The living in Shades of uncertainty.
Merriam-Webster defines shade as “comparative darkness or obscurity owing to interception of the rays of light”, or “a place sheltered from the sun”. And North America looks forward to throwing doors and windows open to let in refreshing warm breeze and to don the comfort that only summer clothes provide!
This shade from the sun provided scintillating drama for a young wheelchair-bound boy who was home schooled – ‘Shades through the Window’, by Xavier Carl James. The youngster, the protagonist in the novel, would watch dreamily as his sexy young teacher walked through the gate and up to the door, and as she left the premises. All this titillation was provided by the light filtering shades that covered the windows of his living room. The story takes me to the ever growing debate on homeschooling in America, its history often chequer with disagreement from the government and fundamental rights groups. Homeschooling was started as a departure from the rote learning system that made for ‘cookie- cutter’ students that many educators found objectionable, back in the 70’s. Today, the question being asked is whether homeschooling should be a fundamental right or not.
My opinion is that if parents think they are erudite enough to provide quality education in a home environment, more power to them….I’m all for the Fourteenth Amendment! But there is a flip side to this argument – a child’s socialization process is severely curtailed with homeschooling. That apart, children do not get involved in physical activity that’s mandatory in a school regime, giving rise to spoilt, self-centered children who have weak musculature. I would much rather have my kids interact on equal footing with their peers, wouldn’t you? Though homeschooling is popular among
· Differently- abled children who need specialized attention
· Those parents who find it necessary to provide religious or moral education
· Those who are concerned about the quality of a school environment
· Those who are dissatisfied with the traditional methods of schooling,
it is quite evident that they’re a clear minority (3%) – beats me why the government, the lawmakers, and educators are getting their knickers in a twist.
Just the other day, I paid a friend who’s a psychologist a visit – she happened to be giving her kids tips on creative writing. They were comfortably sprawled in the study that made for creative thinking with its impressive picture windows engulfing a whole wall that gave a splendid view of the Manhattan skyline, dressed in the beautiful Graber Traditions Cherry Wood Blinds that blended with her dark furniture. There she was, remote in hand, getting the blinds open for an optimum view, and she asked the kids things like, “What do you see? How does the sky appear to you? Do you see any activity in any of the buildings? Do you see birds or aircraft?”, and so it went on, the kids scribbling away furiously, in obvious enjoyment. Then she had the vanes turned up and asked how the view was different from the previous and if there was any difference in the quality of light. Ditto, as she had the vanes turned down. Hmm, interesting. I realized she was getting them to integrate ideas, not just from a creative angle, but from an objective one as well. The kids would then compile their knowledge holistically to come up with well-rounded points of view. I never saw a more creative use of window blinds!
Zebra Sheer Shades.
She told me she was thinking of replacing the drapes in her living and dining areas with faux wood blinds, as she was really happy with the wood blinds in her study. Thoughts churning in my head, I told her about this interesting arrival on the window dressing scene – the Zebra Sheer Shades – when I was browsing through the Zebrablinds website. Its features are as follows:
· Contemporary in looks, they’re a blend of the versatility of shades and the convenience of blinds.
· They come suspended on a roller headrail with dual layers of fabric crafted from polyester, PVC and fiberglass blends for smoothness and durability. Much like zebra skin, it’s made of alternating layers of sheer and dark (opaque) stripes. They are available in stock colors of gray, white, black, ivory, natural, chocolate and orange, in options of light filtering, room darkening, and blackout material.
· The stripes of the shade can be aligned so that the alternating layers are thrown to relief for a great view outside through the sheer stripes. The alternating dark stripe provides protection from the harsh sun, protecting indoor elements from UV rays and absorbing its heat.
· The roller mechanism is controlled by a beaded continuous cord loop with a powerful clutch that ensures smooth operation of the shade that allows it to be lifted or lowered to any desired position, like a shade. The shade can be readjusted so that the dark stripes are aligned one on top of the other to provide room darkening and optimum privacy during the day, and the blackout stripe options provide total privacy at night.
· They do provide a measure of insulation as the air trapped between the layers of fabric does block some infiltration of cold air and the transfer of warm air outward. Because the air flows around the fabric, the risk of condensation is minimized, protecting the window glazing admirably. The combination of light filtering and blockage of heat transfer makes for adequate energy efficiency as well.
For my friend, it provides interesting contrasts that will serve her instructional ideas well. A tug of the cords will provide her a clear or muted view. Another tug will block the view. Her living room being all black and white, she opted for the Ivory 525 for her French Doors; for her dining, she chose the blackout white to pick out the white upholstery of the dining chairs and rug.
Cool, modern and eclectic! And best of all, endlessly conducive to modern learning techniques!