The NYT Magazine's On Technology essay by Jenna Wortham this week speaks to much of what I (and I suspect my friends) have been thinking about lately. How can wide freedom of creativity and connectedness happen online? And in what ways does the very fact of it being online limit the conversation?
“The internet should be a place with no rules, and freedom, but it’s not,” Piñero said. “There is a certain pressure to conform to certain aesthetics.” It was something I had noticed myself. Each social-media platform tends to reward certain behaviors and styles of posting, all in the interest of building fans and followers who are invested in the performance of a persona (maybe even more so than the Geppetto-like person orchestrating it all). Instagram is a place for intimate-seeming photos, Twitter for clever quips and collaborative memes. Facebook demands an unmitigated rawness that can be terrifying at times. With all, the works are often made to fit the platform, not the other way around.
read the article here.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Sunday, March 5, 2017
We spend a lot of time in the car. Driving from class to class, often 30-60 minutes in each direction. I don't mind because we have a very comfortable, safe car, I love watching the scenery change through the seasons and my kids are involved in some unique and amazing activities.
Many homeschool parents love the time they spend in the car with their kids and use it as time to chat. We do that, but to be honest, it is really hard for me to concentrate on the road and converse with three kids at the same time. Listening to music is good, but there tends to be too much DJ'ing and lively discussion over each song and which is next.
We have a DVD player that came installed in our car, something I never thought I would embrace. We use it to watch movies on our 20+ hour trips up and down the eastern seaboard (CT -> FL -> CT) but have tended not to use it in day to day life too much.
I recently did a time audit with Merrick Weaver as part of her online class "Leadership of Homemaking." From it, I decided to reclaim our time on the road and created the:
Minivan Movie House.
On trips over 30 minutes on the interstate the movie house is open. We watch all the documentaries, foreign and classic films that I think are an internal part of a well rounded education but might not make it on to the roster for family movie night. We watch films that directly connect with the classes they are taking or nascent individual interests. The films are calm, sometimes deeply moving, and allow me to drive safely. The upside is that I get to listen too, which I enjoy.
Some recent favorites:
The Hobart Shakespeareans
Dancing Across Borders
various Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes films
The Eagle Huntress
Our Little Sister
Boy & the World
The complete Daria and Dilbert series
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet
Monsieur Huglot's Holiday
The French Chef with Julia Child
any American Experience
How do you reclaim time spent in the car? Share in the comments or drop me a line.
Posted by Amy at Sunday, March 05, 2017
Saturday, March 4, 2017
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of Nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that the there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
A. Frank, 1944
The Unborn by Anselm Keifer, 2001.
Some of us got to discuss this work (which is huge, metal, and looks like a family tree made of bone and tiny sewn clothes) at our monthly art tour. It provided a powerful connection to Frank's diary and asked the horrific question, "What do we lose when we persecute? Who is unborn because of hatred, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny...
One of the things we have missed the most in our relocation from Florida to Connecticut is our book club (and writers' workshop). After searching for one, we decided to create our own. A few weeks ago, we had our first meeting. Nine t(w)eens and I met in a coffee shop and discussed Anne Frank's diary.
We talked about our initial reactions to the book, what we liked, what confused us, what was surprising and what frustrated us. We wondered what Anne's reaction would have been to the publication of her diary. We tracked her maturation over the years she was hidden. We marveled at the descriptions of food and birthday gifts. And we (I, especially) thought about her deeply problematic relationship with her mother.
The most compelling part of our discussion was when we put ourselves in the shoes of the people who helped hide the families. I expected everyone to step and proclaim that they too would have been a hero and against all odds, would have sheltered refugees. But, truthfully, we all wondered if we really would. Would we put our own families safety at risk? Would we help in other ways? Would we even fully understand what was going on around us? How brave would we be? I wonder if that level of honesty has to do with our current political environment? We are living in a riotous time of socio-political upset. A time of heightened nationalism, the closing of borders and rampant scapegoating and hateful rhetoric. Many had personal connections, involvement, and opinions of the themes of the book.
I appreciated discussing the book and its issues with such smart, well read and individually minded teens. Next month, 1984 by George Orwell. I am looking forward to expanding my mind with this group!
Do you have a book club for kids or teens? Leave a comment or drop me a line - I would love to pick your brain and share resources.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Posted by Amy at Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
In just a few weeks, a brand new lab will begin! Story Well is an updated version of the Book About Me labs I have been running for the past several years.
The content is all new and builds nicely on previous sessions (although if you have not taken a lab before you are starting at just the right place!).
We will spend the month recovering the stories that shaped our socio-political world views, thinking about being lost (and learning to create maps out), writing both from our own life and other's memories, and so much more.
There will be giveaways, great book recommendations, and guest posts from some of the wisest women I know.
The time to sign up is now! And I am inviting each participant to being a friend! Just leave their name and email in the comments section when you check out and they are in too!
And we will be donating 10% of the sales to V-Day a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls! Your art will benefit your own soul, your family, and the wider community!
Let's write a new world this winter! Together!
Posted by Amy at Saturday, January 14, 2017
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
As we near the end of this lab, I want to encourage you to create a statement that encapsulates the values and goals that you have uncovered so far for your family's education. Even if your children attend school, this guiding statement can help you navigate classes, opportunities and complicated situations that might arise.
There are a variety of ways you can approach this project. You might want to write a typical mission statement. Or something more loose like the "rules" for your family. Author, Jen Lee of the Right Side Business Plan calls a similar document a passion and purpose proclamation. I love that!
A big mind map is a great way to start brainstorming. Start by yourself and then invite your family to write with you. Try big butcher paper, a chalkboard or dry erase board or even a big piece of cardboard. Sometimes writing on an unusual or different surface generates new ideas and connections.
You can write your statement as a list or prose or even in a poem form. Really think about what form helps you express your ideas best.
Some questions to guide you:
What is most important to our family?
How is our family unique?
Write down each member's name and list what most valuable to them? What is their driving force? What are their needs?
Does your family have a big dream? What is it?
What is your family's purpose?
After you gather your data, circle the words and phrases that jump out you. Then use those to formulate your statement.
And please share your statements with the group!
I have compiled a Pinterest board with some graphic versions of other families' mission statements. If you compose a statement that really captures the spirit of your family, you might want to consider making a wall hanging from it.