Sunday, January 24, 2010

So what are we doing these days?

After a long blogging hiatus or at least very little blogging, I am hoping to get back in the swing of things again.

I am energized today. Friday morning I had bilateral cortisone injections in my knees and the steroid has taken hold. My knees feel GREAT. Which is wonderful. JP and I walked quite a bit in the mall accomplishing many things yesterday. I had to go to our small mall a couple of weeks ago and I was miserable walking just from the car to the mall doors. What an improvement!

But I haven't slept much in the 2 nights since. I'm hoping tonight will be a change. Because I am very tired today but alert. Very alert.

To homeschooling -

Shoshie awaits her college acceptances. In the meantime, she was unable to get any community college courses for this semester. The recession and changes in the state dual enrollment program have really cost her. And us. Yakov will go to UNCCH next year with 32 hours of coursework already. Shoshie will have about 12.

She is continuing American history and literature at home. She is also taking an online Modern Hebrew. I am creating a course for her that combines some Personal Finance and Home Ec. She is preparing dinner once a week, taking into consideration the specific dietary needs of the various family members. She is budgeting her money so that she can travel to Israel in April. I am having her work through some of the lesson plans at

Practical Money Skills for Life

and NEFE High School Financial Planning Program. They seem to be changing their website this weekend so I can't link it. I just hope I can find it myself on Monday. This site is the one I have used more so far.

Shoshie is working at the Deli and babysitiing next door most afternoons when the 2 little girls come home from school. This is some of the money she is supposed to be saving for her trip.

Noach has make some changes this winter as well. He may go to an Early College for high school, in 18 months or so. The skills he really needs to work on before doing that are in writing and math.

We are working through PreAlgebra skills in a variety of ways. He is doing Life of Fred, Fractions and Keys to Percents right now. I want to do some probability and Hands On Equations before the winter is out. We are also doing CodeBreakers and I have The Cryptoclub: Using Mathematics to Make and Break Secret Codes. This book just came and looks great.

To force some organization on our grammar, literature and composition studies, I signed Noach up for a K12 course, Intermediate Language Skills A. This is really a 6 grade course but the composition starts with paragraphs and that seemed like a good place for him to start. We aren't really strict about grade levels anyway. And I don't see the need for grammar every year. It's a skill you need but once acquired I think you are good to go. Maybe a refresher every now and then.

We are doing history with Oxford Press Medieval and Early Modern World books. Now we are covering the Middle East and Africa. I am including some geography from Trail Guide to World Geography. I used this several years ago with Shoshie. I don't really use it as written but it has been a good resource. I am also trying to spice up the history with some movies. I haven't found anything good to use recently.

He is doing science, Introductory Physical Science at a local private school. There is a 2 hour lab session every Tuesday and then some homework. I don't know if we will do this next year. I miss doing science at home. I miss the groups of kids. But this isn't for me and the decision for next year will be about his needs.

Noach is also taking an online Modern Hebrew class.

Shoshie and Noach need to get some regular physical education in there sometime. We are missing far more than we are hitting on that front. They are thinking about an Israeli Martial Arts course but I haven't been able to get more info on it yet.

That's what we are up to. Tomorrow the workers are coming to begin a 3 week long renovation of part of the house. New hardwood flooring, newly painted walls. I am excited. And alert. And tired. PRM

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The best government money can buy

The Pinocchio Project

Watching as the Supreme Court turns a corporation into a real live boy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can we stop being nice

to Joe now? It's time to stop pretending that he has any respect for the Democratic Party. PRM

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the mail

Finally, all the documents, supporting documents and whatever else was demanded has been mailed. I thought our second round of college applications would be easier than the first done last year. I was wrong. It was worse. I thought Shoshie who has specific career plans would be more organized and goal directed. She was not.

But it is done now. The waiting begins. PRM

Monday, January 4, 2010

Saying goodbye until June

Saturday night we waved goodbye to Yakov as he headed back to Jerusalem. His plane to Newark was already 2 hours late when we left him at the airport. By the time he got to Newark, 11pm, his plane to Tel Aviv was leaving.

So he spent about 20 hours in the Newark terminal. He told us about sleeping under a row of chairs, lying on top of his wallet and computer. It was VERY cold in the largely empty terminal overnight. It was a surreal experience he said, about a dozen strangers all spread out trying to sleep together but alone.

His 4pm flight finally left at 6pm according to the airlines website. So I believe he must have been spared the further drama of this story,

Flights Out of Newark Airport Halted for Possible Security Breach

He deserved at least one break. I hope he got it. He should be in Tel Aviv by now, on his way to Jerusalem.

Yakov is a great storyteller. This trip no doubt will add to his reportoire. PRM

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shabbat Dinner

Cooked by Yakov. Chicken, wiener schnitzel style. Fried spicy eggplant. Israeli salad, or Arab salad, made by mom and dad.

A year ago, I was not happy about his decision to take a gap year. He spent much of last year in nonproductive ways, doing minimal school, working minimal hours and wasting a lot of time. Another nonproductive year seemed wasteful to me.

I was wrong. At least about the Young Judaea Year Course.

He has learned so much. Cooking, budgeting, organizing himself, things I don't think he would have gotten out of college and living in a college dorm. He also has a better sense of direction about what he wants to do in college. A better sense is an understatement as he had little sense of what he wanted to do in college last year. That was part of the problem we had when he was desultory about applying to colleges last fall and winter. Now he is talking about green technology, neuroscience, etc.

Shoshie wants to take a gap year also. I guess I'll go along with it. PRM