28 September 2016

Beefy Blonde Ancient Egyptians

We're learning about ancient Egyptians in our history class.  On several occasions, I've shown the children what ancient Egyptians looked like (or at least, how they pictured themselves).  I've mentioned that it's in Africa.  I've had them locate it on the map.  I also have mentioned it's rather sunny.

And yet this is what Rose and Woodjie imagined ancient Egyptians looked like.   (Actually, Woodjie's picture is even LIGHTER hair- and skin- wise.)  Some of the older children defended this interpretation during our dinner discussion.  They told me I oughtn't "correct" this because there are plenty of very light Africans from Morocco and you can't tell anything about anybody by where they're from.

I wound up feeling I shouldn't be quite so racially prejudiced against Egyptians, being so bold as to assume they all sort of looked alike colouring-wise.  I wasn't there in 2000 BC, so I can't say for sure that (aside from the Pharoah and some of his friends) Egyptians didn't all look exactly like this beefy blonde guy.  Patrick says he appears to have come from an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  Remember those?  The big burly guy is talking, but his jaw somehow never moves.

27 September 2016

Tweets From the Debate

23 September 2016

Rapid Instruction

Education Secretary John King says that homeschoolers are missing out on the rapid instruction public schools offer unless their parents are very "intentional" about providing it.


First off, what is "rapid instruction?"  It sounds to me like the teacher presents concepts at a good pace.  If you don't get material the first time, well, that's too stinking bad because the class has moved on.

If that's the case, YES, homeschoolers miss out on "rapid instruction."

If by "rapid instruction," he means that students learn concepts as quickly as possible and move on, then YES, often homeschoolers miss out on "rapid instruction."  Many homeschooling parents will incorporate what they learned in other areas of life (adding fractions for baking and so on) and instead of learning the material and hopping to the next concept, it's implemented in the real world.  That can make for a slower pace.

I'll add here that many if not most also miss out on doing most of their instructional time with computers, laptops, ebooks and the like.  Computer-based instruction is often "rapid" and moves on when the algorithm thinks the kids "get" it.  But parents aren't algorithms.  They're involved start to finish with what their children are learning.  I mean, unless they're "intentional" about not being hands-on.


I think it's interesting that this guy is all concerned about homeschoolers when only a third of public school eighth-graders read proficiently and a fifth don't graduate at all!  I think his real "concern" is the power his department loses when people unhook from the public school system.

Perhaps a better way to deal with homeschooling from his vantage point would be to make public schools so wonderful that no one even considers leaving.


21 September 2016

I Give Up.

Ok, so I *think* I've just ordered some winter boots online.  Maybe.  Well, I mean, I know I have ordered winter boots, but I'm hoping they actually fit my daughter when they arrive.

Girls' size 5, close to a women's 7 or men's 6.  Notice how I tied everything with elastic?  Easy to slip on now and it doesn't really look that dorky.

It's crazy ridiculous, trying to figure out what the "next size up" is when your children are in larger kids' sizes, or transitioning to adult sizes.  Not to mention that each brand name has its own little fit and way to do things.  I'm going nuts here.

So I got out Rose's old Nike shoe which clearly has all the measurements on the label.  The US measurement.  The UK measurement.  The measurement in centimeters and some other odd measurement.  I took this info and chatted with the LL Bean representative to ask, what's the next size up? 

Aaaand the first person who answered the phone couldn't answer.  Which, that should tell you a little something about how hard things are to figure out.  Here's a lady who has probably spent the last 10 years of her life taking orders and answering questions from consumers.  She probably knows quite a bit about the products.

She transferred me to a "customer service specialist."  That person was able to figure out how big THEIR shoes are in centimeters, and then from the measurement I have in the old shoe I'm able to make a bit of a conversion and figure out what the next size would be in THEIR shoe line.

Everybody, please do things in centimeters or millimeters or tenths of an inch or I don't care what, but make up your mind.  Call the Five Families together for a conference in Nyack (or where-ever you shoe-dealing lords hang out) and issue some sort of proclamation about it.

Because to add to my confusion?  When Woodjie is done with his shoes, I have no clue whether they will fit Rose.  You just have to try them on every season because a boys' 7 is different from a men's 7, which is different from a girls' 7 and that's way different from a women's 7.  And like I said, add the different brand names and so on into the mix and it's just a mess.

OH!  And toddler sizes.  Dear me, I forgot that both boy and girl sizes can also come in TODDLER sizes, so one has to specify toddler or "big kid" shoes when ordering.

I'm just gonna bring my girl out to a full-service shoe store and have her measured for sneakers.  If there are any full-service shoe stores around anymore...

18 September 2016

Guns! Explosions! Politics!

Here's an ad from Eric Greitens, who won the Republican primaries in my state.  I didn't vote for him because I didn't feel he was conservative enough.  Cool ad, though...

Guns are a really big deal here.  Yep.

Recently, the Democratic candidate for Senate brought out his weapon and assembled it blindfolded in a campaign ad.   He challenged his Republican opponent, Senator Roy Blunt, to do the same.

First off, Blunt is 9,000 years old (almost exactly) so it's not a fair fight.  Second?  Who does the NRA endorse?  Blunt.  Just because some guy can put his gun together on a TV ad doesn't mean he thinks you should be able to have one.

I hope people don't confuse "I have a gun" for "I am a conservative."  It's really cool to watch people assemble guns, shoot stuff and cause explosions but I have a few other issues I'd like my political leaders to address, how about you?

16 September 2016

Europe. Of Course!

A young adult is suing her mom and dad for taking embarrassing childhood photos of her and posting them on the internet for everyone to see.  She asked them to take the photos down and they refused.

I can understand in this world where everyone is connected and a google search can turn up all kinds of weird things where the daughter doesn't want graphic potty-training pics on the internet.  I can.  If they're showing genitalia of any kind, I would HOPE the parents have some common sense and take 'em down. 

But if they aren't?  It's a bit petty.  If anything, the case is going to inspire people to google her name who wouldn't've otherwise.  This is the kind of thing that clogs up the court system so more important things can't be dealt with in a timely fashion.

15 September 2016

Definitely a "Boy" Bible

Short, sweet, easy-to-read snippets by the Zonderkidz team pepper the Kids' Devotional Bible.  It uses the New International Reader's Version (NIrV) translation, probably the most readable text I've ever seen on any reading level past the abridged that don't really contain the whole bible.  I think the devotions are long enough to convey some real information, but short enough to hold a young boy's attention span through the whole thing.

I thought it looked like a pretty great book, but I had no idea I'd be so excited about it and cherish it as much as I do when I chose it.  I love it!  I'm so glad I got it for Woodjie.  He is enjoying it as well. He has a lot of trouble understanding what he reads, so this is very helpful.

In theory, one goes through the devotions based on the day of the week.  Every Tuesday passage, I can tell you, features a picture of art supplies.  (We happen to go to art class every Tuesday so that's easy to remember.) Each book of the Bible has a brief introduction and it does contain a short dictionary also.

I'd recommend this Bible for those considering a Bible for a child who has just learned to read reasonably fluently.  The cover and illustrations do lend themselves more toward the "boy" market, however.

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.”

14 September 2016

Finding Home

Sometimes I will be playing a game or something on the computer while the children finish a worksheet or something, but I will listen on my headphones to a movie at the same time.  I started out doing that with the "Finding Home" movie.  I thought it would just be one of those little documentaries I'd leave on and listen to.  It's very powerful.  I don't know that I would have watched it if I knew what it was about, but I'm glad I did.  The stories in this movie are more complex than the simple kidnap/ rescue type trafficking situations I thought they would be.  I would highly recommend the movie for adult audiences, or for mature teens. It gets into what is going on without becoming severely graphic. By the end you will be rooting for the young ladies in the film.

11 September 2016

Room Update.

So Woodjie and I got onto Pinterest and looked for ideas to incorporate in his bedroom.  He picked a "space" theme with a dark blue and some glow-in-the-dark planets and sticky stars and whatnot. In theory, the little planets can be suspended from the ceiling with sticky tack but in reality, nope!  You have to hang them on something.  This was Woodjie's idea - this hanger sort of blends in with the wall (a little... if you imagine things well).  The resulting "mobile" hangs right over Woodjie's pillow.  He's pretty happy with it. 

This next picture requires even more imagination.  It's a cool tapestry on a makeshift rod and some "star" lights are hung over the top.  Once I buy a proper rod and something to hang the tapestry with it won't look so bad.  But at night, it's a lot of fun to look at the "stars" and Woodjie loves his room.

PS. His room contains most of the toys as it is the biggest.  Little sister's room is tiny, so all the girly playthings are in here.  So... that is not really Woodjie's Hello Kitty and pony collection you see there but that sure IS his Pokemon blanket.

01 September 2016

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer

Jake Palmer was trying to be a hero when he was set afire.  The entire lower half of his body was horribly burnt, disfigured, rendered inflexible and slow.  After many months of agonising therapy, he's now able to walk again.  But how's he going to live his life again?  His looks and athletic skill are gone.  His wife is gone.  His friends seem a bit awkward around him and don't really know how to help.

So... the physical therapy's over but how, exactly, is Jake going to live well when the things that made his life so great before have been taken from him?  How does that work? 

What follows is a story of depth and introspection disguised as an adventure novel.  It's long enough and easy enough to read that I'd highly recommend it as an "international flight or a long wait somewhere" book for your bag.  I spent several happy evenings reading this novel.

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.”

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...