Monday, August 28, 2006

A Top Notch Education In Economics

If you want to learn about a topic, the best person to learn from is an expert - preferably one who is world-renown in his subject. Who wouldn't want to take art classes from Leonard DaVinchi, learn astronomy from Galileo, or receive golf lessons from Tiger Woods? Unfortunately, for many of us, learning any craft from such an expert, living or dead, is equally impossible. Fortunately, this is not the case in economics. Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, has made his "Free To Choose" lectures (originally aired on PBS in the 1980's) free for the viewing. Don't miss this rare opportunity to sit under the tutelage of a master.

Note: I had some trouble with the audio, so you may need to fiddle with it a bit. Trust me, it is worth some fiddling!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Homeschooling 4 children, a dh who works full-time and goes to grad school part-time, writing, and taking care of a house are enough to keep any woman on her toes. She looks for those little things throughout her day to encourage her to keep going... evidence that all is not in vain (and that she can relax a bit because her children actually are learning something despite what seems like daily evidence to the contrary). One of those things for me is the rapidly increasing vocabulary of our 2-year-old, Quarto. As someone who loves words, dislikes "baby talk" and loves to talk, having children with large vocabularies is a great pick-me-up. True, Quarto's constant repeating of Terzo drives Terzo a little nuts, but all-in-all this rapid increase in speech has been a good thing... or so I thought.

It was cute when I would call Quarto over for a diaper change and he would call back, "Just a minute!"

Or when he would call out, "Can you pray with me?" after being in bed for an hour already or during a particularly strong "scary, terrible rain" (aka thunderstorm).

However, it ceased being cute when he began declaring, "Mom! I'm gonna throw up!" on a regular basis.

Now, to put you all at ease, the first few times he did this, I was a good parent and made sure he was provided with a bucket, that he had no fever and that he had plenty of bland food so as not to further aggrivate his delicate tummy. However, I began to notice that his declarations were not accomapnied by the typical physical signs of nausea. Quite the opposite. He would continue to run around and giggle and ask to play with cars or watch a movie or play outside. This phrase simply appears to be his "something to say when he doesn't know what else to say."

All parents know the high state of alert that the proclamation "I'm gonna throw up!" brings. You brace yourself for the wretch as you scramble to find a bucket and your brain plans how to clean whatever difficult-to-clean surface your child inevitably ends up targeting. Although my mind knows that Quarto is just repeating this phrase because he finds it an interesting phrase to utter (kind of like Frodo's need to use the word "phlegm" whenever the occasion arises because he loves the sound of the word and the chance just doesn't come up that often in typical daily conversation), I can't turn off this primitive reaction of reaching for a bucket and mentally replanning my day to accomodate a sick toddler.

I already feel like I have to be on my game on a daily basis without having the "kid alert" raised to red whenever my toddler is bored. Reprogramming appears to be in order. Here are the phrases I have decided to repeat randomly throughout the day with the hopes that Quarto will exchange one of them for his current favorite:

1. "Sweet baby gherkins!" (This is actually an exclamation that Frodo is attempting to introduce into the American lexicon. To be used when receiving a positive shock. For example: "Honey, we're going to have a baby." "Really?! Sweet baby gherkins!")

2. "The sea monkey stole my money." (from Finding Nemo. Strictly for the entertainment value.)

3. "Mom! I got a full scholarship to Harvard!" (Although still untrue, would successfully replace the instinctive dread elicited by the current phrase with a naturally joyous response.)

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sometimes You Find Great Philosophy In Unlikely Places

Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding.

-Henri Ducard, Batman Begins

And sometimes you find terrible philosophy in the same place.

It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you.

- Rachel Dawes (repeated by Batman), Batman Begins

Praise God for grace!

Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

- Luke 11:39-41

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Great Pick-Me-Up and Exercise Program

Go ahead. Try not to bounce around with your kids while you watch... I dare you!

Furry Happy Monsters

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tagged For Homeschool Resources

Tagged by : Stepping Heavenward

1. One Homeschooling Book You Have Enjoyed

The Well-Trained Mind

2. One Resource You Wouldn't Be Without

Story of the World

3. One Resource You Wish You Had Never Bought

Loads of used easy readers. Better to borrow from the library.

4. One Resource You Enjoyed Last Year

First Language Lessons

5. One Resource You Will Be Using Next Year

Real Science 4 Kids: Chemistry Level 1

6. One Resource You Would Like To Buy

Good-quality, college level microscope

7. One Resource You Wish Existed

Clasically-oriented, grammar-stage science curriculum.

(I'm typing it as fast as I can!)

8. One Homeschooling Catalogue You Enjoy Reading

Rainbow Resource Center

9. One Homeschooling Website You Use Regularly

Well-Trained Mind Message Boards

10. Tag Five Other Homeschoolers

You know who you are!

Free Education

I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it... I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves and give one tenth to the poor... Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!

-Brigham Young

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Frodo recently introduced me to the artist Feist. Her album Let It Die has quickly become a favorite... especially for road trips or as a gloomy day pick-me-up. I find myself drawn to the song Mushaboom, in particular. It has a wonderful, dreamy quality to it that I find easy to get lost in. I just may adopt this as my new theme song... it fits me so well. To listen, click the link below. The song's lyrics follow.


Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born
oh oh oh

Unpacking the bags and settin' up
And planting lilacs and buttercups
oh oh oh

But in the meantime I've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay

Old dirt road
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Knee deep snow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watchin' the fire as we grow... old
(mushaboom, mushaboom)

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
oh oh oh
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done
oh oh oh

How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

Old dirt road
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Knee deep snow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watchin' the fire as we grow... old
(mushaboom, mushaboom)

Old dirt road
Ramblin' rose
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watchin' the fire as we grow
(mushaboom, mushaboom)
Well I'm sold ...
Oh oh oh oh oh oh ...
Oh oh oh oh oh oh ...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What would you do?

Fox reporters, Steve Centanni (American) and Olaf Wiig (New Zealander), were released by their 'Holy Jihad Brigades' captors this week after a week in captivity. Although no one will ever know the minds of their captors, it is commonly accepted that the videotape made of the two men reading prepared statements in which they denounce Christ, America, and Western society were key to thier release. (To view the videotape, click here.) After their release, Cantanni said, "It was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

What would you do? Would you agree to read the prepared statement with the hopes of being released?

I honestly don't know what I would do. It's easy to say that I would refuse to read the statement, but then who really knows what one would do at gunpoint?

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." -Matthew 16: 15-19

Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same. - Matthew 26:31-35

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"

Immediately a rooster crowed.

Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. - Matthew 26:69-75

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Time to Catch Up

How ironic is that? These last many weeks I have had no time to post anything but the Carnival of Homeschooling links and when I finally begin to settle back into a routine and get back to my blog, I miss the last two carnivals.

Well, Yee Haw! It's time to set things straight! This week's carnival could be better described as a rodeo. So step right up Little Lady (or Buckaroo) and go visit the Carnival here. Say howdee to the head honcho, Sprittibee, while you're there.

And while you've got your feet up, check at last week's carnival over at PHAT Mommy's.

See ya'll after the fair!

Monday, August 07, 2006

School Is In Session

To be honest, it was never really out of session, but I can't fit "Sitting At A Table And Doing Workbook Pages, Handwriting Practice, and Other Textbook Learning Has Now Re-Commenced" in the subject line.

Since life occurs year-round, learning occurs year-round here at Apollos Academy. This summer was full of swimming lessons, trips to the local pool, trips to the neighbor's pool, hiking, museum visits, festival fun, family film fests, 4H, reading, watching thunderstorms, working in the garden, baking (both food in the kitchen and ourselves in the heat), church picnics, vacation bible school, and just being. With all that fun and learning, you'd think the kids wouldn't want to settle down with books, would you? Well, that's where you'd be wrong.

I called the girls into the kitchen this afternoon (after 2.5 hours working in the 4H garden) and told them that it was time for math. Both Primo and Secondo said, "Yay! Math!" Yay? Math? After half an hour, I asked them to clean up their Cuisenaire Rods and hand me thier worksheets,

"Now?! I was having fun."

"Just a few more minutes. PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE!"

I gave in. Who wouldn't? They're begging to do math for goodness sake. A couple minutes later I hear:

Primo - "Mom, come look at my computer bars."

Tutor - "Computer bars?"

P - "Yeah. You know, like the bars on your cell phone or when you're waiting for a thing that you clicked on to come up on the computer."

T - "You mean a download?"

P - "That's what I said."

Secondo - "Mom, look. I can make steps this way (places rods vertically) or this way (stacks rods horizontally) or if I mix them up like this (places rods of random heights in a line vertically) it looks like New York City!"

T - "Very cool!"

I finally convince them to put the rods away after reassuring them that we can play with the rods again tomorrow, and they quickly clean up then scatter. I call them back in mere minutes later. Secondo arrives first and sees me holding books in my hands. "Are we having a spelling quiz?" I confirm that we are, indeed. Secondo enthusiastically screams, "Primo! Come here! Spelling quizes!"

"Spelling quiz?! Woo hoo!" Primo yells as she runs to her spot at the table. " I like spelling."

The rest of this week will be more of the same mix of conventional and unconventional:

Tuesday: Deskwork, housework, and swimming (maybe some car washing)

Wednesday: Deskwork, library trip, and swimming exhibition for grandparents at the local pool

Thursday: field trip to the county fair to see the girls' displays, eat fattening foods, and take in everything the fair has to offer

Friday: deskwork and swimming

And thus begins our re-commencement of "Sitting At A Table And Doing Workbook Pages, Handwriting Practice, and Other Textbook Learning"... and then some.