Curious about why my blog is titled Not So Formulaic? I’m working to break down stereotypes – of Catholic womanhood, homeschooling, and family literacy – one blog post at a time.
Critical thinking is dead.
We live in a soundbite society where misconceptions rule. Before the advent of social media, discourse meant mutual conversation; a relationship in which minds met, listened, and worked toward a common goal.
Now, it’s the Great Meme War of 2017:
I see your photoshopped image and raise you one snarky GIF.
Getting to Know Me: Why I Blog
I grew up around conversation. My father read widely, devouring literature across disciplines and schools of thought. My mother was an educator, teaching history and civics over three decades in the public schools.
My sister and I were sponges. We absorbed, questioned, researched, and clarified. That intellectual curiosity carried into our adult lives, and I credit my upbringing for the strength of my convictions and my desire to understand and engage the opposing side.
When I started this blog a year ago, my goal was to bring critical thinking back to the fore. I wanted to offer fresh perspectives and conversation about the issues close to my heart, namely Catholicism, gifted and special needs homeschooling, and family literacy. But I never really explained what I was doing, and I just sort of jumped in to the fray without providing my thoughts on the matter. This month’s Catholic Women Blogger Network Blog hop is the perfect time to remedy that.
The Truth about Catholicism
Every human heart longs to be Catholic.
Yep. You read that right.
Why would I make such a strong statement? Because if people understood the teachings of the Church – not just what the media or other sources claim we believe – there would be no question than to live according to her tenets.
The Catholic Church is the first and foremost defender of human rights at every stage, from conception to natural death. There is no other institution on the face of the Earth which fights as tirelessly for the rights of the unborn, the poor, the elderly, the disenfranchised, the displaced, the terminally ill, the broken, the beaten, the downtrodden. If this is news to you, it’s because the world has its own version of the truths of the faith.
Pope Francis is not a rebel. If you think he is, then you don’t know the whole of Church teaching.
I am a devout, traditional Catholic. I am a living, breathing example of the body of Christ within his Church. I want you to know the beauty and the richness of my faith. I want you to know what I believe and why I believe it. Hopefully as I continue to grown this little corner of the web, you’ll come to know and understand it, too.
The Truth about Gifted/Twice Exceptional Homeschooling
I don’t love homeschooling. I’m not always one hundred percent sure I’m doing it right, and there are days I really wish I had time to myself. But I homeschool anyway, because right now it’s what’s best for my children.
As the mother of gifted and twice exceptional children, I’ve been told many times that I shouldn’t be homeschooling. Apparently my kids need socialization, group counseling, and academic challenges they can’t possibly get at home.
But we aren’t at home all day. We don’t isolate our children from other groups. We don’t shelter them from differing ideas or opposing viewpoints. We meet our children where they are, adjusting our approach on a daily basis to make sure we are meeting their needs.
It’s also perfect. And I think it’s important for people to know what homeschooling really looks like.
The Truth about Family Literacy
Teaching writing is hard. It’s not like math, science, or history, where there are objective truths, facts, and timelines. There’s a great deal of subjectivity to it, and it can be difficult to identify and explain what makes good writing good.
To compensate for this, most modern writing curricula turn to artificial formulas and structures. Like training wheels they have their place, but what happens when those training wheels are ready to come off?
In most programs, the intention is to send the young writer off with a pat on the back, secure in the knowledge that the time spent practicing with external support has prepared the student for the writing equivalent of the Tour de France. But that isn’t the case. These writers go off to college and end up in remedial courses.
I’ve taught them, and it isn’t pretty.
Most boxed writing curricula leave out an undeniable truth: writing is thinking. When families read, discuss, and write together, children learn how to form, support, organize, and express ideas in a natural way – one that will serve them well as they grow older and begin to encounter ideas contrary to their own.
In a literacy-rich family, children become critical thinkers. They learn to listen, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize. Without this sort of experience, we are destined to repeat the soundbite cycle. The Great Meme War of 2017 will only continue, and I shudder to think where that will lead us.
I guess when it comes down to it, I blog in defense of the truth. I blog in defense of mutual respect, of understanding, of working toward the true definition of the common good.
I hope you’ll join the conversation.
This post is part of the Catholic Women Blogger Network Blog Hop for January – Getting to Know You: Why I Blog. Please check out my fellow writers and read their stories here.