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Drugs, Prostitution & Decriminalization

So, this week my Sociology Professor asked us, “Should victimless crimes such as prostitution and recreational drug use be decriminalized?” My answer? Yes. Well, what I really said was this…. When decriminalizing recreational drug use and prostitution would essentially save the United States large sums of tax revenue and resources, boost our economy, and provide for a safer worker/consumer environment for the millions that participate in these activities – a better question might be, “Why SHOULD we keep them criminalized?” These policies are not accomplishing the goals of making society safer or preventing involvement. The United States is known for its strict drug policies, and its imposition of the harshest penalties for drugs sales and possession across the world (Szalavitz, 2009). Historically, prohibition has done little more than create dangerous and violent markets, without seeing a decrease in consumption (“Should we legalize,” 2012).  America’s “War on Drugs” is failing, with a 2.5 trillion dollar price tag and little to show for it (“Should we legalize,” 2012). As a case study, Portugal is a great example of how decriminalization of drug use can be beneficial to a society. In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to eliminate all criminal charges for personal possession of drugs, which was done with the goals of reducing deaths and infections by focusing on prevention and treatment instead of jailing (Vastag, 2009). Since their decriminalization, the number of street drug overdoses and new HIV cases among drug users has declined, with the number of people getting treatment for drug use rising, while the number of drug users is notably lower than those in the U.S. (Vastag, 2009). Prostitution is one of the oldest jobs in the world, and instead of the profession declining, it is growing. Prostitution in the United States is estimated to bring in 14 billion dollars a year, with over 1 million people working as prostitutes (Gorbenko & Lakomy, 2011). Anti-prostitution laws do nothing to deter the frequency of prostitution, but do aid in pushing it underground, which makes it unsafe for all participants and for our society as a whole. Most prostitutes are at the whim of those that pimp them out, and are regularly violated, abused and raped with no way for recourse of being helped for crimes committed against them. Some of this can be contributed to the non-reporting of crimes for fear of arrest for solicitation, but also for the abuse that prostitutes experience directly from law... read more

Being Bad: Breaking Social Norms

Last week in Sociology, I had to perform a social experiment by breaking a social norm, and then write about my experience. This is what I ended up with… Enjoy! Social norms are rules that govern behaviors within society by establishing standards of conduct (Kendall, p. 72). Sociologist Talcott Parsons theorized that social norms are necessary in society to help dictate our interactions with people (2011). Through these day-to-day interactions we learn what behavior is expected of us – how to dress for specific occasions, proper hygiene, manners, language that is appropriate in conversation, etc. These rules help us differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in any given situation. My plan for the experiment was to meet two of my girlfriends at our local mall, have a drink and some dinner, and formulate a plan on how to break a social norm. I decided to bring along my friends for support, and to hold me accountable, so that I didn’t back out of the experiment. I struggled with the idea of performing the experiment, which had less to do with actually breaking a social norm, and more to do with having to acknowledge the reactions of people around me. On the night of my experiment my anxiety levels were exceptionally high. I felt nauseous, tightness in my throat, heated, and my heart raced. As we ate, we discussed possible scenarios. I considered some of the class suggestions, along with staring, breaking into dance and using a phone app called iFart to fake a bodily function, among the more ridiculous. In theory, all these ideas sounding very interesting; I wanted to be that person who could perform the experiment from a completely scientific place and be unfazed by the implications of it, but the reality of performing the experiment by breaking even a mild social norm seemed overwhelming. I reached a point in my evening where I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Why was this so hard for me? It actually isn’t that uncommon for me to break social norms. Quite regularly I talk very loudly in public, especially when I am excited, and sometimes about topics that could be deemed socially inappropriate. Other times I have been known for nursing my toddler in public, yet even the idea of doing those things with the conscious purpose of getting a reaction seemed an impossibility. It became clear that there is a stark difference... read more

I’m ALIVE!

That is all. Ok, maybe I can do a little bit better with my update than that. 😛 I am BUSY. For realz kind of busy, but in a really good way. The kind of busy that results when you are really engaged in what you are doing and actually enjoying yourself… at least when I’m not over thinking it, and considering all those things that need to be notched off of my to-do lists. I am LOVING my Genetics and Evolution class through Coursera, and I’m happy that it followed right on the heels of my Human Biology class, because the two compliment each other well. Today, started my Sociology class, and I am finding my text  ACTUALLY  enjoyable. SO rare! I feel like I’m spending much of my time half buried in books, when I’m not with my kids. I’m sure Facebook is tired of hearing me post about school related things, and the general mischief I have been causing lately with sensitive topics… Other than our normal homeschooling adventures, that is about all I have been up to lately. Here are a few pics for the... read more

T.I.R.E.D.

I’m feeling a little burnt out. This seems to happen to me when I’m taking a class, and since I am currently looking at just a 1-week break before I start my Genetics and Evolution class, and then will be juggling that along with my Intro. to Sociology class starting the week after… I’m not expecting to feel less so than I do at this moment. The blog is suffering, I know. My posts are infrequent,  and I feel like most of what I write is complete crap, just trying to go through the motions to get it done and over. Just another thing on my to-do list, and I am happy when it is no longer there. Tonight, I had planned to try and post this week’s Peek at My Week post, but you know what? I’m tired. Really tired. There are no words to describe the level of crazy that Addison had in her tonight, like a child possessed. No words. My nerves are still frazzled from dealing with her. So, I’ve promised myself that I won’t post unless I really feel like posting, however infrequent that may be. That is... read more

Scheduling Our Homeschool

Before, I mentioned  in my A Day in the Life of This Homeschoolin’ Mom post, that we don’t really have set schedule every day for school, but more like a list of goals I would like to accomplish for that day, and we just work them in at some point throughout our day. I thought I would expand on that a bit, and show you what my list of weekly goals actually looks like, so that it doesn’t sound quite so vague. I only schedule a week at a time, and usually begin my planning for the following week on Fridays. I use a weekly schedule planner that I got from the Notebooking Nook. You can find it near the end of the page in the Planning section. The layout is simple, there is enough space for me to list all the subjects that I would need for any given week, and the boxes are big enough for my writing. 😛 So, each day I schedule out the things I would like to get done on that day, and I always schedule our Fridays much lighter. Generally, we plan something out of the house on Friday anyways, but also because if we don’t get to something on a certain day, our schedule can be adjusted with work being pushed onto our Friday schedule without it being a big deal. We are usually working on school at different points between 10 and 2, but at the end of the day we probably never actually work more than 2 hours a day, and that would be on a heavier day. That is just accounting for our planned lessons or activities, and doesn’t include learning that just happens, or our reading time before bed, which could be consider “school,” but is more of a family ritual for us. Sometimes, I will completely cut something from our list if I feel like I scheduled too much, which may or may not get added into the next week’s plans. 🙂 I try my best to stay flexible with it. So…. How do you schedule your... read more

A Peek at My Week: Birthday Boy

  This week was spent largely in preparation mode to get ready for Haden’s birthday party. My boy turned 6! How did this happen??!! Time goes by way too fast most of the time. Friends joined us yesterday to celebrate the birth of my amazing Doodle, and he had such a good time. I really just wanted to share some pictures from his party, so I am keeping it short and sweet. Mostly because all I REALLY want to do is go lay down and watch a movie, now that my school work for the week is submitted. Only 2 more weeks! So, here is a little glimpse at the fun he had at his party. I’m going to upload more on Facebook, if anyone is interested. 🙂 Just for fun! I caught a short clip of Addison counting earlier in the week. SO cute. IMG 1437 from Mike Bowden on... read more

Homeschooling: An Interview with My Kids

I was reading on our local ICAN forum board yesterday about what kids had to say about homeschooling, and it made me want to ask my kids what they really think about homeschooling. Haden seemed pretty intrigued with the idea of being interviewed for my blog, and even more amused that I typed as he spoke and wrote all of his words down. 🙂 Me: What is your favorite part about homeschooling? What do you like about it? Haden: I love school. I like that we hang decorations. I like that I can give you letters and I get to wear my new clothes. I love playing outside, and pretending I’m going grocery shopping and being an explorer when it is a sunny day and not muddy. I like that I don’t have to go to public school. Me: What don’t you like about the idea of public school? Haden: That you have to stay there a looong time, and when you get home it is like dinner time. Me: What is you least favorite part about homeschooling? What don’t you like? Haden: I don’t like when I have to do a lot, and I didn’t like that game where I had to stop and go. (It was a game like Red Light, Green Light, but using it as a word game. He was not a fan. LOL) Me: What is your favorite subject to do? Why? Haden: I really like doing handwriting. Cause I just love writing. I like to write letters and I’m going be a letterman when I grow up. I will write letters to all the people I know – like Ashley, Tyler and Laura and Wendy and Dickie. I had hoped to ask more questions, like “What has been your favorite project so far?” and “What would you like to learn more about?” Haden called our interview to an end though. He said the rain was getting to him and making him grumpy, and that he needed a break! 😛 I tried to get Addison involved in the conversation, so when I asked her what she liked about homeschooling, this is how the conversation went… Addison: Uuuummm…. Gigi’s House! Me: You don’t do school at Gigi’s house, but I guess you could. What else do you like? Addison: Cinderella! Me watch Cinderella! Please!!! Me: You want to watch Cinderella? Addison: Yes!!! So, there you have it! That is why my kids like... read more

A Peek at My Week: All That Jazz

I’m feeling terribly unmotivated to write this week’s post, but I’m gonna give it a go anyways. It isn’t that the week was bad, or that nothing interesting or fun happened. It is just that I am tired, and it was a very busy week that I don’t really feel even a little like laying all out there tonight. And you don’t feel like reading all of that, so it is a win for everyone involved. 😛 Haden celebrated his birthday with my family this weekend, even though his actual birthday isn’t until next weekend. He had a great time, but I don’t even have the pictures uploaded yet, so I have nothing to share on that end. I could go upload them… but I’m not gonna. See. I’m totally lacking in having my shit together tonight. It was a great school week, but I apparently didn’t feel the need to photograph much of it, since when I went through my Instagram pictures this week, I had nada on there. Except for these from co-op classes on Wednesday. 🙂 Thursday, I had the following conversation with Haden… Haden: Is today a school day? Me: Yes. Haden: Aww, man! When isn’t it going to be a school day??!! Me: Sigh. Five minutes later…. Me: You wanna take next week off from school? Haden: Why? I love school! Me: Are you serious? Sigh. Two minutes later… Me: Well, we are taking next week off. Haden: Ok. So, we decided to take the week off of school next week. Mostly. When I say “take the week off,” I always feeling like I’m almost lying. 😛 Honestly, I never feel like we aren’t doing “school.” Learning and livin’ – and all that jazz. Some not to be missed footage of me chatting with my kids. 🙂 IMG 1409 from Mike Bowden on Vimeo. In other news, I am 3 weeks away from being done with Human Biology and then I get a little mini-break! I’ve decided to register for Intro. to Sociology next, so I’m feeling optimistic that I will actually be taking a class I’ll enjoy. I also registered for this free course with Coursera – Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. I’m uber... read more

Some Insight From My Boy

In bed last night, I was reading the book, Maybe you should fly a jet! Maybe you should be a vet! with the kids and Haden said that he wanted to be a writer when he grew up. So, I asked him if he could write a book about anything, what would it be about? His response… “I would write about all my thoughts. I’d write all the stuff in my head, about bad days, and good. You know I have a really awesome life?! I’ll blog like you.” He made me smile and laugh, but it seemed strange to me that he associates me as being a blogger since I don’t really see myself that way or ever self-describe myself as one. After all this time, (It has been 2 years!) & 154 published posts (Umm…wow.When did I do that?), it may be time I start taking myself more seriously. Or not. 😛  I do none-serious pretty... read more

A Peek at My Week: The First Week

Whew! It has surely been a busy week. I won’t bore you with every tiny detail. I’ll just bore you with some of them. 😛 Last weekend was spent with my family hanging at the lake for my birthday. After having an insanely crappy week, with insanely crappy weather, my birthday weekend really made up for it. The weather was gorgeous, and there is much to be said about drinking lime-a-ritas, playing board games, messy BBQ ribs, and flying at high speed across beautiful water for an adrenaline rush. Even if my whole body did hurt the next day. Hurt like I’d fallen down a flight of stairs kind of hurtin’. I’m just hardcore that way. This week marked our official start for First Grade! I tried my best to make it feel special for the kids.  I do fondly remember first day of school excitement from my youth. We took the kids not-back-to-school shopping, so that they could pick out a first day outfit. They were uber excited to dress up nice for the first day, as opposed to their usual pajamas, or just running around in their underwear fashion they normally sport. 😛 I cooked them sausage pancake muffins for breakfast, which is something I rarely do. Have I mentioned that I am not a morning person? Plus, I surprised them with an awesome cake, which I very heavily relied on Michael’s assistance to actually make look good! I wish I could say that our school week went off without a hitch, but that would just be a complete lie. We ran into a couple of problems with new curriculum this week, mostly easily rectified problems. One of them, however, has me a bit stressed out. That would be our math. My choice for math was a super easy decision for me, because we are just continuing on with our Time4Learning. We liked it for Kindergarten, so I saw no reason to switch it up, and I assumed it would be a smooth transition from Kindergarten to First Grade math. That isn’t exactly the case though. I won’t get into a long winded explanation on why we are having problems, but it looks like I am either going to have to pick something new or do some supplementation to start with and then use throughout the program. I’m leaning more towards the second choice. I’m hoping it will work itself out in the end. Highlights from our homeschool!... read more

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