Sunday, August 31, 2008

Think They're Trying to Telling Us Something?

So was puttering around on the Internet looking for some Nova Scotia history resources when I thought I'd check out what our provincial department of education has. All their curriculum documents are online so I started there.

It was a lost cause. What I was hoping for was some kind of comprehensive scope and sequence but what they offer are thick documents filled with 'Essential Graduated Learnings' and 'Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes'. My brain fuzzed, my eyes crossed and my jaw slackened. I finally found what I was after on a different page but it wasn't really worth the time it took to find it.

I did find a link to the correspondence courses the province offers to kids in grade 7 and up. Wondering what they might involve I clicked the sample unit from the Grade 7 English course. Here is literally, the very first sentence:

Background to the story: “Alfred the Great” is about a boy who has not learned to read because he has not gone to school.

Are they trying to send those taking the courses at home a message?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Husband's Home

We picked up the husband last night at the airport. We're all happy he's back and we're all getting sick of this "being away" thing. It also looks like he'll be away for at least another couple of months (Sort of nixes the house idea) after he leaves for work Tuesday.

Several years back he had visions of joining the navy. Thankfully despite his best efforts, that didn't work out. I'm getting sick of only seeing him every other weekend. I can't imagine what longer stretches would be like.

Ah well. Soon he'll be back here and then he won't be going anywhere unless he chooses to and all will be good.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

From Mohawks to Wheel Bearings

Catherine has been wanting a haircut so today was the day.

Harry, inspired by a little Mohawk his cousin was wearing (tiny really, meant to be shaved away by the time school started), decided he would get his hair cut too. I couldn't talk him out of it.

My mother-in-law is going to kill me.

Next was the local music studio where Catherine was signed up for classical violin lessons. She's been wanting to do this for a couple of years but we didn't have the money. Next week we go back and buy her a violin. I'm delighted because the owner seems to think she could use a full size violin. Whoo hoo! I've been wanting to resurrect my own violin-playing days lately so this means I can borrow hers!

Then the car went to the garage to get the previously mentioned wobble checked out. The tires were fine and properly balanced but the wheel bearings were shot. Less then a year after new ones were put in. Ahem. Thankfully the garage took responsibility, saying that they'd had a bit of trouble with bearings from one supplier and so would search out a different supplier, not charge me for today and not charge me for the new bearings. I love my garage.

That about sums the day up. Other than that I'm just living in fear of the day my mother-in-law sees Harry's Mohawk. Help.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Visit My Blog! Call Poison Control!!

Someone got to my blog today by googling, "too many ibuprofens."

It was my post on falling on my ass last winter that led them here.

Just for the record, it's 9 and then a 1 and then another 1.


The Carnival of Canadian Home Educators!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Life Nurturing Education!

The Carnival of Education is up at Sharpbrains!

If You Give a Senator a Pizza...

I LOVE this story. Pizza delivery girl delivers pizza to the Majority Leader in the Utah State Senate. Majority leader wants to pay with a cheque but when told he can't he alternates between a preschool-style temper tantrum and, "Do you know who I am?" style bullying. Pizza girl blogs about it and soon the whole world knows.

This is the kind of payback thing retail workers of the world dream about.

In a world with blogs, you better watch your manners.

h/t to Why Homeschool.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Sick of Homeschooling Socialization

Today I have 6 kids in the house. My 2, their 2 cousins and a couple of girls my daughter's age. School work was put aside because the two girls have been friends of my daughter's forever but aren't local. They come here only when they're supposed to be visiting my neighbour, their grandmother.

Yesterday I had 5 kids. My 2, their 2 cousins and a daughter of a friend of mine who's 6 and fast becoming one of those kids who's practically family. That was okay. Great kid and her mom, a fantastic friend of mine, came by after for coffee, supper and gossip.

Saturday we were at my parent's house and there was a neighbourhood boy of 12 who came by to play with their dog. And my kids.

Last week their were no cousins but two neighbourhood sisters, one 10 and the other 6, who like my kids and LOVE our toys. I'm fearing their knock at the door today because the house might explode.

This is what homeschooling socialization looks like when we're doing nothing but staying in a house, waiting for the knocks on the door. Never mind Girl Guides and soccer and whatever else my kids want to do.

So the real problem of homeschooling socialization? There's too damn MUCH of it!

UPDATE: My worst fears are realized. The other two girls came over. I'm at 8 kids now. Thankfully it's a nice day and I can keep them outside.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Want a New House

I've been looking at MLS listings for the past 6 months. Yes, I know we're supposed to buy land and build a passive solar home but darn it, in the meantime I want another house. The current one has 5 rooms (yes, total). It's 780 sq. feet. My daughter is on the brink of teenagerness and still sharing a room with her brother.

This is the house I want right now.

A peek inside.

It's on 13 acres. It has 4 bedrooms. It has 2656 square feet. It's a well known house in the area and it would be well within our price range. It's a bit of a dream home that I can't even believe we can afford.

Only problem? See the first picture? That was likely taken from the train tracks. Train noise, I can deal with. I live next door to an open pit mine. But my husband's visions of a 70 car freight train derailing onto our house? Maybe not.

Still, it's darn purdy. Hope that pesky train track problem keeps it on the market until I can convince my husband that diesel engines aren't that heavy.


History Doesn't Get Much Cooler Then this...

Want to learn some history while playing Civ III? Well, if you're American, you're out of luck but if you're a fellow Canuck there's the History Canada Game.

Someone had the insanely brilliant idea of writing a mod for Civ III that let the user play during the period in Canadian history known as the New France Period (1525 - 1763).

For thousands of years the aboriginals have taken meat from the forests, fish from the rivers and grain from the soil -- and settled inter-tribal disputes with sharpened flint. Now their way of life is about to be tested, for the year is 1525 and large boats of wood carrying a different, pale-skinned man have arrived off the eastern shores of a land which is surprisingly not India or China. The struggle for survival begins anew. Can the Europeans carve a niche for themselves in the ‘New World’? Will the aboriginal inhabitants prosper with the new opportunities or struggle with new challenges?

It's so neat! Not only does this game deal with my country but it also deals with my region of the country so that I'm familiar with the people (Mi'kmaq and Abenaki) and resources (cod) that are part of the game.

Now I just have to dig out my copy of Civ III and download the (free!!!) mod. I can't wait. I'm going to be Mi'kmaq and I am going to kick butt.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Steady On.

I skipped off to my parent's for a few days. You'll get no apologies from me for not blogging though - It was a nice mini vacation. We were a short walk from the Bay of Fundy, picked fresh blueberries for Saturday morning pancakes in their backyard, let the dog loose to run as she choose, flew kites...We would've stayed a little longer if I didn't have to be back for tommorrow.

The only thing that marred the trip was a wobble in one of the front tires. It's a little disconcerting to get halfway through a 2 hour drive and realize that your car has a horrible vibration at low speeds. Thankfully it seems that when I got new tires Thursday the garage forgot to balance them. Annoying but not serious. They'll be getting a call Monday.

And that's it. I'm pooped. I need to rest up from my restful mini-vacation before the necie and nephew come over tommorrow. Bye!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is this?

Last Wednesday I was leaning on my elbows with my chin resting on my palms listening to a friend. After awhile I got up and noticed that half my hand had fallen asleep. I got pins and needles and most of the numbness went away. Most of it. Over a week later and the outside edge of my hand and my baby finger still feel partly numb.

Did I so some nerve damage that day?

Yes, yes, I''ll call the doctor (have to anyway) but has this happened to anyone else? It's really not a big deal - more a nuisance then anything but I'm curious now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The Peterson Directed Handwriting came today. Darn slim little package for what I paid. Catherine's eager to start but shoot, I've got stuff to read. Apparently there's like, a system I'm supposed to use. Honestly, between this and Classical Writing I've never had curriculum that needed so much freakin' research before we even thought of starting it. Most of it's been me opening the book, pointing and saying, "Do this."

I'm going to bed now with my Peterson manual and some of my chocolate stash. Wish me luck.


Okay, yes, I know I haven't posted for a few days. Don't blame me though; blame my ISP. My connection was down. Not having the internet for a bit was actually nice. the bad part was that I have cable phone. *grumble, grumble*

Carnival of Canadian Home Educators!

Carnival of Homeschoolers!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deep in the Throes of Addiction

Okay. I know I already posted the curriculum we're using. I know I'm trying to get back to something more relaxed.

Problem is, I have an enabler.

My husband came back for a couple of days and on Friday I proudly showed him all my plans and all the curriculum.

"What about cursive writing?"


"Writing," he said, "You've been saying Catherine's really slow with her writing and I know she's interested in learning cursive. What about something for writing?"

I agreed. But, I agreed if I could spend money on it. My reasoning is that I am much more consistent when I have a formal program. He shrugged. I grinned and went off to the computer to spend money.

After much research I settled on Peterson Directed Handwriting. It was one of the few courses that wasn't only pieced out in meager little year-by-year dribbles. Catherine could start and end the Advanced Cursive kit in the same year. And it was cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Always good, even if we do have money now.

(Which I still can't get used to. There's a certain thrill in buying chicken thighs not because they're under your price per pound threshold and you intend to stock up but just because you feel like eating chicken thighs! I've also recently bought new underwear and socks. Just because I wanted to!)

Then, wouldn't you know it, the backordered Philosophy For Kids finally arrived.

My fingers itched. A new bit of curriculum ordered and another one on my bookshelf. Oh boy. There must be something else I could buy?

There was. Megawords 1 and 2 are heading my way.

Oh Lord.

That's it. I almost grabbed a phonics program for Harry, but thankfully I summoned a mental picture of him rolling his eyes at me and walking away before I clicked it into the shopping cart. Alas poor Catherine...It's the innocents that suffer when addiction gets its claws into a loved one.

I promise I'll stop now. I have everything I need and everything I wanted. Besides, Christmas is coming. The kids will want curriculum for Christmas, right?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fun With Word Problems

I don't know if anyone remembers all my worrying about word problems last year but today Catherine and I encountered the first ones in Primary Math 5A. I had been dreading them. Last year we were working through Primary Math 3 and despite some brights spots we never got a firm handle in them. To make the jump to 5? didn't seem promising.

We finished them in 15 minutes today. These were two and three part questions, far beyond what we'd worked last year but Catherine seemed to have a much easier time.

The difference?

Her reading!

Perhaps the problems last year had little to do with barmodels or algebra or anything involving math. Perhaps it was a reading comprehension problem and once she took her big reading leap in March and began working on her skills she was on the road to having an easier time decyphering word problems.

We'll see...But for now I'm pleased.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Homeschooling Problem in Nova Scotia

Okay. I'm really pissed off right now. A homeschooler is getting harrassed by our provincial department of education for more information regarding her plans for the school year. Twice they've rejected her registration demanding more information.

Funny thing. I can't find the bit in the act that allows the people who look over our registration forms to start dictating the information we submit.
Provision of home education

128 (1) A parent may provide a home education program to a child of the parent centered in the child's home.

(2) A parent providing a home education program to a child shall

(a) register the child for each school academic year with the Minister; and

(b) report the child's progress to the Minister,

as prescribed by the regulations.

(3) With the approval of the school board, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a school board, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed by the school board.

(4) The Minister may require the parent of a child in a home education program to provide evidence of the child's educational progress by providing one or more of the following as the parent determines:

(a) results of a standardized test;

(b) an assessment from a qualified assessor;

(c) a portfolio of the child's work,

as prescribed by the regulations.

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4), where, in the Minister's opinion, further evidence of a child's educational progress is required, the Minister may appoint an independent assessor, as prescribed by the regulations, to assess and report to the Minister whether

(a) the child is making reasonable educational progress;

(b) the home education program is adequately addressing the child's needs; and

(c) the available public school program will do more to further the child's educational progress than the home education program.

(6) A parent may request that a child in a home education program be assessed through an assessment instrument authorized by the Minister in order to determine the child's educational progress, in accordance with the regulations.

(7) When, following participation in a home education program, a child enrolls in a public school, the school board shall determine the child's grade placement. 1995-96, c. 1, s. 128.
Termination of right to provide home education

129 (1) A parent may not provide or continue to provide a home education program to a child if, based on the evidence provided pursuant to subsection 128(4) and the report made pursuant to subsection 128(5), the Minister determines that

(a) the home education program does not meet the requirements of this Act and the regulations; or

(b) the child is not making reasonable educational progress as determined by the child's performance as measured pursuant to subsection 128(4).

(2) Before making a determination pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister shall

(a) notify the parent, in writing, by registered mail of the Minister's intent to make the determination; and

(b) give the parent an opportunity to make representation to the Minister in writing as to why the home education program should be provided or continued. 1995-96, c. 1, s. 129 .

Our only guidence on what to submit is on the one-page registration form. We can check one of three options:

Is the program used:
(a) commercially available? __________ If yes, please fill in title, level and publisher.
Title ____________________________________________________________ Level ________
Publisher _____________________________________________________________________
(b) Nova Scotia Correspondence Courses (available for grades 7-12)? Yes ________ No________
If yes, please list course(s) and grade(s). (Listings of courses and prices on Website.)
Course(s) ___________________________________________________________________________
(c) developed by you? __________ If yes, please provide (as an attachment) a description of the program
for each subject area.

Nowhere does it say detailed timeline or a breakdown of lesson plans. In fact, many of us have submitted programs for many years that were nothing more then a paragraph of, "He's following his interests," in educationese or a list of curriculum we're using (ex: Math - Singapore Math 5A, Life of Fred Fractions, Brain Maths, Volume 1).

Please tell me if I'm wrong but their recourse is to act if they think something may be wrong and then they have specific recourses, none of which is to demand specifics in our registration submissions.

This gets me because if it's allowed to stand then we're subject to the whims of whoever happens to review our registrations and they won't be accountable to us about what they're using to judge our submissions.

That ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Important Update!

It's come to light in the comments that my excessive use of the word Ritalin in a post I wrote earlier today may put off some sensitive folk who otherwise would have enjoyed my blog.

Fourni said...

Nice space. But is this a Ritalin advert or something? I loved your blog until all the Ritalin worship.

Thank goodness for alert readers! In the interest of keeping readers happy I would like to suggest that when you read that post you substitute the word, "Ritalin", or, "drugs", for another, less offensive term. My suggestions are whiskey, Jesus, boisterous sex, and Dick Cheney.


The Carnival of Canadian Home Educators is up!

The Carnival of Homeschoolers is up at Sprittibee!

What my Homeschool Office Looks Like


I thought I'd post some pictures of where I sit and research curriculum, organize, talk to other homeschoolers and play solitaire when the kids are off playing on their own.

First picture:

This is what I look at. It looks so tidy...Know that not one of those nifty things was put up when I was not on Ritalin. Ritalin is an essential component to my homeschool planning. When I'm on it things are well-planned, comfortably flexible and I follow through. When I'm not on it I'm disorganized and anxious about the disorganization. Remember, drugs are good.


My space. MINE. The side of the tower is off because my computer's case design doesn't provide sufficient airflow for cooling in the summer so things start to freeze and act wonky otherwise. Cheap $%^% Compaq. There's a plastic baggie between my monitor and the abacus. It's my secret weapon and I'll reveal it in the last picture.


To the left of my computer is the curriculum and odd office supplies.  We also feed the cat there which is a really bad idea because his food is one short step away from my keyboard. But if the food is on the floor then the dog inhales it so there it must stay. It's sitting on top of my drawing box (the link has better pictures) which I finally pulled out because I've been putting off my drawing for too long. Which essentially means I've been putting myself off for too long.


Ta da! A real homeschooling organizational binder! This is mostly thanks to the printable made available by that homeschooling Goddess Donna Young. That collection of fluorescent stickies is cool. Fits in my binder and gives me dividers within the divided sections. Whoo hoo!

 Inside the binder are things like resources lists, a journal and this section - Catherine's Course of Study and lessons broken down by day. How did I manage that? Ritalin of course! It just wouldn't happened without it. Of course all the forms make me seem anal but they're not there for strict adherence. They're there so I can have a foundation. So my tendencies to panic about curriculum are put to rest between to covers of my binder. this is what I didn't get before when I thought scheduling equaled blind devotion to the directions inserted into rows and columns. No. It just means I have a comfortable path mapped out. I can deviate as I see fit but I know where we're going and for someone prone to chaos that's very comforting. 

I love my Ritalin.

I also love my secret weapon. Remember the plastic baggie?


Okay, this stuff is bitter and takes some getting used to but damn, it's good. And it has caffeine which, in addition to my Ritalin and morning coffee makes my mood even and my day ordered (my day is run by stimulants!). This bar will probably take a few weeks to work through. I'm generally a chocoholic and can scarf down a chocolate bar in a matter of seconds but the 85% cocoa stuff needs to be savoured and keeps me away, sometimes, from the cheaper kinds.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Ellen McHenry's Elements

Do you remember how, even though I couldn't get an email response from Ellen McHenry about shipping to Canada, I went ahead and ordered her Elements curriculum anyway?

It came today! Just nine days after I placed my order the curriculum is in my hands!

Maybe she's a little hard to get ahold of but boy, she's sure on top of her orders! I (and Catherine of course) can't wait to get started!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Whining is Over

My Father-in-Law called yesterday and said to check the well again. Apparently he had a similar incident with his well where the water from a delivery disapeared, only to reappear a day or two later. I checked it yesterday. Sure enough, there was water! I checked it today and sure enough, there was a ton of water. We've never had something like this happen before but I really don't care. My well works!

The wonderful Father-in-Law came over this morning, fiddled around with the pump and got it primed.

So I'm done whining and monaing and complaining for now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Perfect Example of Ignorance

Here's a video by someone who obviously didn't have a sprinkler as a child and who noticed an oil rainbow in a parking lot one day and made connections she NEVER would have if she'd taken five minutes to Google "rainbow". She willfully abandoned her responsibilty to see if her crazy idea had any support whatsoever and decided to post the following video on Youtube.

Thank goodness she did though because this is funny stuff!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Water Problem May be Solved

My dad came over today to try to prime the water pump. After dumping large amounts of water down the pipe to the foot valve and the pipe not filling up we marched out to the well (which I'd had a 1000 gallons of water dumped into on Wednesday) to pull out and check the valve to see if it was stuck open.

We looked down.

The water was at at the same level it had been at before the 1000 gallon delivery.

Our well is very likely toast. I have to have someone out to check and confirm but we do live near a mine and blasting can crack a well.

Oh well. It happened at a time of the year when we can get a new well. It happened when Shannon was away and we don't use as much water. It happened when we finally have the money to pay to fix the problem. All in all, I'm glad it happened now.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Wasps are Dead!

I've been very nervous about anyone going down into the basement to prime the water pump. That wasps' next above the door was an unknown quantity. Sure, they've been very good about letting me pass and were downright catatonic when we (first my father-in-law and me and then a friend) tried to prime the pump last night but I didn't know what we might accidentally do that would trigger them.

Today I picked up a huge can of death meant just for wasp and hornet nests while grocery shopping. I read the directions. I was supposed to stand 3 to 4 metres downwind with a clear escape path while spraying them. Ha! They're over the door in my basement! Either I stand a foot away and stand ready to bolt out the door or I stand 3 metres away on the other side of the basement with no escape.

What to do?

Turns out neither plan was any good. Because of the angle I'd have to use to hit them I had to stand about 4 feet away with the door wide open.

The up side?

The nest was jammed between the soffit and a floor joist. Their only route of escape was through my poisonous spray.

It was a massacre. None that were in the nest escaped. A few that had been outside flew back confused but were so concerned with the nest that they didn't care as I turned off the lights, closed the door and walked to the house. I could definitely kill again.

Your Next Purchase Will be This...

A CueCat.

What is that you ask? Why it's a bar code scanner that plugs into your computer. Why do I need a bar code scanner you ask? Well, because you can scan the bar codes on your books and catalogue them all at that's right. No entering ISBNs or worse, titles and authors. Just scan and you're done!

I learned about it yesterday while lurking at The Well Trained Mind forum. I'm not much for classical homeschooling but shucks, those moms have ALL the neatest homeschool gadgets. Now there's a CueCat on it's way to me from

It's so dangerous to have a Paypal account.

The next toy the WTM women folk have me lusting after?

The Desk Apprentice.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why They Shouldn't do Their Work in Front of a TV

So we've been doing the Classical Writing thing this week in a slightly customized way. Monday we read and discuss the fable in the morning and then outline it in the afternoon. Tuesday Catherine rewrites the fable from her outline. This morning I picked out the misspellings and she copied them over several times. This afternoon I edited it with her and she began to rewrite it (tomorrow is grammar and add description and Friday is type the final copy).

Catherine was working quietly on the couch when Harry decided he'd like to watch Rescue Heroes. The only working TV and VCR combo in the house is in the living room so I suggested that Catherine either move to the kitchen or one of the bedrooms.

"I can do it here Mom! I'm just copying!"

I shrugged my shoulders. Hey, if she gets it done, who am I to be the bad guy. Right?

Here's the result (click for larger picture). Keep in mind that the movie started at about the, "my, my..." point.

You can see the point when her brain decided that Rescue Heroes was the priority. Even though she had her edited copy in hand, it just goes all weird.

"...and the Fox and it!"


I mentioned tonight after soccer (they won!!) that she should read it over in the morning and she grinned at me.

"I know I made some funny mistakes but I was too lazy to fix them."

How can I argue when I'm laughing?

I am happy to report that though this approach has increased the amount of writing she's doing dramatically, she does seem to enjoy it. There's variety and none pressure to come up with some story from a story starter or on, "What I Did at Guides Camp." Just straight forward expectations and the learning of a craft.

Ask me again in six weeks and I'm sure we'll both feel differently but for now, Catherine and I are good.

My Country Song

My well ran dry. My water pump has lost it's prime. The basement door has a ten inch wasp nest above it.

On the brighter side I've got a load of water on order for today, I may be able to ask my father-in-law into priming to pump for me this evening and the wasps seem content to let me go in and out of the basement for now.

But shucks, that coupled with the emotional stuff over the weekend and a family member angry with me...I'm about ready to put down my head and cry.

This week sucks. It has my permission to end now.

A Joy to Receive

I got Life of Fred: Fractions in the mail today. I'm posting about it because it was so beautifully shipped. First I took it out of a stiff envelope. Then I took it out of a cardboard slip. Then I unwrapped the paper that had been wrapped around the book 11 1/2 times (you know what that means. Each full section divided into two centuries so I can have an instant timeline to stick on the wall that covers 2,300 years! Whoo hoo!) and then pulled off the plastic wrap. The book was in perfect shape and even autographed by the author in a colur that matched the cover.

Now there's a man that not only loves the subject of math but loves sharing it with people and loves each book he mails out.

Thank you Stanley Schmidt!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finding What Works

I've been slowly plugging away at place value with Harry. Very slowly. Now I don't mean he's slow. I mean that we work a couple of days a week for maybe ten minutes at a time. Partly because that's about all he'll cheerfully take and partly because I just forget to do it with him. But it works. We can work at it for a total of twenty minutes one week and yet he gets it when the next week rolls along.

Aside from the Math U See videos and worksheets I made two helpers. One was suggested by the curriculum and those big, colourful, bristol board houses under the red dragon and behind the butterfly net are it. It's a set of place value houses for the MUS blocks. They held Harry's interest for about 4 minutes.

The second set of helpers were just some place value cards. I made a set for Catherine when she was younger and so made a set for Harry and just matched the colours of the cards to the colour of the proper MUS blocks. These he loved.

I think there's a game supplement where MUS recommends place value cards but damn it, I'm claiming creative genius on this one.

In any case he's done well with place value. I'll review it a bit this week but next week we'll move on to addition. I'm fairly sure he'll zoom through that.

Curriculum Lineup

Okay, almost everything is in. I'm waiting on Life of Fred Fractions and I'm hoping for The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe within the next week or two but everything else is ready.

Catherine - Summer/Fall:

Primary Math 5A (Quite a search to find a place that still sells the non-US version)
Brain Maths Volume 1
Life of Fred Fractions
Daily drills
Occasional read alouds and exercises from The Historical Roots of Elementary Mathematics.

Winston Grammar
Everyday Editing (my resource!)
Classical Writing Aesop (This may be used less then the next resource)
Suggestions for Simple Writing Exercises for the Grammar Stage
Lots of Reading

The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe
Big read aloud - Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World
BBC Trials of Life videos

History and such
Big read aloud - The Arctic Grail
The Geography Coloring Book

Arts and Crafts
Handsewing a pillow, Nintendo DS case and learning to knit.

Music Ace Deluxe

Philosophy for Kids


Math-U-See Foundations and Tonka Phonics. Most of his other stuff will be tweaked from what Catherine is doing.

It sounds like a heap of stuff but most of it will be pretty informal. The videos we'll watch on Friday nights with pizza ad popcorn and the read alouds will probably happen as the kids play Hot Wheels and Pokemon. I did build an actual form-filled binder for homeschooling schedules and keeping track of resources (pictures another time) but I suspect that will be more a spine and aid to consistency rather then some slavishly followed program. I hope anyway. I still want to balance the work stuff with some unschooling principles.

We'll see.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Probably, You Shouldn't Read This.

It's been quite a weekend. No, I'm not going to say anything more. It's just been quite a weekend with it's more then it's share of emotional challenges.

It's always at those times though that profound silliness comes to the rescue. Like Saturday night when my sister put sour cream and onion rings on three fingers, stuck up her thumb and said, "Look! It's the three wise men and Baby Jesus!"

I argued that that was completely inappropriate.

The sour cream and onion rings looked too much like halos and so the proper thing to do would have been to have one of them on the baby Jesus thumb and perhaps Ringolos on the fingers.

If you're going to construct nativity scenes with junk food, you damn well better do it properly.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'm Nominated!

I'm in the running. So far though there are only a few nominees. For me to know I really AM the best I have to beat out LOTS of other homeschooling blogs. Do my ego a favour and go over and nominate some more blogs that you think deserve to be in the running for the Alasandra Homeschool Blog Awards!

Crossing My Fingers

So remember my last post where I expressed my longing for Ellen McHenry's Elements curriculum but my uneasiness about ordering when I couldn't get a response to my emails? Well, went ahead and ordered the curriculum anyway. I guess I'll see if she's willing to ship to Canada, eh?

I'll let you all know when it gets here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Curriculum Sellers - Pet Peeve

I want a specific curriculum. It's The Elements by Ellen McHenry and it looks like a lot of fun. The only hitch? I have no idea if she ships to Canada. I've emailed 3 times to two different addresses (the first one, the one on her site, didn't work) and have had no response yet.

I don't think there's anything nefarious going on here, just a busy woman with a full mailbox. But darn it all, it's frustrating and I don't want to trust a site with an order if I can't even get a response to an email.

For people selling curriculum who don't want to frustrate customers like me there is a solution. Give your customers the option of PDF downloads. Knock a few dollars off the price (what you save in media costs) and let a customer get access to your material as soon as they've paid. There are no issues with shipping to deal with, no worries about parcels that arrive late or not at all, just a quick transaction and a happy customer.

If you're out there Ellen, please contact me. Your curriculum looks fantastic and the sample lesson was a hit with my daughter.

Orson Scott Card - This Guy is a Writer?

I have to wonder.

Here's why - State job is not to redefine marriage.

Read it if you wish but be warned, there's not a well-thought out point or reasonable bit in the whole piece. It's a bit of a shock to realize the screeching hysteric who wrote this rambling and in parts, outright dishonest, rant is the same man who can pen such fantastic, thoughtful and graceful works of sci-fi.

An example:

Already in several states, there are textbooks for children in the earliest grades that show "gay marriages" as normal. How long do you think it will be before such textbooks become mandatory -- and parents have no way to opt out of having their children taught from them?

And if you choose to home-school your children so they are not propagandized with the "normality" of "gay marriage," you will find more states trying to do as California is doing -- making it illegal to take your children out of the propaganda mill that our schools are rapidly becoming.

Either he's horribly uninformed (seems to be an acceptable thing these days. Even people in favour of homeschooling can exhibit the qualities of a Lessenberry it seems) or baldfaced lying. The California case had nothing to do with homosexuality in any respect. The state isn't trying to do anything and in fact was, in the wake of the judges comments about homeschooling, extremely supportive.

The only good thing is that the above quote comes fairly early in the article so I felt excused from having to slog through the rest of the stupidity. If an author goes that wrong so quickly, the duty to give him a fair reading evaporates faster than pee on a hot sidewalk.

How embarrassing for him.