Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tales of Learning

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to the Musician about her high school classes, and she mentioned that she was only one of two people in her physics class who knew what the definition of "work" was. I thought about it for a few seconds, then gave the definition. Then I laughed, and said the only way I knew the definition was because I remembered it from teaching the Musician science back when I was homeschooling. The Musician said that's how she knew it too, because she remembered our talking about it. A lot of homeschoolers dislike the style of teaching that I was using at the time, which was the usual public schooling method; I was using books that covered a lot of science topics (physics, biology, earth science) that became more complex in presentation each new school year. But obviously, some of it stuck with both her and me!

On the other hand, I tried Exploring Creation with Botany with the Dancer when she was in third grade or so. She didn't strictly remember a lot of what I read to her, but when she studied plant development in the fifth grade in public school, some of what we had talked about came back to her, and helped her digest what she was learning in fifth grade, better.

I used to read the education blog, D-Ed Reckoning, when it was still active, and many of my experiences as a mom of two students taught in various ways over the years reflect what he says in his last post. The kids who are easy to educate will learn. Find what works for you and go with it. In my case, my daughters have learned from a more traditional homeschooling style, from a more Charlotte Mason style, and from the regular public school approach. In fact, although my eldest daughter fought against the "school-at-home" method I tentatively started with as a new homeschooling mom, she told me only last week that she prefers the more rigid style of public school now.

Some of what I taught them didn't "take." They don't remember much from our course on Ancient Egypt besides learning to write their own names in hieroglyphics. I doubt they remember anything from our study of Ancient Israel besides making a model of an ancient Israeli house. Are you sensing a theme here? They also will never forget the carnation and food coloring experiment, and feel sorry for kids who never did that in school. On the other hand, I doubt they remember much of anything from the museums in Chicago to which I, as a dutiful mom, took them when Mr. BTEG was living there as a consultant. But they did learn things, and I think both of them are poised to do whatever they want with their futures.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Update and Good News

Went to the doctor this morning, and my bone fracture is healing. The doctor seemed kind of surprised at this(!); maybe it's just his years of experience talking there. I'm going back in three weeks, and may get the okay to ditch this stupid boot that I have to wear at that time. In the meantime, I get to do exercises to strengthen the muscles. I will be very thankful if surgery is not in my future.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beat the Drum, and Hold the Phone

Let me take a short break from the doom and gloom of the world to proclaim one of the sweetest phrases in the universe: "Pitchers and catchers report."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


If you give the government almost unlimited control because you agree with them, you may find out that they are using that control to do things in private that you may not agree with. Like give birth control pills, IUDs, NuvaRings and the Plan B pill to minors without parental consent. I was able to find one doctor after a quick search who disagrees with the plan to distribute birth control to students without parental consent, even though it is the Evil Fox News. The doctor has a point, however. Birth control can have serious side effects, which necessitate a thorough medical evaluation, and simple birth control does not prevent STDs. How is it right to give a minor medication, without any medical supervision, which could possibly cause blood clots, high cholesterol or high blood pressure? The NuvaRing has indeed caused blood clots which might potentially be fatal. Actually, I take this news pretty personally, because over seven years ago, my husband and I lost a friend due to a blood clot that entered his lungs. We didn't know at the time that I wrote that post what had killed him; we discovered at the funeral that time spent in bed with kidney issues caused a blood clot to move. So yes, blood clots can be fatal. No matter how hard we try, intercourse is not consequence free, no matter how much people wish it was, and risking lives to try to sweep the consequences under the rug is criminal. Risking minors' lives without the consent of their parents is even worse.

Oh, and a great couple of lines from the original article. Referring to Mona Davids, parent of the NYC Parents Union: "Davids, who is black, noted that most school-based health centers are in poor neighborhoods. 'This was population control on blacks and Latinos without our knowledge,' she said." Somewhere, Margaret Sanger is saying, "Duh."

Monday, February 04, 2013

Times Are Changing

Now that the Dancer is studying Spanish in school, she and the Musician are sharing their experiences, especially since their first year teacher is the same. The Dancer's class is learning how to express clock time in Spanish, and the Dancer informed us that the teacher had to give them times to translate presented only in digital time, as apparently many of the kids did not know how to read an analog clock. The Musician concurred that things were the same when she was in Spanish I. At the risk of once again sounding like an old curmudgeon, why is what was once a basic, very basic, skill being ignored? I don't see much value in learning Power Point but not being able to tell time using a clock face with numbers and hands. I also wonder what else is being taught, that kids don't have time to study the analog clock. I won't even bother asking where parents are in all of this.

Related, having electrical power is not something we can always take for granted, and I'm not simply talking about short term power outages due to weather or accidents. Our current president *wants* to make "electricity rates skyrocket." Electricity-generating coal plants are being shut down all over the country, including right here in my local area. Rolling black outs and power outages may become the norm in all of our futures. It was ironic to many that the Super Bowl lost power for half an hour last night after planners bragged about how "green" it would be. Germans turned to stealing wood this winter to keep their homes warm because power costs are so high. Germany, a first-world country often associated with technology innovation and precision! Yet its citizens are become reduced to relying on wood fires, and not by choice. Don't say it couldn't happen here.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Light in the Darkness

I promised that I would update once I got my light box, to let you know how it is working. Obviously, I can't peg my emotions to my environment exactly, but I can say that I am starting February in a much better place than I have for several years. I had a pretty good January as well, taking into account how much I am held back by this giant boot I have to drag around, and by not being able to drive. I am eager for new knitting projects, took tentative steps towards having my own website(s), and while I only did research on some of the other things I want to pursue, I still have the interest to follow up. I realize some of this might sound rather vague, but I don't want to reveal too much about my goals in case I don't accomplish too much. But mentally, I am doing very well.