31 March 2013

Stupendous Selections on Sunday

  • I've never had a teen, but as it gets closer, I get more curious. I really enjoyed reading through this list!
    • I just knew our children would like the same music we did and agree with us about everything else. When I realized this wasn't true, and yet, our children still honored the Lord in their choices, I stopped taking our differences personally, and began to enjoy learning from my sons.
    • Already we have seen florists, bakers, and photographers suffer because they have refused to go along with the cultural shift toward gay marriage. There will be more.
    • Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
    • we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.
  • I had CM sightings all over this article, how about you?
    • Certainly, it does happen that good readers can become good writers, but to extrapolate from that fact that good readers will automatically, naturally, and inevitably become good writers is to warp a truth into an untruth, which, when preached long and hard, becomes—if you will—a myth, an unfounded belief.
    • One simple and immutable fact about the human brain is that you can’t get something out of it that isn’t there to start with.
    • many children who become early readers, independent readers—good readers--often do not store complete and correct language patterns in their brains
    • So, what activity will allow children to store these complete, reliably correct, and sophisticated language patterns in their brains? Probably the two most important yet least practiced of all “school” activities: Listening (being read to out loud) and Memorization.
    • One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents and teachers is to stop reading out loud to our children when they reach the age of reading faster independently.
    • There is perhaps no greater tool than memorization to seal language patterns into a human brain, and there is perhaps nothing more effective than poetry to provide exactly what we want: reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns.
    • By memorizing and reciting, you practically fuse neurons into permanent language storage patterns.
  • Disturbing, but not surprising.
    • Today, the word “eugenics” rightly summons Hitler, and in this country, forced sterilizations. It also calls to mind what Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to several years ago as the expectation, at the time Roe v. Wade became law, that abortion would curb “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
    • “More children from the fit, less from the unfit,” said the early feminist Margaret Sanger. “That is the chief issue of birth control.”
    • “To appreciate children as gifts,” he writes, “is to accept them as they come, not as objects of our design, or products of our will, or instruments of our ambition.”
  • Another take on the Starbucks issue.
    • We employ over 200,000  people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds. If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher  return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can  sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.
    • They do support diversity of ALL kinds. Including those of us who choose to exercise our Second Amendment right to carry a weapon in order to defend the lives of ourselves and our families. Starbucks took heat from the left for refusing to prohibit the largely conservative preference of carrying a firearm.
    • You cannot support the right of individual liberty and get angry when those with opposing views practice it.
  • We don't wash our eggs, either, so that we can keep them out on the counter at room temperature.
    • In Europe, the understanding is that this mandate actually encourages good husbandry on farms. It’s in the farmers’ best interests then to produce to cleanest eggs possible, as no one is going to buy their eggs if they’re dirty
    • It goes on to add that washing is prohibited because it could damage the cuticle making eggs even more vulnerable to contamination from pathogens and other micro organisms rather than providing an additional safety net.
    • Even the USDA’s official Egg-Grading Manual concedes that research has shown that washing removes most of the cuticle.
    • EU law actually stipulates that eggs “ should in general not be refrigerated before sale to the final consumer.” The regulations explain how “cold eggs left out at room temperature may become covered in condensation facilitating the growth of bacteria on the shell and probably their ingression into the egg.”  Hence if a consumer picked up a carton of chilled eggs then transported them home in the car, the change in temperature would cause the eggs to sweat.
    • Since the late 1990’s, British farmers have been vaccinating hens against salmonella following a crisis that sickened thousands of people who had consumed infected eggs.  Amazingly, this measure has virtually wiped out the health threat in Britain.
  • Are autistic children actually persons? Well, of course they are. Then, since autistics are persons, how do we respect their personhood while we make decisions concerning them? This is a fascinating article on the ethics surrounding ABA.
    • Why do we not use ABA for the neurotypical population?  This is where the ethical question must be considered.  This is where the “science” behind the use of ABA begins to fray.  If we really believe Autistic people (and children) deserve the same respect, are truly considered equal as those in the neurotypical population, ABA presents some real problems.
    • Insisting children sit quietly so that they can “attend” and be “table ready” when flapping or twirling a piece of string actually helps them listen and concentrate does not make any logical sense.
  • If you are looking for vintage children's books, look here!

29 March 2013

In Which a Thinker Does Something

If left to my own devices, I'm pretty sure I'd spend most of my time inside of my own head, trying to figure out things, most of which are intangible. I have a tendency to take physical problems and solve them in my head, only to forget to do anything about it in real life because once I did it in my head, I felt like it was done.

You have no idea how many successful small businesses I've designed.

This week, I did something real. I'm not a crafty person, unless you count my attempts at writing and the occasional decorated cake. I don't sew, and I haven't made an afghan in almost twenty years. In the latter case, the issue is priorities. I don't have a lot of spare time and so I spend it in the ways I prefer. It is not that I wouldn't like to know how to sew, or to engage in the act of sewing, but if I have to trade sewing time for Latin study or writing time, I'm not willing to do it. I suppose if I already knew how to sew, that would be one thing, but the learning curve would require time I am not willing to give it at this point in my life.

With that said, I have done furniture a few times in the past. My first project was staining the bunk beds for the boy's room {singular boy--Son O. wasn't born yet when I did that one}. A couple summers ago, I did something a little more challenging and redid bunk beds for the girls. This means I spent hours and hours sanding and sanding--in the hot July heat, no less. I should have lost ten pounds of water at least!

But I didn't.


This past Christmas, a very generous relative gave me a "budget" as a gift and told me to use it to buy something that Si would never buy me, or never be able to buy me {at least not anytime soon}. I've had a list of priorities for a while: buffet for the dining room, nightstands and chest of drawers for the master bedroom, and a bigger dresser for the boys' room.

Since my budget was less than a thousand dollars, I'm sure you see that this list would be impossible if everything were purchased new.

this was a wonderful dresser, but didn't fit the room
Right after Christmas, I set up a bunch of Craigslist search feeds {I subscribe to specific searches in order to make my shopping more efficient} and started scouring some of the local antique shops. I soon learned that I have difficult-to-find furniture needs. The buffet has to go under a window and near the dining table, so there are space restrictions in every direction--it can't be too wide, too tall, too deep. The master bedstead is incredibly tall, so nightstands almost have to be small chests--at least 29 inches tall {which is harder to find}. And the chest of drawers was to replace a long dresser that was lovely but never fit in the room since we moved over four years ago--and it had to fit in a narrow space between two doors and yet be large enough to store both of our clothes, at least the ones normally kept in drawers.

It started to feel impossible, but I consoled myself with the fact that we didn't need to find lots of furniture, just one piece that fit here and one piece that fit there.

Imagine my surprise when the Lord blessed me with a chest of drawers that fit the space and didn't even have to be painted! It was already a beautiful Annie Sloan Louis Blue. In fact, I had seen a piece like it once before and almost bought it, but it was a greenish color {I liked it, but it didn't match what we already had going on in the room} and it would have taken half of my budget once I had bought all of the supplies for painting it. This was cheaper and the right color.

It is solid mahogany, by the way.

A couple weeks later, I found a tall nightstand in an antique store for $60. This was a little more than I wanted to pay {because I knew I needed to paint it}, but since it was the first time I'd seen anything tall enough, I bought it. A week after that, I found another one that was only $25, bringing down my average price-per-nightstand.

Here they are, in their found state:

Wow. That looks weird. Sort of like I put the bed through a kaleidoscope!


As you can see, they don't match each other, nor do they really blend with the dresser. I decided to go crazy and redo them this week during our Easter break. Today is Friday. I am almost done. I should be ready to post finished shots tomorrow, but of course tomorrow is Saturday {of Easter weekend, no less!} so it might not happen until next week.

But this is the reason for my silence around here.

If you need me, I'm in the garage.

Because I am an INTP, I had to do a bunch or research before taking on this task. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I was obsessed with paint and decoupage for a couple weeks there. I watched hours of YouTube tutorials. I emailed friends for advice.

Once I figured it out in my head, I had the ever-present temptation to go read a book instead. To me, "done" in my imagination feels a lot like "done" in real life.

But I knew if I didn't do it now I would probably never do it anytime soon because it'd get too hot for painting with chalk paint.

So I done did it.

Well, almost.

After spending far too much time shopping for hardware, I decided I didn't want to spend the extra money and so today I'm going to spray paint the old hardware black instead of buying new hardware.

I couldn't find anything that I loved {in my price range} anyhow. And, of course, I still have a buffet to buy!

27 March 2013

Quotables: The Bible and the Task of Teaching

The Bible and the Task of Teaching
by David I. Smith
and John Shortt

Offering sacrifices seems a relatively straightforward cultural practice, yet we see it turned inside out in the light of Christian faith. We might then reasonably expect Christians to look to far-reaching changes in a cultural practice as complex and as closely bound up with our basic values and aspirations as education. {pp. 14-15}
Believers have repeatedly advanced the claim that Christian education should not simply be regular education done better, but rather education reworked on a Christian basis. {p. 15}
[B]iblical authority should not be used to manipulate and control but should rather bring new life, liberating us from the fetters of our foolishness and idolatries. {p. 19}
[H]ow can the Bible be brought to bear upon education in ways which are life-giving? {p. 19}

26 March 2013

More News from the Microhomestead

Kidding season is officially over. We only have two does, so it probably shouldn't be such a big deal to us, but they are ours, first of all, and also we have little experience, so everything is new right now. What can I say? It's an adventure!

My dad took all of us {including my sister and her family} on an amazing trip this past week. It was a vacation to remember. Happiest place on earth and all that.

I couldn't believe, however, that we were packing our Suburban and Reece still hadn't delivered her kids. My neighbor is wonderful about watching the goats for us when we leave. She grew up on a dairy and is good with animals. But I didn't want her to have to help deliver babies, and last time Reece really did need help. So I told my neighbor I was praying that Reece didn't deliver until Saturday, which was the day we were coming home.

And then I left out a bowl of cider vinegar to ease delivery, just in case.

Apparently, I should have specified a time in those prayers. On Saturday morning we received a call that Reece was in labor. I heard Si say, "We're leaving right now! We should be there in three or four hours!" When he hung up he told me that there would be babies on the ground by the time we got home.

I was hoping my neighbor was wrong about that, but I should have known that someone who grew up on a dairy would know what she was talking about.

And she did.

We didn't even unload the car when we drove into the garage, but raced to the window and saw...

baby Kinder goats

That's right! Twins!

Unfortunately, they are both bucks. We were hoping for at least one doe this season, but no such luck. I've read that cider vinegar feeding during breeding season {to pull up potassium levels} will increase the number does, so I plan to try that next time and see what happens. We've had five kids born in the last year, and all of them bucks. We're due for some does, right?

In the photos, these little guys are about 48 hours old. They are so. much. fun.

baby Kinder buck Sandybaby Kinder buck Jet

Kinder buckling Patch with his dam CharlotteEach doe seemed to clone herself this time. Jet looks exactly like his dam Reece {except that he came out with Pygmy ears rather than the droopy Nubian ears}, and Patch looks exactly like Charlotte. And Sandy? He doesn't look like anybody. I wanted to name him Joseph due to his coat of many colors, but I was outvoted.

By the way, here is Patch as of yesterday, just over three weeks old. As you can see, he is already getting huge. Goats are so tiny when they are born, but it doesn't last very long, which is why the first two weeks are my favorite.

We don't usually use our four-year-old's wagon for feeding, but we were in need of an extra trough while we were out of town. It's the most popular hay spot on our property!

Welsh Harlequin drakeI spent a lot of time outside yesterday morning to keep Charlotte from killing the twins. As the queen of the herd, she feels compelled to show her power, even upon the weakest members. If I can keep her from killing them the first few days, things seem to go well after that.

While I was out, I got a shot of Sir Francis Drake in all his Welsh Harlequin glory. He may be useless, but his fantastic beauty is why I don't eat him for supper.

Thumper the rabbit
I also took a photo of Daughter A's rabbit, Thumper. He is about a year old now, and fully grown. He's such a sweetie. Well, I say he, but recently there has been some debate about whether Thumper is a boy or a girl. I find it incredibly difficult to tell with rabbits, but we're not letting him play with the other rabbit--which we know is a doe--just in case he really is a he. A-Age-Eight had a mini crisis yesterday when we discussed the possibility of Thumper being female. What will we call him? she wondered. Well, my opinion is that Thumper is his name. We can't just change it because we find outr he's a she. Suddenly, Daughter A solved the problem: We can call him Mrs. Thumper! So there you have it: Mrs. Thumper if he's a she.

In the photo behind Thumper you can see the dreaded foxtail weed. Once the seed heads dry and turn brown, they will torture us by sticking to our clothes and poking through the fabric into our skin. I'll have to pull them one by one out of socks before doing laundry because they will only spread in the wash.

Or, at least, that is how it used to be. Last year something miraculous happened. Just when I was fearing that goats did not eat foxtails and that we really would have to take care of these horrible weeds ourselves, just as they started to brown, the goats gorged themselves on them. There were none left after about a week. Apparently, goats like these weeds in the mature stage.

So we leave the weeds to the goats and trust that they will take care of them in their own time. And when they do finally eat them, it lowers our feed cost during that time. Very handy weeds, those foxtails.

24 March 2013

Stupendous Selections on Sunday

  • Really? You're trying to make me choose between my religion and my COFFEE? Sigh.
    • At the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, CEO Howard Schultz sent a clear message to anyone who supports traditional marriage over gay marriage: we don’t want your business. After saying Starbucks wants to “embrace diversity of all kinds,” he told a shareholder who supports traditional marriage that he should sell his shares and invest in some other company.
  • I love fairy tales, and here is yet another reason to read the good ones.
    • What I've realized over time is that I am also slow to trust others because I have no trust in myself. If no one is "good," then neither am I. Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and all of the characters in those old stories made mistakes of their own that nearly cost them their life.
    • The trick of teaching children becomes shepherding kids through their own brokenness, letting them in on the tragedy of the world at the same time as you let them in on the goodness of God.
    • On Monday, 23 years to the day after the theft, federal officials announced that they knew the identities of the thieves and said they belonged to a criminal organization based in New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.
    • Museum officials on Monday reiterated their promise of a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the works in good condition.
  • Why, yes! Yes it does!
    • But a new peer-reviewed, independent study on the viability of international child sponsorship led by Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, reveals “large and statistically significant impacts on life outcomes for children enrolled in Compassion International’s Christian child sponsorship program.”
  • Radical: the latest in Christian buzzwords.
    • The heroes of the radical movement are martyrs and missionaries whose stories truly inspire, along with families who make sacrifices to adopt children. Yet the radicals' repeated portrait of faith underemphasizes the less spectacular, frequently boring, and overwhelmingly anonymous elements that make up much of the Christian life.
    • By contrast, there aren't many narratives of men who rise at 4 A.M. six days a week to toil away in a factory to support their families. Or of single mothers who work 10 hours a day to care for their children. Judging by the tenor of their stories, being "radical" is mainly for those who already have the upper-middle-class status to sacrifice.
    • While Platt warded off critics early on by donating his profits to relief and missions work, the popularity of his call for radical living requires the existence of a lucrative publishing culture that, by its nature, has to think and act with profits in mind. The really radical path for a megachurch pastor these days would be to refuse to publish, to take a smaller church, to not podcast sermons, and to embrace a more monastic witness. The irony is that if they tried, we'd probably turn them into larger celebrities and laud their humility. The desert fathers had a similar problem.
    • Interior-oriented movements can generate a lot of energy initially. But the gospel is supposed to create a culture, and a culture takes root only within a society over time.
  • Tips to help us fix up that sloppy writin'.
    • Whenever we use a pronoun, we must be certain readers will understand to whom the pronoun is referring. In our example sentence, we can’t be quite certain who’s poking whose eyes.
  • I'd love a hypoallergenic mattress from Italy! Who wouldn't?
    • Renae mentioned she was thinking about making her own mattress. I was intrigued because just that morning I’d woken up with low back pain. Our mattress is worn out. We need a new one, but I’ve been dreading buying a new one. I don’t like the waste of it all: The ignoble dragging of the old mattress to the curb. The prospect of sleeping on a brand new construct of toxic foam and fire retardants–or opting for a less toxic but less comfortable futon.
  • Look, he'll cancel the Easter egg hunt, but his own vacations? Aren't we being unreasonable? This guy loooooves to relax.
    • Evading the question, Carney replied: “I can tell you that this president is focused every day on policies that create economic growth and help advance job creation.”
  • My latest book from PaperBackSwap!
  • I think I liked Drudge's title better: "New EU Plan: Steal Bank Accounts."
    • The bloc struck a deal on Saturday to hand Cyprus rescue loans worth 10 billion euros ($13 billion), but defied warnings - including from the European Central Bank - and imposed a levy that would see those with cash in the island's banks lose between 6.75 and 9.9 percent of their money.
  • Is it really selfish and greedy to conduct business? Some people seem to think so, but CS Lewis said otherwise.
    • The distinction between self-interest and selfishness seems to be so blurred in current public discourse that self-interest nearly means selfishness. But Lewis clearly believes that self-interest is not necessarily selfish, and that selfishness is not in our self-interest. Lewis may argue that the actions of the godly businessman and the missionary are both of self-interest. Vocational motivation, even when profit is involved, stems from our God-given talents to serve others, not necessarily for selfish reasons.
  • Excellent article from Jeanne. Of course!
    • Thirdly, we do not read Greek myths in order to teach pagan religion. My aim as a homeschooling parent is to educate my daughter to live a Christian life, seeking to glorify God in everything she does - not only when we study Bible, sing Psalms or pray, but as she studies French, does maths or reads the Classics. We are educating her to become a fine Christian wife and mother, or a fine Christian rocket scientist or vet.

20 March 2013

A Little Bit of Chaos: Here, There, and Everywhere

This week has been crazy and seems to be getting crazier, so I'm calling it quits and I hope to be back on Monday. That is point one. Point two is that tomorrow is supposed to be an examination day. If you refer to point one, you'll see my problem. What to do, what to do?

Here is where I share a Big Secret. At least, it feels like a big secret. Maybe you already noticed it.

All that time I used to spend writing examinations? No more.


The Ambleside Online Examinations page!

Now, depending upon how you tinker with the curriculum, every single question may or may not fit what you actually did in a term. But if you are like me, and almost always follow the curriculum as it's written, this will be a huge help for you.

I enjoyed writing my own exams, I did. But I will be honest and say that one of the reason that exams have fallen through the cracks the last three terms has been that I lacked the time to write one. We seem to schedule our health crises right around the end of terms.

I read the exam for Year 5 Term 2 just now. It is a perfect fit. It is, to be honest, quite a bit better than what I would have written myself. I look forward to printing it off tomorrow and giving the entire exam orally. I usually have my child answer at least some of the questions in writing, but due to the aforementioned chaos, a simple oral examination will win the day for us.


Briefly, let's talk about math. I've seen some discussion again on the Forum about "living math." You might want to read through the Math Week series from 2012, if you are thinking about this topic. Suffice it to say here that math does not need to be taught in story form. "Living" math is not an idea that one can get from reading what Miss Mason wrote about the teaching of arithmetic.

Charlotte believed that math as math appealed to the human mind:
I have so far urged that knowledge is necessary to men and that, in the initial stages, it must be conveyed through a literary medium, whether it be knowledge of physics or of Letters, because there would seem to be some inherent quality in mind which prepares it to respond to this form of appeal and no other. I say in the initial stages, because possibly, when the mind becomes conversant with knowledge of a given type, it unconsciously translates the driest formulae into living speech; perhaps it is for some such reason that mathematics seem to fall outside this rule of literary presentation; mathematics, like music, is a speech in itself, a speech irrefragibly logical, of exquisite clarity, meeting the requirements of mind.

However, comma.

If you are looking for a book, I found one that Miss Mason was actually using with her own students in her own schools. She doesn't mention it anywhere in her writings, but it is listed in many of the old PNEU Programmes. The best I can tell, this was often read in a child's leisure time, rather than assigned as actual school work. Think of it as an addition to the free reading lists. It's called Number Stories of Long Ago, and it seems to be a sort of math history book {though I don't know my history well enough to know how accurate it is}, where the development of number and counting and the like is detailed.

I bought it a few months ago, but I haven't incorporated it into Circle Time yet. That is my plan for next term. So, fair warning: I haven't read it all yet.

I have been researching the idea of adding "math history" to our free reading. I think that sometimes seeing the need for math helps us understand math itself, or at least motivates us. To give an extreme example, we know that Newton developed calculus because he was trying to solve certain problems and the math to solve those problems didn't exist. Everything in math is like that, if you go back in history enough. So, in Number Stories of Long Ago, I see that you can read a story about the development of numbers higher than three to children learning to count. Of necessity, people needed higher numbers. If a flock of sheep had 20 members, and the highest you can count is to "three sets of three," you immediately see the need. Seeing this need sometimes compels us to understand.

All of that to say, this is as close to "living math" as I've gotten, and I think the children will really enjoy it.

Speaking of the Ambleside Online Forum {because we were, right?}, I am going to try and lead a study group through Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles of Education beginning shortly after Easter. I haven't posted a schedule yet due to the aforementioned chaos. Suffice it to say that it will be slower than most of the studies on the Forum because that is the way I work. I apologize now to you rushers out there.

If you want to join us, it'll be in the CM Study Hall --> General CM Series Discussion.

And finally...

Posting may be light next week. We're on Easter break. We're going to have fun. I also may or may not be painting some furniture I bought. It depends on whether I can get it together. If I really get it together, I'll even post photos.

19 March 2013

Common Core Link Roundup

    • So is Common Core “dumbing down” students? Beck unequivocally believes it is and quipped that “the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has little or no more value than the phone book in Common Core.”
    • The panel also said that if it were not so “sad” it would be “hilarious” as Common Core is forging ahead without offering any empirical evidence that the system works. “And we are buying it,” one educator said.
    • The teachers feel like they are simply “data drones” one teacher said soberly. The teachers also said that they have felt intimidated by government officials pushing Common Core.
  • The real reason Texas doesn't need to sign on to Common Core: they're already there. But CSCOPE goes a step further because it's not standards, it's actual curriculum.
    • Socialism is being promoted and Christianity is being demonized in the public school systems of some of the most conservative states in America.  For example, students in Texas public schools have been taught to design a socialist flag for a new nation, that those that participated in the Boston Tea Party were “terrorists”, and that Christianity is a cult. 
  • Common Core is already being implemented here in California, but I suppose it is with a shot.
    • The Common Core State Standards Initiative” is the official name for the new education program coming down from the Obama administration, preparing the way for “Race to the Top Assessments,” which will take place in 2014 when all the computer software is in place to test the minds of the nation’s children to see how well Common Core (CC) has been sufficiently taught.
    • Yes, it does sound bad if one looks at other countries that have nationalized education, and we see nationalized propaganda. When education is top-down, with the federal government having so much control and power over education, it is very easy to promote a certain agenda and indoctrination is so much easier. 
    • Friday last week, Dr. Darcy G. Benway, Superintendent of the O’Fallon Township High School District 203 in a letter to a parent (whose name has been withheld for privacy sake) said since the Common Core has been tied into the Illinois State Learning Standards there is “no opt out option with regard to Common Core State Standards.”
    • But along with that knowledge must come an understanding of what the CCS really is and why it is so dangerous - for every young person in this nation and for our future as a country. And so we share here a small collection of resources explaining and exposing the CCS.
    • So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations such as Gates and various corporations.

17 March 2013

Stupendous Selections on Sunday

Okay, so this posted yesterday, but I broke in here today {Monday morning} and edited it a bit. I don't know if I'll keep the title...I was having fun playing with it at the time! So, I've learned some things. For example, I thought I couldn't continue to include quotes, but apparently if I highlight them {as I did in the bottom link}, they will show up as a sub-point. That's pretty nice.
Let me know what you think about using this format. It is really, really nice to have it all automatic like this instead of spending time cutting and pasting my links. Next week, I'll try and make sure that each article has a quote the way it did before. I didn't realize that was possible until...well, until right now!

Don't forget to tell me your thoughts on the links!

15 March 2013


I don't often do these sorts of posts, but I feel compelled today, so here we go. I'm changing some things around here on Afterthoughts, and I want to give you notice, plus I want to hear your opinions on one of them. So here goes.

  1. Let's talk about Common Core. I know, I know. You're thinking: what does the push for national education standards have to do with housekeeping on a little blog like mine? Well, I'll tell you. For years now, I've had a link in the sidebar to Math Mammoth. I'm a big fan. It's an affordable curriculum, and I believe it's a good one. I've been happy with it overall, and I own the complete curriculum for grades 1 through 6. But this bothers me:
    The publisher of Math Mammoth is completely in favor of CCS/national standards. The only reason she did not align her Blue and Green series is because it didn’t seem feasible, given that they are arranged topically, not by grade level. If she could align them, she would.
    The publisher can do as she likes, but I am opposed to this sort of thinking. What I initially liked about Math Mammoth is that it seemed to be based upon research about the learning of math--how do good schools, or countries that are exceptional in math, teach math? What is the ideal way to teach math? I always thought of Math Mammoth as the sort of curriculum that wouldn't get caught up in silly standards for a nation that is always declining in their education, and on every level. But no. Math Mammoth is a big fan of Common Core. This makes me less than a fan of Math Mammoth, so I'm removing the link from my sidebar. I still own the curriculum, and I'll still use it as I intended. But I'm not going to continue giving Math Mammoth free advertising here on the blog.
  2. Let's talk about Google Reader. Yesterday, Google announced that it's retiring the old Google Reader RSS feedreader come July 1. I've been irritated with Reader ever since they killed the share and social functions back in...what was it?...2010? 2011? Anyhow, I stayed with them because I couldn't find a good substitute. Some suggested the The Old Reader. I tried it. It was super sloooow. I emailed the developers about sharing widgets for blogs--this was a huge loss to those of us who collected sidebar links in the "old" days. They said at that time they had no plans to implement that sort of sharing functionality. After talking with some people, I think I've come up with a way to use two programs to do what Reader alone used to do for me. I'm currently using Feedly as my RSS reader, and Diigo for sharing/social functions.
  3. Let's talk about Miscellaneous Musings on Monday. This was something I implemented when Reader killed the automatic sharing capabilities. I didn't want to stop offering news links, but there was no longer a way to do it easily, so a weekly post was the solution. If you notice, now that I'm using Diigo, there are once again Reading Assignments in the sidebar. The MMM posts have become very popular, though, and I always love your comments. So here is what I'm thinking: Diigo has a way of automatically posting to my blog all the links I save, along with any comments I make. It'd basically be a repeat of what you're seeing in the sidebar, but it'd allow us to have a set post for comments. It would be on Sundays, instead of Mondays, because that is the only day they offer for a weekly post. Perhaps I can have it post late Sunday night so we still discuss on Mondays, as is our habit. Any opinions on this? I'm going to test it this coming Sunday, and we'll see what we think.
And that is all. At least, I think it is all. Did many of you use Reader before? And, if so, where are you moving to?

14 March 2013

Review: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

I finally finished Last Child in the Woods this week. What can I say? I really enjoyed {and found interesting} the first two-thirds, but the last third fizzled out for me. I know, I know. Everyone says this is such a life-changing book. I think that perhaps my expectations were set far too high. You've probably had this happen, right? Everyone tells you that a movie is so amazing that, no matter how great it is, it'll never live up to its own reputation. I think that is what happened with this book.

Which is why I am not telling you not to read it.

If you are like me, and always need a push to do nature study, this book is most definitely for you. It'll bolster your resolve.

So what is my issue?

Politics, really.

The first two-thirds of the book focuses on all the amazing benefits of being outside, of being in nature, of being free in nature. We learn about all of the negative influences of the crazy rules introduced over the last few decades. You know which ones--the ones where children can't dig up flower beds at parks or build tree forts in their front yards, the ones which insist they are keeping these children "safe."

It's sort of a wild combination of social work and do-good-ism having a love affair with zoning laws and the desire for every neighborhood to look like a country club.

Or so I hear.

If the book had stopped there, I'd be writing a glowing review.

But at the end Louv got all political and I sort of spat him out of my mouth. If I hadn't committed to reading every book I opened this year all the way through, I'd have stopped.

Louv seems to think that the greatest tragedy in all of this is that children disconnected with nature just aren't growing up to be environmentalists as they ought. Something of this sort is expected in a book of this kind, so I was prepared, but I was reading the "updated and expanded" edition, which means that instead of having a chapter or two on this travesty, Louv went on and on and on.

What can I say? I can't remember the last time I felt bored, but I was bored near the end. I was forcing myself to just. get. through. it.

So here is my deal: I'm not an environmentalist. I've seen environmentalists cause far more problems in this state than they ever solved. I don't think it is tragic that children are growing up without swallowing the Green party voter guide hook, line, and sinker.

But I do think that Man is the crown of this creation, and that to truly have dominion over it, he needs to know and understand it. The great tragedy of hyper-industrialism is not political, it's in our children not fully becoming what they are created to be. There are things they might not learn about God if they lived their entire lives indoors, and there are things they might not learn about mankind--who they are and what they are to be about--as well.

I'm just choosing choosing Wendell Berry and Joel Salatin over the Sierra Club, if you know what I mean.

I hope you do, because I think I'm done with my little rant.

If you get a chance to read this book, do it. It'll make you feel good about kicking your children out of the house in every kind of weather, or about not landscaping your flowerbeds so that mud pies might be made with wild abandon. If you find the end tiresome, you have my permission to terminate your reading early.

12 March 2013

Thoughts from the Milkmaid

This is only our second time through kidding and freshening, so I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. However, comma, I do enjoy documenting our learning experiences and, besides, I've got goats on the brain today. My beloved, precious goats. They really are amazing animals...even my wild and crazy Charlotte.

I love this passage from Proverbs. It has a special place in my heart because my children have trouble digesting conventional dairy products. Keeping a herd and learning to milk has been a real provision for our family from the Lord--real maintenance for our maidens, so to speak. Keeping one goat {in milk and even with a baby on her} for one month costs less than a week's worth of raw cow's milk used to cost me, and I was rationing that milk to make it last the week.

I tried organic milk, I tried nonhomogenized milk. I tried everything to avoid that high milk bill, but nothing worked. The result was always the inevitable tummy problems {and more}. I'd like to say it's a simple lactose problem, but addition of the lactase digestive enzyme also did not help. I don't know what it is; I only know that raw cow's milk is expensive and it was almost all they could drink.

They always did well with goat milk. Q-Age-Six drank goat milk exclusively until she was two. But over the years the price of goat milk skyrocketed to the point where it costs the same as raw cow milk, but it is pasteurized, which introduces some of the digestive issues.

So, long story short, here we are. We keep goats. It's not always easy and, frankly, I miss sleeping in. But it's the life we've built and most of the time I really like it. I enjoy it. The children benefit in more ways than just the milk. My husband says herd animals are relaxing to observe, and he's right.

But this Proverbs passage points to something we have to keep in mind:
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds...
Contextually, this is a reference to goats, though of course this is wisdom regardless of what sort of animal. Why do we watch them so closely?
...for riches are not for ever...
Goats can turn really quickly. One moment, they're leaping across the pasture, the next minute they are in their death throes. What I have read tells me that goats are very, very sensitive to mineral deficiencies. Chances are, this is the way with most animals, but goats are particularly mineral-demanding. One of my goat care books even says that behind every vitamin deficiency in goats is a mineral deficiency. They need their minerals...or they start to shut down, and then they die.

In addition to this, they are, like many animals, prone to worms. And then, with dairy animals, there is also concern about mastitis.

The Bible tells us to diligently watch our flocks, to know their state, because riches are not forever. In other words, sloppy keeping of the herd sometimes means death to the flock, or at least part of it. This is one reason why I haven't turned over the milking to my children. They have asked, but milking is the main way I stay in close contact with the goats, the way that I know if the goats are okay. If I didn't milk them, I wouldn't see much of them, and that would be dangerous for their health.

Milking Issues

With our first kidding, Reece gave birth to twins, and even though they seemed to be constantly nursing, she was dripping all over the place. This is a sign of engorgement. Kelly, who I pester into telling me what to do via email, was kind enough to tell me that if Reece was leaking, I should milk her out. And so I did.

When Charlotte had only one kid, then, I was very careful. I checked her throughout the day the first few days. She looked extremely full, but the kid was nursing a lot, and I never saw any dripping. So I left her. I didn't want to take the colostrum from Patch.

On the third day, I was beginning to get concerned. By the afternoon, I noticed that her teats were beginning to look inflamed. I thought about harassing Kelly, but I decided that I knew what she would tell me, and that was that I needed to milk her out. And so I did.

It was hard to get this milk out, so hard that I think I understand why the baby wouldn't nurse for very long at a time. I think he grabbed what drops he could, and the gave up after that. From what I've read, some goats can get so engorged that no milk will come out, even though they want it to.

It took at least half an hour. I didn't have peppermint essential oil or oxytocin or any of the other suggestions I've since read about for encouraging let down. I just slowly and carefully worked with her, bumping her udder the way baby goats do, and feeding her grain to keep her happy.

I got a quart before I called it quits. I definitely didn't get all of it, but frankly she was starting to jump around on the table, my arms--out of shape from six weeks of not milking--were tired, and I felt like I'd done all I could do.

The next morning, her teats looked better {less red}, the baby seemed happier and looked a little better {hard to explain, but suffice it to say I don't think he was getting enough milk until after I milked her out}, and most importantly, when I milked her, I only got about a pint. The baby had finally been able to really nurse! That was exciting, and even more so later in the day when I watched and saw a significant difference in the length of individual nursing times.

She's producing a lot of milk {shock: she's a dairy goat}, and she has only one baby to get it out, so I'm milking her morning and night, especially since she seems to need this for her udder health. Her milk has come in now, so we're enjoying the taste{more on that soon} and I'm no longer throwing it out. We're getting about five cups per day, which is a lot since she's never away from her baby, and he's happy as can be. I'm satisfied.

Milk Taste

It was Friday when I noticed that the milk had changed from colostrum to real milk. But it still tasted a little funny. This could have been residual colostrum, I suppose, but I was concerned because Reece's milk had had a strong taste at the end of her last freshening, and I was afraid we'd be disappointed in the taste. We chose this breed because the taste of the milk was supposed to be so perfect--like cow milk, but even better. When we taste tested it at a breeder's it really did taste that good.

But the breeder kept her goats penned up all day and therefore had absolute control over feedings. We, on the other hand, allow our goats to wander and eat up our pasture grass, weeds, whatever they can find. This keeps down feed cost and adds more variety to their forage, which is more in line with how goats are designed to eat, how they eat in the wild. The result has been hit and miss taste. Or so I thought.

I was reading up on goats when I found a tip from someone who heard a tip from a very old woman {I wish I could remember the source}. This woman swore that the key to perfect tasting goat milk was one tablespoon of baking soda per day, added to their feed. This helps keep their rumen at the correct Ph, and the result is good tasting milk. Well, I already had ad lib baking soda available in their pen, but adding it to their feed meant I could make them take more than they might on their own, so I did it. I am all for inexpensive solutions from little old women who grew up with goats. Awesome.

Even more awesome? It seems to work! The milk changed within 24 hours of adding the baking soda to a perfect taste--even my husband, who always refused Reece's milk, likes it--and no variation in taste from milking to milking. I already add dolomite powder and copper sulfate, why not baking soda?

What About Bucks?

One of you asked in the comments what we do with the baby boy goats. This is only our second time, as I said before, so it is hard to say that we really have a system. Last time, we did not wether {castrate} the baby bucks, and sold them both on Craigslist to a man who was starting his own herd for his little son and wanted a smaller goat. {Kinders--real Kinders, not the strange combinations you might see out there--are smaller than Nubians but bigger than Pygmies.}

We actually plan to list Patch this weekend and see if we get any bites. He won't be ready to leave his mother for another six weeks or so, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to reserve him, they can also let us know if they want him wethered. That is what we plan to do with Reece's kids, too, if she has bucks. Frankly, I hope we get at least one doe this time around, but we'll see. I just read that feeding lots of cider vinegar before breeding is important for getting females. Something about the potassium. I'm trying it next time!

So, in short: we get rid of the bucks. Butchering isn't something we'd refuse to do, but we are really doing this for the milk, not the meat, and if we can make a little cash by selling a buck, that is the route we'd rather take at this point.

11 March 2013

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday

Good morning, Afterthinkers! The sun is shining, we're getting enough milk {already!} from Charlotte, and it's looking to be a good day...which almost makes up for the disaster that was last week. Almost. I did buy some new furniture for the master bedroom, so all is not lost, and it looks like I'll have a painting project to post about sometime soon.

But not too soon. I still have a nightstand to buy, and I'm not painting until I have everything and can do it all at once.

So enough about me.

In the news...

  • Gentle Baby C-Section Featured on NBC 5 News! from YouTube. It was so hard for me to be separated from my babies--and for so long--after my C-sections. I love this and I hope this becomes the new protocol for non-emergency situations.
  • 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet: Real food at Costco at affordable prices from The Nourishing Gourmet. I already know that everything on this list is not valid for my area. For example, I've never seen Kerrygold butter at my Costco. But I'm taking this list with me next time to see what I can find that compares. I'm especially interested in saving money on coconut oil!
    When many of think of Costco food, we often think of frozen, premade food that you pop on a tray and cook in the oven. Certainly healthy, whole food dinners aren’t what we think of as the typical Costco dinner. However, you can easily skip all the junk and buy a lot of whole food ingredients there! A very lovely organic salad with low-mercury sustainable tuna, organic quinoa, avocado, and shredded organic carrots with a vinegar and organic olive oil dressing can be made from ingredients found at Costco.
  • HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT DISARMS GUNMAN…GETS SUSPENDED? from The Blaze. I hope they reversed this decisions, but still it is disconcerting that a student's act of heroism would meet with this initial response.
    The 16-year-old Cypress Lake High student in Fort Myers, Fla. told WFTX-TV there was “no doubt” he saved a life after grappling for the loaded .22 caliber revolver being aimed point-blank at another student on Tuesday.
  • The age of the brag is over: why Facebook might be losing teens from The Verge. Interesting.
    One week ago, Facebook Director of Product Blake Ross announced that he’d leave the company in a goodbye letter he posted on his profile page. Ross wrote:

    "I’m leaving because a Forbes writer asked his son’s best friend Todd if Facebook was still cool and the friend said no, and plus none of HIS friends think so either, even Leila who used to love it, and this journalism made me reconsider the long-term viability of the company."
  • MAN TAKES JOE BIDEN’S GUN ADVICE — AND NOW HE PROBABLY WISHES HE HADN’T from The Blaze. One of the first rules of gun safety is, "Know your target and what's behind it." No shooting through doors!
    The 22-year-old then stepped into the hallway, grabbed his shotgun and fired several shots through his closed bedroom door, toward the window.

    The only person who got arrested that night was him.
  • How I Stopped Eating Food from Mostly Harmless. As interesting as I find the science behind nutrition, something is wrong when we start separating food from culture and viewing it as purely "fueling."
    There are no meats, fruits, vegetables, or breads here. Besides olive oil for fatty acids and table salt for sodium and chloride nothing is recognizable as food. I researched every substance the body needs to survive, plus a few extras shown to be beneficial, and purchased all of them in nearly raw chemical form from a variety of sources. The section on the ingredients ended up being quite long so I'll save that for a future post. The first morning my kitchen looked more like a chemistry lab than a cookery, but I eventually ended up with an thick, odorless, beige liquid. I call it 'Soylent'.
  • DOCTORS: MISSISSIPPI BABY ‘FUNCTIONALLY CURED’ OF HIV from The Blaze. I don't usually have so many links from a single source. I guess I was on a Blaze kick this week.
    “You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings, told The Associated Press.
  • Why Jack the Giant-Slayer Misses the Mark from Moore to the Point. Haven't seen this yet; still plan to.
    The movie obscures the way Jack, in the old stories, usually defeated the giants: not just with grit and luck and determination, but with trickery.
  • Quiet from Ordo Amoris.
    While Susan Cain does not ever mention homeschooling its absence is glaring when she addresses helping introverted children find a quiet learning environment. I was particularly encouraged by the chapter explaining how we, as humans, become proficient at something. It takes thousands and thousands of hours. This clearly gives homeschoolers an edge. We are the only people left in America with any hours to spare.
  • Surrogate offered $10,000 to abort baby from CNN Health.
    Kelley didn't want to be the baby's mother -- she'd gotten pregnant to help another family, not to have a child of her own. Kron gave her an option: the parents would pay her $10,000 to have an abortion.

    The offer tested Kelley's convictions.
  • The Drawbacks of Homeschooling from Letters from Nebby.
    And I think we as homeschoolers need to acknowledge that there may be drawbacks to homeschooling. I think sometimes we are so defensive, we feel so in the minority, that we fail to recognize homeschooling’s weak points. But this does not in the end benefit our children nor does it help our cause. Let us say, rather, that there are pros and cons to homeschooling, that there may be areas where it is weaker. But just as public school (or private school) parents do best when they supplement what goes on in the schools, when they fill ni its gaps with what happens at home, so we too must be conscious of what our children may be lacking and must find ways to provide it.
  • And finally, a video that perhaps only those of you who raise goats could fully appreciate...

Have a happy Monday!

07 March 2013

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday {Thursday Edition}

I wasn't going to do one of these this week, but I glanced at my links list and noticed I had enough and, honestly, with all the vomiting going on around here {I promise to stop saying that word real soon} it isn't like I can concentrate enough to write a post. I thought we were done with it, but now one of my children who thought she was immune was proven wrong, and I'm thinking O-Age-Ten is a walking time bomb. I asked my dad to get us some more ginger ale, just in case.

So enough already about our problems. Talking about them certainly won't make them go away, so let's get our minds of them by thinking of other things. Notably...

  • The Lost Tribes of the Amazon from Smithsonian.com. Just because this was cool.
    They had covered 13 points without success, when, near a creek called the Río Bernardo, Franco shouted a single word: “Maloca!”

    Martínez leaned over Franco.

    "Donde? Donde?”—Where? Where? she yelled excitedly.

    Directly below, Franco pointed out a traditional longhouse, constructed of palm leaves and open at one end, standing in a clearing deep in the jungle. Surrounding the house were plots of plantains and peach palms, a thin-trunked tree that produces a nutritious fruit.
  • High-Powered Plasma Turns Garbage Into Gas from Wired. This? This was also cool.
    There is, in fact, value in trash—if you can unlock it. That’s what this facility in northern Oregon is designed to do. Run by a startup called S4 Energy Solutions, it’s the first commercial plant in the US to use plasma gasification to convert municipal household garbage into gas products like hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can in turn be burned as fuel or sold to industry for other applications. (Hydrogen, for example, is used to make ammonia and fertilizers.)
  • The manufactured crisis of sequester from The Washington Post. Because the sky didn't fall after all, now did it?
    The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”
  • Most Earth species 'still unknown': Brazil expert from Google. This is cool, too. Please also note how the author assumes you readers could not possibly know what the word "taxonomist" means. I will try to never disrespect {insult, show lack of respect  or courtesy to} you like that.
    He said a major problem was a lack of data in countries with the greatest biodiversity such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia or South Africa.

    "Most species have been discovered by amateur taxonomists (scientists who classify organisms according to their physical or cellular characteristics) in Europe," he noted. "That is not the case in Brazil and countries with high biodiversity where we do not have an army of amateur taxonomists."
  • One Hundred Reasons to Abandon Public Education Now from American Thinker. They had me at John Dewey.
    1. John Dewey. "The father of modern education" -- including modern Soviet education. Critic of Western rationalism, socialist, enemy of ethical individualism.
    2. Bill Ayers. Weatherman communist, Deweyite -- and influential voice in early childhood education.
  • Faith, family and ducks: Behind the scenes of 'Duck Dynasty' from The Christian Chronicle. I don't have cable in my home and have never seen this show, but I found this article fascinating.
    “The challenges they face deal with compromise,” he said. “For example, does the opportunity to influence a segment of culture in very broad ways as TV personalities outweigh the disappointment they may feel with the producers cutting out ‘in Jesus’ name’ at the end of every televised prayer?”

    Equally shocking to the Robertsons: In the first two episodes, the producers bleeped out words said by Willie and Korie to make it appear that they cursed. The family complained. As Al Robertson explained, “We don’t cuss.”
  • Babies born by cesarean section more likely to develop allergies from FOXNews. Can't say I'm surprised.
    By age two, babies born by cesarean section were five times more likely to have allergies to common household allergens than those born naturally.
  • NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth from Space.com. I love the way things like this are discovered. It is almost always accidental!
    Unexpectedly, the probes revealed a new radiation belt surrounding Earth, a third one made of super-high-energy electrons embedded in the outer Van Allen belt about 11,900 to 13,900 miles (19,100 to 22,300 kilometers) above the planet's surface. This stable ring of space radiation apparently formed on Sept. 2 and lasted for more than four weeks.
  • WHY DOES THE BIBLE MENTION UNICORNS? from CreationToday.com. In case you thought Christians were idiots...
    Notice how this 200-year-old definition of the word “unicorn” says absolutely nothing about a horse. It says nothing about a horse-like animal, or a mythical animal, or a fictitious creature. It says absolutely nothing about mythology whatsoever.
Have a great Monday Thursday, everybody!

06 March 2013

Meet Patch

Not only did the stomach flu virus enter our lives this weekend, we were also visited by something way cuter: a brand new baby buck. We named him Patch, and I'm sure you'll be able to tell why. Patch is 3/4 Kinder and 1/4 Boer. More importantly, Patch is adorable {and comes from good milking lines!}. He was born on Friday night, so as I type he is only five day old. In these photos, though, he is less than 24 hours old.

Baby goats, just like many other mammalian babies, sleep a lot. We use the coffee cans you see pictured here as extra water containers, but it is also nice for scale, no? He is barely bigger than an oversized coffee can!

It was Charlotte's first kidding, and she freaked out a little. She was scared of Patch at first, so, after getting advice from our dear friend, Mr. O., we had to hold Charlotte still and help Patch latch on. This was after leaving them alone together for about an hour and a half, but with no progress.

When Patch began to drink, it was like a switch flipped in Charlotte's brain. Suddenly, she was vying for Mother of the Year. She immediately began to clean him up, and by morning he looked like you see in the photos--beautifully clean.

She still cleans him all day long, just in case.

Charlotte has been horribly wild, so imagine my surprise when she let me milk her without a fight. Even Reece, who is a dream goat when it comes to how tame and obedient she is, sat down and refused to budge on her first milking.

Charlotte is quite proud of Patch. I am amazed that she actually cares about someone other than herself.

This is our midterm break. I am starting to think these breaks are cursed. Last time, it was the chicken pox. This time? The flu. I was in bed with a high fever all day yesterday.

But the cuteness is a nice consolation. And the children are too distracted by Patch to pay attention to lessons anyhow. A-Age-Eight thinks she is training him to do tricks. I suppose she did teach him to climb the slide. He would have figured it out by himself in a week, but why waste time?

In other news, Reece is still pregnant, and will be for another week or two. In this photo, you can sort of see how huge she is, and she still has time to grow! I saw her lay down the other day, and her midsection started dancing around so much she finally despaired of ever being comfortable and got back up, poor creature.

Reece's kidding should be easy because it isn't her first time, so we aren't planning time off; just shorter days.

Spring is in the air for sure. The trees in the orchard are blooming, and the first kid of the season is on the ground. God has been good to us.

04 March 2013

The 2013 Bakersfield Home Education Conference

I haven't posted my regularly scheduled Monday post because I've been busy launching the updated website design for the 2013 Bakersfield Home Education Conference. Well, that and one of my children keeps throwing up. I know that some of you who read here are from Central California, so if you are interested in attending this conference, hop on over and follow the website so that you stay up-to-date and informed.

2013 Bakersfield Home Education Conference
Every single year, I think we are launching this conference late, but God always comes through and so really, why plan something in six months when you can plan it in four? He he. My husband would probably throw something {soft...ahem} at me if I said that out loud.

For those of you who can't attend, I invite you to pray for us. This is a lot of work--a lot of fun, too! But still: a lot of work. There are still speakers to confirm and a million details I don't want to think about yet. I am excited about this year. I'm not big on feelings, but I have good ones about this year's endeavor.

So Happy Monday, everybody!