing absolutely nothing but continuing to breathe. A sense of pride, for rolling out of bed and getting dressed in the morning, is not something that ought to even occur to the average adult. And yet, we see it all the time.
So when people ask me, why on earth we're homeschooling (we live in an above-average district, with very small schools/classes, etc), well, honestly, it is because I see the need to prevent the mindset of "oh well, the abridged version is close enough" from pervading my children's lives. I don't want them to learn to take the easy road. I want them to WANT the challenge. And when they reach it--*then* they can feel good about themselves, for trying, for striving, and for continuing to push when they thought "UGH! I'll never get through this!".
Sorry for the ramble. Intelligent conversation with other adults has a tendency to be in short supply around here. I guess I could go talk with the dogs, or the cows. They are good listeners, but I rather prefer the give and take of a sit-down-chat with some good friends over a glass of something bubbly and carbonated, lol. Or maybe caffeinated, chocolatey, and cold. Yum.
Hopefully, you've had a good day thus far. We're looking at finishing up the deep-cleaning in the girls' room, and getting the bathrooms cleaned as well (with three of them to do, well, they can get grimey. Fortunately, the "I've gotten myself in trouble" girl still has three more days on icky chore duty. BWAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! I should get a few more of the less fun chores done by the end of this week...and maybe, just maybe, she'll learn a little lesson. Ahem.
And then of course, there is the rest of the day to go through....wish me luck!

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