Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scarry Updates

Check this out -- side by side comparison of Richard Scarry's The Best Word Book Ever editions from 1963 and 1991. Be sure to read the comments -- some are hysterical! Particularly funny are the comments on the page demonstrating sex change by a simple ribbon.

Thanks to my DH for finding and sharing this gem which he found on bookslut.

By the way, Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever (1995) contains original versions of some of these pages. I knew I had seen the 'beautiful screaming lady' recently.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Museums and Patches

and miscellaneous homeschool information

I recently picked up a brochure from the library about the Virginia Association of Museums. Their website has all kinds of information on it -- including a listing of various museums throughout the state.

There is also a Time Travelers program in which many of the museums participate. The 2005 program is over, but the 2006 program will begin in March. I was told to check the website in February for more information.

Finally, when I shared this information with other homeschoolers, I learned about another resource for activities (and patches).

So many things to do!

I wanted to give a little linky love to my friend Stephanie. She writes about her homeschooling journey with her sons and is a great source of information generally and especially if you're interested in learning more about right-brained learners. And here's a post I really enjoyed about typical homeschool learning (i.e. there is nothing typical about it).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Harvest Home

I'm a bit tired of the whole Thanksgiving rigamarole (the crowds, the traffic, the stress, the whole dysfunctional family thing), but I've enjoyed reading this book to my daughter and I learned a lot about the history of harvest home feasts. I found a richness that I hadn't in the typical American story of Pilgrams and Indians.

Unfortunately, I've recently developed a friendship with someone who is opening my eyes a bit more than I wanted -- not unfortunate to have such a friend, just unfortunate because I was so enjoying my slumber. Anyway, reading about what happens in poultry slaughterhouses does put a bit of a cloud over the feast. Well, this was foreseeable, I knew Thich Nhat Hanh's angry chicken theory wasn't going to leave me alone.(1)

Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and I'm passing along a link that I received from a good friend with a great sense of humor!

(1) See Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh, below is an excerpt, taken from this website

Nowadays, chickens are raised in large-scale modern farms where they cannot walk, run, or seek food in the soil. They are fed solely by humans. They are kept in small cages and cannot move at all. Day and night they have to stand. Imagine that you have no right to walk or to run. Imagine that you have to stay day and night in just one place. You would become mad. So the chickens become mad.

....There is a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and much suffering in the chickens. They express their anger and frustration by attacking the chickens next to them....

So when you eat the flesh or egg of such a chicken, you are eating anger and frustration. So be aware. Be careful what you eat. If you eat anger, you will become and express anger. If you eat despair, you will express despair. If you eat frustration, you will express frustration.

The ultimate point was that if you are not a vegetarian, at least seek out organic, free-range poultry that lived more freely and therefore were not angry.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Girls' Wardrobe Choices

nothing startling in this opinion piece. Maybe I should have sent in my opinion piece. Right.

No Surprises Here

Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in
your reality. You are an unschooler. You will
tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort.
Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on
everything. If your school had an anthem, it
would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kids Are Getting Older Younger

so says an analyst discussing popular toys this holiday season as reported in the Washington Post.
Analyst John G. Taylor of Arcadia Investment Corp. said the trend is part of a broader sociological change that he calls "age compression."
The article goes on to say:
Toys R Us, for example, predicts that Mattel's shimmering doll Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (based on the best-selling DVD, of course) will be one of the top new toys for children ages 2 to 4.
In some ways, playing with Barbies at ages 2 to 4 seems about right these days and its a welcome relief from those slutty looking Bratz dolls (oh wow, there are some fun articles out there about this line). But it definitely is a downward trend. I was still playing with Barbies at age 11, I think, though that was definitely the twilight of my Barbie playing days.
I'm generally pretty neutral on the Barbie issue, though I remember reading someone somewhere (and I wish I could cite and give credit to the writer) bemoaning that younger and younger children are playing with Barbies because of her adult body (can't say adult proportions because those don't exist in nature -- hmmm...anyone study the link between breast augmentation and Barbie play? There might be one.). Food for thought. I played with lots of Barbies as a kid and other than a penchant for long, fluffy blond hair and tight clothes, I turned out fine.
Anyway, I thought that with the holiday season impending, I would share some venues for more 'childish' children's toys:
The Magic Cabin -- for those familiar with the Waldorf method of education, you'll find lots of Waldorf type toys here. Their toys encourage the use of imagination -- you won't find prepackaged Barbie or superheroes fantasy stories to reenact here. Its all about gnomes and elves and fairies and stories your kids make up themselves. Okay, so I've only purchased from them once, I bought a wooden nesting rainbow because I thought it would be great for open-ended play. My kids do play with it sometimes. Our home is filled with toys, so they go in cycles of what they play with. I will be placing another order as my daughter has requested a doll bicycle basket for Christmas.
HearthSong -- their offerings are similar to the above. In fact, I first received The Magic Cabin catalog in a shipment from HearthSong. My impression is that TMC is more overtly Waldorf-y. My dds each have a large doll they received as gifts that came from this catalog and they love them. I may have to place an order from here because my oldest wants an accordian?! I really don't know where that came from, but what the heck.
One of the best toys we've ever received was a large set of blocks -- these are played with almost on a daily basis (usually while I'm doing an exercise tape). Another set of blocks was a gift from HearthSong, these are nice because they are colorful.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Junior National Park Rangers

We visited a local national park recently and I was looking at a display of Junior National Park Ranger badges and thought it was an interesting program.

Our local park has such a program and from what the Ranger there told me and showed me, they give you a short activity booklet that your child works on [ages 5 to 7]. There is a different activity book for older kids. He said it need not be done in one visit, that it could be over the course of a few visits. After the child completes it, they get a pin [I'm not thrilled about the rewards aspect of it, but I suppose if the child is motivated to do it for its own sake and not just to get the pin, that I can deal].

The link above has a list of all the National Parks that have this program and links to them.

Freedom in Education

I may have linked to this in the past, but I'll do it again. This is a website by the author of one of my favorite homeschooling books (One-to-One) and his daughter. I was just reading their very anti-institutional school newsletter for the month. I loved it, of course, because I find encouragement in it.

I especially enjoy this site because they are European. Sometimes its a relief to get away from U.S.-centric thinking.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Social Skills Suffer with Too Much Preschool

So says this article. I haven't read it yet, I'm posting it here mainly to preserve it for myself to read later.

Here's another, less recent, one. Again, its for my reading pleasure later. I've been known to beat the anti-UP drum.

Though many feel that preschool is important and are willing to lay out the bucks. Even those across the pond.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Don't Give Me Credit

I was talking with a friendly acquaintance the other day. I don't know her well enough to call her friend, but if we had the time and inclination, I think we would be great friends. I've always liked her.

We were chatting about our lives and our kids. She told me where her kids were going to school and she asked about mine. She had known that I was planning to homeschool.

At one point, she said that she gives me credit for homeschooling. While I appreciate the compliment, I can't accept it. I'm not doing a good, selfless thing by homeschooling -- I'm actually being very selfish.

I want to enjoy my life and that means not being a slave to the clock and the calendar. I want my kids to be able to follow their interests and learn at their own pace without being labelled in any way. Even a positive label is a negative thing that puts you in a box. Being called 'gifted' is as much of a trap as being called 'learning disabled' or 'special needs.'

I want to rejoice in my children's special gifts, in their uniqueness without being tempted into competition with others. Especially when that competition is the hell of arrogance and fear that comes with kids who 'advanced.' That only leads to looking over your shoulder and the dread that one day, someone will outdo you (because its really about you and not your kids). Of course, I don't want that gripping fear of worrying that my kids are behind, either. When we're 'at home', we are us, fearfully and wonderfully made.

I don't want others who deem themselves experts telling me that I don't know my child and making it so by taking her away from me for a large part of the day. I've heard many stories of parents being tapped for all sorts of slavish duties -- running the fundraisers, planning the parties, providing the food -- but I also hear of how they are cut off from their children's learning, often treated as if they are interfering.

I don't deserve any credit and I don't want any credit. I just want the freedom to homeschool without undue interference.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'm a 7

No, not out of 10...

Enneagramfree enneagram test

I'm reading a book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram. In addition to using the book to determine my personality type, I thought I'd head over to their website and take the on-line quiz. The results are consistent.

I am trapped in a cycle -- I took a similar quiz on another website awhile ago and kwakersaur noted in the comments that it was probably based on the enneagram. Actually, I remembered his comment and thats why I grabbed the book when I came across it. I think the book will help me use this knowledge because its not about simply knowing what our personality is, but what its strengths and weaknesses our and how it affects our spiritual journey.

I'm really enjoying the book and hoping it will lead me to a spiritual breakthrough as I've been stalled for quite some time now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fairies and Fat Men

The link in my last post reminded me to update my readers regarding my outlook on the tooth fairy.

Since Suzanne actually lost her first tooth, there was nothing to put under the pillow. She never asked about the tooth fairy and I thought, phew, dodged a bullet. But later, I figured out she really would like a visit from the TF and just thought she couldn't get one. I told her the TF would visit if she wanted, so that night, I put a little magnetic chess set under her pillow. In the morning, she asked where I got the chess set and how I got it under her pillow. So, she clearly understands that the TF is a story and the real giver is mom.

This time, she put the tooth under her pillow and I asked what she wanted. "A paper doll, one of the ones that I made." Wow, I'm getting off cheap.

As to Santa -- he's not my favorite guy and I'm not playing up the myth by telling her stories pretending that he's real. I'll treat him as any other mythology -- isn't it a neat story? Plus a lot of historical background. I tried telling her only nativity stories in years past and then I hear her telling her sister about Santa's reindeer. I don't even know where she learned it. Oh well, as long as I emphasize that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ, if she wants to talk Santa to others, fine.

Loosing Teeth

Suzanne, 5 and 5 months, just lost her second tooth today. It didn't fall out, I pulled it out amidst much 'complaint.' Her adult tooth had grown up behind it and I kept waiting for it to fall out. I asked many people for their opinions and went with the advice to wait it out and encourage her to wiggle the baby tooth.

Every evening before I brushed her teeth, she'd tell me that she wiggled it. I think by 'wiggled' she meant she touched it, because that thing was not progressing but for my aggressive wiggling once a day during which she would wail and scream. Her father, from another room, suggested that I leave it alone. I kept muttering about $60 for a dentist to yank the thing and refused. After weeks of this routine, it is finally over. As I felt the tooth give a bit this evening, I was spurred on to finish the hideous task. What a relief.

Just to check, I wiggled some of her other teeth. Great -- the tops ones are loose. I just hope they act as the first tooth did, it fell out when were were unaware of it. Otherwise, I'm auditioning for a horror movie.