The Lost Art of True Feminism (and I ain’t talking women’s lib here….)

Imagine if you will a lady in a Pacific blue and white gingham dress. Mid-calf length full skirt, capped short sleeves and button down shirt bodice. She has on her stockings and lovely low heel white pumps. Hair carefully done in an up-do adorned with pin curls. She grabs her matching white pocketbook, and her lovely daughter (equally adorned and looking quite little-lady-like) as they head out for a day on the town. Their agenda? A trip to the Post Office, a stop into Western Auto for father, then a stop into the drug store for an ice cream soda before they pick up a few groceries at the Piggly Wiggly. When they return home, both ladies will slip out of their town dresses and into a house dress. By today’s standards their everyday house dress would resemble what most would think of as fancy Sunday morning attire. Maybe a light blue and green floral cotton button-down dress, always covered with a cute apron. After all, one must have kept their clothes stain free, as they did not have a closet full of choices as we do today.

That scene from days gone by speaks of feminism.

Comprehensive Desk Dictionary 1951 edition  Feminism: n. of womanly nature or character.

Dictionary.com 2014 Feminism: n. 1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. 2. an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women. 3. feminine character.

Look at the differences in those two entries. The first makes no mention of any “movement” or political advocacy. The meaning of the word simply referred to the state of womanly character. Lady likeness. The second entries does give that definition, but only after the first two definitions of the woman’s lib movement. A second (or third rather) thought, an add-on, an appeasement for those linguist who still remember the original meaning of the word. I imagine that in another 10 years they will drop definition #3.

What has happened to true feminism?

Outfit for a day out shopping in town. Dressed down a fancy top with a jean skirt and boots.

Outfit for a day out shopping in town. Dressed down a fancy top with a jean skirt and boots.

Why do I get asked “Why are you so dressed up?” When I go to Wal-Mart on a Tuesday afternoon?

Why do I feel the need to defend my use of stockings and slips. Oh and don’t get me started on slips…the young lady working the intimate apparel section at Wal-Mart had no idea what one was. I explained and she said rather sarcastically,

“Oh, we don’t carry those anymore. No one wears those.”

“Um…I assure you there are a few of us left.”

sigh.

In a world where it is becoming socially acceptable to wear your sleep wear to town, complete with curlers and slippers, the few of us who still hold the old standards of modesty and feminism are becoming a dying breed. Thankfully we are breeding! (oh come on, laugh) and thankfully we tend to have a few more kids in our quiver than our “feminist” counterparts. Unfortunately it would take several more generations to actually out breed them.

No, the sad truth is that we have become a world where, “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me” is the theme song of the masses. There is little self respect. Decent attire is dressing up. Even the church house is not exempt. Jeans on Sunday morning. And not just in the pews, but in the pulpit. Yes, this thought transcends sexes.

And I’m not talking about what one can afford. We are of a family of 9. We have a VERY limited clothing budget. I rarely spend more than $5 on any one item. There can be some very modern, trendy and fashionable outfits to be made from yard sale, consignment, Goodwill, Wal-Mart, and even JC Penny clearance!

For a peek into my virtual wishlist of outfits check out my Pinterest clothing board. There you will find ideas for dress-down, dress-up and everything in between. If you have a smart phone pull up Pinterest on your phone while shopping and try to duplicate a few outfits. Choose items that can make several different looks by simply changing one or two of the pieces. That is one way to expand a tight budget.

Look classy, not trashy!

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Same shirt, dressed up with a nice grey skirt, panty hose and pumps. And don’t forget to accessorize!

Journey

I started back in 2005, she was 5 and could already read. I had been working with letters and numbers, shapes and colors since she was an only child. That particular phase of our lives didn’t last long since baby #2 came swiftly along 14 months after #1. We were a quiver full family, I had romantic visions of a one room school house of children ranging in age from infant to nearly adult. I would stand dutifully in front of my chalk board listening to lesson recitals and judging family science fairs. We would start each day with the pledge to the Christian and American flags. We would do circle time with the littles, the middles and bigs would help tutor the others and we would live homeschool happily ever after.

I had visions of school at home. That’s all I knew of at the time. I had never heard of Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Student directed learning and especially not unschooling! I had 2 catalogs. A Beka Book and Bob Jones. I would pour over those catalogs for hours on end, once even planning out the course of the 4 children we had at the time in entirety from Kindergarten to Graduation. I even planned which books were consumable and estimated the cost each year. It all made perfect sense in my mind.

God threw a monkey wrench in my perfectly laid out plan when he so wonderfully provided a full scholorship for Micaela (#1) to go to our church’s private school. We were excited for her, and much to our excitement they used A Beka! She completed Kindergarten and then we moved away, reigniting our desire to homeschool. When it came time to purchase books  for 1st grade, we had hit hard times financially and could not afford the expense of my much dreamed after A Beka full grade curriculum. So we settled for a cheaper alternative, which turned out great, just required a little creativity on my part and some supplementary activities to really pull it all together.

Fast forward 8 years and 7 children (total). We have tried so many curricula, and even have found that my beloved A Beka isn’t a perfect match for our family. Oh, I love certain aspects of it, I still believe that it’s reading program can’t be topped. But we have, through much trial and error, and yes, a ton of wasted money, finally found what is working for us. (mostly!)

We have also long ago abandoned the school at home idea. We do have a school room, we have desks, we have book shelves, we have posters and charts on the walls. We even sit in there on most days, but we are far from structured. I like to call our lives organized chaos. There are days we don’t get through my “schedule”. Or whatever you call it. I mostly abandoned those a long time ago too. Now it’s a loose list of things I’d like to get done that day. Can you believe that I once scheduled every minute of my day. I didn’t last the day out with that piece of madness.

For us this is what we have found that works and will be sticking with for a while. Micaela is now in 10th grade so everything still seems trial and error, for example we tried 3 different Algebra I programs until we found one that kinda worked. But honestly, we mostly just ran through the concepts to make sure she got the gist of it and will be going with Teaching Textbooks for Geometry.

My picks:

PreK 3

Christian Liberty Press Preschool and some basic WalMart workbooks. A lot of games and hands on crafts. And a note on this, I only spend about 30 minutes a day on “schoolwork” anything else needs to be games and crafty otherwise you are going to go nuts because their attention spans rival a flea at this age.

PreK 4

A Beka K4 Both Child and Parent Kits. Again, keep it short and simple. No longer than an hour, maybe an hour and a half broken up into morning and afternoon sessions.

Kindergarten

A Beka K for Language Arts. I would use Rod and Staff Math Grade 1 (this starts at the beginning but will also have your child a year ahead in mathematics, which is good!) History and Science isn’t critical at this age so I would have them listen along with the older kids. Much can be learned in this manner.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade

A Beka Language Arts Child and Parent Kits. Rod and Staff Mathematics. At this point I would have them becoming involved in the History and Science lessons, which I will list separately at the end.

4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th

We use the Grammar and the Literature books by A Beka. We use Spelling by Christian Liberty Press. Rod and Staff Math of Course. If you follow the pattern of starting R&S Math in Kindergarten you will complete their series by 7th grade as they only go up to 8th. You can either take a year off for a break before High School, or you can start on Algebra I which we are recommending Teaching Textbooks. We have not used it yet, but feel confident because of the myriad of good reviews.

High School

This one is very personal as each student will be following a very different path. A few standard though, would be Apologia for Science and Teaching Textbooks for Mathematics. The rest will be a system of trial and error.

Science and History

We love Apologia, but we are also going to be trying out A Reason For Science this year. All the kids do this together, each one doing more difficult projects and being expected to retain more information as they get older.

Mystery of History is our all time favorite History book. The projects are easy yet fun and help the material stick with you. If you make it through every level you will have encompassed every History unit required for High School. (Be sure though that the high school level kids are actually doing higher level projects otherwise they are skating through.) This is a wonderful series for all ages and breaks down projects based on ability level.

Another note: Every book we use is Christian based. Science is Creation and Young Earth. Unfortunately there will be high school electives where that will not be possible, but do your research and make sure the content of all your curriculum lines up with your belief system.

Write a Letter to Your Own Teen!

Can we just move past it? Please stop writing letters to other people’s children. Let’s start writing letters to our OWN children.

Here, I’ll start the first one:

Dear teenage child of mine,

You are going to encounter all types of people in this world.

A small select few will think, act and dress similar to you. The very large majority will not. They will not care about your personal standards of modesty and purity of heart, mind and body.

They will not care if what they wear, what they post online, or how they act around you causes you to stumble in your walk with the Lord. You need to learn to guard your own heart.

You can’t do it alone. The flesh is weak. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Allow Him to be your guide. If it even remotely feels wrong, flee with all your might. If you look left at church and a young lady is wearing a provocative dress next Sunday (and let’s face it, this is becoming the sad norm in our churches.) please try your best to look right. Maybe ask your parents if there is any way an elder can gently approach the subject of the girl’s outfit. Sometimes you can remedy those situations, and well, sometimes you just can’t. Not without running the people right back out the church door. And what is the church for, but to help sinners (which would mean every last one of us, not just those whom we label as “worldlier” than we) to be a little more Christ-like everyday.

Unfortunately you are going to have to learn to not only look away, but to filter your friend circle. For now you have mom and dad to help you with that. They tell you who you can and can not hang out with, or have as a friend on social media. But there will come a day very soon when you will have to make those decisions yourself. Begin now really thinking about the character traits of people who make good friends. Ones who always have your back. Ones who help you make good decisions, not stupid ones. And maybe you already have to make those decisions on your own. Maybe your parents don’t monitor your facebook, or read your chat conversations (yep-unashamedly guilty!). Oh boy is it hard. Especially when you don’t have someone to be accountable to.

We all can’t be the behavior police. There is an old saying that has helped me a ton of times in my life, from my teenage years on up…”You can’t change the behavior of others, but you can change the way you react to their behavior.”

See a selfie online that looks a little too provocative? That girl was kissy facing in that low tank top,right to you through the screen? That boy was showing off his beach muscles just for you to see how manly and sexy he is?  Well, first off, don’t click the like button dummy! Secondly, why exactly do you have a friend who would be posing like that? If it’s someone who otherwise doesn’t engage in that type of thing, maybe it was a spur of the moment regrettable decision. Haven’t we all done things only to wish we could take them back a second later. (or a week later, or a month later). In that case, click that little “hide” button, turn the browser page, and if you are close enough to the person,  maybe even have a little conversation with them. A simple, “Hey, what was up with that pic you posted on Thursday? Kind a little over the top, don’t ya think?” will usually make them think a little more about what they did. Or, not. if they get all bent out of shape over you speaking out on things you see as wrong, well, remember that friend filtering I just mentioned a second ago?

For the rest of your life you will be bombarded with images and behaviors that are unbecoming. Even in the church. Unless you want to hole yourself up on some compound and leave the modern world behind you then you are going to have to build up a strong enough backbone. One that won’t bend every time you go into Wal-Mart. Immodesty and immorality are going to be rampant in the last days. And believe it or not, we are there. Where wrong is right, and Christians are persecuted and ridiculed for their standards. It’s not going to get easier for you teenager. You won’t magically become superman of wills when you turn 18 or 21. You will battle the flesh your entire life. Start fighting that battle now! And I’ll be there to help. Stay in church and you will always have older advocates rooting for you, mentoring you and helping you along the way.

Love, Mom.