Thursday, July 29, 2010

A boy and his logo

Bede loves the PBS logo. He draws endless comics of the PBS P-head on adventures with his fellow television and film logo pals, Viacom and Screen Gems. The DiC logo is usually the villain in the stories. I don't know why. I myself find the Viacom V of Doom very creepy.

I have some of these to scan in. His volume is incredible. He produces about fifty drawings a day and it's difficult for me to select the ones to show you. But that's not why I'm blogging.

Last week, I ordered this for him from the PBS shop.


It came today.

I opened the box and peeked in. It was what I thought it was. I took it out of the packing materials. Bede was sitting next to me on the sofa, mildly interested in the boxes in my lap, but also watching Alice in Wonderland, backwards, in French.

"Hey, Bede. Look what I have!" I said.

He glanced my way, then did a double-take. His eyes widened and an enormous grin split his face. "Ho ho ho!" he chortled. He stood up and hopped in place.

"It's for you. I got it for *you*, Bede." I held it out towards him.

He moaned and ran across the room, hopped, then ran back. He was still smiling hugely. He whispered, so softly I could just hear him, "It's PBS. On your *shirt*."

"Do you want to put it on, Bede?" I asked.


So he did. I guided his head and arms to the correct spots and he looked down at his chest blissfully. He was near exploding from joy at this point. He ran to a window to see his reflection, then ran back to me.

"Do you like the shirt, Bede?" I asked, redundantly.

He flung himself into my lap and hugged me, smiling that incredible smile.

I'll take that as a yes. I love you too, little boy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

still here, still plotting - er, PLANNING

Still gently planning the homeschool year. In fact, I nodded to Luke Holtzmann on Twitter about it: I can see why buying a year's worth of scheduled readings, with open-ended discussion questions included, all for great, REAL books that are a joy to read... is a heck of a lot easier than doing it all yourself, from scratch.

I didn't go with Sonlight again for several reasons.

1. *Sonlight is Christian but not Catholic*. Sonlight's religious materials are Evangelical Protestant in tone and mission, which can be fine - or intolerable. This year, I am focusing on teaching Roman Catholicism to our kids, and I need the materials to support that. In our last Core I used Sonlight's books and stressed the commonalities that all Trinitarian Christians share. This year, I need more than that. I could have gotten a Core but not the Bible, but the EP overtones are present in many of the other subjects too, notably History, Literature and Science.

2. *Sonlight doesn't have a Middle Ages Core*. The Middle Ages are covered in Sonlight's World History Cores, but we wanted more detail. Winter Promise makes a full-year Middle Ages program but they also have the same trouble as reason 1 above.

3. *Sonlight is 36 weeks, and we wanted 45*. We'll be doing four days a week for 45 weeks. Sonlight has a great four-day option that's included with every Core but it's still only 36 weeks.

4. *Sonlight is slightly more expensive*. Honestly, this isn't much of a reason. I doubt I've saved much money. I've been able to buy a few things used, and I don't have the expense of the Instructor's Guide. Sonlight isn't raking in the dough. Their Cores are expensive but you get real value for your money.

That's about it. We will likely return to Sonlight in the future. Their High School Cores are very intriguing, and having everything just In A Box and DONE is worth a lot, let me tell you.

I'll publish our schedule and booklist when I finish. I'm doing the first 15 weeks, so if we just hate it I won't have wasted as much time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

he's done it!

Just a quick note to say...

Bede brushed his own teeth tonight, the whole shebang!

We'll slowly work toward putting the paste on by himself, but for now I say skill attained: CHECK! Woohoo Bede!

My previous posts on this:

[Introducing the process](

[An update](

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

this and that

The miserly Internet usage is going well. I have yet to hit the barrier. Idislike the EZ Timer though - the interface is poorly designed, it's a real pain to configure and worst of all, it intermittently fails to load. I won't be purchasing it.

I installed TimeTracker on the kids' machine instead. It requires me to go over and look at the time and then say "Almost out for the day!" versus relying on a program to do that for me, and I guess there's nothing stopping the kid from flat-out disobeying me and using the computer when I'm asleep or something, but I hope that won't be a problem. If it is, I guess I'll deal with it then. By and large my kids do what I ask them to do, you know?

Sean built that fort for the kids in the backyard, wanna see it? Well, you can't. Because it's not quite done and he won't let me take a picture. But soon!

I'm shrinking! I've lost five pounds in three weeks! Go, me! I'm using this great plan called "Eating Less Crap You Don't Really Want Anyway, Tubby" diet. Woo! My BMI was on the verge of overweight, and (more importantly) my waist-hip ratio was over 0.8, putting me at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. I don't want that. I hear it really sucks. So, less of me! Yay!

Homeschool planning continues apace.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

going to eleven

I just downloaded EZ Internet Timer, or something like that. It's shareware that will lock the internet on a computer after one's time is up for the day. I set it to two hours. I'm going to use it for a week and see how I do. Then I'm going to put it on the kids' computer too. Faith, Abaigeal, Gilbert and I will all be on the two-hour (each) internet plan.

I'm writing this blog post in Notepad because I don't want to use up my browser time with blogging. That means I can't look stuff up, like the name of the program, or link to its website. That's different. Also, earlier I was at my folks' house and I was reluctant to use my time to find a photo that I was going to use for gossip fodder. So that was a plus, I think, right?

It also means that I won't be idly visiting sites through the day as much. I hope it causes me to avoid sites like Boing Boing and Drudge. They just end up blasting my mind with shiny but cause me stress in the long run, when I realize I have spent the last 30 minutes reading comment threads.

This is the most drastic step I have taken in Internet fasting. I started out with Time Tracker, and it helped but it wasn't enough. Then i switched to Chrome and let even that minimal reminder go. Gave up message boards (that was such a relief!) Gave up Facebook for Lent, then gave it up entirely. But then replaced it with Twitter. Though Twitter has nothing on Facebook for timesuck, honestly. I think it's because Twitter, at least through the web interface, is largely my conversations only, whereas Facebook is my conversations and my friends' conversations.

But all that? Still I was relentlessly clicking refresh. On Livejournal, on Google Reader, on Twitter. And measuring out my life with coffee spoons.

No more, I say!

I have so many things to do in the Real World with Real Things. I want to read more Charlotte Mason - her actual writings, not just what others have written. And I'm falling in love with the Pragmatists again, that uniquely American school of philosophy. Did you guys know I was a philosophy major? Join us and you can make as much as some poets!

So if I want to read those things I have to get the Internets out of my brain. Sustained concentration, I don't haz it yall. But it will come back!

I am, I can, I ought, I will!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

getting medieval

I'm trying to plan the year for our homeschool. We school pretty much year round, which lends us great flexibility. Legally I am required to have 180 days of attendance for all of my children between the ages of five and 18 years, equivalent to about 1000 attended hours in a year. Going all year means we do four hours a day, five days a week. These are not like hour-hours, but are attendance hours, and are better thought of as "lessons." (In other words, I don't teach them all for four hours every day. That counts the time they read to themselves or work alone and the time they discuss what they have read or worked on with me.)

It is MUCH easier for me to take attendance with Charlotte Mason than it was when we were unschooling. It always felt like unschooling took so much explaining, especially to the governmental types. For such a simple concept it can be remarkably difficult to understand, if you think children only learn when they are taught.. When we were investigated by DHS, Faith was the only child of school age, and she was five - it's not difficult to demonstrate unschooled learning in a five-year old. But with older kids, it's trickier, or it can be.

Since we're studying the Middle Ages, we'll be covering about a thousand years, approximately 500 to 1500 AD. Conveniently, Our Island Story and A Child's History of the World both finish up the Middle Ages at chapter 61! This would be even more convenient if they both started at the same chapter. But... no. A Child's History of the World starts the Dark Ages at chapter 40, and Our Island Story starts them around chapter 8.

(That's if you consider the Dark Ages to have started at a different time on the continent than in Britain, which I do. If you don't think that, then OIS starts it at chapter 12. But I digress.)

259 pages for OIS, 93 for CHOW. So what we'll do is read two or three chapters of OIS for every one of CHOW. There's several read-alouds in there too. I think they'll be for another post, as will our math plan...