Monday, April 28, 2014

"What do you do?"

In February, a guy was piercing my ears, I said I was going to Australia, and would speak there. He asked what I speak about, and I said "I help parents be nicer to their kids," or some such.

Even though I've been doing what I'm doing for many years, I haven't come up with a clear picture of what it is. On a site that wanted a description of me, I wrote:
I write about peaceful parenting and unschooling, on a blog, website, a weekly chat, and two ongoing discussions. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Is that it?

In a video made in 2009, I said "My whole life had been about learning and about education. That's what I always wanted to do from the time I was six— to be a teacher. My other backup plans were to be a missionary or a journalist. Pretty much I cover those three every day."

A commentor on that video wrote:
this chick is of the influential breed. she doesn't seem to be out to prove her intellectual prowess as much as share her positive experience with the natural learning phenomenon. imagine if we had to teach our stomachs to digest what kind of trouble we would be in.
but I think he might have been talking about Holly (about another video, which has some really foul, rude comments and it makes me cranky to go there).

I help people, usually in my own way, on my own time.

Here are links to the itemized list from that first quote above:

I write about peaceful parenting and unschooling, on a blog (Just Add Light and Stir), website (, a weekly chat Unschooling Chat), and two ongoing discussions Always Learning on yahoogroups, and Radical Unschooling Info on facebook.

Friday, April 04, 2014

A couple of fibs, from Australians

A guy on a show about advertisements said that Australia was the premier vacation destination for Americans. I hadn't heard many people I know talk about Australia. Marty would. Keith used to want to visit New Zealand. I know half a dozen people who've visited Australia, and I'm 60. My guess would have been Europe—UK, Italy.

Turns out it's Hawaii, then Europe, then Australia. Or it was recently, and it was in 2008.

Hawaii Tops List of Dream Vacation Destinations (report of a Gallup Poll in 2006)

And the first link I found is why I knew there WAS such a Gallup poll.
Where Americans Want To Travel And Why

It's not where Americans DO go, internationally. One of those would be Mexican resorts, or Caribbean cruises, because there are specials and packages offered all the time. Lately, cruises on European rivers, because they're advertised all the time, and people who have been on them say good things.

The question the Gallup poll asks is if money were no object, where would one like to go.

Part of what that second article says is "3. Australia – This answer surprised me. Not because I disagree, I love Australia. It surprised me because it’s not a trip to be taken lightly. It’s far away, on the expensive side and requires at least a couple of weeks to visit. Americans don’t typically travel that far away and we definitely don’t have multiple weeks of vacation to spare."

True about vacation. People who are old enough to afford that sort of vacation probably have three or four weeks of vacation in a year. Not like Germans with six weeks from a young age. People in their 20's *might* have two weeks' vacation in a year if they have great jobs.

So people can tell the Gallup poll "Australia," but it doesn't mean they can get there, so the claim baffled me. But it sounded good, in its context, I guess.

The other claim was that Australia's school system is exemplary and other nations look to Australia. I had never heard a peep about Australian schools in my life, outside of knowledge of "school of the air" for kids on remote cattle stations, when I was little. Public school by radio. That's been a while. The remote-school still exists, but it's online now.

Friends and strangers were all friendly in Australia. They reminded me of people in the southwestern U.S.—talkative and generous with time and knowledge. These two claims of "premier" status both seemed bravado, and maybe each speaker believed what he was saying as he said it, but I don't think either is nearly true.

Australia has commissions or organizations to promote education (studying in Australia) and maybe that's where the propaganda originates. If "propaganda" is too strong a word, perhaps there is rhetoric that is spoken and heard and sounds like truth.