Friday, August 31, 2012

The universe tilted...

Over the years, we've blogged about diabetes and diabetes prevention.  Every year, I have my children screened as part of the Diabetes TrialNet study. If the participant tests negative for the antibodies which signal the potential onset of the disease, he/she receives a letter in the mail.  If the test is positive for one of the 5 antibodies, they will call you.

This year, we got the call.  

I was driving back from a day at the beach with friends.  Since I was driving, my friend answered the phone and put it on speaker.  Once the caller introduced herself, I knew instantly what it meant.  Since I was driving, I told her I would call back when I got home in 30 minutes.

Two out of my three daughters were in the van.  They knew what it meant too.  One of them complained, "Mom, you could have at least asked who?"

This was followed by, "Mom, who do you think it is?"

I answered, "I hope it is daughter #2, but I think it is daughter #3."

I don't wish any of my children to be diabetic, but daughter #2 would be the perfect patient.  She already eats right and is very self disciplined.

We returned home and I made the return call.  I was right.  It was daughter #3. Of the 5 antibodies, she tested positive to one, GAD (Glutamic acid decarboxylase) antibodies.  Because her test result was so close to the cut off line, she was retested.  The test results will come back in about 4 weeks.

Currently, there are no preventive studies for GADA positive patients.  In the meantime, we are looking into some diet and lifestyle changes.

I'm not really freaked out or anything.  The onset of diabetes could be years down the line or maybe never.  The technology is getting better and better.  If she does develop diabetes, she can still have a "normal" if slightly inconvenienced life.

The day after we got the call, I had my regularly scheduled appointment with my endocrinologist.   I told the doctor, I'm about to become the perfect diabetic patient.  I've got someone paying close attention to how I deal with diabetes.


If you have a family history of Type 1 diabetes, there are quite a few preventative studies looking for participants.




Thursday, August 30, 2012

"A homeschooling carnival" is up

The latest edition of a homeschooling carnival is up at Garden of Learning.

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling.

This will be the 349th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Good thought about education

From my Franklin Planner:

You should have education enough so that you won't have to look up to people, and then more education so that you will be wise enough not to look down on people.
M. L. Boren

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Makeover Edition

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL.

She starts the carnival with:

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Can you believe we are already saying “goodbye” to summer and “hello” to fall? With fall comes cooler weather and spending more time inside. Whenever, the weather starts to turn cool I always want to get my house cleaned, organized, and ready for us to be there most of the time. With this in mind, I typically do a household and home school makeover. I go through closets pulling out things that have been pushed to the back and forgotten. I go through shelves of school books removing things we haven’t used in years. I clean off the tables, chairs, shelves, and even go through all of our stockpiled supplies.
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Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, August 27, 2012

Relearned lessons – using the right tool

I was reminded this weekend of just how important it is to have the right tool. 

As part of getting our home organized we decided to get a shed for our backyard.  We selected a premade shed.  It will be about eight feet wide, four feet deep and the highest point will be just over seven feet.  It will hold all of our garden and yard tools.

The kit arrived last Thursday.  I dug out the instructions Saturday.  I skimmed through them and it appeared fairly straightforward.  The pieces would fit together and I’d tighten screws to lock the pieces together. 

The first step was to anchor the shed floor to a wooden box or a slab of concrete.  We already have a small slab behind our house.  Janine and I planned to locate the shed near a corner, close to the garden.  We went over to a local Home Depot and asked what we needed.  A helpful man walked me through the basic steps of drilling the holes and putting in the anchors.  It seemed easy.   We picked up a concrete bit for my drill and a box of anchors. 

Back at home the progress was slow, painfully slow.  The bit lasted for over a half hour.  All I had to show for the effort were two holes about three fourths of an inch.  I purchased another concrete drill bit and got a little farther.  But at this rate I could go for a couple more hours and wear out half a dozen, or more, bits. 

I took a break and did some research on the internet.  I learned that for young concrete, a basic drill and a concrete drill bit may work.  But concrete gets tougher as it cures.  It cures from the outside in.  Our house was built in 1957.  The previous owners, back in the 60s or 70s, had poured two layers of concrete.  We had old concrete.  Old concrete needs a special tool known as a “hammer drill.”  This is a special drill which makes regular impacts on the concrete through the bit. 

This morning I purchased another concrete drill bit, for hammer drills, and rented a hammer drill.  In less than five minutes all four holes were made, to depths of about three inches.  After all the hassle Saturday it was just amazing to see the hammer drill so effortlessly push through the concrete.  It was almost like a knife going through warm butter.


So what does this have to do with homeschooling? 

One of the great benefits of homeschooling is we are not forced by some remote bureaucrat to follow official procedures, to use specific text books or teach in a certain way.  We can use the right process or textbook for our children.  Each child often needs slightly different approaches, and sometimes majorly different approaches.  We can go fast or slow.  We can try different methods.  We can even put a curriculum on the back burner and pick it up months, or even years later.

The problem of public education’s approach to have just an approved method was driven into my brain while reading Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform by Diane Ravitch.  Page after page describes how the “experts” cane up with a new theory about the “best” way to teach children.  Education schools would twist and turn chasing after the latest fad while children would suffer with poorer and poorer education.   (If you have a couple hours and don’t mind being depressed borrow Left Back from your local library.)

Public education seems to want the “one true” way for teaching children when in fact there are many ways which seem to work with different children.  I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s TED talk on spaghetti sauce.  He recounts how for decades the food industry looked for the one spaghetti sauce that everyone would buy.  One researcher figured out that different people wanted different types of spaghetti sauce. 

As homeschoolers we have the opportunity to find and use the right approach for each of our children.  We’re not locked into a one size fits all mentality.  We can use the right tool to make sure our children get a great education.

This week's Homeschool Showcase is up

Kris is hosting this week's Homeschool Showcase at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at momSCHOOL.

This will be the 348th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Karyn is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Teach Beside Me.

She starts the carnival with:

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I am happy to be the host of the 347th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling! I always love sharing what other homeschoolers are doing- because we all need fresh ideas sometimes. Be sure to stop by some of these blogs and see what they have to say and teach us.
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She intersperses several pictures with the links to this week's posts.

Enjoy.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, August 20, 2012

A few reasons for homeschooling your children

As we enter the homestrech of the Presidential election I've thought of a few political reasons for homeschooling:

So you can watch the presidential debates with your children, discuss the issues and count it as homeschooling.

So you can teach your children that freedom is good and tyranny is bad.

The federal government is looking to play a larger role in student mental health.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilence.

In a study commissioned by the John S. and James L Knight Foundat5ion, and conducted by The University of Connecticut, a third of high school students said the First Ammendment goes "too far" in the rights it gives Americans.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A homeschool movie

Last year I posted about the movie Class Dismissed.  It looks like they are still in the process of making the movie.  Here are the latest trailer:



Hat tip: Highschool-Homeschool

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at Teach Beside Me.

This will be the 347th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.
Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Under the Golden Apple Tree.

Richele starts the carnival with:

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It is my honor to host this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. It is that time of year when school supplies make it on your shopping list and homeschool parents schedule time for scheduling. School books are starting to be delivered by men in big brown trucks. It is the beginning of organized chaos and we love every minute if it.
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Carnival of Homeschooling

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at Under the Golden Apple Tree.

This will be the 346th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Let's Play School edition

Beverly is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Homeschool Journeys.

She starts the carnival with:

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When I was a little girl, I loved playing school. It was my favorite thing to do. Surely I drove my sister crazy and when she didn’t want to play, I would play what I called “alone school.” I had imaginary students that I would make worksheets for, I had good students and bad students. I would play for hours. My neighbor had a shoebox filled with a toy school set that I absolutely adored. It had desks and little rag dolls and a chalkboard and a teacher. I loved when she brought that coveted shoebox outside and let me play. I think my obsession with playing school is why homeschooling felt so natural to me. My imaginary students came to life. Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that homeschooling is playing school, but I look back on both with fond memories. And now that my kids are grown up and graduated, I continue to “play” by making worksheets for my grandkids and your kids.
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Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, August 06, 2012

Chemistry Lab Camp Day 8 and 9

We finished 7 of the 14 sections of the CK01A Standard/Honors Home School Chemistry Laboratory Kit by Home Scientist LLC.  We spent 9 (five hour) class days to cover the material with 12 high school homeschooled students.  We could have covered more material, but we took our time so that the students understood the material and carefully documented the procedures and results.


Here's what we covered:

1. Introduction
     Getting Started
     Kit Contents
     Materials You Provide
     Where to Work
     Laboratory Safety
     Final Words

2. Keeping a Lab Notebook

Topic I. Separating Mixtures
     Session I-1: Recrystallization
     Session I-2: Chromatography
     Session I-3: Solvent Extraction
     Session I-4: Salting Out

Topic II. Solubility and Solutions
     Session II-1: Solubility as a Function of Temperature
     Session II-2: Conductance of Ionic and Molecular Solutes
     Session II-3: Colligative Properties of Solutions: Boiling Point
                        Elevation and Freezing Point Depression

Topic III. Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
     Session III-1: Observe a Composition Reaction
     Session III-2: Observe a Decomposition Reaction
     Session III-3: Observe a Single Replacement Reaction
     Session III-4: Observe Double Replacement Reactions
     Session III-5: Stoichiometry of Double Displacement Reactions

Topic IV. Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) Reactions

     Session IV-1: Observe Oxidation States of Manganese

Topic V. Acid-Base Chemistry
     Session V-1: Determine the Effect of Concentration on pH
                        and the pH Range of Indicators
     Session V-2: Determine the Molarity of Vinegar by Titration

Topic VI. Chemical Kinetics
     Session VI-1: Determining the Effect of Temperature, Concentration,
                         and Surface Area on Reaction Rates
     Session VI-2: Determining the Effect of a Catalyst on Reaction Rate
     Session VI-3: Determining a Reaction Order

Topic XIV. Synthetic Chemistry
     Session XIV-1. Synthesize Esters


We liked the kit and are disappointed that we couldn't finish it this summer.  We are hopping to repeat our Chem Lab Camp next summer.



There are a few elements that have made this Do-It-Yourself Chemistry Lab Camp such a success.


1) We started with a good science kit.


2) We found a master teacher who is knowledgeable and excited about the material.


3) We had a good class size and kit-to-student ration.  (12 students with a complete kit for each 2 students to share plus a kit for the teacher)



4) We rotate lab partners every section.


5) Our classroom (my garage) has easy access to a laundry sink, an ice-maker, and enough electric outlets.  We did blow quite a few fuses, but with extension cords running to plugs on different circuits, things have worked out. 


6). We bought a hotplate (6) for each lab partnership.  Luckily, they were on sale at Walgreen's for $12 each.


7) The students were all good kids who were eager to learn.






Friday, August 03, 2012

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at Homeschool Journeys.  This will be Beverly's first time hosting the carnival at her new blog.

This will be the 345th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chem Lab Camp Day 7

Continuation from Chem Lab Camp Day 1, Chem Lab Camp Day 2, Chem Lab Camp Day 3, Chem Lab Camp Day 4, Chem Lab Camp Day 5, Chem Lab Camp Day 6 and Lab Sciences.

For one of tomorrow's experiments we need animal blood.  I went to my local grocery store (Lucky) and was told that it was against company policy to share it because it was a bio-hazard.

As I was discussing this with a manager, a man walked past with a toddler in his cart.  He stopped to say that Ranch 99 sells pig blood by the pint.  The man mentioned that he was a biology teacher and that is how he gets the animal parts and blood for his class. So, off I went to Ranch 99.  Sure enough they have pig blood.







This two minute video gives you a glimpse of what class time is like.  Lest you think we have perfect children, check out the last few seconds.

  video




This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The Common Room.

The Headmistress, zookeeper starts the carnival with:

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The Carnival of Homeschooling is now, I believe, one of the oldest of its kind on the internet. Most people have moved from this old-school style carnival to linkies. By ‘old-school’, I mean old in computer/bloggy terms, which is about three years, I think, although this Carnival has been around for about five or six years. I am speaking of the sort of carnival where participants email their links to the blog-owner, who then copies and pastes them into the post, with comments if desired, or a theme if that’s what the blog-host has chosen. Now most people use the linkies and let the participants do the work. Easier on the blog-host, but the reader gets no context or personal commentary, either.
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She is right.  The Carnival of Homeschooling is one of the oldest weekly blog carnivals.  We have publilshed every week since the 2nd of January, 2006.  You can find the full archive here.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Chem Lab Camp Day 6

Continuation from Chem Lab Camp Day 1, Chem Lab Camp Day 2, Chem Lab Camp Day 3,Chem Lab Camp Day 4Chem Lab Camp Day 5 and Lab Sciences.



Today's lab went a little more slowly than we planned. We took extra time to explain logarithms. About half the class didn't have a good grasp on this math concept and the teacher spent some time going over it before moving on to the experiments involving pH balance.








We've come to the conclusion that we will only cover about half the kit material by the end of the week. We're bouncing around ideas on what the next step will be. We may finish the second half of the kit next summer or do the experiments one at a time during the year as part of our homeschool co-op.



The kids will have 40+ hours of solid lab experience by Friday.


For more info on our Chem Lab Camp see Day 7