Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are they crazy???

So I took this Sorting Test for Hogwarts. And you know what it told me? It said that I belong in Hufflepuff! Hufflepuff. ME!?!?!? They're out of their minds. Every test I've ever taken has said that I belong in Gryffindor! I've very Molly-ish and figure if I'm SO much like Molly Weasley and Molly Weasley is Gryffindor then certainly I am to. This whole test has made me doubt my Lion-ness. Hufflepuff. It's not that I'm elitist and think that Gryffindors are best. Some of my favorite characters are from the other houses (Luna - Ravenclaw, Snape - Slytherin, Cedric - Hufflepuff). I've never seen the division of the houses anymore than putting people with other people who have similar attitudes, moods, desires, ambitions and learning styles. And I keep remembering when Harry questioned Dumbledore about why he was in Gryffindor rather than Slytherin and Dumbledore said, "It is our choices, Harry." It's the same advice that he gave Albus Severus. The Sorting Hat takes into consideration our desires.

I'll have to ponder this some more.

Yeah, it's been (mumbly mumble) weeks since I last posted and the first thing I rant about is a Hogwarts Sorting Test. :-)

In other news, summer has hit us with a vengeance. We've had horrid thunderstorms most days and when it isn't raining it feels like it's about to. It's HOT and MUGGY and we've been hibernating like we normally do in the summer. We've been anxiously studying the Presidential elections and volunteering with the Obama campaign. My birthday came and went. It was pleasant and I received a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl on DVD and The Boy and I made Happy Birthday Pancakes (since my oven is currently on the fritz so it had to be pancakes or no cakes). His tenth birthday is just two weeks away and he's going to get to spend it with his friend playing Wii and we will probably go see Wall-e at the movies. I'm quite thankful for Disney being consistent in releasing their summer movie the weekend of my son's birthday. No big summer vacation trips for us this year. With the gas prices, we are pretty much staying home. Tra-la.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An open letter to Senator Hillary Clinton

Dear Senator Clinton,

Stop! Please stop! Stop sounding like a crazy angry perpetually PMS'ed mad woman. When I hear you speak these days you don't sound like you are giving a "Let's win one for the Gipper" speech but more like you are scolding an entire nation full of misogynists. Can't you say anything without sounding snippy, whiny, or angry?

Stop the negative ads against Obama. Obama is not your enemy. Obama is simply running for the same position as you are. Stop telling us how unprepared he is to be president. Stop making innuendos that he is Muslim and standing by the people in your campaign that continue to make racist remarks.

Stop pretending that you have experience just because you were first lady for eight years. I don't want my dentist's wife drilling on my teeth just because she is married to my dentist! Stop trying to make your USO tours look like foreign policy meetings. And please check your date book, because you arrived the day after the borders in Kosovo were opened to refugees, so you couldn't have had an influence in that. You weren't even there!

Stop wasting your money, your energy and your party's time by carrying on this campaign. The numbers truly are against you and it is time for us to be united behind one candidate who can lead the Democratic party to a victory in November. Do you realize that Rush Limbaugh is encouraging Republicans to cross party lines in open primary seats to vote for you because the Republicans know that if it came down between a choice of you or Senator McCain that the majority of this nation would vote for the Republican. Do you really want 4 more years of Republican control of the executive branch? Do you really want 4 more years of nothing getting done? Do you really want 100 more years of war in the Middle East?

Stop, please stop thinking that Senator Obama's supporters are a bunch of Kool-aide drinking radical dunderheads who can't think for themselves and are only caught up in his glamor. I happen to be a well educated woman who has looked at both sides and made a logical and informed decision that Barack Obama has what it takes to turn this country around after the past 8 years of downward spiralling that has happened.

Please, Senator Clinton, it is time to stop. It is time to support Senator Obama and stop tearing him down. He hasn't done that to you. He isn't willing to stoop to your level, so rise to his. Take this moment before the Pennsylvania primary to decide if you want another 4 years of a Republican Presidency because you didn't know when to stop!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rocks for Barak!

OK, someone at Ravelry posted a link to Logobama where you can create your own Obama logos. Too cool! So Tim, Gothgirl's pet rock, is now a "Rock for Barak" Check it out and make your own logo!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Unschooling Voices #13

Unschooling Voices is an online "'zine" which is found through the Internet on various people's blogs. You can find out more about Unschooling Voices at THIS WEBSITE. I enjoy reading how other families have approached unschooling and incorporated the philosophy of learning all the time into their lives.

This month's topic is on helping your children gain information on a topic without it becoming schooling. From the website: Silvia at Po Moyemuwill be hosting this edition and has submitted this question: What do you do, as an unschooling parent, when your child expresses an interest in a particular topic and you don't know how to help them in a way that doesn't involve lesson plans and curriculum?

First I have to say that neither curriculum nor lesson plans are totally unschooly IF they serve a purpose for what the person is looking for. I've met several unschoolers who actually enjoy curriculum and like schedules. Those things in and of themselves is not a horrible thing. I feel, though, that a lot of it comes depends on parental expectation. If I help my child find the curriculum that s/he needs to accomplish a task s/he has set up for him/herself, then what are
my expectations? I have to trust that my child will learn at the pace that s/he is needing and step in where s/he needs me.

As an example of this, Gothgirl really wants to learn Japanese. Just purchasing various books and curriculum wasn't helping. She would work her way through them and not feel she had gotten anywhere. She asked if she could take a Japanese language class somewhere and I found one for her at the local community college. She thrived on this class for an entire semester and was deemed "the best student" by her sensei. She asked me weekly throughout her class to help her with her homework. I did this quite willingly and gladly. She had a curriculum and she had lesson plans that she had to stick to. However, no one forced her to. It was something that she had craved to learn for so long that she was willing to do the work to gain the knowledge. Had she taken a few classes and decided it wasn't the right fit for her she always had the option of not going back. There was no parental expectation of her finishing the class. There wasn't even any parental expectation of her doing well.

I think it is important to point out here that there is a huge difference between parental expectation and parental hope. While I never expected Gothgirl to complete or do well in the class, I always hoped she would. When you can easily separate those two things in your brain, it will open up a whole new avenue in approaching such things as curriculum and lesson plans.

My children expressed an interest this past fall in learning more about mathematics. Boo loves math and numbers. She sees them as puzzles more than anything. The Boy just likes anything that is interesting. So we headed off to the curriculum fair this fall and found a Math-U-See curriculum that the kids had all been eyeing. It sits mostly in the draw in the living room untouched, but it does come out periodically. On a rainy afternoon when there is nothing to do or when boredom strikes one (or all three) of the kids might pull out the math curriculum and work a few pages or lessons or units. There is no parental expectation for them to finish it or do things in order. Sometimes a concept clicks easily and they move on sometimes it seems confusing and they get stuck. Either way it was their choosing and it is for their leisure. It's something that they all asked for and all use on occasion, but without force or rules or that pesky parental expectation.

I don't know if I could have done this 3 or 4 years ago when we first started our unschooling venture. I don't know that I had enough faith in "the system" to be able to allow my children to freely use a curriculum at their pace. It was something that I came into on my own. I will admit when we first got the math curriculum and it was knew there were daily lessons being done and the kids asked to do it each day. I had a momentary hesitation that I had done something horribly wrong in introducing curriculum with lesson plans and charts into an unschooling home. But as time wore on and the newness factor wore off, it got settled into the same level as the rest of the items in the house. It was there for use when wanted, but not required.

Oh and if you read back through my blog to the first post which talks about "un-unschooling" you will be happy to know we have found a happy medium. I still consider ourselves unschoolers. Radical at that. I've just found more ways of increasing that "more, different" that the kids were looking for.

Monday, November 19, 2007

J is for...

Jack! And that's all the Jacks we've ever known in real life or fictionally. There's always Jack Skelington, a wonderful pioneer in change. Jack McFarland from Will and Grace (or "Just Jack 2000" for those that actually watched the show) There's Jack B Nimble of the candle leaping fame. And Jack Sprat who was the original low carb dieter. Jack and his significant other who had to battle an uphill climb just for water only to suffer a concussion. There is the giant slaying disobedient Jack with his evergrowing beanstalk. We can't forget Jack Jack the delayed super hero who bursts into flames for his babysitter (such a wonderful name that they named him twice!) My friend Jack who was best man at our wedding who owned a wonderfully friendly wolf. And of course we can't leave out Captain Sparrow of the notorious Pirate Court. Most important is my cat Jack who is named for all these Jacks and more!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I is for.....

Illumination! Both that illumination that comes from hours of work with paints, inks, pen and brush and the illumination that comes in those "ah-ha" moments. Illumination comes from the Latin root Lumos and all Harry Potter fans knows that when Harry says, "Lumos" that his wand lights up. Illuminate means to bring light to something. In medieval times works were considered illuminated when light was brought to them through the addition of white and gold work. Gold leaf was finely applied to works of art to make them more beautiful. You can see some of my illuminations (and calligraphy) at my
Medieval Blog.

As homeschoolers we are working to illuminate our children's lives with knowledge and understanding. Hopefully the light will shine on them as it does on the gold leaf on the scrolls we work on and help to make their lives more beautiful.