Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Mary had a very crafty Christmas with embroidery floss for making friendship bracelets, stencils and a drawing pad, and kits to make cards, erasers, and a latch hook rug.
In my ever super-thrifty way I found several of their gifts at the thrift store. My guess is that lots of kids out there don't consider science or crafts fun and discarded these gifts from grandma in favor of playing another round of Wii. When the children asked me if this was true, I said, "You could have 1 gift under the tree if I buy them at Target and 4 if I buy some from the thrift store. Which do you choose?"
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
There is a clear line of demarcation down the center of the room with Mary's jewelry arranged just so on the dresser, neat lines of plastic horses with flowing manes at the foot of the bed, and clothes stacked by color in the drawers. Maggie's side is strewn with damp towels, American Girl clothes, and when we pulled out everything from under the bed last week we found 14 dirty socks. I have already bought the child several under the bed boxes from IKEA, shoe and sweater organizers for the closet, but still the mess spews forth like lava from Mt. Etna, threatening small children in its wake. Julia Ellen can't go into their room due to my fear of her eating beads or paper that are liberally strewn across the room. I cringe whenever I walk by and soon expect Mary to ask if she can move in with the baby. I have lots of ideas for shelves and such once we move to Maine, but since this is a rental we can't yet.
The solution that Mrs. Piggle Wiggle conjured up for little Herbert (who was trapped in his room because he wouldn't put his toys away) of offering him to lead the town parade if he could put away his things and escape his self-imposed prison won't work simply because Maggie doesn't have any place she can put all this stuff.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Yesterday, even with a babysitter in the house minding the little boys, I googled the local Catholic school and actually called them. I'm sure I sounded hysterical, "I can't take any more!" and then made it worse by accidentally dropping the phone down the stairs ('cause of course I was carrying babydoodle too). I don't really know what sending them to school means since they haven't been since nursery school, but I know it means getting everyone out the door by 7:30am, packing lunches, helping with homework (sometimes taking as long as we do during the day now), and uniforms.
It also means a change in status for me and I'm not sure I like that part. No, I don't like doing the job of 6 people all by myself and I don't like feeling angry and stressed out all the time, but homeschooling has been my life for 6 and 1/2 years now and who am I if not a homeschooler? If we do this I want it to be a stop gap solution for the next year or two. I really love teaching my kids at home, but I just don't think I can do it with 4 kids, a toddler and a baby, no family, and a husband who works 12 hour days. What if I really like them in school (and out of my hair)? What if they do better away from me? Does that make me a homeschool failure? The only thing worse than seeing them flourish is if they fail. What if they can't do the work, make friends, fit into the parochial school culture? What then?
We expect a call from the principal next week and an interview/testing to follow shortly. I'll be writing lots of questions and fretting a great deal in the meantime. Please keep our family in your prayers.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tim is a very involved dad, but much of it is below the radar, so it is only apparent how much he does when he isn't here. He picks up kids/takes them to lessons, bathes or cleans up for dinner each night, takes care of the checkbook, fetches milk on his way home, teaches Will math, gives hugs and kisses, reads to the little boys, changes nappies, puts up the babygate, holds Julia Ellen, and a myriad of other things that make our daily life run smoother.
This week also makes me appreciate other moms like Michelle and Mary Ann more, those who's husbands are gone for 6 months or more in service of our country. They have to pull the weight of 2 parents for so long as well as keep their spirits up for their children's sake. May God be with those who are serving in harm's way and shower comfort and blessings on their families back home.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
It will be a little different having to comply with someone else's speed for getting the work completed (Will was 2 chapters behind in history, but 4 chapters ahead in science), but between the co-op and Elizabeth coming another 2 mornings a week, my head is finally above water and I can see us getting through the rest of the schoolyear without sinking. I like hanging out with the toddlers and babies without simultaneously instructing the older children. Somehow I feel that I have stepped back 8 years in time when all I did all day was make towers with blocks and read The Poky Little Puppy 800 times in a row.
A be-knighted ultra-Catholic holds the Nicene Creed as true. He thinks divine authority exists in the Church. He knows that he, a sinner, needs forgiveness. But he does not make his sins into some social-justice crusade. He does odd things like go to Mass on Sundays, even in Latin. He thinks it is fine to have children. He prefers to work for a living. He also knows that the Church is under siege in the culture. He belongs to the real minority.
The above quote is by Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. who teaches political science at Georgetown University. His latest book, The Mind That Is Catholic, is published by Catholic University of America Press.
Read the whole thing at InsideCatholic.com
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and we ask Mary, ever Virgin, to pray for us that we may all be ultra-Catholic.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
We finished up the last of 1st quarter's work today and I think it was partly to Elizabeth's help and my extra energy at having gotten that help. I'm looking forward to Monday morning (except for the leaving the house at 7am part) to check out the Catholic co-op and meet some fellow homeschooling moms.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Last night I woke at about midnight and through the background noise of the fan I heard a little noise. A very little noise. There it was again but the pressure from my bladder increased in proportion to my alertness so I visited the kid's bathroom. As I was about to flush, I heard THE noise: Julia Ellen just starting to fuss. She is going through a growth spurt and obviously needs more milk. It amazed me that I could hear her breathing change as she woke up and realized she was hungry despite the fact that she was in another room with her fan going and the door shut. Maybe it is Mommy ESP, but I know that I certainly don't need that product advertised on the radio for auditory deficiencies.
Monday, November 30, 2009
"I'm about ready to give up, school is a constant struggle, the kids have few friends, and I'm lonely!" But Delores didn't bat an eye and pulled out her address book and a pen while saying, "You give this lady a call. She runs a Catholic co-op not very far away with all Seton students. It's once or twice a week and they do all their lessons for the week and have real homework. It also gives the moms the opportunity to get to know each other. It is a real blessing."
In less than one hour I had talked on the phone with the co-op leader, arranged with a local homeschooled teen to babysit the little ones two other days each week, and have a lot more confidence that we can right our listing and leaky homeschooling ship. I love teaching the children and don't want to give that up. But I need some help and it looks like I may have found it.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
3 puzzle pieces
3 holy cards
7 hair elastics
2 books (1 was a rather large library book of recent vintage, I'm so glad we found that one)
3 ancient keys
4 vehicles (including a very tiny surfboard)
a handful of rosary beads (we used to make them for the missions before Charlie put one in his ear)
I then plugged in the vacuum and sucked the crumbs and dust that have been accumulating for 10 years before putting it all back to rights.
Makes you want to examine under your own cushions, now doesn't it?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We talked about "death panels" in reference to the health care bills now under consideration by Congress, but another approach is simply to control the number of people entering the system -- new births. Naturally, it will all be "for the public good."
Should we be concerned? Consider that one of Mr. Obama's close advisors, his Science Czar, is John Holdren. Mr. Holdren is a radical thinker who can, and has, rationalized the use of forced population control if economic conditions warrant it. If government-run health care begins to reveal a shortage of medical care supply versus a dramatic increase in demand for medical care -- as is a predicted result of the legislation before Congress -- Mr. Holdren will be at the president's side with his suggestions. Those suggestions will be to force a downsizing of the population. A one-child policy will be an easy first step for this man and for this administration.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
But our elected representatives show understanding, or do they? It becomes more apparent every day that politicians consider themselves above the plight of the common man. They exempted themselves for many years from paying into the Social Security Ponzi scheme and now exempt themselves from the same medical rationing bill they are trying to force down the throat of the American people. They block traffic for hours so they can buy groceries, and both here and in California they don't even obey the traffic laws.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -
The Web site TMZ.com on Monday posted photographs of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger getting into a silver convertible Porsche in a red zone, where no stopping, standing or parking is allowed. The celebrity site says the violation occurred Saturday in Beverly Hills.
The city typically issues a $90 citation to red zone violators.
The governor apparently didn't learn from his wife's mistake. Last month, Shriver was caught on video parking her Cadillac Escalade in a red zone in Santa Monica.
That tape surfaced after several other videos showed Shriver holding a cell phone while driving, another violation of California law.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It didn't dawn on me that she missed all the bickering, complaining, and arguing until we got to Mass and she looked around and her smile lit up the sanctuary. Children! Lots and lots (and lots) of slightly noisy, wiggling babies and toddlers and big kids. Her mood immediately dampened when we got in the truck and headed for home, but she was even more excited when we finally dragged in the door at 6pm and she saw the rest of her family. Joy! Bliss!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tomorrow baby Julia Ellen and I will hit the road southward to visit, put some flowers on Mother's grave, and perhaps eat a little BBQ. I've had such a horrible week that I'm looking forward to rolling down the windows in the truck, turning up the radio, and singing along real loud. I'm sure the baby won't mind hearing some country music, and if she does she can't complain too much.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Our house would be a virtual goldmine of violations for these people. No caps on the outlets, no locks on the cabinets, a babygate at the top of only one set of stairs, and no rubber guards on any piece of furniture. Amazingly enough we have been to the Emergency Room less than a dozen times in that many years of parenting. I don't have to be too paranoid to imagine an Orwellian England in which children are taken from their parents to be raised by "right thinking" government officials.
Health and safety inspectors are to be given unprecedented access to family homes to ensure that parents are protecting their children from household accidents.
New guidance drawn up at the request of the Department of Health urges councils and other public sector bodies to “collect data” on properties where children are thought to be at “greatest risk of unintentional injury”.
Council staff will then be tasked with overseeing the installation of safety devices in homes, including smoke alarms, stair gates, hot water temperature restrictors, oven guards and window and door locks.
Nice also recommends the creation of a new government database to allow GPs, midwives and other officials who visit homes to log health and safety concerns they spot.
The guidance aims to “encourage all practitioners who visit families and carers with children and young people aged under 15 to provide home safety advice and, where necessary, conduct a home risk assessment”. It continues: “If possible, they should supply and install home safety equipment.” UK Times
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The opposition brought in gay activists from Seattle to claim that marriage is a "right," that same-sex marriage wouldn't be promoted in the public schools (but it has next door in Massachusetts), and wouldn't fundamentally change our culture.
Gay marriage has now lost in every state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Five states have legalized gay marriage — Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut — but all did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote. apnews
In this on-going struggle (we may have won the battle, but not the war) we did succeed this round. Many bishops across the US contributed to the effort, as well as many individual citizens.
Here is the list of the Top 12 Dioceses That Contributed to Support Marriage in Maine:
Phoenix $50,000 - Bishop Thomas Olmsted
Philadelphia $50,000 - Justin Cardinal Rigali
St. Louis $10,000 - Archbishop Robert Carlson
Kansas City, Kan.$10,000 - Archbishop Joseph Naumann
Newark $10,000 - Archbishop John Myers
Providence $10,000 - Bishop Thomas Tobin
Youngstown $10,000 - Bishop George Murry
Fall River $5,000 - Bishop George Coleman
Rockford $5,000 - Bishop Thomas Doran
Crookston $5,000 - Bishop Michael Hoeppner
Pittsburgh $5,000 - Bishop David Zubik
Arlington $5,000 - Bishop Paul Loverde
Thank you to these wonderful bishops, if one of them is yours please tell them thank you from all Mainers!
Friday, November 13, 2009
The real reason I'm upset is that we are supposed to go on a field trip to the National Gallery of Art today with the local homeschool group and I don't know where or when we are meeting. I signed up weeks ago and emailed the lady in charge and I'm obviously getting snubbed. I feel like the new girl at the local elementary school who doesn't know where the cafeteria is. But I'll get over it and if she doesn't tell me we will go anyway and have a marvelous time. 'Cause I'm not 8 anymore and if I can't find the lunchroom, I'll just go to McDonalds. So there.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
It was nice to be doing something that was only for me. I had been longing for something that was just mine for years now. I had tried to explain to Peter once, and he had been obtuse about it. "The kids are yours," he'd said.
"They're mine, but they aren't me."
"But you are doing a great job of raising them."
"Sometimes," I said. "And sometimes they are unraveling every roll of toilet paper in the house while I sit on the sofa with my head in my hands."
"You can't tell me they aren't great kids."
"No," I said. "And I wouldn't want to."
"Peter had a gleam as if he'd won.
"But," I pushed on, "when Toby picks his nose and wipes it on the couch, I don't exactly beam with pride and say, 'I did that! That's all me!'"
Peter shook his head.
That was the tricky part. You poured inordinate amounts of time and attention and affection into your kids, but the result was indirect. You didn't point out a cat to you one-year-old and then watch him, minutes later say, "Cat." Instead you pointed out a hundred cats to your one-year-old and then one day, watched him point to a cat and say "Mama."
That was what I wanted Peter to understand-that everything you did for your children was filtered and refracted through their personalities. There was nothing you could take credit for. You just tried to hold yourself together, give them lots of hugs, get them in the tub at least once a day, and hope for the best.
What I needed so desperately, and did not have time in my life, was something I could point to and say, "I did that." Something that was a direct reflection of me.
Housework is only gratifying if no one disturbs the perfection of a polished coffee table neatly stacked with books, no one dribbles urine on the newly cleaned toilet seat, no one spills the bowl of popcorn kernels all over the freshly vacuumed rug. Cooking is only an art if no one grumbles during the partaking, "This is yucky. Can't I have cereal?" Children, as Katherine Center puts it so well, are not little puppets, able to recite Latin proverbs for their relatives on cue just to prove your parenting prowess. And they rarely say "Thank you," for all the work, time, sweat, and tears. This is why I blog, why I quilt. I need something that is mine and I can say, "I did this!"
I this wrote on my etsy profile which sums up this feeling: Quilting relaxes me, feeds my creative nature, and allows me to produce something that will last. With 6 children to take care of, sometimes my life only seems to be full of dirty dishes, laundry, and diapers. Quilting allows me to produce something of beauty and fills my life with color, order, and a finished product.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
The bill includes the Stupak Amendment which basically contains the provisions of the long standing Hyde Amendment prohibiting any coverage of elective abortion by a government program.
The bill still requires approval by the Senate.
Yes, the USCCB made a statement that abortion should not be federally funded. But if they had come out 18 months ago and stated that voting for a pro-infanticide candidate for president was a moral sin than maybe we would not be in the situation we are in today. The federal government will exert more and more control over the lives of individual citizens to the point that we will be looking at the freedoms in China and Venezuela with envy. If I think about what has happened this weekend I feel sick. May God have mercy on us all.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
We arrived at Union Station with plenty of time before our tour so Will, Mary, Maggie, and I stayed and chatted for a bit with my cousin Ann who volunteered to watch the three little ones at her house before walking over to Senator Collins' office. After cooling our heels in the Dirkson Building for 20 minutes or so our tour guide escorted us on the little train that runs under Constitution Avenue into the basement of the Capitol. We wandered around the Rotunda looking at the statues and paintings, such as this rendering of the signing of the Constitution,
and the painting The Apotheosis of Washington, which was painted by Constantino Brumidi while suspended nearly 180 feet (55 m) in the air. It is said to be the first attempt by the United States to deify a founding father. Washington is depicted surrounded by 13 maidens representing the original colonies.
We wandered through Statuary Hall, featuring several American Catholics studied in Seton's first grade history such as Blessed Junipero Serra, who started 9 missions in California:
and the Crypt. We all rubbed our foot on the marble star that is the exact center of Washington, DC before peeking into the Old Supreme Court room
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The first peds clinic clerk said I was in the wrong place and directed me to the other elevators, "4th floor" but the ones I thought she meant only go up to the 3rd floor. Timmy had the first of 3 morning meltdowns in front of the whole staff and other moms over being able to hog every book we brought but we managed to get through the checkup in record time and then headed downstairs to immunizations. (I won't mention that the elevator made one trip down with 4 children and no mommy) The wait was an hour due to folks getting the flu shot (no H1N1 was available) and finally, after 2 hours we crowded into McDonald's for a much deserved lunch.
Tomorrow we are heading downtown to tour the Capitol through Senator Collins' office while my cousin Ann watches the little boys, followed by lunch at her house. Thursday and Friday we will hopefully squeeze in a little schoolwork in between Scout meetings, American Heritage Girls, and ballet class. Good thing about homeschooling, we can do all those extra activities, the problem is knowing when to say, "enough, no more!"
Monday, November 02, 2009
I so wish that I had stuffed that wallet somewhere in the car or my overstuffed purse, as when I was waiting in line for a cup of tea Charlie reached up and pulled a lady's cup of boiling hot coffee down his front. He started screaming and writhing on the floor. Tim acted fast, hustling him off to the bathroom to wet him down. Luckily his pants were heavy twill and nothing got through them, but he did get burned on his tummy. A little antibiotic ointment, some Tylenol, and a bandaid later he was better, but it was the open bag of Halloween candy that made him forget all about his injury. As I was holding his head and his seat belt strap away from his stomach so it didn't chafe on the way home, I keep thinking, "This wouldn't have happened if I had brought that wallet. We would be chowing down on the all you can eat buffet."
It amazes me that we haven't had more accidents with all these children but our guardian angels have been looking over us well. Charlie will recover, the kids will think twice about grabbing stuff, and I am looking forward to the next monthly breakfast. I think I'll buy a bigger purse just for the occassion.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I called Tim, "Today is Maggie's birthday!" "Oh no." I sat down with her on the steps and proposed an alternative, "You can go to ballet tonight and we can celebrate your birthday tomorrow with pizza and presents. How about that?" "Sure!" I swear that she should get extra gifts for being so agreeable, but then she already is my most polite and cheerful child in the bunch.
Happy Birthday again my sweet Maggie Mae.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My original list of 23 "must-see" Washington, DC sites has been worked over and now only contains 7 places we haven't seen yet. There are a few that I want to revisit such as Mount Vernon (especially since I bought season passes) and the National Zoo. While I'm not as eager to jump on the METRO as I was last year (I don't have quite enough hands with another child in tow to feel safe), my sense of perseverance will require us to check off every last cultural/historical destination deemed educational. We still have 2 years left on this tour, but I'm the type who doesn't like to let commitments dangle, be it thank you notes, school assignments, or my own hastily scribbled "want to see while in DC" list.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
First we started off very late due to a long day yesterday tromping around the fields at my sister-in-law's house. Then I got the not-so-brilliant idea of making BBQ. From scratch. Making my own dry rub. In the blender.
As Cayenne pepper odor drifted over the tops of the kid's cereal bowls the phone rang. It was Tim telling me to expect his old friend from college and family for supper. Now, Tim's idea of entertaining is buying an extra box of pizza from the local shop so I don't really have to stress, but I do like a clean (and clean smelling) house.
It got worse. In quick succession the baby woken up from her nap and began screaming in her crib, Mary informed me that a wire in her braces was broken, and Timmy pooped in his underpants. There were 3 loads of laundry that must be washed and folded. I had to pick up all the playdoh that has been mashed into the rugs. School is cancelled for the day. Mary got Timmy dressed, Will is reading to the little ones, Maggie is vacuuming the stairs, and I am waiting for the floors to dry after a good scouring with citrus cleaner. We also have Maggie's first piano lesson and Mary's ballet class to squeeze in this afternoon. Hopefully we can get to the orthodontist by 11:45, the house will air out, and I can manage to make sure we have plenty of drink and salad to go with la gourmet pizza.
An anniversary trip to Bermuda sans children doesn't sound too bad right now.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Exposing the children to a "print-rich environment" and giving them a "literary-filled childhood" is pretty simple, especially since I need to renew my own bedside stash on a weekly basis. And while I do like to read to the little ones (as long as it is not re-reading Spooky Old Tree for the 800th time), there are few things sweeter to witness in this world than a big girl reading to her much younger brothers.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
One of the great benefits of educating our own children is the ability to be free of the standard school calendar. Our family takes advantage of this by spending 16 weeks each summer in Maine. I want to share the beauties of our adopted state with some snapshots and fun facts.
Maine is a land of forests and shore. The tides rise and fall about 8 feet so there is a stark contrast between low and high tide so even little children can tell the difference and can figure out scientifically if the tide is coming in or going out. (Hint, look at boats on their moorings to tell which way they are being pulled)
Tom DeRosa presents The Very Exact Science of Guessing posted at I Want to Teach Forever.
Carol J. Alexander presents a neat way to teach the value of 100 in Place Value Game posted at Everything Home...with Carol.
Barbara Williams presents 100 Useful College Tools for Homeschoolers posted at Online Degree Programs.org.
Shakira Dawn presents The World’s 10 Weirdest College Campuses: Crazy University Architecture posted at College Stats.org.
Maine has many potato farms and blueberry barrens. We visit a local farm in August and buy quarts of berries to freeze for pancakes, muffins, and bread. The pickers only work in the early morning to not bruise the fruit and use blueberry rakes as it would take hours to handpick each tiny berry off one bush. Local teens can earn up to $300 a day raking but it is hard work.
Many of the towns along the coast have lobster pounds where lobstermen sell their catch and folks can eat a boiled dinner on picnic tables. Some partake off of plastic trays and drink cold soda while others prefer unpacking elaborate baskets filled with china, hors d'oeuvres, and bottles of wine. Since I’m the only member of our family who likes lobster I splurge and get two!
Angela Mills presents Tea for Two: The discipleship of your sons and daughters posted at Angela Mills.
Michelle scores big at the library with one of my favorite Maine storybooks Blueberries For Sal with Book Review Bonanza Part III posted at Rosetta Stone.
Dave Roller presents Apple Butter Day posted at Home School Dad.
Christina presents Canadian Thanksgiving posted at Lesson Pathways Blog.
The beauty of Maine is legendary in coffee table books as well as children’s picture books. Robert McCloskey’s One Morning in Maine features a family who summer on Little Deer Isle and go into Buck’s Harbor for groceries and an ice cream cone. While driving through I indeed saw a sign for Condon's Garage.
John Mastro presents The Educational Benefits of Audiobooks and Children’s Learning posted at got audiobooks?.
Dana presents Treasures from the library book sale posted at Principled Discovery.
Jeanne shares her favorite children's books at Books and Brownies.
Cristina shows what many homeschooling families (including mine) look like at the library in Home Spun comic strip #403 posted at Home Spun Juggling.
Mrs. White presents Mama and John's Bible Plan posted at The Legacy of Home.
Kaitlyn Cole presents 25 Speed Reading Secrets Every Student Should Know (for required, not pleasure reading) posted at Online Colleges.net.
Amber presents Book Review: Five Little Peppers posted at The Mommy Earth.
There are dozens of picturesque towns along the coast like Belfast, a mecca for art lovers and sailors.
Carlotta gives us some great reasons her kids thrive on textbooks at Successful Homeschooling.
Sarah presents Studying Art posted at SmallWorld.
Henry Cate ponders on how homeschooling saves souls in the wonderful recovery of his developmentally delayed son at Why Homeschool.
Annette Berlin presents 10 Easy-To-Craft Educational Toys posted at Craft Stew.
Rachel Lynette presents Make a Soma Cube posted at Minds in Bloom.
Fall is the most beautiful time of year in New England with the trees turning into torches of red, orange, and yellow.
Kim Kautzer presents Fall- and Thanksgiving-themed word banks posted at In Our Write Minds.
Rose presents Halloween Stencils: Adorable Scarecrow posted at Fine Craft Guild .com.
Jennifer presents Fire Safety Unit Study posted at schooling memoirs.
A hike up to the top of Mount Battie shows a majestic panorama of islands dotting the Penobscot Bay.
There are not many homeschoolers in Maine and only one store dedicated to them located in the lovely town of Hope.
Alasandra presents Nominees for Best Homeschool Blog 2009 posted at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards.
Susan presents Corn and Oil » A Narrow, Homogeneous Life? Not for Homeschoolers posted at Corn and Oil.
Barbara Frank shares a story of love despite adversity in Jaycee Dugard Homeschool Mom at Barbara Frank Online.
Patti presents A Few Favorite Online Resources for Lesson Planning and Worksheets posted at Indie Education.
Laura presents Montessori Pink Level Available for Free posted at Practical Homeschooling.
Amy LeForge presents Fun For Your Friday posted at Earnest Parenting.
Erin Manning gives us some reasons why so many Catholic parents are homeschooling in What's Wrong With Catholic Schools, posted at And Sometimes Tea.
With the long winters and short summers, folks here get together often for public suppers, grange events, and town festivals. Homeschoolers tend to host picnics and playdates at the pond for socializing and swapping curriculum ideas.
Stacie Young presents 50 Excellent Blogs About Education Reform posted at Online Schools.
Lara DeHaven presents A Not-So-Perfect Life posted at Texas Homesteader.
Psych Syke presents Dangers of Black & White thinking… No Tolerance Policies posted at Psych-Syke's Blog.
Katie shares a day in her life at elocutionist.
Chetan presents Learn to get College Scholarships for Mothers posted at College Distance Degree Online Courses .
Maine is an affordable, family-friendly, homeschool friendly state. I hope I have sparked your interest in its beauty and hospitality. Thank you for stopping by this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. See you next week at Consent of the Governed.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The homeschooler's Murphy's Law? Just after you tell another mother that you teach at home is when one of the children will do something embarrassing, rude, or completely out of character, justifying their prejudices.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The industry line is, argues Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist who has worked on college campuses and seen too much pain and illness that the sexual revolution has wrought. She’s the author of the new book You're Teaching My Child What?: A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Ed and How They Harm Your Child, and took questions earlier this week from National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Health care workers in New York will no longer be forced to get the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, CBS 2 has learned. A state Supreme Court judge issued a restraining order Friday against the state from enforcing the controversial mandatory vaccination. The order came as the Public Employees Federation sued to reverse a policy requiring vaccination against the seasonal and swine flu viruses, arguing that state Health Commissioner Richard Daines overstepped his authority....for now the vaccination for nurses, doctors, aides, and non-medical staff members who might be in a patient's room will remain voluntary. The health department had said the workers must be vaccinated by November 30 or face possible disciplinary action, including dismissal.
New York was the first state in the country to initially mandate flu vaccinations for its health care workers, but many health care workers quickly protested against the ruling. In Hauppauge, workers outside a local clinic screamed "No forced shots!" when the mandate came down at the end of September.
In 1976, there were some deaths associated with a swine flu vaccination. Registered nurse Frank Mannino, 50, was also angry. He said the state regulation violates his personal freedom and civil rights. "And now I will lose my job if I don't take the regular flu shot or the swine flu shot." When asked if he's willing to lose his job, Mannino said, "Absolutely. I will not take it, will not be forced. This is still America." The protest also shook Albany. Hundreds of demonstrators demanded freedom of choice.
There is also a strong resistance to the vaccine from the general public. A new Harvard University poll shows that only four in 10 adults intend to take the vaccine themselves, and only six in 10 plan to give it to their children.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Let me give you a hint Michelle, the system itself is broken. Until the stranglehold of the NEA is cut and there is accountability (as opposed to the circular blame game that happens now) for each child's education, there will be no improvement, no matter how much money thrown at the problem. Why do I have a gut feeling this is major pay-back to the union?
We need universities to double down on their efforts to prepare teachers and to improve and expand effective alternative routes to certify teachers. What universities do now is indoctrinate education majors about the need to drug little boys who are fidgety, promote multiculturalism with a pass on how to teach engage students in real learning, and use flowery language to intimidate parents and sound more "professional."
We need to encourage more experienced professionals to consider teaching as the next chapter in their careers. What retired engineer, businessman, or physician in their right mind would consider degrading themselves to teach in a classroom today with an administrative system which treats them like children? As a former public school teacher and the daughter of the same, I saw good teachers criticized and punished by incompetent bureaucrats (who hadn't taught in 15 years). To use the military in comparison, good generals and admirals expect officers to be competent and back them up, they don't treat them like lowly E-3s right out of boot camp. But this is what the public schools do regularly, they refrain from giving veteran teachers any authority and undercut them when any criticism comes their way.
And we need to treat teachers like the professionals they are by providing good salaries and high-quality professional development opportunities. They already get good salaries and excellent benefits, especially considering they work 8 hours a day with planning time for only 180 days. Professional architects, physicians, and engineers work 12 hour days, 250 days a year.
We need parents to do their part as well to match that leadership in the classroom with leadership at home. We need to set limits and turn off the TV. We need to put away those video games and make sure that homework gets done. Teachers blame the parents and previous teachers, parents blame the school, and administrative types act like they are above the fray. Homeschooling eliminates this merry-go-round of evading responsibility. If my child is not reading then I try my hardest to find out why and fix it. There is too much blame in the public school system and not enough responsibility. My guess is that an evaluation of why homeschooling works would show that a return to more local control improves children's education.
We need to reinforce the example that's being set and the lessons being taught at school and make sure that learning continues at home. One of the reasons many parents teach their children at home are the poor/dangerous examples and lessons in the public school setting such as bullying, drugs, gangs, zero tolerance policies, excessive testing, sex education, and the dumbing down of the curriculum and materials.
Nothing the federal government does, save the military, is as efficient as what can be done by the private sector. Everything from delivering the mail, running the trains, saving for retirement, collecting tax money, delivering health care to seniors, and teaching our children is financially wasteful and time consuming. Instead of admitting this and allowing the competitive market to work, the Obama administration wants to throw more money at the problem. I, like many of my fellow American parents, decide every day to remove ourselves and our children from this unending carnival ride and teach at home, collecting both the responsibilities and rewards of educating our children.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Tim gets home from work pretty late in the evening and with ballet and Scout meetings my running time was squeezed out. So, I awoke at 5 am this morning determined to begin my training regimen again, ran a very long mile and came up the stairs to the opening bars of Julia Ellen's wake up song. "Feeeeeed meeeeee. I waaaant millllllllllkkkkk!" At least that is what it sounds like to me. To everyone else it is, "mmmmmmmm. AAhhhhhh. Mmmmmmmm."
Now it is time for the other part of our new routine: 7am wakeup and I am working on a chart system for chores and such so I don't have to ask every kid 8 times, "Have you brushed your teeth? Have you made your bed?" I got the idea from reading the Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's new book The Duggars: 20 and Counting! If you ever want to feel inspired and humbled at the same time I suggest you read this one. It made me feel like such a slacker for complaining about the workload with 6 kids, but gave me some great ideas about how to better organize our household.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Today is a trip to the thrift store (on minor holidays they tend to have a 50% off sale) and Mary starts ballet. Since I have never put her very long hair into a bun before we might have to practice and get some new hair geegaws to make her look like a prima ballerina.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
This afternoon the big kids and I gave it another go since we are leaving Maine this week. Every so often we came across a tree spray painted with an orange blaze, but for the most part we just flailed around. Luckily Will brought his newly sharpened hatchet and he blazed a trail so we could follow it back to civilization. It is embarrassing that I can't manage to follow a rectangle in the woods (though it is a pretty big one) especially after reading about the early pioneers who hacked their way west or escaped from Indian captivity.
One day I will be able to walk all the way around our 23 acre woodlot, but not anytime soon. Winter is the best time to make paths, the leaves are all down so you can see farther. I have such plans for our farm: a sweet Jersey cow and woolly sheep, plump Buff Orpington chickens, a pond to splash in, hiking trails for spending quiet time alone, a big patch of jeweled raspberries, and an orchard full of crisp apples and pears. In the meantime we will return to Washington, DC to resume our "other life" complete with piano lessons, Scouts, American Heritage Girls, field trips, and the daily grind of living with a mile of the Beltway. 21 months before we can start all the projects I long to undertake, but who's counting?
Friday, October 02, 2009
"Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. (No, but children need time to play, discover, explore, to relax. They will be slaves to the 40+ hour work week soon enough.)
Does Obama want every kid to do these things? School until dinnertime? Summer school? And what about the idea that kids today are overscheduled and need more time to play? (Maybe I feel this way because I just read an old classic of homeschooling by Raymond Moore who emphasizes starting late and unschooling, but children think better when they are free to explore, to research their own passions. Studies prove that earlier and longer schooling is not better.)
Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school. (Haven't these people ever been asked, "If everyone else starts jumping off a bridge are you going to join in?" So... if Japan has kids committing suicide because they are overstressed by testing, then we should too? Instead of thinking along the same tired lines of "need to make more jobs so the union be bigger and will campaign for us," perhaps the administration could actually take a look at what actually produces bright, creative kids and attempt to recreate that model for public schools.
What is it about America that has given the world more inventions and ideas for improving the world? It certainly isn't the concept of locking children in prison for 12 years of their life. It is freedom and the opportunity to become wealthy from one's own work. Socialism and Communism squelch this drive because there is no incentive to be better than mediocre, to create something for posterity. Why study and invest and toil just to have one's reward be taken to give to another who didn't study,invest, or toil?
More school is not going to fix any of the problems inherent in the current system. It will push out those children who just don't want to be there sooner, it will dull the minds of those who don't play the game, and it will only enrich the coffers of the NEA.)
blue print is from yahoo