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Showing posts from September, 2011


Patrick spent the morning telling me (and everyone) that he had rickets.  No argument will convince him that it is, in fact, impossible for him to have rickets.  The guy is almost 6 ft 2 inches tall!  Who has rickets at that height??  "Rrrrrricketss," he would reply to every reasonable thing I had to say to him.  "I'm just going to say rrrrickets."

Okayy.  Well.  The dude is driving me nutty.  I keep telling him that he ought to apply for college.  That if he wants help filling out the handy-dandy-super FAFSA forms (you know, required if you don't have about $555,000 cash onhand to go to college?) that he needs to give me a bit of notice and I can do that.  In fact, no way he can do it on his own because he has no access to our financial stuff.

Now he's back to saying that he doesn't really want to go to college.  Dude.  You need a full-time job.  With benefits.  You cannot live at home and stay in the basement until you are nearly 50 like &q…


Had a root canal done on Monday, which has really thrown me for a bit of a loop. This week I've relied heavily on English worksheets, Snap Circuit sets and to teach Emperor. He's doing just fine, but I have just given him work that doesn't require a lot of hand-holding this week. It is a very good thing that if I give him a list of "things to do," he's motivated to finishing the list.

Every morning, Emperor does either the lecture and the first ten problems in his Algebra, or he finishes the lesson from the day before. He sharpens his pencils before going to bed. I stack the books he'll be using, and off he goes after breakfast to work.

He watches videos about chess, practices his tactics and plays online chess games for about two hours each day. He spends about an hour on mathematics. Science varies depending on how much stuff I assign him. He loves science. Latin? Not his favourite, but he can memorize prayers in Latin and recite 'em bac…

Do You Teach Geography?

A college professor friend of mine posted this link on facebook along with the comment, "This is why I don't give geography tests..."

Do YOU teach geography to your children? Do you think it is important to know all the locations of states in your country as well as the names of all the capitals? Um, this was a LOT easier for me to learn when I lived in Australia. I am still not clear on many of the capitals but to my mind, that's what the internet is for. But I do want my children to have some sort of clue where all the states are.

"if you’re not sure about a US state capital, try 'Springfield.' you’ll be right at least a couple times," someone snarks in the comment section. Response: "Ugh, try once. And only if you’re guessing Illinois."

One commenter says she's pretty good at this guessing game but often mixes up East and West Virginia. Another says, "Meh, most of those states are useless anyway."

Well. How terribly interes…

Church or Jail?

Want to avoid jail time? In Alabama, you can go to church instead!

I haven't been a big fan of "church" of late, but there are some very positive things about being a part of a faith community. I don't see the harm in the judge, in a misdemeanor case, offering one year's church attendance as an alternative to the jail time/community service route... with some caveats:

1. Is it really voluntary? If the new parolee happens to be Catholic, and is going to go to the church up the street, this is great. But what if he's an atheist? Can he go to an atheist discussion group each week and would it count? And agostics? I'm thinking they are confused enough that they'd have to make the rounds of every faith-based building in town over the course of the following year. Paperwork nightmare, is what that is. But I would disagree with the ACLU that this would violate the establishment clause of the Constitution if it is really voluntary, and if there are alternative…

Notice to Homeschooling Parent:

Just because I APPEAR to be busy with my mathematics does not mean that you can take my picture. Yes, I ruined every one of your shots. Put the camera away and leave me alone. Go blog about something else. Thank youuuu.

Happy Birthday to Patrick!

Patrick is now an adult. He's going to register to vote and for the draft very soon. First thing he mentioned this morning...

Maybe Some DO, Though...

Someone's missing a pen because I found this dandy in the dryer. It's from the high school and it's a reminder that most (School Name) High School students do not binge drink. I think we all needed that reminder. Most (School Name) HS students also do not go on to ivy league schools after graduation. Most also do not kill squirrels and eat their entrails. Most also are not actors. Most are also not millionaires. Most are also not left-handed. Well... I could go on and on. There is probably a whole series of pens out with clever sayings along these lines, and one of my older children just happened to pick up the one about binge drinking. Not sure why the school is giving away pens about boozing it up, but ok. It's a free pen.

Homeschool Resource Meme!

I've been tagged - thanks, Tammy! Ready? Here goes:

1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyed: Since I can name only one (did a REAL homeschooler make up this meme? who picks just one??), I guess I'll go with Augustus Caesar's World. I haven't even assigned it to Emperor yet; he's still working through the Story of the World to get an overview of ancient history. Then we'll be concentrating on Ancient Rome as that's what Emperor wants to study this year. And he especially wants to learn about Augustus Caesar. He will love Augustus Caesar's World, too. :)

2. One resource you wouldn't be without: a computer. If we didn't have a computer, I would have to do ALL THE MATH TEACHING MYSELF. And that is a crime. I can do the math, and I go over corrections with Emperor, but I keep going off on odd tangents and trying to explain why the people in the word problems have such odd lives. We just can't have that because I find myself getting all into thei…

Good Story?

An autistic child named Joshua presents difficult behaviours, lack of understanding about danger and frequently runs off. Imagine you're his dad. You have no family and friends and you and your wife need to move out of your home. Need. Foreclosure is hell, and it's gonna BE hell for poor Joshua.

But on to the immediate worry. Furniture doesn't lift itself and guess what? You don't have $50,000 in the bank to hire a mover, sorry. SO, you tether your son in the back yard to keep him safe while you lift the heavy stuff. The last thing you want is that kid running away or tripping you when you are shuffling downstairs and straining your back in the first place. Things are hard enough for you right now.

Ok. Maybe not the best way to handle it. Better than letting him go off into the street, but maybe not the best way to handle it. I wasn't there, so I couldn't tell you. Maybe these folks should have some specially-trained autism specialist or case manager come to the…

At the Club

Emperor is not so happy about having his game interrupted by me. But Rose? Rose is THRILLED to be allowed to go to the Kansas City Chess Club for the first time. Not to mention, she LOVES having her photo taken. She did participate in most of the exercises (with help... lots of help). The only thing she wasn't even slightly interested in doing properly were the pencil and paper tactics exercises. In those, random chess pieces were circled and, instead of a line and arrow indicating the "best pin," she drew lines that would seem to indicate that they wandered off the page and went AWOL.


Patrick is reallllly tired of my making peanut butter sandwiches or frozen foods for dinner. I told him fine, you can make dinner if you like, but you have to clean dirty pans and that sort of thing. Here is his creation: fritos, strawberries and bananas. For non-allergic children, a covering of cheddar cheese and the dish is heated in the microwave. Ok. Verdict: this food is amazing.

The Playdate

Well. Elf had an actual friend over all day Sunday. It was the weirdest thing. Apparently they have a lot in common because they have lockers RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. It's almost fated that they would be friends.

I went to pick him up and Elf and I saw that his subdivision is entirely Civil War-themed. Jackson, Stuart, McClellan, all those guys and many more as we're driving over. Elf's very favourite Civil War guy is Stonewall Jackson. We asked the friend what his was when he got into the car.

The answer we got was oh, he didn't wear regular pants but cargo pants because he needed some pockets. Also, he is getting "a bit wider" and needed more room.

Ha ha ha! Wellll, at least I thought that it was interesting that the streets were named for historical people...

"Mom," Elf chided. "If I were (friend), I would think you were being very rude right now. He's talking about his pants and you totally ignored that."

The whole afternoon…

How We Act in School

Mrs. F:

Elf has had a *revelation* yesterday. He has been informed that attending school is a privilege, that the right to an education is not outlined in the Constitution, and that he is to do his best work at school out of respect for himself, his family, his teachers, and the taxpayer. (And so on and so on. The Mom lecture.)

I understand that he received a 70 on a recent math exam. If he did his best and tried to make up the work and/or do additional work and strive to understand the concepts, I would have to be ok with this even though it is a poor grade. But he has gotten the idea that a 60 is passing, that anything over 60 is good enough, and he didn't bother to take the scheduled makeup. That's his fault and I'm not writing to ask for another. I'm writing to tell you that I can't "fix" every problem behaviour or poor grade my son may have, but I certainly am not going to neglect to have some consequences at home if I'm made aware that this…

Another Whole School Year

Elf has made tremendous progress in the friendship area!! He has been having conversations with a classmate and would like to have him over to the house some weekend. This is great! Just get his phone number and maybe I can talk to his mom and we can work something out.

He brought home a phone number last night! Isn't that awesome?? Now, if we only knew this boy's NAME, I might be able to call and arrange a get-together...

I know. He was sooo excited to talk with someone AND get the phone number, too...

Elf is studying where all the continents and oceans are located in history class. They are also studying Ancient Greece. If I remember correctly this is about the time age-wise I got a phone call from Patrick's school because Patrick had a religious objection to looking at Greek art because of boobies. I settled it in the school's favour by telling Patrick to look but not loooooook. He can handle it.

Emperor is also blogging about school and Ancient Greece in his post title…

Rose Update!

Rose can now set up the board if you remind her that the queen goes on her colour and king goes on the e square. Here are the chess pieces and how they apparently move:

Knight: Just take a guess and then let Mom show me.

Bissip: goes diagonally, but I lose track of where I'm going.

Ponn: hops forward. Takes diagonally! I'm starting to get this one.

Qwweeeeen: Queen does whatever she wants. Do not touch my queen.

Keeng: hops one spot.

Wook: I want to move this piece out early in the game, but Mom will not let me. I wind up moving my Knight. At the end of the game, Mom helps me with Wook to make "ladder checkmate." I always win!! :)

Ideas Welcome

SO many posts that never got published. I think I deleted about 47 drafts today. They include such never-to-be-seen classics as "The Water Buffalo" and "The Sexy." Well, they're lost, lost, lost forever. And that's a good thing. But I've also been peeking over my search results to find out more about what YOU would like to read. I'm reasoning that the most-searched stuff is the stuff you most want to read about, right?? Here are some of the searches that bring new readers to my blog:

vision forum secret underwear
pumpkin plant flowers
used boys' underware
maggots in hair

Is this what you-all are here for? Eee, well, sorry about not entertaining you more.

Ok. So, I'm open to ideas for blog posts. I can't say I'll do them all (esp. if you want to read "The Sexy." I'm sorry, it's just *gone.* Deleted. No more Sexy.) but it would be interesting to see what you-all are curious about.

Oh, what do *I* like reading on other blogs?…

Bad Parents' Reading List.

Under the department of, "What were they thinking when they wrote this, and why didn't these characters lose their children or get arrested?" I'd like to chat about some odd stories. Feel free to add your own analysis or additional titles in the comments.

1. Green Eggs and Ham. Is it just me, or is Sam-I-Am harassing this poor unnamed chap? And does the dude get Stockholm Syndrome at the end or what? Although he was quite sure at the beginning of the book that he wouldn't like green eggs and ham in any location you could name, he suddenly LOVES them and thanks his stalker dude for going to all this trouble. It is out of control. Stockholm, I'm telling you. The Sam-I-Am guy runs over people with cars and presents mice and goats to him as suitable tablemates. Fer real.

2. The Clifford series. They let their grossly oversized dog roam all over the neighbourhood, causing havoc. Why is the dog-catcher or the National Guard not doing something about this dangerous an…

You Get Nothing.

"Disinheritance hurts.

"My father never visited the grave of his father, I have never been to my father’s grave . . . and my sister’s children have not yet been to their mother’s grave. It’s nearly impossible to 'pay your respects' to someone whose last message to you is, 'I didn’t love you or value you.'" Article.

On the one hand, it's just stuff. Stuff doesn't matter in the big scheme of things and often not getting the stuff we think we deserve can bring up the feelings of jealousy and pain we shouldn't even have.

Your stuff belongs to you, and when you die, you are not obligated to give me one little penny in your will. Now mind you, it would be NICE if we're good friends or family that you leave me a small something, a momento, a wish-you-well parting gift just because you can't take it with you. I would appreciate that, but I don't think it's my *right* to receive it. How about this: use up every penny except burial expe…

The Style. The Look.

Patrick loves these pants. Actually he has about six pairs of pants. They are all the same size, same brand, same colour. Seriously. His dad is the same way, but ol' Dad needs to buy new pants for work (same brand, same colour) when his old ones show signs of extreme wear. I got tired of Patrick putting mailing tape all over his pants at school and having people feel sorry for him. He must have come up with some odd story to tell his teachers that they would have sympathy for him and give him an entire roll of mailing tape AND a bit of masking tape so that he could make a smiley face on top of his knee.
I SWEAR I asked him if he would like some new pants and shirts before the beginning of the school year. He said no, reasoning (correctly!) that I would take the old and ratty ones and throw them in the trash. Well. He didn't quite phrase it that way, but still. As you can see, I at least don't want him walking about with gaping holes over the winter and patched these up …

Yet More School Stories.

Elf isn't doing so badly. I'm letting him flounder and figure it out for himself. It looks like every now and then, though, he might need a little hint about what to say and do.

I've been asking him to do things like tell me the names of two other students this week, and tell me what people are talking about in the lunchroom, and tell me about what you are saying in class, and all sorts of things like that. It worked very well in Mr. McC's class last year. He eventually learnt the names of six other children and was able to even tell me a little bit about a few of them. This year, not so well.

At least he does seem to want to talk to me about things. But he's making more than a few social mistakes. One of the teachers had an "icebreaker" sort of conversation a bit ago and went around the room asking each of the children what they were doing over the weekend. Elf's response? "None of your business."

Yeahhh, he has been coached that next time…

Watch Your Kid.

Sarita Holzmann made an offhand remark on extracurricular activities at a homeschooling convention. One listener felt freed.

"She explained that she had just come from another session where the speaker said she should never put her children in extracurricular activities. He had said that good homeschool moms keep their children with them at all times."

"I know that different approaches work for different families. And many do well with no outside activities. But when I had my kids at home, a select few extracurricular activities provided a great blessing to my family and those around us."

Umm... Sarita is too kind to the other speaker. Or maybe this is why *I* am not a speaker at these things. I'da said that barring some unusual circumstance, this whole idea of never letting your kid out of your sight is really wack after he turns about 3 or 4. "Good homeschool moms keep their children with them at all times??" Do those words jump off the page to anyo…


Emperor's new Monroi! This handy-dandy (and $400) device replaces the old pen and paper "notation sheet." On the Monroi, you tap the pieces and enter the moves. You can see in the top picture that on this game, we're on move number 5 in which white moves a pawn to the d3 square, and black moves bishop to g4. We don't quite have the hang of it yet, but it will eventually make notating so much easier. No need to get the board out, move the pieces around and *try* to decipher what Emperor has written. It will make his private coaching minutes ($$) more effective because going over his games will be much faster.

More School Tales

Here's a story Elf told me, pretty much verbatim:

Something exciting happened at school yesterday. It was awesome. In Communication Arts (English), Mrs. P is really really scared of SPIDERS. And guess what? There was a big egg sac under her cabinet and we got to see all the spiders come out of the eggs! It was AMAZING. And Mrs. P got upset because there were HUNDREDS of tiny li'l baby spiders and they all crawl everywhere, all ways at once and under things. Some of them went into her desk and lots went around the room and into our desks and some were going into her supply closet and getting into the books.

Mrs. P gave everyone paper towels and rulers and told them to squash the spiders instead of reading today. We didn't see any mommies and daddies spiders but these spiders were light brown. (Listening to the story, they sound like poisonous BROWN RECLUSE spiders.) Mrs. P called the custodian RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF CLASS and he moved projectors and other things around. T…