Mud Pie!


I was raised on a farm, as was my husband. We both would love to live out in the middle of nowhere, with some land of our own (more than 20th of an acre), to raise our kids. Unfortunately, at this time, that really isn’t an option. At least, not if we want our kids to ever see their father! Still, I do want my kids to have some of the experiences farm kids enjoy. My neighbors probably shake their heads sometimes, but this is what we do:

  • Let the kids run barefoot (in the yard). When we were growing up we had races across gravel, and even thistles to see who was the toughest. Sometimes we would step on something that cut our feet, but it was nothing that a good ten minute soak in warm salt water and a Tetanus shot couldn’t handle.
  • Garden–to teach them how to weed, and dig, and not step on the beans! My parents gave us 10by10 garden spots when we were young. We got to plant them and take care of them and harvest them all by ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space to do that in the middle of the city, but every little bit helps.
  • Work outside. We try to have lots of family projects (this year we are removing tree stumps) including our garden, that allows our kids to get their hands dirty in a productive way.
  • Get dirty. In the country you don’t have to worry about who sees you covered in mud because whose going to see you? Your closest neighbors are two miles up the road. (The important thing with this one is to plan enough time into the schedule to get cleaned up before you head on an outing). My kids are very fond of making mud pies…and I can’t blame them. 😉

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What Preschool and Sex-ed Have in Common


As the mother of a preschooler I have become more and more conscious of two things:
1) Preschools are becoming universally accepted as beneficial, if not necessary.
2) Sexual education in schools is becoming more and more explicit.

You are probably wondering the connection between the two. Let me share my findings.


“Benefits”: “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool… At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time.” Kathleen McCartney, PhD.


After hearing something like that, why wouldn’t you rush forward and enroll you child immediately? But wait, there’s more —

“Kids in preschool discover that they are capable and can do things for themselves — from small tasks like pouring their own juice and helping set snack tables to tackling bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time.” Angela Capone, PhD


Wow- how can this not be a good  thing? I mean, think of all those generations who came before us who (never mind myself — there was nothing like this when I was a kid) never learned these skills before entering school. Or did they?

During my research I discovered a organization that used to exist and was available to most children. They were exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes and were impressively socialized with children of all ages, so they could both learn from older peers, and contribute in kind to educating younger ones in sharing, getting along and problem solving. In this organization, children were often taught to pour their own juice and set the table — not just for a snack, but for dinner!

One pro preschool study as discussed by Roger Highfield stated: “the project revealed that the education of the parents – particularly the mother- still has the greatest influence, having twice the effect and thus boosting maths scores even more.”

Unfortunately, this wonderful organization (the family) has been deteriorating, and therefore the need has arisen to create other, though less effective, programs to take its place.

Lets switch gears now and talk about sex! … I mean about sexual education. But seriously, I don’t know how any parent can feel comfortable with a person they hardly know, walking in and saying that exact line to their child (and I mean CHILD — as the age for this ‘open info download’ is getting younger and younger). Unless you are there, you have no idea how the info is going to be addressed — or even what info — what directions the conversation will take, and how explicit material might be. There will also be no mention made of any moral stance you might take (like abstinence before marriage), but at least your child will come away knowing how to use a condom! (I feel embarrassed writing that word in public!) I guess that is more comfortable then YOU having to ‘have the talk’ with your kid, and answer all those awkward questions that may result…

I guess in a lot of ways we should be grateful for the way society or “the system”, has stepped in and taken up the slack where “the Family” has let it slide. After all, we have careers, Facebook, and computer games to keep us occupied. We don’t have time to educate whatever children we may have had. Thank goodness for the educational system taking the onus off of us parents!

(Note for those with no sense or understanding of sarcasm — look to the last paragraph for proper usage.)

Now, before all my friends decide never to speak to me again, let me say that I actually have nothing against preschool or sex-ed (you weren’t expecting that, were you?). For some children they are very important. I know several families who put their children in preschool to help with to access programs to assist children with speech delays, and another who sent a child to preschool a couple times a week because the older  siblings had activities and the mom didn’t want the younger one to feel left out. This was even a homeschooling family.

Yes, preschool has its place — and so does sex-ed — but what I have a problem with, is that they are increasingly becoming thought of as essential, where in reality what is taught in both of those programs can, and should, be easily taught inside the home.

But that’s just my opinion.