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I am mom to a 15 year old boy and identical twin 6 year old boys. I am the wife of a wonderful man. I have had celiac disease for 15 years. Those things define me in that order, everything else falls in line! I homeschool because the public school system was just letting my smart child slip through not learning a thing, on the honor roll no less. While I eat a completely gluten free diet I don't keep a gluten free household. No reason to make the kids suffer with me! I am writing a gluten free cookbook (slowly!) because I can't stand all the gluten free recipes out there that use five hundred flours, and I want to eat normal food like non-celiacs do. Just like I used to, I use one all purpose flour that ROCKS, The Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour. No, I do not get paid to say that ;) Every recipe on my blog can also be made with regular flour, use it just like I use my gf flour!

Aug 27, 2012

Today's American History class

We are reading William Bennett's America: The Last Best Hope in our American History class. Today we read the introduction to the book and the first two chapters. I was both amazed at how much it moves you as you read, and that my son remembers so much of what I taught him two years ago, when South America was being explored by the Spaniards. The book's wording really makes learning about history engaging for a student who normally could care less about history in general!

One thing that specifically touched us was this excerpt, quoted from Ronald Reagan's farewell speech:


Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I've got one that's been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough, it starts with one of the things I'm proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we're about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs [protection].

So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important--why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, "We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did." Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.

And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

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