I’ve moved!

I was getting really tired of not being able to add things using script, so I’ve moved: Ordinary Saint on Blogger. Please note that the address is now anordinarysaint instead of just ordinarysaint, and update those bookmarks!

A cool feature of Blogger is being able to see and communicate with followers, so please feel free to add yourself and strike up a conversation (or not).

See you there!

No thank you. We don’t believe in socialization!

An excerpt from the article by Lisa Russell:

I can’t believe I am writing an article about socialization. The word makes my skin crawl. As homeschoolers, we are often accosted by people who assume that since we’re homeschooling, our kids won’t be “socialized.” The word has become such a catch phrase that it has entirely lost any meaning.

The first time I heard the word, I was attending a Catholic day school as a first grader. Having been a ‘reader’ for almost 2 years, I found the phonics and reading lessons to be incredibly boring. Luckily the girl behind me felt the same way, and when we were done with our silly little worksheets, we would chat back and forth. I’ve never known two 6 yr. olds who could maintain a quiet conversation, so naturally a ruler-carrying nun interrupted us with a few strong raps on our desk. We were both asked to stay in at recess, and sit quietly in our desks for the entire 25 minutes, because “We are not here to socialize, young ladies.”

Those words were repeated over and over throughout my education, by just about every teacher I’ve ever had. If we’re not there to socialize, then why were we there? I learned to read at home. If I finished my work early (which I always did,) could I have gone home? If I were already familiar with the subject matter, would I have been excused from class that day? If schools weren’t made for socializing, then why on earth would anyone assume that homeschoolers were missing out?

As a society full of people whose childhood’s were spent waiting anxiously for recess time, and trying desperately to “socialize” with the kids in class; It is often difficult for people to have an image of a child whose social life is NOT based on school buddies. Do you ever remember sitting in class, and wanting desperately to speak to your friend?

Now…flash forward to ‘real life.’ Imagine the following scenes:

Your employer is auditing the Inter-Office Email system and comes across a personal note between you and a coworker. You are required to stand at the podium in the next sales meeting to read it aloud to your coworkers. The police knock on your door, and announce that because you and your neighbor have gotten so close, they’re separating you. You must move your home and your belongings to the other side of town, and you may only meet at public places on weekends.

You’re sitting at a booth waiting for a coworker to arrive for a scheduled lunch date. Suddenly a member of upper management sits down across from you and demands your credit cards. When your friend arrives, you just order water and claim you’re not hungry, since he stole your lunch money.

You’re applying for a job and in an unconventional hiring practice, you are made to line up with other applicants, and wait patiently while representatives from two competing companies take their pick from the lineup.

You’re taking your parents out for an anniversary dinner. After you find a table, a waiter tells you that seniors have a separate dining room, lest they “corrupt” the younger members of society.

You go to the grocery store only to find that since you are 32 years old you must shop at the store for 32 year olds. It’s 8 miles away and they don’t sell meat because the manager is a vegetarian, but your birthday is coming up and soon you’ll be able to shop at the store for 33 yr. olds.

You’d like to learn about aviation history. You go to the library and check out a book on the subject only to be given a list of ‘other subjects’ that you must read about before you are permitted to check out the aviation book.

You’re having a hard time finding what you need in the local department store. The saleslady explains that each item is arranged alphabetically in the store, so instead of having a section for shoes, you will find the men’s shoes in between the maternity clothes and the mirrors.

Your cable company announces that anyone wishing to watch the Superbowl this year must log on a certain number of hours watching the Discovery Channel before they can be permitted to watch the game.

In a group project, your boss decides to pair you up with the person you don’t ‘click’ with. His hope is that you’ll get learn to get along with each other, regardless of how the project turns out.

These absurd examples were created to point out how absolutely ridiculous the idea of ‘socializing’ in schools is. Many people had a friend who they stayed friends with all through grammar school. WHY? Because their names were alphabetically similar, and they always ended up in line with each other. As an adult, have you ever made friends with someone simply because your names were similar? How long would such a friendship last and how meaningful would it be, providing you had nothing else in common?

Comics as commentary

Unschooling: A Brief Introduction

I’m one of those people that doesn’t wait to cross a bridge until I come to it. I try to picture features of the bridge, design tests for determining the soundness of construction, etc. That’s why, as a lifelong learner and educator, I’m already researching different educational options for my Loveyou’s and my unborn children.

I believe that how we learn shapes what we learn, and subsequently, how we see the world. I’m not making a secret of the fact that I abhor the current state of public schools and testing; and I don’t believe one should need to pay large amounts of money for their children to have a top-notch education, either. By top-notch, I mean one in which: peers and mentors instill a passion for learning through self-directed projects; rankings are irrelevant; self-esteem is healthy; and family bonds remain strong. You’ll notice I have no interest in dividing education into particular subjects. Life isn’t segregated. Why should learning be? Living is learning.

My philosophy has brought me, a former preschool teacher, to the concept of unschooling as an option. The wikipedia definition is as follows:

Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

The term “unschooling” was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, widely regarded as the “father” of unschooling. While often considered to be a subset of homeschooling, unschoolers may be as philosophically estranged from homeschoolers as they are from advocates of conventional schooling. While homeschooling has been subject to widespread public debate, little media attention has been given to unschooling in particular. Popular critics of unschooling tend to view it as an extreme educational philosophy, with concerns that unschooled children will lack the social skills, structure, and motivation of their peers, especially in the job market, while proponents of unschooling say exactly the opposite is true: self-directed education in a natural environment makes a child more equipped to handle the “real world.”

I still have tons of practical application questions, but I’m excited by the prospect. I may post more comments and/or resources later.

If freedom costs a buck-oh-five, what does peace on earth cost?

There’s a church down the street from my house for sale, and they have electronic signage saying so. Being a church, they also promote peace. Unfortunately, (and hilariously) they inadvertently put those two pieces together on the sign, so it reads: Peace on earth for sale. I bet beauty pageant contestants will be anxious to put in a bid.

Watching my lofty goal crash (and being ok with it)

When I first started this blog, my goal was to write and/or post content every day. Yeah. Those of you who know me best are probably laughing. But I REALLY wanted to be disciplined and consistent. Then…I wasn’t. Life happened, and I don’t even remember why I skipped a few days. Then the house-buying/fixing happened, and I felt justified in missing a few weeks.

Now, I realize that I won’t write every day. I was trying to do it for an audience, not for myself. I need to tame my “disease to please.” Plus, trying to update daily adds too much stress and pressure on to a life that is about to get even busier. My seminary classes begin in less than two weeks, and having gone through grad programs twice before, I can tell you that I won’t have oodles of time to post.


I will post when I have something to say, theologically-related or not (since God is in everything, IMHO). So please keep checking in. I have not forsaken you.

In love and laughter,

Stacy (ordinarysaint)

Too rebellious for Christian corporate retail

Part 3 of 6 from Emergent Church Road Trip with Tony Jones and Trucker Frank.