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Thursday, May 25, 2006
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE
I have moved. To save you the trouble of checking my profile the new address is here. Don't be alarmed. New Blog pretty much like this one. Please read first post to understand what the hell this is all about.
Yeah well, its about to be knocked out of you... enjoy.
And for die-hard fans here is another blog of mine which is just for silly thoughts and stuff. I haven't written much. You are welcome to come. Just please remove your shoes before entering. I thank you.
Didn't really do much. At all. Play doh. Read whale books. Watched St. Dave on DVD (again). Read CCF. That's it.
OOh but guess what - four men tried to break into our house last night at 3am in the morning - that's exciting, eh? Ane given that we live on a well-lit major A-road with regular police cars driving past one can only assume they have nerves of steel to try it on. Alhamdulillah DH heard them and turned the light on and they scarpered - he said they looked like four fully grown men - not kids - so naturally I'm now a bit anxious - especially as a friend on the end of our street *was* broken into a few days ago. What to do. Life in "civilisation".
Thats pretty much how I raise me kids. I want them to know the way I do things is my choice and they may not do the same as me as they have free will and freedom to choose. Tis not like that for a lot of kids brought up in religious families though is it?
I'm going to just try and attempt to give my children a kind of education in different religions, so that they can understand how people believe in different things and they all think that what they believe in is right for them. Hopefully, it'll lead them to be tolerant of the multitude of religions we have in the world. It saddens me how religion has been the cause of so much bloodshed over so many centuries and still is.
Read these comments on another blog and thought I'd share my ideas on this here.
There are myths surrounding religion which all secular people are indoctrinated with at birth. I know this because I imbibed them without even having to chew from when I was knee-high and I took these assumptions as Truth. The biggest lie/assumption there is is that religion has caused ALL the misery on this planet and that without religion we all hold hands and live as one in harmony and blah blah blah
I want to do my bit to halt that bull right now. Religion, like anything, is a tool. In the hands of the spiritually minded and morally inclined it is a tool to purify the self, to cleanse the soul and to attain nearness to their Beloved, Allah/God. This is what the tool of religion came to do. But as with all tools if placed in the hand of a moron it can weild great harm. If placed in the hand of a materialist who seeks only self-glorification, riches, fame and power then religion, like anything, can be used for great harm and manipulation. It isn't the religion that is at fault, it is the misuse of the religion which is the culprit, and this is as much a crime against God as it is against humanity and each and every individual who takes religion as a tool for self-glorification or as a means of oppression and manipulation will find that waiting for him at his grave, will face the Owner of Truth and have to find a sufficient excuse on Judgement Day. There is no excuse and quite rightly these oppressors will see where their scheming gets them.
It isn't the religion that is to blame, it is the lack of belief in it in the first place which causes misery. Allah says do not oppress, engage in acts of aggression, feed the orphan and the poor one lying in the dust and treat all people with absolute justice and equality. If people adhered to religion, believed in and practiced it as it was meant to be practised there would be nothing but peace. Unfortunately it is disbelief in Judgement Day and the fact that every atom of good and every atom of bad is taken into account and seen that leads people to commit great abominations.
Those who seek the "delights" of this world will utilise any tool to get what they want. In the first inception of man's progress this tool of convenience was 'religion', but at today's stage far more violence and materialistic pursuits can be legitimised with politics with little or no reference to religion. And if we think about that assertion a bit further, espcially viz-a-viz the 20th Century and the era of secularism, far more deaths and violence were perpetrated in the name of nationalism, humanism and secularism than EVER have been in the name of religion. Communism, Nazism, World War I, World War II, Hiroshama, Nagasaki - none of these were religious movements or events yet put together they killed millions upon millions of innocent people - secularists and non-religious people have killed MORE people in one century than so-called "religious" people throughout the eons preceding them combined.
In fact, let's take this further, if we look at the world today with it's uneven distribution of wealth and resources we can make a very confident assertion that more people die as a direct result of third world debt than have ever died because of religion. And was the debt and interest incurred instigated because of religion? No. It was instigated by secularists and greedy governments who care more about making sure that 80% of the world's resources end up in the USA and Europe than they care about human rights and living standards for the vast majority of the world's population. Religion (Islam) actually FORBIDS usury so under a religious world third world debt would simply NOT exist - how many millions of innocent lives would that one religious ruling alone have saved??
Materialism is killing more people than religion ever has, so don't fall for that one-liner - don't throw the baby out with the bath-water. Religion, as far as I see it, is the perfect method of self-improvement. With religion man becomes a true man, living a dignified existence in moral excellence. We were all created for a purpose - this universe was not created by chance, nor was it created for no reason. There is a reason why it is here and why were created that only religion can help us to unfathom.
I never liked religion until I realised that there is a distinction between Institution and dogma, and the real content which it contains. The sufis have a saying "don't mistake the container for the content". What's inside is more important than what holds it.
Dogma exists in ALL spheres of human interaction - including the scientific fields. Does that mean we get rid of science? You have people abusing money - do we get rid of money? You have people abusing children - should we make having children forbidden??!
Tools can be used in a variety of ways. Instead of villifying the tools let us instead try to put the tools to their correct usage - in that way we might get somewhere.
Regarding teaching children ALL religion and letting them choose - poor my children have to have just ONE faith to believe in. This is seen as BAD. Why? Do you let your children choose their meals? Whether or not to clean their teeth? Whether to have vaccinations and medical treatment?? Whether to receive an education at all? In all these spheres I have never heard anyone say "Lets not feed/clothe/innoculate/remedy little Johny - that's oppressive - let's wait til he's old enough to choose these things himself".
From my experience it is the children who are taught that EVERYTHING is valid who are most confused - how can two opposing doctrine both be true? It makes everything meaningless. That's like saying you can have both black and white at the same time. But two entities diametrically opposed cannot both be true. From a purely technical point this means that what one is the other cannot be. For example, “white” is total light, the incorporation of all colours; “black” is absence of light and absence of any colour whatsoever. They cannot possibly be both things at the same time since they include each other’s negation. To be one would cancel the other. You cannot, ergo, have a ‘black-white’ since in essence this is meaningless – you haven’t understood what black or white is if you think you can have both at the same time.
I had no religious teaching at all, and I have never heard of many people who honestly teach their children ALL religions - not in an honest way - and I've only met one woman who intends to teach her children Islam. Something gives at the end of the day.
Started Charlie Chocolate and already he's hooked. A can see his wide eyes when I'm reading that he wants to know more ;-)
I got him to recap what we did yesterday and what we learned. He got it all right and bang on. Played play doh then in the afternoon we put all our experiment work onto paper then covered the bowhead whale and the humpback whale.
We had a little conversation today about the girl next door - he told me that the other day he told her what to say before eating (allahuma rizq barakallah) and what you say when you finish eating (alhamdulillah). And I said "that's nice - why did you tell her that?" and he said (with a silly grin), "Coz I want her to be Muslim" (Uh oh - potential marriage partner lined up??!), and I said, "Oh how considerate of you - and what did she say?" and he said, "She said, 'I'm not muslim I come from Portugal'" LOL. Aw.
Oh well. Think I'll read him some more Charlie insha'allah and do some weaving.
[EDIT: read some more CCF and a Muslim Story book which introduced the concepts of guilt and innocence and the need for proof/evidence and the idea that we are innocent until proven guilty. Then I asked him if he hit his brother and he said, 'no mother - I am innocent' LOL - I think he gets it. Then we read a lovely book about an Eagle and role played animal things]
My word verfication is VYPEZ - is this what German people have on their cars to clean the VINDSCREEN? :P
For when I want to look back here is what the tiniest man in my life is up to:
1. Crawling is for wimps, which is what has been doing since 5 months old. Since his first commando style crawling using elbows and keeping close to the ground (must be his SAS training kicking in) we have progressed to "proper" crawling on hands and knees. This is good for two reasons - 1) it is just too damn cute to see him pad down and slap the floor with his chunky little hands and I have to refrain myself from biting him, 2) his clothes are a LOT cleaner now that he isn't the human mop boy.
2. Furniture walking was commenced at 8 months and we have now progressed to furniture circuit training, furniture marathon walking, furniture running and furniture CLIMBING. He can now get on the sofa (and off if he falls) and hurls himself over objects to get to choking hazards. He is the midget equivalent of a whippet and had he any teeth he would resemble a terrier with his ability and agility to cross the room in a flash.
3. The walker is now used for pushing whilst walking on the outside as he looks smugly over his shoulder at us as if to say "look what I can do.... you suckers are in trouble now..."
4. He talks. Yes, my genius baby talks. OK, no one understands him but he has words which we know what he means. So far we have:
ba-ba = bo-bo (sleep time) baaaaaaaaaaa = book (put it in my gob) baa = ball Puh = the leapfrog frog which has one letter that says "puh" (the P if you need telling) bum-bah = dropped it/ fallen krrrr = a spinning top which makes that noise mamamamama = me he blows air at one toy which has a blow hole he blows air to mean light - and he wants the shade to move he also has a name for his brother [EDIT: He also says sssssssss = snake and makes kissing noises when you've kissed him... ah
5. He likes to pull my hair and inflict pain. A lot.
6. He loves peekaboo.
7. He still rips posters off the wall and giggles at me when I say "no"
I didn't make Boss' light myself for those of you who think I am remotely that talented. You would have known if I had made it by the globules of dust encrusted glue, cellotape and naffness, and by the fact that it would have, by now, fallen, been ripped, crushed, trashed, digested and dicarded about four years ago (or precisely a day after I had made it). This lovely creation was purchased at John Lewis.
For Joyce et al. Sorry about the word verification U-Turn. I turned it off and immediately got spam. If you can all tolerate spam I will turn word verification off again. If no one speaks up I'll leave it on. Already have one for "for". I would LOVE to read your blog and have your password and also know how they got your phone number, although TBH for even a semi-serious hacker that wouldn't be too hard. If you could email me your passwords? Contact in the sidebar. Ta, chuck.
Finally finished Charlotte's Web. I liked it. It was a pleasant enough amble into animal type life. The story was easy enough to follow and I think Boss engaged very much with it. Didn't cry when Charlotte died but was very quiet. Oh well. Next is Charlie Chocolate. Can't wait. Any ideas for further reading??
After a late start after the sheer excitement of having a real workman come in and change our landline to a different provider we got started. Wanted to explain the concept of echolocation and went to work on that, starting with what sound is - very difficult to teach abstracts at this age and wasn't sure I really wanted to, but you know, you have to know something about how sound works before you get "echo". But it was very basic.
Covered what "air" was and how it is "made up" and then showed him a diagram of what air is, then what happens when we "make a noise", so we clapped.
Then using some plastic balls because we just dont have marbles in this house we did the thing where you roll a ball into a line of them and see the end one move. Kind of shows you how energy transforms and passes along.
Can you hear that? I get that noise ALL day. He was being a lion-hippo-rhino-thing
Then we looked at things that made a noise - our voices, a triangles, a whistle and a drum and worked out what they did to make a noise. Using a drum a piece of something (was meant to be rice but I just didn't want to hoover up today) we banged the drum and saw it move and felt our voices tingle our fingers. Yes, yes they all had to vibrate to make a noise. Good. Well done.
Quickly showed a picture of the human ear so he knew how sound made sound in our head.
So at this point I introduce the slinky - to much oohing and ahhing all round. By taping one end of the slinky to the wall I moved it so he saw the "wave" move down the line. Did the slinky move? No. It moved the "sound" by banging it down the line. Good good. Then by moving it harder we saw the wave hit the wall and bounce back! Ooooh, what happened? The wave came back.
Thus a quick introduction to what an echo was and into how whales send out sound and wait for the echo to bounce off their food/objects. Hm, but how do they understand this information I can hear you ask. Weeeeeeeell hold your horses because I was only just about to tell you, wasn't I?
Moving onto our *next* experiment we took a tennis ball, a clock and a tape measure and measured 50cm from the wall. We aimed the ball at the wall (sounds like Dr. Seuss book) and timed how long it took to come back. Then we moved further and further away. What did we learn? We learned the further away you are the longer the ball takes to come back, intro to a conversation about waves and echolocation - and how the whales know how far things are away by how quickly their echo returns.
Good stuff. You still reading? OK.
Then to further understand the quality of sound we did a little experiment to see if by hearing alone we could determine direction.
I blindfolded Boss (to much protestation) and moved around the room while he had to point where I was when I talked. He got it right. Then we covered his ears and he didn't get them all right. What did we learn - the ears can determine location and whales can determine location and distance when their echoes return. Hurrah! Echolocation *can* be taught after all!!
I don't like this. I'm telling Dad. I'm leaving. You have something wrong with you you do. I want to go now.
The happy children in the book playing with glee
We looked at a picture wot I made and discussed what was going on.
Echolocation in *action*
Then we had lunch ;-) and talked about echolocation to his Dad who obviously knows NOTHING ... about ANYTHING ...
Then we moved on the Right whales and read about them in his book, on the net, printed stuff off, cut and stuck.
We discussed the differences with this whale from what we have so far been looking at - it wasn't a rorqual, had barnacles over its head (!) and has no dorsal fin, then he played with play doh making whales.
Then I shopped Tesco.com whilst he and his Dad and brother bonded over animal stories, I showed him Charlie Chocolate and he told his brother what happened in Charlotte's Web.
...sorry about the rain this morning. It's my fault. I put the washing out on the line to dry and Sod's Law kicked in.
Oh well, had a nice morning outside. Got the step-ladders out of the shed at last and Boss played with the girl next door as Jaws sat in the swing for nearly three hours without complaint watching it all like a TV. Bless them.
I managed to get several jobs done and also managed to obliterate my bedroom door thanks to some new laws of physics which states what goes in must stay in. Whilst hoovering a gust of wind slammed our door shut and well, it just STAYED shut. Then the door handle fell off and I rang people for help, but luckily for me I have a very big gob and DH managed to hear my *near desperate* cries for help - sorry you nearly fell down the stairs in fright, DH. His delicate engineering produced no results so after ordering him to boot it in this is what my door looks like now:
It would have been more exciting had he screamed "OK LADS THIS IS *NOT* A DRILL - I REPEAT... THIS IS *NOT* A DRILL ... GO! GO! GO", but he didn't. Oh well booting a door in is macho enough.
I fixed Boss' curtains and then stuck some glo-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling which he was really chuffed over - grinning like a Cheshire Cat...
Had lunch and continued whale project *by hand* ye gads. Read about the Bryde's (BROO-dus) whale and wrote and drew and coloured and stuck.
Then I can't remember what we did but I'm sure it involved a lot of noise and assing about. I need to plan this weeks stuff with him. Would like to cover baleen properly as well as echolocation.
Me no speak Engrish. Where did I put my brain. Um. Did nothing much. Boss has been in his PJs for a second day in a row. Oh well. Talked about the difference between octopus and squid and what the tentacles/suckers were like. Used the bath mat to illustrate *shrugs*
Meant to do some more whale project today covering the Bryde's (pronounce BROO-dus) whale, but the PC crashed, so quickly hobbled together some dot-to-dots instead.
Played with the whales lots and that's about it. Pootled and moped. Again.
David Attenborough-style commentary of the Blue Whale
made me happy with your comments. I'm glad I have such kick-ass readers like you. I dedicate this post to Puppy.
Anyway, didn't really do much today because I'm just so tired. Dh cooked us a nice dinner and I went to the Post Office to pick an ebay parcel up - some animal toys. Good stuff.
Painted the whale models we made and now have to varnish them. Salt doh has really impressed me. And that's saying something! I would like to make some stuff again with it and if I have the time really try to make something beautiful with it.
Salt Doh Recipe (in case you have the urge to try it)
1 cup flour 1 cup salt (works better if you grind it to a fine powder first) 1/2 cup warm tap water 1 tablespoon oil (makes it model better) 1 tablespoon lemon juice (makes it go harder when cooked) Add food colouring if you like.
Cook for first half hour on 50*C then turn up to 100*C, remembering to turn over half way through for better results.
Voila. Cooked models ready to paint with acryllics - must be varnished. Fortunately I have a drawer full of acryllic paint and varnish from my previous life as a person. I nearly chucked them umpteen times but my homeschooling conscience never let me. Woo hoo. I'm really psyched about salt doh models. What can I make next??
OK, not really masterpieces, I'll grant you, but Boss can't *wait* to play with them! Novel concept - make our toys instead of *buying* them - now that is something I could get interested in!
Read some more CW and generally moped about all day.