Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Going To Be In Audience of "Live With Regis and Kelly" Tomorrow

My friend asked me to go along with her to see the taping of tomorrow's "Live With Regis and Kelly" tomorrow. The tickets are free.

Last week this same friend saw the show taped and was in a seat right near the front and was very visible on the screen twice. I wonder if I will be visible in the audience.

I don't usually watch this television show, but I am up for a free fun event with my girlfriends. I am considering this like a "Mom's Night Out" except in this case it will be a "Mom's Morning Out" and will require me getting up at 5:00 a.m. (very early for me) and dressing up in nice clothes, putting on makeup and maybe even using hairspray—and to be out the door before 6:00 in the morning. My friend is driving us into the City, at that time of the morning there usually is not much traffic (unless there is bad weather or an accident).

I see that the show I will be seeing taped will feature last year's runner-up for American Idol 2006, Katherine McPhee, who will perform live. I just checked online and saw her debut album was released yesterday. My husband wonders if all audience members will be given a free CD recording of the album. I don't know if "Live" does that or if that is just an Oprah and Dr. Phil thing. Since I am an American Idol fan I am interested to see Katherine McPhee perform and be interviewed on the show.

Also actress Sienna Miller will be there (I don't even know who that is, sorry). I just looked her up on the Internet and can report I've never seen anything she has been in (can you tell I don't watch a ton of movies?).

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Thoughts On A Parent’s Duty

I believe that is the duty of a parent to raise our children to be responsible people. A parents job is to socialize their children—a point which I agree very strongly with Dr. Phil about; he is adamant about that. One part of socialization is to teach a child how to work with other people, to follow rules and to be able to handle typical life experiences. Additionally along the way, there will be bumps in the road, problems will happen and a child will experience some negative thing at some point, and they must learn to get up after they ‘fall down’ and to dust off their pants and get back on track and move on with life.

Sadly, not all parents help their children overcome the small problems they encounter. Some parents confuse the love they have for their child with an action of trying to shoulder the child’s burdens for them to minimize or prevent their child from feeling any emotional pain or suffering. (Those parents would also take on any physical pain that a child has over a small injury if they could, such as a scraped knee, if they could.) If a little problem happens, the parent may choose to not use that as a ‘teachable moment’. Instead the parent may do one of the following things:
1) parent denies that the problem really is happening; it just didn’t happen or it didn’t happen ‘like that’ or it must have been ‘someone else’ that did it
2) say that the person who brings the problem to their attention is wrong (this applies also if the messenger is a school teacher or even a school principal, a daycare worker, or anyone who has authority for that child)
3) give some excuse for the child’s action and don’t address the situation at hand
4) avoid the issue by changing the situation (i.e. removing a child from a school and finding a new school)

If the parent consistently refuses to place any responsibility on the child, if they refuse to allow the child to have the responsibility they should have in that situation, then the child will be stunted in their development.

The stunting might be an increased reliance on the parent as the rescuer of the problem. The child will not learn to be responsible for their actions or to be able to handle them on their own, they must rely on their parent or they may choose to ignore the problem and just not take responsibility for it.

The child may not grow to be independent and able to move freely in their world (i.e. navigate through the school on their own, or to know how to socialize when in a group of children).

Also the child may learn to always blame some other person for having some problem rather than accepting that they have any participation in the situation or the problem at hand. (Don’t you know adults who still do this? Don’t you know when they are flat-out wrong but they truly can’t see it, as if they are seeing a different reality than we see?)

This could also develop into a victim-mentality mindset. This blame game playing and victim mode of thinking and living is something that can hinder a person’s happiness and/or success in life—and sometimes it can last an entire lifetime (it does not disappear at age 18 or at some other magical point in time). Once a victim mindset is established it seems to me that the burden is on the person themselves to realize they are burdened by it and then to work hard to reverse it. Once a certain mindset, any mindset, a certain attitude or paradigm is deeply entrenched, it is very hard work to change it. (Some seek and use professional therapy for years to do this process!)

The parents do love their children very much, they want the best for their children and don’t want them to feel any pain ---but the actions which they choose to do when a situation is encountered can sometimes be misguided. There is a fork in the road when a problem happens. The parent can step up and be the parent who helps the child by raising their expectations of the child and helping them to learn how to fulfill those expectations (the right thing) or the parent can intervene and try to make the child feel better by doing something that doesn’t help the child take the personal responsibility and grow—that is a hindrance.

It is not easy to see one’s child disappointed, sad, upset, angry with themselves or feeling low-self esteem due to some mistake they made or due to being involved in a negative situation.

The parent should not attempt to protect their own psyche from being hurt by blaming others or refusing to believe or see reality. One example is when a child admits they are bullying others at school, to deny this out of a desire to keep the impression of their child more perfect than it is would be a terrible thing for the bully as well as for the victims. (I saw this on the Dr. Phil show the other day with a grandmother/guardian of a girl who refused to believe what her own bully-granddaughter was admitting to).

I firmly feel that it is a parent’s duty to allow a child to express themselves by allowing them to feel the emotional pain, to acknowledge that feeling, and then to help teach them how to properly express it (verbally not physically acting out). It is a very bad thing to teach a child to suppress and squelch the expressions of negative emotions! Many problems, personality disorders and other socialization problems can be developed (rage, physically or mentally abusing others, depression, co-dependency and so on).

It is a parent’s duty to teach a child that it is safe and a good thing to verbally communicate to the parent or others who care for that child (a teacher, for example) what is going on. A child has to learn how to properly communicate their emotions (in our family this starts in toddler-hood when that stage where they throw or hit when they are not happy with something trivial starts but that same lesson has to be taught). Look at all the adults who are hard to be around, live with or work with who never learned to communicate effectively with others, especially about problems or misunderstandings. Wrapped into this is the ridiculous notion that boys should not show emotions or that they should suppress hurt feelings or tears just because they are male. Mothers who encourage their boys to squelch their emotions may wonder why so many adult men are unable to express their emotions to others with words (loving or hurt feelings). I feel that allowing a young boy to cry as part of a release of negative emotions is good, then to move them on to learn to express their emotions verbally. If a boy can recognize their emotions, allow themselves to feel them, deal with them and let them out in a good way then perhaps they won’t instead channel that to the use of verbally harmful words (verbal abuse), perhaps they will avoid suppressed rage (road rage for one thing) and lastly, avoid the use of physically lashing out (physical abuse) of other people.

Back to children—
It is the parent’s duty to help the child learn to heal from emotional pain. The parent can help the child identify their feelings and let them feel those feelings, to cry and talk about it, to let it out. Then the parent can help the child get over it and not to wallow in it (that is an important follow-up step.) The parent should help the child not be too hard on themselves for any part they played in the situation but to address it for what it was, then to move on. This will also help the child not develop a negative self-esteem due to an over-exaggerated view of themselves or their situation. The goal is to not raise a drama-queen or a drama-king.

The child should be taught that others also don’t worry about things as much as that person, what I mean is that often others have moved on from a situation while the person themselves may hold onto the negative emotions longer than anyone else is. For example if someone made fun of the child for a piece of clothing they wore the child who was laughed at may think that in the future, others are always remembering that and thinking about it every time they see them but in reality the others may have long forgotten it. The child should be taught to not overly-focus on that and taught to not become paranoid or neurotic! The child should know that while they think about themselves every day, every other person in the world is not thinking about them every day—that is just impossible and it is unreal (yet some people think that way).

It is the parent’s duty to help shine light on the situation as it is seen from an outside party, to give another perspective. I think that as adults we all realize by now that when we are in a situation we see it from one perspective but someone on the outside may see it in another very different way—but children seldom realize this---they have to have this explained to them, and the sooner the better, I think. This should continue right through the teen years and into adulthood even! A parent doesn’t stop being a parent when their offspring turns 18 (or some other age)!

(One mother told me when she returned to full time work when her oldest was five that ‘she did her five years of mothering and she is done’—note there was a three year old too plus she was working part-time for those other years.)

(Another parent told me that by the time the child is in 7th grade, the parenting is done, that all they can hope for is they did a good job of parenting up to that point, that the parenting is DONE by then. We were talking about children drinking alcohol and smoking pot and dealing pot on school grounds during the school day which was happening in both of our towns (in different states). I asked what he would do if that was his child who was dealing pot in school, and he said hat it was not his responsibility to parent the children about those situations as he was ‘done parenting’ by that age.)

Back to more simple matters that starts with the younger kids---
It is the parent’s duty to teach the child to rise up from those low places, to do what has to be done to get past that specific situation (apologize, make amends, finish that homework, remember to bring that book to class, whatever). The parent should teach the child that once something is over, it is over, to move on and to learn from any mistakes or problems, to help them become wiser and to try to teach them to not make the same mistake twice. It is the parent’s duty to continue to love that child unconditionally despite the problems that occurred.

The parent must accept that no child is perfect; to expect perfection of a child actually burdens the child (high expectations are good but expecting perfection is going too far). And it is the parent’s duty to see their child as imperfect and to therefore accept what is being told about their child by persons of authority. A parent who puts blinders on and refuses to hear or acknowledge anything negative about their child, even when the one reporting it is an adult or a teacher or Nanny, or any other person who takes care of that child in place of the parent is heading for disaster.

My friend who is a PTA President tells me that the teachers and school administrators are starting to give up on the parents. Faced with children who are rude, have no respect for authority and who are disruptive in the classroom (not to mention the more serious matter of the bullies), the teachers and school administrators are facing denial by the parents of these ‘problem children’. She was told that simply calling the parents and asking them to teach their children to not do X or to do Y is not working, so the school must do more in-house disciplinary measures, such as a new four-step punishment process. Additionally, she tells me that the problem is not just one or two children in a classroom, but it is many children in the classroom. She reports that some teachers say that to just get through the day is sometimes a challenge and it sometimes leaves little room for real teaching or learning. One thing they’ve had to do is hire a teacher’s aid to help out just because of the unruly and undisciplined children, to deal with the behavior issues or to help try to get children to follow rules, such as to sit down and be quiet and listen to what the teacher is trying to say (let alone to actually listen and do work and to let the teacher teach something). Much time can be wasted (and the top priority is) in trying to contain the problem children (some from physically and verbally abusing other children) that teaching the behaving children is the second and lower priority of the teacher. And parents wonder why children seem to be learning less yet public education costs more than ever.

For some time the schools have been blamed. People want certain results out of the students and taxpayers want certain results for the educational system they are paying for. I know it is not good to just play the blame game. But the source of the problem must be identified correctly in order to fix the problem at the source. I have thought long and hard about this and I blame the parents. I know, you think I sound like the school teachers and administrators now! But from what I hear from my friends with children in schools and from what I hear from the teachers I know, I am really beginning to think it really is the parents. Of course, none of the parents who say this thing it is THEIR children or THEIR parenting that is causing the problem.

So who are the parents causing the problem? I think sometimes parents and also teachers (especially child-less teachers) assume that the parents of the problem kids or those parents who refuse to address a situation are the ‘neglectful’ or ‘uncaring’ or ‘indifferent’ ones. Or they may think the child is being abused at home, or is a child of divorce, or some other problem (alcoholic parent). I think by now we all know that the problem is not income level or drug addiction or ‘parent in jail’ as these problems with lower academic standards and less learned and behavior problems and suicides and drug use is happening also in middle income and wealthy communities and it is with white people not only with various minority populations. It is happening in towns full of ‘good families’ and in families with college educated parents and parents with respectable white collar jobs.

So, while a number of parents may be indifferent or truly neglectful, I think in reality most love their children very much and want only the best for them. In a quest to be a very good parent they put a lot of love, time and energy into parenting, they expect that the product of their hard work (the child) will be perfect or nearly perfect. Anything they hear that contradicts or harms this picture-perfect image they desire is sometimes denied outright, dismissed as erroneous, or dismissed as being a mistake. They can’t believe that if they taught the child to behave like X that they would actually behave like Y. (Yes I have this with my own children, too and it is heart-wrenching to accept this the first time the realization dawned on me.)

The ‘blaming of the messenger’ has to stop and the parent should truly address the issue. The problem is not what happens in the school but what is taught at home and how a situation is handled once a parent is made aware of it.

It seems to me that with fellow parents of my generation, we have a problem much worse than the former generation; we are dealing with a very different experience of parenting. The women of my generation (Generation X) were raised after women’s liberation, and we were told that we can do it all: be smart, have ‘equal opportunity’, get a college education, have a professional and highly successful career, and then only after, and optionally, get married and have children. It seems to me that so many mothers are leaving childbearing until not just their late 20s but their 30s. It used to be early 30s, but now more than ever, it seems to me that women over aged 35 and now also over 40 are trying to have their first baby (or second or more). If a successful career was left behind to raise children, boy it had better be worth it, that child had better turn out well for all the hard work and sacrifice that the mother took. I think this is what is contributing to the drive to make "superbabies" and to have high success expectations for children (such as to get them into accelerated preschools, even when the highly educated mother is at home with the child and can provide an educationally rich and loving environment for the preschool years). And when that child is in school and if problems occur, the mother (and father) may not want to accept it.

As parents we have to remind ourselves of what our job is, and it is to parent our children. It is not always fun or easy to be the parent and at time our children may be angry or upset with us for doing our duty (they will get over it and in time they will see we were doing our job and they will thank us for it). We should remember that most of us came into parenting intentionally and desiring this experience. Many of us put a lot of time and energy into it (perhaps more than we think former generations did). Sometimes dealing with problems that our children have in their lives is not easy but it is our job to be the parent and do deal with it (not to deny it or ignore it). Our children are relying on us to guide them and to give them the tools they will need not just now when they are children but when they are adults as well. Teaching our children personal responsibility, how to communicate verbally, how to see a situation for what it truly is, and how to follow-through to finish or conclude that problem is our duty to teach.

As parents we have to have high expectations for our children. Children will rise to meet an expectation they are given and so as parents we should not set the bar too low or even at a very easy level—the bar must be raised. It does not matter if we think some other family has lower expectations—we should set our expectations at the level we think is right not based on what we think our neighbors and friends are doing. We find out what we think is right through trial and error, through thinking about it and for some, through prayer.

We need to be cautious that we don’t teach our children to think they are victims or to blame others instead of bearing the responsibility that is ours to bear. Living in denial or choosing to not address a situation, or taking extreme measures to have a child avoid a situation rather than to teach them to deal with it is a very bad idea; we should use every teachable moment to our advantage as it is the perfect way to teach our children to deal with situations that are real and are happening to them and that is when they need to learn it. Teachable moments usually come up at unexpected times when we may not want to handle it, and it may be unpleasant and maybe even painful, but as parents it is our duty to address it at that time and to teach our children in the process.

Teaching and guiding our children through life is our duty as parents. Unconditional love is a treasure and a gift we can give to our children that can exist while we deal with life’s problems; the two are not mutually exclusive.

(Personal Note: My children are not perfect nor am I a perfect parent. I am writing this from the perspective of a parent who realizes how hard it is to actively parent a child. I also see how sometimes a parent can teach a child to act in a certain way but they may not choose to act that way when with us or apart from us. I have seen the ‘pack mentality’ take over with children when they are in groups, also, with other kids and with my own children, too.

I homeschool my children and so I don’t have to deal with some of the things that my friends whose children are in school deal with (thank goodness!).

As a taxpayer and citizen of America I am funding the public education system and so I have an interest in how money is spent. And no, if you are wondering, I don’t get any financial assistance, rebates or materials on my taxes paid just because we homeschool and don’t use the public schools. Since it seems to me that money is being spent on issues resulting from unsocialized or undisciplined children, to the point where teacher’s aids have to be hired to act as additional supervisors or babysitters, then you can see why I have an interest in these children’s behavior issues at school.

I also don’t know if at some point in the future my own children will be enrolled in the public school system along with these ‘problem kids’.

As an American citizen who will be living in a world with these younger people in charge someday I hope and wish they are educated and able to function in society. I do worry that people blame the schools for lowering test scores, what seems to be less learning happening in school, lowered standards and ‘dumbed down’ expectations and curriculum being used with the current public schools. I ask why anyone would lower standards, it makes no sense. A new reason seems to be surfacing, if the children can’t be controlled in the classroom to learn harder topic A then they dumb it down to a more do-able task to teach B.

All of this is also relevant to the issue that if the problem is with the parents raising unruly children who can’t function in a simple elementary school classroom then blaming the schools and asking for changes in the curriculum or with the teachers is not addressing the problem at the core of the problem. If the problem is with the parenting then our nation needs to address that and our nation needs to stop blaming the educational system.

We can't look to educational reform to fix a problem that may not be rooted in the schools themselves.

I keep asking myself what is different now then it was when I was in elementary school 30 years ago, what is different now with our high school graduates then when I graduated 20 years ago? Even the parents in my same generation with these younger children are admitting the children are different now (at very young ages such as upon Kindergarten enrollment which is when some get to see so many other children in action, especially those parents who volunteer in the classrooms). Why are the kids different now? It is the parenting that is different. When children who are just five years old are a problem you can’t blame peers or teenage peer pressure—as they are not even teenagers yet. These kids are entering the classroom acting in a certain way and the teachers are having a hard time dealing with them to get them to act in ways that are conducive to teaching and learning. Some children are so disruptive that they impede the other children’s ability to learn. We have to look at ourselves and at other parents and examine what is being done right and what is being done wrong? What parenting advice were we taught that is turning out the ‘good kids’ and which has turned out the ‘rotten apples’?

If you have the answer to that, let me know. Is there a simple one thing that can be attributed to this or is it a set of factors or a layering effect of many factors? I am curious.)

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Carnival of Homeschooling Week 57 Has Been Published

The Carnival of Homeschooling Week 57 was published on January 30, 2007 at Palm Tree Pundit.

There are over40 entries in this blog carnival, that’s a lot of good reading (and free, too).

I have an entry in this Carnival.

If you have a blog or a website and write about homeschooling I encourage you to consider submitting an entry to this weekly blog Carnival. For information on how to make a submission, see here.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

Math Mojo Site

Brian of the Math Mojo site has been leaving comments on my blog. He is a real person with something to say, not one of those spam-comment-leavers who are just trying to get people to visit their blog or site.

Here is an explanation of Math Mojo, as seen in the manifesto.

"The Math Mojo "Manifesto"

Almost everyone feels that they could be better at math than they already are. And they are right!

Do you have a definition of math that makes sense to you? Probably not. Why not? Isn't it crazy that they spend so much time trying to teach you math in school, and they don't even help you understand what it is?

We are usually taught math as a "subject" in school. Math is so much more than that! It is philosophy, art, entertainment, and more.

We are usually taught that there is "one way" to get an answer. That is one of the worst things you can tell someone. First of all, it is not true! For instance, there are hundreds and hundreds of ways to multiply. And one of the worst ways is to torture yourself with the "tables" and rote memory.

Second of all, even if there were "one best way" to get an answer, it would surely not be the one they teach you in school.

Math Mojo uses lots of ways to do the operations of math which are much more inspiring than memorizing some boring stuff and taking senseless tests.

Math Mojo is dedicated to making math about how you view your world, not how teachers view you. My priority is not teachers. My priority is your relationship to reality.

Math can be a great tool for understanding the world. And the world is not math tests. The world is much cooler than that!"

I see a podcast that for now, is free to listen to.

Yes, Math Mojo does sell some products. The site also shares information.

If you are curious about his ways of teaching math, check out his site and his blog.

Math Mojo Site

Math Mojo Blog

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Trend Predictor’s Thoughts About Homeschooling in the Future

Marian Salzman is a trend predictor with a new book out.

Homeschooling is one topic mentioned.

I learned this tidbit in this online newspaper article.

"She also claims that businesses who serve families will be in high demand, ranging from providing ways to keep them safe to offering strategies for homeschooling children. Homeschooling will continue to be popular and even parents who send their children to public schools will search for ways to foster their education after they get home."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oprah Had a Homeschooling Mother on Her Show

Oprah just aired a show the other day depicting what life in America is like for women in their 30s. It aired on January 25, 2007 and was titled "Thirty-Something In America".

When I heard that I thought, “Well she won’t depict MY life.” (They usually never do.) I was wrong.

All I will blog about right now is that yes, there was a mother who homeschooled her children on the show. Her name was Angela (see info on her here). The teasers advertised her as a stay at home mother of eight children (but leaving out the homeschooling part). The mom was 37 years old and she is married with eight children ranging in age from 19 down to 3.

After a videotaped segment which hit the highlights of their life she was interviewed on stage with Oprah (for a very short while compared to the other guests). In both the video and on the stage she happily explained she homeschools her children with the main reason being to give them a “Christ-centered education”. A statistic of estimating one million children as being homeschooled was shared by Oprah. Oprah really didn’t talk to her much about the homeschooling.

Instead, Oprah talked about if she planned to have any more children and she kept pressing her on the issue of the number of children. The mom said she was open to having more children but that she leaves it in the hands of God to determine. Oprah pressed her on birth control so the mom finally explained that they pretty much ‘take their chances’ and if a baby results then that is fine with her.

One point that was made which I guess they thought was significant was that Angela raises her children with NO Nanny, NO housekeeper and NO babysitter.

And if you are wondering the homeschooling method was not described or shown in detail but they talked and showed on the video, shots of the family doing homeschooling around the (very long) dining room table. They showed Mom teaching a preschooler that what was on the page was a letter ‘R’.

The family appeared very happy. Not much was said about religion other than the two references to having a ‘Christ centered’ education.

Oh and Oprah pressed her on why she homeschooled and she said her oldest did go to public school for Kindergarten and First Grade but then they decided they’d prefer a “Christ-centered education” and began homeschooling.

It was a positive piece if you ask me.

Oprah also said that large families are ‘on the rise’ in America.

In no way did it come across that every homeschooled family does it that way or is Christian. This was very much clearly about this one woman and her family, as were all the other segments on the show. The show was trying to depict a slice of what women in their 30s were living with.

Of the half of the show that I saw (so far) each woman has a very different situation. A quick example is one is a Jewish physician who is going to have medical procedures to get pregnant and raise her own child, another woman was divorced after 11 years of marriage with 4 children, another is single at 35 and looking for a relationship and maybe marriage, maybe not.

I plan to finish watching the show later today.

(I don’t know why I hadn’t heard about this on the blogosphere, the Internet or in an email.)

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Woke Up To No Heat Today

Well winter has finally arrived. For the last two days we had temperatures in the teens. Yesterday felt so cold as there was a good wind as well as 15 degree temperatures.

I was grateful for a warm house!

Last night the kids wanted to have a fire in the fireplace so we did that. I read aloud from “The Railway Children” by E. Nesbit and finally finished it. (I plan to do a full book review on it soon after my wrist pain subsides.)

So the scene last night was me with a painful hand and wrist, sitting on the couch under a comforter trying to keep warm. The warmth from the fire was just beyond my reach. The kittens played around our feet and sometimes cuddled with us. My older son sometimes cuddled up to me under the comforter. My younger son was doing imaginative play with a LEGO Bionicle set he received for Christmas. To be honest at some points he was tuning out the story that I was reading aloud. My husband sat on the other couch and browsed through a mail-order catalog while listening to me read.

Later my older son made PB&J sandwiches for my younger son and I. We ate them in the living room by the fire which is very much NOT a routine thing to do in our house. Eating is usually restricted to the kitchen.

Lastly the night ended with my sons begging to roast marshmallows over the fire. Using metal shish-ke-bob skewers we roasted a few. They were roasting and if one got burned they gave it to me to eat. I guess I’m the only one who not only tolerates but likes the taste of a burned marshmallow.

We went to bed, all was well.

When my husband and I woke up the room seemed chillier than usual. It was quiet, the heat was not on and there was no blower sound. The temperature in the room was 52 degrees. Brrr.

My husband investigated and confirmed that the furnace is not working. A call was put in to the oil company and it has been about two hours now and so far we have no indication from then of approximately when they will arrive. (They usually give some kind of an indication.)

My husband started a fire in the fireplace. The boys laid a blanket near the fire and sat in front of the warmth of the fire. My husband cooked a hot breakfast for everyone. I decided to rearrange the living room furniture temporarily to put the couch right in front of the hot fire. I could no do the lifting, though; the kids did it while I pushed with my one good hand.

And so that is the state of affairs in this home right now. It is 23 degrees outside, and 57 degrees at my desk here.

I am going to step away from the PC now to go read while sitting on the couch, under a comforter, in front of the fire.

(Note: that haircut that I was going to call to schedule for today will not happen now and the plans to go to a winter festival event won’t happen either. Both are fine with me, I am happy to relax at home and to rest my hand and wrist, but I’d prefer to do it in a heated home.)

Update: After about 4.5 hours the service man came and found the problem. We need a new boiler. The poor furnace is working like a dog and three hours after it was running again, it is still only 60 degrees in some rooms.

The kids are now at a friends house for a playdate.

I started a new book today (for myself) and one for the kids.

I think I need to spend time on the couch reading for pleasure on a regular basis. Slowing down is a good thing.

"Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need To Write the Book of Your Dreams": my personal reading

"Five Children and It": new family read aloud (chapter book, fiction, a classic)

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Washing Machine Finally Fixed

I do our laundry on one day of the week. There are usually five or six loads. I figured we do it about every six days. I just do it all and then it is done and there is enough for each color or type of load to have a full load thereby maximizing the use of water and electricity.

Last week I had six loads lined up to wash and on the first load I realized the washing machine was not spinning. That was a Friday.

At that time I was annoyed as we have a Maytag Neptune and just before the warranty expired it broke and the entire motor was replaced. Now it is five years old and broken again. It seems things don’t last as long as they used to ‘in the old days’.

My husband phoned for service as I wanted him to decide what company to choose so if any problem happened with them I’d not have been responsible for it. He called on Friday and was given a Monday appointment. It seemed too good to be true. I made sure not to book anything for that afternoon as we had the lovely five hour window to sit and wait for the serviceman.

On Monday morning they called to say the repairman was ill and ‘called in sick’. The earliest they could do was Thursday afternoon and they said over and over that it was an evaluation only and that it may not get fixed that day if a part was needed.

My husband decided to change Service Company’s to one who has been here before for our refrigerator. However the best they could do was Wednesday, not much better.

The serviceman did come and in less than 15 minutes our washer was working again. The culprit was a broken wire and it cost $135 to fix this.

But who cares, the washer is working. We were down to the wire with no clean underwear and the kids had no clean pants. There were 12 loads now waiting to be done.

I was so grateful to have a working washing machine that I didn’t complain about doing all that laundry.

My children help me by carrying dirty laundry downstairs to the washer. They change over some of the loads to the dryer. They carry some of the clean laundry up to my bedroom where I fold it, using the bed as a big sorting platform. The kids have to put their own clothes away after I am done folding it and have it sorted into piles by type of item (one type of item goes in each drawer).

I am close to having my kids do their own folding but so far have not done that yet.

The purpose of sharing this is to show that little problems happen to everyone. We successfully homeschool our children while in the midst of stuff like this happening. No family is perfect or without inconveniences or small problems like this.

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Little Problems We Have In Life

I don’t usually blog lots of details of our family’s daily life and the problems. I don’t want this to be a complaining blog about my personal affairs.

However for the sake to showing that in the midst of homeschooling and parenting and all else, I have decided to share a couple of things that we deal with as they come up.

I know that potential homeschoolers and the homeschool-curious read my blog. To those who think that all in a life must be perfect and smooth-running in order to homeschool I say, it is not true. And for that reason I will blog a couple of challenges in the next blog posts that I write today.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

School Mandates Silence (Or Whispering) At Lunch

My friend emailed me this story about a new policy at a Roman Catholic private elementary school requiring that talking be kept to a whisper while at lunch.

The school is St. Rose of Lima and is in Rhode Island.

The last time a story with a silent lunch time in a school hit the media I said that kids need some free time to talk and socialize and to let off steam. I still hold the same opinion.

Perhaps the school should have a lesson on how to chew food? Twenty-thirty chews per bite. That would be a preventative measure.

Or the school could send home a homework assignment to practice chewing each bite of food a minimum of twenty times. How about that for a low-pressure homework assignment?

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Is This The “New, New, New Math”?

Here is a 15 minutes long video that you can view online (free) on YouTube, showing some new ways that math is being taught to schooled kids whose schools use these two math curriculums.

The two curriculums she criticizes are:

Investigations in Numbers, Data and Space

Everyday Mathematics

The woman in the video is a concerned parent of a public schooled student. She is also a meteorologist who learned from college professors upon returning to college for an advanced degree in math, that incoming college students were unable to do basic math such as 4x6=? without the use of a calculator.

She is concerned that abandoning the old ways of doing multiplication and division are hindering children and older students from learning. Also children in grades four and up are being encouraged to use a calculator instead of doing math on paper which is another issue.

If these new ways were working I don’t think anyone would be complaining.

Title of video: Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

Did you know American math performance has been declining and we are sinking lower and lower in the world’s rankings of math ability? That issue was covered in the 20/20 “Stupid in America” show that originally aired in January 2006.

Despite it being a copyright violation the “Stupid in America” documentary show is on YouTube right now. It is 40 minutes long, as they took the commercials out. If this URL doesn’t work, go to and do a keyword search on “stupid in America” and you’ll probably find it.

The 20/20 show addresses “we just need more money” issue that schools cry out, and says that it is “a big lie”.

You should watch both videos, really! Every taxpayer should watch it as should every parent no matter if their kids are in public school, private or homeschooled.

Hat Tip: Judy Aron, Consent of the Governed

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Children’s Book Author Dies With Wife and Pets In Suspected Euthanasia Related Suicide Pact

I stumbled upon this story by linking from the Carnival of Children’s Literature to an author’s website and then finding a link to this story in her archives.

I have not read Henry Horse’s books and I had never heard of him. I see he was an award winning author and illustrator who lived (and died) in Scotland. His birth name is Richard Horne.

As I read the news story about his 39 year old wife’s struggle with MS and then their deaths in what appears to have been a suicide pact, I wept. Harry Horse was just 46 years old. Their pets were found dead with them, also.

First off his wife was my same age and the idea of having MS and being severely disabled and in a wheelchair and then finally, dying in an act of euthanasia was bothersome to read about.

Secondly this author, illustrator and cartoonist who had what seemed to be a successful career is now dead and the world has lost him forever.

I read that assisting someone with an assisted suicide as an act of euthanasia is illegal in Scotland and perhaps he would have been jailed for murder. To face a decision to either go to jail or to take one’s own life must have been a terrible decision to face.

I also was surprised to read that he blogged and had posted just 11 days earlier looking for support and information about living and coping with MS. This tells me that the couple was still struggling and suffering in anxiety about living with a debilitating illness such as MS. The obviously didn’t get the support they needed from other people or from a higher power or I assume the suicide pact would not have been followed-through on..

I am saddened also that the couple was unable to feel that they could cope with living in this way. It is sad that no other person could have helped them in the way they needed, and also that they were unable to feel that anything could help them cope (such as faith, comfort in God, or something else)—-because if they had would they not still be here?

When I was younger and working in the medical field I used to be empathize with terminally ill patients, and the elderly who were slowly slipping away. I used to think that euthanasia for those who are terminally ill and suffering was humane. However the question of who gets to decide that it is time to die was problematic. I’d not want, for example, to be told by someone else that it was my time to be killed as I was a burden to care for or that my quality of life was not up to someone else’s standards!

I am torn about my feelings about euthanasia now as I am leaning more toward questioning who has the right to decide when a human life should end, should upset relatives decide or should a person not in their right mind due to illness or emotions (such as depression) be allowed to make that decision? Also, what about Harry Horse? He is gone from the world forever and he was not even physically sick (that we know of).

I have seen people I love suffering deeply due to mental illness (untreated) and I can tell you that once they are treated they are grateful that they lived and got through it and that others were there to insist they get treated. Also I have a sick grandmother aged 88 who states daily that she wishes euthanasia was legal in America, I deal with thoughts about this on a regular basis. I am so conflicted about the whole issue. (But then again, she used to wish for her death before she had any physical ailments.)

This is just such a sad story!

More Info

The Obituary for the author

Harry Horse’s My Space account

Harry Horse’s favorite books and heroes as listed on his My Space profile (I included this because I am a book lover and am always curious about what books inspire book authors.)

His Favorite Books

Valis by Philip K Dick
The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary by Karl Von Eckartshausen
The Devil in Paradise by Henry Miller
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
Shadow Over Innsmouth by HPLovecraft
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahmme
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

His Heroes

John Balance
Philip K Dick
Henry Miller
Captain Beefheart
Marianne Faithfull
Vincent Sun Ra Roo
Otto Dix

More about Harry Horse on his publisher’s website (Penguin)
(The ‘routine’ section at the bottom where we are given the option to be alerted when his next book is published was surprising and disturbing to see.)

Can't Use Left Hand

I will be publishing something that I wrote in the past but didn't publish as I can't use my left hand today.

I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible pain and a limited range of motion in mr wrist and hand. I am going to the doctor later today. This is weird to only have one hand and the pain is bad, too. I am a bit freaked out about this.
Right now I am hunting and pecking with the fingers of my right hand.

It is also scary and freaky to experience.

Update 9:30 am 1/27/07: I was punted to the ER and was evaluated with an x-ray. I have what may be the most vague diagnosis ever. First the doctor suggested I must have whacked my wrist on something once or twice during the day but forgot about it and later felt the injury's affects. Okey-dokey.

But the bottom line is he said that many expensive diagnostic tests could be done to try to find the actual diagnosis but since the treatment is cheap and the same, what is the point of doing it?

I was told to rest it, apply ice, and to take an NSAID.

I will say this: living without the use of one hand and having that hand and wrist in a constant pain is not pleasant or easy.

It is a little better so far.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Various Educational Requests From My Children or Self-Initiated Educational Activities They Are Doing

The pace of life in our home has been slowed down dramatically since Christmas, intentionally.

Once we decompressed from post-holiday busyness, strep throat hit the house.

Then we went into the mode of readjusting to non-holiday celebration life and getting back to homeschooling. Included in that was adjusting to the fact that almost all of the fall activities we were doing had ended.

I then tried to institute a new big family schedule. That bombed for many reasons.

I decided to not over-schedule us again and to not even do a lot of playdates. I wanted slow time at home to adjust and to work on the schedule.

The pediatrician gave my older son a new nutritional plan and an exercise regime. That is a very long story which so far I have not shared on my blog. It was so complex that it was mind boggling for me to deal with. Oh, and the television time was decreased from 30 minutes of a children’s program then one show at night with me and my husband to just one show at night with us only if exercise was done that day. That smaller amount of time without television gave my kids even more free time.

It is nice to have time to do our homeschooling lessons again.

Now that the children have more free time they are also asking to learn certain things or are starting their own projects. I decided to share some with you in case you are interested. This is interest-driven learning or learner-directed learning or interest-led learning, and it is the basis of how unschoolers ‘do homeschooling’. However I feel that every homeschooling family no matter what their style or method has some of this self-directed learning going on, unless they are so over-scheduled that there is no time for it to happen. I now realize we were so busy last fall that it prevented much of this kind of thing from happening.

The list of what my kids initiated in the last week (yes, just one week):

Older son asking to learn the history of the invention of the railroads, even though it is not the time period we are studying at this time. I agreed we could study that ‘out of order’.

Older son proclaims his multiplication math is too easy and instead wants to learn fractions. I handed him a book and told him to teach himself (I can only facilitate so much and I’m already doing Math-U-See math curriculum with him).

Older son asking for tests (gasp) that make him interpret tables and charts. (I have not taken action on this yet.)

Younger son asking to do spelling lessons again.

Playing with new talking/interactive globe on their own (Oregon Scientific Smart Globe).

Older son asking to learn chemistry.

Younger son finding a chemistry experiment kit and asking to do it, right now (we did about six experiments right then and there, earlier today).

Older son constructed a model of a robot out of LEGOs with moving appendages.

Younger son emptied his piggy bank and counted up how much coin money was in it (over $18). This inspired our older son to do the same.

Both kids took out GeoBoards and made patterns. They did this on three occasions. I’ve never used these in ‘real’ math lessons. They are asking to make a quilt out of the patterns they have designed. So far we are taking digital photos of the designs so they can take them apart and use the GeoBoard again.

Older son took out a stack of about a dozen books on inventing and inventors and is reading them before bed at night, after he is tucked in.

Older son read a book called “How To Build a Robot” and then designed his own robot including a list of tasks he wants it to perform and a parts list, with a labeled diagram. The next day he asked his younger brother if he wanted a robot and he asked him the questions to help him figure out what uses he wanted and they drew that robot and made those lists.

Older son is reading a book about the history of time machines "How To Build a Time Machine", and is trying to figure out what parts he should be saving now, to build one in the future. Some ingredients so far are old PC parts, broken digital camera, old telephones, and some old gears from time clocks.

They have been coloring in the Dover Stained Glass Coloring Books every night this week. I intended to do these as a history lesson activity but I am letting them just fool around with them instead.

They are pulling out various board games and asking to play them with my husband and me.

Younger son initiated playing some card games with my husband.

Younger son pulled the Coin-U-Lator game out and played games on it.

Older son pulled out all of our DK books about the Star Wars movies and proclaimed he’d read all of them since he hasn’t read them in a while.

Re-reading Calvin and Hobbes comic books, The Far Side, Garfield and some Peanuts books. Asking me to get more Garfield and Peanuts books on

Found a cassette tape of a NEST biography on Alexander Graham Bell and listened to it on a portable cassette player with headphones.

Listening to the Narnia radio dramatization every minute that we are in the car and sometimes in the house. We are up to "The Silver Chair" at this moment in time.

Singing spontaneously throughout the day, the songs they have learned in church choir.

Today I realized (again) the importance of spare time, the importance of unstructured time, of free blocks of time at home. I knew this in the past, but had not enjoyed it recently due to over-scheduling last fall. I am really enjoying being at home for large chunks of time with my children and being available to do all of these things with them. I really like this slower pace and feel it is giving me enough time to keep up with the house cleaning, the laundry, the meal-making, checking emails, blogging, and to also have time to enjoy myself doing other things “just for me”, too.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Homeschooled On A Sailboat, Keriann Backus Now Is A Rhodes Scholar

I think this is the same family that I read about in a back issue of either Home Education Magazine or Growing Without Schooling a number of years ago!

Here is a story on the Internet about Keriann Backus. When she was seven her family packed up and moved onto a 39 foot sailboat and set about to sail around the world. She was homeschooled while on the sailboat. That trip lasted seven years.

"The approach—which featured lots of homeschooling, hours reading at sea, and very little interaction with other kids—seems to have worked."

Note the part about socialization.

She graduated from Brown, is now a Rhodes Scholar and heads to Oxford University next.

“Keri is a rare individual exhibiting both the strong intellectual independence of a lifelong scholar and the compassion and drive of a devoted advocate for the disadvantaged,” says Linda Dunleavy, associate dean of the College.

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Not Much To Say About American Idol’s Memphis Audition Show

I read someplace on the Internet that Fox was going to tone down the audition shows after the brutal Seattle show, yet I read elsewhere that they had no plans to tone anything down, that the show is what it is. So I don’t know what to believe.

But anyway I did watch the Memphis, Tennessee Audition show which aired last night, January 23, 2007.

Ho hum. That sums it up.

One thing they did at one point was instead of showing all the bad auditions they showed a bunch of clips of just the judges saying “no”, “no”, and “no” over and over. That way they could get the point across that not much talent was found without showing the guests so we viewers could not get upset, I guess.

Last night’s show was more like I remembered from last year’s audition shows. There were mediocre singers, bad singers and a couple of good singers. There were people with good voices but a bad stage presence, for example.

The whole show was pretty boring, actually.

There was no bullying and no nastiness as was depicted on last weeks shows.

The craziest thing on the show was one young woman who spoke beforehand about her appearance and she described herself looking both “innocent” and “sexy” (I didn’t know the two words could be used together about the same person). She had on a plunging neckline dress with no bra, it had cutouts at the sides of her torso, too. She kept singing and bending way over, and really jiggling around and more than a couple of times she nearly fell out of her dress, seriously. At one point Paula gave her sign language by covering her own chest with her jacket to indicate that it was time for her to fix her dress.

There were at least three people who spoke in a jumbled way and we could not understand what they were saying with their spoken words as well as the words that were sung. It was not due to a thick accent either. It was odd, actually.

I spent the time drawing and mostly looking down at my paper while listening. My kids did the same thing. Thank goodness for TiVo so we could fast forward through the “coming up next” clips and the commercials (it saved us time).

I was thinking of pulling a novel off my shelf and turning off the TV at night and reading instead. None of my unread novels is “calling to me” at the moment though, so I am sitting back and will most likely continue to watch American Idol.

If you want to read the other American Idol show reviews I wrote, just click on the “American Idol” label below and you’ll see my other blog posts.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January Musings: The Carnival of Homeschooling Week 56

What does January bring for your family? What are you thinking about and dealing with this January? It seems that everyone has January Musings of one kind or another.

January is a month that can be different than most others for families already homeschooling and also for those considering homeschooling. January is a month that can be difficult for even the most committed homeschooling families yet can be a month of change and regeneration for others.

January is not exactly the mid-point of the school year for those who use a September-June ‘academic calendar’ but it feels like a mid-point. January is a significant month. For those who like to count their ‘school year’ the same as people count the calendar year, it is the first month (yes, some people do that).

But in any event, for those who had fall activities, January usually brings a break. Well December usually has a bit of a break from the regular activities but since most people are busy with holiday preparation and celebration they don’t feel like they are taking a break. Most people celebrate one of the major holidays in December and January is when things get back to normal.

Those whose children are in school may have had late November or December parent-teacher conferences and have they been mulling over what they were told since then. Now they are dealing with children readjusting to a return to school after their December break (that week or so that was formerly known to Americans as “Christmas vacation”). And some are considering a switch to homeschooling. The most common worries are: “can I pull them out mid-year” and “is it possible to start homeschooling after years of being in school”?

Some homeschoolers are readjusting the family schedules and changing the routines. Some homeschooling parents are assessing where they are with their academics in relation to the plans they laid out months earlier. Those who were over-scheduled in the fall are trying to figure out where they went wrong, and how to not repeat that mistake this spring. It is time to sign up for new classes and events, and soon it will even be time to sign up for spring outdoor sport teams.

January can bring dreary weather, and some end up snowed in. Some complain of the January doldrums. Parents seek ways to prevent cabin fever in general or try to prevent boredom with their usual family homeschooling plans (some call that “living”).

Those whose children will be taking standardized tests in the spring may be thinking of teaching to the test, or at least teaching their children how to take standardized tests.

No matter what style of homeschooling a family does, or how long a family has been homeschooling, there is something to address and think about in January.

Homeschooling is a journey. Homeschooling takes us on a path that is always changing. We parents are always changing. Life can get easier and then harder in many ways. As children grow, they change not only in their physical shape but in their personality and with their interests and learning. Dynamics between siblings and within the entire family unit change over time. New babies may be added to the mix. All these factors affect what homeschooling style and method we use. We may change our methods and/or our books and curriculum. We may change from a more strictly structured academic style to a more relaxed style, or vice-versa.

I divided this Carnival by the different types of places on the path that different people find themselves in at this moment in time. While on the path that is our homeschooling journey there are those who are just starting out, those right in the middle of it, those who face a fork in the road, and those who feel they may be near the end of their journey. There are the planners who are researching options and information. There are the thinkers who like to ponder about the journey (not just plan for it or just set out on the journey). Then there are those who are thinking about the rules and laws that must be followed in order to allow all of us to go on this homeschooling journey. We will hear from over 45 homeschooling parents in this blog carnival, who share about their place on this path, this journey that we call homeschooling.

I hope you find this Carnival enlightening. I know I did. Enjoy.

Just Starting On The Path

Kristina of At Home, On Fire wrote of her blog post “Creative Christianity” that it was an attempt to put to words part of what has captured her heart and pulled it toward homeschool.

Amani of Sechs Wochen Ferien writes of the Number one reason why she homeschools her son.

Sprittibee of Sprittibee shares an old emailed message she has saved since 2002 which provides her inspiration, about ten things that a homeschooling mom had wished she’d known about homeschooling.

Dolfin at LionDen Landing, Farion blogs about starting homeschooling from birth; their child is 14 months old at this point in time.

Marsha at New Classical Family asks “When is a curriculum not a curriculum?” and shares how most homeschoolers will answer a question from a mother of a preschooler about what they should do or buy to educate their children.

Gena Suarez, Publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine writes that she knows the importance of the role of a mentor; she remembers those that have helped to mentor her, and asks if she is ready to be a mentor to others.

On The Path, Thinking About Academics

Dana at Principled Discovery gives a recommendation for Stellarium, a free educational software program that gives you your very own home planetarium.

Kevin at website shares an online article authored by Stacey Schifferdecker about reading readiness.

Beverly at submitted an entry from the Homeschool Daze blog in which Julee shares a craft she enjoyed doing with her children related to the children’s picture book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.

Kevin from the website submits this article written by Ann Bowers that provides information to help parents teach their children capitalization rules, which appears on the More4Kids website: “Writing Conventions for Homeschoolers: Capitalization”.

Denise of Let’s Play Math presents in the Math Forum, the 2007 Mathematics Game: challenge your students to play the mathematical game-of-the-year. It's a great way to practice their math facts and creative problem-solving skills. (NOTE: You will have to know what factorials are. They're easy: for any whole number n, n factorial is written n! = 1 x 2 x 3 x ... x n. Just multiply all the numbers from one up to n.).

Shannon at Homeschool Hacks says are lots of ways to help your children understand how math works in our lives every single day. Here are some math resources that are outside the "curricula" box.

Maureen at Trinity Prep School shares her answers to a Great Books Discussion on The Iliad: vibrant literary devices makes a story come alive.

Kat of No Fighting, No Biting shares a description of a trip this past week to Jamestown, Virginia, USA during the year of its 400th anniversary.

Marsha writes on Life Without School about “Imperfect Homeschooling”. Homeschooling is not perfect! Homeschooling does not guarentee perfect perfect parents, perfect families or perfect children! But we can learn from our mistakes and take responsibility for them as we grow with our children.

Patti writes at All Info About, that, no, she’s not throwing out her teacher's guides and trudging back to the brick child factory down the street....her baby is turning seven, and the end of our homeschool journey is in sight, if still a bit in the distance. As she begin to have actual free time, what will she do with it?

Janine of Baptist Homeschooling blogs about the convenience of being able to travel while homeschooling and just how educational traveling can be.

On The Path, Going With The Flow

Bev Krueger of HS Blog blogs about the fact that she works from home while homeschooling her children, and shares thoughts on an article written by Mike Gunderloy in which he offers his take on how to deal with kids and working from home. She says she’d like to focus on juggling homeschooling into the mix.

Lara of At The Open Door writes that homeschooling isn't just good for the kids. This post is about some of neat perks she have gotten from homeschooling her son.

Alasandra writes about how homeschooling is flexible enough to work around a trip to the ER, doctor’s visits and eventually, physical therapy.

Cindy at Dominion Family shares a sample of a typical school Morning Time at their house.

Mama Chaos at Wired For Noise shares a brief summary of an article she wrote on unschooling and talking about how excited I am to have my work published and to be able to use this feeling to encourage my children someday.

Sarah at Small World, has found that the best way to combat the January Blahs is to add some serious variety into their school day. All the regular diversions are great, such as Play-dough, pattern blocks, and puzzles, but in this post she offers a selection of other activities that helps her family ward off the winter doldrums.

Anne of Palm Tree Pundit shares in “Making Connections” how excited she is when her children and she make connections between what they're studying and other subjects or with "real life" stuff. She explain how that helps us to understand why learning is so important and motivates us to press on.

A Fork In The Road Is Encountered; Considering Changing Paths

Elisheva Levin of Ragamuffin Studies reflects reflection on how they are adjusting their curriculum plan to meet the needs of their child including an explanation of how world history curriculum is being taught and tailored to address their family’s Jewish religious beliefs.

Elena of My Domestic Church writes that while looking for a potential program for her high school son next year, she was very pleased with what Hewitt Homeschool have to offer!

Melissa Wiley of The Lilting House is blogging the process of getting an IEP for my son so that he can get speech therapy through the school district. In “The IEP Meeting” she descrbes the meeting where she identified goals & services for his IEP paperwork (Individual Education Plan).

Near Or At The End Of The Journey

Mama Squirrel of Dewey’s Treehouse blogs about homeschooled students who later enroll in public school, and about making the choice to do what is best for each child.

Brianna Dean of Who Learns? cautions us about scams involving “distance learning” “schools” which advertise to offer degrees in exchange for fees and only your “real life” experience rather than offering true coorespondence courses.

Sarah Winfrey at Wise Bread encourages us to enrich our post-college home study curriculum with these free internet classes and education resources.

Planning For The Journey, Thinking About Curriculum, Educational Products, or Teaching

Christy of Standing on Isaiah 54:13 shares how she found some free (or almost free) timeline figures.

Queen of Carrots shares in TTIR Part 12: Shakespeare recollections of how she learned Shakespeare despite--perhaps because of?--him not being in the lesson plans. Also, some plans for introducing her children to him.

Meredith of Sweetness and Light blogs that as the new year unfolds before them, they have resumed their family Tuesday Teatimes and with a very special guest this year, Shakespeare! He will be present in poetry and prose and of course in all his ever famous plays, and scene will unfold upon scene for a lovely visit and perhaps a Scone or two.

Thinking About The Homeschooling Journey, Broader Thoughts

Scott Lee of Dirty Mechanism blogs "How to Educate My Child - Thoughts on Different Options in Education". While the whole article is worthy of reading the last paragraph is brilliant if you want my opinion!

Deep Thought, of the blog Deep Thought shares part of a series prompted by a phone call he had with Homeschool opponent Professor Rob Reich of Stanford.

Recently, Karen of The Thomas Institute read a three-part essay by Charles Murray about
IQ and public education policies. She writes that she enjoyed reading and writing about the topic, but afterwards wondered, "What does it all mean to the
homeschooler?" So, here is her attempt to answer that question, in “Intelligence in the Homeschool Classroom”.

Barbara of Fuel shares an insightful post about fuel, full service parenting and homeschooling, and ponderings on her energy level and presence with her children and a metaphor with leftovers. This entry is good food for thought!

Rusty of New Covenant shares a short reflection on the impact of being a technically savvy college grad, while also being ignorant of basic business software. An admonition to impart upon our children a practical approach to areas of technical thought (especially hardware and amp software issues).

Neal of Another Blog On The Fire writes about some life lessons he learned about Ansel Adams and his father. (I also learned that Adams had problems in school and was removed from school to lead an unschool-ish lifestyle instead and he thrived.)

Barbara Frank of The Imperfect Homeschooler writes that as homeschoolers, we can raise our children to be independent thinkers who do not grow up to become part of an unfortunate group that seems to be growing rapidly in our culture: peer-dependent adults.

Do you dread the day when your children will declare their independence? Or are you concerned that they never will? Kim Anderson at Mother-Lode takes an independent view of nurturing Independent Movement.

Henry of Why Homeschool suggests in “What will the future hold for homeschoolers?” that homeschoolers will be making a large impact in the future.

Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit shares the titles of two magazine articles that “stopped her in her tracks”.

Rules and Laws That Affect Our Journey

At Corn and Oil Susan shares a summary of some of the legislation (including correspondence from Senator Durbin), of what is happening that could affect homeschooling families across the nation regarding the push for universal mental health screening.

Judy Aron of Consent of the Governed writes that State Represetative Arthur O'Neill proposes legislation in Connecticut USA to protect parents who wish to dis-enroll their children from public school in order to homeschool them.

The Thinking Mother broaches a touchy subject. She shares her thoughts about about how government officials are asking the homeschooling community to do a better job of policing themselves to prevent educational neglect. She asks if homeschooling parents have an ethical or moral duty to not ignore suspected educational neglect.

That concludes this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is published weekly and is owned by the Why Homeschool blog.

For information about submitting an entry to next week’s Carnival of Homeschooling, see the information

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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Little More On The American Idol Seattle Audition Show

I got curious so did some web surfing today. I found this article about some of the contestants on the show.

The auditioner with the red Hawaiian shirt who I suspected had some kind of diagnosis is reported to have Autism and to have competed in a past Special Olympics. His name is Jonathan Jayne. Here is his My Space account.

Kenneth Briggs is the name of the auditioner who Simon Cowell said looked like a monkey, and a bush baby. Here is a link to a blog article that shows a photo of Briggs alongside a photo of a bush baby.

Briggs and Jayne have appeared on a talk show, read more about that here.

Here is a long article which I didn't have time to read, but that describes the different contestants and has photos of them.

The next American Idol audition show is tomorrow night, will you be watching?

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What Would Life Be Like If All The Kids Weren’t In School?

Today there was no school in my town. My friend told me it was teacher workshop day. Another told me that it was curriculum planning day. The postal clerk said a teacher told her she was using the day to clean her classroom.

In any event after my kids scheduled class this morning, they spend a few hours with their friend who now goes to school. They became close friends the year that the boy was homeschooled which was also the same year the boy and my older son were put into the same Cub Scout Den. My younger son idolizes this boy. Both of my kids were elated to see this boy for a playdate today. I think they’ve only seen that boy for a playdate twice since last June (including today). The boy is so busy with school and homework and sports and with family events and with being in the car doing carpooling for his three siblings that my kids can’t see him much. They also are no longer in the same Cub Scout Pack together so they don’t see each other at Scouting events.

My kids were so happy to see this boy that I nixed homeschooling for the day so they could see him.

It ended up that this boys’ Cub Scout Den was going to do a tour of the town hall as part of their Citizenship pin so my kids went along and had that tour. My kids came out of Town Hall with a copy of our house deed in their hand which was a bit strange (and scary). I guess the Town Clerk thought it would be fun to look up their parent’s house deeds on the town computer. To see this when I am dealing yet again with identity theft issues is not a good thing (is any of my information private anymore?).

We then went to the Post Office and there were children there (gasp) it was 3:00 p.m.! That is atypical.

Next we went to the public library which was hopping. There were lots of older children there (not just toddlers) and many parents, most of whom I’ve never seen before. Parents were chatting with each other. There was a long line to check out. The librarians looked shocked to see so many people around, as did the senior citizens.

I was then wondering what life would be like if all the kids didn’t go to school and if they weren’t scheduled out to do various classes and events. It might be a more interesting world if more parents were home and doing things with their children in tow. It was a great thing to see all the kids out in the world at a time when school usually is in session.

School vacations are not the same, summer vacations are not the same. Around here on school vacation weeks the kids often go out of town, state or country traveling on family vacations. Other children are sent to vacation week camps at museums or aquariums. Summer vacation is different as some go away on vacation for weeks or months at a time. Other kids go to camps. Sometimes it seems to me that children have their own schedules and agendas and their parents have a different schedule or agenda. When there is a different day like today, everyone is thrown off kilter. Anyway, I liked seeing the kids around town today and my kids were glad that to see their friend today.

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