Tuesday, August 28, 2007

COH - Week 87

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 87
hosted by The Headmistress at The Common Room

*Oops... not sure where "Week 58" came from... better now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Preach It, Sister!

Almost a year ago now, I was given the privilege of proof-reading the manuscript for the first in a planned fiction trilogy. I thought the book was wonderful and really enjoyed reading it. It was hard to put down, and I think I read it through three times before I was forced to actually send the manuscript back so that Jennifer could get to work on editing and revising. (BTW, Jennifer, if you're reading this, please keep writing. I am dying to know what happens!)

Since then, I have been able to enjoy Jennifer's writing through her blog, I Will Read 10 Pages. She has a wonderful post on there that I highly recommend, Why the 11th Hour Pisses Me Off, about global warming. She explains (vents) beautifully about why all this global warming hysteria is just plain aggravating... and wrong.

Thank you, Jennifer, for some sanity.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Could've Told You That Without The Quiz

You're The Hobbit!

by J.R.R. Tolkien

All you wanted was a nice cup of tea when some haggard crazy old man came into your life and told you it was time to do something with yourself. Now you're all conflicted about whether to stick with your stay-at-home lifestyle or follow this crazy person into the wild. While you're very short and a little furry, you seem to be surrounded by an even greater quantity of short folks lately. Try not to lose your ring, but keep its value in perspective!

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I mean, I did marry a real, live hobbit, didn't I? However, I don't think I'd describe Frodo as "haggard" or "old". [Insert wry grin here.]

Speaking of Frodo, here is his result:

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Ironically, Frodo is reading through Watership Down with our girls right now. (Is that really ironic or just plain creepy?)

Seriously, it's amazing how well this quiz pinned us down. Take the quiz for yourself and share where you fall... literally.

HT: Nan at Life is Like a Lunchbox

*Note: Sorry about the weird font thing going on up there. I'm trying to edit the html from the quiz people to make it fit better on the blog here, but it doesn't seem to be working. If this note makes no sense to you, that means I fixed it. (Yay, Me!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ebay as Therapy

Frodo and I have sold a few things on Ebay (bought a few more that we sold, unfortunately.) I guess you could call the removal of extraneous items from our lives for a financial reward therapy, but seller dawnm5723 has made Ebay therapy an art with this listing.

To dawnm5723: Sweetie (I can say "Sweetie" 'cause I live in the South now), I hear ya. I've been there. You're my hero.

4 Ways to Spend Money

I was visiting a homeschool message board today where a mom shared that some of her friends who send their kids to government school were discussing the long lists of supplies the kids were expected to bring the first day of school. I understand students being required to bring items like pencils, paper, crayons, etc. I even understand the teacher requiring that students bring certain colors or styles of items... to avoid competition over who has the nicer notebook or to teach children how to better organize their schoolwork by organizing assignments in different colored folders. However, what I don't get are 1) the collecting of items and putting them in a communal group to be dispersed by the teacher later and 2) the requirement of students to bring truly "classroom" supplies... like tissues, dry erase markers, and toilet paper. Isn't that the cost of providing education? Shouldn't these items be included in the school's budget? We spend just over $8000 per student on average for government education (according to 2002-2003 school year stats kept by the Dept. of Ed). We can't afford toilet paper with that?!

I have to admit that I am a bit cynical (maybe that's an understatement. LOL!) when it comes to lists like this. A coworker of dh's had a kid in the local government school, and his dd told him that she had to stand in line every morning to sharpen two of her pencils in the classroom next door since there was no sharpener in her room. The father, assuming his dd was exaggerating, asked the teacher about it the next time he saw her. Sure enough, the teacher confirmed that there was no sharpener in her room because it wasn't provided for in the budget. The dad offered to buy one for the classroom, and the teacher asked him not to because when the school board toured the school at the end of the year while they were writing up the next year's budget and assessing what was needed, they would see that her classroom had a sharpener and not provide as much money in the budget for classroom expenses as they did the year before! The teachers were purposely lacking in supplies so that they could complain about what they didn't have and get money. What they were spending it on, I have no idea.

This reminds me of Milton Friedman's list of the four ways to spend money (the humorous examples in this version of the list that follows is by PJ O'Rourke from his book All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague and Poverty):

  1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.
  2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.
  3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.
  4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who gives a s**t?

The government schools (well, let's face it, I could just say "the government" and leave it at that) is functioning under #4.

There is one benefit to these back-to-school lists, though. Back-to-school sales. I love to stock-up on school supplies at the end of summer. Wading through aisles and aisles of neatly packed reams of paper, colorful boxes of crayons, and 3-ring-binders that just scream, "Buy me!" (Well, they don't really scream, but this is what I tell Frodo to justify my purchases. LOL!) But even with my addiction to the smell of newly-sharpened #2's and eraser rubber, we spend considerably less per student than the local government school. About $200 per student. I know that doesn't include costs like rent, electricity, salary, and such, but the Department of Education's cost estimates don't include pencils, crayons or toilet paper, so I'm guessing we're still much lower.

Off my soapbox. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I love creative, thinking-outside-the-box kind of people. This family definitely fits that description. My kids would love to have their own gym and locker-closets.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fly on the Wall

I was snuggling on my bed with Terzo and Quarto yesterday morning when Terzo sighed and said in his adorable, six-year-old sage tone, "Mommy, I'm glad I'm not a girl."

"Oh yeah. How come?"

"'Cause I don't want to grow up and have to poop babies out of my butt."


Still In Shock

As some of you already know, I have been working on writing an elementary-level science curriculum for a little while now. I have a science background (Biology & Forensic Science), and I wasn't pleased with the curricula available to homeschoolers. Specifically, classical homeschoolers. I wanted something that followed a classical, taxonomic approach without having to build as I went. Well, I ended up having to build it, but thought it could be even better, more concise and easier to use, so I started writing. (Frodo is so wonderful. When I told him I wanted to write a science curriculum, he bought me a laptop for my birthday and has perfected the nagging/ encouraging dance to help keep me motivated.)

I'm not sure what possessed me to time it this way, but a couple weeks before we moved, I sent some query letters to a couple of publishers to see if they'd be interested in publishing the curriculum once it was finished (I am about 1/3 through writing the first of four volumes). One publisher contacted me in mere days asking for a proposal and sample chapters. Less than a week before we moved, I met with the publisher face-to-face. About 5 minutes before we were planning to hit the road with the moving van, the publisher called. They wanted to publish the curriculum!

I just signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the first two volumes. With God's blessing, they will be ready by late spring/ early summer 2008. (I'll share more details as I learn them.)

So, if you don't see me around here often, it's because I'm writing... or teaching... or cleaning... or sleeping.

If you do see me around here often (I'll be around some... for "me" time), join Frodo in his dance of nagging and encouraging and remind me to get to work! :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not As Easy As I Thought It Would Be

As I mentioned here, one of the positives I saw in our recent move was less-intrusive homeschooling laws as compared to the state we just left. All I have to do here is pick-up a form where I provide the kids' names, ages and grades, the fact that they are homeschooled and the location where school is taking place. Sounds simple enough, right?

A little over a week ago, I called the office of our School Superintendent to find out when and where I could pick-up the necessary form (it needs to be in by mid-September, but I wanted to get it filed while I was thinking about it and was trying to avoid driving over to the school while school was in session... the government schools started this past Monday.) I was told that the Attendance Officer handles such matters, and I would have to speak to her. The receptionist at the Superintendent's office was very nice and gave me the name and number of the Attendance Officer then forwarded my call to her office. There was no answer, and I didn't bother to leave a message since I realized I was calling during the lunch hour and figured I would just call back after lunch. About an hour later I call back and there is still no answer, so I leave a message asking where the office is located and when would be the best time to stop by to pick up the form.

Fast forward a few days. I still haven't received a response from my phone call, but I have figured out where the office is, so we decide to stop by while we are out running errands. We drive around the school campus (it's pretty big since it houses the county's elementary, middle, and high schools plus all of the county school district's offices and athletic fields), and we can't find the office anywhere. We find the Superintendent's office, so I decide to see if someone there can point me in the right direction. Again, the receptionist is very nice. She tells me where to find the office (an unmarked trailer that we passed a few times), but tells me that she doesn't think that the Attendance Officer is in today. She calls over to check, and sure enough, no one answers. While she writes down the number for me, she sighs and says, "I have no idea what her office hours are. She is a state employee, not a school district employee, and I haven't figured out her hours yet. She comes when she wants, I guess." With that disheartening piece of information, I thank her and go home.

I have called once since then and still have heard no response. I am planning on calling again tomorrow and leaving another message, but I am not sure what else I can try after that.

Less intrusive? I guess so (until I fail to fill-in the form and find the Attendance Officer at my door).

Easier? Nope.

COH - Week 84

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 84
hosted by Nerd Family

Yikes! I've missed a few weeks, huh? If you'd like to catch-up on past carnivals, check out the carnival archive at Why Homeschool.