One Down! Five to Go

Home schooling six kids can be nerve racking to say the least. There are many “What ifs?” in the picture. What if I can’t teach? What if they don’t learn to read? What if they need more help? What if they are asked a question they should know but don’t? What if, what if , what if!!!! But as I have progressed in the years the big looming question was “What if they don’t graduate?”.  Now as a home schooler in a hands off state this question is entirely in my hands. I choose when they get their diploma and I give it to them. But, and this is a big but, what if I am wrong and the child doesn’t really deserve it?? How is this quantified and qualified?

Last fall I gave my first high school diploma to my oldest son. Proud  parents, we even sprung for a diploma in a case. He worked hard through the years. There were times I thought he was a genius and times I feared for his future, but when the time came I was sure it was right. Well, pretty sure. O.K., I was pretty much sure there was not much more I could make him sit down and do. Whew! That wasn’t too hard.

Well, the diploma meant for us no more Mom schooling him but it didn’t mean the end of learning. He is still full of new things that he has read about or learned. Ahh! That was what I had hoped for. Self teaching. But it doesn’t end there. He has gone on to get a job with a large company and loves his job! This is where I throw my hands in the air and do the Rocky dance!

Home schooling is my choice. But as I have said it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. If you read some HS forums or blogs it can seem that way. But the reality is we all have different roads that have many obstacles. Sometimes we are our own obstacle and sometimes the kids are, not too mention the myriad of familial nuances. This part (graduation) too, is the same.  I’d like to share some of the things we encountered during his job process.

When my son applied for this job he had to test out. In his application class there were folks of all ages. They had to take a basic math test. Most failed. He was the only one there who could read a tape measure before the examiner taught the group this skill before the test. At the next step, he was considered hired. But there was  three weeks of training starting at 6Am at the local college. If you were a minute late the doors were locked and you no longer had a job. My son rode his bicycle fourteen miles a day(round trip) to get there and have class for six to eight hours.  These classes were more math, geometry and basic algebra. Each aspect taught first then tested. Fully 25% of this class dropped out in the first week. There were daily tests on the material and this is what I find interesting to home schoolers, the teachers were constantly asking my son if he was listening. He apparently did not give the appearance of a student they said. He explained he had his own way of learning and he was indeed listening. He explained he had never been in a classroom before so he was unsure as to what it was they expected. He was acing his tests!

Another aspect of this was how they tested him. It was on something called an ‘egg’. It is the digital form of the test sheet. He had to be shown how to use it. ( I am a big fan of paper and pen) But even in this new environment, he did well. Again and daily his class got smaller. When his teachers learned that he was riding to class on his bike they  had to be shown because they couldn’t believe it.

By the end of classes he was at the top of the class, and the class had dwindled to three. (from about 30) His teachers were giving him their assurances that he would do well at the job and he should remain in touch so they could help him out. Well, that was sometime ago and  they were true to their word. He is the only one from the remaining three working . The others will have to wait.

Home schoolers are still subject to question. We therefore prepared any area ahead of time. Transcripts, diploma etc.. We got the diploma to “look” more like a “real” diploma so as not to be questioned about home school. In our state, disciplinary or problem students are sent home to use an on-line curriculum. They are still part of the district but are called home schooled. We have had to differentiate ourselves.

My home school helped make my son capable of living on his own with employment.(In these economic times, no small feat) Public school does this too. ( However, based on his assessed group, not very well) But this is MY son, MY child that I got to spend time with and probably learned as much from as he did me. I know he is happy and I do not have to guess at what it was he learned, I was present. I believe he is better off for our efforts and I think he does too! My son did his part and we did ours. I still will impart any ‘wisdom’ to him that I have gained from age and life. But it is up to him what he will  do with it.

So home schoolers forge ahead. The end is not the end but a new road to trod upon!

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Inequality in Wealth, a Teaching Moment

I came across this video. It discusses the distribution of wealth in the United States, both the perceived and the reality. It does a very nice job of explaining where it is we were and where we are now. Even if this is the first time contemplating the distribution of wealth, this video’s explanations are clear and concise.

I have always known that there was a disparity, that the harder one works does not always equal greater wealth.  Even with this knowledge it doesn’t get easier to view this truth in the video. I remember reading an article some twenty years ago that posed the question ‘who was more important to the financial success of Disney World, the CEO or the employee that dons the Mickey suit everyday and is every visitors fantasy come to life?’. At the time I was working in Disney World, I was sure it was the latter. The minimum wage was about $5.35, Eisner was making about $500 an hour. Some say that those of us that see disparity are ‘success haters’, ‘lazy’, ‘freedom haters’ and more. This is because they believe that, someday they too will achieve this enormous wealth and if they see inequality or immorality in it while they are still among the lower classes then they will have to share it, or give it up, once they have achieved it. I use the term ‘achieved’ but a better term would be ‘received’ or better yet ‘taken’. This is because in my view no one person acts alone to such a degree that such vast salaries are justified. How does an actor justify making more than a firefighter, or another actor for that matter in the same show! Without whom the whole of the show would not exist for the ‘star’ to be in, how is the non-star rewarded?
“..from each according to ability, to each according to need…”
This simple statement has set many fires. I see it as a distillation of all religions and economic moralities. Of course, the political head of the US would not agree. Socialism has long been twisted to mean an all out end to individuality and economic freedom. A philosophy that holds it is a person’s intrinsic right to food, housing, water, education and family life is confused an muddied up as anything but that. The powers that be then turn around and vote against food and housing as human rights in the UN vote, not once but many times! Socialism is referred to in the video and while equal distribution of wealth would be ideal it is very unlikely to be a reality even in socialism. Think to the philosophy of man, is he inherently good or bad? But I digress.
When looking into wealth look with an open mind, not the mind confused by the American history book from seventh grade. Think about how you are doing, how much do you use credit cards? Everyday? For some or all of your shopping? Do you use it for necessities,food,clothing, rent? Or just wants(games , entertainment)? If credit did not exist could you get by? Now think, how hard do you work? Could you work more, harder, spend less time with family? And if you are one that thinks that this way would pay off, then what is the pay? How much would be enough?
I showed this video to my oldest son. He was interested. He is 18 with a job that pays the minimum. He sees the inequality. I asked if his friends would want to see this, he did not think they would nor could understand it. Even in this perfect simple graphing of a very important topic it is too much, in his opinion for his public school friends. And that right there says to me why we are in such an economically skewed society. If we do not teach the youth economic truths then they will be stuck with even less, being preyed upon by the one percent. They will have less family life , use more credit and have less in general terms of individual freedom while producing more for the class that has everything.

“but the poor do not exist as
an act of destiny, their
existence is not politically
neutral or ethically innocent.
The poor are a by-product of
the system in which we live
and for which we are
responsible. The poor are
marginalised in our social and
cultural world. They are the
oppressed, the exploited, the
workers cheated of the fruits
of their work, and stripped of
their being as people. The
poverty of the poor is not an
appeal for generous action to
relieve it, but a demand for
the construction of a different
social order.”
Gustavo Gutierrez, Practical
theology of liberation

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Super Lice or Super Stupid?

Today in the Huffington Post I read about ‘super lice’ and it’s resistance to ‘traditional treatment’. What a load of crap! And I say that in the most disgusted manner. Why are we amazed at creation’s ability to evolve to save itself? And why on Earth are we dumbfounded when life becomes resistant to human’s insane chemicals? We have seen resistant bacteria, super weeds and other man-made problems all thanks to our love of better living through chemistry.

Not once in the article did it give alternatives to junk science. Out of 2000 or so parents surveyed 68% said nothing in the chemical aisle worked for their child. Good going Big Pharma!

I am here to give you an answer to the lice problem. It isn’t new either. Some ten or so years ago our little, at the time, family came down with lice. Having a new baby on the way we were not keen on chemicals on me or the rest of us, so my husband asked the pharmacist who in turn showed him an electric comb that kills lice. No chemicals needed! It worked brilliantly. Within a few hours our hair was clear of the little critters. Within days there were less and within a few weeks we were clear of the memory.

Now let’s be clear on this, the house must be cleaned. Hot water washes and dryers can come in handy. But a lice can only live for two days without a host so just by using the electric comb everyday for a week you have the battle won. The kids will even do it themselves. No bad smell, no chemicals, no embarrassment, just clean hair and happy family! Remember,too, if one person has it in the house then more than likely others do too.

This product is still available. One source is called LiceGuard for about 30 dollars. If you have to buy a chem shampoo more than once for more than one person then this is cheap! And you can use it again and again. You can clear the bugs AND not contribute to the growing SUPER BUG problem.

What we used

There are other home remedies but none are as quick an easy as this. We have used a vinegar rinse on our hair to loosen the glue of the egg sacs. It gives your hair a nice shine as well!

Good living!I used this product and did not get compensation for this post, though it would be nice!

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Bee Careful with Biocides

IMG_0708The honeybee affects 2/3 of our foods. Bee careful and think twice before using any chemicals in and around the garden.

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Defend Freedom , Demand Privacy

Click on the picture. (Arron was an unschooler)

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Lead: Not Just a Poor Peoples’ Problem. What can you do ?

New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing.

“High childhood exposure damages a part of the brain linked to aggression control and “executive functions.” And the impact turns out to be greater among boys.”….

Lead molecules can be absorbed through the skin.

Read this very important story and the others at Mother Jones on lead. Then act. We eat ground flaxseed for this very reason. There may be other herbal cleaners. What do you do to protect your family?



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Identified !!

We have finally identified our orphan duck! She is a Black-bellied Whistling Duck! She is not endangered, except when the hawks fly over. Listen to the audio of the video and you will hear her wonderful unique whistle.

Below are some shots from our duck.

Feather detailThorBill detail



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