Guest Post: Lessons in the Loungeroom.

Yes, another guest post! Hooray!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, But Rebecca, we thought you’d given up on guest posts? And to that I would say, ‘Not at all!’ In fact, if you are a regular reader and would like to write on path: ethic as a guest blogger, please let me know!

This week’s post is by Sophie Childs. Sophie is a home educating mother of five who lives in the Welsh Valleys and loves being able to spend so much time with her children. She is an author and freelance writer, and you can find out more about her work at her website www.sophiechilds.com.  Her latest book, We Just Clicked, is available now on Amazon.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger eats fruit mince pies.

It’s almost Christmas! This is exciting because fruit mince pies are on special, and I’m making it my mission to sample as many as I can, so that I can recommend the very best. So far, the ones I had at the Vancouver Street Cafe come out on top, closely followed by those from Baker’s Delight. I shall see if I can find some at Dome next week. I know this information’s really only useful to about three people who read this blog, but I think that just highlights my incredible attention to detail, don’t you?

The links have been few and far between for the past few weeks, but now they’re back! Please enjoy:

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A Conversation Between Us.

Step into my imagination, if you will. Our eyes meet across a crowded internet. I motion to the balcony, and we both edge through the crowd and find each other again at a dark green curtain. I draw it aside, and we walk out onto a small area with wrought iron railing and a table and two chairs. The city spreads out below us, spots of light here and there. In the distance, a crescent moon is reflected in the still summer ocean. On the table is a tea service, or a jug of coffee, or perhaps just some water. We smile at each other and sit.

So, I say, as I pour the tea/coffee/water. What brings you here?

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So You go Back in Time to Kill Baby Hitler. Now What?

Recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if, given the opportunity, he would travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby. He answered that of course he would, although he admitted that he didn’t know if or how that would change the course of World War II and history.

The whole time-travel-to-kill-Hitler concept has become a bit of an internet meme, and because of this, seems to have a sense of the absurd about it. It’s as if you can’t say that you would do anything else, with the gift of time travel, without mentioning that first.

This has a couple of major problems, and it bothers me that people treat it with such disregard. Of course, I’m also aware of the absurdity of writing a blog post about the issues of time travel, but it highlights a number of greater concerns.

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Apple Trees.

First Offspring brought home his results from the NAPLAN tests recently. NAPLAN is a series of standardised tests which are conducted in Years Three, Five, Seven and Nine, and tests numeracy and literacy. I expected First Offspring to do OK, since he seems to have the basics of reading, spelling and writing, and his maths has really taken off this year. And he did do OK. I’ll admit I don’t place that much importance on standarised tests as it’s one test on one day and there’s a lot more to teaching and learning. So I praised First Offspring for doing well in the tests and said that we were happy that he’d tried really hard. But what made me smile was his result for ‘Grammar and Punctuation’, where he scored his highest mark, right at the top of the scale.

‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’ I laughed to the Handsome Sidekick. ‘Trust the editor’s Offspring to do well in that section.’

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Enough!

Occasionally when the Handsome Sidekick and I are out walking together during our precious child-free time, we talk about what we would do, should we ever become Very Rich. Perhaps a reason for these kinds of conversations is that we are Not Very Rich, and until I can write my bestseller, that is quite possibly going to be the case for a long time. But talking costs nothing, so we talk.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger bakes a lot of bread.

Fruit bread and English muffin bread, to be precise. The English muffin bread is a new recipe. I’m interested to see how it turns out, but it’s rising right now, so I thought I’d just jump online and post the links while I wait for it to be ready for the oven. It’s a deliciously gloomy day here on the south coast, and the chooks are in their portable pen, I’ve planted lettuce seeds with our Offspring, and the Handsome Sidekick has fixed the gate which was damaged in yesterday’s strong winds. All in all, a productive day! Enjoy your Sunday, and the links…

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Long-Weekend Links.

It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia (Labour Day), and First Offspring is also celebrating his birthday, which means that we’ll have some of his friends over for birthday tea later today. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some last-minute cleaning, and drinking a lot of tea… we woke up quite early, as you can imagine.

Summer seems to be finally over, thank goodness, and we’ve been having rain interspersed with sunshine, and the plants and animals (human and non-human) are loving it. So with that, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Sunday, and the links!

I realise that some might dismiss the correlation between the increase in natural disasters and climate change over the last several decades, but just hoping that things will improve on their own seems to be a highly ineffectual and naïve response. I would love for developed nations to take more interest in the fact that people are losing lives, homes and livelihoods from these disasters. But given that we always seem to be able to disregard the suffering of those who are different from us, then at the very least, we should care about the economics. Not only is it costly for the global community to support those affected by such disasters, but these weather events will ultimately also lead to a rise in the number of refugees, and then it really will become ‘our problem’. We will need to find ways to integrate many millions more into our countries. Can our societies or our infrastructure stand up to that? Wouldn’t it be better if we could affect change before it came to this?

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Recently I sent an email in which I wrote to the recipient that I’d attached a document. As I went to send it, Google told me that I’d mentioned I was attaching a document in the email body, but I’d not done it. Was I sure I wanted to send the email without the attachment? And I said, thank you Google, I did indeed forget, and it was kind of you to remind me. That’s helpful. But broad sweeping data retention? I don’t believe this is helpful. It’s a difficult balance, to ensure the privacy of the population while making certain that those people who would threaten the wellbeing of the population are unable to do so. According to our own politicians, the only way to ensure that we are safe is to record whom we email, text or speak to and what websites we visit. I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea of my internet browsing history being held for two years at a time. Can the government guarantee that the data will be safe? Can they guarantee that holding all this data will make us safer? This article demonstrates just how much one can infer from metadata. It feels very Big-Brotheresque.

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When I first became vegetarian, it was mostly for environmental reasons. I’d read Diet for A Small Planet and was generally well into being a hippie, so the whole idea of eating green and shunning meat suited me just fine. But as this article points out, it’s not that simple. It rarely is, is it? For us to actually do something about climate change, we are going to need to change our lifestyle in a much bigger way.

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There is a trend of taking high school students (especially those from very privileged backgrounds) on overseas trips to help out in orphanages in developing countries. But again, like climate change, there is no sweeping one-size-fits-all solution. And there’s evidence that it actually splits families apart, rather than helping them. It’s a shame because I’m sure those who organise and go on these trips are doing it for the right reasons, but in effect, it’s a kind of neo-colonialism which ignores the importance of agency in the fight against poverty and for education.

This is a Test.

School started again this week – not that you would have known that because I’ve not mentioned AT ALL over the past month or so – and First and Second Offspring went back to school, while Third Offspring is easing into her first weeks at kindergarten. She seems to have taken it all in her stride, while First and Second Offspring are happy to be back with their friends and rediscovering their routine.

And I’m enjoying that too, because the walk to school and back with them everyday is a great time to talk and listen to their stories, and find out about how they’re going. On our second day, I asked First Offspring whether he was concentrating in class so far. “Sometimes,” was the rather non-committal answer. I asked this because last year’s report indicated that while he appears capable of understanding the work, he is not so interested about putting the effort in to do it. This was absolutely no surprise to the Handsome Sidekick and me. We think First Offspring is smart enough. He just likes to chat to his friends. A lot.

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She Sells Sanctuary.

A friend of mine recently decided to leave conventional churches behind and begin her own worship at home, with her children. She described her first liturgy as being such a wonderful, fulfilling experience, and it got me thinking about the differences of institutions versus private gatherings, in particular with regards to religion and homeschooling. And that got me thinking about cults.

Now, of course, I don’t think my friend is about to start a cult. Here’s where I should probably go through my thought process in greater detail!

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