Category Archives: homeschool

Almost back on track

This is going to be a short one, since it’s only 20 minutes until my bedtime.   I’m very strict with myself on bedtime, and I don’t want to have to ground myself this weekend if I’m up late. 

I’ve been thinking all day about what to write about, and I’ve come up with a lot of topics that take a lot of research and 20 minutes isn’t enough time for that.  I would have had more time, but I was setting up The Boy’s assignments for the week and typing up the instructions.  If all goes as planned, he’ll have a driving permit by Saturday afternoon.  Then the REAL fun begins.

None of our other kids got a license before they moved out.  It wasn’t that we planned it that way, but one thing after another happened, along with several moves, and each kid got his or her license on his or her own.  The Boy will be the first one to have a permit prior to his 18th birthday. 

I’d been dreading this, because I have nightmares about the cost of insuring a teen boy.  I was overjoyed to find out that you don’t have to insure them until they actually obtain a license.  Permits don’t require insurance.  Of course, you do have to actually let them drive, which is a bit scary.  We all learned at one time or another, though, so how bad could it be?

Since The Boy’s friend has his license, there’s already the possiblity that he will be out on the roads without parental supervision, albeit as a passenger.  His friend is 18, so he’s legal to drive with others in the car even though he’s only had his license for a few months.  This is also scary.  He (The Boy) did go to Indianapolis to GenCon with his two licensed friends, and they all came home safely.  I drank a lot of wine that weekend.

I’m sure everything will be fine, and The Boy will do all the assigned school work, and he’ll pass the written test for his permit, and we’ll have a lovely Sunday practicing driving, and the Republicans will back Obama…

Got carried away there.  Sorry.  And my time is up.  Ten minutes to get ready for bed, set the alarm, and dream happy dreams of The Boy driving, and stuff like that.

Muddying the waters

Now that I’ve unleashed at least some of the mid-life crisis angst, I can once again turn to my previous dilemma – blog purpose.  I’ve decided to keep this as my knitting blog and I have actual knitting content to add in a day or so.  I have a lot to say, however, on the current state of humanity.  So, in an effort to keep from muddying the waters of this blog or my home school blog, I’m creating a new blog called Utopia Missed.  Right now it just points to a splash page on my home school site home page.  I wanted Utopia Lost but it was taken.  It will focus on what my vision of a near-perfect world would be, and how far we are from that.  I have so much to say about how we treat each other, and how little care we take with everything and everyone except ourselves.  It will involved umbrellas, dollar bills, walks, intersections, borders, and a lot of other seemingly unrelated topics.  The site isn’t up yet, although I have purchased the domain name.  I’m hoping to get the site launched within a month or so.

Knitting content to follow – I promise.

English – The Dying Language

I admit it – I’m an English snob.

People can’t spell, or punctuate, or use proper grammar any more.  I’m not just talking about in quick email messages or slap dash posts on Facebook, either.  I’m talking about business correspondence, thank you notes, school assignments, and just about any other form of written communication.  I am including not just people who barely made it through high school, but people with college degrees.  I would be completely ashamed if I sent a business communication in which I mis-used to and too.  I would be mortified to substitute there for they’re or their.  I see it every day from people who are in positions of responsibility and – I’m assuming – are role models for students and others.

I cringe when I drive by a huge sign advertising a business with misspelled words.  I see advertising copy that’s been approved for distribution with poor grammar and bad spelling.  I get emails that fore go punctuation altogether.

There’s a time and place for informal communication, and there’s a venue for abbreviation and emoticons.  There are also situations that should be treated with consideration and thought before dashing off a poorly worded and sometimes shockingly badly constructed statement.

Educate yourselves.  You paid a lot of money for that education, shouldn’t you use it?

Creationist Vocab Lesson

Last night I went to a lecture at Purdue with my oldest and youngest sons.  That in itself is a rarity – having two of my children in the same place at the same time.  However, getting them both to an esoteric lecture was even more of a rarity.  The lecture was good, although a bit over the head of the Moo.  The eldest enjoyed it though, as did I.

The speaker was PZ Meyers, Evolutionary Biologist, atheist, and blogger.  His talk was about his experiences with creationists and how insubstantial their arguments are.  He used a vocabulary lesson as the springboard for presenting his arguments and their’s, as well as the research to back up his opinions.  I found the discussion to be very educational and surprising at the same time.  Many questions were raised, and he answered many of them, but some remain.  My questions are still present, but rather unformed.

He spoke very briefly about the need to educate kids in evolution, but my mind immediately went to the problem I have historically had with public school.  While the schools are supposed to present a non-religious point of view, and are not to preach any religion, the truth is that most schools fail miserably at this.  While there are no blatantly christian classes, the undertone to almost everything is, in fact, christian.  Winter programs have Christmas carols, Easter is a big thing in the primary grades.  Trying to find a Cub Scout or Brownie troup that isn’t overtly christian is virtually impossible in this state, or in any other state I’ve lived in.  PZ’s answer to this – teach them math.  He pointed out that students who have good math skills are more likely to be critical thinkers.

I don’t think this is particularly helpful in practice.  The foundation for kids is laid in the early grades.  There isn’t another real chance for making a real impact on them until they’re in college, and for most kids, they are too entrenched in religious ideas to really think critically about evolution vs. creationism.  In fact, even adults who do engage in daily critical thinking (I know many who are in IT, where critical thinking is…well…critical) fail to understand, or even attempt to rationalize away the science.  I’ve had more than one person tell me that carbon dating is completely fallable, and can’t be relied upon.  I’ve been informed that the behemoth referred to in the Bible is a dinosaur, thereby proving that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Really.
And someone at the lecture asked me why I homeschool.