Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Message for 2010 - From the Lost Generation

This video was actually made in 2007, but seems to speak nicely to a new decade. Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Enjoy a Symphony of Science

Visit for more information, and more joy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foundation Beyond Belief - A Resource for Humanistic Generosity

Introducing: Foundation Beyond Belief:

From the home page:

Foundation Beyond Belief is a new non-profit charitable and educational foundation created (1) to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanistic generosity, and (2) to support a nationwide education and support program for nontheistic parents.

The Foundation will highlight ten charitable organizations per quarter--one in each of ten categories. Members join the Foundation by signing up for a monthly automatic donation in the amount of their choice, then set up personal profiles to indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among the ten categories. Maybe you'd like to give 25 percent each to human rights, poverty, education, and the environment. We'll distribute it accordingly.By year's end, you will have helped support a dozen organizations in the areas you care most about.

The centerpiece of the Foundation will be a lively online community. Active members can join a social network and discussion forums centered on the ten categories of giving, upload videos, recruit new members, advocate for causes and help us choose the new beneficiaries each quarter. We'll also create and host a multi-author blog of world-class contributors focused on the cause areas, as well as humanism, philanthropy, and the intersection of the two.

Visit  for more information.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Homeschool Liberation League

Milton Gaither ponders the lack of "religious dimension", by which he appears to mean Christianity, in a review of the new book by Lucy Frank called "The Homeschool LIberation League" in his blog, Homeschooling Research Notes.

Gaither gives the book a favorable review, noting, "Of all the recent children’s books I’ve read involving homeschooled characters, Frank’s goes furthest in making homeschooling itself central to the plot.," and adding, "This is not, in the end, a book about homeschooling. It’s a book about a 13-year-old girl trying to overcome the faux identity foisted on her by the school context, searching out a self and a voice she can believe in. Homeschooling is just the tool she uses to get there."

He notes the inclusion of realistic characters like one girl's "lesbian professional parents", a "stage father" and "independent-minded but reluctant working class parents, and observes that it's "not "implausible (they) wouldn’t have much contact with religious conservatives."

Lucy Frank actually addresses Gaither's questions on his site, "I want to make clear that I wasn’t under any pressure to stay away from the “religious dimension” in homeschooling. Nor was I motivated by worry about alienating readers (except possibly school principals, with my extremely unflattering portrayal of Katya’s dreaded Mr. Westenburg). Rather ... it’s too big a topic just to mention in passing. At one point early on I tried bringing in characters representing different sides of the homeschooling world, but the book started to feel like “a book about homeschooling,” instead of the story of one girl’s determination not to let school squash her enthusiasm for learning and mold her into someone she doesn’t want to be, and the effect that has on everyone in her life."

On the basis of that description alone, it sounds like a young adult novel well worth looking into, and one that UU homeschoolers and their public school friends might be able to enjoy together. It's a nice opportunity to celebrate and support a rational incorporation of homeschooling in mainstream young adult literature.

Monday, May 4, 2009

UU Homeschoolers Newsletter - One World - is Now Online!

Our inaugural issue of our new UU Homeschoolers newsletter, One World , is now online.

Many, many (many, many!) thanks to our all volunteer group led by managing editor, Beverly Burgess, who lovingly, enthusiastically, patiently and with willing good humor took on the monumental task of herding us virtual cats. We were frequently sidelined by family and work and health, and she gently coaxed us along kindly and with an open heart.

Tammy Curry did an equally remarkable and wonderful job laying out our patchwork of thoughts and images, even as copies of articles and photos zigzagged across the internet, even as her father was ill in the hospital.

Joan Frisbie, a contributor as well as an editor, kept up even as she dealt with the time consuming details of her mother's passing last fall, carefully considering and recommending and gently helping shape the beautiful works we received into the articulate and artful whole you'll see in our first issue.

The result is One World - a compilation of thoughts and considerations, reflections and wonderments by members and their children.

I hope you enjoy our first issue of One World. I hope you'll contribute to future issues and help us make it one of the loveliest of homeschool periodicals. I think it's well on its way to being so.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Participate in Earth Hour 2009 - March 28, 8:30pm

Here's your chance to Go Green by Going Dark! Or, at least, a little dim.

From Earth Hour US:

Earth Hour is World Wildlife Fund's global initiative where individuals, businesses and governments turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change. Earth Hour is a symbolic event designed to engage people from all walks of life in the climate change discussion to send a strong message to our political leaders that we want them to take meaningful action on climate change. It's the largest climate event in history where millions of people around the world will unite by turning off their lights for one hour, Earth Hour, to demand action on the climate crisis.

When is Earth Hour?

*Earth Hour 2009 takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm–local time.
* Just like New Years Eve, Earth Hour will travel from time zone to time zone starting at 8:30pm in New Zealand.

What do we hope to accomplish through Earth Hour 2009?

* Through Earth Hour, WWF hopes to create political momentum for enacting national climate legislation and a global climate treaty.
* Through Earth Hour, WWF will continue to educate and raise awareness about the climate crisis and offer ideas and solutions that people can merge into their daily lives.
* Through Earth Hour, WWF aims to unify people's voices from around the world who are demanding action form our elected officials to solve the climate crisis.

What does a pledge to turn out your lights involve and commit me to?

Participating in Earth Hour is easy. All you have to do is sign up at, tell your friends / co-workers about it and then turn off all of your non-essential lighting on March 28th at 8:30pm. Through signing up you are not committing to anything specific. Rather you are agreeing that strong action needs to be taken to find a solution to the climate crisis.

Who can participate in Earth Hour?

Anyone. Earth Hour is an inclusive event and everyone is invited to participate. WWF will provide tools online to enable any town, community, school, individual or organization to be part of the event.

Why is Earth Hour at 8:30pm this year instead of 8pm?

As the campaign has grown from one city in one country to a truly global campaign, the time has been moved to allow the maximum number of cities around the world to be suitably dark for the lights out campaign to have a greater visual impact. Earth Hour is held around the spring equinox, which ensures nearly equal sunset times in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Do I have to turn off all of my electricity for Earth Hour?

Not at all. Through Earth Hour we are asking people to turn off all non-essential lighting. Emergency lighting, televisions and computers can stay on for the hour. The main point of Earth Hour is to unite people, companies and governments around the world through the symbolic flip of a switch. Earth Hour in itself will not lower our carbon footprint, rather it sends a signal to those in a place of power that we as individuals and communities demand action.

The decision on which lights to turn off can be made individually, but usually consists of overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, computers, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, etc.

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All America

UU Homeschooler's member Jennifer Hawley-Zechlin penned "All America" after watching today's inauguration of President Barack Obama, " to honor the day." We are proud and honored to share it here.

All America is now Black.

I am proud to be a newly black citizen.

With ancestors’ skin leathered in the sun, hands torn and bloodied in the
fields, and spirits made stronger in unity.

All America is now Brown.

I too have now crossed the Rio Grande.

I have left my children behind closed borders, brought only the clothes on my
back, wet and dirty, and cold. I too can feel that indescribable hope born only
from desperation.

All American is now Red.

I have now walked the Trail of Tears.

I have had my entire way of life stripped from me. I have been civilized. I
have now witnessed the voice of the Great Spirit both whispered and echoed
throughout the ages.

All America is now Yellow.

I can now embrace my heritage.

One mixed of communism, small fishing villages, rising suns, massacres in
squares, and familial dynasties. I walk with the tiger in the shadows of both
jungles and internment camps. I now continue to stand up in the face of
dictatorships beyond my control.

All America is still white.

I am still as white as I have always been.

But, I am now less ashamed. I hold less guilt. I have exchanged my burden for a
new hope and a new appreciation of my America, of our America.

Today, all America is male and female, gay and straight. All America is Jew and
Gentile, Muslim and Hindu, Buddhist and Agnostic. All America is Democrat and
Republican and Independent. All America is young and old, rich and poor, farmer
and physicist. All America now sings.

Today, all America is reborn and we will let this birth spill from our borders.
We must carry this day forward into the history we are yet to write and to live
and to leave behind us.

All America is now my America.
All America is now your America.
Let us be proud and thankful both today and tomorrow.

Jennifer Hawley-Zechlin
Tuesday January 20, 2009

Jennifer In California Visit our school website and blog, DD age 12 Peace, Always Peace!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What My Daughter Taught Me About Being a Unitarian Universalist

What My Daughter Taught Me About Being a Unitarian Universalist

There are things that sometimes make it difficult to be a Unitarian Universalist. Many in my area, homeschool for religious reasons. Talk among members of these groups is easy and effortless. Someone mentions that they are Catholic and use Seton for a curriculum and heads nod in agreement. Someone else states that their children are part of AWANA and a flurry of discussion erupts around this weeks meeting.

I mention Unitarian Universalism and the deafening silence and blinking stares can only make one uncomfortable. Several had never heard of our faith, others assume that we believe in nothing. Admittedly, I’ve sometimes had a difficult time explaining our faith. A woman this week actually asked me why our church was doing The Nativity Story children’s play if our faith didn’t believe in Jesus and we weren’t Christian.

For those that are not UU, understanding and accepting our faith can sometimes be difficult. We don’t have a creed but are bound by covenant and our Unitarian principles. We are welcoming and many wonder how we can come together with acceptance when there are so many differences in so many faiths.

I began to see this same group of women once a week as our kids shared the same sign language class. The moms would often take the other kids out onto the playground while the siblings were in class. It gave us a chance to enjoy the weather and some coffee. Most of these women happened to be part of the Christian homeschool group.

The conversations were usually benign and centered on our difficulties raising kids in different age groups, we shared some recipes, complained about our husbands and our latest adventures in raising chickens for farm fresh eggs.

During election time, things took an uncomfortable turn when Sarah Palin’s name was mentioned frequently. I heard comments along the lines that Obama was a terrorist, he would turn white people into slaves, and he would reverse Roe V. Wade.

Another mom talked about the local school system teaching children how to masturbate and wanted me to sign a petition which I respectfully declined on the premise of needing to research this more. Secretly, I wanted to laugh and vomit at the same time. If they only knew what the sexuality curriculum at our church looked liked for our Coming of Agers!

Yet in the pit of my stomach I cringed every time the conversation turned to religion. I sat many times as an outsider listening to the banter around me and wondering if anyone even cared how I was bringing up my kids or cared to learn about me. I hung my head when another mom repeatedly called her kids sinners and told them they were going to hell if their behavior didn’t improve.

Several weeks later, the weather was gorgeous and we decided to stay after class and play on the playground, and unbeknownst to me, my daughter had her tarot cards with her. She sat at the top of the climbing tower with another classmate and worked on the cards. Suddenly, the other little girl shouted out, “Those cards are evil and I can’t play with you. “

Without missing a beat, my daughter said, “They are not evil, they’re just cards, that’s like saying a table is evil or my socks are evil.” The playground went hauntingly silent as small gasps of breath could be heard from the mom next to me. I sucked harder on my ice coffee-do I intervene? What do I say?

My eloquent nine year old glanced around the playground and then looked at her playmate. “C’mon,” she said, “Let’s go find something else to do.”

My daughter, in one breath, managed to accomplish what I had been trying to do for months. She found a common ground. She chose not to engage in conversation that she knew wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind. She found the community more important than the task at hand.

As the weeks passed I learned more about these women as our time at the playground grew longer and our days stretched lazily into summer. It is still difficult for me to understand how they can not question their own faith as I’m sure it is for them, to understand my faith.

I learned many things from these women. Yes, they live for Jesus. They have an incredibly strong faith, love their families and devote much time and energy to their own churches, homeschooling, social justice causes and community outreach. Much like UU’s and my own church. I learned that they should not be any less passionate about their own faith as I am about mine. It doesn't mean I have to agree with everything that they do, it means that our differences are ok, but I can also disagree with them if my own values don’t line up with theirs.

Get togethers are still sometimes awkward. We bow our heads when we visit them and thank Jesus for the food on their table as they say grace. It doesn’t mean I believe what they do it means I am respectful of their faith. When we bow our heads, that is our time for meditation and thanking the universe for a good life and friends and the chance to share a meal.

We say thank you when they say they are going to pray for us because all it means to us is that there is one more person in the world holding our family close to their hearts and thinking of us and wanting us to heal. So yes, please pray for me because I can use all the prayers and good wishes of the world and of every faith.

My son’s beliefs at the moment are that God created the Big Bang and evolution was allowed to occur under God's guidance. I have no idea where he got that from. Good for him. Morgan wrote a poem the other day titled, "God is the Earth". It was very much a creationist point of view for a 9 year old. Good for her! Isn’t that the basis of our UU faith, to help our children explore their own faith values and question and explore all that our rich faith has to offer? If my children chose Christianity or Buddhism or Paganism, I will thank the universe for their kind and giving hearts and for giving me the strength to let them choose.

As a UU, I segregated myself from other religions both in acceptance and in my convictions of my own faith. I had been hiding for too long and failed to call on both our Christian and Judaic heritage for strength. It is a rich faith, and should be celebrated as such.

"Lift up your voice, be not afraid, sing to the power of the faith within."

Next Sunday at church I am giving my testimony (for the canvass event) of what my church means to me. I am using a passage from the book of Luke-chapter 15- in the bible about the fatted calf. Metaphor here-the church should be the fatted calf and get the best of what we have, not the skinny goat or leftovers. The best of what we have. Shouldn’t the people that I come in contact with every day get the best of me? Shouldn’t I give them the fatted calf? Shouldn’t sharing my UU faith be a part of that?

My daughter, on that warm spring afternoon, taught me some valuable lessons. She taught me to not be afraid to speak up and that differences of opinion can often be worked out. She taught me that we need to worry less about defining our God-putting a name to it and start having all faiths find a common ground, a common community. She taught me that I need to get past the labels of what we call ourselves; Buddhist, Humanist or Christian, for in the end, it is all one. We are all one.

"Lift up your voice, be not afraid, sing to the power of the faith within."

Welcome to the UU Homeschoolers Blog!

We've got so much to say and so much to think about, that we wanted more room to speak and think about it all!

UU Homeschoolers with over 1000 members, continues to grow steadily. Our members are thoughtful, compassionate, curious, funny, insightful and provocative. Some of them are Ministers and Religious Education Directors. Some of them aren't even UU -- Unitarian Universalist. But all of us can get behind the idea of a:

"UU principles centered-philosophy that we will always respect and honor one another, encourage and help one another,join our strengths to create a more just and open minded educational community and build a supportive online community that brings us camaraderie and opens our hearts and our minds in ways we hope our children's hearts and minds will always be open."

Now more than ever, we need open hearts and minds. Our new home on the blogosphere will strive to continue the spiritually uplifting culture of peace, compassion and community that we've created online for so many people for the last 7 years.

So come on in and consider the world with us. It's an amazing place to live and learn!

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