Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

Read all 95 of Luther's Theses Here

Martin Luther posts his 95 theses
on the doors of the church at Wittenberg

Sola Scriptura

Sola Gratia

Sola Fide

Solo Christo

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beware Big Jelly

Stinkin' corporations are trying to discredit that good 'ol American standby, Peanut Butter.

I kid you not. Read it for yourself.

I Think Jelly Has Been Editing My Wikipedia...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Food For Thought

If you can make any religion look idiotic, chances are, you haven't understood that religion. You can't take treasured beliefs from the past and mock them.

After I spoke at Brigham Young University, a well-groomed student came to me and said, "Dr. Zacharias, you didn't directly attack Mormonism. Was there a reason?"

"Of course," I said. "I was assigned a subject on which to speak, and the subject was getting to the truth: Who is Jesus? I lectured on that.

"If I had been asked to deal with the differences between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity, I would have done so. But I still would have done so graciously."

"I just want to thank you for that approach," he said. "Two weeks ago there was a man on campus who came on his own invitation and started crying down hellfire and brimstone. He was escorted off campus."

The old Indian proverb holds true: Once you've cut off a person's nose, there's no point giving him a rose to smell. We tend to think being kind and listening to the opposition implies we have sacrificed the message. But we need to learn how to handle critique, how to address an antagonist. Even while you wrestle with the ideas of an opponent, you must keep the dignity of the opponent intact.

- Ravi Zacharias

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time For A Tour

We've lived here for about four months now, and I'm just getting around to posting a house tour... yup, that sounds about right for me. So, here we go...

As you approach the house, this is the view up our street. Our driveway is immediately to the left in this picture. At the end of this road is a very pretty state park/ boating area/ nature preserve. Very cool.

There's the house as seen from the mailbox. Did I mention that our front yard is huge? Well, I should have, 'cause it's huge! At night, it is a great place to lie in the grass and look at the stars (if the people across the street don't have their floodlights on and you don't accidentally lay atop a fire ant hill... ouch!).

I wish this picture of the house came out a little better. It has such beautiful landscaping out front. When we pulled into the driveway with the moving truck, my first thought was that it looked like something out of an Anne of Green Gables story. Our landlord helped build the house when he was 14 (about 60 years ago). His family has owned this land for generations. His great-great-grandfather helped build the church we attend. (I'll post pictures of that when I get a better camera.) The little pop-out on the left is the master bedroom and looks out on this:

Isn't that pretty? It is such a pretty little spot with a different view on each side. Behind me as I take the picture is the front yard, to the right is our bedroom (the chairs there look right into our side window; actually, that's a little weird now that I think about it; I might have to move them), the old cattle pasture is straight ahead (the original house is back there, too) and there are woods to the left. Secondo is going to use our bedroom window as a nature viewing area into this spot. It's perfect with the bordering of the different habitats, and we plan on filling the bird feeders and setting up a salt lick. (Secondo already has a wildlife count going. So far we've spotted white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, a 5 foot rat snake (ugh), hawks, two turkey vultures, lots of butterflies and a hummingbird. She's started a nature journal and hopes to put photos of the animals in and has researched the diets and interesting facts of all the animals she has seen and put them in the journal.)

This is the view as you walk in the front door. We have a little bench to the right to place bags under . I love the fireplace. We had some torrential rains over the last week, and water was coming into the chimney, thus the unsightly bin in the fireplace. We can't wait to get a fire screen and get some fires going in there.

As you turn right after entering the house, you go into the office (most people would call this a dining room, but we needed the office space more). This is the living room as seen from the office area. You can see our cat food supply for the cat we inherited when we moved in here. (I tried to take a picture of her, but she looked possessed in the photo. I miss my digital camera.) The bookshelves are from our old town library up north. They were renovating the library (a historic feed store and train depot that was used as a hospital during the Civil War) and took out their solid oak shelving and replaced it with all metal shelves. Scandalous! The only good thing about it was that they gave away the old, solid wood shelves to whomever wanted to haul them away, so Frodo and a friend (and fellow bibliophile) went over and piled all they could in the friend's pickup truck. Since they were back-to-back library shelves, Frodo ripped them in half, so we now have two 7 foot sections of shelves. The frustrating part is, this was the only wall long enough for a whole section. We could only put half a section up in the office. But that's alright. Homeschoolers don't need bookshelf space, right? [insert maniacal laughter and oozing sarcastic tome here.] See the round tables in the middle of the carpet? We made those! Neat, huh?

We couldn't find a coffee table that suited our needs. We wanted something that we could move around if we needed to since it is very hard to place end tables in here, and the kids often put pillows down to watch movies and want to get the tables out of the way. We decided that a couple of tables put together would do the trick, but we couldn't find anything we liked, so we made our own out of large wall clocks and metal plant stands.

This isn't the greatest picture, but you get the idea. (Did I mention that I miss my digital camera?) Oh, and the clocks work... usually, when the batteries don't fall out after constant battering by children. Okay, back to the tour.

This is my half of the office. (You can see the archway to the living room on the right.) It's not usually this neat, but you can imagine it this way when you picture me sitting at the table working away or blogging or paying bills or whatever. Oh, and on the table is the newest member of our family, Moss. He's a squirrel tree-frog. These are his temporary digs while we work on a new habitat for him.

This is Frodo's half of the office. He has the screen to the kids' computer on his desk in addition to his laptop. Sadly, I can't get the screen resolution on the kids' computer to work properly, so they haven't been able to use it since we moved. (Well, they tried, but they started getting sea sick!) I think the monitor is too new for the computer. Any computer gurus out there want to help me out? Where was I? Oh, yeah... house tour. The doorway on the left leads to the kitchen.

The landlord put the floor in before we moved. I *heart* this floor. They are easy to clean, hide dirt and look very cottage-y. The doorway on the left leads to a very steep set of stairs up to the girls' room (no boys allowed). On the right, the wall has the height markings of all the kids who have lived here in the past 20 years or so. It's very cool. When there isn't a regular tenant, the landlord lends the house to missionaries who are on furlough. There are a lot of height markers on the wall (including our munchkins).

This is the main bathroom. Yes, it's off the kitchen. Makes sense since I think it was put in before the house had hot, running water, so it had to be near the stove to heat bathwater. It is a little weird, though, to come out of the shower and see the kids eating breakfast (okay, lunch... alright, dinner). The bathroom was remodeled before we moved in. Actually, when we pulled in the driveway the first night with the moving truck, the landlord and his wife were in here putting up the mirror and the shower curtains. I love this bathroom. It's so pretty.

View of the kitchen from the bathroom door. To the left (immediately next to the bathroom) is a laundry room and access to the basement (which we don't discuss; it's creepy). It's hard to see in this picture, but the little window near the back of the kitchen is a pretty, stained glass window. It is so nice to stand in front of something so lovely while making breakfast or emptying the dishwasher.

This angle, taken from the stovetop area, shows the school area of the kitchen. Just to the right of the bookshelves is a big closet where we have craft supplies, small appliances and about a three months' supply of toilet paper. The bookshelves have all of the school books we are currently using or use most often as well as my cooking and gardening books. You can see the stairs to the girls' room on the left and the white board, periodic table and calendar at the entrance to the hall.

The hall had the only wall space long enough to hold the maps. I often find the kids sitting on the floor or standing on kitchen chairs out here examining the maps. The door half-way down the hall goes to the boys' room, and the door at the end is the master bedroom... with a half bath (I can't tell you how nice it is to have two toilets again). I didn't take pictures of the bedrooms because they were very messy. They are finally looking more put-together, so I hope to take pictures of them at some point.

A little stroll down the hallway brings you back to...

The living room. (The kids love that the house is a circle, but it can be a little nerve-wracking when Quarto comes zooming around with his trucks for the millionth time.) There's the bench by the front door, and in the back of the office, you can see the half-unit of library shelving. (You don't know how much that kills me that we couldn't put up a whole unit. We could use the shelf space. The girls of piles of books on the floor of their room.) In the foreground is my Grandpa's chair. I love this chair. The fabric is a little scratchy, but it is amazingly comfortable. You can't see it too well from here, but it would fit in perfectly in Lucy and Ricky's Connecticut house. It reminds me of their den in the house my Dad grew up in. It had pictures of the family all over one wall (the den, not the chair). I don't know how many times my Grandpa watched Oklahoma! while sitting in this chair. At least as many times as he and I sat there to plot how to get to the Dairy Queen before supper without Grandma knowing. (He looked much happier watching television or planning covert operations than he did listening to the Twisted Sister album my Grandma bought me on one visit. Wonder why? *grin*)

This house has the perfect layout for us. I wish we owned it instead of renting, but I don't think that's gonna happen, so I'll try to be happy that I get to experience it while I'm here.

Well, that's the new place. Now you'll know where to picture me if you're reading or we're talking on the phone. Now y'all just need to come on down for a visit and set a spell!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's All About The Music, Right?

Come on, admit it... you only tune-in for the music.

Beware the Cheshire Cat

From a Baltimore Sun news blog:

“Every parent in America should have the right to send their children to the school of their choice – including the right of responsible parents to choose home-schooling,’’ Giuliani said, drawing strong applause from an audience that includes many home-schooled teenagers from around the nation.

Read the entire article here

It's like nails on a chalkboard, isn't it?

Sure, it sounds good the first time you read it. Maybe even the second time. Then you see it. "Responsible parents." You pause.

"Yeah. I'd agree with that. Who would want irresponsible parents to homeschool?" you think. Then it hits you... who gets to decide who's responsible? Giuliani? Congress? The state? The local school board?

How would they define responsible? Have children who pass standardized tests? At least one parent holds a teaching certificate? Doesn't use curriculum put out by a religious publisher? Uses a whole language reading method vs. a phonics-based approach?

What would it take to determine if a parent is responsible? Would they assume that every parent who took the time to fill-out the government-mandated paperwork is responsible? Would they do a background check? Would they send a case worker to your home?

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured,
she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth,
so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

`Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all
know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a
little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she
went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from

Alice speaks to Cheshire Cat

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the

`I don't much care where--' said Alice.

`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

`--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.

`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk
long enough.'

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another
question. `What sort of people live about here?'

`In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round,
`lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw,
`lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'

`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.

`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm
mad. You're mad.'

`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.

`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'


'I wish you wouldn't keep
appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.'

`All right,' said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite
slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the
grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

`Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice; `but
a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in
my life!'
So, beware the Cheshire Cat. That smile brings with it madness and claws.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who is Ron Paul?

This is Ron Paul:

He had me at "Constitution".
What about you?

This video is professional and informative. It is a great introduction for those who would like to learn where Ron Paul stands. BTW, the CNN Situation Room segment shown at the beginning of this video is one of the better overall candidate bios that I have seen in awhile.

HT: Heather at Stepping Heavenward

Free Online Foreign Language Program - Mango

I have heard the benefits of the computer-based foreign language program, Rosetta Stone, touted on homeschool blogs, educational magazines, homeschool message boards, homeschool conferences, news stories, and now television and radio commercials. Many libraries have purchased it and have it available online for their patrons. (Or so I've heard. None of the library systems we've had access to provide it. Sigh.) I've looked at purchasing it, but it was far outside our budget. So was their online version. I've considered getting an out-of-area library card for a system that has it, but it was a hassle.

Now I need fret no more. I just learned of an online, FREE foreign language program called Mango that we are going to try. For native English speakers, they offer :

Brazilian Portuguese
Mandarin Chinese
Pig Latin (yes, you read that right... I mean, esyay, ouyay eadray atthay ightray)

I'm leaning toward French, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese for the kids. I really wanted to learn Swahili with Rosetta Stone. Maybe I can suggest it to the Mango people.

What language are you going to try?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Heretical Thought?

Henry, over at Why Homeschool, has an insightful article speculating on when the decline in the quality of American education began.

October 4th was the 50th anniversary of Sputnik. In 1957 the Soviet Union was the first nation to put a satellite into orbit. This exciting event caught the rest of the world by surprise.

At the time many in the United States claimed there was a need to respond, that the United States needed to prove they could do better and thus sprang the beginning of the effort to put a man on the moon. Another response was greater state and federal government interference in education. Like chicken littles, they said the sky was falling and justified dramatic and increasing changes in education.

COH - Week 94

Saturday, October 13, 2007

An Open Letter and a Response

After hosting a GOP debate, CNBC thought it would be a good idea to put up an online poll to see how viewers responded. It didn't take them long to decide that their unscientific, online poll was resulting in an unscientific, unfavorable result and to take the poll down. You can follow the link below to read the letter by CNBC's Managing Editor, Allen Wastler explaining why they decided to remove the poll and his opinion on the matter:

An Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful

There was a very well-written response to Mr. Wastler's letter by Michael van der Galien of The Van Der Galien Gazette (my apologies to Mr. van der Galien for the absence of the required umlaut in his name, but I have no idea how to make that happen here):

CNBC to Ron Paul Supporters: Knock. It. Off.

However, I felt that a "letter" posted in a comment to Mr. van der Galien's response was intelligent and concise (I am printing it in it's entirety here as it is impossible for me to link to a specific comment):

Dear Allen,

I’m sure you’re getting plenty of emails attacking your character and judgment after your latest admission of tampering with the polls due to activism that favored Ron Paul. I apologize for my fellow Americans who have foolishly clung to the oddball notion that politics is a participatory process and that by getting active and supporting their candidate, they are exercising the democratic imperative. As we both know, real election-day polling doesn’t rely on the activism of a voting base. I, like everyone else, am required to hand over my voters’ registration card to Zogby and wait for my phone call.

As a Ron Paul supporter, it’s embarrassing to see my fellow Americans taking steps to organize themselves in order to make a good showing in these online polls for their candidate, when it’s clear that the voting bases of these other, more popular candidates are not willing to match the efforts with the same kind of activist enthusiasm. As the saying goes: the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. America is truly being serviced by your hammer.

In Sincere Apology,

*Note: The "(me)" above is not me, it's some other me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

COH - Week 93

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 93
The Real Life Edition

Well, this is my third time hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling, and it seems that each time I host, I am reminded that I am not in control. (Imagine that!) The first time, my blog was hosted on Homeschool Blogger and their servers went down seconds after I posted. So, I started this blog on Blogger as a temporary fix to keep the carnival up and running. Well, I really liked a lot of the features on Blogger, so I’m still here. The second time, a stomach bug was running through our family, but I seemed to have been blessedly spared… until the time came to finalize and post the carnival. I was up all night (I’ll spare you the details). I got the carnival up at 6am EST then went to bed… for the whole day. I was amazingly better when I woke up in time for supper. Since then, we have moved to the Deep South, which is in the midst of the worst drought in almost 100 years. So what happens when I go to put the Carnival together? It storms, storms, storms and rains, rains, rains. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the rain, but we are in an area where we can only get satellite internet so… lots of rain and heavy cloud-cover = no internet. Sigh.

But, isn’t that what life is all about? The unexpected popping up and us having to say, “Um, well, this is interesting.” And then we move on with life - just not exactly as we had planned. What else are we going to do? The children still need to be educated, work still needs to be done, laundry still needs to be washed, mouths still need to be fed, and carnivals still need to be posted. So, we grab the blanket and move on with the chapter book when a power outage keeps us from internet research. We pull out the grill and have hot dogs instead of the meatloaf we were planning. I pull up my Excel spreadsheet with all but the last-minute submissions and type up a carnival that wasn’t as creative as the one I was planning so that I can easily add those last few posts and cut and paste the carnival into place once I’m back online. Not what I planned, but not the end of the world either. I can live with that. I hope you can too, ‘cause here we go…

My friend, Aduladi’ (Aduladi’ & Co.), can sympathize with the feeling of frustration that arises when life derails school, but she also acknowledges that we shouldn’t let it if we take our commitment of homeschooling our children seriously. Kathy, at My Quiver’s Full, shares a day in the life at their homeschool showing that sometimes the life we are protecting is far from the idyllic one we imagined at the beginning of this journey. Elena reveals some of her tricks to balancing parenting, school and work over at My Domestic Church.

The Tea Party Girl shares that she and her children identify with hobbits in their love of tea, and, like hobbits, they are learning to love adventure as well.

Sometimes, getting the kids focused on their schoolwork is like pulling teeth, so you can imagine how Jennifer felt with her son’s insightful response to his history reading: “Lincoln – Same as always.” Please encourage her by letting her know that you have days like this, too. Just leave a comment at her blog, Tomorrow is Another Day. (Fitting title, eh?) The bad-attitude monster rears his ugly head in Chili’s household, too, and she shares all the gory details with her regular undefined readers… and you. Ann’Re (in Ann’Re @ Home) reminds us that sometimes we need to ask ourselves “Why did we choose to homeschool?” at those times when we need encouragement to forge ahead.

Terri, at Cricket’s Corner, wants to know where those grey hairs came from. (It’s a sign of wisdom, right?)

Ever wonder if what you teach goes in one ear and out the other? MamaArcher did until she overheard her son passing on knowledge to his sister.

Amy, In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, sings the praises of flexibility in the homeschooling life and reveals that what looks chaotic from the outside contains a skeleton of organization.

Christina, at Home Spun Juggling, compares teaching kindergarten then and now as she looks back to the early days of her family’s homeschooling journey.

Pretty much every homeschooler will tell you that their local library is one of their greatest resources. Shauna at Treasure Seekers shows us how to get the most out of our local libraries (and shares a tip about how to avoid those overdue fines).

Many of us use any resource at our disposal to help us in educating our children, but Summer reminds us that we need to be careful about letting the TV become the teacher of our children (especially our little ones) at her blog, appropriately named, Mom is Teaching.

Elisheva, at Ragamuffin Studies, finds some of the keys she needs to help her AS son by taking advantage of his tendency toward visual learning. Pop on over to Rain-Girl’s My Commonplace Book and learn why she educates herself (and why you should homeschool yourself while you homeschool your kids).

Stephanie shares how she educates by appealing to her kids’ senses through their trip to a wigwam (on her blog Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood) and by sharing her recipe for Civil War Fruit Cake (on her other blog Stop the Ride!). Busy lady. Amanda, at Hearts and Trees, has shared her suggestions on how to use fall leaves as part of a fall nature study. And while you’re outside collecting leaves, bring along some of the materials for a mini-unit on squirrels presented by Lynn at Eclectic Education. Speaking of squirrels, Mama Squirrel has turned Dewey’s Treehouse over to the turkeys in a new treehouse tradition… theme days.

Ever considered adding more students to your homeschool? The Headmistress of Riverfront Academy shares the nitty-gritty of hosting a foreign exchange student and enriching the educational experiences of your homeschool and a foreign student in one fell swoop.

Many of us like the side-effect that homeschooling has on our children’s self-esteem. They get to spend time developing their uniqueness rather than spending all day comparing themselves to others. But we are not immune to negative socialization. At Homeschool 2.0, Lynn shares resources from Dove that reveal the realities hidden in the beauty industry. Meanwhile, Marjorie at the Life Without School Community Blog points out a very important distinction: do we want to socialize our kids, or do we want to civilize them?

We all want our children to be well educated, but Timothy (who is the first to admit Sometimes I’m Actually Coherenthim not me, that’s what happens when I try to get creative), Timothy also wants his children to be good.

All homeschoolers know that just because it’s called “home”schooling doesn’t mean we’re always home. Just ask Tiffany of Life on the Road: Home Business, Homeschool, and Cats! She gives us the inside scoop on some great products to help us keep our kids safe while we’re out and about.

Jennifer, in Diary of 1, shows her family’s progress as they build their new home. (See, you don’t even have to have the house finished to homeschool!)

Denise at Let’s Play Math! always shares quotes with her co-op class, and she has decided to share the three most-recent quotes with us.

Toys, toys, toys… they’re everywhere. You love ‘em, you hate ‘em. You aren’t alone. So does Tonya at Domestic Entropy. Whether they play with toys or an empty box, Christine, the Thinking Mother, emphasizes the need for kids to have unstructured play time.

Books, books, books… they’re everywhere. You love ‘em. Here’s another one to add to your list: The Pushcart War. Read Kathy’s review at HomeschoolBuzz. And Loni, at Finding JOY in the Morning, knows that it’s hard to resist a free book; that’s why she’s giving one away. She also shares the results of recent research on homeschooling.

When we have books that you no longer need, many of us try to sell them (so that we can get money for books we do need). Melissa shares a new-found outlet for selling those books at her Idea Garden.

We all look forward to the day when our kids will be more independent in their studies. Kat at No Fighting, No Biting! shares the concerns she’s encountered while she searches for the balance between guiding her children and doing the work for them.

Accompanied by some humorous examples, Patti at All Info About Homeschooling stresses the importance of teaching our kids to proofread.

It is common knowledge that dads will do anything for their little girls, and Matthew has the video proof over at Play the Dad? No, Be the Dad!

Parent-teachers look forward to their children’s graduation since it reflects success for both our children and for us. Barbara reminds us that this time can be a difficult one for the younger siblings still at home.

Want to keep an eye on the thoughts and goings on of fellow blogging homeschoolers? Head on over to Principled Discovery where Dana shares information about a new homeschooling network.

Here in the US, we take the freedom to homeschool as a given, even if some states have tighter restrictions than others. Judy at Consent of the Governed wants us to make sure we hold tight to that right and shares a list of questions we should ask political candidates so we can learn and understand their positions on homeschooling.

What does Jacque do while Seeking Rest in Ancient Paths? She plans for school, of course! And while she’s planning, Dad is playing and learning with the kids.

NerdMom shares some great, frugal resources for math.

Two homeschooled teens shared posts this week. Jocelyn of Lothlorien shares a review of the movie Miss Potter. SuperAngel, at The Daily Planet, shares how she made history come alive through researching her own family’s place in it.

While Learning at Home, Rose tries to put the socialization question to rest once and for all.

Dawn reports how happy she is with their newest art curriculum at Day by Day Homeschooling.

New to homeschooling in California? Janine at Why Homeschool has helpful information for filing your affidavit.

Thanks for taking a break from your busy lives to visit the carnival this week and thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who shared their posts. As always, if you find any errors or dead links, they are mine. Please inform me so that I can fix them as soon as I am able.

A big thanks to the Cates at Why Homeschool who established the Carnival of Homeschooling in the first place and keep it running. Make sure to schedule time to visit next week’s carnival which will be hosted by Christine, The Thinking Mother.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

COH Deadline Approaching (and an oops)

The deadline for submitting posts to the upcoming Carnival of Homeschooling (appearing right here!) is Monday night at 6pm PST. Please send your submissions to to be included. If you want to learn more about how to submit a post, please check out the submission guidelines here.

That brings me to the oops. I accidentally linked to the submission guidelines for the Carnival of Space (also sponsored by Why Homeschool) in my last COH post. Sorry about the mix-up, and thanks to Elisheva at Ragamuffin Studies for pointing out my error. Everything is all better now... I hope!

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Headphone Rule

Between Frodo's studies, my writing and homeschool, our family's schedule is, well, complicated. I was on the phone with my mother in law the other day, and we were discussing the awkwardness of our getting used to a new time zone, especially when timing calls to our family on the east coast. She commented that she has gotten better with the time difference, but trying to remember whether or not we are home or available to talk at any given time can be an exercise in mental gymnastics. Tell me about it! On an almost daily basis I hear myself saying to Frodo as he walks in the door, "I thought you were going to be home at X o'clock today. What day is it?" We did write our schedules down, but it is completely different every day, and I have to check it a few times a day to figure out what is supposed to be going on.

Frodo is definitely on the go more than the rest of us, and I have been known to disappear to the university library, but generally we are home... working, schooling, eating, playing, entertaining, sleeping. The first couple weeks that Frodo was in school and working were chaotic. The kids would be done with school, and Frodo and I would try to sit down to get some work done while the kids played or read or whatever. Inevitably, someone would come in and ask one of us, "May I have a drink?" or "May I go outside?" If we were lucky. Often, we were interrupted by two or more kids coming in, "I wanted to watch a movie, but Primo wants to play a video game." or "I wanted to play outside with Terzo, but Quarto keeps following us and messing up our stuff." or "All Secondo wants to do is read, but she promised to play dolls with me today." They would ping-pong between Frodo and I (who were both working in the office area) trying to get attention or sympathy for their cause. Frodo and I were getting frustrated and not much work was getting done. We decided to schedule an "on" parent and and "off" parent for different blocks of time. I even color coded our schedules. Blocks of red meant that that parent was working and not to be disturbed (the "off" parent), so if the kids needed something or a meal needed to be made or whatever, it was to be done by the "on" parent. Well, remember how I said that I have to consult the schedules daily to figure out what is going on? Imagine how confusing it was for Terzo (who is just learning to read) or Quarto (who's three). The kids had no clue who they were supposed to go to, so they just kept interrupting whoever looked the least busy. Then, Frodo came up with the Headphone Rule.

The Headphone Rule: The parent wearing the headphones is working and should be left alone (except in an emergency... emergency being defined as the presence of fire or blood). The parent without the headphones is in charge of all things house and home.

What a difference! A kid will start to walk into the office and approach one of us then stop short, "Oh, you're wearing headphones" and he/ she redirects themself toward the other parental unit. It's beautiful. Even Quarto figured it out in less than a day! We've confused them a couple of times. When they have been contentedly playing outside or off at Quiet Time, the "off" parent will don his/ her headphones to input some working music. Suddenly, a kid will show up with a question and begin to approach the first parent and see the headphones and change course only to see that the other parent is wearing headphones too. One day, poor Terzo just spun around in the middle of the room a couple of times, heaved a big sigh, and said, "I've got to talk to someone!" LOL!

I love the headphone rule. Sometimes, I don't even have music playing, but usually I do. I've even taken to using my MP3 player when I am off-duty but trying to get household stuff done. Right now I am working my way through a semester's worth of lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary - their "Philosophy and Christian Thought" class (you can download it for free from iTunesU). I have discovered iTunes radio, also. So far, my favorite channels are (the descriptions are off of iTunes):

Green Mist Radio - Celtic, Americana, Irish, and global folk
liveIreland - Independent Celtic Irish music live from Dubin
African Internet Radio - The best mix of music from Africa
Radio Darvish - Persian Traditional Music Chill - A blissed-out, trippy mix of downtempo ambient music

I have also been cycling through the CDs I have stored on my computer. I have found that the albums that keep me on track the most are:

Back to work. No headphones for me, though... everyone is asleep.

On second thought, I wonder what's on Radio Darvish.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

COH - Week 92

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 92
hosted by Tami at Tami's Blog

Don't forget to submit your entry for next week's carnival which will be held right here! You can find all the information you need for your submission here.