Monday, June 30, 2014

Great advice

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

Make sure you visualize what you really want, 
not what someone else wants for you. 
 -Jerry Gillies

It is a mystery

If you have a theory or suggestion, I would be interested to hear it.

(Well, it is not so much a mystery any more.  Apparently, this symptom is common with visual processing disorders.  Now to figure out what to do about it.)

Anyone who reads our blog is probably is aware that Baby Bop (our son) has some unusual neurological processing issues. Reading is particularly difficult for him. He can memorize words, but he just can't decode the sounds that the letters make.  He has been in speech therapy since he was 18 months old. (He is almost 8 years old now).

Recently, he has hit a new developmental window and is beginning to be able to decode letters and sounds (sound out simple words). But, this bring with it an interesting side effect from this letter sound decoding: he begins to yawn almost nonstop. It is an involuntary response. He is not even aware he is doing it unless I point it out.

[He also a visual tic disorder.  When he was about 2 years old, his head would jerk to one side after a few seconds of exposure to a video screen.  Now that he is older, he can handle limited screen time without the tic showing up, but we never quite know how much is too much or if he has outgrown it altogether.]

When he is looking at site words or word that he has memorized, he doesn't yawn. As soon as he starts sounding out an unfamiliar word, he yawns. I'm not talking about small yawns either. They are big, nonstop yawns.

Today, we worked on reading. I had Baby Bop do a cartwheel or jump up and down every time he started to yawn. This would only bring a momentary pause to the yawning. As soon as he started sounding out a word, the yawns would start again.

Really, the only thing that stopped the yawning was Baby Bop jumping up and down while he was sounding out the words (which he was more than happy to do). For now, I guess he is going to be jumping up and down while reading until we can come up with a better plan.

Good TED talk: The first 20 hours -- how to learn anything: Josh Kaufman

I really enjoyed this - The first 20 hours -- how to learn anything: Josh Kaufman:

I've asked my younger two daughters to watch this.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

FYI: The Carnival of Homeschooling has been updated

I've been distracted and not kept up the archive for the Carnival of Homeschooling posted in the past.

I've updated it today.

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 Dewey's Treehouse.

This will be the 444rd 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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good TED Talk - Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

I enjoyed Amy Cuddy's TED Talk - Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are:

I do think our body language can influence how we think and act.  It clearly isn't the only factor, but it is probably 5% what impacts us.

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Sarah is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at SmallWorld.

She starts the carnival with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling!

I'm glad you're visiting here at SmallWorld at Home. Let me introduce myself for those who are new here. We have just finished our 14th year of homeschooling and will have two high schoolers—our last freshman {gulp} and a senior {triple gulp} in the upcoming year. Our oldest son—who was homeschooled all the way through— just graduated magna cum laude from college. {And the question always is: what's he doing now? I'm happy to say that he is now working for an airline for two years so that he can have FREE flights. Like, everywhere in the world. His goal? See the world and then settle back down into graduate school. He is living the dream!}

But enough about me; you're here for the Carnival! We have a little something for everyone on this homeschooling journey with this carnival, from preschool to college. Grab a cup of something cold (it's really hot down here in the South, folks) and start reading!


Monday, June 23, 2014

How busy are you?

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

Nobody is so busy that they can't make time for the people they really care about.
-Leila Sales

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at A peaceful day.

A 360 of Paris

This is pretty cool:  Paris - Panorama 360

For learning it is better to take hand written notes

Scientific American shares A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop.

I find this interesting as my second daughter will be heading off to college this fall.

The article starts with:

“More is better.”  From the number of gigs in a cellular data plan to the horsepower in a pickup truck, this mantra is ubiquitous in American culture.  When it comes to college students, the belief that more is better may underlie their widely-held view that laptops in the classroom enhance their academic performance.  Laptops do in fact allow students to do more, like engage in online activities and demonstrations, collaborate more easily on papers and projects, access information from the internet, and take more notes.  Indeed, because students can type significantly faster than they can write, those who use laptops in the classroom tend to take more notes than those who write out their notes by hand.  Moreover, when students take notes using laptops they tend to take notes verbatim, writing down every last word uttered by their professor.

The study found that when taking notes by hand the student processed the information more deeply.  And a big negative of those who had laptops was too many got distracted and used their computer for activities not related to their classes.

Hat tip:  Instapundit

My sister's impressions of homeschooling

To get a different perspective on homeschooling I asked my sister for her impressions.  Here is her response:

My first impression of homeschooling was 25 years ago of a relative’s daughter. I thought she was kind of weird. She seemed very socially awkward and overly dependent on her parents for her age.
So when my brother started a family 20 years ago and talked about homeschooling, I thought to myself 'uh-oh'. But as I have watched over the years, my opinion of homeschool has done a complete turnaround.
My brothers kids are smart, independent and socially okay... well better than okay, they are unusually great kids. Sure I am kind of a biased Aunt but I have been very impressed.
Henry's family is involved in a couple home school co-ops so the kids seem to get plenty of interaction with other kids but with a lot more adult involvement.

Through the co-ops, the kids are involved in band, plays and choir. I have attended several performances and have been impressed by the quality of the other kids in the co-op.
The smaller group size seems to provide both more options for growing talents and less possibility of getting lost in the shuffle that can happen fairly easily at a public school.

I guess it is yet to be seen what kind of adults these kids become but at this point they are smart, kind, resourceful and hardworking so I expect they will continue on that track.

Saturday, June 21, 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 SmallWorld.

This will be the 443rd 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

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Constance is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Foodie Army Wife.

She starts the carnival with:

This week I am hosting the 442nd Carnival of Homeschooling!

I know summer is in full swing, but I love to take a little bit of time to reorganize, declutter and tidy my school supplies and materials. Here’s an old picture of me from back in 2007. I came across this one the other day. One of my kiddos had snapped this of me while I was organizing the bookcases in the classroom.

Go check out her picture and the carnival.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another instance of public schools doing something crazy

Instapundit had a link to Girl, 10, not allowed to bring sunscreen on field trip due to ‘toxic’ nature.

Sunscreen is one of the best protectors from the sun, but North East Independent School District parent Christy Riggs said her child wasn’t allowed to bring sunscreen to campus and suffered the burning consequences.

Riggs said her 10-year-old daughter went on a school field trip recently and came back sun-burned. Riggs said district policy didn’t allow her daughter to bring sunscreen to reapply.

“When you have a school field trip or a field day (in) which they’re out there for an extended period of time, they should be allowed to carry sunscreen and reapply,” said Riggs.

Riggs said skin cancer runs in her family and her father recently passed away from it.

But, NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said sunscreen is considered a medication, something children need a doctor’s note to have at school.

“Typically, sunscreen is a toxic substance, and we can’t allow toxic things in to be in our schools,” Chancellor said.

Just crazy.

Saturday, June 14, 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 The Foodie Army Wife.

This will be the 442nd 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's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Chareen is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Every Bed of Roses.

She starts the carnival with:

Welcome to the 441st 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

Monday, June 09, 2014

What I have learned in 15 years of homeschooling

We have now successfully completed 15 years of homeschooling.

Here are a few things I have learned about education along the way that apply to homeschooling as well as any other educational option.

1) Children have their own time table for learning.  When parents/teachers superimpose an arbitrarily determined schedule, it doesn’t work very well.   Both the child and the parents/teachers get frustrated.  Learning and the relationship suffer.  [Yes, we had to learn this one the hard way].

2) Children with parents who are involved and invest the time get a better education.  Homeschooling parents have the advantage here because we have more power than the PTA president or a classroom volunteer.  However, parents who are on the ball make a big difference.  No program or policy can replace a good parent.

3) Successful educational programs address the needs of the whole child.  A curriculum/program that produces high SAT scores and a child with an anxiety disorder and/or a weight problem is NOT a successful program. 

4) Moral and character development are equal, if not more important, than academic learning.  If a child leaves their k-12 education lacking a work ethic and integrity, than nothing else really matters.

5) Testing, if used properly, is a tool.  We use standardize testing to find strengths and weakness in our efforts and to help plan future curriculum choices for that child.  Because each child is an individual, what works well for one child may not work for another and testing tells us that.  We don’t teach to the test.  Teaching to the test defeats the purpose of the test.

6) Flexibility is king.  Rigid curriculum/styles/programs don’t work well.  If a child knows the material, don’t waste time on that lesson.  Move on.  If the child needs or wants more time to delve more deeply into the material, stop and take the time.  This is one area where traditional classroom style education often falls short.   Unless you are teaching a room full of clones, some child is going to lose out.  There are some very talented teachers who do have the skill to meet most of the needs of a diverse classroom, but that is the exception not the rule.  This is also why sorting children by age and not ability and interest falls short. 

7) Free time matters.  Children need free time to grow and learn how to govern themselves. 

8) Children need adult supervision and interaction.  As a parent, I am NOT raising children; I am raising an adult. I want my children to have successful adults meaningfully involved in their lives to act as role models.  Your teenage needs just as much adult interaction as your toddler.

9) Technology can be your best friend and your worst enemy.   There are so many wonderful educational materials available on line.  The ease of access of information is amazing and worthwhile.  There are also many more terrible, awful, destructive, time wasters your children can find with click of a button.   You have to be the guard at the gate.   [Video games, Nintendo, WOW are not in my home for a reason.]

10.  Educational goals should be unique to the child.  Not every child is meant to be a software engineer or in an academic career.   Do not ignore the value of practical skills or non-academic professions. College is not the only track to a successful life.

Friday, June 06, 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 Every Bed of Roses.

This will be the 441st 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

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

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

Gary is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at

He starts the carnival with:

Homeschooling has it’s seasons. We all knew when we started this journey that the goal was to someday graduate. We just graduated our second son here at the Davis home. One more to go. Certainly we have mixed feelings as we see our sons become more independent but there’s joy in knowing we were there and part of their lives every step of the way. Our own Kathy tells the story as we Graduate Number Two at


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 02, 2014

My brother's perspective on homeschooling

One of my brothers lives in Anguila. Vince started homeschooling his older two boys a year ago.  The boys are now 10 and 12.  He and three of his boys are in town for a couple weeks.  We are on our way to a family reunion.  Yesterday as we traveled down the freeway I asked him about his experience with and thoughts on homeschooling.

He said they are using K to 12.  He says they are homeschoolers in the morning and unschoolers in the afternoon.  He has told his boys that once they get their assignments done they can do pretty much whatever they want.  Vince said sometimes they'll drag their feet and he won't get lunch together until they finish their assignments.

(We've just had breakfast and are about to hit the road.  I'll add some more details this evening.)

We've arrived, so so I have time to add a few more details.

Vince has his own business and is able to bring the older two boys with him when he goes to work.  He is able to work with them a bit and provide help and encouragement.  As we were driving down the freeway we got talking about how some parents get so focused on academics, both with public school and homeschooling, that the full character of the student gets ignored.  We talked about some of the people we grew up with who did great in public schools and even in college, but floundered afterwards.

Vince wants his sons to have a solid academic education.  He wants to them know how to read, write, handle math, know history and so on, but it is more important to him that they learn initiative, how to work hard, to be honest and so on.

He did have a funny comment this morning.  We were talking about having lots of children and family size.  (He has four boys total.)  He said:

"In a large family it is just not possible to spoil the kids."

It is a bit of an exaggeration, but he did point out that with several children they all have to contribute some to the family, doing chores and so on, so it is much hard for children to think they are the center of the universe.

Self-control is much more linked to success than self-esteem

One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is to pass the Marshmallow test.

Media promoting self-esteem may be detrimental, experts say reaffirms this.

I love this paragraph:

"I think one of the main reasons why this cult of self-esteem has caught on is because there's a really fundamental belief in American culture that feeling self-confident helps you succeed," Twenge said. "I think that's why it's really spread so widely. The problem is, that basic belief isn't true. Self-control is much more linked to success than self-esteem."

Life Humor 3.2

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:

Life Humor 3.2 was originally posted 4 May 1988


On the day a suit against him was to be settled in court, a
prominent congress man was called away on urgent business. He
told his attorney to notify him as soon as a judgement was handed
down. Later that day, he received a cable that read, "JUSTICE HAS
PREVAILED." The politician immediately wired back, "APPEAL AT

Favorite Bathroom Sign:
"Question authority"
beneath it
"why ?"


I had gotten lost in cryptic and ambiguous regulations, and in
total desperation called the Internal Revenue service for some

I got hold of someone thoroughly familiar with the subject of my
questions. He gave me complete and helpful answers.

I like to give positive reinforcement when I run across people
like that,  so I made it a point to say "Thank you!  You've been
really informative and helpful."  To which the IRS agent said
"I'm sorry".


What's the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector ?
The taxidermist takes only your skin.

               Mark Twain


The American ambassador visited the Romanian president.  In the
waiting room he talked with two of the ministers for five

When he entered he said to the Romanian president, "I really
don't want to bother you but I talked with two of your ministers,
and my gold watch has disappeared."  So the president answered,
"OK.  I'll take care of it," left the room and came back two
minutes later with the watch.

The ambassador said, "Thank you very much," said the ambassador.
"I hope that I didn't cause any crisis between you and them."

"That's OK," said the president.  "They did not notice."


In 1986, Silo, a discount appliance chain, ran a TV commercial
for a stereo it claimed cost only "299 bananas."  Sure enough,
dozens of customers in Seattle and El Paso took the TV spots
literally and brought in 11,000 bananas. Silo honored its pledge,
accepted the fruit as payment, and lost $10,465 on the stereos.


"An Elementary Look at Campaigns and Elections"

(Every year, teacher Mike Wilson of Ballwin, Missouri has his
elementary-school students study the presidential election
process in America.  From the resulting essays and exam papers,
Wilson has culled some gems of youthful insight and wisdom, not
to mention skepticism worth of a politics-weary adult.  As the
1984 presidential election grows near, we offer some of Wilson's

Did you ever think what I used to think about candidates running
neck-and-neck?  Well it is not true.

Universal suffrage means that even the illegible get to vote.

Calling a person a runner-up is the polite way of saying you

The difference between a king and a president is that a king is
the son of his father but a president is not.

What I learned about elections is that we aren't really getting
to elect the president.  It is some people in a college who get
to.  I have not decided what to do about it yet but I am not
going to just sit around.

It is possible to get the majority of electoral votes without
getting the majority of popular votes.  Anyone who can ever
understand how this works gets to be president.

Some of our presidents never did much else and are famous only
because they became president.

The more I think about trying to run for president the less I
think of it.

The president has the power to appoint and disappoint the members
of his cabinet.

Much has been said about balancing the budget.  It has been found
that the budget is more talkable than balanceable.

The campaign is when the candidate tells what he stand for and
the election is when the votes tell if they can stand for his
being elected.

Actually, elections are different from politics.  Elections come
and go while politics are with us all the time.

The winning candidate is elected and inoculated.

In January, the president makes his Inaugural Address after he
has been sworn at.

Once he is elected, sometimes the president has to work 24 hours
a day until he finds out what he is supposed to do.

The nominees are usually called candidates or campaigners
although I have heard them called other things.

One of the strictest rules is all dark horses running for
president must be people.

Popular votes tell who is the most popular.  Electoral votes tell
who is the most elected.

Heredity is a bad thing in politics because it gets us kings
instead of presidents.

A caucus is something people vote in.  Sort of a small booth.

An overwhelming favorite is a candidate that often comes over to
the convention and whelms the delegates.

The jobs of delegates is to resent their states.

Noncommittal is to be able to talk and talk without saying

When the radio mentions a landslide, cross your fingers and hope
it is talking about an election.

A dark horse is a candidate that the delegates don't know enough
about to dislike yet.

Political science is to try to figure out what makes candidates
act that way.

A split ticket is when you don't like any of them on the ticket
so you tear it up.

When they talk about the most promising presidential candidate,
they mean the one who can think of the most things to promise.

Elephants and donkeys never fought until politics came along.

Political strategy is when you don't let people know you have run
out of ideas and keep shouting anyway.

A candidate should always renounce his words carefully.

We are learning how to make our election results known quicker
and quicker.  It is our campaigns we are having trouble getting
any shorter.

One of the mainest rules of campaigning is you are not allowed to
go on a whistle-stop tour without a train.

Politician is the bawling out name for a candidate you don't

Speaking of defeat, candidates are told never to.

Campaigns give us a great deal of happiness by their finally

[ Reported collection source, Ford Times ]


At the risk of starting another net storm with Yet Another Stupid
Robber Joke

(YASRJ) messages, a friend recently showed me a clipping from a
newspaper which I though I'd pass along to all the netlanders who
enjoy seeing and collecting bits of stupidity.  After all isn't
this what rec.humor (no  crossposing here) is supposed to be
CLUTTERED UP with anyway?  That was a rhetorical question - so
don't bother answering.
...without further ADIEU...

About Banking...

  According to the FBI, most modern-day bank robberies are
"unsophisticated and unprofessional crimes," committed by young
male repeat offenders who  apparently don't know the first thing
about their business.  This information was included in an
interesting, amusing article titles "How Not to Rob a Bank," by
Tim Clark, which appeared in the 1987 edition of The Old Farmers

  Clark reported that in spite of the widespread use of
surveillance cameras, 76 percent of bank robbers use no disguise,
86 percent never study the bank before robbing it, and 95 percent
make no long-range plans for concealing the loot.  Thus, he
offered this advice to would-be bank robbers, along with
examples of what can happen if the rules aren't followed:

  1. Pick the right bank.  Clark advises that you don't follow
the lead of the fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a
bank that was no longer in  business and had no money.  On the
other hand, you don't want to be too  familiar with the bank.  A
California robber ran into his mother while making his getaway.
She turned him in.

  2. Approach the right teller.  Granted, Clark says, this is
harder to plan. One teller in Springfield, Mass., followed the
holdup man out of the bank and down the street until she saw him
go into a restaurant.  She hailed a passing police car, and the
police picked him up.  Another teller was given a holdup note by
a robber, and her father, who was next in line, wrestled the man
to the  ground and sat on him until authorities arrived.

  3. Don't sign your demand note.  Demand notes have been written
on the back  of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in
Pittsburgh, on an envelope bearing the name and address of
another in Detroit, and in East Hartford,  Conn., on the back of
a withdrawal slip giving the robber's signature and account

  4. Beware of dangerous vegetables.  A man in White Plains,
N.Y., tried to hold up a bank with a zucchini.  The police
captured him at his house, where he showed them his "weapon."

  5. Avoid being fussy.  A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a
teller a note saying, "I have a gun.  Give me all your twenties
in this envelope."  The  teller said, "All I've got is two
twenties."  The robber took them and left.

  6. Don't advertise.  A holdup man thought that if he smeared
mercury ointment on his face, it would make him invisible to the
cameras.  Actually, it  accentuated his features, giving
authorities a much clearer picture.  Bank robbers in Minnesota
and California tried to create a diversion by throwing  stolen
money out of the windows of their cars.  They succeeded only in
drawing attention to themselves.

  7. Take right turns only.  Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in
Florida who took a wrong turn and ended up on the Homestead Air
Force Base.  They drove up to a military police guardhouse and,
thinking it was a tollbooth, offered the security men money.

  8. Provide your own transportation.  It is not clever to borrow
the teller's car, which she carefully described to police.  This
resulted in the most  quickly solved bank robbery in the history
of Pittsfield, Mass.

  9. Don't be too sensitive.  In these days of exploding dye
packs, stuffing  the cash into your pants can lead to
embarrassing staining, Clark points out, not to mention severe
burns in sensitive places--as bandits in San Diego and Boston
painfully discovered.

  10. Consider another line of work.  One nervous Newport, R.I.,
robber, while  trying to stuff his ill-gotten gains into his
shirt pocket, shot himself in the head and died instantly.  Then
there was the case of the hopeful criminal in Swansea, Mass.,
who, when the teller told him she had no money, fainted. He was
still unconscious when the police arrived.

  In view of such ineptitude, it is not surprising that in 1978
and 1979, for example, federal and state officers made arrests in
69 percent of the bank holdups reported.