One of my favorite entries:
When my daughter Ranee was growing up I was very strict about what was "good" for her breakfast. I never thought that cereal was an appropriate choice. As she got older it became sort of a joke and she would say "Just you wait...when I go away to college I'm going to eat cereal three meals a day!" Well the day my dad and I moved her four hours from home to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, I bought several boxes of the variety packs of cereal and wrapped them in gift paper topped with a ribbon. Just before we left her at her new apartment, I gave her the "gift" with a note that simply said "ENJOY", Love, Mom. We both laughed! Oh, yes.....I do let my grandchildren eat cereal for breakfast.
If you need some fresh ideas, take a look at Pam's book!
Thank you, Pam!
It's been a busy but happy weekend around the House. Cooking, reading, cleaning, working, writing, organizing, Christmas shopping....a bit of nearly everything. I've had a few days of low pain and it's tempting to overdo on weeks like this, but I almost can't help myself: when it doesn't hurt to walk, I want to!
And is it October tomorrow? Oh my goodness...
Still listening to Atlas Shrugged on the iPod whenever I get a chance. I am still loving it, but I have to admit to being surprised at how...well, how racy it has been in parts for a novel that was published in 1957 and enjoyed such wide acclaim. It's definitely a different strain of racy than today's novels, but I've been careful not to have it on when kids are around since I'm not sure if there's more. If you listen to this one (and I do recommend it for several reasons) be careful. And don't get the unabridged version unless you're willing to listen for something like 52 hours!
I'm getting really excited about getting our new home office furniture here! The last word I've had is that it's "in transit" from Denver so it shouldn't be too much longer. And it can't come a day too soon...ever since I made the purchase I've been letting things pile up around here thinking that any day now I'll have an easy way to get it all organized. I'm sure the Papa is wondering if he's going to have a place to sleep before long!
Those of you who live in the greater San Antonio area, stay tuned this week. I plan to post some fun educational and entertainment opportunities coming up here in October.
The boys and the Papa thoroughly enjoyed their history field trip to Gonzales yesterday. I remember taking an entire year of Texas history in 7th grade and I hated every day of it...if I could have "studied" it this way, I might have been a fan for life! Thanks to Lisa for organizing this and other trips to bring the great history of the Lone Star State to life for the kids in our HOPE group.
Grandson Warren, who lives in northern Virginia, was diagnosed with Lyme Disease this week after several weeks of puzzling symptoms and finally a huge, fluid-filled pocket on his knee. He's now on the high-powered antibiotics and we are praying for his quick recovery with no complications.
Shannon, we're getting anxious to meet your new little one. How about a nice long walk around the
Snip, snip, that's all folks. I'm off to nap...
Thursday, September 27, 2007Mind you, this wasn't a book just "available" in the library, which is scurrilous enough. This book was READ ALOUD to a class of second-graders.
A fairy tale about two princes falling in love sparked a backlash — and a lawsuit — against a teacher and a school last year when it was read to a second-grade class in Massachusetts.
But the three frontrunners in the Democratic presidential race suggested Wednesday night at their debate in New Hampshire that they’d support reading the controversial book to children as part of a school curriculum.
And while some of the Democratic candidates thought maybe they should back-pedal, by say, half a pedal, from reading this aloud to second-graders, they all had to be careful to stick close to the party line. Broadening the issue to one of teaching little ones about g*y marriage and other perverted lifestyles (in schools), we heard this gem from John Edwards:
“I don’t want to make that decision on behalf of my children,” he said. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in — did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God.”
Yes, and don't we thank Him.
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 27, 4:12 PM ET
VIENNA, Austria - He's now got a human name — Matthew Hiasl Pan — but he's having trouble getting his day in court.campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to 's Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.
A provincial judge in the city ofdismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp's behalf.
The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a "person" so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.
No, no, I'm SERIOUS:
"It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can," Balluch said.
Yeah, well sometimes I'm just left speechless, ya know? Maybe they'll have to declare me a chimp.
hat tip: trish
On the TechGranny's wish list...as if I didn't already have enough other things to plug into my laptop :-)
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country — if they could find the time — and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it , thank you very much.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
12. The Oregonian is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something in which to wrap it.
(Note regarding #2: we have a friend who lives in the greater Washington DC area and claims that it's his dream to retire and move to a nice quiet location where the Washington Post is NOT delivered. How's that comin' for ya, Jake?)
Go see Jackie's sweet family and their adventures in Utah at My Den of Foxes.
a copy of Ravi Zacharias' book
The Grand Weaver
way to you!
I admit it.
If every Friday were like this, it wouldn't be such a treat. But I'll take what I can get.
It's just after 9 a.m. and our school week is virtually done. With very few exceptions, and minor ones at that, everything on the boys' assignments sheets for the week is "checked off." They each have some reading today, and Tim is finishing up the last of his grammar. Shelley has her first major chemistry test online today, so she's upstairs refreshing her volume calculations. Other than that, we're finished!
And a good week it was...improving math scores, diligent readers, and for the most part, efficient time management brought cheers from the school administration. Tim, our most reluctant scholar, made two comments this week that I took as very good news. Yesterday, half the way through his Saxon Math 76 lesson, he looked up at me and said, "Mom, I think I'm starting to like math. And that scares me." This morning I told him that I was very encouraged at how well he's grasping grammar concepts this year, and he replied, "Well, Mom, they don't call it Easy Grammar for nothing!" (You know you've found the right curriculum choice when you hear something like that.)
So...even though I know that next week or the week after that we'll reach Friday still scrambling to check off Wednesday's work, for today I'm going to savor the triumph, breathe deeply, and remember all the reasons that I've done this for 23 years....
Just a few more hours to post your comment on the book review below to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of The Grand Weaver! Don't be shy, even if you've never commented here before...you're welcome to de-lurk and toss your hat in the ring!
hat tip: stacey (was that you??)
Are the threads of our lives accidentally tangled or intentionally arranged?
Ravi Zacharias has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time. So when a couple of my friends began reading his newest book, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives, I knew I wouldn't be far behind. But life pressed in, and I put it off, until I received an email from the publisher asking me
to review it on my blog. Just the push I needed...and am I ever glad!
"Ravi Zacharias never met a question he didn't like. Here he explores life's deepest questions in a tapestry that is personal winsome, and clear."--John Ortberg, Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
In a world that often seems random, it's easy for even the most thoughtful of Christians to fall into acting as if the events of our lives "just happen" and are not tied together in any meaningful or purposeful way. Many of those events just don't seem to make sense, and we forget that just because they don't appear to make sense to us, it doesn't mean they aren't part of a perfectly woven plan. Enter The Grand Weaver...
From the back cover:
How differently would we live if we believed that every event of our lives--from the happy to the tragic to the mundane--was part of a meticulous and purposeful design in which all the elements intertwined with breathtaking precision?
Very differently, Ravi Zacharias hopes, and he presents with the accessible logic and brilliant clarity that are characteristic of his writing that every part of our being and our experience matters in the exquisite tapestry God is skillfully, artfully, lovingly weaving in us. I was particularly moved by the chapters on how our calling and our worship "matter" in the tapestry, but not because these chapters were any "better" than the others...only because for the current season of my life they spoke the most loudly to me. You'll find yourself in another chapter if not in these.
Leave me a comment on this post in the next 48 hours, and I'll include your name in a drawing for a free copy of The Grand Weaver. If you're not the lucky winner, then click here and get yourself a copy this week...they'd make great Christmas gifts as well!
I wouldn't mind you praying for me, too...
I figure if you've lived long enough to be a senior citizen, you oughta get your just desserts.
I'm sure that most of you are too young to feel a pang on hearing of the death of Marcel Marceau, but I did.
Our first full week of all our school subjects, including Tapestry of Grace Year 1, was a rousing success judging from our discussions tonight. This year we have a 6th, an 8th, and a 10th grader...close enough that we can have some pretty good discussions as a family since we're all studying the same topics in history, Bible, geography, and even some of our literature. I'm trying to get and stay organized enough that if we have to go on autopilot for a few weeks while I get my hip fixed, it won't totally destroy our year!
We watched our beloved Fighting Irish sink to a history-making 0-4 start yesterday. I'll fall back on the old standby, "It's a rebuilding year."
Bethany is spending Mondays this year helping Aubrey school the little ones at her house. She's doing art and other activities, as well as assisting with phonics, read-alouds, and whatever else helps to manage the day. The older boys go to Tae Kwondo and Abby goes to ballet on Monday afternoons, so Beth's presence allows the younger ones to stay home and have their naps instead of standing around for an hour and a half at the gym. Beth is working two or three days a week, taking college classes two other days, and interning with Aubrey one day, so her year is full and varied. I thank God for sisters that spend much of their lives serving each other...
I just feel like putting in a plug for one of my favorite homemaking blogs. If you haven't already found Meredith on your own or from my sidebar, please go take a look at Like Merchant Ships. Whether you are a new, a seasoned, or a future homemaker, you'll find ideas here to delight the senses and be a blessing to your family, friends, and neighbors. Tell her I sent you :-)
And sharpen your pencils: the Blog Marm has posted a new writing nugget at Just Write. See what you and your kids can do with it!
Snip, snip, that's all, friends! Barely under the wire before Sunday snippets became Monday mendings :-)
I've got several posts brewing in my head that may make it onto the screen next week...we'll see. One about food, one about a new Bible memory resource, a book review or two, some thoughts about "parenting" young adults. Stay tuned.
Those of you who have kept up with the story of my living with the complications of hip replacements might be interested to know that my surgeon wants to see me Monday to discuss a plan for operating. I don't know yet what he's got in mind--whether he wants to try the less invasive strut graft that he talked about in the spring and then backed out of, or whether he's thinking it's time to start over with a whole new hip. Either way, this is going to impact (and yes, I still cringe in using impact as a verb, just as I cringe at the new acceptability of ending sentences with prepositions) my fall activities and my family's schedules, schooling, meals, etc. However, God apparently doesn't think I've learned enough about giving up control, and so He's registering me for yet another lab. Maybe I'll pass this one with a bit more grace.
Do you get emails like this?
"I hardly ever forward things, but this time I just can't resist. This is SO IMPORTANT that I can't keep quiet. I've checked it out with my friend who's an attorney and he assures me that it is 100% true. Please DO NOT DELETE. Read and then FORWARD TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. IF YOU CARE YOU'LL SHARE."
I'll have to admit that I'm receiving fewer of these than I used to, but each new generation of internet users seems to start a new wave of great ones.
And oh, my Dad, bless his heart, was the worst. He was on the internet even before I was, but by the time I got online in '98 he still hadn't learned. So early on, I developed a "nose" for hoaxes, urban legends, fraudulent accusations, etc.
My first and still my best resource for checking stuff out is Snopes.com. Pretty much every urban legend ever invented is on this database, along with its history and its truth or falsity. Sometimes the veracity is listed as "undetermined" but at least they give you enough info that you can either decide for yourself or keep researching.
Now when I get one of these, uh, questionable emails, I go straight to Snopes, copy the URL of the page that debunks it (rarely do I get one that's actually 100% TRUE), hit REPLY ALL, and paste and send to all the nice people who got it in the first place.
No, I'll admit, gentle Granny hasn't made many friends this way. But I feel like I'm doing my little part in cyberspace to mop up the grime.
So check it out, folks. There are other sites as well, but Snopes is my fave. And here's a hint: nothing legit ever comes with an ALL-CAPPED COMMAND TO SEND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. If it's that important, I guarantee you'll see it on FOX or CNN. Or Drudge :-)
Oh, and did you hear the one about the guy who had his thumbs surgically altered so he could more easily operate his iPhone?
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
Mexican curriculum in Oregon schools stirs debate
Some Oregon high schools are adopting Mexico's public school curriculum to help educate Spanish-speaking students with textbooks, an online Web site, DVDs and CDs provided free by Mexico to teach math, science and even U.S. history.
The Oregon Department of Education and Mexico's Secretariat of Public Education are discussing aligning their curricula so courses will be valid in both countries.
Similar ventures are under way in Yakima, Wash., San Diego, Calif., and Austin, Texas.More here.
In the serious injury by vegetable category:
Des Moines police investigate attack by onion
A Des Moines man went to jail Wednesday afternoon for allegedly throwing an onion at his wife.
The police report begins: "(The victim) states her husband had been drinking and they got into an argument."
James Izzolena, 54, of 3515 Sheridan Ave., was charged with domestic assault causing injury. Police said he became upset with his wife, Nicole Izzolena, 27, and tossed an onion at her, striking her in the back of the head.
More, but not much more, here.
And you thought you had a bad day:
Man wakes up during his own autopsy
CARACAS, Venezuela - A 33-year-old man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.
Carlos Camejo was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly stitched up the incision on his face.More, if you can stand it, here.
And what, was this guy out of pickup lines?
Man bitten after putting snake in mouth
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Snake collector Matt Wilkinson of Portland grabbed a 20-inch rattler from the highway near Maupin, and three weeks later, to impress his ex-girlfriend, he stuck the serpent in his mouth.
He was soon near death with a swollen tongue that blocked his throat. Trauma doctors at the Oregon Health and Science University saved his life.
"You can assume alcohol was involved," he said. Actually, not just beer. It was something he called a "mixture of stupid stuff."More on the stupid stuff here.
Photo, only for the stout of stomach, here.
And I don't want any weird Google searches finding me on this one so you'll have to go look at this for yourself, but I'm thinkin', "We needed help from Europe?"
Ban Leaves U. S. Supply Low
Go take a dive into the crazy humor of my kids on our family blog. You'll come away wondering how we've lived together this long :-)
(And do leave a comment: what do YOU think of when you think of the Warrens, and nothing too serious, please!)
UPDATE: Here's another link to the issue.
Earlier in the summer, a good friend got me hooked on Crocs. I bought a couple pairs of the "Athens" style thongs and I am way beyond sold. Whatever it is that these shoes are made of provides a wonderful platform for reducing the impact on my bad leg as I walk. So I'm thankful for her recommendation and thankful that I tried them!
And now, of course, it seems I see them everywhere...even on some of you little 4 and 5 year olds, and I hear that they've come out with baby ones now. So naturally it caught my eye when I saw this story this morning:
(Sept. 17) - At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.
One of the nation's largest subway systems, the Washington Metro, has even posted ads warning riders about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don't mention Crocs by name.
Well, now I'm sure we'll hear the inevitable chorus of professional do-gooders screaming for a mass recall. While I would never suggest that kind of action, I will be very aware of my feet on an escalator when I'm wearing my Crocs, and parents of little ones in those cute little shoes should be extra vigilant. I think at this point if I had a child under six wearing Crocs and entering an escalator, I'd be lifting her UP off the steps at entry and exit!
I meant to blog yesterday. Really. I put a cake in the oven at 9:15 or so and then we decided as a family (read: the Papa and I decided FOR the family) to take on a very large project here in the house. We have a closet, really a small room, upstairs that is kind of a black hole for all manner of things. It's supposed to be used for spare linens: blankets, comforters, pillows, curtains we've carried around for a whole military career because they might work in the next house. It had become an absolute mess, and I really had no idea what was still in there, because I do not GO upstairs. But because we are going to have a "swap" here next week, an event where we'll trade home furnishing items with friends, I really needed to know what we had and what we should get rid of.
The boys brought the stuff down from upstairs. Well, okay, they had a ball THROWING the stuff down over the railing from the top floor into the front entryway. They piled it all in front of me and we decided, piece by piece, what to do with:
dozens of comforters and blankets, including some from early in our marriage
half a dozen sleeping bags in various states of wear
a breast pump that had been "missing" for years
scores of sheets, with and without partners and pillowcases
a dozen or so pillows, some that barely deserve the name
old documents from John's career in the Air Force and just afterward
a program from the 1989 Notre Dame graduation exercises
toys--some from the A team, including the old Fisher-Price Little People that were supposedly a danger to society and probably caused global warming or something
baby blankets that I had knitted or crocheted for my little ones
What a trip down memory lane! It was fun, moving, and even surprising to see which things had meant enough to us to save all these years. At times, it was downright---
"THE CAKE! QUICK, GO GET IT OUT! OH MY GOODNESS IT'S BEEN IN ALMOST TWO HOURS!"
Yes, "40-60 minutes or until cake tests done" had turned into all morning long. The peach cake looked more like chocolate. Figuring it was a lost cause, I left it to cool while we finished our project. When I went back in the kitchen a little while later I decided to put a glaze on it anyway and give it a try. I mean, you can take something like that to the church dinner and not tell anyone it was yours and just kind of stand back and watch the reactions, so that's what I did.
Grandson Isaac puts his plate down beside me today and I notice that he has a piece of the charred peach cake on his plate. After a few minutes he looks up and says, "Granny, this cake is GOOOOOD."
"Wow, I'm glad you think so, Isaac. Granny made that."
"You did? Would you make it again for my birthday?"
After yesterday's comforter mountain was scaled and the first laundry loads going, I went out to make the final decision about the home office furniture for my room. Having had no luck finding a place that could have it to me yesterday, I finally decided to get the clock ticking on however long it's going to take, so I signed the papers and now await a delivery sometime in the next six months...
I'm sad that it looks as if the nominee for Attorney General will not be my first choice, Ted Olsen. But at this point in the administration, it all comes down to confirmability.
After church today, a couple of the girls and I were engrossed in conversation and I made a right turn too early. Thinking, though, that I knew where that wrong road would take me, I kept going instead of turning around. Five minutes or so later, it dawned on me that the road wasn't going to spit me out where I expected, but instead had taken me to a totally unfamiliar area. Still, I thought I had a good idea of where I'd end up if I kept driving. For about five more minutes. By that time I was completely turned around despite the compass in my car, disoriented to the point where I had no clue what to do. But I had come so far that I stubbornly refused to turn around, sure that sooner or later I would see something familiar. Never did. After thirty minutes or so on a trip I never intended to take, and quickly running out of gas, I made the decision to backtrack to civilization. And the trip home that should have taken 17 minutes ended up taking, oh, let's just say more than an hour.
When I got home and mapquested my path, I was dismayed but not totally surprised to find out that I had driven to less than a mile from a point very close to home. That was before making a 20 mile backtrack...
Buried somewhere in this tale is a metaphor for life ;-)
Believing firmly that O. J. Simpson got away with double murder, I've hoped (and even prayed, early on) that his temper and arrogance would catch up with him and cause him to try something that would allow law enforcement to get him charged and convicted and behind bars where he should have been all along. Don't know how this latest episode will turn out, but I'm sure not surprised to see his continued arrogance and sense of entitlement.
The engrossing conversation that got us lost today had to do with the children's musical that our church will present this Christmas. You've heard me talk about Psalty before, and so you won't be surprised that I am very excited that the kids will put on Psalty's Christmas Calamity. Since we have about twice as many kids as adults in our church, it should be VERY interesting. I'm sure you'll want to come, so I'll keep you posted :-)
Make sure you know who's teaching your children and that you're informed about what's going on. This is, to me, nothing short of alarming. Commentary here.
Time to put the final touches on this week's lesson plans...hope you've had a worshipful and restful Sunday...
It's always easier to criticize someone else for an unflattering trait than it is to admit the same trait in myself. Today, I was brought face to face with one and I didn't like it. One bit.
We've become a people used to, and believing we're entitled to, instant gratification. Whether it's fast food, information at our fingertips 24/7, or overnight delivery from Amazon, we believe we have a right to have every desire fulfilled today. Early today.
Like many others, I have enjoyed instant availability of nearly everything, all the while decrying the way we EXPECT to have instant availability. There is , of course, nothing wrong with my wanting to order a book and have it here the next day. There is something wrong when I can't seem to arrange it that way and it ruins my day.
So today I'm out again shopping for office furniture. I've found what I want, and I ask the saleslady if they have Saturday delivery. "Sure," she says. "And I think right now we still have some open slots in October for weekend deliveries."
"No," I blurted out, "I mean this Saturday, as in tomorrow!" You would have thought from the look on her face that I had asked her to prove the feasability of producing electricity from nuclear fusion. "Ummm...no, that won't be possible. We don't even have them in the city, and since this is a new product, they might still be in production."
"Oh. I see. Well, thank you."
"Do you want to order the set?"
"No, I need to think about whether I want to wait that long. But thank you for your helpfulness."
"Well, how soon do you need it?"
What I wanted to say was "Yesterday." But I knew that wasn't true. There IS no date by which I need this furniture. Yes, I do believe I need it, but I couldn't think of one good reason to tell her I needed it tomorrow or even within two weeks. "Thanks, I'll look around and see if I can get an earlier date somewhere else. If not, I'll get back with you and order." I walked out of the store knowing that waiting an extra day to order was just going to put off the delivery by another day. I also knew that to look around for a set I could get earlier instead of waiting a few extra days for the one I really wanted made no sense, but I couldn't help myself. Maybe just around the corner there's another store with a set I like better that they'll put in the back of my Suburban today!
Nothing doing. The next three places, who each had home office furniture but nothing I liked as well as the pieces at store #1, each told me pretty much the same story. Finally, I got back in the car for the last time, licking my wounds and facing the fact that I am both a creation AND a creator of the culture of entitlement to instant gratification.
I don't like that mirror. I want to think of myself as one who has come to enjoy but not rely on or expect the privilege of having my every whim satisfied instantly. And in this case, tomorrow qualifies as instantly.
Now I'm sitting at home, looking at the piles of teachers' manuals, work files, financial information, sheet protectors, etc. that I hoped to have all neatly packed away on shelves and behind doors before Monday. Looks like it could happen.
By the last Monday in October.
I have a dear friend, a homeschooling M.O.M. (mother of many) who lives way too far away from me for my liking. But one of my favorite things about her is that she shares my love of words and knows how to use them in ways that never fail to move me. Anyway, she has a neat little blog that deserves big advertising and I want you to see it. Every week or so, the Blog Marm posts a very simple writing, ahem...do I dare say the word?...assignment for anyone who cares to participate, and you just submit your contribution in the comment section. Sometimes it's a list, sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a short poem, sometimes just a word or two. If you're struggling for a spark for writing this week, check in at Just Write and get your kids' (or your) juices flowing. Come on, it's fun!
And an aside here to DeeDee: As long as I live, I will never forget the "lost and found" note you left on the bulletin board at Bethel BC as you left Germany. It was the first time I got a glimpse of your amazing gift for writing. Unfortunately, I had worn mascara to church that day...
May I say that Easy Grammar is just about the best invention ever? Like I've told many of you, if I had the time (and the self-discipline!) I'd be using Shurley Grammar...but short of that, I'm sold on Easy Grammar. Between Aubrey and me (thought you'd catch me saying "Aubrey and I," didn't you? Hey, in a post about grammar? Come on!), we have five kids using the program on different levels and not only do we hear no complaints, the concepts are sticking and making sense. A Beka may be more comprehensive in some respects, but especially for boys the tears weren't worth what we were accomplishing. So I'm very glad to have found EG last year.
I think I'm going to go look and see if anyone's written Easy Chemistry.
hat tip: miranda
The problem is, it's taken Him a lot longer to educate me than it takes me to educate one of my kids K-12. (Those of you who know me well are chuckling because you know there's no such thing as "K" at Granny's House.) In fact, I'm nearly through my second go-round and I'm not sure that I'm much closer to where my Father wants me to be than when I started teaching Annie to read in 1985. At this rate I figure I might still be in homeschool long after Tim has graduated. What that will look like, I'm not sure, but what I am sure of is that God has a long-term plan for advanced studies.
Anyway...we've started our math, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, some literature, and Shelley's online classes. Next week we'll add in our Tapestry of Grace work: history, geography, more literature, and writing. Piano and tae kwondo have already begun, so we have plenty of musical and, shall we say, "movement" entertainment.
Outside, it's pouring rain. We're ten days or so away from the official beginning of fall, and we never really had a summer. A few hot days here and there, but nothing like the seven-month reign of oppressive heat that we often experience from Easter until Thanksgiving. I feel sorry for the poor folks who moved here this year and might be lulled into thinking that this is what south Texas is like :-)
I'm off to grade some math lessons...
Here is a link to the Pyranna, the product that Trish mentions in the Sunday snippet comments. I haven't ordered one yet, but she loves it and I know I need one!
Labels: Cool Stuff
Yesterday I had one of those experiences that's relatively new to the world: a MIRL (meeting in real life) with someone I've only known from the blogosphere. I met Grafted Branch from Restoring the Years for breakfast at La Madeleine, and our breakfast turned into 3+ hours of sitting and getting to know each other. By the time we got up from our table, everyone around us was having lunch!
We realized a few months ago that we really had met before, sitting next to each other at a ballet performance last year. It took a while for us to put this all together and figure out that not only did we live in the same city, but our "circles" occasionally intersect. Sitting over hours of coffee we discovered several acquaintances in common and that brought us smiles.
For those of you who read GB's blog (and if you don't, you should), she is just as delightful in person as she is on the screen. She is intelligent, thoughtful, and funny and was a lovely breakfast companion. I'm looking forward to meeting her whole family!
After leaving my MIRL, I went shopping for furniture. This time it's home office furniture I'm looking for...something to organize my life and all the paper and supplies that fuel it. Right now I have a mishmash of stuff that isn't working for me. Plus it doesn't look very nice in my fresh, newly-painted room. Alas, my room is also rather strangely shaped and doesn't lend itself to easy solutions, so it's taking me a while to find what I want and decide if will "fit." I came home after several hours having ruled several options OUT, but not yet settling on just the right things. Stay tuned.
Okay, so I don't usually do product reviews. But sometimes I can't resist. A couple of weeks ago while packing to go visit my mother, I forgot to pack my toothbrush. So once there I ran out to the drugstore and grabbed one of the first ones I saw, along with a couple of makeup items, and hurried to the cash register. It was only after I got to the car that I looked at the receipt and realized that I'd paid about twice as much for the toothbrush as I'd expected to and I mentally chastised myself for not paying closer attention and went on back to the house.
But when I opened the clamshell (with wire cutters and a blow-torch, of course...who packages those things??) it was clear that this was no ordinary brush, but a battery-powered contraption. I was so irritated with myself...until I turned it on and put it in my mouth. It took me about five seconds to know that I might never again be able to return to a normal dead toothbrush.
Apparently there's some research about how much better this brush is at removing plaque, stimulating the gums, etc. I don't care. All I know is that when I use this brush it feels like I've just been in to get my teeth cleaned and I love it. You could tell me that it doesn't do as good a job and I still don't think I'd be able to give it up. I'm hooked. No, I'm not crazy about the fact that you can't replace the battery, but then hopefully it will last about as long as I'd use a regular toothbrush anyway. So run right out and get yourself an Oral-B Pulsar. And you can buy 'em in 3-packs. I'm looking to buy 'em by the case.
I'm listening to the unabridged Atlas Shrugged on the iPod. It's another one of those books that I thought I "should" read...but it's SOOOO long and I was sure I'd be bored. NOT. I find myself enthralled by the characters and can hardly wait for the next time I run out of eggs so I can make an unscheduled trip to the grocery store and get another 40 minutes of listening time. At this rate I might be taking it with me to the nursing home, but I'm gonna be a happy old lady. I'll probably finish it the same month Dirk finishes preaching through Genesis.
For the record, my 15-, 17-, and 20-year old daughters are just the best. They're involved in a project that, while I can't detail right now, is evidence of their love for their family and their spirit of joyful cooperation. Girls, you make me proud.
All right, I'm off to print out assignment sheets for tomorrow. Yes, we're finally going to start school.
Unless I have to call a snow day.
This is not a book review.
I've not read the book, though it will be one of the next things I read, and perhaps I will review it then.
But let's look at some of the author's statements about his work, statements with which I largely agree. Dr. Robert Epstein is interviewed in this article by a reporter from HSLDA's The Court Report:
Court Report: How did you become interested in the topic of the teen brain?
Dr. Robert Epstein: I initially became interested because one of my older sons, at age 14 or 15, was very mature. And I was curious why he was forced to go to high school, why he was not allowed to work, why he was not allowed to own property, to sign contracts, and so on. He had a good business sense, for example. He would have loved to have started a business, but he wasn’t allowed to do much of anything by society.
That got me interested in teen capabilities in general. And the more I looked into it, the more I found that teens have enormous capabilities that we seem to have forgotten about as a culture. In many ways, they’re far superior to adults—in their memory abilities, in intelligence, and in their perceptual abilities, for example.
Then I couldn’t help but notice these headlines—one after another after another—about the so-called “teen brain.” I said, “Wait, this doesn’t seem right—that teens have a brain that necessarily causes them to be irresponsible and incompetent. That can’t be right.” Teen turmoil is often entirely absent in other cultures, so a universal “teen brain” can’t possibly exist. When I looked carefully at the research said to support the idea of a teen brain, I found nothing there. Claims of a teen brain constitute scientific fraud, in my view.
Next month, my eighth child will become a teenager. Through the years our observations of this mythical "teen brain" have been largely consistent with Dr. Epstein's. We haven't seen anything resembling the current politically correct thinking that adolescents have something intrinsic to their brains that causes them to be irresponsible and incompetent. In fact, we've seen the opposite: the development of their brains, along with their behavior, is remarkably consistent with their parents' expectations and willingness to invest them with adult responsibilities and meaning. (Okay, I might make an exception for adolescent boys of driving age. Sorry, but I think 16 is pushing it.)
If you look through most of human history or you look at many cultures today, you find that teens spend most of their time learning to become adults. Here, they spend most of their time trying to break away from adults.
Told something often enough by those with enough letters following their names, we accept it too easily. And the current coalition of educational philosophy, developmental psychology, and pharmaceutical psychiatry has convinced us that the adolescent is a different animal, one which needs and deserves and has a right to treatment and considerations all its own. Schools have bought into it, churches bow to it, families order their lives around it.
But if the basis is biological and not cultural, why do the phenomena that we observe in modern western civilization not square with what the rest of the world, indeed the rest of history, proclaim? If it wasn't observable in the "youth" of ancient Egypt or in the European Middle Ages or during the U.S. Civil War or in today's tribal cultures of central Africa, then it doesn't play at all, does it?
The interview goes on to address one of our favorite topics as home educators, that of "socialization":
You argue that instead of the teen brain causing teen turmoil, the cause is actually society, and in part, the peer influence found in public schools. As a psychologist, what is your definition of socialization?
Socialization is just a process by which we learn to be part of a community. So the question is, what community do we want our young people to learn to be part of? Some parents have said to me, “Aren’t school and high school, in particular, very important for socialization?” And my emphatic answer is no, because we do not want young people socializing with each other. We want them to learn to join the community that they’ll be part of their whole lives. We want them to learn to become adults. Right now, they learn everything they know from each other—that’s absurd, especially since teens in our society are controlled almost entirely by the frivolous media and fashion industries.If you look through most of human history or you look at many cultures today, you find that teens spend most of their time learning to become adults. Here, they spend most of their time trying to break away from adults.
Dr. Epstein has written a book exposing the myth of the teen brain and then has submitted some concrete proposals for how we might more efficiently, productively, and compassionately incorporate the huge assets of adolescent energy and intelligence into our adult world. Some of Epstein's proposals may sound draconian, and I may not agree with his whole approach. (In fact, my reading of some of the book reviews assures me that I won't.) But none of them seem as risky as our 20th century experiment with universal, mandatory, publicly-financed institutional education and keeping our young adults away from the real world, a world from which too many of them are alienated and disconnected by the time it's time for them to finally join it.
And the results surely couldn't be any worse.hat tip: dina
Another reason to employ a trustworthy proofreader...
RODEZ, France (AFP) - A spelling mistake on the Internet led to a surprise trip to remote southern France for three Norwegian tourists who thought they were going to a Greek island, airport officials said Wednesday.
By now, you've probably guessed where they THOUGHT they were going, but just in case...
HOMEMAKING FOR ONE
Steyn on People Thursday, 06 September 2007
I was reading The New York Post the other day when my eye fell upon a story about Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha. About 12 seconds later, my jaw fell upon it, too. Miss Stewart is paying $27,000 a month in an effort to get pregnant.
The idea that any woman, especially a single woman, no matter what her name, age, or status, would shell out $27K month after month in a routine effort to become pregnant was enough to make my jaw drop as well.
But Mark Steyn, cultural observer extraordinaire, makes a larger and more important point in discussing the whole Stewart phenomenon as it relates to a society where children go from unwanted burden to unbridled obsession in the course of one's waning biological clock:
The abortion lobby talks about a world where every child is “wanted”. If you get pregnant at 19 or 23, you most likely didn’t really “want” a child: it just kinda happened, as it has throughout most of human history. By contrast, if you conceive at 42 after half-a-million bucks’ worth of fertility treatment, you really want that kid. Is it possible to be over-wanted? I notice in my part of the world there’s a striking difference between those moms who have their first kids at traditional childbearing ages and those who leave it to Miss Stewart’s.
And what of the traditions that Martha and daughter Alexis market with such vigor...where is the family that all these traditions are designed to enrich and delight?
...there is something almost too eerily symbolic about the fact that America’s “domestic diva” is a divorcee with an only child unable to conceive. The happy homemaker has no-one to make a home for. You look at Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving and think: Why bother just for her and Alexis? Why don’t they just book a table at the Four Seasons?
I've watched Martha Stewart with fascination through the years, and some of this had never really occurred to me. The Martha/Alexis industry has marketed a lifestyle that has largely eluded its principals. You don't have to be a traditional family to be "domestic"...indeed some of the best homemakers I've ever known have been in circumstances that don't look like the Cleavers. But Steyn is right. The Stewart empire rings hollow when the home they've made is really just a very elaborate TV set.
Read Steyn's insights here.
Labels: Social Observation
...go check it out! Lots of classics from MY generation :-)
hat tip: dina
Let this be a lesson to you: spell check, spell check, spell check. We can't say it enough. We're not spelling snobs. We don't even care if other people think you're a doofus. We just want to save you the pain and humiliation of losing $500,000 due to a bonehead-spelling mistake -- something one poor sap recently experienced on the mean streets of eBay through the sale of a priceless bottle of beer.
[Note: No, Tiff, this is NOT meant for Gage ;-) ]
I'm sure you were all relieved to wake up this morning and read that North Korea is going to dismantle its nuclear program. I feel safer already.
The sad spectacle of Sen. Craig dominated the news this week...I thought about blogging on it, but what in the world do you say? Everything that could be said was heard on the networks from all sides of the political spectrum...everything except how ugly and tragic sin is.
Speaking of the Senate. Did you ever hear that old joke about the the best illustration of "mixed emotions" being when you see your mother-in-law drive off a cliff...in your brand new Cadillac? (Obviously the joke started making the rounds back when GM actually produced a much-envied vehicle). Well here's my new version of mixed emotions: hearing that Sen. John Warner of Virginia will not seek re-election, in a state that is turning blue faster than you can say Rappahannock.
And the rain pours on. Those of you in states with hotter, drier summers than usual are welcome to come and soak up some San Antonio soupiness. How often can THAT be said?
Our plans to start school, already delayed a week, have just been delayed again. The death of a dear uncle of John's means we will travel tomorrow to Fort Worth to be with the family and attend the funeral on Tuesday. We may get started, then, on Thursday, but you veteran homeschoolers know how difficult that can be, so for all practical purposes we've probably lost the week other than to assemble notebooks, go over schedules, etc.
I'm happy to report that 99% of the visitors to the IRL Granny's House have loved the color and decor in our "new" bedroom. And for those of you who heard this morning's sermon at COG, I must clarify: the color scheme was selected IN CONJUNCTION WITH the other occupant of the room, and he has exclaimed many times how much he likes it and, specifically, that it is "so soothing." So there ;-)
Is there anything better than guacamole?
Saddest sports event of the week: Notre Dame's MORE than dismal showing in its opener yesterday.
Happiest sports event of the week: Michigan's loss was even more embarrassing.
I know, I'm pathetic.
Thanks to The Papa for restoring the ability to print directly from my laptop. No, I am not too lazy to get up and walk to the desk computer to print something, but many times I'm working on a document on the laptop that I then have to email to myself and pick it up on the other computer, which is notoriously slow and unreliable even though it's newer than mine. Have I warned you that if you use Edu-Track, you pretty much have to have a computer dedicated just to that? A real downside to an otherwise good program.
I'm hoping to see September Dawn sometime this week. It's too bad that the event chronicled in the movie as well as its far-reaching implications haven't been taught to our children as carefully as other American tragedies.
Snip, snip, that's all folks :-)