Thanksgiving Week Plans

How are you spending Thanksgiving this year? Hosting? Visiting? Cooking? Nothing?

Here the Agents and I (okay, so mostly me) will make lots of food, most definitely to include pie, and spend most of the day chilling out. Power Netflixing might be involved. No one really gets too jazzed up about turkey, so we’re making a tiny ham instead. And a bunch of side dishes that they will actually eat: stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, the ubiquitous crescent rolls in a can. I’m also making sweet potatoes—even though no Agent touches them—and eating them all myself. Because I can. 

Thursday night we’re planning on a living room campout, followed by Pajama Day Friday. Both of these events are written on our calendar. The Agents like to joke that if it’s not written down it won’t happen, but they’re pretty much spot on there.

Always a good time for warm hugs

The only shopping we’ll be doing will be from the comfort of an Amazon page on my laptop. We don’t really go too crazy with Christmas presents, but I will probably get a few things we need/want around the house and maybe a few books for homeschooling. (I’ll even wrap them, because then it’s extra stuff to unwrap later on.) The Agents will change their minds about what they really, really want for Christmas a hundred times between now and then, so I’ll hold off on most things and take advantage of two-day shipping in a few weeks. 

But before we get to pumpkin spice pie and spending all day in our pajamas and wearing out the credit card, we need to make it through the rest of the week.

We are planning on having a regular school day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Hoping to “finish” some current topics . . . or at least get to a better stopping point. I feel like the last few weeks we spent a lot more time out of the house than is usual for us homebodies, so a couple of days to concentrate on just school-y things will be good.

Going forward I think we’re going to have to—gulp!—seriously consider a major revision to our routine. More on that to come.

Of course it’s impossible for me to get through today without reflecting on a sad anniversary. Today is three years since my dad passed away. So it’s been roughly four years since I talked to him, as the last year he was very ill and that wasn’t really an option. The Agent’s remember “Grandpap” surprisingly well given they were 7, 5, and 2.5 the last visit we had when he was still healthy. 

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and a happy Thanksgiving. 

Exploring Mythologies in Your Secular Homeschool

About a year ago I published a post about Exploring World Religions With Nonreligious Kids. It included some of the reasons secular homeschoolers benefit from studying a variety of religious and other mythologies, as well as a book list of some things we had read up until that point and enjoyed. 

Over the past year, the Agents (currently grades 6, 4, and 2) have become even more interested in this topic—so much so that “mythology" now a regular subject on our agenda, like language arts or history. We’ve added quite a few titles to our booklist; we were do for an update.

So far we have primarily touched on some of the more “well known” world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism); Greek and Egyptian mythology; common fables and folk tales (Aesop); and humanism—with a few other random titles thrown in.

Agents chilling at Disneyland earlier this month

Presenting many different tales in a neutral way—without implying that any one is more “right” or should hold more “weight” than another—has allowed them to appreciate the lessons offered in these stories without bias.  

To be clear, the Agents do not believe any of it to be true—they are definitely skeptics at heart—but they are quite fascinated by all the different beliefs and worldviews that folks hold. They know they can extract valuable insights from these myths; the fact that they are fictional does not diminish their value. 

Here are the books we’ve discovered over the last two years or so. Some we’re still in the middle of. Some we’ve read more than once. Each is linked to its Goodreads page for more info.

The F Word {No, not that one. That one.}

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. 
—Rebecca West

Yesterday during school we were reading a passage that used the word feminist and my nine-year-old daughter asked me what it meant.

I find with most things in life, the simplest explanation is usually the best. I told her that feminism is the belief that women deserve to be viewed as fully human and not seen as inferior to men in any capacity (socially, politically, economically, or personally).

She was confused. Not that she didn’t understand the words I said, but legit perplexed that people don’t already accept this as fact and there needs to be a word for it.

Agent J, channeling her inner Hulk

Of course, she understands history. We’ve talked about what things were (are) like in this country and around the world, specifically regarding the rights of women and girls, both in the past and present. She’s mature enough that we can have a serious conversation about inequities. It’s not that she doesn’t get that the world treats some people better than others for reasons that aren’t reasons; she does.

But still, her gut reaction was how is this not just recognized as normal?

For now, I’m sparing her most of the unfair and misrepresented rhetoric that often comes with the term. But I realize that a full appreciation for why we still need feminism is an issue we’re going to have to tackle sooner rather than later.

What she needs to know in this moment, however, is that her humanity, her life is just as important and valued as any other person on this earth. That all people deserve equal rights. That everyone—regardless of what gender they identify as—is worthy of dignity and respect. And we need to continue to strive to treat all humans decently and fairly because it’s the right thing to do.

That, my dear, sweet child, is what feminism is.