Monday, January 30, 2017

This is What Democracy Looks Like

This isn't going to turn into a political blog, I promise.

However, we are a very politically active, vocal, concerned family.  And since this was what I consider to be possibly the second worst week in the U.S. since I was born, you're going to continue to read about how we are participating in our democracy for a while.

This is what democracy looks like.

We joined tens of thousands of like-minded citizens yesterday in Battery Park to protest the new ban on Muslims (and before you tell me it's not a ban on Muslims, I'll correct myself - a ban on citizens of predominantly Muslim countries with a priority given to Christians...that's not a ban on Muslims, is it??).

This is what democracy looks like.

When the kids protested going to the protest, I read the following quote to them:

After the rally I joined a group who got together to write postcards to our senators and Paul Ryan and others letting them know our feelings about a variety of issues.

This is what democracy looks like.

Our life didn't completely revolve around world events this week, however.  It was really good to be Holden this week.


He continues to enjoy his classes and homeschooling in general.  He loves pottery and started a swim class this week to work on his strokes (and because I want him to still get some exercise during the winter).  We joined a homeschool group to see a fantastic show at Times Square about the Gershwin brothers.  And of course we ended the week in The Met where the kids started their new semester of Pause for Pegasus.  This week they spent time in the Assyrian palace, sketching and reading stories.

 He also continues his Volunteer Club.  This week they created a Good Deeds Tree where they will add leaves with their good deeds done each week.  They also assembled soup jars with dried lentils and beans and herbs to be given to visitors of the food bank that they visited last semester.

 And Ella...*sigh* proud of her.

 She spent the entire week a nervous wreck.  Saturday was another debate tournament.  She begged me all week to let her quit debate after the tournament.  She said she was totally unprepared and out of her league.  Her team is the only public school in a league of very expensive, fancy private schools.  And the other schools also have 8th graders but since her school is only two years old, they only have 6th & 7th graders.  If you asked her, she would have made it sound like they were being thrown to the wolves.

 Kevin rode up with the team on the bus.  The debate tournament was about 45 minutes north in a wealthy suburb of New York City.  The school was on a gorgeous campus and looked more like Hogwarts or an Ivy League university, than a K-12 school.  Ella was likely the youngest contestant there as she is young for her grade.

But according to Kevin, she killed it.  She topped her previous high scores and continually received excellent feedback from the judges and even from older kids.  They use a style of debate called Parliamentary Debate which is based on the British Parliament where they are allowed to interrupt you with challenges and bang on the chairs when you say something good.  It sounds insanely stressful!  But she carried herself with poise and strength debating topics such as "Should Native American reservations be abolished?", "Does globalization cause more harm than good?" and "Is the Dakota Access Pipeline a good thing?"

And she's eleven years old.

She got home late on Saturday night beaming, floating on air.  She said she was NEVER going to quit debate!  And she said she felt sorry for the other teams - "They weren't having nearly as much fun as we were!"

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