March 4, 2010

Secular Thursday: Homeschool Days 3/04/10

"Childhood is not preparation for adulthood - it is a part of life."
 - A. Neill

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I am so glad we are not sick, because everyone around us seems to have the flu.  We had a slight scare yesterday when Dimples threw up her entire meal at IHOP.  Talk. About. Embarrassing.  Our waitress was so sweet though and brought us buckets and towels, then offered to clean up what hit the floor.  It seems that something she ate didn't agree with her since we've had no other symptoms.  Being sick would have greatly reduced our weekend fun as we are going to see They Might Be Giants on Saturday afternoon!  This is the kid's second concert.  We took them two years ago too.  We can't wait!  Then the AIR meeting is on Sunday and G.U.S.T is Monday.  See?  We have no time to be sick.


The book club meeting was great.  No meltdowns!  Our next book is A Wrinkle in Time.  We read that one last year, but Robotson wants to read it again.  I have suggested that this time he read the book and I'll be there to support him if he needs me.  He's still getting used to the idea, but I know he can do it.  We started on The Lightning Thief and so far it's been really fun to read aloud.  Robotson doesn't seem to want to learn any additional mythology, but it's renewing my interest!

We've gone another week without reading much to the girls.  I wish I could put my finger on what is so difficult about this.  I know I need to make the time, and yet every week I feel baffled by our lack of book time. They did sit in while I read The Value of Love: The Story of Johnny Appleseed, with Robotson.


I haven't forgotten we were working through all of our math books.  Robotson and I started The Easy Book of Multiplication.  I thought it might be interesting to at least introduce the idea of memorizing the multiplication tables, and amazingly, he wasn't opposed.   Within 30 minutes, he had 71 out of 100.  He wanted to make his own flash cards, so we started on that too.  Glad it was his idea.  The second part of the book is multiplying two-digit numbers.  We'll work on that this weekend, though it's not a new concept for him.

Funny Girl figured out the "teens" a couple of weeks ago.  Every once in a while she would come and ask me what came after 15 or 18, and I'd tell her.  Then later she would ask me if she was counting correctly up to 19.  Next she was asking about the multiples of 10.  She must be counting a lot because she taught Dimples how to do it too.  I think she taught her the alphabet song also, because I hear them singing it all the time.  I know it took much longer for Robotson to get through the "teen" numbers.  He may have been closer to six before he got them right every time.  And that was with me actively teaching him.  He also struggled with the alphabet.  The girls have the benefit of an older brother to model for them, but I also wonder if my not pushing the matter has any affect?


Funny Girl has also been writing more lately.  She loves the dry erase boards, chalk boards, and giant rolls of paper.  Her favorite letters are W, M, and of course the letters in her name.  Her favorite number appears to be 5.  She likes to play teacher and show Dimples how to do all the same things she is learning to do.

As a side note, though Robotson and I haven't done any sort of writing at all in ages, I noticed his handwriting on the flash cards was quite nice!  I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I think very little of learning how to print or learn cursive.  I rarely write anymore and I think it's only going to happen less often in the future.  I'm not saying no one should learn how to write.  It's just that I can see the argument for not putting too much effort into it when it appears to be a dying art, that's all.


We were looking at a photo series from The Big Picture on Indonesia this week.   Many of the pictures sparked conversations.  There was a shot of man being struck by a cane as punishment and protestors that had sewn their lips together.  When we got the shots of the mentally ill man who was chained to the bed, I asked him what he thought about that sort of treatment.  I explained the caption of the photo that says many people don't understand mental health disorders, and think it is black magic instead.  I tried to get him to think about the sort of help he would want if his brain was hurt.  Would he want a healer with a magical spell or medicine?   His first answer was the magical spell, which makes perfect sense.  Who wouldn't want to be cured by magic if it was an option.  I asked him if he thought there was really magic that could save these people and he seemed less convinced.  The next picture shows a man being hosed down and he is clearly starving.  Robotson wasn't quite so sure that magic was helping this man at all.


We got a new computer set up this week and now Robotson can handle syncing his iPod on his own.  At some point he downloaded the Georgia Aquarium tour podcast.  He's been listening to it at night and during car rides for a couple of days now.  We are all learning quite a lot about the wonderful animals at the aquarium.


Did you see this cool writeup about the Foundation Beyond Belief in the AJC?

The stereotype that atheists are unemotional or not compassionate is simply not true, he said.

"I know people who are non-religious and that's simply not the case," McGowan said. "It's just [that] it will never catch up with this community of giving, where it's a habit."

To help non-churchgoers dig a big deeper, McGowan, who is an atheist as well, formed the Foundation Beyond Belief in January. So far, the group has about 300 members, he said. Members sign up for an automatic monthly donation. They indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among various charities. At the end of each quarter, 100 percent of the donations go to the charities and a new slate of beneficiaries is selected.

Since its launch, said McGowan, the foundation has raised $6,500 for charity.

It feels really good to be part of something like this. If you haven't joined, please do. Even a little can help a lot.

Are you familiar with Ask a Ninja? You should be. Robotson and I love him.

(via Free Technology for Teachers)

Oh and since it's still flu season, and we were worried about getting sick, here is a little video to help you remember to wash your hands.  We love Chromeo!