Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Beginning in mid-January, I expect to start a middle school age group to do the previously mentioned free chemistry curriculum. I am looking forward to that. And the experience may provoke a blog note or two. PRM
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Generally this is a boring time for us but this year I have enjoyed having Yakov home from college. He came home Wednesday and is leaving this morning to join some of his friends from his year in Israel for a 10 day reunion.
While he has been here, I have loved watching him, JP and Noach jam after dinner each evening. Noach received a banjo for Chanukah and he has been working hard trying to play it. An envious Yakov tries to play it as well. The guitars come out and music swells, cooperative and competitive. I love it. PRM
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Now it is Friday morning and I can relax. I will spare you the pictures but no problems were found during the colonoscopy. I suspect I talked quite a bit and who knows what I said? The root canal was essentially painfree yesterday. Love those endodontists; they are good.
This is what you have to deal with when you get to a certain age. And well beyond a certain age. PRM
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The focus is, as the title suggests, more about their marriage than his presidency. And it is a marriage that, as they say on Facebook, is "complicated." Franklin was a very needy man, who was accustomed to great attention from his adoring mother, and thus wanted adoring people around him all the time. No one person could have met Franklin's needs. Eleanor who grew up without loving parents always felt the need to earn any affection she received. Both wanted lots of people around all the time and the White House almost seemed like a boarding house and their property at Hyde Park like a commune or summer camp.
Despite infidelity on his part and quite possibly on hers, Eleanor and Franklin were inextricably linked and dependent on each other. There was a shared sense of purpose and trust in the judgment of the other. BTW this book is not a repetition of juicy gossip but an examination of the marriage, the alliance of two prominent people and how they respected each other and worked together but also worked around each other at times. PRM
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I have become convinced that inquiry is the way to present science to children. I also think scientific inquiry is best done in small groups rather than with a single homeschooled kid. Peer interaction is essential, I think. And the adult needs to be more facilitator than teacher. I did this 2 years ago with 4 kids, 10 to 13 yo. I used Teaching Physics with Toys by Taylor, Poth and Portman as the outline for our activities. I enjoyed it and I think they did, too. Inquiry in Action would have been wonderful to use with my group.
Inquiry in Action
Middle School Chemistry
On the ACS website, there is so much material I can only link a few. Just go look.
Cool Science where there are links to some ChemMatters articles such as Chemistry of Fireworks and Chemistry in the Kitchen.
ChemMatters, a quarterly journal for high school students. I love to read this myself.
Science for Kids, with activities for younger kids.
And Reel Science, a site with reviews of science in movies such as Inception and Food, Inc. This looks great.
Enjoy science. PRM
Saturday, November 20, 2010
What prompted this train of thought was this post at I.N.K. blog. I read this blog regularly because some of our favorite authors blog there and I learn about new books as well as older books that are new to me. If you read the article, click through to Joy Hakim's article in the Washington Post. It will make you glad you homeschool, if you do. (And if you read the comments on the post, just know that the grammatical error in mine is driving me crazy but I don't know how to correct published comments.)
Oh, another blog I discovered this week, Book-A-Day Almanac. So many new books.
Noach is different. He has little interest in reading anything not specifically assigned. Neither fiction, nor nonfiction. This is hard for me but I am adjusting. Slowly. And I read a lot of books to myself. PRM
Friday, November 19, 2010
An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.
Roger Ailes, of FOX News who says this about the executives at NPR, "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view." Gee, who is really talking about?
Ailes speaking about Jon Stewart, "He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It'd be a bomb." Could he be talking about his whole FOX enterprise?
Rush Limbaugh accuses Democrats of being racists and then suggests that Rep. Jim Clyburn get the House position of "drivin' Miss Nancy." The blackness of Obama has brought out the black heart of Rush like nothing else.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thus each week there is an essay being researched and written in rough draft and another in the editing phase. Editing is difficult for Noach since any discussion of the paper seems like criticism to him. After seeing a review on Strewing: Unschooling Resources last week, I am thinking about using WriteGuide.com in January. Noach improved his writing greatly last spring while doing K12 lit with a teacher and I think this could be used in a similar way. The assignments could come from OM and the time commitment would not be much greater than it is right now. Having another person to work with rather than me is definitely better for shalom beit. And shalom beit is important. PRM
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Last week, Week 5, was the Bill of Rights. He wrote an essay on the pros and cons of the First Amendment. Can you think of any topic more timely? We have had some wonderful discussions. The Supreme Court is considering a case involving the obnoxious Fred Phelps and his "church". The speech is hateful but legal. And I for one cannot condone limiting it. (Now I don't feel the same for Koch Industries but that's another post.)
Yesterday there was the case of the young activist stomped on the head/neck at a Rand Paul event. In the past it was common to have protesters at political events but the people who swear they love the Constitution have a problem with tolerating free speech.
This curriculum is rigorous, just ask Noach. He has one long and 2 short essays to write this week on freedom of religion. He is working on a 3 or 4 week paper, begun last week, on the Fred Phelps case. Also he has an ongoing project collecting news articles that illustrate the Bill of Rights. I had to resubscribe to the local newspaper for the year and I have to admit that I have enjoyed reading it daily. I just wish I could justify the expense of the NY Times. Many of the assignments are discussions rather than essays and he will be going to City Council meetings later in the year.
I highly recommend this. And it is especially relevant during an election cycle. PRM
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Wildlife. We saw many bison but they never failed to be awe-inspiring. A bald eagle. As a birdwatcher I enjoyed Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Pinyon Jays, Western Meadowlarks, a Trumpeter swan and so many more. Mountain goats, elk, pronghorn, deer, I could go on.
Museums. We especially enjoyed the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and the Journey Museum in Rapid City, SD. The unexpected delight was the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. We found ourselves spending the night in this little town on our way back to Denver. Before leaving the next morning, we checked out this little museum which had a huge collection of guns, textiles and as well as the tools of the early fur trader.
Geology. I had purchased the Roadside Geology of Wyoming before we left and we consulted it repeatedly as we drove through the state. Sometimes not only could you see for miles but also for eons.
Mountains. The Grand Tetons, the Rockies and the Black Hills. Truthfully I was relieved to get out of the mountains after several days. Noach and I are both prone to motion sickness, JP less so. Thus I had to do much of the mountain driving with Noach riding shotgun and poor JP in the back.
History. Little Bighorn Battlefield.Minuteman Missile Silo. This is a relatively new national park and not exactly well organized but as children of the Cold War it was engaging nevertheless.
Homeschooling. I had a list of chemicals in my purse that I was planning to order so they would be waiting on us when we got home. One morning in Billings we drove by this as we were looking for good cup of coffee. I saved on shipping.
That's just a taste of what we saw and enjoyed. We loved Bozeman but not the flies. Actually there were flies almost everywhere. The Aspens were turning. The weather was beautiful except for rain and mist when we were at Mt. Rushmore. Fortunately it lifted in time for photos. PRM
Saturday, October 16, 2010
visited 29 states (58%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Our first movie was a light one, 1776. Not a great movie, only somewhat historically accurate, no memorable songs. Well actually, JP, who played in his high school orchestra and thus knows ALL of the lyrics to MANY musicals produced by high schools in the early 70s, is known to sing the Richard Henry Lee song whenever this movie is mentioned but otherwise it's not a musical known for its show tunes.
But I thought it did show how the founders, those venerated, almost worshiped, men were not of a single mind about the beginning of our country. I know this was not the Constitutional Convention but it was many of the same men, the same contentious, egotistical, opinionated men. You don't have to know too much about American history to know that there were Federalists and Anti-Federalists, that much compromise was necessary to produce a document that would be acceptable to enough people and states. That some of the compromises were quite ugly and have been corrected by amendments.
So when people talk about getting back to the Constitution, whose interpretation do they mean? PRM
Sunday, September 19, 2010
This was the second year our family did the Jonah haftorah for the late afternoon service. We missed Shoshie's help but were grateful to have Yakov's. JP did most of the Hebrew chanting and gave the D'var. Noach did the blessings before the reading and could easily learn the blessings for after if someone would just take the time to work with him. Unfortunately my Hebrew is inadequate to the task. I'll try to pay attention next year and get it done. PRM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
He is working through the chapter on searing from the book How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson. He will be preparing something from this chapter weekly for the next few weeks. PRM
Friday, September 10, 2010
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Just as we have the right in this country to religious freedom, we have the right to free speech, a right that often equals the right to be an ass. The attention seeking preacher in Florida has the right to burn a book, even a holy book. What is most offensive to me is the press's giving this creep the attention he desires. Why can't we just ignore him? Move on! Just another religious jerk. Move on! PRM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
We have settled on a routine for the morning. First we listen to the Writer's Almanac, followed by CNN Student News. Noach is very fond of poetry and the Writer's Almanac is usually a charming beginning to the day.
OM Civics really increased his workload and he was displeased by that. There is a lot of writing to do. There were two essays to be done last week. Since this is a very short week I let him put one of them off.
Math at the whiteboard is much less stressful for both of us. He hates to write on paper.
Week 2 1/2 Preview
We are not adding in any other Civics or Science during this week which will be Week 2 1/2. Rosh Hashanah will take up the last two days. Practicing the Ashrei for Thursday morning will be Hebrew for this week. Completing the literary essay from K12 Language Arts will be the prime focus of work. Finishing the last essay from Lesson 2 in Civics will be the second focus.
L'shana tovah. PRM
Monday, August 30, 2010
I first saw this movie at a college movie festival, long before you could buy a movie and watch it whenever you wanted to. Everytime this was shown on television in Nashville, the newspaper would note that one of its editors had a brief role greeting Clark Gable in the newspaper locker room.
So far we've seen the "walls of Jericho" and the hitchhiking scene is soon. PRM
Saturday, August 28, 2010
So our first full week
1. Continuing K12 Literature. We only have time for one more unit so we are doing Unit 11. This finishes with a literary analysis essay.
2. Oak Meadow Civics for 8th grade is our social studies topic this year. He will be completing three Eagle-required merit badges that coordinate well with this. He completed Week 1.
3. CPO Life Science, jazzed up with extra reports, labs and reading will be science for this year.
4. Modern Hebrew. We started Rosetta Stone. I'm not convinced yet that he is learning much. With the homeschool edition of RS there are supposed to be worksheets and other teaching helps. Not so in Hebrew. I am looking for supplemental materials to have him writing in Hebrew, too. This is difficult since I don't read or speak Hebrew myself.
5. Kitchen studies, some techniques, some kitchen chemistry. We won't start this until next week.
6. Math, Dolciani PreAlgebra, finished the first chapter. Chapter test on Monday.
7. Megawords to improve his spelling. We are doing 2 pages/day. I want to get through 2 or 3 books this year.
8. Handwriting. Someday he will have to write an essay for the ACT or the SAT and someone will have to read it. Right now they could not. I want to work on this for a few weeks and then just re-enforce as we go along.
9. PE. He lost about 15 pounds at camp this summer and it has given him the incentive to lose some more. I can't say he is interested in sports but he is willing to be more active this year. Right now he wants to run each morning. If that doesn't last, then I will have to enroll him in martial arts or swimming. PRM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
And "study" is a bit misleading since basically we are watching them during lunch and talking about them informally. I do plan to have a formal movie study at some point in his education but not yet. This is for fun.
The hard part will be choosing. PRM
Friday, August 20, 2010
Pictures of his new digs await someone's help with getting them off my phone and into email. I haven't quite mastered that consistently.
It was sad to leave him but not nearly as sad as it was last year to watch him walk through airport security and think we would not see him for 9 months. In 9 days we can watch Shoshie do that. PRM
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sometimes people just want to be angry about something. But it is so tiresome. We really need to discuss some important issues, our economic situation, our national debt. But no, let's waste our time and energy on BS. And intolerance.
For people who claim to revere the Constitution, they sure like to ignore it when it suits them. PRM
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Now I am transitioning the school, the space, or spaces, where we work. My last student has been the least academically interested kid I have educated. He is not a reader, so where I focused on living books for history and science with his sibs, I have to look to other ways to educate him.
I have sold some of our books, given many away to the library, and stored a few others. There is still too much around, but I am working on it. Constantly. PRM
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thanks to Suji who has awarded me a Blog with Substance award. I feel I had substance in the past but lately, I've been pretty lame. There is some substantive material in my archives. But I am feeling the challenge and I am going to meet it. Soon, I promise.
Now, to fulfill the award requirements
1. Thank the one who honored me. Thank you, Suji. It has been a great pleasure to know you and work with you on the Living Science group.
2. Sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in 10 words. Humm, thinking. Okay- I love doing science with kids. You can too. Watch!
3. Award 10 blogs with the award. I read a number of blogs but many have already received the award. So, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to link my favorite 10 science resource websites.
a. Learn. Genetics. from the Univ of Utah. There are online activities, lesson plans, you name it.
b. Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to Middle and High School Students. I have used many of these.
c. Off the Shelf Chemistry. More from the Bryn Mawr site.
d. My Science Box. I have mined this site every year for something.
e. The Science House - Countertop Chemistry. From our own NC State University. Since we will soon be a Tarheel family, this may be the last time I can mention NC State. And if you are wondering why that is, well, you don't live in NC.
f. HHMI BioInteractive. This site has more than just interactive material. You can order DVDs about evolution among other topics. Shoshie did a lot from here in high school.
g. NASA. Rocketry, living on other planets. There are interactive materials here and you can order free teaching modules as well.
h. Science NetLinks. Many lesson plans, experiments.
i. The Science Spot. Another collection of many lab ideas.
j. and finally, where to buy lab materials, Wards, Home Science Tools and Carolina Biological.
I have really missed doing science with kids other than my own son this last year. I am motivated to try and organize a class or two for the fall. When I look ahead to my post-homeschooling life, I sometimes imagine having a once a week science school for homeschoolers. PRM
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Noach and I baked brownies, more brownies, Snickerdoodles and more Snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, Whoopie Pies and lots of other things. Our friends baked also. We sold our wares in front of a Harris Teeter grocery store on a long hot Saturday. But the total sale and donations generated over $2000 dollars. What a success! Worth every drop of sweat, burned fingers, and crumbled cookies that needed to be eaten rather than sold. Wait until next year. PRM
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Yakov came home from Israel for a restless week then headed to CJ for another summer of camp counseling. He enjoyed last year and signed up for the entire summer this year. It has been a good way for him to adjust after the intense year away. He came home for one day last week, Noach's birthday, and was glad to be with us for the almost 24 hours. JP and I go to Chapel Hill with him for orientation next Thursday and Friday and we will stay an extra night to catch a minor league baseball game in Durham.
Noach was away at Boy Scout camp last week but Thursday was both family night at camp and his birthday so we were able to spend the evening with him. He was surprised to find Yakov with us. We brought lots of cupcakes to share with his buddies and their families, too. He came home yesterday but leaves again tomorrow morning for the 2nd session at CJ. He will be gone for another 3 1/2 weeks.
JP and I were expecting to have most of 4 weeks without kids here, a rare treat indeed. And don't think I don't love and enjoy my kids but I was planning on accomplishing some tasks that are most easily done when no one is here during the day. Alas, it did not work out for us. But our disappointment in that pales in comparison to Shoshie's who was not planning to be at home much this summer.
Shoshie had big plans, working kitchen staff at Camp Tel Yehudah for 4 weeks with her VERY BEST friends and then spending another week with them in New York, going to concerts and museums. She drove my car to NY in mid June, visiting friends along the way. She was sick the week before she left but was feeling well enough to drive, or at least was unwilling to admit to herself that she was unwell. She arrived at camp with fever of 102 and a raging sore throat. She felt better, then she spiked again, finally after the strep test was negative, they did a mono test and it was positive. She had to leave camp. I flew up and drove her home. She was so sad.
Within a few days of getting home, she felt much better except for some late afternoon fatigue. A friend of ours, an infectious disease specialist, told us there was really no rational need for her to leave camp but, as a society, so many of our reactions to infectious diseases are not rational.
Now she is home with me. All of her local friends are working every day so she has been bored. And she's worried about not making the salary she was planning to make at camp. So I am finding jobs for her to do here. She painted a small bathroom last week. Next week she will help me do some work on the trailer.
I have enjoyed having her around, some real mother-daughter bonding time. We've gone out to lunch at little places she and her friends like. Last week I dyed the streaks in her hair purple for her since her friends were not available to help. I told her the last time I did anyone else's hair, we were probably listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the radio while we did it. Yes, I'm that old. But we had hairdryers with hoods, not bowls on our heads. Just sayin'.
So, it's not the summer we planned. For me, it's better. For Shoshie, it's probably tolerable. Some of the time. PRM
Friday, July 2, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
In a concurrence, Stevens, joined by Ginsburg and Sotomayor, threw an elbow at one of their colleagues: "While Justice Thomas would apparently not rule out a death sentence for a $50 theft by a 7-year-old ... Court wisely rejects his static approach to the law. Standards of decency have evolved since 1980. They will never stop doing so."
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I must complete the requirements a bit later. We just moved back into our house from some major remodeling. And early tomorrow, Noach and I leave for a few days for a surprise mission. Look for an announcement later in the week. We are excited. PRM
P.S. What the heck is that box? Can you see it? Or is it just me?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Alas, the pictures aren't coming up anymore.
Check out the site, Tampa Electric. PRM
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Addendum: A letter came the next day offering her a scholarship. Cool.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Shoshie chose a Living Books curriculum for high school Biology. She has long been a nature lover and watcher of Animal Planet, and went to practically every class or camp that the local nature center offered. When she outgrew the camps, she became a volunteer who helped the naturalist lead the camps.
We designed the course by taking a generic high school text and listing the chapter topics. Then we looked for appropriate living books to cover the material. I also looked online for appropriate labs to include. We did labs with 5 other teens who came to our home weekly.
Her assignments varied from compositions, drawings, and regular discussions.
Some of the websites where we found labs or lesson plans that we used include
She also used some of the materials from HHMI, including lesson plans on
1. Adherence: What Sticks Can Make You Sick
2. Tracking the Source of Disease: Koch's Postulates, Causality, and Contemporary Epidemiology3
3. Epidemiology, Viruses, and the Scientific Method: Independent Study Assignment
4. Food Safety
5. Microbes and Mankind
6. Microbe Hunters
The Way Life Works: The Science Lover’s Illustrated Guide to How Life Grows, Develops, Reproduces, and Gets Along by Mahlon Hoaglund and Bert Dodson
The Human Story: Where We Come From & How We Evolved by Charles Lockwood
Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould
The Double Helix by James D. Watson
When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS by James Cross Giblin
Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives by Jeanette Farrell
Diversity of Life: The Illustrated Guide to the Five Kingdoms by Lynn Margulis
The Private Life of Plants by David Attenborough
In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall
The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs
King Solomon’s Ring: New Light on Animal Ways by Konrad Lorenz
Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens by Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Sharon Zoumbaris