Monday, March 6, 2017

is being online hampering your creative expression?

The NYT Magazine's On Technology essay by Jenna Wortham this week speaks to much of what I (and I suspect my friends) have been thinking about lately. How can wide freedom of creativity and connectedness happen online? And in what ways does the very fact of it being online limit the conversation?





“The internet should be a place with no rules, and freedom, but it’s not,” PiƱero said. “There is a certain pressure to conform to certain aesthetics.” It was something I had noticed myself. Each social-media platform tends to reward certain behaviors and styles of posting, all in the interest of building fans and followers who are invested in the performance of a persona (maybe even more so than the Geppetto-like person orchestrating it all). Instagram is a place for intimate-seeming photos, Twitter for clever quips and collaborative memes. Facebook demands an unmitigated rawness that can be terrifying at times. With all, the works are often made to fit the platform, not the other way around.


read the article here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

{idea} minivan movie house



We spend a lot of time in the car. Driving from class to class, often 30-60 minutes in each direction. I don't mind because we have a very comfortable, safe car, I love watching the scenery change through the seasons and my kids are involved in some unique and amazing activities.

Many homeschool parents love the time they spend in the car with their kids and use it as time to chat. We do that, but to be honest, it is really hard for me to concentrate on the road and converse with three kids at the same time. Listening to music is good, but there tends to be too much DJ'ing and lively discussion over each song and which is next.

We have a DVD player that came installed in our car, something I never thought I would embrace. We use it to watch movies on our 20+ hour trips up and down the eastern seaboard (CT -> FL -> CT) but have tended not to use it in day to day life too much.

I recently did a time audit with Merrick Weaver as part of her online class "Leadership of Homemaking." From it, I decided to reclaim our time on the road and created the:

Minivan Movie House. 

On trips over 30 minutes on the interstate the movie house is open. We watch all the documentaries, foreign and classic films that I think are an internal part of a well rounded education but might not make it on to the roster for family movie night. We watch films that directly connect with the classes they are taking or nascent individual interests. The films are calm, sometimes deeply moving, and allow me to drive safely. The upside is that I get to listen too, which I enjoy.

Some recent favorites:

The Hobart Shakespeareans
Dancing Across Borders
The Tempest
various Basil Rathbone's  Sherlock Holmes films
Resolved
The Eagle Huntress
Vitus
Our Little Sister
Boy & the World
The complete Daria and Dilbert series
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Monkey Kingdom
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet 
Monsieur Huglot's Holiday
Frontrunners
The French Chef with Julia Child
any American Experience 

How do you reclaim time spent in the car? Share in the comments or drop me a line.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

{teen book club} The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of Nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that the there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. 

A. Frank, 1944

The Unborn by Anselm Keifer, 2001. 

Some of us got to discuss this work (which is huge, metal, and looks like a family tree made of bone and tiny sewn clothes) at our monthly art tour. It provided a powerful connection to Frank's diary and asked the horrific question, "What do we lose when we persecute? Who is unborn because of hatred, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny...


One of the things we have missed the most in our relocation from Florida to Connecticut is our book club (and writers' workshop). After searching for one, we decided to create our own. A few weeks ago,  we had our first meeting. Nine t(w)eens and I met in a coffee shop and discussed Anne Frank's diary.

We talked about our initial reactions to the book, what we liked, what confused us, what was surprising and what frustrated us. We wondered what Anne's reaction would have been to the publication of her diary. We tracked her maturation over the years she was hidden. We marveled at the descriptions of food and birthday gifts. And we (I, especially) thought about her deeply problematic relationship with her mother.

The most compelling part of our discussion was when we put ourselves in the shoes of the people who helped hide the families. I expected everyone to step and proclaim that they too would have been a hero and against all odds, would have sheltered refugees. But, truthfully, we all wondered if we really would. Would we put our own families safety at risk? Would we help in other ways? Would we even fully understand what was going on around us? How brave would we be?  I wonder if that level of honesty has to do with our current political environment? We are living in a riotous time of socio-political upset. A time of heightened nationalism, the closing of borders and rampant scapegoating and hateful rhetoric. Many had personal connections, involvement, and opinions of the themes of the book.

I appreciated discussing the book and its issues with such smart, well read and individually minded teens. Next month, 1984 by George Orwell. I am looking forward to expanding my mind with this group!

Do you have a book club for kids or teens? Leave a comment or drop me a line - I would love to pick your brain and share resources.






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