Saturday, March 31, 2007
Secondo is finishing third grade this year, so this was her first year for testing. We use the Wide-Range Achievement Test (WRAT) which gives a grade + month ability level for the subjects of reading, spelling and math. Consider yourself warned. Mommy bragging commencing in....
Math - Third grade, fifth month (Right on target. We were very happy with this considering we had her change curriculum half-way through the year.)
Spelling - Fourth grade, ninth month (Have I mentioned that we really like Spelling Workout?)
Reading - Ninth grade, 0 months (The tester had Secondo skim through the word list and pick out words she thought she could read, and she was able to read a smattering of words through college level! She is so proud of herself!)
Way to go, Secondo!
Now I need to comb through the bookshelves and find more difficult books for her to read. *grin*
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Subtitle: How Teachers' Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and Endanger Public Education
I also have a problem with Dr. Paige's view that a federal take-over (largely in the form of a Constitutional amendment) of the government school system would move us in the direction of a better school system. An amendment to the Constitution would be necessary first because, as it stands, the U.S. Constitution does not allow for federal involvement in education by not expressly stating it as a role of the federal government. Our federal government runs on the concept of "delegated authority"... i.e. unless "We the People" delegate it, they have no authority. Since the federal government is not given specific authority over education in the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment gives all authority not delegated in the Constitution to the states or the people, an amendment would be necessary. (Million dollar question: Does this make the Department of Education and the No Child Left Behind Act unconstitutional and mean that those congressmen who voted in favor their enactments violated their oaths of office?)
Alright, that was a bit of a tangent. Let me try to get back on track. Federalizing the government school system would also violate a key component of federalism: subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity states that "matters ought to be handled by the [lowest] competent authority" (Wikipedia). Or, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should have a central function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level". Practically speaking, if government schools were federalized, the majority of parents would be wiped out of the decision-making process when it came to their children's education. Voters in California would have a say in how Vermont school children learned grammar. Floridian voters would have a say in how Alaskan school children's physical education classes were structured. It also means that we would loose a very valuable tool in controlling how our schools function: protest. As it is now, if we don't like our school district, we can move to another. When enough families move out, a school district will change to try to woo families back. If we had a federal school system, protest would become nearly impossible. It is much easier to move to a new county than to a new country. (Just ask parents in Germany.)
Lastly, let's look at this from a practical standpoint. I mean, the federal government manages its current duties so well. The IRS and US Postal Service are upheld as banners of efficiency, right? (insert eye-roll here) Can you imagine what would happen if they got a hold of our educational system? They are already inching their way in through No Child Left Behind (of which Dr. Paige was a contributer) by dangling the "federal money" carrot in front of school districts who show progress... they don't actually have to progress, by the way, they just have to look like it.
Well, since I haven't read the book yet *grin*, I'll stop there. Now I'm off to see if our library has a copy of the book.
So, have I built up enough suspense? Are you chomping at the bit to see what people were searching for when a side-trail brought them here? Well then, here ya go:
prophetess deborah cato
what's thomas jefferson's middle name
west virginia beaches in the carolinas
don't come to west virginia (x2)
american pie ben and jerry's discontinue
survey of teenage boys on modesty
it was a pedestal from which a god had been torn, and in his place there stood, not satan with a sword, but a cor
ligonier ministry head covering
Saturday, March 24, 2007
A new ad campaign for the state of West Virginia lays it all out on the line with some reverse psychology:
Why would you even want to [come to West Virginia] when there are beaches in the Carolinas and mega-theme parks in Florida? And nothing says 'family fun' like a 10-hour drive with screaming kids, mile after mile of desolate highway, and little to break the monotony besides the occasional rest area or fast food joint.
What crazy ad agent thought that sarcasm would work? What is their target audience? Anyone up for a road trip?
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The whole "tolerance/ PC" thing grates against my nerves for the very reason that many (dare I say, most) preachers of "tolerance" are really preaching intolerance and conformation to their world view over the views of others. They don't want tolerance, they want submission.
A "discussion" on the ABC show The View this morning illustrated this perfectly. No, I don't watch this show... my head would have exploded long ago. I heard the audio on Glenn Beck this morning while eating breakfast. I almost vomited. Speaking of which, put down all beverages and maybe take some peremptory antacid before clicking the link below. The lack of respect that was shown was unbelievable.
Here is an article that describes the encounter and includes a transcript and links to the video in three different formats. I don't recommend reading the transcript, just click on one of the links to watch the video yourself. (Primary sources are always better than interpretations... even mine.)
I showed the video clip to Primo, who is ten. Before I showed it to her, I told her that I knew she wouldn't understand most of what they were talking about but that I wanted her to watch and listen to how the women spoke to and treated each other. Then I hit the play button and let her watch. When she was done, I asked, "So, what did you think?"
"Well the larger woman wouldn't let the woman with yellow hair talk. Then she kept telling the woman with the yellow hair to ask a question, but she was trying to ask the question. The big woman just wouldn't let her. She's not very nice."
A ten-year-old could see it. Respect is respect. Just because you disagree with someone and you believe that you are right and the other is wrong doesn't give you the right to talk all over them then pretend that you understand their opinion. It doesn't show intelligence. It shows a lack of respect, intolerance, and an uneasiness with your own opinion.
Glad I got that off my chest. I feel better now. Thanks for listening. Now would be a good time to think about which Logic curriculum I want to begin with Primo next year.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
"None of my other friends have chores."
"I'm the only ten-year-old who has to pick up sticks."
"How come I have to help get Quarto dressed? Why can't you do it?"
"I'm not a slave!"
Frodo and I persisted in our theory that to instill a good work ethic in our children, we actually had to give them work to do. Reading books about people working or watching other people work simply wasn't going to cut it. We even found ourselves saying, "You don't know what your friends do at home. I'm sure they have chores, too." Apparently, we were just flat-out lying to our kids. We are the only local parents who give their kids chores. Huh. Go figure. How do we know this? A couple weeks ago, I took Terzo to his Cub Scout meeting and the dirty truth came out.
Because it is a small troop (3 Tigers... including Terzo, 0 Bears, 3 Wolves, and 1 Webelo), the meetings are set-up so that all the boys work on a belt loop together or on one requirement for each badge level each meeting. At aforementioned meeting, the Wolves' requirement that the boys were going to work on was to fill-in a chore chart. The boys had to think of four chores that they could do at home for the next month (these were written across the top of the chart) and then they had to do these for one month and check them off as they did them (there was room for this on the bottom portion of the chart). Terzo's handwriting is still developing, so he asked me to write his chores while he told me what to write. He picked washing dishes, taking out the trash, and bringing the dirty laundry to the washing machine. Then he got stuck. He couldn't think of another thing to write. None of the other boys had written anything yet, so the mom leading the meeting (hereafter known as 'Leader Mom') began to offer suggestions, "What about making your bed? Cleaning your room? Putting your dirty clothes in the hamper?"
Terzo looked at me and asked skeptically, "I could put making my bed as a chore?"
"Sure," I confirmed. "Why not?"
"Well, that's just something you do. It's not really a chore. A chore is extra."
We wrote down "make bed" as his last chore. "Done!" Terzo announced.
"You're done?!" Wolf 1 asked. "I can only come up with 'Clean basement' but my Mom says that's a special job, not a regular chore."
Leader Mom (Wolf 1's mom) shares, "Asking them to pick up their toys is a chore for me. I know I should give them chores, but it's just so much easier if I do it. At least I know it will get done."
"His mom picks up his toys?" Terzo whispers loudly in my ear... everyone could hear.
"What chores do you do, Terzo?" Leader Mom asks.
Terzo proudly rattles off his chores. I have to remind him of some since he doesn't consider things like making his bed or putting his dishes in the sink chores.
As we leave the meeting that night, I can hear some of the boys complaining about having to do all four chores for a whole month. When we get in the car, Terzo says, "I'm only six and I have more chores than those big boys. I'm not lazy, am I, Mom?!"
"No, handsome. You're not."
So, there you have it. We're slave-drivers. And here's Terzo's daily schedule to prove it (the times are a bit off since our schedule has changed and I haven't had a chance to update it yet, but you'll get the idea of how evil we are):
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Secondo: "What sports are you going to play when you're seven?"
Terzo: "I'm going to play football and sports."
Secondo: "You're going to play all the sports? Well, not ballet, but all the others?"
Terzo: "Yeah. And hockey."
Primo: (while watching a small woodpecker pecking at a branch he was perched on) "I hope he doesn't peck to his death."
1. Sign your hubby up as the ONLY usher at your church's 8am service on DST's "spring forward" Sunday.
2. Make sure you can't leave immediately after the 8am service by signing both of you up to team-teach the 2 and 3yo Sunday School class.
3. Make sure your "adult helper" for said Sunday School class doesn't adjust well to DST and thus doesn't show up.
4. Make sure that 75% of kids in the 2 & 3yo SS class are boys.
5. When you finally go home, remember that you saved all of your prep for your Sunday evening Kid's Club class to the last minute.
6. Spend an hour creating a coloring page for the 5th commandment (you'll find out later that you are supposed to be teaching the 6th commandment, but that is irrelevant to your task of DST adjustment).
7. Finish prep just when your adrenaline high is at its peak so that you can't take a nap no matter how hard you try.
8. Go to teach a 2 hour Kid's Club class at church... again of 2 and 3 year olds.
9. Make sure 75% of those kids are boys.
10. Make sure at least one of those boys did not adjust well to DST and didn't nap so that he is really, really grumpy and has to spend the majority of the two hours being physically held in time out.
11. Have at least three families arrive 20 minutes late to pick up their kids... one of these must be the family of the aforementioned grumpy 2yo.
12. Have a gallant dh who offers to take the trash to the dumpster.
13. Sit in the car while your dh wrestles with the new lock on the dumpster before finally deciding to just take the trash home to put in your own can.
14. Go home and crash.
15. Wake up twice with 3yo son screaming "He stole my cereal!" while having a nightmare about grumpy 2yo in his Kid's Club class (send dh to take care of him, of course).
16. Wake up three more times with a stomach bug.
17. Have dh wake you up at 8am with a bowl of tea (it looks like a large mug and has a handle, but let's face it, it's a bowl), cinnamon toast and the reminder that he has the day off.
Trust me... works like a charm!
Sunday, March 11, 2007
The church of the dropouts,
The losers, the sinners, the failures and the fools
O what a beautiful letdown
Are we salt in the wound?
Let us sing one true tune.
Switchfoot, Beautiful Letdown
(to hear a sample, click the title above and scroll down to the samples)
Our pastor also shared this quote with us. It comes from William Cobbett's Cottage Industry:
It must be evident to everyone that the practice ... must render the frame feeble and unfit to encounter hard labor and severe weather. Hence succeeds a softness, an effeminacy, a seeking for the fireside, a lurking in the bed and all the characteristics of idleness. Drinking fills the public house and makes the frequenting of it habitual. Corrupts boys as soon as they are able to move from home and does little less for girls to whom the gossip of the drinking place is no bad preparatory school for the brothel. At the very least, it teaches them idleness.
By the way, this portion of Cobbett's text (written in 1821) is subtitled The Evils of Tea (And The Virtues of Beer). You can read more here. (The phrase I replaced with the ellipses above is "of drinking tea".)
He tried to explain and to convince. He knew, while he spoke, that it was useless, because his words sounded as if they were hitting a vacuum. There was no such person as Mrs. Wayne Wilmot; there was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends, the picture post cards she had seen, the novels of country squires she had read; it was this that he had to address, this immateriality which could not hear him or answer, deaf and impersonal like a wad of cotton. - p.162
Wynand and Dominique sat in the center of the fourth row, not looking at each other, listening to the play. The things being done on the stage were merely trite and crass; but the undercurrent made them frightening. There was an air about the ponderous inanities spoken, which the actors had absorbed like an infection; it was in their smirking faces, in the slyness of their voices; in their untidy gestures. It was an air of inanities uttered as revelations and insolently demanding acceptance as such; an air, not of innocent presumption, but of conscious affrontery; as if the author knew the nature of his work, and boasted of his power to make it appear sublime in the minds of his audience and thus destroy the capacity for the sublime within them. The work justified the verdict of its sponsors: it brought laughs, it was amusing; it was an indecent joke, acted out not on the stage but in the audience. It was a pedestal from which a god had been torn, and in his place there stood, not Satan with a sword, but a corner lout sipping a bottle of Coca-Cola.
There was silence in the audience, puzzled and humble. When someone laughed, the rest joined in, with relief, glad to learn that they were enjoying themselves. Jules Fougler had not tried to influence anybody; he had merely made clear- well in advance and through many channels- that anyone unable to enjoy this play was, basically, a worthless human being. "It's no use asking for explanations," he had said. "Either you're fine enough to like it or you aren't."
In the intermission Wynand heard a stout woman saying: "It's wonderful. I don't understand it, but I have the feeling that it's something very important." - p. 491
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Primo - means "first" in Italian
Secondo - means "second" in Italian
Terzo - means "third" in Italian
Quarto - means "fourth" in Italian
And while I'm at it:
Tutor - means "a person charged with the instruction and guidance of another; a private teacher" in both English and Latin (cool, huh?)
Frodo - means that my dear husband has many of the physical characteristics of the main character/ ring-bearer in C.S. Lewis' Lord of the Rings trilogy... namely, hairy feet. (Also, my dear friend, Angel at Aduladi' & Co., and I have dh's with the same first name, and we were frequently getting confused as to who we were talking about when using first names, so we decided the menfolk needed nicknames. My dh became 'Frodo' and hers became 'Mr. Clean'. )
Okay, joking aside (mostly), since I don't use our Christian names online for a reason, I won't share them here, but I will give some background as to where our kids' Christian names come from:
Primo - named after a murder mystery movie... just like I was. Her middle name is a cool-sounding name that was uncommon, sounded good with the first name, and was picked by Frodo. (Btw, this started our "baby naming protocol". Since I have known what I wanted to name my first daughter ever since I can remember, when Primo turned out to be a girl, it was a given that I got to pick the first name and Frodo would pick her middle name. With Secondo we swapped and Frodo picked her first name and I picked her middle name. With Terzo, we swapped again, and so on.)
Secondo - Was named after the main character in a popular piece of English literature. Her middle name comes from a combination of an attribute of God and the name of my Great Aunt's best friend. Sadly, we thought we were picking a very unique name at the time, and have since met many little girls with the same combo of first and middle name. Sigh. At least our little pixie is a trend-setter.
Terzo - Was originally named after a main character in a popular piece of American literature, but we were undecided whether to use the full version or the shortened version. We ended up using the full version after I had emergency surgery while 5 months pregnant with him and decided we wanted to maintain the full meaning of his name to celebrate his coming through the surgery unharmed... and glorifying the One who brought him through. Of course, we had to use the transliterated spelling... i.e. the unusual one. His middle name comes from the Christian name of a man integral to the Reformation.
Quarto - Frodo was undecided between three different first names for Quarto, so he let the other kids choose from the three. They ended up choosing a name that Frodo liked because it was the name of a student he taught who he thought was a neat kid. Quarto's middle name comes from a New Testament figure who is mentioned because of a special place he holds in the ancestral development of the Church. It is a rather unusual name, but people don't think it is that unusual after they find out that my first choice for his middle name was "Chingachgook"... aka "the last of the Mohicans".
Well, that's who our kids are and why. What about yours? Or share why you chose the virtual names that you did. Inquiring mind want to know.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Apollos Academy's blog has just been added to the Blogging Chick's Blog Roll. The blog roll is a list of links to blogs all hosted by women who are just talking about life, the universe and everything. Scroll down to the bottom of the brand-spankin'-new left column and check some of them out... or join the Blogging Chicks yourself (if you're a chick and have a blog, of course).
Monday, March 05, 2007
I really don't mind the concept of DST (which was started by the Germans after World War I as a means of saving fuel). I support the idea that we should all conserve energy. The conservation of resources is part of our role as stewards of Creation. However, I don't think that this one month shift will do much toward energy conservation. David Prerau, who helped Rep. Markey draft the bill, admits as much:
Prerau and others remind critics that the coming change is a modest adjustment. Because each day as summer approaches brings a little more daylight, by the end of March early risers should see almost as much light in the morning as they saw before Markey's change took effect.
So why bother changing it if the positive effect is minimal yet will cause huge inconveniences and logistical problems in areas from agriculture to computers to airlines to religious worship? Because they are the government and they can, that's why. Oh, and the Congress wants to appear altruistic. Rep. Markey has promised that this change in DST will reduce crime, decrease energy usage, save money, decrease the number of traffic accidents, and "[bring] a smile to everybody's faces". (Really, he actually said that!)
If people want to conserve energy, they will. DST only extends evening daylight hours. This is the time period over which most people have the most control over their energy usage. If we want to conserve energy, we could get off of our computers, stop watching TV or go to bed earlier. During DST's morning hours, most people are leaving for school and work in the dark. That means that they have to turn on lights to get dressed, make breakfast, and collect all of their school/ work papers. Since we need to be at school or work at a specific time, no matter when the sun rises, we need that light in the morning when we have no choice but to get up and go.
Wow, who knew that a simple article on DST could get me up on my soapbox? *grin* Anyway, you can read the entire Boston Globe article here. And don't forget to reset your clocks this Sunday!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
1. After going through our latest bout of flu, I needed to be reminded that although it seems like our schedule will never recover and we have "lost" a whole week of school, life will regain a semblance of sanity again and life's interruptions are actually wonderful learning opportunities.
2. Nan, the Writer Mom, has been having a this kind of day today, and I wanted to express my sympathy. Nan, been there-done that. Praying for you.
As I was in the school room last night preparing for today, I thought that I would use today’s entry to outline a typical day in our homeschool. Little did I know what I would encounter just moments later.
11:30pm Primo comes downstairs and looks white as a sheet. "Mom, I threw up all over my bed." Get Primo in the shower and go upstairs to ask Frodo to help change her sheets. I should mention at this point that our bedrooms are on the second floor and our only bathroom is on the first floor.
11:43pm Put in a load of laundry.
11:50pm Primo is out of the shower after washing twice and vomiting numerous times. I sit with her to braid her hair (to keep it out of the "line of fire") while she leans over the toilet.
12:00am Primo and Frodo are in bed. I am cleaning the shower and disinfecting everything.
12:30am Finally go to bed.
1:35am Secondo comes in our room. "Mom, I’m going to throw up." I don’t have a bucket and I am still very foggy, so I ask if she can make it to the bathroom. She says yes, so we start downstairs. We make it halfway down. Frodo wakes up and sits with her on the stairs while I gingerly find a safe passage down then clean off the steps.
1:40am Secondo sits in a little chair in front of the toilet while I disinfect the steps. She is amazingly still clean. I braid her hair. Frodo checks on Primo then goes back to bed.
1:55am I begin the search for a second bucket and set up a spot for Secondo on Primo’s bed. It has a plastic cover on the mattress. Put in another load of laundry.
2:15am Secondo finally feels well enough to go back to bed. I disinfect then also go to bed.
2:17am These lyrics begin going through my head as I attempt to sleep (and try to prepare myself for the next "episode"):
I face the dawn with sleepless eyes
No I can't go on
When clouds are pushin' down on me, boy
I can't stop, I can't stop the rain
(I have no idea who the artist is... or the last time I heard this song)
3:00am Primo calls from the other room, "Quarto just threw up in his crib!" (I should mention at this point that our children all share one large room a la the nursery in Peter Pan.) Frodo follows me in and asks, "What do you want... kid or crib?" I pick crib. We strip Quarto down to his diaper and Frodo takes him to the tub. I strip the sheets.
3:10am Put in another load of laundry. Change the sheet and disinfect the crib.
3:23am Check on Frodo and Quatro. Frodo tells me to go to bed; he’s going to stay up a bit. I go happily.
4:17am Hear Primo in other room getting sick then going downstairs. "Do you need anything?" "No, just cleaning out my bucket and going to the bathroom."
4:18am I toss and turn for who knows how long.
5:05am Terzo wakes up yelling, "Mom! I’m bleeding!" I go running in to find he has a pretty good bloody nose. We determine that it is not as bad as it looks and that only his pjs and pillow are dirty.
5:10am Tell Quarto to go back to sleep then take Terzo downstairs to finish cleaning up.
5:13am Frodo comes downstairs asking if he should call in sick to work. I tell him it is up to him. I can handle the kids if the girls stay in bed all day, but that if it starts raining frogs, he needs to come home. He agrees and goes back to bed.
5:20am Get Terzo back in his bed and head to my own. Primo sees me and asks sweetly, "I’m sorry to bother you, Mom, but since you’re already up could you wash out my bucket? I threw up a few more times, but I didn’t want to make you go up and down the stairs any more." I happily take the bucket (yes, happily... surprised even myself) and clean it out.
5:24am Collapse into bed.
6:29am Frodo’s alarm goes off.
6:38am Frodo’s alarm goes off.
6:47am Frodo’s alarm goes off.
6:52am Terzo comes in saying it is morning and asks if he can go downstairs. I tell him to go play a video game and that Frodo will put a movie on for him when he comes downstairs. Frodo grumbles something. Terzo leaves, but on his way out asks if I can make biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I suppress laughter (surprise? anger?) and tell him that we will have cereal.
6:56am Frodo’s alarm goes off. Frodo gets up and tries to remember where he left his clothes out.
7:12am Terzo comes upstairs and asks when I am getting up. I tell him he needs to be patient today since everyone is sick and I didn’t get much sleep. He says it is hard to be patient but he’ll try. I assume he goes downstairs and doze off.
7:14am Open my eyes to see Terzo pacing back and forth next to my bed. I ask him to sit and wait for my alarm to go off. He grabs a sewing toy from the floor and perches himself on my sewing box. He asks (optimistically and sheepishly), "Are you sure we can’t have biscuits for breakfast?" I assure him we can’t and go to sleep.
8:30am My alarm goes off. Terzo immediately announces that it is 41.8 degrees outside. I glance at the thermometer in front of the window and confirm that this is the case... and that it is not raining frogs.
The next day's post was as follows:
1. Differences between antibacterial soap and Germ-X
2. How to disinfect a surface.
3. How germs are spread.
4. Why you should eat bland food when you are nauseous.
5. How to improvise when you run out of sheets.
6. How to do the laundry.
7. How to serve others.
8. How to be patient.
9. God is in control... even when it isn't raining frogs.
My utmost respect and comrade re to the person(s) who knows where I got the title for this post from. Leave your guess in the comments section. I will post the answer there later.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I am definitely trying this the next time the cold-from-Satan-himself virus attempts to rear its ugly head. At best, it works. At worst, I'm mother of the year... and get to eat chocolate. ("No, no. I have to eat it. Doctor's orders.") Does life get any sweeter than that?