Last summer, after my husband left me with 5 kids and very little money, I did what any logical woman who hasn’t had a real job in 12 years would do. I decided to publish a book. The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress was the result. It came out almost exactly a month after the ex left. I still haven’t decided if this was a stroke of genius or the work of a crazy person, but the family computer did die the moment I sent the final revisions off to the pubisher. Which may not have been a vote of great confidence on its part.
All the rest of life also seemed to be conspiring against me as well. Due to unrelentingly bad luck and finances, I didn’t even have the money for gas to drive to local bookstores to get it on their shelves, much less set-up events. The Kindle version was a problem as well. It takes much more formatting to produce an ebook than a simple PDF file. It’s not difficult, but I wasn’t exactly in any state of mind to learn how to do something new. The resulting ebook was pretty messy and I eventually pulled it off the virtual bookshelf.
I still don’t have the money to promote the book properly, but I do now have the mental wherewithall to learn how to format an ebook. So, I am pleased to announce that the Kindle version of The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress is now available. In it you will find essays, stories, poetry, spiritual memoir, quotes, art work and more. It’s an easy read, but my goal and hope is that the ideas you encounter will remain with you long after you are done reading it.
So, if you have been wondering about me or are looking for solid, spiritual lessons to carry you though your own challenging times, I hope that you will consider downloading your copy of The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress from Amazon today.
For those of you who regularly read the blog, you can have new posts delivered straight to your kindle with a $.99/mo subscription from Amazon. Even if you aren’t that into your Kindle, I could really use some reviews. If any of my regular readers would be willing to head over and put in a good word for me, I’d be mighty appreciative!
Over at the new blog “Robin’s Blue Skies”, there is a wonderful post about how kids learn in the real world vs. workbook learning. I know people who are “school at home types” and I know that some of them think the idea of not having the kids sit down to do their school work for several hours every day seems crazy. However, if my son knows how to read, does it matter that he never struggled with “learning phonemic awareness”? If he never does a unit study in his life, but becomes an expert on prehistoric life just because it’s what he spent time learning about on his own, does that make him less well educated? Quite often before having my kids sit down to do some sort of school work, I try to remember to ask myself, “is this actually what he needs to do in order to learn something? Is this a skill or knowledge he’s going to acquire whether he does this or not? How often does he actually need to be doing this to master it?” I’ve learned to put it away unless it’s actually something that they aren’t going to get another way.
A few years ago a friend called to complain about her 6 year old’s homework. The school had sent a worksheet designed to help the kids figure out how to choose books which are likely to have information you want about a specific topic. Aside from the fact that this is one of those things you learn by doing, normally without much thought, the worksheet was unnecessarily confusing. There was a list of titles and list of subjects which the child was supposed to match up. All of the titles and subjects were about clothing and costumes. I doubt if I could have matched up titles and subjects to their satisfaction because the meaning of the subjects was so vague and the titles so similar. So now something which should have been completely natural is presented to a child as a difficult skill they may not be able to master!
I think that a lot of what we make our kids do is like that. There are thousands of lesson plans, curriculum, worksheets, unit studies and what not out there to teach our kids things which they would have to be walking around with their eyes closed bumping into walls while plugging their ears not to learn in the normal course of life.
I’m not saying there’s never a place for formal study in the life of a child. However, especially for younger kids, I think that most of what people do to teach kids is done for the benefit and comfort of the parent rather than because it is needed for the child to learn. Of course, we have been so indoctrinated to equate school work with actually becoming educated that it’s amazing any of us questions this at all. And the fact of the matter is that the style we use to teach our children must be one we as parents can live with. I would hope that a mother who is forcing her children to do things which only lead to rebellion, frustration and thwart learning will in time seek another way. However, a mother who is profoundly uncomfortable with unschooling, but attempts it anyways is unlikely to be successful either. But, that’s one of the advantages of homeschooling – there’s no one way we must do things.