On Education

Sunday, August 31, 2008

This is an interesting article on formal education and learning. Obviously there are differing opinions on this subject; however, no matter where you stand on the issue, I have little doubt you'll find it thought provoking.

And if you are homeschooling this year, I just have to share these links:
Check out the great homescooling blogs at the Homeschool Blog Awards
I love Colleen's blog for new unschoolers.
More on unschooling
Don't miss this article by Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll
These are just a few fine resources I've stumbled upon lately. There are loads more out there. If you have a favorite please share it in the comments of this post.

And lastly, a few favored quotes:
Education is..."The inculcation of the incomprehensible into the ignorant by the incompetent."
Josiah Stamp

"Education is a state-controlled manufactory of echoes."
Norman Douglas

"It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not…"
Albert Einstein

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
Mark Twain

"Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire."
William B. Yeats, poet

Labor Day Lessons

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beyond burgers and beach time, Labor Day is a celebration of the community contributions of everyday workers in America. Do you know the history of Labor Day? This is a perfect opportunity to teach little ones about the jobs people do that keep our communities running. Apples4theteacher has some great resources including suggested reading lists and coloring pages for preschool and early elementary ages. Check out Kids turn central for discussion points on what working teaches us. And visit The Holiday Spot for more history and a comparison of wages by state. For even more fun printables, don't miss about.com's homeschooling page.

Over the holiday weekend our family will be hitting a museum, laboring in the yard and having a good old fashioned American barbeque. So, how do you plan on celebrating?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Revelling in the first taste of birthday cake...ahhh, life is sweet!

Pet Peeve Tuesday

I recently visited Mommywizdom's blog and stumbled on her Pet Peeve Tuesday meme. Have to say, I like it. A little venting now and then cleanses the soul. So I've decided to participate. Here goes:

My pet peeve is when I'm out with my kids, say grocery shopping, and some one comments on how cute or sweet or well behaved they are (eh hum...just play along) and then they take it a step further and actually tickle or squeeze my child. Uh, yeah, hands off the kids lady. They don't like it and I sure as hell don't think it's appropriate. I'm sure you are nice and germ-free and have no psychological disorders and all, but still, it's a little creepy and kids hate that stuff. Admire them if you wish, but just as I tell them (several times a day), keep your hands to yourself!

For more Pet Peeves click here.

The Daily Dog Bone

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today was a very sad and difficult day for me. After a few days of limping from what I had thought was arthritis, I took Max to the vet, which was in itself a challenge with three kids in tow. After an hour long wait to see the doc, an x-ray was taken and the diagnosis came. Bone Cancer. Osteosarcoma. It was a total shock. Not at all what I was expecting from the limp and some swelling at his wrist joint. After reading up on it now, I should have known better. I should have known more, questioned more at previous vet visits, researched more, done more...but here we are. And I am beside myself with grief.
As far as blogging about it, I have so much to say and so few words. Perhaps in a few days I'll get my thoughts together. For now, I am just too sad and too tired. Max was put on pain medication and it was not recommended that we pursue surgery or any rigorous protocol. He is what they call an elderly Dane, a senior at 6 years old. He seems far too old for his young age and I long for the days when he would run laps in the yard like a crazy rabbit. I simply can't imagine life without him.
If you have an inclination to prayer would you please say one for my dear sweet Max, for whom I have boundless love and devotion. He is such a good-hearted soul, kind and gentle, silly and sweet. May the days he has left here in the earthly world be joyful ones. May he know how very much he is loved and valued. May he not suffer, but find comfort and peace.

Sweet Summer Days Slippin' Away

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It is hard to believe that summer is already winding down. Where did the time go? I haven't even been to the beach once! I grew up visiting the beach regularly. And, there was a time when I spent every weekend at the beach, from mid-April through September, relaxing with friends, reading, swimming, it was wonderful. Since then I have moved a little farther from the shore, gotten hitched, gotten a dog and birthed three babies, so I am a little busier. And I'll admit a trip to the shore is much less relaxing when you can't sit down for more than 60 seconds before someone needs tending to. Still, I never thought I'd go a whole summer without a single beach day...sigh.

I have at least made it to the pool a few times and it has been great fun to see the kids get braver and stronger as swimmers. We've had plenty of cook outs, fireworks, road trips, park days, evening walks and loads and loads of ice cream. Some of my all time favorite memories are of lazy summer days and the playfulness and freedom that accompanies them.

Now school days are creeping closer. Every one seems a bit more serious. There are jack o lanterns and spider webs on the store shelves. The days are getting shorter and soon the balmy breezes will turn cooler and the sun's glow a little paler. I will miss the warmth, the freedom, the splashy wet giggles, and the squinty sun-sparkled smiles on my kids' bronzed little faces.
Oh, I always enjoy the first chilly days when I can slip back into my favorite jeans, or cozy up in a soft sweater. And it's hard to beat the joy of holiday family reunions. But, as another year marches on I'll look back at the warmth and the bliss of the sun-drenched summery days and yearn for them once more.

Sweet summer memories...

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

At the toe nail shop

On our recent trip to NC, we had a girls day out. After much urging from the hubinator, I agreed to go to the salon for a pedicure. I have never done this before (gasp!) and he insisted that I deserved to relax a little. He is thoughtful and sweet, and I'm sure he was tired of sleeping next to my terribly neglected crusty old toes.

My mother-in-law graciously offered to treat me and my 3 year old to a girls day out. While it felt a little strange, (I am not accustomed to someone else "serving" me, and it made me a little uncomfortable) I have to say that it was quite refreshing to be pampered a little. My daughter was absolutely thrilled and so very well behaved. I was amazed. I couldn't believe how long she sat still...no wiggling, no whining and no smudges! She loved every minute of it.

When we returned home she proudly told her father and big brother that she picked out her, "bwoo polish at the toe nail shop and yady painted plowers on it" for her. I snapped some pics to cement the memory. It was a real treat and something I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with my daughter and her Mamaw.

Meet the Tarheels

The hubinator is a huge college football fan. And while watching football is not my favorite pass-time (I'd rather read a book, or blog) I have to admit to getting the fever at a live game. As he was born and raised in NC, dh is a Tarheel fan all the way. Following in his foot steps, my 6 year old, Aiden, has become a fanatic as well. So, when we heard about the "Meet the Tarheels" day at Keenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, of course, we had to go. We donned our best Carolina blue and hit the road singing "Rah rah Carolina" all the way; except for my three year old, who always sings Dave Matthews.
Despite being quite a hot day, it was loads of fun. Chapel Hill is a beautiful place and the UNC campus was a buzz with students returning to school and freshman lugging boxes of books to their dorms. We met some players, had our mini Tarheel helmet autographed and tested our passing arms with the kids on the field. Aiden and hubbie were in heaven and it was a memorable day.

Parenting Help - cheaper than therapy...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As a member of a few homeschooling group lists, I have recently seen some questions on how to parent a difficult child, (more likely a child going through a difficult phase) or how to handle highly active kids. Though I do not consider myself a parenting expert, at all (some days I wonder if I should even be a parent lol!), I do have experience in handling difficult children...I have three of my own, (children I mean, not necessarily difficult, well not all the time anyway) and I previously worked as a nanny for several years. One of the things I find most helpful in dealing with emotional issues with kids is reading to them about these feelings. This gives you a non-confrontational way to start a conversation on the topic of behavior; or, at least a way for them to see other kids (characters) in similar situations handling similar problems. At our house, have several books on anger and jealousy as well as feelings in general, and though they are not a magic fix, they do help to create self-awareness and confidence in one's own ability to handle what life throws your way.
To that end, I wanted to share a resource that I have found very useful, Parenting Press. They offer a wide array of books on parenting and child behavior for adults and children as well as weekly parenting tips. Many books can be found at local retailers too, but this site has some you won't find else where. It's worth a look. What parent couldn't use a little advice or support now and then?

From Ramblings, Rants & Remedies: I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)

Monday, August 11, 2008

This is too funny, and too good not to share. Check out this post from Natalie's blog and get your smile (and goove) on!

Ramblings, Rants & Remedies: I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)

Good Sports

If you have boys in the house, you know how important sports are to them. My 6 year old son has shown a propensity for athleticism practically since birth. He seems to be adept at whatever sport he chooses to pick up. I, on the other hand, have never been particularly gifted in this arena. (That's not to say girls can't be sporty, my 3 year old sweetie seems to hold her own pretty well against her big brother). It is a good thing that Aiden has a real love of sports, because I have no idea how we would channel all of that energy otherwise!

With the Olympics getting in full swing, it is a great time to incorporate some history, geography, physics and sociology into a lesson on the Olympic Games. There are lots of resources available online and at the library so have some fun with it.

We spent last weekend at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as an extension of our lessons. The kids (and grown ups too) had a great time with all the interactive games...basketball, football, soccer, baseball, Nascar racing, horse racing, and more. It was very entertaining. My favorite part was watching my two oldest galloping around in their horse costumes, yeeeeee haw!

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Word of the day:
despondent adj. in low spirits; dejected

Feeling despondent, I opted to stay at home rather than venture out with friends for a birthday celebration.

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Friday, August 8, 2008

And the word for today...as was true last Friday, is a Sniglet.
Twinch (twinch) - n. The movement a dog makes with its head when it hears a high-pitched noise.

If you'd like to play with the word nerd, just post today's word on your blog and use it in a sentence. Then add your link to Mr. Linky below. Enjoy!

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The word for today is peevish.
peevish"adj. querulous in mood or temperament, perversely obstinate, crotchety
Definition compliments of Merriam-Webster

Her peevishness led me to the swift conclusion that forgoing a daily nap was indeed unwise.

More on Squirrels

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We were touched and fascinated by the baby squirrel that literally landed in our front yard yesterday. After wishing him well and sending him off with a wildlife rehabilitator, we did some more digging to find out just who these crazy little fuzzballs, that scamper through our yard, really are.
Here's what we found:
- There are 10 species of squirrel in North America, the most common are the red/brown squirrel that lives in evergreens and eats the seeds of pine cones and the gray squirrel that lives in woods of oaks and beeches and eats beech nuts and acorns. The one we found was a gray squirrel.
- Squirrels typically live in trees, in holes in the trunk or treetop crow's nests, called dreys. These dreys sometimes have two rooms and a nursery (about as big as my house).
-Mature squirrels, one year and older, mate one to two times a year, having litters in spring and sometimes again in summer. The female usually has 2 to 6 kittens per litter.
-The kittens nurse during their first seven weeks and are totally blind to about eight weeks.
-Squirrels can live up to 10 to 12 years of age but most live only to 6 years of age. Urban squirrels rarely reach age one before being killed by automobiles.
-Typical predators (of the non-human variety) are hawks, wildcats, foxes, owls, raccoons and opossums.
-Every fall the squirrel spends it's day gathering nuts and seeds and hiding them to last through winter and even into fall. It hides them in hundreds of different locations, marking them with it's scent. This way if another squirrel were to find on the others would still be saved. It hides far more than it will eat or recover, and many eventually grow into trees. Because of this the squirrel is responsible for planting more trees than all of mankind.
For more squirrel fun click here.

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Today's word is ubiquitous.
ubiquitous adj. existing or being everywhere, esp. at the same time; omnipresent: ubiquitous fog; ubiquitous little ants.
Definition compliments of dictionary.com.
Any mom with more than one child knows that to be ubiquitous would be divine.
If you'd like to play along with the word of the day, just post the word on your blog with your own sentence and link back here with Mr. Linky.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Check out more Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Some lessons fall right into your lap...

or your front yard. Look what the kids found this evening, squealing in the grass in our yard. So cute and helpless was he. He couldn't even open his eyes. My heart sank immediately thinking this poor tiny creature, who evidently fell from a nest in a tall pine tree above our yard, will certainly never make it. After shooing the kids away from it, I ran in to my computer to Google "what to do if you find a baby squirrel." To my surprise, within about a minute I had the number for a woman in our neighborhood who was a certified rehabilitator of small mammals. Who knew?! I called her up and she was on her way. To the rescue. I was quite relieved. Meanwhile, my kids had gotten their doctor's kits out and were listening to his "heart beep" on a stethoscope. My 6 year old was on high alert, adamant about protecting him from stalking birds. I did as the woman had instructed and wrapped the little bugger in a soft blanket to keep him warm. Apparently it is OK to pick them up, carefully. He instantly stopped crying and fell asleep. I snapped a few quick photos and before long he was on his way to a new home where I hope he will grow and thrive. My dream for him is that he will be returned to a life outdoors where he can run, climb trees, fight with other squirrels over acorns and pine cones, and steal bird seed out of bird feeders like the one on our back deck. At least that's what all the cool squirrels seem to be doing these days.

5 Minutes for Mom Summer Fun Photo Contest

5 Minutes for Mom has some fabulous giveaways and contest, as well as great reviews and resources for all things mommy. I've decided to enter their latest photo contest entitled "Summer Fun." Here's my pic. Be sure to check out more summer fun at the best mom site around.

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Today's word is fatuous.
fatuous adj. inanely foolish and unintelligent; stupid
definition compliments of Webster's New Millennium Dictionary.

Before my morning coffee, I tend to ramble fatuously.

If you'd like to play along, just post the Word of the Day on your blog with your own sentence using the word and add your link to Mr. Linky.

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Monday, August 4, 2008

vociferous adj. noisy; clamorous. insistent.
We are currently in the throes of separation anxiety and even my daily shower must be endured with a vociferous eleven month old wailing outside the shower door.

If you'd like to play along with The Word Nerd, simply post the word of the day on your blog with a sentence using the word and add your link to Mr. Linky. Cheers.

Look Out World, Here I Come!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

40 weeks of pregnancy: exhausting.
4 hours of child labor without drugs: excruciating.
Watching your 11 month old's giddiness at learning to walk: priceless.

For some reason this video is showing up even darker online than on my computer, so I apologize for the poor quality. But, because of the momentous moment I just had to share it with our extended family.

And the winners are...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Congratulations to the two lucky winners of my Bloggy Giveaway Carnival prizes!
The winner of the Mom Pack, which includes a $10 Starbucks gift card, a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card and a one year subscription to Harper's Bazaar is You + Me = Us, lucky number 204. I do not have an email address for you, however, so if you do not contact me within 3 days I will draw another winner.

And the winner of the Rising Star Learning CD-Rom is Kathy #18, who has been contacted via email.

A big thanks to all those who entered and for all your great comments. It has been great fun making some new friends. Please come back and visit soon!

The Word Nerd: Word of the Day

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ok, since it's Friday and I'm feelin' a little froggie, lack of sleep probably, I've decided the word of the day should be a sniglet. If you'd like to play along post the word and definition on your blog with your own sentence using the word and add your name to the Mr. Linky list.
Thanks for playing and check back next Monday for more Word Nerd fun.

Bargue (bar' gyoo) - v. To whine, fuss, and complain a great deal while at the same time trying to get someone to see your point of view. Ex: The young child bargued with his father until his father gave in and let him stay up past his bedtime.


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