Monday, March 24, 2008

Phthalates in the spotlight

We just watched an expose about phthalates in toys on the PBS show NOW. It's a very well done story, and it highlights the way the Bush Administration has continued to ignore its own studies and failed to take actions to promote public safety because of industry objections.

We do not, by the way, belong to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), which has been unwisely speaking out in favor of phthalates. We continue to ask our manufacturers about what their toys are made with. Several, including Schylling and Crocodile Creek, have led the way in removing phthalates from their toys.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Story of Stuff

We came across this 20 minute webinar called The Story of Stuff which, although simplistic, seems like a great way to teach kids about the impacts of our consumer-driven global economy. It breaks things down into small bits that make a lot of sense.

Horton Hears a Slur

From Dan: I took Riley and Abby and Duncan to see Horton Hears a Who last night. Riley was excited to see it because his homeschool co-op had made a play out to the story last year.

It was ironic and somewhat painful, then, to be confronted in the first scene with an insult. Basically, the bad guy in the movie is the "sour kangaroo", who disdainfully declares "That's why we're Pouchschoolers!", after witnessing Horton with his speck. She then proceeds to torment Horton throughout the rest of the movie.

Now, I do have an issue here with Dr. Seuss placing an elephant and a kangaroo on the same continent in the first place. But one thing that can be said about Suess is that he never singled out any cultural group for derision, except maybe Oncelers.

Hollywood, however, saw fit to add flavor to the kangaroo's malice by making her a homeschooler. It was sad to see that this kind of dig was thought acceptable.

As a secular homeschooler, er...unschooler, I hope that this isn't the beginning of a trend. It would be sad if the groupthink that Dr. Suess' original story speaks against so well suddenly turned upon such a diverse and vibrant subculture as homeschoolers.