31 March 2014

Bossy People.

Good morning!  Woodjie is ready to cuddle and read a good book in his robot jammies.
Welcome to a new kind of annoying:  the know-it-all homeschool mom.

Usually these are actually mothers whose oldest child is under ten years old.  Somehow, they know how to raise a wonderful tribe of children to adulthood and want to share their wisdom. 

Here's one.  A young mom rants about homeschool jammies on the internetz:  "People who do not choose to homeschool already view our ilk with some mixture of curiosity, skepticism, or disdain.  Must we confirm their suspicions that we are either a) shirking responsibility; b) lazy and not really doing anything; or c) just plain weird?" 

Hmm.  I think her freakout dance about this being the horrid thing people will remember about homeschoolers actually says a lot of good things about homeschoolers.  We have to have a snotty, uppity, "I am doing a better job than you" sort of post and it's about... jammies.  Okay then.  It's good to know that these are the sorts of up and coming problems in the homeschooling community!  Jammies.

People who do not choose to homeschool often already view our ilk with some mixture of curiosity, skepticism or disdain. Must we confirm their suspicions that we are either a) shirking responsibility; b) lazy and not really doing anything; or c) just plain weird? - See more at: http://hedua.com/blog/homeschoolers-get-dressed/#sthash.SYAXdjJM.dpuf

28 March 2014

The Best Bargain

I just bought these two handpainted Polish pottery cups from the thrift store for less than $2 each.  They still had the factory stickers on them!!  Rose and I are sharing them because we can't really tell them apart.

27 March 2014

Special Ed Kids "Just a Bother."

"Special-education kids are more expensive, and to some districts, they're just a bother," Mississippi State Representative and former House Education Chairman Cecil Brown (D) said recently.

Did he miss the "things you are not supposed to say out loud if you want to stay in politics" meeting these people usually get?  Maybe he was out fishing with Todd Akin that day or somethin'.

26 March 2014

Dropping Federal Dollars

The Waterford School District voted to opt out of the federal lunch program next school year.  Apparently (and I don't get how) they still have to provide lunches for every person who proves they meet the federal guidelines for free lunches, however.

Why can't they just close the school cafeteria altogether?  They do in our school district over the summer, so it must be legal.  Let everyone bring their own stupid lunch from home or just go without.  Plan ahead. 

Better still, close the cafeteria and let all the kids trade Hot Cheetos on the black market, bring sodas in to drink, and nibble their Pop-Tarts into all sorts of threatening and obscene shapes.  We used to eat Pop-Rocks, bags of sugar/Kool-Aid mix, and whole boxes of cookies.  Almost all of us were very thin by today's standards, too, because 1. we didn't eat that stuff every day, and 2. we had a lot of time for recess and games and wandering about in the fields by the school.

22 March 2014

New Trend: Racist Jokes

No, not that kind of "racist joke."  It seems every middle schooler must say "YOU RACIST!" to his friends whenever possible.

"You're afraid of the dark?  YOU RACIST!" and so on. 

Oddly, it seems black children do this exact same thing.  It seems to me rathermuch like the old "yo mama" jokes which aren't really meant to be insulting your actual mother.  You get cred for making the most clever "yo mama" joke with your friends.

I've talked with my boys about how they don't want to participate in this silliness, even though I don't think anyone means any harm by it.

21 March 2014

Babies and Shopping Carts

Don't pop your infant seat into the front end of a shopping cart!  A baby has died after the seat fell out with the child inside.  I think almost every parent does this at some point, so I'm reposting this story even though it's a few years old.  The story is making its rounds on facebook again for some reason, and because the news article cribbed her facebook picture for its story, this poor mom is receiving a bunch of new and odd "friend" requests.  People are weird.

19 March 2014

Riding @ Pendragon Farms!

We brushed the ponies nicely and got them ready to ride.

This was our first visit to Pendragon Farms.

Rose and Woodjie's first riding lesson!

Elf was able to ride unassisted and guide his pony around obstacles.

Max worked hard!  We're rewarding him with a bowl of treats. 

17 March 2014

My Little Bully

So a nine-year-old kid brings his My Little Pony backpack to school and the other kids shove him around and say nasty things to him.  The school tells the child to use a different backpack because this one makes him a bit of a target.

Was the school right?

The young man's mom says the school should punish the bullies, not her kid.  Her kid did nothing wrong and there is nothing wrong with the show, which teaches friendship and acceptance.

14 March 2014

Please Send Some Love

"Great!  Funny!  Visit!" -- Woodjie.
... and maybe even a comment or two!  Woodjie has started a blog with a little help.  He picked his template and layout and we worked together on how to tell people what he wants to say.  Visit him at:



12 March 2014

My Bathroom Selfie

So would you recognize me?  I had to edit out the camera and somehow?  Between that and the flash, I only have one eyeball.  Ok, good enough.  Those whippersnapper teens must spend HOURS on some of their self-portraits if this is the best I could accomplish in 20 minutes.

11 March 2014

Homeschool Curriculum: Singapore Mathematics Grade 1

A peek inside Woodjie's workbook.

Singapore Mathematics teaches children concept by concept.  There are occasional reviews and tests, but for the most part the concepts are taught to grade level mastery one at a time.

The textbooks are re-useable, but each student should rightfully have his own workbook.  There are two workbooks and two textbooks per grade level.  We are finishing 1A and will move on to 1 B sometime in mid-April.  Because we started homeschooling around Thanksgiving, we will likely be done with this grade level around the beginning of September if we work through the summer. 

So we're a bit behind, but not terribly so.  I should rather spend a fair bit of time teaching the basic addition and subtraction math facts, and making sure the children can tell time and count their pennies and nickels before moving up to the next set of books.

There are answer keys available, but I don't need them for first grade work.  I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the books are a bit smaller than you would expect.  I like that there are two workbooks for the year as larger workbooks tend to be unwieldy and it's difficult to write answers anywhere close to the binding.

Should Children Be Required to Write in Cursive?

Under proposed legislation, all Tennessee third graders must learn to read and write in cursive.  It sounds as though it's going to pass if no one bogs the bill down with other pet items. 

Not clarified in the article is the style of cursive to be taught - will just any do?

Do you have a favourite style of cursive?  I learnt to write in Connecticut and in New South Wales, Australia.  So my writing is sort of a cross between the standard cursive you know and this.  This is the only curriculum I've come across that uses capital A's and small r's like the ones I write.

One thing I could never quite get down was this concept of slope.  My writing tends to be straight up and down, no matter what.  I wonder what those special handwriting analysts would say about that.  Probably that I didn't pay attention in class very well. 

10 March 2014

Homeschool Curriculum: LIFEPAC Science

Elf has great memories of using these when he was little. 

We've just begun Alpha Omega LIFEPACs for science.  What I like about them is that they're little, portable workbooks.  The experiments in the early elementary years are usually pretty easy to do. 

There are ten workbooks for each grade level.  There's no reason you couldn't get the set done in a school year, but we're doing ours a little more slowly and taking time to grow plants and take field trips.  I've found that little people need to have more time for play and art and fun things than children do in older grades.  That's why we're starting our second grade set now; I'm figuring it will take us well over a year to get this done.

And since this is my second and last set of homeschoolers,  we can write in the workbooks!  We went through so many odd machinations to keep the notebooks like new before.  It's going to be soo much easier just to write in the books this time around.  I think the children will enjoy being allowed to keep some of them in their own private collections when they are completed.

LIFEPACs are written from a Christian perspective, and our first booklet discusses which day all the various animals and plants were made, as well as the characteristics of living and non-living things.
Woodjie's book cover and Rose's handiwork.

Duncan: Schools Replace Mom

"The days of telling kids to go home at 2:30 and having mom there with a peanut butter sandwich, those days are gone."

Arne Duncan wants schools to be open year-round from 12 to 14 hours every day.  No more weekends off, kids.  The traditional American school calendar is "antiquated."

Would you like your children to go to school for 14 hours a day, seven days a week?  Only think of how much test prep could be done in that time.  Our children would be brilliant!

08 March 2014

St. Patrick's Day is Too Catholic

So it's now known as O'Green Day.  Children will celebrate by eating green vegetables in the school cafeteria.  I swear I'm not making this up.

You see, St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day celebrations are just too religious.  All that green beer, shamrocks, crazy hat wearing and other shenanigans are... too Catholic, too Irish and not diverse enough.  And we all know children might be uncomfortable celebrating Valentine's Day since it was named after a saint.  And that love stuff is too Jesus-y.

So an elementary school principal just renamed all the holidays to include everyone. Valentine's Day is now known as Caring and Kindness Day. Awww.  I'm just feeling the tolerance and love here.  It makes me want to party on by eating a brussels sprout in the cafeteria!  Woot woot! 

How are YOU going to celebrate O'Green Day?

03 March 2014

Fifth in State!

Emperor and I are finally home from the state tournament in Columbia, Missouri!  It got so icy we stayed at the hotel all weekend, played Parcheesi and Monopoly, and ate pizza.

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...