Thursday, November 20, 2008

Marshall Fritz Has Passed Away

Marshall Fritz passed away on November 4th at the age of 65 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Mr. Fritz was a leader in the libertarian movement and is probably best known as the creator of The World's Smallest Political Quiz. He was also the founder of the Advocates for Self-Government and The Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Lisa Snell at the Hawaii Reporter has written a wonderful tribute to Mr. Fritz. It begins:

Marshall Fritz, the longtime libertarian leader who founded the Advocates for Self-Government and created the world-famous World's Smallest Political Quiz, died November 4th of pancreatic cancer at the age of 65.

I knew Marshall Fritz as the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. He wisely advised that "Sunday School, Monday School—Neither is the Business of Government." He wrote, "some people think that the American "public school system" is broken so they try to fix it. The truth is that public schooling is not broken. Rather, it is succeeding in its main objective—strengthening government by undermining parents..."

As education reform advocates argued about what counts as markets in education and what are legitimate forms of school choice—from vouchers to tax credits to charter schools—Marshall was never willing to settle for half-measures. As he advised in a 2005 reason piece, "Let a Thousand Choices Bloom," "Start with your own children. Remove them from school-by-government. You'll not be paying twice for education: You'll pay taxes for the state to harm other people's children, but you'll pay only once for education—your children's."

You can read her entire article here.

Most of my knowledge of Mr. Fritz comes from The World's Smallest Political Quiz and some articles I have read on the Advocates for Self-Government website. I was surprised that I had never heard of The Alliance for the Separation of School and State before, so I quickly skimmed through their site today. I will be going back there to read other articles, but this one caught my attention, so I thought I would share it:

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away...

It’s a lively community forum. A nice young woman named Jan Smith from Freeland (a tiny country tucked away somewhere in Western Europe) is telling us about how Freeland has solved many of the problems our local politicians have been struggling with. Some think our city council members could learn from Freeland’s example.

“One of the problems we’ve dealt with quite successfully is the gun issue,” Ms. Smith says. “Now remember, we’re a free country like yours— we believe in individual liberty and responsibility. We certainly allow citizens to own and use firearms. However, we noticed that this creates several problems. Many people just don’t take proper care of their guns. They don’t know how to clean them, how to store them, how to make sure they are safe. Other people modify their guns in ways that are illegal or not in the best interests of the public. This poses a danger not only to themselves, but to the community...

You can read the rest of it here.

(HT: Why Homeschool)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dejection and Fear

Although I love debating and discussing politics, I have tried to avoid talking about it during the end of this past election cycle (which technically isn't over until the Electoral College meets, but I digress). The reasons I avoided it, especially here in such a public forum, were dejection and fear. Dejection because I was so tired of being treated by the media and politicians either as an ignorant child, who had to be protected from the scary intricacies of government that only "insiders" could understand or handle, or as a narrow-minded, selfish child who could be bought-off with false promises and hollow sweet talk. I just became plain weary of it. Fear because I didn't want my blog to become a virtual version of this, this, or this. (What happened to the good ol' days of stolen yard signs and snarky bumper stickers?) I still hear echoes of these hateful absurdities, but hopefully they are fading.

I am going to try to be optimistic and trust that once Mr. Obama is inaugurated, these types of things will stop. That we have learned. I don't want to end the intelligent, sincere questioning and debate that is necessary to maintain an informed public and a supervised government. That must continue. But the ignorant, hateful, disrespectful vitriol of late needs to end. My soul and the soul of our country and her people cannot, and should not, take it. I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's hard.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his now famous I Have a Dream speech, he was speaking specifically of the horrors and divisiveness of racism. I hope that Dr. King would not mind if I say that his words and intentions can, and should, be applied to all forms of irrational hatred, including politicism.

... But there is something I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone...

... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today...

We were warned

I think I'll be listening to Peter Schiff from now on for an accurate report on the state of the economy. I'm definitely not going to listen to the people who just sat there and laughed at him... laughed. Even if he hadn't have been right on target, how disrespectful is that? What ever happened to civility in disagreement?

(HT: Judy at Consent of the Governed)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember, Remember

Alright, I debated about whether or not to post this and decided to just go ahead. This revised and updated version of the Guy Fawkes rhyme came to me today. It was fun to write, and I was amazed how it just seemed to all fall into place. I hope you enjoy it. (If you don't, please don't yell at me or anything. Just smile and walk away. *grin*)

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The electoral season had stopped;
I know of no reason why this electoral season
Should ever be forgot.
The donkey, the elephant
'Twas their intent
To take power and office beyond what was meant.
Seven candidates would make a go.
Of only two we would know.
By God's providence we will stash,
The embers left from freedom's ash.

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the blogs sing
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God ease the sting!

Hip, hip, hoorah?
Hip, hip, hoorah?

Seven hundred million to feed the ol' Hope,
Another billion to choke it.
A bit of pork to help it down,
A filibuster to smote it.
Silence us with a stimulus check,
Silence us with Judas' peck.
Silence our rights and Constitution shred,
Then we'll say: All Hope is dead!

(Okay, that's enough politics for awhile. I'll take a break and post about something more innocuous, like homeschooling... or religion.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Too True

When I was researching Aesop's Fables for this week's Carnival of Homeschooling, I came across this fable that I had not heard before but thought was very appropriate given that today is election day.

The Ass and the Old Shepherd

A Shepherd, watching his Ass feeding in a meadow, was alarmed all of a sudden by the cries of the enemy. He appealed to his Ass to fly with him, lest they should both be captured, but the animal lazily replied, "Why should I, pray? Do you think it likely the conqueror will place on me two sets of panniers?" "No," rejoined the shepherd. "Then," said the Ass, "as long as I carry the panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?"

In a change of government, the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master.

I also came across this quote in my cyber-space wanderings this week. It is amazing how much things change yet how much they stay the same.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed since Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55BC

(HT: Henry at Why Homeschool)

And it has been commanded by the highest authority:

Submit yourselves to the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence teh ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
- I Peter 2: 13-17

Wisdom from Henry

Today is election day. Please heed this wisdom from Henry as you contemplate your vote today:

There is a push by many to have lots of people vote in the election tomorrow. Many seem to feel that large numbers of people voting is a good thing.

I would much rather have ten people vote intelligently, thoughtfully, with due consideration about the issues and the candidates, than to have a thousand people just vote along party lines.

Please study the issues. Please ponder the history of the candidates. Think about what would be best for the country, and what would be best for your children.

Please vote intelligently.

Thank you.

Yup. What he said.

COH ~ Week 149

The Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 149
"The Sky is Falling" Edition

If you have visited the Carnival of Homeschooling here before, you know that I have hosted the carnival four times and each time, something has happened to almost prevent me from being able to fulfill my promise to host. So far, so good this time. (Knock on wood...) I began to realize that I was just waiting to see what would go wrong next. It sounded a lot like the set-up to a fable awaiting a moral. I'm still not sure what the moral to my fable is, but Aesop's Fables are well-loved, have stood the test of time, and all have their morals neatly in place. I am not nearly as clever as Aesop, but I hope that you will enjoy the wisdom of the fables and homeschooling advice linked below.

The Lark Burying Her Father (youth's first duty is reverence to parents)

-Sheltered or Protected? by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

-OH-HS Alerts (regarding homeschooling in Ohio specifically, but much applies to homeschooling in general) by Mary at The Informed Parent

-The Beauty of Homeschooling by Stephanie at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

- Friday Reward at Delighting in His Richness hosted by Erin

- Fix the Real Problem First by Barbara at her blog Barbara Frank Online

The Man and the Lion
(one story is good, till another is told)

-Writing Prompts for Grades 1-12 at

- Brainstorming With 5- to 8- Year Olds by Kim at In Our Write Minds

-Home-School Curriculum Notes by Suzanne at Adventures in Daily Living

by The Reluctant Homeschooler

-Teaching From the Known to the Unknown by Janice at Janice Campbell: Taking Time for Things That Matter

-Picture Book Interactive Notebook by Lynn at Ecelectic Education

-10 Favorite Family Audiobooks
by Gary at

-Homespun Comic Strip #285
by Christina at Home Spun Juggling

The Silkworm and the Spider
(true art is thoughtful, delights, and endures)

- Kids and Questions by ChristineMM, aka The Thinking Mother

- Honeybee Finale: An Art Project
by Shannon at Song of My Heart

-Thinking About Christmas
by Sebastian at Percival Blakeney Academy

- To Ancient Egypt and Back Again
by Renae at Life Nurturing Education

The Ass and the Old Shepherd
(in a change of government, the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master)

- Don't Forget to Vote by Alasandra at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards

- How My Local Homeschool Group Works for Us
by Robyn at The Life Without School Community Blog

The Boy and the Nettle
(whatever you do, do with your might)

- Is Your Child an Eagle or a Chicken? by Becca at Inspiration for Mothers

- Homeschool Memoirs: Field Trips
by Miss Amanda at The Daily Planet

- Curriculum of Curiosity by Lori at Camp Creek Blog

- Emotional Intelligence by Amy at Kids Love Learning

- Ditch the Backpack: 100 Essential Web Tools for Virtual Students at Learning Gurus

- Diligence
by Rachel at Undefined

- A Modern Day Barn Raising
by Fairion at Lionden Landing

-"Illiberal Education" - Give Me The Old Timey Education
by Susan at Corn and Oil

The Crow and the Pitcher
(little by little does the trick)

- Cooking Lesson Plans by Alison at Homeschoolers' Guide to the Galaxy

- Memory Problems? Perhaps You Are Multi-Tasking
by Alvaro at Sharp Brains

- The Credit Crunch and Financial Aid: What Will It Mean for College Admissions?
by Mark at Great College Advice

Thank you to everyone who participated in this week's carnival. Don't forget to submit your posts for next week's carnival, hosted by at Walking Therein. Submission guidlines can be found here.


*If you'd like to incorporate some of Aesop's Fables into your homeschool lessons, check out these links:

Aesop's Fables - this link provides historical information surrounding the writing of the fables as well as the content of many of the more well known fables; there is also a printable book available's Aesop's Fables - includes lesson plans and other activities based on some of the better known fables

Online Collection of Aesop's Fables - an extremely comprehensive site; excellent source for over 655 of Aesop's Fables; includes both written and some audio versions as well as some classic images and lesson plans based on the fables; some Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales are also available on the site

Hey look! I'm still here, healthy and with electicity and everything! *grin*

Thursday, October 30, 2008

COH ~ Week 148

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 148
hosted by Henry at Why Homeschool

The carnival will be here next week, so make sure to send in your submissions by the evening of Monday, Nov. 3, if you would like them included in next week's carnival.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Splish Splash

We have a mouse in the house. Correction: We had a mouse in the house. Although I am glad that our uninvited guest is gone, I wish he had chosen a less dramatic exit.

About a week ago, we had a terrible rain storm. It rained buckets all day long and into the night. The ceiling in the boys' room had leaked in the past, and despite the fact that our 75-year-old, spry yet scarecrow-built landlord climbed up on the roof during a tornado warning to fix the leak a few weeks ago, I still had my ears open for that dreaded dripping sound. (Stick with me... we'll get to the mouse.)

I went to sleep almost immediately upon my head hitting the pillow that night, but was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of water. In my semi-conscious state, I assumed it was the boys' ceiling and tried to will it to stop so that I wouldn't have to climb out of bed and find a bucket. I slowly entered a more awake state and realized that the sound was awfully loud to be water dripping in the boys' room. The sound would have to travel down the hall and through two closed doors. Plus, the sound of the furnace muffled much of the sound outside the room.

Now, I was awake (but still refusing to open my eyes). What could it be? I realized the sound was coming from around Frodo's side of the bed. That corner of the room is where the addition containing the master bedroom meets the main part of the house. Many homes in the South, including ours (I have no idea why) do not have rain gutters, so I concluded that water must be running down the joint in the roof and splashing into a pool of water on the ground outside. Yes, that had to be it. I settled in and tried to go back to sleep.

But it sounds awfully loud to be coming from outside. Maybe there's a leak in our ceiling?! I was now completely awake - eyes open and everything - but I couldn't see in the dark. I grabbed my reading light (the kids keep wandering off with my in-case-of-emergency flashlights) and crept to Frodo's side of the bed. When I got to the nightstand, I realized that the sound was coming from the nightstand and illuminated the surface and found this:

Apparently, our uninvited guest had climbed the nightstand and Frodo's pile of reading material in search of a drink and got a little more than he bargained for.

So, we are now mouseless (for now) and our mouser (who lives outside because of Frodo's allergies) required a little less breakfast than usual the morning after our great adventure.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paddington!

Today is the 50th birthday of Paddington Bear... the bear responsible for making me an anglophile. I was absolutely enthralled with the idea of tea and marmalade. It seemed amazingly refined. But Paddington does not fit any idea of "refined" yet he still enjoys tea and marmalade. If not him, why not me? So tonight, brew yourself a pot of tea and enjoy a bit of toast with marmalade and enjoy of taste of refinement. In the morning, grab a copy of A Bear Called Paddington and introduce your children to the most polite, if not the most refined, bear to come from Darkest Peru.

Paddington, who all this time had been too interested in his bun to worry about what was going on, suddenly became aware that people were talking about him. He looked up to see that Mrs. Brown had been joined by a little girl, with laughing blue eyes and long, fair hair. He jumped up, meaning to raise his hat, and in his haste slipped on a patch of strawberry jam which somehow or other had found its way on to the glass table-top. For a brief moment he had a dizzy impression of everything and everyone being upside down. He waved his paws wildly in the air and then, before anyone could catch him, he somersaulted backwards and and landed with a splash in his saucer of tea. He jumped up even quicker than he had sat down, because the tea was still very hot, and promptly stepped into Mr. Brown's cup.

From the huge birthday cake down to the last marmalade sandwich, everyone voted it was the best tea they had ever had. Paddington himself was so full he had great difficulty in mustering enough breath to blow out the candle. But at last he managed it without singeing his whiskers, and everyone, including Mr. Curry, applauded and wished him a happy birthday.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Don't Waste Your Vote

I've been told that if I don't vote for one of the two "major party" candidates, I am wasting my vote because there is no possible way a third party candidate can win. This is simply not true. Any candidate running for president can win as long as he/ she gets enough electoral votes. Right now, according to the Green Papers, there are seven presidential candidates with the potential to receive the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. Below, I have listed the seven candidates, what parties they are (predominanatly) affiliated with, and how many electoral votes they have the potential of winning. I have provided links to the campaign and party websites when I could. Please evaluate your own values in what you would like to see in a president, read the Constitution to see what qualifications a presidential candidate must have (and what the role of the president is to make sure that the candidates understand the job description), and then research the candidates below to determine who you believe would be the best leader of the executive branch of the U.S. government. Then, and dare I say only then, go vote.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order (by last name of the individual leading the ticket), ladies first.

Cynthia McKinney/ Rosa Clemente - Green Party - 528

Chuck Baldwin/ Darrell L. Castle - Constitution Party - 513

Bob Barr/ Wayne E. Root - Libertarian Party - 527

John McCain/ Sarah Palin - Republican Party - 538

Frank Moore/ Susan Block - Independent - 270

Ralph Nader/ Gonzalez - Independent - 531

Barack Obama/ Joseph Biden - Democratic Party - 538

Not all candidates (except McCain and Obama) are listed on the ballots of every state or are eligible as write-ins in every state (yes, you have to be "certified" as a write-in candidate in most states). The Green Papers has lists of candidates by state. Please check your state's rules for write-in candidates before attempting to write a candidate in, for any office, on your ballot. In some states, like Oklahoma and Mississippi, write-ins are not allowed, and I have read somewhere that attempting to write-in a candidate in Oklahoma invalidades your entire ballot, but I have been unable to confirm this. (If anyone can confirm or deny this, please let me know, and I will update the information here.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Acting Lessons

Sir Ian McKellan giving Ricky Gervais some acting tips. (from the series Extras)

A little tip: Put your coffee down first.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Spoonful of Sugar

On Monday, September 29th, the House of Representatives voted against H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. This original form of the bill numbered 110 pages and dealt predominantly with how the federal government would purchase "troubled assets", protect homeowners who are facing foreclosure, distribute monies, provide oversight of those companies receiving money, and other related issues. Many Representatives, when asked why they voted against this bill stated that either their constituents were against it, they felt it did not provide enough oversight, or that it is not the role of government to "save" private companies and citizens from the consequences of their bad choices.

On Wednesday, October 1st, the Senate passed an amended H.R. 1424 numbering 451 pages which has now been passed on the the House for a vote, expected to take place Friday, October 3rd. What is included in those additional 441 that led the Senate to pass it?

After skimming through both versions of the bill (there was no way I could read through all 561 pages this afternoon and keep 6 children fed, clean, and educated, so I had to skim the majority of them and then focus on reading the additions made), I have found that the question of oversight has been addressed and tweaked, but that hardly accounts for all 441 new pages. So, what does comprise the majority of those additions?


All day, I have been hearing the media (mostly NPR as we don't have television reception nor do we have a great variety of good radio reception) use the term "sweeteners" in reference to the additions to the bill which made it "passable." Even Frodo, who attempts to avoid all things political when possible, couldn't help but notice the new term the media has been using to describe what in the past has been referred to as "pork." I understand why the politicians want to avoid the word "pork." It's an election year. Thirty-five of the 100 Senate seats are being contested this year, and all 435 Representatives are up for re-election. These politicians know that during elections years, you have to be against "pork barrel spending," so apparently they've decided, with the media as an accomplice, that items added to a bill to guarantee enough votes to pass it are now called "sweeteners." Maybe they thought the term would invoke images of birthday cakes and Christmas candy, but all I am picturing is a guy in a cheap, ill-fitting polyester suit standing in front of used car of questionable background annoyingly chewing gum and winking while saying, "How's about I sweeten the deal for ya, doll?"

But whether you call these additions "pork" or "sweeteners," what they really amount to are bribes. They are targeted spending measures intended to buy the votes of congressmen by making them look good to their constituents. Do they not see the irony of an emergency economic stabilization act containing spending the government can't afford? As of October 1st, the federal debt totaled:


Wall Street is in trouble because they gambled on inflated house prices and used mortgages as collateral for their other financial dealings. When the housing market turned, these banks owed more money than the value of the mortgages they put up against their loans. Main street is in trouble because individuals gambled on the inflated economy providing them with ever-increasing incomes and ever-increasing home values by using adjustable-rate mortgages to buy houses they couldn't afford and left them houses valued far less than the amount of money they owed. So what is the government's answer? They are going to gamble that the "troubled assets" they buy today will be worth more in the unnamed future. In short, they are going to attempt to fix the financial crisis by engaging in the exact same practices that led to it in the first place.

So, what kind of promises does it take to get a congressman to vote for a strategy that it can't afford and has already been proven to fail? Here are some of the bill's "sweeteners" (these are all section or title headings that you can search for yourself in the bill):

-Renewable Energy Credit
-Transportation Fringe Benefit To Bicycle Commuters
- Seven-Year Cost Recovery Period For Motorsports Racing Track Facility
-Extension and Duty Modification Of Duty Suspension On Wool Products; Wool Research Fund; Wool Duty Refunds
-Permanent Authority For Undercover Operations
-Exemption From Excise Tax For Certain Wooden Arrows Designed For Use By Children (you can't make these up, people)
-Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (yup, there is an entire act tacked on as an amendment; actually there are three)

The members of the House stood up once and said no to government intervention in the financial markets. (It was government intervention that led to this problem in the first place, including the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989; Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992; and administration-based changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, first enacted by President Carter in 1977, and effecting changes in Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations both by President Clinton, in 1995, and President GW Bush, in 2003.) Let's encourage our representatives to stand up again to government interference. And let's make sure that, as we do so, we are willing to suffer the potential financial sacrifices that may be necessary to weather this adjustment in our financial markets as we move toward a more realistic, asset-based economy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rubbing Elbows at the Debate

Okay, well, we didn't really get close enough to rub elbows and we weren't actually at the debate (just the pre-debate events on campus), but it was kinda cool seeing national politicians, newscasters, and performers in our (relatively) small and out-of-the way town on Friday.

We watched a broadcast of Hardball with Chris Matthews.

After his interview, former Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (Ole Miss grad and former cheerleader; the university is the home of the Lott Leadership Institute) boarded a golf cart next to where the kids and I were standing. I forgot to change my camera to video mode, but did snap the above picture during this minor exchange:

Me: [to the kids] Ready? 1, 2, 3...

Kids: Hi, Mr. Lott!

Mr. Lott: Hey there, guys!

We thought it was pretty cool!

Josh Kelley (Ole Miss grad who attended on a golf scholarship... he's got an interesting story you can read here) was one of the performers at the all-day-long Rock the Debate concert.

Before the debate started, the kids and I decided to head home (we'd been at Rock the Debate for about 4 hours, and the kids were getting tired, and I could just as well listen to the debate at home). While waiting for the shuttle back to our car (which took 45 minutes... ugh), Howard Dean arrived for his MSNBC interview. I could not for the life of me remember his name until it was too late to say hi and ask him to stop for a picture, and he was busy juggling two different cell phone conversations, so he probably wouldn't have appreciated a crazy stranger saying hi to him at that moment anyway.

I'll post some other shots from events surrounding the debate in a few days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Campaign for Liberty at Rock the Debate

Adam Kokesh, former Marine who served in Iraq, speaking as a representative of Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty at Rock The Debate on the Ole Miss campus prior to the first presidential debate of 2008.

The video is a bit shaky during the first minute or so as I moved to a better vantage point, but I didn't want to miss the audio.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hunkerin' Down

A few weeks ago, Gustav threatened our area, so we updated our emergency kit, put fresh batteries in the weather alert radio, and kept an eye on the weather forecast. By the time Gustav arrived, we got a lot of rain and about an hour's worth of tornado warnings, but otherwise, our day went on as usual.

Then Ike looked like it was heading our way, but it veered-off toward Texas instead. Again, we simply continued with our regularly scheduled program.

This week, we are again stocking up. The cabinets are full, the cars are filled with gas (we're still borrowing cars while we wait to hear the verdict on our truck), and we've got an ear turned to the radio for updates and information. We do not have an evacuation plan, however. We are not stocking up on drinking water, and our lives will still basically continue as always... we just won't be going into town during the next few days. Until Thursday, to be precise. And that's only because I'm insane.

Today is a home football game. The campus opened to tailgaters and RV parking at 4am this morning. That's standard for home football game Saturdays. Our general MO for home game Saturdays is to hang out at home and get stuff done around here. At 6pm, we head to WalMart. Why 6pm? That's when the football game starts. The 60,000 spectators in the stands and the 80,000 tailgaters will be in the stadium or glued to the big screen TVs they hauled to the campus watching the game. It's the perfect time to go grocery shopping. WalMart is on our side of town, so that's where we go during game day. We don't want to have to drive by campus just in case we run late at the store, and even if we leave late, at least we'll be going against the flow of traffic.

You may be thinking, "Well, you should be used to game Saturdays by now. What's the big deal?" It is a big rivalry weekend, so the crowd will be even larger, but that's not what makes this game Saturday different from every other. In fact, there will not be another game Saturday like this before Frodo graduates. That's because yesterday They started arriving.

Private jets began buzzing over our house on their way to the University airport yesterday. They'd fly over, land, then fly over again... presumably on their way to Memphis to hang out for the week since the University airport can't house all the planes and helicopters in need of a resting place this coming week. The kids would hear a plane coming and begin scanning the sky. "There it is!" they'd cry. "Here They come," I'd sigh internally.

I have been conflicted about the arrival of Them since hearing they were coming a few months ago. As a resident of our small, university town, I think about the increased income it will mean and am happy that I will benefit from the freshly paved roads and other public works projects that were put on the fast track over the past few months. However, I have had to suffer through closed roads, constantly changing traffic patterns, security fences and jumbotrons popping up like mushrooms overnight, and the rapidly developing single-mindedness of business owners, local government officials, local media, and university higher-ups. As a homeschool mom, I think about what a great opportunity this is for my children. They will probably never have an opportunity to witness something like this again. What a great opportunity for discussion of government, politics, campaigning, and rights vs. privileges. But we're also going to have to cover topics like discrimination, the KKK, talking points, sound bites, and spin.

What could cause both energizing excitement and paralyzing dread?

That's right... as of yesterday, if you don't include the Secret Service agents and construction workers setting-up two 8' perimeter fences, one interior/ one exterior, and the media tent on campus over the last few months, the media, politicos, and security began descending on our town of 20,000. (Well, if you include the students, it's almost twice that.)

Since we found out the dabate was coming to town, the papers and my email box have been full of requests for apartments, houses, and rooms for rent during debate week. Last week, Frodo received an email offering him (and every student, staff, and faculty member) $10 worth of credit at the student union food court if he didn't park on campus this week. The security fences, media tent, and closed parking lots around the debate site have caused many commuter students, like Frodo, to park off-campus and shuttle in to class. (The shuttle service into town and to some surrounding apartment complexes is actually a very positive improvement that we hope the university will continue after the debate. This town really needs a good shuttle service.) Classes are canceled Friday, debate day, and some professors are canceling classes the night before so students don't have to battle through those setting up for Rock the Vote and the increased security that will begin on the eve of the candidates' arrivals.

If I were sane, I would stay hunkered and not emerge from our lovely home until next Saturday and just survey the damage. But, I'm not sane. I'm a homeschooler. I trucked my kids to Washington, DC to attend Ronald Reagan's funeral in 2004 (Frodo was an accomplice on that one). Also in 2004, I took, alone, four kids, in the rain, surrounded by the scent of chocolate, to hear Presdient Bush speak when he was campaigning for re-election in Hershey, PA. We stood in line at security for hours, and I had to bring a note from our doctor to show the Secret Service agents (which they quite enjoyed and passed down the line of metal detectors) explaining why Terzo, just shy of 4 years old at the time, was probably going to set-off the metal detectors (he had swallowed a quarter a couple days before and hadn't passed it by the day of the speech). If I have the opportunity to allow my children to experience history and national events first hand, I'm going to take it. That's why, on Thursday, we are heading downtown to attend our town's parade, local and state politicians' stump speeches, and the taping of a radio show. Friday, assuming I have enough car seats and the couple whose kids I watch during the day decide to brave the trek to their office on Friday (otherwise, I'll just have my kiddos), I am going to take 6 kids to campus to see the Rock the Vote events and get a taste of the debate experience.

Of course, this is all assuming I don't have to parallel park. Never ask a person with bad depth perception to parallel park. Especially a Suburban.

Frodo will be staying home. He is my designated sane person.

I'm still dreading the invasion of the coming week... but, man, it's exciting!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Here We Go Again

5-day Cone for Hurricane Ike

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Know Your Enemy

When we were on vacation at the shore with friends a few years ago, we bought a hurricane tracking chart. I thought it would be a fun addition to weather studies and map reading. During hurricane season, we'd keep tabs on devloping storms by listening to the weather report on the radio. When we heard about a named storm, we'd go to NOAA'a National Hurricane Center website and look at the storm's location and projected track and mark it on our map. Not only was this practice educational, but I thought it would also help allay Primo's nearly pertrifying fear of severe weather. "We live in central PA; we don't get hurricanes," I assured her one day.

Then Ivan arrived.

Now, the effects of Ivan on our land-locked region were nothing compared to that of coastal regions, but they were sufficient enough to finger me as a liar - or at the very least, highly misinformed. Thus, the hurricane tracking chart moved from the purely educational realm and into that of "emergency preparedness equipment." Primo became obsessed with listening to weather radio, keeping the hurricane map up-to-date, and making sure our emergency kit was properly stocked and easily accessible in case the need to evacuate should arrive. (By the way, this fear of severe weather is apparently inherited as my dad's state-of-the-art home weather center and obsession with interest in The Weather Channel can attest. Right, Dad? *wink*)

When Frodo was first looking at graduate schools, the University of Kansas came up and Primo put her foot down. There was no way she was going to live in tornado alley. She was happy when she found out we would not be moving to Kansas. Instead, we moved to Mississippi.... aka the forgotten victim of Katrina... right smack in Dixie Alley. (Yeah, we'd never heard of it either 'til we got here.) Primo learned all these wonderful weather facts after we got here. She was thrilled. [insert eye roll here]

Today we began tracking Tropical Storm Gustav.

It's projected 5-day track has it making landfall (at hurricane strength) at the Louisiana/ Mississippi border... right where Katrina made landfall three years ago. I attempted to comfort Primo by pointing out that the area where we live is covered by the map key. "The makers of a hurricane tracking chart wouldn't cover an area with the key if hurricanes frequently hit that area, would they?" She's still made plans for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we'll be checking to make sure our emergency kit is up to date... replacing any expired canned goods (or at least making a shopping list), putting in fresh batteries, making sure changes of clothes will actually fit everyone, removing the diapers we put in for Quarto now that he's potty trained and replace them with a couple of "just in case" pull-ups, and making sure we have supplies and contact info for the two kids we watch during the day. We'll also:

-change the back-up battery in the weather alert radio and make sure our hand-crank radio and flashlights are easily accessible (and the flashlights have fresh batteries)
-set aside some containers to fill with drinking water should it look like we'll need it
-review what to do in case of an emergency
-read The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane and National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Weather (hey, we're homeschoolers; we see life's experiences as reasons to buy and read books)
-update any changes in Gustav's status and track on the hurricane chart
-be shushed by Primo every time the weather report comes on the radio

We are diligently trying to put into practice what Terzo learned in Cub Scouts (particularly during our family emergency preparedness sessions): Be Prepared

As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War (and as I am trying to impart to Primo through this study of hurricanes and emergency preparedness):

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles. If you know only yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wronger Than Wrong

I'm not really sure what to say about this:

Among some of the benefits of their prefilled communion cups, the website lists that the cups are 1) sanitary, 2) less messy, and 3) result in less waste. My thoughts when reading this list of "benefits" were:

1) Less sanitary than the little individual glasses that are run through the dishwasher after every Lord's Supper? Of course, I wasn't taking into account those traditions that use a communal chalice, but then wouldn't those taking part in a communion with a communal chalice loose the "community" part of their communion by switching to individual cups, prefilled or not? I guess it depends on what your priorities
are in taking part in the sacrament.

2) Less messy? Obviously the creators of this haven't attempted to open the orange juice or apple sauce that often come in these little foil-lidded containers. Or maybe it's just me. I always end up with applesauce all over my knuckles when I open those things. I can't imagine that I would be in a very worshipful mood after opening my communion-on-the-go and spilling permanently staining grape juice all over myself... not to mention what that juice is supposed to represent.

3) Less waste? Sure, many churches fill more cups with juice or wine than they think they may need to be on the safe side, but that would amount to what? Maybe a cup of juice would go unused - if that? And many priests in churches that use communal chalices drink the excess juice or wine since it has been blessed and should not just be poured down the drain, anyway. But what about the foil lid and plastic cup that now have to be thrown away? I know that many churches already use little ,disposable plastic cups, and I am not too thrilled with that either. Why not just use washable, glass cups? But that aside, the prefilled cups not only have the plastic juice cup, but they now add a foil lid and a seperate wafer packet. Are they going to put trash cans near the altar in churches where the congregants go forward to recieve communion?

The whole idea of prefilled communion cups just seems so wrong. It moves the idea of the communal sharing of rememberance into the modern fast-food culture. We're the children of God, right? Why not just go all the way and add a Bible hero action figure and call it a Truly-Happy Meal? Our praise choruses already border on being glorified (pardon the pun) jingles, so all we need is a catchy slogan and viola... God's entered the fast food market.

Seeing these cups reminded me of a story I heard on NPR a couple years ago about the comfort and sense of community a listener felt every Sunday as she heard the glass communion cups clink into the pew racks after the congragation finished thier Lord's Supper. I love that sound, too. I can't imagine replacing it with the sound of tin foil being pulled off of plastic juice cups.

To quote Mammy, "It ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin'."

Yes, Minister... Mr. Secretary... Mr. President

Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Maybe we can take comfort in the fact that at least we're not alone... nope, still leaning towards crying... or at least fist-pounding. (And I'm definitely laughing. This is great stuff. Gotta love British sitcoms.)

If you've never seen the British television series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, I highly recommend them. You are missing quite a treat.

HT: Consent of the Governed - thanks for the reminder)

Because They're There

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Aw, shucks!

You all are making me blush.

Can I just tell you that I am amazed that there are people, other than my parents and in-laws, who actually read this blog on a regular basis (or at least check it regularly... kinda hard to read when I haven't been writing much) much less bother to email me and tell me that they miss me? (And want to hear my opinions on things political and religious. Really?) You're all so sweet.

I am actually missing writing here. I need the creative, goofy, ranting outlet. And you would think that I would have had plenty of time to hang out online and write and post considering that I have been basically house-bound all summer. I'll spare you all the gory details, but the long and the short of it is that after spending enough $$ to have replaced the engine in our Suburban trying to keep it running, we now more-than-likely need a new engine and don't have the money because, well, we spent it all on periphery things that apparently meant diddly-squat since the engine is no basically no good. Sigh. Two friends have graciously lent us cars, but I feel bad putting tons of miles and wear-and-tear on someone else's car, so I've been limiting my driving to what is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, soon we'll be able to get our truck fixed (or at least determine once and for all if it's even worth it or if we should start looking for a "new" vehicle). The up-side is that we've really saved on gas this summer.

Ironically, I have been finding more "me", thinking, creative time now that my life has gotten much, much busier. I am in the editing phase for the two books I've written in the last year. The target date for the first book to be released is April 2009. Send prayers, good vibes, good thoughts, what have you because I have never done this type of editing before and am finding it a bit overwhelming. I have also started watching two great kids during the day. The oldest is 2 and his little sister is 5 months. They are great kids (did I say that already?) and the 2yo and Quarto play together really well which has actually helped the older kids and I get more focused school done during the day. I just don't do well self-disciplining my time when too much of it is "free", so having all of these obligations really helps keep me organized and on my toes because I have to be.

I guess that's a good, relatively short summary of why I haven't posted anything in almost a month. *grin* Hopefully, I'll post more frequently as summer ends and fall begins.

Thanks for your encouragement and support. I really am astounded at the interest at my thoughts, rantings, and random musings. Who knew?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fly on the Wall

This morning at breakfast:

Quarto: Mom, how many eggs is that?
Me: Ten.
Quarto: Ten?! That's crazy talk!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Gap in Their Education

The kiddos are trying to fit in as much TV as possible before we cancel the satellite service at the end of the month. Primo's favorite channel is the Bomerang Network. They show classic cartoons from the 60's and 70's with a few earlier ones thrown in for good measure. I think Primo is just amazed that they had cartoons when Frodo and I were kids... heck, she's amazed that television existed when Frodo and I were kids! Anyway, tonight she was absorbed in an episode of Scooby Doo. When I walked into the room, she turned to me and said, "Mom, that's Cast Elliott," indicating a character in the show. "Dad knows who she is. Do you know her? Cast Elliott?"

"Do you mean Cass Elliott? Yeah, that's Mama Cass."

"Yeah, that's it! Cass Elliott. Who's Mama Cass?"

"Mama Cass. She's a singer. From The Mamas & The Papas."

"Yeah, she's a singer on here, too. Who are The Mamas & The Papas?"

"You don't know who The Mamas & The Papas are?! Are you sure you're my child?"

At this point, I open up YouTube. (What would I do without YouTube and Google? I mean, seriously?)

"This is The Mamas & The Papas..."

"And this..."

"And this is Mama Cass. Cass Elliott."



Sigh. I can see we have to have a more formal study of "American Folk Music of the 50's, 60's and 70's", aka "stuff Mom listened to when she was a kid" and these kids better learn it if they are going to have a good grounding in American Culture Studies (and be able to get half of the jokes in The Simpsons... when they are old enough to watch The Simpsons, that is). They obviously aren't picking it up properly through casual exposure and are seriously lacking in appreciation of the classics of American music.

Johnny Cash does seem to be sticking with Secondo. She has recently declared him her favorite. So, here is a little Johnny Cash to help diversify your own folk music studies. Here is Secondo's favorite:

And here is mine:

(Hey, I'm impressed I was able to hold myself to two.)

Fly on the Wall

Quarto: [casually, while putting markers away] Dad, what's sharper, a marker or a sword?
Frodo: [slightly puzzled] A sword.
Quarto: [with the tone of a schoolteacher amazed at his young pupil's apparent wisdom beyond his years] That's right!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Book Meme

Heather, over at Stepping Heavenward, "tagged" me for this meme... in a laid-back, non-tagging sort of way. *grin*

From The Equation for Excellence: How to Make Your Child Excel at Math:

A parent gives a child a problem. The child gets the problem wrong. The parent should then just give an easier problem, right?

Share a taste of your most recent read... or at least the one most near at hand. If you'd like to participate, consider yourself tagged and follow these guidelines:

  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five people. Or not. I'm in favor of just opening up for anyone who wants to play along.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I knew it...

Housekeeping is hazardous to your health. In fact, it can be downright deadly.

3M, the makers of ScotchBrite products, have gotten caught up in the "eco-fever" affecting businesses worldwide and now provide a scrubbing sponge made from tree cellulose and walnut shells. The problem? If you are allergic to tree nuts, these sponges can be deadly. So, I have decided that since many cleaning chemicals are bad for my family's health and the environment, and I don't want to kill anyone with a nut-based, eco-friendly scrubber, I am just not going to clean anymore. (And no, no one in my immediate family is allergic to tree nuts or any other kind of nut or food-stuff.)

What's been my excuse for not cleaning up until this point? I've been busy blogging.

I haven't, you say? Well then, I've been busy... um, schooling... and writing. Yeah, that's it. Schooling and writing. (Whew, that was close.)

In all honesty, I will probably buy and try out the new ScotchBrite walnut-based scrubbers (although if you or anyone in your family is allergic to nuts, you should probably contact 3M and find out if any of their other products have come in contact with the walnuts used in their new product). I already use regular ScotchBrite scrubbers, and these new ones look to be about the same price as their non-green product (which actually is green... in color anyway). I am interested in becoming more eco-friendly and making sure that I do things that are healthy for myself and my family. However, I do not delude myself that I will somehow save our atmosphere through my actions. I'm not really all that convinced that humans contribute a significant amount to atmospheric or ice-locked CO2 levels. However, I do think that using a renewable resource over a limited resource makes good sense... economically, environmentally, and morally. I believe that as humans, we need to protect the land, water, and air that we have been given, but that we shouldn't protect it for its own sake to the point of religious fanaticism. We have been given a gift and a command to care for it, and we should. Because it is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

COH- Week 129

Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 129
Let’s Go To The Movies!

The Theatuh, the Theatuh - what book of rules says the Theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the Theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all Theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's Theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and The Lone Ranger, Sarah Bernhardt, Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex and Wild, and Eleanora Duse. You don't understand them all, you don't like them all, why should you? The Theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your Theater, but it's Theater of somebody, somewhere.

We are a movie family. The images, the direction, the entertainment, the education, the creativity… we are drawn to all of it. Movies like Ghandi and The Last Emperor reveal to us amazing people, places, and eras. Finding Nemo and Big Fish open doors to discuss the intricacies of relationships and family. Rebecca and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? have plots and characters revealed as much by lighting, camera angles, and editing as by dialogue. Magnolia reveals the dark side of humanity and the beauty of grace. And some films, like Duck Soup, Singin’ In the Rain, and Batman Begins, are just plain old fun. Every movie should be enjoyed for whatever it is… an escapist comedy, a revealing documentary, a breakthrough drama. Not every movie is educational, but we can learn something from every movie.

Our family has yet to find an experience, characteristic, or emotion for which there is not an appropriate movie quote. I have decided that in this Carnival of Homeschooling, I will put this theory to the test. Enjoy the wonderful posts of our fellow educators, then on an upcoming, sweltering summer afternoon, escape into the air conditioning and enjoy a movie. Most libraries carry feature films and documentaries that you can check-out for free. There are also many movie theaters across the US offering free or inexpensive family movies through the summer. Here are a few:

Regal’s Free Family Film Festival

AMC’s Summer Movie Camp

Malco Theaters Summer Film Fest

Marcus Theaters Kids Rule Summer Film Series

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse

Not sure if a movie is right for you or your kids? Check it out on the website Kids-In-Mind. They have a wonderful rating system and include descriptions of any scenes that parents may find objectionable so that parents can decide if a given movie is right for their kids. Also, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a great resource for plot summaries, release dates, cast information, director information, ratings, and you can also learn what movies are in production or due for release in the near future.

Enjoy the carnival!

So this is like a clue in a real murder case? Kew-el!

Tiffany, at her Natural Family Living Blog, shares about some recent field trips they took… and one included investigating a crime scene.
You. Are. A. TOY! You aren’t the real Buzz Lightyear! You’re a… Oh, you’re an action figure! You are a CHILD’S PLAYTHING!”
- from Toy Story
On his blog Sharp Minds, Alvaro reviews the book The Power of Play: Learning That Comes Naturally by Dr. David Elkind.
Honey, there’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick.*
- from Annie Hall

What’s the largest insect in the world? Find out from Katrina over at, where else, What is the Biggest…?

(* Yes, I know that spiders aren’t insects, but quoting movies is not an exact science, it’s an art… sometimes an abstract, indirect one.*grin*)
I do have a test today…. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who cares if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.

Looks like Bueller and OverwhelmedMom have something to discuss. Are standardized exams really necessary?
Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever.

Now that the price of iPhones has come down, Christina Laun shares some tips on how to maximize their use as a library and research tool. You can find her article at College@Home.

A post at On Living By Learning uncovers the benefit YahooGroups can be to homeschoolers.

Technology can have a down side as Timothy at Sometimes I’m Actually Coherent points out in his post Minds Like Steel Traps- For The Wrong Stuff.
You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.

A little, impromptu lesson on supply and demand from Rose who’s Learning At Home.

There is a great post at Money Blue Book on teaching your college-bound kids about credit card use before they leave home and find their college mailbox filled with offers for easy credit.
It must be tremendously interesting to be a schoolmaster, to watch boys grow up and help them along; to see their characters develop and what they become when they school and the world gets a hold of them. I don’t see how you could ever grow old in a world that’s always young.

Kim at the Buckeye Blog reminds us that children grow in many ways. How do your children grow?

Renae at Life Nurturing Gifts shares her daughter’s discovery of her gifts.
You know, the best prize life that life offers is the chance to work hard at something worth doing. That’s Teddy Roosevelt said that, not me.

David at shares some tips on how to keep your study skills razor sharp.
Oh! The theme I've been waiting for all my life. Listen to this sentence: "A Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time". Poetry. Sheer poetry, Ralph! An A+!

In his post, Taking Back Teaching: A Forgotten History, Clay (Beyond School) reviews the history of the grading system and its effect on education.
While my father prayed earnestly to God to protect commerce, I would offer up secretly the proudest prayer a boy could think of: Lord, make me a great composer. Let me celebrate Your glory through music and be celebrated myself. Make me famous through the world, dear God. Make me immortal. After I die, let people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote. In return, I will give You my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility, every hour of my life, Amen.
- from Amadeus

Attention all Catholic Homeschoolers in New England! Mary, at Mum2Best7, wants you to mark your calendars for the 2009 New England Catholic Homeschoolers Conference. You can find more information here.
Behind of each of these books, there’s a man. That’s what interests me.

Going back and re-reading a classic homeschooling text may be just the boost you need if you are feeling burned out at the end of another school year. Barbara Frank got her second wind after reading some Gatto. How about you?

Adso of Melk at Lorem Ipsum encourages us to go ahead and enjoy “dangerous literature”… and lots of it.

It’s time for summer reading lists again! Denise at Frugal Homeschooling shares some great reading lists, by genre and age group, that you can take to the library to get your kids started on their summer reading.

Need some help organizing your summer reading program? Check out Kathy’s post Our Summer Reading Program at
You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.

Elisheva, over at Ragamuffin Studies, sends out a warning to all homeschool parents not to inadvertently send the message to your students that not achieving immediate success is equivalent to failure in her post IRD Second Week: Immediacy and the Ghost of Failure.
Grandma said when you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out where no telling it will go. Which is right.

Kevin provides an overview of the three primary learning styles over at M4K Homeschooling & Education.
The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.

Have you incorporated interactive maps and oral histories into your homeschool studies? Pop on over to An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog and see how it can be done.

Visit Sarah’s blog Small World and take a look at her impressive American History unit studies, complete with book lists and hands-on activities.

In Kim’s Play Place you can find Kim's recommendations for preschool Montessori activities: first year primary (age 3).
There has to be a mathematical explanation for how bad that tie is.

Need to exercise your brain? Try to solve The Mosaic Tile Mystery over at Let’s Play Math!

A Division Bead Board can be a helpful tool for teaching your student division. A semester’s to a year’s worth of bead board lessons are available from Rebecca at Little Homeschool on the Prairie.

Kerri at Psalm 1 Homeschool shares lesson plans associated with the book One Grain of Rice by Demi.
You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading 'The Land of the Free' in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.

Henry at Why Homeschool gives the heads up to be alert on June 23rd. That’s when the California Court of Appeals will hear arguments for and against homeschooling in the state of California.

Heather, in her Notes From a Homeschooling Mom, points out that one of the big lessons to be learned from the recent court decisions and debate in California is that we homeschoolers need to be educated and well-versed in our own state’s homeschooling laws and know our rights.
Vanessa: Your parents are probably wondering where you are.
Juno: Nah… I mean, I’m already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?
- from Juno

Most of us try putting it off as long as possible, but The Thinking Mother shares the importance of having “the talk” with our kids and encourages us that we’re more scared of talking than our kids are of listening.
Batty: It’s not an easy thing to meet your maker.
Tyrell: What could he do for you?
Batty: Can the maker repair what he makes?

Create your own zoo exhibits with inspiration from Christina at Home Spun Juggling.

Dana at Principled Discovery shows us that the education found in “educational toys” can come not just from playing with them but from making them.

Need some summer craft ideas? Pop on over to How To Me and learn how to dry a rose that you can include in your craft project or botany lesson.
Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?
Alice: Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.
March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.
Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing.

The Tea Party Girl shares some of her family’s more cultured field trips (aka vacations) in her post Tea Party Girl’s Top Tea Moments on the Road.
If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

All homeschoolers are used to hearing the homeschool stereotypes. Cherish at Faraday’s Cage is Where You Put Schroedinger’s Cat provides an opportunity for homeschoolers to share their reasons for homeschooling and show the true diversity in the homeschooling community.

Want to see the comments spurred by Susan’s educational discussion on her blog The Expanding Life? You’re in luck, she’s arranged them into a more conversational format in her post An Educational Conversation.
Hmm, difficult. *Very* difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There’s talent, oh yes. And a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?

Celeste at Life Without School Blog shares the dangers we can encounter when we categorize ourselves by homeschooler type (unschooler, classical, etc) in her post Homeschooling and the Sorting Hat.
I was thinking about some very deep things. About God and his relation with Irving Saks and R.H. Levine. And I was thinking about life in general. The origin of everything we see about us. The finality of death; how almost magical it seems in the real world, as opposed to the world of celluloid and flickering shadows.

At An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution, guest author Douglas Hayworth shares the difficulties of the evolutionary creationist homeschooler trying to find useful and intellectually challenging curriculum and makes an appeal to other homeschoolers to share what resources they have found.
Just a minute - just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was - why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself.

After celebrating Father’s Day this past weekend, Phil at A Family Runs Through It has an important reminder for us: dads are homeschoolers, too!
Cheating on a quiz show? That's sort of like plagiarizing a comic strip.
- from Quiz Show

Many of us are in the process of ordering our curriculum for next year. But don’t buy when you can get it for free? Jennifer of Little Acorns Treehouse is giving away some of her gently used curriculum in a week of giveaways. Register to win today.
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

The tips over at Learn English for Free can help you avoid clich├ęs in your writing.
Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.

Katherine at No Fighting! No Biting! shares notes from a lecture at a recent homeschooling conference concerning managing the chaos that can occur when homeschooling many children at many different grade levels.


That’s it for this week’s carnival of homeschooling. Next week, the carnival will be at Dewey’s Treehouse. For information on how to have your post included in the Carnival of Homeschooling, check here.

Have fun stormin’ the castle!

Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

(Oh, and yes, my history of things going wrong when I host the carnival continues… severe thunderstorms and power outages this time. And when I finally was able to post- I worked off-line and on my battery during the storm- none of my links worked. *sigh* I wonder what’s in store for next time.)