Saturday, May 28, 2016


 We have been extremely busy lately.  The girls have started computer-based classes at Khan Academy, which eats up my computer access.  More importantly, Brighteyes has taken the ACT.  She got a bit confused on the math section, which lowered her grade.  She only made a 34.  Out of 36.  Nobody's complaining.  She started taking duel-enrollment classes at the community college this week.  The house is so empty in the mornings now.

A teacher in my husband's department died at the start of the spring semester, and the subsequent extra work load led to him being very overworked this year.

Owl has started piano lessons.  He may have the best ears in the family for identifying notes.  Unfortunately our piano teacher seems to have retired on us.

I tried to be a laid-back Mom and let them set their own pace, but they did nothing and then complained about not being able to sleep at night while they dragged themselves around all day.  This spring I kicked them out of bed for morning exercises and meditation.  They're sleeping better as a result.  But now that schedule has to be readjusted for morning class at the college.

After watching various local classes and fitness opportunities crash and burn over the years, I was shocked to find a tiny Shotokan karate class that had been going on for six months in a neighboring town.  The children and I signed up, and I am verypleased with it.  The teacher, whose kids are also in the class, is great with the children, who are all local homeschoolers.  It's wonderful to have someone else tell my kids what to do for a change.

Shotokan karate:  in the early 20th Century schoolteacher and karate instructor Ginchin Funakoshi stripped karate down to something that could be taught to young children in a grade school classroom.  In the process he also made it very easy for non-athletic adults to pick it up as well.  It didn't catch on in Japanese schools the way he hoped it would, but it caught on like wildfire in the rest of the world.  The teaching style is meant to reward and encourage youngsters, and it does a pretty good job with anxious grownups as well.

The karate proved helpful with Brighteyes in a most unexpected way.  When we started lessons I told my kids that learning martial arts had been on my "to-do" list for a long time, and this was the first opportunity I had had in a long time.  As the date for the ACT got nearer, Brighteyes became more and more agitated, until she exploded and accused me of trying to live vicariously through her, expecting her to do all the things I had not had a chance to do.  I told her I wanted no such thing.  While I had put my other plans on hold to homeschool them, now that they were old enough to start seeing to themselves I was beginning to pursue those plans once again.  I didn't want her to pursue my dreams, I wanted her to get out of my way so I could pursue my dreams.  Surprisingly, this statement actually calmed her down quite a bit, and she even became more empathetic afterward.

That's all for now.  More later.

Monday, November 16, 2015

ISIL and the Confederacy

It's interesting how the Obama Administration is using the Lincoln Administration's playbook to handle ISIL.  Both the Obama and the Lincoln Administrations insisted that their adversaries were rebel insurgents, not a legitimate state, in spite of the fact that they held huge swathes of territory where they functioned with at least a semblance of a government.  And the Obama Administration's plan for dealing with ISIL is an updated version of the Lincoln Administration's Anaconda Plan.

The only thing that will defeat ISIL is the majority of Muslims rejecting conservatism.  That's hard for any non-leftwing group to do.  It's going to be a long war.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Second Opinion

We had biscuits today.  My helpful six-year old starts to get the butter.  "We don't need it, we'll use this instead," I said, putting down a trial batch of honey butter I had just made, on the theory that old-fashioned snack food had to be healthier than modern commercial snack food.

"What's that?"

"It's a surprise.  Try some and I'll tell you what it is."

"I don't what that!  I want the regular!"

"Have a taste."

He licks my finger.  "I don't like that!"

He keeps protesting as the honey butter gets further down the table and more used up.  Finally he cries, "Oh, all right!", flounces to the end of the table, and gets his biscuit slathered.

By the time he's set himself back down in his seat, the biscuit is gone.  "I like that!  Can we have that all the time?"

That may be a new turnaround time for new foods.  As for the rest of the family, a three-way arm-wrestling contest nearly broke out between my husband and my teenage daughters over the last drop.  I think this one's a keeper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Class of 1983

My husband met an old friend from high school last week in the small Mississippi town where they'd grown up 32 years ago . They chatted about their classmates from the white, middle class private school they had attended. Slightly less than half of the men had graduated from college and gone on to get jobs in business, teaching, and civil engineering. Slightly more than half of the men had not gone on to graduate from college. They were all dead, mostly from drugs or suicide. 10% of all the men in their class had committed suicide in the last five years. His friend noted that more men had died from their class than had died so far from his parents' class -- and his parents had graduated at the height of the Vietnam War. While the women had done slightly better, there had been fewer children born to the members of their class than had been in their class. It was a sobering experience.

I think we might have a problem, folks.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


Brighteyes finished the diagnostic tests (TABE) for the GED.  At 15, she aced every section except for writing.  She's finally starting to understand that my insistence that she write wasn't just Mommy being mean, but a skill she needs to master as well as she has the other skills.  Yay!

Monday, January 26, 2015

At 13 and 15, we decided the girls were old enough to start watching The Big Bang Theory this winter. They love it. (It doesn't hurt that we know/are people like that either.) My husband wants a copy of the Friendship Algorithm for his classroom. He says his students need the advice. I haven't got around to mentioning exactly how often it's re-run though. I don't want them watching it for 6.5 hours a week.