Monday, March 31, 2014

Homeschooling and software development

Three weeks ago I joined a new company.  I am a software engineer and build tools to check the quality of databases.  I have been assigned to a new project.  Most of the successful projects in the industry go through some basic phases.

The people involved in the project build a list of requirements.  They may talk with customers to find out what they want in a new application, or what additional features they want in an existing application.  They may talk with experts in the product space to understand how the software needs to perform.  They may check other existing applications.  They may do combinations of these, and even try other options.  Inexperienced development teams will jump right into writing code only to find they are wasting time building a product which doesn’t meet the market’s demands.

Once they have a concrete, specific set of requirements they will create a design for the software.  This is typically done by senior software developers or even by people who have the title of software architect.  Normally several designs will be considered.  For complex projects it came be an iterative process.  One design may be picked, modified, folded in with another design, being changed and changed again until a final design feels right and gets approved by various people.

Then the software developers will divvy up the project and start writing code.  If the requirements are clear and the design is well thought out the process of creating the software will go so much easier.  Over the years seasoned software developers have learned the value of nailing down the requirements and spending a serious amount of time to come up with a good design.  Without these a project can take much, much longer and end up with a buggy piece of software which customers won’t buy.

So what does this have to do with homeschooling?

Well as parents I think before we jump into trying to teach our children it is good to step back and really think about what it is that we want.  We need to ponder our own requirements for a successful homeschooling experience before we jump in.   We can consult with others to get some ideas.

And once we figure out our goals we then need to work on how we will homeschool.  It is also valuable here to get suggestions for others.  We can design our curriculum to match our goals.

Once we have figured out our own requirements and come up with a good approach for homeschooling then we can start in on the homeschooling process with a much better chance of success.

With both software development and homeschooling it is important to be flexible.  After a couple weeks or a couple months we may realize that we missed an important requirement.  Or that a requirement we thought was important turns out to be something we don’t really care about.  And it is OK to change the design.  Sometimes we just need to tweak it.  Other times we may to toss the design out and start all over.

If we'll be thoughtful about our end goals for homeschooling and how we do it, we'll have a much better chance of success.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at momSCHOOL.

This will be the 431st edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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, March 27, 2014

I took the AP US History test before it became a brain-washing session

This is sad: New Advanced Placement Framework Distorts America’s History:

A dramatic, unilateral change is taking place in the content of the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. history course. In fall 2014, almost half a million high school sophomores and juniors will learn a very different version of U.S. history from the course of study now in place. Currently, a five-page topical outline gives teachers clear guideline for their course. This long-established outline conforms to the sequence of topics state and local boards of education have approved. In contrast, the new, redesigned Framework is a detailed 98-page document that does far more than list required topics. 

 This change in format is best described as a curricular coup that sets a number of dangerous precedents. By providing a detailed course of study that defines, discusses, and interprets “the required knowledge of each period,” the College Board has in effect supplanted local and state curriculum by unilaterally assuming the authority to prioritize historic topics. This inevitably means that some topics will be magnified in importance while others will be minimized or even omitted. If concerned parents, educators, and elected public officials do not speak out, the College Board (led by David Coleman, generally considered the architect of the Common Core national standards) will continue to develop similar frameworks for its 33 other Advanced Placement (AP) courses and thus become an unelected de facto legislature for America’s public and private high schools.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Homeschooling in the age of Common Core

My local school district is one of the many who have jumped on the Common Core band wagon in the hopes of securing money from the federal government.

There are people more sophisticated and experienced than me who are sounding the alarm. I agree that Common Core is a train wreck coming down the track which will cost money and do harm.

How will this effect me as a homeschool?

Before Common Core, I rarely looked at and never followed the state standards for what should be taught and when it should be taught.  I don't think that will change.  I ignored them before and I will continue to ignore them.

Since we use community college transcripts to get into college, I don't think the Common Core will have much effect on us either.  Community college doesn't use ACT or SAT scores.  [As a result of Common Core, the ACT and SAT tests are changing, mostly in the dumbing down direction. ] Community colleges use their own placement tests and I imagine they will continue to do so. Those tests might change under the influence of Common Core, but the material is so basic that I don't think they can do much harm on that level.

Common Core will influence the educational materials available to homeschoolers.  Since we don't use many of those kinds of resources, the impact on us should be minimal.  [However, I really hate the changes to Saxon Math that have already been made, so I imagine it will get worse under Common Core.]

I'm predicting that Common Core will fall out of favor very quickly.  Because of the legislation involved, it could take years, if not decades to undo the damage.

In the end, Common Core may inspire more parents to pull their children out of public school to homeschool.

I like this thought

Recently posted on Facebook:

Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our hear rather than a piece of our mind.

Life Humor 2.R

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.R was originally posted 18 February 1988


"We trained hard, but it seemed every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization"

From Petronii Arbitri Satyricon AD 66. Attributed to Gaius Petronus

Gaius Petronus, a Roman General, later committed suicide!


     A few years back, some poor fool decided to rob a bank on a Friday afternoon. Stupid fellow that one.  If he had looked across the street, he would have realized that this bank was next to FBI headquarters, and it was payday. Virtually every person in the bank was an agent!  Needless to say, this hapless fool got a quick lesson in law enforcement technique...


     This reminds me of the stories which appeared in the press a few years ago during a garbage strike in N.Y.  Apparently, the cabbies started wrapping up their garbage and putting it in the back of their cab. It was always gone by the end of their shift.


     The stupidest tricks I've heard of, though, are always bank robbers. Like the guy who was caught walking back to the bank with a can of gas after his car ran out of gas while he was in robbing the bank.


     They managed to enter the place without setting off the alarm, but they were unable to crack the safe by drilling holes in it or trying to hear the tumblers fall.  So they decided to blow the thing open.  After a loud explosion the safe was still locked tight, but the alarm had been set off.  When they got to the getaway car it wouldn't start.  So they each ran off in a different direction as the sirens approached.  The police had no problem identifying and apprehending them, though.  One of them had left his wallet on the front seat of the getaway car.


     How about the bank robber in Champiagn IL. who robbed the bank one day and return to the same bank the next day to deposit the money into his account and even went to the same teller. Well the teller keep him busy while someone called the police.


A couple of TAC pilots were flying F-102's in escort with a B-36 bomber and were chinning with the pilot of the bomber to pass the time.  Talk fell to the subject of the relative merits of their respective aircraft with the fighter pilots holding that their planes made for more interesting flying because of the maneuverability, acceleration and the like.   The B-36 pilot replied "Yeh?  Well this old girl can do a few tricks you  guys can't even touch."  Naturally, he was challenged to demonstrate.
"Watch," he tells them.

After several minutes the bomber pilot returns to the air and says,"There!  How was that?"  Not having seen anything, the fighter pilots  say, "What are talking about?"  Reply, "Well, I went for a little stroll,  got a cup of coffee and went downstairs for a chat with the navigator."


"Are you going to see him Samoa?"  "Don't be Sicily, he's a Spain in the neck."

"I don't Bolivia."  "Denmark my words, you'll regret it."

"Swell town you got here.  Lots of big men born here?"  "No, only babies."

"May I see you pretty soon?"
"Don't you think I'm pretty now?"

"How should long girls be courted?"
"The same as the short ones."


Did you realize that bank robbers are all going to Canada now?  That's the only place they have Toronto.

The local banker really likes the Swiss slogan: every little bit Alps.

He used to have her picture over the fireplace, then he proposed, and she gave him the negative.

He's rather good looking, in a way.  Away off.

He fell in love with her when she ignored him.  It was love at first slight.

"How did you find your steak?"  "I found it under the potato."


The doctor won't be back for a long while, he's out on an eternity case.

A young women at the hospital was given a private room, she was too cute for wards.

Tomas R. Marshall, Vice-President to Wilson, dedicated one of his books: "To President Woodrow Wilson from his only Vice."

A book review: the following are taken from "The Washington Wits" edited by Bill Adler, 1967

     Thumbing through a promotional pamphlet prepared for his 1964 Senatorial campaign, Robert Kennedy came across a photograph of himself shaking hands with a well-known labor leader.
     "There must be a better photo that this," said Kennedy to the advertising men in charge of his campaign.
     "What's wrong with this one?" asked one adman.
     "That fellow's in jail," said Kennedy. (p 10-11)
     On the campaign trail during 1964, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater stated, "The immediate task before us is to cut the Federal Government down to size ... we must take Lyndon's credit card away from him." (p 88)
     A favorite 1964 campaign stunt of Barry Goldwater's was to poke a finger through a pair of lensless blackrimmed glasses, saying, "These glasses are just like [Lyndon Johnson's] programs.  They look good but they don't work." (p 88)
     Somewhat alarmed at the continued growth of the number of employees on the Department of Agriculture payroll in 1962, Michigan Republican Robert Griffin proposed an amendment to the farm bill so that "the total number of employees in the Department of Agriculture at no time exceeds the number of farmers in America." (p118)
>What's even funnier is that the amendment FAILED.

     Republican Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota reports that the citizens of East Berlin, who have their eyes fixed upon the prosperous Western sector as a symbol of freedom, have managed to retain their optimism and a good sense of humor.  He tells the story of a young East Berliner who had been told that his "mother" was the East German "Republic" and his "father" the Communist party.  Asked by Brezhnev what his ambition was for the future, he replied, "I would like to be an orphan."  (p118)

Friday, March 21, 2014

college statistics

Here's a few statistics I found interesting:

One in four college students has an STD
44% of students attending 4-year colleges drink alcohol at the binge level or greater. However, about half (49%) of American college students don’t drink alcohol on a regular basis.
1,700 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries.

Every year, 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol, while more than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

Each year, college students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol.
Student loan debt will hit 1 trillion in 2012.
Nearly 1,100 suicides will occur on college campuses this year.

Nationwide, 40 % of students (and over 60% of students from urban districts) are required to take at least one remedial course upon entering college. Most students enrolled in remedial college course work had good grades in High School. In California, 84 percent of students enrolled in community college are required to take remedial English coursework.

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at Janice Campbell  Taking Time For Things That Matter.

This will be the 430th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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

Life Humor 2.Q

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.Q was originally posted 8 February 1988


     Fred noticed his roommate had a black eye upon returning from a dance.  "What happened?"  "I was struck by the beauty of the place."


     A pushy romeo asked a gorgeous elevator operator, "Don't all these stops and starts get you pretty worn out?"  "It isn't the stops and starts that get on my nerves, it's the jerks."

Lawyer:  Did you say the plaintiff was shot in the woods?
Doctor:  No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.


Real-estate man:  Would you like to see a model home?
Man:  I sure would, when does she get off work?

     Penn's aunts made great pies at low prices.  No one else in town could compete with the pie rates of Penn's aunts.

     During the American Revolution tried to raid a farm.  He stumbled across a rock on the ground and fell, then an aggressive Rhode Island Red hoped on top.  The farmer came out at this moment and commented, "Check catch a Tory."

     A new chef from India was fired a week after starting the job.  He keep favoring curry.

     A banker fell over board.  His friends couldn't find a life preserver. One asked, "Can you float alone?"

     A filibuster, throwing your wait around.

     A reverend wanted to call another reverend.  He told the operator, this is a parson to parson call.

     A friend  got some vinegar in his ear, now he suffers from pickled hearing.

     Two brothers, Mort and Bill, like to sail.  Mort is the expert.  Bill is not the rigger Mort is.

     Inheritance taxes are getting so out of line, that the deceased family often doesn't have a legacy to stand on.

     The judge fined the offender fifty dollars and told him if he was caught again, he would be thrown in jail.  Fine today, cooler tomorrow.

     A rock store was closed by the police, they were taking too much for granite.

     A man who keep stealing mopeds was an obvious cycle-path.

     A man pleaded innocent of any wrong doing when caught by the police during a raid at the house of a mobster.  His excuse, "I was making a bolt for the door."

     A farm in the country side had seven turkeys, it was known as the house of seven gobbles.

     A women was in love with fourteen soldiers, its platoonic.

     Max told his friend he didn't want to go for a hike in the hills.  "I'm an anti-climb Max."


     A new wagon designed for LA rush hour traffic is called the Stationary wagon.

     An Uncle died, left several hundred clocks to a niece, she's busy winding up the estate.

     Two cheerleaders ended up married, they met by chants.

     Advice to ice skaters: You can't always tell a brook by its cover.

     What do they call a man who builds twenty boats a month?  Sir Launchalot.

     A fortune-teller started laughing seconds after looking into his crystal ball.  The client hit him.  "Why did you do that"  "My mother always told me to strike a happy medium."

Borrowed and modified from Arkady Shevchenko's  autobiography.

        A man walks into Red Square on day screaming "Gorbachov's an idiot! Gorbachov's an idiot."  Well, the KGB chased him around for a while until they   finally caught him.  They immediately took him to court where the judge decided on his sentence.  The poor fellow was given exactly 10 years and seven days in  jail.  Two days for disturbing the peace,  five days for insulting the leader,  and ten years for revealing a state secret!!!

     An inspector was making the rounds of the communal farms in his district, and he approached a potato farmer. "How was the potato harvest this season, comrade?" he demanded.  "Excellent, excellent," exclaimed the farmer, "our potatoes could be piled high enough to reach the toe of God!"  A bit taken aback, the inspector said, "But comrade, this is the Soviet Union; there is no God."   Replied the farmer, "That's no problem, because there aren't any potatoes, either."

     "In News, there is no truth; and in Truth there is no news." I guess it makes more sense in russian.. Pravda is truth, and Isvestia is news.  The two big Soviet papers: Pravda and Isvestia.

     Seems the Department of Information Services (Ministry of Propaganda) was out in the field, taking 'the Revolution" to the people: explaining the fundamentals of Socialism to the populace to bolster popularity. A member of the Department was out talking to a farmer in Siberia... Official: So you see, comrade, dat it iz de way Marx explained: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." You understand?
Farmer: (confused) Nyet...
O: OK. Iz like dis: Say a comrade has two cows. Ve take one cow from him and give it to comrade that has no cow. Dat is de Revolution. You see?
F: (Happily) Da, Da! Iz good!
O: And if a comrade has two tractors, ve take one of his tractors and give to man who has no tractors. Da?
F: (Very excited) Da! Da! Is WERY good!
O: And if a comrade has two cheekens, ve give one cheeken to man who has no cheekens. Da?
F: Nyet! Iz not good!
O: Vy iz not good?
F: (Despondently) I have two cheekens...


     A badger is quietly walking through Red Square.  He sees two rabbits, running just as fast as they can, come from one street.
Badger:  "Wait!  Why are you running!?"
Rabbit 1: "The KGB is arresting all the camels!"
Badger: "But you're rabbits!"
Rabbit 2: "Yeah, but try telling the KGB that!"


Diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to "Go to hell" in such a way that he looks forward to the trip.


Why did the turtle cross the road???
To get to the Shell station!!!


  A newspaper headline:  "Escaped Leopard Believed Spotted!"


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Being good at one thing doesn't mean you will be good at something else

Often I'm bemused by people who are experts in one field and then will pontificate on all kinds of subjects.  Sometimes I'll know they are wrong in what they say about matters outside their area of expertise.

High Performance Is Not the Same as High Potential is a good article which reminds us that just because someone is a higher performance doesn't mean they will be a great leader.

The article starts with:

If your company is like most, you probably identify your next leaders from a pool of your top performers. They might be salespeople or project managers or skilled developers, but in any event, they've got a reputation for delivering results.

Strong performance and the results it carries are all well and good, of course, but it does not necessarily indicate that an employee will make a good leader. And according to research from member-based executive team advisory company CEB, companies are seriously hurting themselves by failing to differentiate between performance and potential.

This is a good reminder for us as parents to recognize that our children may be strong in one area, but not all areas.

We never really had winter

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.
The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.
-Henry Van Dyke

We live out in California.  We never really had a winter which is our rainy season.  It has been very warm the last several weeks.

Best and Worst earning college degrees.

I stumbled across these news articles this morning.

The 13 Worst-Paying College Majors: PayScale List


The 13 Best-Paying College Majors: PayScale List

Suprise, suprise, all the best paying jobs are hard sciences, the least paying are in touchy-feeling majors.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A great benefit to having principles

Tiffany Holley  posted this on Facebook:

When you base your life on principles, most of your decisions are already made before you encounter them.

We may be starting a new family tradition

A friend of ours suggested that as a family we read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  So about two months ago I bought five copies.  Our son is seven and isn't reading a lot yet.  We read the first fifty pages and then had a family book club.  We talked about the main points and what we thought was valid.  Then we took a couple weeks to read the next fifty pages and Saturday we talked about what we liked, what we believed and how we wanted to change in the way we deal with people.  We'll continue to work through the book.  We all agree it is worth reading.

If you haven't read How to Win Friends and Influence People, or haven't read it recently, I encourage you to do so.  It is a good book.

I like how we are reading a book together as a family.  I'm thinking once we finish this book we'll move on to another one.

Blogger reports we've crossed a milestone

According to Blogger we have 6000 posts on our blog.  This is the 6001st.  I sort of doubt we'll make another 6000 posts, but we'll see.  It has been a good ride so far.

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

Lisa is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Golden Grasses.  She starts the carnival with:

It's been a long winter 'round here. And it's still happening- today was a day full of blowing snow, school closures and other winter nonsense. So, yeah, we are all about a change of season, and soon Till then, we are getting lots of school done, including tons of reading, read-alouds, CD-listening, DVD watching, and texts gone through.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Life Humor 2.P

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.P was originally posted 1 February 1988


Last week at Carnegie Mellon...

Someone walked off with a laser printer that was in our Computing Center.  The  center is open 24 hours, and he just took it right out under everyone's nose.

How did they catch him?

The User Consultant on duty got a phone call a couple of days later.  The  caller asked, "How do you hook up a laser printer?"  While the one consultant  stalled the caller, another one had the call traced.

The police got a warrant for the guy's arrest, went to his apartment, and  found the laser printer, an Apple Image Writer stolen from our library, and a  Mac SE stolen from our DoD-sponsored Software Engineering Institute.


A father gave his teen-age daughter an untrained pedigreed pup for her birthday.  An hour later, when wandered through the house, he found her looking at a puddle in the center of the kitchen.  "My pup," she murmured sadly, "runneth over."


A crow perched himself on a telephone wire.  He was going to make a long-distance caw.

A musical reviewer admitted he always praised the first show of a new theatrical season.  "Who am I to stone the first cast?"

A hard-luck actor who appeared in one colossal disaster after another finally got a break, a broken leg to be exact.  Someone pointed out that it's the first time the poor fellow's been in the same cast for more than a week.


A girl spent a couple hours on the phone talking to her two best friends, Maureen Jones, and Maureen Brown.  When asked by her father why she had been on the phone so long, she responded "I heard a funny story today and I've been telling it to the Maureens."

Three actors, Tom, Fred, and Cec, wanted to do the jousting scene from Don Quixote for a local TV show.  "I'll play the title role," proposed Tom.  "Fred can portray Sancho Panza, and Cecil B. De Mille."


Seems that there was an auto race with just two entrants:  An American car, and a Soviet car.  The American won.  The Soviet press announced the results this way:  "The Soviet car came in second.  The American car came in next to the last."


The following were taken from the Jan 11, 1988 US News & World Report:

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith:  The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

Donald Petersen, chairman of Ford:  Genius is lasting 5 minutes longer than the other side.


     Catching his children with their hands in the new, still wet, walkway, the father spanked them.

His wife asked, "Don't you love your children?"

"In the abstract, yes, but not in the concrete."


     After Snow White used a couple rolls of film taking pictures of the seven dwarfs, she mailed the roll to be developed.  Later she was heard to sing, "Some day my prints will come."


Archaeology is the only profession where your future lies in ruins.


The advantage of modern means of communication is that they enable you to worry about things in all parts of the world.


Extremists think "communication" means agreeing with them.


Dear Maid,
        Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial.  Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and and other three in the shower soap dish.  They are in my way.  Thank you,
                                        S. Berman

Dear Room 635,
        I am not your regular maid.  She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off.  I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested.  The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind.  This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily.  I hope this is satisfactory.
                                        Kathy, Relief Maid

Dear Maid -- I hope you are my regular maid,
        Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap.  When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet.  I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won't need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf.  They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc.  Please remove them.
                                        S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
        My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management.  I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was.  I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn't remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday.  Please let me know if I can of further assistance.
                                        Your regular maid,

Dear Mr. Berman,
        The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this A.M. that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service.  I have assigned a new girl to your room.  I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience.  If you have any future complaints please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM.  Thank you.
                                        Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Miss Carmen,
        It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 745 AM and don't get back before 530 or 6PM.  That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night.  You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap.  The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bath- room shelf.  In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap.  Why are you doing this to me?
                                        S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
        Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps.  If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM.  Thank you,
                                        Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mr. Kensedder,
        My bath-size Dial is missing.  Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial.  I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.
                                        S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
        I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem.  I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room.  The situation will be rectified immediately.  Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
                           Martin L. Kensedder, Assistant Manager

Dear Mrs. Carmen,
        Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room?  I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap.  I don't want 54 little bars of Camay.  I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial.  Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here.  All I want is my bath size Dial.  Please give me back my bath-size Dial.
                                        S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
        You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed.  Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them.  The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily [sic].  I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets.  Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays.  I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial.  I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.
                                      Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mrs. Carmen,
        Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory.  As of today I possess: On shelf under medicine cabinet - 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2. On Kleenex dispenser - 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 3. On bedroom dresser - 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, 1 stack of 4 hotel-size bath-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.  Inside medicine cabinet - 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2. In shower soap dish - 6 Camay, very moist. On northeast corner of tub - 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used. On northwest corner of tub - 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.
        Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted.  Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip.  May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.
                                        S. Berman

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I have read 24 books from this list

BBC Believes You Only Read 6 of These Books... has a list of 100 good books to read.  I've read at least 24.  There are 2 which I think I read, but I'm not sure.

Some of our best posts from March 2009

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for almost eight years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from March 2009

Janine lists some of the things she loves about homeschooling.

Another great reason for homeschooling - to avoid the mealtime Gestapos.

Another great reason for homeschooling - keeping the faith.

One of our favorite reasons for homeschooling - vacations.

If you haven't read any Paul Graham essays check out Your children and Paul Graham's essays.

Some politicians claim to spending money on preschool education saves money.  Turns out at least some of the studies are flawed.  For more info check out Details on the claim that spending money on preschool education saves money.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How to learn any language in six months

My brother-in-law posted a link on Facebook to: How to learn any language in six months: Chris Lonsdale at TEDxLingnanUniversity:

I think he has some good points.

University essay from a homeschooler

Our daughter was recently accepted to a University with a high standard.  We weren't sure she would make it.  Two weeks ago she got the exciting email that she was accepted.

Here is her essay:

University: Tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself that you haven't had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application. Include any special circumstances, experiences, etc. that could influence your admission to the university. (250 words maximum)

I have been homeschooled since kindergarten. Because I was homeschooled, my mom was able to adjust my education around my reading disabilities. I struggled with reading and spelling all through grade school. I didn’t read well until I was almost ten years old. The summer before I turned ten, I finally started to enjoy reading. I went from being unable to read to reading The Lord of the Rings in a year.

I am very self-driven and know how to learn. I love reading and writing; I have participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, twice completing a fifty thousand word novel each time. I am currently working on a third. Participating in NaNoWriMo is what finally got me spelling more accurately. I wrote over fifty thousand words in a month. Spell check caught a lot of incorrectly spelled words. The constant correction and effort finally changed my spelling level.

I know how to overcome learning difficulties. I’m a hard worker and I love books. I want to help other people overcome obstacles and progress. That’s why I want to go to this university and become a speech pathologist.

Fight The New Drug

This weekend Janine and I went to two meetings featuring a speaker from Fight The New Drug.

The speaker made three main points:

Pornography is just as addictive as drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  While watching porn the brain will rewire itself just like with other addictions.

Pornography destroys relationships.  The speaker cited several studies on how porn is destroying people's ability to relate to real relationships.  In a video clip a young woman talked about how both her and her husband started turning to porn rather than each other.

Pornography is harming society.  The speaker focused on how the porn industry is often abusing women to make the movies, and sometimes even children and men.

It was a sobering presentation.  Check out their web site for more information.

A good thought

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday:

Life is too short to argue and fight with the past.  Count your blessings, value your love ones, and move on with your head held high.

Life Humor 2.N

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.N was originally posted 25 January 1988


An old woman was sitting in a park in Moscow reading a "Teach Yourself Hebrew" book.  A policeman notices her and decides to start to give her a hard time.

"What are you reading that for?" he shouts at her.

She replies,  "I am old, and I will die soon.  I want to be prepared; so I am studying the language of heaven."

The cop says, "Well, how do know that it's heaven that you are going to?"

The old women answers, "Well, honestly I don't, but that's okay.  I already speak Russian."


Isn't it odd that all the members of the Association for Computing Machinery are human?  (I've been thinking of signing my home computer up.)



A man walked into a branch of the Antelope Valley Bank and handed a teller a note demanding money.  The man had one hand in his pocket, as if holding a gun, so the teller began handing over the contents of her cash drawer.

 When she had forked over $7,000 the robber said, "That's enough" and walked out the door.  It's hard to find a bank robber who knows when he's had enough.


"The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in its search for offending pollens took samples of Los Angeles air. Right outside its trendy Westside office, this. Analysis showed that 40 percent of the collected contaminants were from marijuana."


Sinners can repent, but stupid is forever.


A mathematician, scientist, and engineer are each asked:
"Suppose we define a horse's tail to be a leg.  How many legs does a horse have?"

The mathematician answers "5"; the scientist "1"; and the engineer says "But you can't do that!"


Subject: Pet peeve

According to the January issue of Smithsonian magazine, a Beatrice, Nebraska, man left his pet bulldog in the car for a few minutes at a gas station.  When the man tried to get back in, he found that the dog, perhaps peeved over some slight, had locked all the doors.


From London Times via Car and Driver:

Comrade Gorbachev is being driven from his dacha to Moscow and is in a hurry.  He is getting irritated with the slowness of his driver.  "Can't you go any faster?" he says angrily.  "I have to obey the speed limits," says the driver.  Finally Gorbachev orders the driver into the back and takes the wheel.  Sure enough a patrol car soon pulls them over.  The senior officer orders the junior to go write up the ticket.  But the junior officer comes back and says he can't give them a ticket, the person in the car is too important.  "Well, who is it?", the senior officer asks.  "I didn't recognize him," says the junior officer, "but Comrade Gorbachev is his chauffeur."


  This nice, old Jewish man really wanted to win the lottery.  So, one week, he goes to synagogue and he says (good Yiddish accent mandatory), "Oy, Lord of heaven and earth, imagine how much good I could do with ze money I vould vin if I von the lottery!  Imagine how much charity I could give!  Help me vin the lottery and I will spent ze money wisely!"  He doesn't win the lottery.

  The next week, he goes to synagogue again and says, "Oh, lord of heaven and earth, you must not have heard me last veek!  Imagine how many lives I could make easier with ze money from ze lottery!  Help me vin ze lottery!"  Once again, he doesn't win.

  The third week, he goes to synagogue again and prays in a similar vein.  Suddenly, he hears a voice from the heavens:  "Help me, help me!"

  He says, "Lord of heaven and earth, what can I do to help you?"

  "Buy a ticket!"

From a Rice Krispies Joke Machine

Why do tigers live in the jungle?
   They hate city traffic.

Where do polar bears vote?
   The North Poll.

What did the limestone say to the geologist?
   Stop taking me for granite.

What should you do if you can't see at night?
   Enroll in night school.

Why did the golfer wear two pairs of shoes?
   In case he got a hole in one.

What should you do every morning?
   Wake up.

Why do spiders spin webs?
   Because they can't knit.

What's the difference between a bear and an ant?
   About 2,000 pounds.

What's better than a talking dog?
   A spelling bee.

What's the difference between a nickel and a dime?
   Five cents.



SOCIALISM - You have two cows.  The government takes one to give to someone else.

COMMUNISM - You have two cows.  The government takes both and gives you the milk.

FASCISM - You have two cows.  The government takes both and sells you the milk.

NAZISM - You have two cows.  The government takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRACY - You have two cows.  The government takes both, shoots one and pours the milk down the drain.

CAPITALISM - You have two cows.  You sell one and buy a bull.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at Golden Grasses.

This will be the 429th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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

This week't Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Every Bed of Roses.

Chareen starts the carnival with:

 Welcome to the 428th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling where home school families share their homeschool wisdom with us from all over the world via their blogs.

Carnival of Homeschooling was started by the Cate Family over at Why Homeschool and has been a tremendous source of home school support and information.



Friday, March 07, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. I am still finalizing where the carnival will be held.

This will be the 428th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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

Starling Murmurations

My mother sent my family a link to Dylan Winter and the Starling Murmurations:

It is beautiful and fascinating.

Diane Ravitch on Common Core

Spunky Homeschool recently posted a link to Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch.  The post is based on a speech Diane Ravitch gave back in January.  I found it fascinating.

Here are some parts of the speech which I thought were key:

Early childhood educators are nearly unanimous in saying that no one who wrote the standards had any expertise in the education of very young children. 

Think about that.  Common Core requires various things in regards to young children, but the people crafting the requirements had no experience with young children.

It is kind of like a fireman walking into your kitchen and telling you how to prepare a meal.  Yes they deal with fire, but they may have no expertise in cooking.

Furthermore, what happens to the children who fail? Will they be held back a grade? Will they be held back again and again? If most children fail, as they did in New York, what will happen to them? How will they catch up? The advocates of the standards insist that low-scoring students will become high-scoring students if the tests are rigorous, but what if they are wrong? What if the failure rate remains staggeringly high as it is now? What if it improves marginally as students become accustomed to the material, and the failure rate drops from 70% to 50%? What will we do with the 50% who can’t jump over the bar? Teachers across the country will be fired if the scores of their pupils do not go up. This is nuts. We have a national policy that is a theory based on an assumption grounded in hope. And it might be wrong, with disastrous consequences for real children and real teachers.

If you would like to know more about Common Core I think the article is worth reading.

Life Humor 2.L

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.L was originally posted 19 Nov 1987


  So Gorbachev (sp?) decided that now that he was on top, it was time to impress his ancient mother.  He sent his private helicopter out to the small town where she lived to pick her up.  He met her with a  fleet of limos in Red Square.

  So, mama.  It's good to see you here in Moscow!  Come, we eat! She said nothing about the flight, and followed quietly into his limo.  He took her to the best restaurant in town, where they were served by an army of waiters.  The food was superb, the wine the best money could buy.  She said nothing.

  You like the dinner?  Come.  We fly to my Dacha for drinks. The chopper picked them up & delivered them to the steps of a  magnificent building, secluded in the outskirts of the city.  Waiters in white coats were waiting, and proceeded to serve them with the best Cognac and liquor available.

  They sat sipping on the porch, looking out over the view. So, mama.  You don't say anything.  Aren't you proud of your little Miki?  Haven't I done well?  She turned to him and replied in a quiet voice.  Miki, baby.  Is wonderful time I have here.  Helicopters are so grand to fly in,  Food is best I have ever tasted.
 And this, A dacha? This is more glorious than anything I could imagine.  Yes, Miki.  Is wonderful.  I am happy for you.  But Miki, Baby. What if the communists return!


Syadov walks into the Moscow health clinic and asks to see an ear-and-eye doctor. The nurse explains to him that there isn't a specialist in those two areas at the clinic, but tells him that they have an eye-doctor AND an ear, nose, and throat man. She further goes on to suggest, after seeing his rather vacant stare, that he see the ENT specialist, and, if that doesn't work, why then he can go to the ophthalmologist. So a month later (Remember, the clinic is run by the Soviet bureaucracy) he is shown to the doc's office. The following dialogue ensues. Doctor: So, tell me, Comrade Syadov. What seems to be the trouble? Syadov: DOC! DOC! Ya GOTTA help me! I'm going crazy! Doctor: Just calm down, and tell me your symptoms.  Syadov: Well, I..OK. I...I'll try. It's like my ears and my eyeballs aren't connected to the same man. I can't see what I hear, and I can't hear what I see!  At this, the doctor sighs, shakes his head, closes his notebook, and prepares for his next patient. When Syadov asks what he's doing, he explains:

"Really, I'm very sorry, Comrade. But there's no known cure for Communism."


     A man in Russia gets a ticket allowing him to buy a car.  He sits down with the car dealer and picks out the basic car and then a few options.  The car dealer says the car will be ready in ten years.  The man wants to know if it will be ready in the morning or the afternoon.  The car dealer is a bit surprised, "Why do you care?  It's ten years away."  "Well the plumber is coming in the morning."


Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were riding in a limo, when they happened to look back and notice a huge ugly monster was chasing them.  Hoping to  persuade it to go away, Churchill rolled down his window and tossed out  all the money he had, about 10,000 pounds.  The monster picked it up,  sniffed it, then tossed it aside and continued to pursue the limo.  So Roosevelt opened his window, and tossed out $100,000, with a gold money clip he'd gotten from Rockefeller, and his $1500 gold watch.  The monster picked up the bundle, sniffed it, sneered and continued to pursue the limo. So comrade Stalin pulled out a pen and paper, scribbled a short note, and tossed it out the window.  The monster read the note and came to a screaming halt (a la buggs bunny, smoke from the heels), turned around, and ran the  other way.  Well of course, the other world leaders wanted to know what Comrade Stalin had written in the note.  "Simple", he said.  "I wrote,
'This is the road to Communism'."


"you have known the defendant for how long ?"
"Fourteen years."
"Tell the court whether or not you think he is the type of man who  would steal this money."
"How much was it ?"


Thursday, March 06, 2014

One of the most succinct expressions of this thought

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Never confuse motion with action.

-Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)
A.Word.A.Day 2Jan14

In our crazy lives it is often easy to get so busy doing things that we don't step back and make sure we are doing the important things.

Will daydreams save the world?

I enjoyed Tim Brown's LinkedIn post on Why Daydreamers Will Save the World.

He start his post with:

Daydreaming has a bad reputation. Just think of any classroom scene on TV where a teacher is chiding a child for staring out the window during class. Traditionally, those kids have been thought of as slackers, but, according to a recent report on education and entrepreneurship for the UK parliament co-authored by my friend, Professor Andy Penaluna, they’re exhibiting the behavior of innovators. They’re engaging in “relaxed attention.”

During relaxed attention, a problem or challenge is taking up space in your brain, but it isn’t on the front burner. Relaxed attention lies somewhere between meditation, where you completely clear your mind, and the laser-like focus you apply when tackling a tough math problem. Our brains can make cognitive leaps when we’re not completely obsessed with a challenge, which is why good ideas sometimes come to us when we’re in the shower or talking a walk or on a long drive.

The rest of the post is worth reading.

Tim points that out that public education today is structured to clamp down on daydreamers.  I agree.  Homeschooling allows parents and children to both have some time for daydreaming.  Janine tells me our children do plenty of daydreaming.

Cute: A trope periodic table

One of my daughters shared a fun link: The Periodic Table of Storytelling.

All three daughters like to talk about writing their own stories.  Sometimes I'll tease them about throwing together a bunch of unrelated tropes together like Time travelling werewolves vampire hunters from alternate dimensions having a western style shoot out with clones of wizards of a space going empire from a near by galaxy.  They just roll their eyes and ignore me.

If you have a writer they might enjoy reviewing the periodic trope page for ideas.

Some of our best posts from February 2009

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for almost eight years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from February 2009:

Janine explains the difference between Homeschool Fantasy and Reality.

I have a post on Why it is so hard to make progress with public education.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

If parents did this they would be arrested

This is pretty outrageous: School forces half-naked, sopping wet student to stand outside, frostbite results

The article starts with:

A Minnesota public high school was so committed to obeying its fire drill policy to the exact letter of the law that it forced a female student–dressed only in a swimsuit, and sopping wet–to stand outside in the freezing cold for ten minutes. As a result, she suffered frostbite.

The school responds with the classic "This is our policy and we did nothing wrong."

The mother made a great point:

"Tietz also noted that she would have been arrested for doing such a thing to her child."

This just boggles my mind.  As Glenn Reynolds says it is getting to the point that sending your children to government schools is almost child abuse.

Hat tip: Instapundit

What "Shared Sacrifice" means

I greatly enjoyed this thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Shared Sacrifice - "Usually used by a politician who wants other people to share in the sacrifice so he or she doesn't have to."

Lake Superior State University 2012 List of Banished Words
Printed in Reader's Digest
Submitted by Herr Kemper

Life Humor 2.K

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.K was originally posted 7 Dec 1987


Brezhnev was thought not to be too bright.  He comes to address a big Communist party meeting, and starts:

"Dear Comrade Imperialists," The whole hall perked up - "what did he say??"   Brezhnev tried again...

"Dear Comrade Imperialists,"

Well, by now the hall was in pandemonium - was he trying to call them Imperialists?  Then, an advisor walked over to the podium and pointed to the speech for Brezhnev.  "Oh..." he muttered, and started again:

"Dear Comrades, Imperialists are everywhere."


A friend of mine once told me an anecdote, which I then told Gorfinkle over there, and Gorfinkle didn't think it was funny.  The punch line of the anecdote - which had to do with life in the army - was that the Soviet privates were sent out to paint all the grass on the base green.  I thought it was very funny.  He didn't.  I said, "Why don't you think it was funny,"  to which he replied, "because when I was in the army, we always painted the grass green."


There was a famous anecdote that the reason Brezhnev's speeches ran 6 hours is because he read not only the original, but the carbon copy.  In fact, there was a report near the end of Brezhnev's life that he went down to south Russia to deliver a speech on science, and accidentally gave the wrong speech - on culture - and didn't even know it until it was over.


It was decided to build in a Siberian town a statue of Lenin.  The party boss told the monument factory to build a well-known, famous sculpture of Lenin. So the work commences - a statue of Lenin addressing the crowds will be made.

  Later, the party boss returns as the work is being done, and he notices that Lenin lacked a hat.

"We can't have Comrade Lenin standing in the Siberian cold without a hat on him.  Put one on his head."

"But, Comrade- " the sculptor started.

"No buts.  Put a hat on him."

So came the day of unveiling - and there was Lenin, a hat on his head... and another one in his hand.


"Comrades, we have established beyond a doubt that it is possible to build socialism in one large country - like the Soviet Union.  But is it possible to built it in a very small country, say, Switzerland."

"Of course it is - but what have you got against the Swiss?"


A man was arrested one night for running across Red Square yelling"Khrushchev is a fool! Khrushchev is a fool!"

He was arrested and given 10 years - 5 for slandering the leader, and 5 for revealing a state secret.


Brezhnev was widely regarded as a man who couldn't walk and talk at the same time, so many anecdotes were generated about him.

  Often, they were about his great fondness, for some reason, of riddles - which he could never solve.

  One day, he was bumbling down the corridors of the Kremlin, and he bumped into Andropov.  Andropov was trying to get into a position to succeed Brezhnev so he thought he would butter him up.

"Who is the son of my father but not I?" asked Andropov.

"Hmmm... a tough one," replied Brezhnev, "I give up."

"My brother."

  Brezhnev was impressed.  "Brilliant!" he cried, and continued down the hall.

  He bumps into Gorbachev.

"Miky... hear this riddle: who is the son of my father but not me?"

  Gorbachev plays along with the old man and asks, "Who?"

Brezhnev, delighted about being able to tell his riddle blurts out, "Andropov's brother!"


At the Olympics in the Soviet Union, Brezhnev started a speech at the opening ceremonies.  He began as follows:

"Oh...."     "Ooooo...."   "Oh...."    "Ooo...."    "Ooohh."

until one of his advisors quietly pointed out that the Olympic symbol was not a part of the speech to read.


Brezhnev was being shown the Soviet pentagon.  At the end of his tour, he noticed a red door.  "What's in there?" he asked Nixon.

"Oh, that's a secret," Nixon replied.

"But you promised to show me everything, Dick!" whined Brezhnev.

"Okay," agrees Nixon, and takes a key out of his pocket and opens the door. Inside is a red telephone.

"What's that?"

"It's a hot-line to Hell," replies Nixon.

"No way," says Brezhnev, "I don't believe you!"

"Try it," replied Nixon.
Brezhnev picks up the phone, and a voice answers:

"Hi! It's the Devil! This is Hell!"

  Brezhnev is shocked and hangs up the phone, but as he's leaving, Nixon says,
"That'll be $55 for the phone call."

"$55!" exclaims Brezhnev, "why so expensive - but what the hell, here."

  Brezhnev goes back to the Soviet Union and yells at his generals.  "You idiots! You know what the Americans have?  A hot-line to hell!  Why don't we?"

"We do," they reply, and show him a similar door with a phone.  He picks it up and sure enough - "Hi! It's the Devil! This is Hell!"

  As he hangs up, the general says, "That will be 2 Kopeks, Comrade."

"Why so cheap?  In America it was $55!"

"That's because here it's a local call."


27 ways pets can improve your health

My mother sent the family a link to a slideshow on 27 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health.

Some of them are pretty interesting.

Too often schools are trying to push political agendas

Government schools as they exist now got started in the late 1800s.  For most of the first hundred years of their existence public schools were focused on teaching basic academic subjects.  The goals were making sure the students could read, write and do basic math.  Over time various groups saw a chance to influence society by pushing their agendas into the classroom.

This is one of the reasons Janine and I homeschool.  We don't want others pushing their philosophies into the minds of our children.

Awhile back I came across a column on The First Amendment Right to Nonpolitical Homework.  The New York Times ethicist Chuck Klosterman responds to a question.  A mother wants to know if the school can demand as part of homework that a student take some political action supporting a particular cause.

The answer is no.  Which I agree with.

My problem is I don't want to waste any time fighting with a local school district over overt actions like this, and to be constantly on guard for all the subtle ways the schools are trying to influence how children think about various causes.

I think it is easier to homeschool than to fight with the government schools.

"Astounding Stories" is now on Gutenberg

I discovered Science Fiction as a young teenager.  My father had been collecting books and magazines for decades.  Some of my favorite stories came from the magazine then known as Analog Science Fiction and Fact.  This magazine was first called Astounding Stories.

I recently found out that the first three years of Astounding Stories are now on Gutenberg.  If you have an interest in reading early Science Fiction you might enjoy checking some of the stories out.  

I've read a couple.  They are quaint.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Some of our best posts from January 2009

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for almost eight years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from January 2009:

Janine and I attended a seminar on brain development. What to do about brain damaged children summarizes some of what I learned.  Parents with Purpose is Janine's summary.  And here is Donna's web site: Parents with Purpose.

I contrasted some of the similarities between The Pied Piper and government schools.

We also posted this video by Dr. Laura on Having a Hard Time Letting Go?

John Holt on The Phil Donahue Show

John Holt was an early proponent of homeschooling.  Here is a video of John Holt on The Phil Donahue Show:

Hat tip: Patrick Farenga

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Just Keep Blogging edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Notes From A Homeschooling Mom.

The carnival starts with:

It is now March 2014, I officially became a veteran homeschooler back in May 2013, when I graduated my second, and last child, from homeschooling. I am still processing all of my thoughts and feelings about the last 10 years, because homeschooling is serious business, and just as you need to be mentally prepared to start and to make it through homeschooling, you need to put the same effort (at least in my case) into coming out the other side, and finding a new you, when you have been released from your homeschooling duties.

Just as I found blogging to be a great way to prepare myself and to keep motivated during the homeschool process, I am finding blogging to be a great way to process myself into my next phase in life-post homeschooling. As much as inward blogging has helped me, I still need to spend just as much time reading the blogs of others, for sanity reasons, to let me know that I am OK... as in Not Crazy, as in other people are having the same feelings and experiences that I have either had, or am having right now. For this I am thankful, so with that I say, Just keep blogging through and even after homeschooling. I will keep you sane, and it will also help those who come after you.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Some good thoughts on things to teach your children about money

I enjoyed Penelope Trunk's post on What do rich parents do that poor parents don't?

She makes the point that parents from different classes have different approaches to what and how to teach their children.  One of the best things we can do for our children is to be as conscious as possible about the lessons we teach them.  If we can make sure to teach them the good lessons we have learned and to avoid teaching them the bad lessons we have learned, then our children will be off to a great start.

Penelope start's her post with:

Yefet went on a trip with Melissa. It was so exciting to watch them leave because they always do amazing things while they're together. But I couldn't help thinking, while I was dropping them off at the airport, that my kids are growing up like rich kids. It's the last thing I expected after moving to rural Wisconsin.
The reason they are growing up like rich kids is not so much the money (he could have gone on a driving trip with Melissa and had the same advantages,) but because of my mentality that I trust him to be smart and interesting and to make a life from that. And I don't trust school.
I think a lot about the difference between how rich people think about education and how everyone else thinks about education. So I was interested to read that rich people worry less about their kids getting into dangerous situations online than poor parents do.

One of my favorite paragraphs is:

What I'm trying to tell you is that it's a poverty mentality to send your kids to school. The values of school are for people who start at a disadvantage. The US school system is about making things equal for everyone. If you start out on the better side of equal, why would you put your kids in a system designed to reduce their advantage?

Hat tip:

The Feynman Lectures on Physics are online

Richard Feynman is famous for his lectures on physics.  They are now online.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A problem with homeschooling

Currently our second and third daughters are doing a lot of their education via online classes. Today we had a problem. Our DSL line stopped working!

For over three hours I was on the phone, multiple times, with our Internet Service Provider trying to get the problem resolved. At first they thought the problem was due to a flaky DSL modem, so I went down to Frys to buy a new one. The clerk asked who my ISP was and I told her. Then the guy standing next to me said he had the same ISP and was suffering a similar problem. I selected a DSL modem and headed home.

 But before unwrapping the modem I called my ISP and asked if there were any other types of problems which would appear to be similar to a broken modem. They said it was possible and they would check. A few minutes later my neighbor called to say her DSL line was also down, so it appears there is a much wider problem than my DSL modem.

All of this meant my daughters were missing their classes. As a parent when we take ownership of the education of our children we sometimes have to deal with these kinds of problems. Luckily we the girls were able to keep busy doing useful things.

I was surprised by how used to having instance access to the internet we have become. I wanted to check my email. When the support person said I needed a DSL modem my first thought was to check out various reviews, but then I realized I couldn’t. I couldn’t check Instapundit or Facebook.

Finally I went off to work, where I now have access to the internet (and can post to my blog). Hopefully the whole problem with be resolved by the time I get home.

Life Humor 2.J

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
Life Humor 2.J was originally posted 4 December 1987


Did you hear that there's a group of South American Indians that worships the number zero?

Is nothing sacred?



It was, police figure, a 10 million-to-1 shot that saved the life of a federal agent in a shopping-mall shootout in Hialeah, Florida.  A drug suspect had aimed at the chest of Carlos Montalvo, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and pulled the trigger.  But the shot struck Montalvo's gun, lodging in the barrel.

After draining excess fuel from the flooded engine of his 1946 aircraft, Douglas Youngs reached into the cockpit and started the engine.  But he had forgotten to close the throttle and the plane took off without him.  The errant aircraft was eventually found 65 miles away, perched in an 85 foot tree near Clifton, New York.  Youngs thinks he can repair the plane, just as soon as he figures out how to get it down from the tree.


It was so cold last winter that I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.


Two hippies were waiting at the bus stop along with a nun with her leg in a cast.  The first hippie asked "Sister, how did you break you leg?"  "I slipped in the bathtub."

Later the second hippie asked the first "What's a bathtub?"

"How should I know, I'm not Catholic!"


The five rules of Socialism:
1. Don't think
2. If you do think, don't speak
3. If you think and speak, don't write
4. If you think, speak and write, don't sign
5. If you think, speak, write and sign, don't be surprised


     Why do Soviet policemen always patrol in groups of three, as in fact they often do?
     One of them knows how to read, one knows how to add, while the third is there to observe the two suspected intellectuals.


     How does the Soviet Constitution differ from the American?

     Under the Soviet Constitution citizens are guaranteed freedom of speech, but under the United States constitution they are guaranteed freedom after speech.


Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please act now!

You only have four and a half hours left.

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held here at Notes From A Homeschooling Mom.

This will be the 427th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

Blog Carnival seems to be down, so you'll need to email your submission directly to:

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

I was going to post this reminder earlier this morning, but our internet access went down about 5:00 AM.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling