30 April 2013

Another Chess Photo!

Emperor came in first in the Monday month-long tournament, and tied for first in the Wednesday night month-long tournament for April.  He wins a total of $50!  His CXR rating is much higher now, so it will be much harder to get that sort of cash after this because he will be competing in a higher section.  Emperor says that what he wants to do with the money is buy Minecraft.

22 April 2013

15 April 2013

First World Problems

"Do you want a cutie with your pizza rolls and cookies?" I asked Elf.

"I want an apple!" he told me.

"I wan it apple!" Woodjie chimed in.

"Well, I only have one apple," I told them.  "Here.  You can have the apple, Elf.  I'm just going to chop this slice off for Woodjie."

"Aaaahhh!  I hate it when that happens!  And you always take a big slice out of my apple!"

"You're right, Elf," I consoled him.  "I'm sure the children of the Sudan are weeping for you..."

"No, they're not," he said matter-of-factly.  "I'm just weeping for myself."

12 April 2013

Assignment: Jews Are Evil.

"You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

So reads an assignment an Albany, New York, high school required of its students.  They let the kiddies watch some Nazi propaganda for a bit and then asked them to "prove that Jews were the source of Germany's problems."

You know, I "get" that assignments like these are designed to help students look at perspectives that are different from their own and argue the opposite point of view from that which they deeply believe.  But still.  If you were Jewish, how would you feel about sending your daughter to school after hearing this?

Missouri Education Watchdog is more forgiving.  It isn't the stupidity of the teachers and administrators in giving out this assignment.  It is all the fault of Common Core! 

I hate Common Core as much as the next guy, but I sure can't imagine that preaching hatred is really the intention of the national standards.

Do you know what?  The fact that a third of the students refused to complete it gives me hope for America.

11 April 2013

Monkey Magic

Tripitaka and the Magic Monkey was something I remember watching as a kid in Australia.  When I told Patrick about it (and don't ask me how this point in the conversation came up; I have no idea), he laughed and said I was making it up.

I gave him lots of detail about how they rode about on a Frito, and there is this Buddha-like lady, or well... sometimes I think it might be a man... and some monkey man running around with their other sidekick that is a pig-man.  And a cloud.  They go to different places in each episode. It's sorta like Kung-Fu, but with a smaller budget and more... odd. 

He didn't believe me. 

I forced him to google it and in fact it was a popular show and on TV all the time. So there.

I don't know why he would have doubted me.  I mean, you can't just make something like that up by the seat of your pants like that.

"I don't know about that," he said.  "I'm sure not going to doubt your creativity."

Not quite sure how to process that little comment...

07 April 2013

"100s 50s 20s 10s"

A gibberish-y scrawled note and being unable to speak clearly cost this poor man the opportunity to get away with bank robbery.  What are public schools coming to nowadays?  Because certainly no private school would allow for this type of behaviour.  They'd set the young man up in a career on Wall Street instead, where he would be very articulate and literate but say nothing much in particular.

06 April 2013

Kindergarten Curriculum!

That's right!  Little Rose will be joining our homeschool next year.  Tucked between all the chess books are her ABeka readers.  She's sounding out words and ABeka really works for her.  You simply can't beat the systematic way in which it teaches children letters, sounds, sound blends and fluent reading.  Rose is now midway through the first grade readers.  She can read far better than she can write.   I've ordered a cute phonics book that goes with the series, so we'll see how she does with that.

I got all kinds of half-used books at the thrift store for about 50 cents each.  I figure throw these in with the Dick and Jane stories and our Handwriting Without Tears books, and we're set for a good while.  PS.  If you're glancing at the Everyday Mathematics books and wondering, no, I will not ever ever ever teach math the Everyday Math way.  There will be no calculator except to check our answers in the upper grades.  She will learn "standard algorithms."  She will be math-fluent and enter high school unfamiliar with the lattice method.  (Look five minutes into the video.)  This is my pledge to humanity.

She'll write her name on this book on her first day!  Earlybird Mathematics is an early version of...

... what she will do when she reaches a first grade level.  Singapore Mathematics!

I saw this at the homeschool convention and just loved it.  I bought it DESPITE the fact that it is "Aligned to State Standards," not BECAUSE of it.  Mostly?  The cute drawings inside and non-cluttered method of presenting simple problems to little children.
I'm looking forward to starting the school year with her.  She is such a big girl now! 

05 April 2013

It's Not About the Kids.

Senior Parents and Students,

This is a reminder from the graduation information sent earlier this semester that there is no senior skip day/time. Anyone involved in this will need to make up the time. The Cityname Public School district like all others in Missouri collects the state reimbursement based on the daily attendance of each student. Therefore school attendance is critical for student academic growth and the school system’s economic well-being. Thank you for understanding that your children belong to us. Please contact me at (number) or (email) if you have any questions regarding this.

Thank you 

Principal's name

So.  Teachers get personal days but the families who pay the taxes and the teacher salaries?  No days off for them.  Sighhh.  Ok, aside from the contact info and the city name, I changed four words in the above paragraph.  It still reads sorta the same to me.

I find myself hoping that a lot of kids and their families start questioning this zero tolerance for personal enrichment days, and participate in senior skip day.  Socialisation, ya know.

I don't know about you but I'm tired of our children being looked upon as community property, the "workers of tomorrow" and/or the reason teachers get paid.  They belong to their parents, and no one else until they belong to themselves at adulthood.  eesh.

03 April 2013

Just a Hint.

I think D might want me to start cleaning up a little around here.  This is my "pre-homeschool convention" look.  It's even worse for about a week after as well.  :)

02 April 2013

Nature Question.

Here it is.  We have a cardinal in our yard.  He comes over only to our cars, never the neighbours'.  He likes to perch on our sideview mirrors and look at himself... and poop all down the sides of our vehicles.  You would not believe one little boy cardinal could make such a mess.  What do you think we can do to make him go away?

01 April 2013

Reading Recommendations

I know you really need guidance as to which titles would be best for your child to read over the summer or, if you're homeschooling, things to keep in mind for the next school year.  So I'll refer you to people who know more than you do in book selection, the wise people from the state of California.  They're implementing the faaaabulous world-class Common Core Standards, which means that education as we know it will of course change for the better.

I took a look at their reading lists.  Not many classics as we know it (Beowulf is not on the list, nor is Huckleberry Finn, Around the World in 80 Days and plenty of others), but plenty of new and um, epic reading, um, things are to be... like, looked at. 

"The list also includes such interesting titles as 'Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You,' a book in both the health and visual and performing arts subjects. In the 2005 book by Dorian Cirrone, a 16-year-old big-breasted ballet dancer and her sister, an artist, confront sexism, conformity and censorship at their high school."

Yyyeah.  Our kids really need to read this crap.  There are some decent and interesting titles such as Maus that it won't kill your kid to read, but it seems they've squeezed all the real canonical materials in order to be culturally relevant or what-ever.  Maus is cute, but it's a comic book, people.  In all fairness, it should not be on any "top books kids should read" list.

Who's on these committees and what are they smoking?


Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...