Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Looking to the Horizon

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do accordingly (chapter 1, page 1)."
I finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston last weekend. Or rather rereading it. Nothing compares to reading this book as a 42 year old as opposed to a senior in high school. I remember enjoying it, but never getting past the class discussion aspect. Their Eyes Were Watching God speaks to the desire for freedom. It's about finding a place for yourself, loving yourself, and self-awareness. It offers a lens through which I can view our unschooling life. This is what I want for my children.
We've allowed ourselves to get sucked into that stereotypical middle class family mindset. We've gotten use to devoting ourselves to schedules of dance and sports. Our biggest issues seems to be keeping the grass cut and maintaining the house. We're focused on finding co-op classes and activities. In and of themselves, none of this is wrong. But, much of it hinders free exploration. In Their Eyes, Janie searches for her identity instead of the one imposed by society. It's easy to get caught up in keeping up with the homeschool joneses. Janie discovers the person she wants to be. I want to be in my children's lives what Janie's grandmother was unable to be for her. I want to offer my children a view of the horizon. The horizon represents the endless possibilities available in life. Nanny couldn't picture a life based on independence and freedom because of her previous status as a slave. This is the fallacy of the middle-class mentality. Thinking once we've gotten the degree, the six figure salary, the house, and 2.5 kids that we've arrived. This is not the myth I want to perpetuate.
While I'm stuck in my head, my husband asks, "What do you want to do?" Well, I want to travel. I want the children to see more than their little corner of the world. I want more natural experiences, more interactions with diverse people. Less perpetuating the status quo. I don't want my family to become a carbon copy of everyone else. I don't want to fill the days with co-ops and classes. I want them to have the opportunity to form their own ideas and opinions without memorizing the agenda of others. 
There is the necessity of meeting all of our needs. Right now, my oldest children are pretty tied to their sports/cheer and all the travel and practices that entails. They don't want to move outside their established zones. They want some organized classes. So, we'll work on incorporating it all. My husband's solution is simple. Leave earlier on sports travel days and take time to explore the areas where the team plays. Make use of those bye-weeks. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of gal.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Zombie Apocalypse, Little House on the Prairie, & Butter


Parent 1: If the writers of the Declaration of Independence were here they'd think we were.... idiots (another parent inserted the word idiot, I believe). We can't even churn butter.
Parent 2: Well, they wouldn't be able to drive my car.
Me: Or use my microwave.
Parent 1: But, they could learn to drive your car.
Me: I could learn to churn butter if needed to, but is that really a relevant skill.
Parent 2 (if he were with Alexander Hamilton): Do you know the second law of thermodynamics, no, neither do I, but I know Google.

The parents involved in this conversation were both public school and homeschool parents. We're so quick to believe the hype about technology being negative. Although, there is a segment of the homeschool population who only use books from the 18th and early 19th centuries. They prefer really old encyclopedias and dictionaries. They're all about cultivating 18th century farm skills. I'm not opposed to homesteading, gardening, building handcrafting or survival skills. It's great to build self-sufficiency and independence. On a deeper level, I believe people are yearning for a return to so-called simpler days that were not so great or simple for many people of color.

What I am opposed to is denigrating modern contributions to society because we choose to use our phones, tablets, and computers. I'm opposed to the premise of our being less intelligent because we can't churn butter. I do know how to correct this if I ever need to prepare for a zombie apocalypse I'd: read a book, watch a video, sign up for a back to basics class, subscribe to Mother Earth or Grit magazine,  ask my grandparents, or visit one of those colonial farms. I'm offended by the idea we're unable to learn a skill if and when it becomes necessary. Or even the idea I'd find churning butter a useful skill just out of the blue. Churning butter becomes a relevant skill when it meets a need. Maybe, I just finished reading Little House on the Prairie or my grandmother has shared stories of her childhood. I might want to save money (I'm not even sure it's cheaper), prefer the taste of homemade butter, or want to go off grid/homestead. Or I might think homemade butter is healthier. Whatever the reason, when the need arises, it's simple enough to learn.

We can't prepare for every eventuality, but we can prepare by learning how to find the information we need. Technology doesn't have to be seen as limiting. It's opened up an entire world that can coexist with churning butter.  Honestly, when I have gardening questions a quick search on the Burpee site gives me what I need. But so does volunteering at our local education farm or asking gardeners I know. It's a beautiful combination.


Links for churning butter:

Build Your Own Butter Church-Small Farmer's Journal, https://smallfarmersjournal.com/build-your-own-butter-churn/

How to Make Homemade Butter with Lehman's Dazey Butter churn https://youtu.be/VBXNF2dvOdw

How to Churn Butter-http://www.wikihow.com/Churn-Butter

Pepper and Pine YouTube Channel Old Fashioned Butter: Homemade Butter
https://youtu.be/s7kt-nsWIxc

Kilner Butter Churn 34 fl. oz capacity- https://www.amazon.com/Kilner-Butter-Churn-34-Fluid-Capacity/dp/B00VSLGHOI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493673328&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=butter+churn&psc=1

Standing Stone Farms Butter Making Kit- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015QFQITK?psc=1

No butter churn necessary: http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2013/06/homemade-butter/



 to Make Homemade Butter with Lehman's Dazey Butter Churn