Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Catching a Whiff of Gas

 

Every Shabbat when it’s nice weather, we take a walk to the park and to the creek. It’s a busy trip out the door with four kids under the age of seven, and we’re always managing trying to keep everyone walking and not into the street. On our walks this spring I would always have a momentary whiff of gas, and I soon realized I always smelled it at the same spot. We walk to the creek without cell phones, and then spend hours there. On the way home, we sometimes take a different route or we’re dealing with exhausted and soaking wet kids. I would always forget about the gas smell, and always assumed that if it actually smelled like gas, one of the families in the houses around the intersection I smelled the gas would have called it in. Maybe they had already and it’s nothing. I’ve never thought about that momentary whiff outside of Shabbat until today, when this happened:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Teachers Beware: Parents Are Watching

 

“I could never homeschool.” It’s something I used to hear all the time, but haven’t in months. After an entire spring of all of my friends are also home with their children full-time, overseeing their education as they participate in “distance learning” with their school, I don’t hear that much anymore. This summer, school districts across the country announced that they would be doing “virtual” school this fall (at least) and a fair number of friends lost patience with the idea of “distance learning” and decided to formally homeschool their children next year.

Parental approval of homeschool has skyrocketed over the summer according to studies,

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Unions, Coming for a Private School Near You

 

For the last week, I’ve been lobbying for our local private schools, which have been closed until at least October 1st by the executives in Montgomery County, Maryland. You may have heard about the controversy, which could become a battleground for private school parents across the country.

Last month, the public schools announced that they would not be opening for in-person instruction until at least January. In part as a result of that announcement, their projected enrollments saw a significant drop-off. Local media reported, “MCPS was expecting over 2,500 new students by the end of August. As of July 1, only about 300 K-12 new students had been enrolled.” There’s no word about how many kids who were enrolled have been pulled out, but it’s likely as significant as the lowered projected enrollment numbers. Schools are funded by the number of bodies enrolled, and this exodus is an existential threat to the stability of the public school model.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Some Unconventional World Breastfeeding Week Thoughts

 

I’ve always “celebrated” (posted once on social media) World Breastfeeding Week, which takes place the first week in August. I’ve done it because I happen to love breastfeeding, and because I’ve done it for so many months over the last seven years the genetic counselor I met with about my breast cancer risk declared I won the award for most months breastfeeding out of any patient she’d ever seen.

I love breastfeeding for a few reasons: It lowers my risk of breast cancer (which is why I was asked about it by a genetic counselor). I don’t have to buy formula. I don’t have to wash bottles. I don’t need to have a big bag of tricks to soothe a baby. I don’t have to pack anything in a bag if we go out for a few hours, which makes traveling a breeze. But it’s also hard and painful, and I’m proud that we (both me and babies) were able to pull it off.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How to Handle to Mob: Stop Apologizing

 

Normally, this advice is applicable for those at the center of cancel culture mobs, but it extends to mobs in general, too. A mob is currently coming after talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres and the pressure is mounting to such a degree that there are now reports the host is considering leaving her own show.

The storm started with an explosive BuzzFeed story outlining some serious allegations:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Big Tech Gets Terrifying

 

My friend Whitney, a political moderate, posted a shocking Instagram story last night. She received a message that one of her posts had been flagged for spreading “false” information about COVID and was removed. She couldn’t figure it out; she doesn’t post political content on the photosharing site. So what could have possibly been removed? After a few hours she realized: it was a private message with a video of the “White Coat doctor” press conference in Washington that the President and his family promoted. She shared it with a doctor friend to ask her opinion on the controversy.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Essential, But Not

 

Teachers are shaping the future and are doing essential work. Well, except they are not to be viewed as essential workers and have decided not to come back to work for a full year or more. Remember, in the beginning of the pandemic last fall, when it was two weeks to slow the spread? Then it turned into “We should just call this year off, it’s already so close to the end of the year, and we’ll spend the summer preparing to get back into the classroom.” Now we’re into almost August, and you know what? They’re just not ready and not willing to risk it. Your kids didn’t do anything resembling okay with online learning last year, but it’ll be fine this year. Well, except, sigh, online learning is draining. On second thought, let’s just cancel that, too.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Posting Black and White Selfies For … Empowerment? Try Narcissism

 

Leave it to millennial women to decide that posting black and white selfies is somehow “empowering” women and “lifting them up.” I honestly have no idea how this social media phenomenon started, but suddenly it’s my entire timeline on Instagram.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How to Think About Homeschooling

 

I’ve been deluged by people over the last few months, and especially over the last week, picking my brain about homeschooling. So much so, I started a YouTube channel discussing homeschooling in a Jewish context. I get constant questions that are all basically this: “What’s the best math curriculum for 1st grade?” or “What is my 3rd grader supposed to know?”

I’m about to let you in on a secret: There is no list of attainments your child has to have mastered by the end of a certain grade that teachers are magically given when they get their certificates. They learn classroom management and curriculum development; but they aren’t given keys to your kid and what they have to learn by certain benchmarks. We are told, and we believe, as parents that we are the ones that know our children best. So why is it, then, that we can’t trust ourselves to know what they need to learn and how they need to learn it?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Another Blow to the Public Discourse

 

Several weeks ago, I had an idea for a piece that was “Times worthy.” I thought about the editors I know there, about the pieces I’ve written there recently and mulled over the prospect of pitching it there. I decided to write it for the Washington Examiner instead; it just wasn’t worth the risk. In the aftermath of the Senator Cotton op-ed, which many other conservatives watched with amusement and horror, I realized that there was a high likelihood that if it were published, a mob would come for me and the Times would leave me out to dry; if they did it with a sitting Senator, I wouldn’t stand a chance. I wondered what Bari, a friend and editor at the Times would think of my decision until today when she published her widely-read and discussed resignation letter. The whole thing is an essential read, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll flag this portion:

The truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Never Bend the Knee

 

Over the weekend, I wrote about a massive fissure in a parenting group I am (was?) a part of. The group has a national arm and then nationwide “chapters” organizing nature hikes for parents and their young children. I wrote about my frustration that the group had become so hyper-politicized about Black Lives Matter (BLM) and shared the thoughts of other mothers who contacted me feeling the same.

Since I wrote that post, one of the national board members, the Director of Communications, has resigned. It’s not because the group has gone woke… no, it’s because the group isn’t woke enough. I am about to share screenshots of the resignation letter she circulated, and as you read I would like you to continually remind yourself that this woman is resigning from a volunteer position posting on social media about a nature group that has not, in her mind, gone far enough endorsing BLM.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. My Kingdom for a Safe Zone: Kids Playdates Edition

 

Several weeks before COVID hit, I decided to get serious about getting my (homeschooled) kids more playdates and getting them out in nature more. There was a conversation in a local branch of a nature-based national playgroup organization about looking for a homeschool meetup and I decided it was perfect: I would start one. We had exactly two gatherings in the woods before they were canceled indefinitely due to the pandemic. I remained in a number of the Facebook groups dedicated to the national organization and our local branch and soon watched them become arms of BLM after the killing of George Floyd.

 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When J.K. Rowling Got Cancelled for Tweeting Me

 

I had a definite fangirl moment yesterday when one of my favorite writers, J.K. Rowling, tweeted in response to my support for her position on free speech and defense of feminism:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When Single Issue Groups Choose Politics Instead

 

Riots have overtaken cities and entire zones of cities have become utterly lawless, with local businesses getting hollowed out and children shot. The institutions we’re supposed to be able to turn to for defense, the police, have been nowhere to be seen; ordered to stand down by gutless politicians who care more about appeasing social justice mobs than protecting residents. As a result, Americans are taking defense into their own hands, buying out gun shops across the country.

Over at the Free Beacon, Stephen Gutowski outlined just how strong gun sales have been over the last few months:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Great Dumbing Down

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about where we went wrong as a society. What happened to America, how could so many possibly view the Founders on Mt. Rushmore in the way that this CNN reporter did, and why wasn’t there a greater outcry about her slander?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Understanding Human Nature and Lockdowns

 

The situation in Los Angeles is a great window into how the government is handling the COVID lockdowns in the wake of spiking cases, how they’re handling it incorrectly, how residents of the city are doing whatever they want, and how that mishandling is creating unnecessary problems.

In the wake of spiking cases, the Governor has decided to close beaches, parks, etc; even though the risk from these activities is extremely low.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Anti-Trumpism Isn’t a Moral Compass

 

Just two weeks ago the political journalist class was left aghast at claims in John Bolton’s book about statements the President made to China about concentration camps they’ve been building,

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Next Time You Share That Video Remember: We’re All Going Through Some *Stuff*

 

If it feels like everyone has lost their grip on reality, that’s probably because we have. I’ve seen several videos on social media the last few weeks of people behaving erratically and irrationally: clearly otherwise put together people losing it at supermarkets over masks, throwing Molotov cocktails into police cars, even attacking teenagers hanging up posters while riding on a bike trail. I don’t excuse any of the behavior, nor do I think people should go unpunished for it. But with that said, I think we need all keep in mind the incredible strain our entire society and individuals are going through over the last few months before we thoughtlessly share videos of people clearly losing their sanity.

I was proud of my friend here for highlighting the humanity of someone who I may not have had a second thought about otherwise, one of the flamethrowers during the riots in New York City, a man who just destroyed his life in a single instant.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 2020: The Year the “You Don’t Need a Gun” Narrative Died

 

Here’s what progressives don’t seem to understand: If you defund the police, you’re going to encourage an exponential growth in gun sales. If you allow roving gangs of young people to destroy private property without police intervention, you’re going to encourage the creation of vigilantes and militias. If you think you’ll ever have a prayer at gun control again, look no further than this video to explain why you don’t have a prayer:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Showdown is On: Teacher’s Unions vs. Kids

 

With school districts across the country announcing their plans for next year, it’s clear that a battle is brewing, or at least should be, between teacher’s unions and parents.

On one side, the teachers, who overwhelmingly don’t want to go back to work. And the unions, of course, have their backs, because protecting teachers is their job, despite the fact that parents know their kids need to be back in classrooms come fall.

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