22 April 2016

Fun Stuff!

 We went roller-skating last Tuesday and I think this may be a regular thing for the kids.  I bought them some elbow and knee pads and a helmet, though. Woodjie lands HARD.

We also went to the homeschool convention and honestly?  Meh.  Not much there of interest.  I was really disappointed but not surprised.  Rose really wanted to go this year, so we did.  We wound up ordering our stuff from Rainbow Resource Center because their stuff is the same price online as at their booth, but they don't charge tax online and shipping is free over $50. 

Rose wants this Egyptian Mummy kit.  I don't know why but she thinks it would be fun to dig him up and stuff.  Woodjie's request was for an art book about dragons. 


17 April 2016

What Was Wrong With the Old Way?

Photo courtesy of Americans Against Common Core.  Used w/ permission.
The "standard algorithm" shown at the bottom of the picture works every time if one knows the basic math facts.  So why aren't schools teaching that, and having children practice problem after problem this way a good majority of the time?

I understand that sometimes we want to give children "number sense" or show them different ways to solve a problem. There's nothing wrong with occasionally showing children this sort of thinking once they have a solid understanding of how to do it the standard way.  Certainly what I often would do in cases like these is take the 200 away right off.  I'm left with 368 - 93, which I would either line up old-school style and solve OR I'd take 100 away and add seven.  Whatever I felt was easiest at the time.

But I think if I were shown this backward/ shortcut way of solving the problem at the same time I were learning my standard algorithms, I'd be very confused.  And that's just what many schools are doing now.  I know that works for some people, but I don't think we're helping a large number of children with this teaching method.

Worse still, schoolchildren often bring home entire packets of homework which must be done as above and/or the answer "explained" in a sentence.   Often schools hold entire "how to do Common Core math" parent nights to explain to the parents how to help their children with schoolwork at home.

It just seems like a lot of energy to expend on something that will be understood more naturally later.

Caveat:  this sort of convoluted math has been in schools since Patrick was little, and he'll be 23 this year.  So the example above is not just a "Common Core" math problem, but a problem we should all have with the "new math" that is de rigueur in all schools under the current system.  Still... yuck.

16 April 2016

Somebody Talk Me Down if I've Gone Crazy.

I have to approve youtube videos before they're uploaded by the teen boys.  And the latest one showed every messy hoarded corner in the house.  I told them that in future, you can't do that.

"But... every corner is messy in the house," objected a certain kid.

Seriously.  Thanks.

Well, I showed him two locations from which he could film and that wasn't good enough.  I told him he could also film outside.  And know what he told me?  Do you?  He said I was just like Adolf Hitler.

I don't know what it is about Adolf Hitler that everyone has to be compared to him, but I'm thinking it's a bit of a stretch in this case.  I got pretty offended.  I mean, are you going to tell me that killing over six million Jews, starting an entire world war and causing untold suffering is even comparable to my saying not to film the messy bits in my house!??

"It's just a matter of scale," the kid explained.

*gah*


12 April 2016

Co-op Adventures.

Bird-watching using our state bird guide.
We've finally found a co-op and have been attending for art and PE.  You would not think that it would be possible to imitate the Rococo style of art using popsicle sticks, magic markers and Elmer's glue, but apparently that's a thing.  I'll show you a picture if/ when we get our projects back.  The children had a lot of fun with "sack races" as well.  These involved large black trash bags.  One of the children in the group figured out that he could pierce the bottom of the bag with his foot and then just run for the win!

Unfortunately my hernia has busted again and I'll need major surgery later.  Which is going to make for a horrible summer for everyone, but what can you do?  Rose was asking me this morning if I were going to die and what would happen.  I have no plans to die, but it is a possibility, life being what it is.  Not a likely possibility, but still, yeah, it's possible.  In answer to her question, what would happen is she'd have to be the big girl, look out for her brother and go to school.  Which she could do if she had to - she's not the one I worry about.

Anyway, this afternoon?  Guess what some of the kids at the back of the classroom decided to have a discussion about?  Zombies... and the somehow related "you're going to have surgery and die!" subject.  Rose got upset and told the kid who was joking around that this was horrible to say, don't you know her mother is having surgery and then she'll have to go to school!??  And she doesn't want to go to school. *little tears*

"Ohh, I'm sorry!" the preteen apologised.  "I've just been through fifth grade in school and it was the most horrible nightmare!  I'm sorry you'll have to go to school. That's really bad."

Uhm... well?  I guess I should be glad the kid likes homeschooling... maybe...

I honestly didn't know that I was so certainly going to die until just today.  Guess I'd better update the will.



05 April 2016

Forever My Little Boy

Do you want a small gift for a new parent of a little boy?  Tuck this in with a little Onesie and a small contribution to his college fund, and you've thought of everything. 

I love this book.  Karen Kingsbury's simple writing leads you through many of the milestones of childhood from birth through marriage and beyond.  She has a way to just touch the parent's heart in a few sentences.  The illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff compliment the writing perfectly.  They are so, so adorable.

From the very beginning, we see that our children are not really ours to keep.  Even right after birth, the doctors have taken this little baby (presumably to do tests and poke at him a bit).  It's a super-bittersweet book for parents of adult children.   

I'd keep the book far away from anyone who has ever lost a child, however.  I have a good friend who has lost a child and could not imagine even letting her peek at the cover.  Flipping through the book and made me think of all the things he will never get to do.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

03 April 2016

KC 1% Tax. It's for the Kids or Something.

Reporters followed Kansas City Mayor Sly James like overeager puppies recently as he walked through the ritzy areas of town tooting the "benefits" of a citywide earnings tax.  (Start the video around the three-minute mark.)  That's right; they skim 1% of your gross income just because you live or work in the city.

They always say they'll lay off police and fire fighters if they don't get what they want. But they never mention laying off anyone's brother's uncle's cousin who got a job because he knows someone but doesn't really have any work to do.  Or God forbid they have to stop handing out cash to corporations via TIF and other mega-tax breaks.

And the argument about the tax supporting great schools?  HA!!  Show me a person with an income over "on the edge of homelessness" who voluntarily sends their kids to Kansas City Public Schools, and I'll show you a crazy person.  This is the school district in which children are routinely raped in bathrooms and in which a white kid was doused in gasoline and set ablaze because he didn't properly respect Black History Month.

I hope this proposal to extend the tax goes down in flames on Tuesday, but last time and forever and ever every time the issue comes up, people keep voting it through.  I think it's because most of the people voting for it aren't paying much into it.  This is certainly why Sly James is running around the areas of town in which people actually have a positive cash flow, begging them to pretty please vote for the tax.  Elections being what they have been of late, things can be decided on the basis of a very small number of votes.  I don't blame him, but sheesh, I'd sure love to stop paying 1% of our income and getting absolutely zero back.

01 April 2016

Dear Japan,



보고나면 허기지는 미니어쳐 요리 '도너츠'Edible miniature food 'dougnut'출처 : Youtube / Miniature(미미네 미니어쳐)
Posted by 인사이트 아트&컬쳐 on Sunday, March 27, 2016


Whaaaat are you doing?  And where did you get those tiny eggs?

Love,
The rest of the world.