Friday, January 26, 2007

Out of the mouth of babes

A high school film student has created a short film on a study she performed. It is impactful to say the least. Most who watch it are left stunned. We must be better aware of the stereotypes we pass onto our children.

On a lighter note, today, baby peep raced downstairs in a puff. He immediately blurted out, "Mom, I just saw a wood pepper!"

He has a thing for renaming birds. One day oldest peep was telling him that the pretty bird outside her window was a blue jay. Later that day in the kitchen he pointed to a bird and said, "Mommy look! A red jay!" I will miss these days when they are gone.

Homeschool regulation: The revenge of the failures

Here is a good article in support of homeschooling. The author has a Ph.D. from Stanford and a law degree from Harvard. He currently practices law in Houston.

Human nature will never seize to amaze me. Instead of recognizing their own failures, they will find someone else to blame in order to distract the attention from their own inadequacies. In a nutshell, because you feel incompetent you bully the competent ones. Once a bully always a bully, I guess. Where else does that occur all too frequently!?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

History in Action!

We are using Story of the World Volume 4 for History this year. We started a few weeks ago but are only on chapter 3 because we are getting together with friends to do the activity and map portion of the lesson. My friend is a super busy home school mom, writer, editor, entrepreneur so we can only meet when her schedule allows us. Anyway, I have been thinking over and over the last few weeks what activity to do. I did not particularly care for any in the guide for this lesson so I combined 2 of them somewhat. I made the kids pretend we were traveling back in time to search for Dr. Livingstone in the wilds of Africa.

I had them prepare back packs with things they would need for the journey. The girls, in true girl fashion, packed lotion, shampoo, a pet dog, a pet bear, a blanket, chocolates, oranges, water, and of course the Nintendo DS. The boys, in true boy fashion, packed the weapons (bows and arrows, bombs, swords, daggers, super heroes, etc.), food and lots of it, sticks for fire, blankets and toys. We were ready!

We began our journey on boat. It was rough but we made it to Cape Town. Since it was night we made camp and had us some dinner. We set up a fire and talked about how we would start looking for Livingstone the next day. We heard some elephants near by and there were monkeys swinging from the vines about our heads, but fortunately no lions. The next morning we brushed our teeth, the girls put lotion on so they would not smell since we had no river near by to bath in, broke down camp and headed north. The map carrier got the map confused and had us walk straight tot he bottom of a mountain. It was tough going but we got ourselves and all of our stuff up the mountain (stairs). As we continued to head North we almost walked right into a heard of sleeping lions. Our translator spotted them and we were able to avoid them.....almost. One man was busy looking the wide open sky and did not notice we had turned a different direction. he ended up right in the middle of the pack. The male lion awoke and gave chase. The weapons came in handy and we had lion stew for mid morning meal.

We continued north when we ran into another small mountain and then into a very wild African tribe.

Our translator tried to ask if they had seen Dr. Livingstone, but with dialects being so similar here, she ended up insulting them and we had to flew under a carpet of arrows trying to make us lunch. We safely escaped with not one person injured. That was close. We camped again to collect our thoughts and energies near a river. We restocked on water, and applied more mosquito repellent. They are ruthless here. We updated our journals with the mornings activities. We decided to split up here. The cook headed straight west to set up the camp for the night. Dinner would be ready by the time we reached him and we could wonder more slowly asking questions of the natives. The main group headed north west. They ran into a reporter from NY who was also hunting for Livingston. We were close to getting Livingstone's general direction, but failed when our Russian companion insulted the Americans. We had to head out of there FAST! Also our translator was proving to be more of a problem than help. Every tribe she spoke with she insulted and we were chased many times for an offense no one understood.

Finally one brave companion went to his many books on the subject and discovered that Livingstone died near Central Africa and we were close to his death date so he must currently be in that part of the country. We scrambled again and headed to Central Africa. We searched and searched and found no clue. We set up camp near a river when out of the vines walks by the man himself....Dr. David Livingstone. We were surprised to see him but very excited. We had accomplished our mission. We tried to warn him of his impending death if he did not leave Africa with us, but he was a stubborn man. We think he really loved this county and would not leave for any reason. We bid our farewells and returned to the present.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Title for the Month!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Noble Lady Patricia the Innocent of Chignall Duntisbourne
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Fortune Cookie for the Week!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Don't you just hate it when even the aubergines are plotting against you?
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Politics Again!

OK so tonight was the boring speech almost no one in America ever watches. I must say I was very eager to hear what our Prez had to say. I also must admit that I was not surprised by all the hogwash. It is very sad. You can read the text here if you missed the riveting speech. Too bad you miss the delivery that way.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Late Breaking News!

Well, have we been busy. We spent a few days since my last posting with Baby J. He is so cute!

On Saturday, my middle peep made his first basket in a game. He was so excited. The video is very bad. I took it with my cell phone but I just have to share

Isn't it great??!

His friend also got fouled and got the chance to score as well. They are so cute!

All parents were very happy for them. Again the joy it brings them is priceless!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The PROPHET, by Kahlil Gibran

I love this and thought I would share. Enjoy.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Lord of the Flies!

Today we had a rule free day. I allowed the children to do as they please with no answering to anyone. They could do what they wanted when they wanted. That included me as well. My little experiment worked as I thought it would.

10 year old daughter was begging in tears for rules by the middle of the day. The 8 year old and the 5 year old boys were living it up!
Anyway, tomorrow all returns to normal. The Oldest Peep will have her scheduled day and the boys will fight the schedule all day long. I would be awful as an unschooler. I would either read blogs all day long or watch soaps all day. I need the schedule as much as the girl. I like checking off little boxes when they are done.
On another note, I received the Spanish program I ordered from Galore Park. I have been looking it over and am very impressed. It is exactly what I am looking for. I will be very happy to see where we are in a year with this. I have become obsessed with them learning Spanish. I am very upset they did not learn it from the beginning. OK I am upset I did not teach them from the beginning. But it is Papa Peep's fault for not making me do it! HA HA! He would laugh at that statement.
The Greek is going well also. They are very motivated to learn it. They like the funny letters.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Incredibly moving!

Keith Olbermann - Barack Obama on Iraq

click on title for you tube video

I WILL work for the Obama for President 2008 campaign. I fully believe in this guy.


Monday, January 15, 2007


click the title for a hysterical listen

How I would love to do this to a telemarketer. They always call at the wrong times. Is there ever a right time? But when you tell them not to call back they always do and many times. How I wish that ugly business would just disappear!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek

click on title to see website for product

Disclaimer: I do not work for this company nor have any affiliation with them.

This weekend I received my order from Greek 'N' Stuff. I purchased the Reader and the Level One workbook as recommended to me by a poster on the Latin Centered Curriculum Yahoo Group. Looking it over and listening to the cd briefly, I am excited to start this. They go over each letter well and provide the sound and how to write it. I plan on teaching the children (all 3) 2 letters a week including how to write them. I really think Julian will enjoy learning something with the older two and I fully expect him to keep up. He is writing well and reading well now. I see no reason not to include him as well.

I will start tomorrow. I will keep you all updated on our progress. After whatever point that we finish learning the Greek alphabet, I will start Elementary Greek. I am very excited about that.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


This weekend I have been left utterly amazed by my children! AMAZED!

We will start with Middle peep. He is on a basketball team this winter. It is the first team sport he has been in other than summer swimming league. Well today they had a game after a very long break for the holidays. My baby stole the ball like 5 times, had a rebound, a few assists, and 8 attempts! That is awesome!

WHY you ask?

It is great because before this game he had touched the ball in a game less than 5 times and had never even attempted to shoot. I am a proud mama today.

Oh, yeah, they won too!

Now after Middle Peep's basketball game came Oldest Peep's swim meet. She has been practicing really hard for this. She has not always wanted to practice, but like the slave driver I am I have driven her to every practice and talked to her about pushing herself harder and the benefits of achieving goals. Well, it paid off. She did wonderfully. She was better than wonderful.

Her first event was a 100 Individual Medley. That means she has to swim 4 laps on each stroke. First is butterfly, then back, then breast, then freestyle. Her strongest are back (even though she hates it) and freestyle, followed closely by breast stroke. She is scared of butterfly. Her next event was a 50 Freestyle. Third events was 100 breast stroke and then 50 back stroke.

Here is how she did:

Event Time Place in Heat Place Overall Previous Time
IM 1.35.60 1 out of 10 33 out of 84 NT
Freestyle 35.44 2 out of 10 13 out of 95 38.22
Breast stroke 1.47.72 1 out of 10 18 out of 67 NT
Back stroke 42.08 1 out of 10 10 out of 79 46.14

How can mama (and papa peep) not be proud! If you want to see her swim go here.

Now not to be out done, Baby Peep read to me today. We were at a restaurant today and he wanted me to read a sign for him. I was talking to Papa Peep and asked him to wait a minute. I guess a minute was far too long for him because the next thing I know he is running back and forth between me and the sign telling me each word that was on the sign. Some he got wrong because he used each letter sound to read the word. We know English doesn't work that way. But the fact that he attempted to read was a proud moment for me. Every time I mention to someone that he is reading or I say to him that he could read, he vehemently denies it. Today, he took one huge step closer to literacy.

All around today I am a proud mom. Not because of how their accomplishments make me feel, but because of how it makes them feel!

PM (Proud Mama)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Homeschool Band

Today, I loaded the children into the car and drove a whole 3 miles roughly to Homeschool Band. I would walk if

1. there were sidewalks in this crazy city

2. we did not have quite a load to carry with us.

Oldest Peep is learning to play the violin and Middle Peep is learning to play the guitar. The violin teacher could be a bit more engaging but this is her first year teaching. I hope the lessons rev up for the Spring concert. Oldest Peep has also now decided to take Chorus lessons. Today was her first day and I must say I am very impressed. Just speaking with the teacher I got a very good feeling. They will be singing Broadway tunes, Gershwin, and more. Let's see how it goes.

Middle Peep's guitar class is interesting. The teacher is knowledgeable and engaging. He has taught Middle Peep well. His choice of music, however, leaves allot to desire. He sticks to one genre and it is not something we would listen to EVER. I am not sure how to approach him about choosing something more.........central.....mainstream. I would like Middle Peep to continue guitar lessons. I may start looking for private lessons and start those when these are over. I would like him to play trumpet next year but I will have to sit in on that class before I decide.

Baby peep is not old enough to join yet, but next year he will start recorder. He is very excited about it. I will have to see what book they will be using. He can then move to guitar at 8 and then band at 9. I would like to stick with this band but I will have to think about how much of this genre I am willing to put up with.

Overall, they are learning a skill that they can use the rest of their lives.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

KidChess in the News

click on title for may need to register

This is the place we play Chess. We started with them when oldest peep was 5 years old at a homeschool group's classes. We moved to take classes and attend tournaments at their facility when they opened it a few years ago. I am very thankful for Chess in our lives. The KidChess coaches make it fun and educational at the same time. My children have learned alot from the many coaches they have had over the past years. Now our youngest is showing a great interest in Chess and was able to obtain a draw against his sister yesterday. Watch out Papa Peep, he will be beating you soon enough and then everyone in the house will be better than you at Chess. I found Susan Polgar has a blog. How exciting. Also if you like join Chess Talk. It is a yahoo group another mom and I started to help connect parents of chess players in this big city. All are welcomed but the topic will not stray far from Chess and how it relates to the Atlanta Metro area.

still working on a tagline

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Power Yoga

So I have been taking the Power Yoga class at the Y for the last few months. I try to only miss it if I absolutely must. I did not attend the week of Christmas because there was no class and New Year's week I had the flu. I went on Tuesday and I found that I am getting stronger.


The instructor, who is fabulous by the way, told us to think of a meaningful word and mentally recite it while holding some of the poses. I chose "CALM" and if you know me, you know I am not always this. Well, my entire house is not always this. Calm is not a word I would use to describe any of my children. They are not unruly, but they have so much energy and enthusiasm for life that calm is not something they know how to do. It is not in the DNA structure folks!

I don't know if chanting calm helped me focus better and that is why I felt stronger or if it really calmed me but I had the best workout I have had in a long time. It could also be that I had not done anything "exercisish" since before Christmas. I think it was probably a combination of all of those.

However, my word for this year will be calm. I will chant it as often as possible; even when the children are literally climbing the walls as they do often.

Now for something unrelated....I need a tag line! How do I sign off??? hmmmm.......

Today's Fortune Cookie!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Excessive dedication to unwholesome pursuits threatens to puncture your self of wellbeing.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

GA Chess

click on the title GA CHESS to go to the rule

As you know middle peep is very much into chess. He is quite good at it and lives for the game. He is starting new lessons with 3 other chess enthusiasts and we hope that this will help elevate his game. He is currently rated 870. Let's see what it will be after a few months of lessons.
My reason for writing this entry is however to vent!

The Georgia Chess Association is THE place to go for chess information in Georgia. They keep a calendar of tournaments as well as follow very important areas of chess outside and inside the state of Georgia. They also run several tournaments in the state. This brings me to my point. For several years they have excluded homeschoolers from playing on teams or in team tournaments. Their reason behind this is that schools make up the teams and it is the schools that are competing...public and private. You need at least 5 student in the same age group for your school to be able to compete as a team. Based on your students' points they award first, second, etc. There are a few tournaments that as homeschoolers we can participate in: any national tournament and some non-GCA events.

Recently, GCA came out with an official policy on homeschool team participation. Well, I figured it would not be easy to meet the requirements, but these are impossible. After a few of thinking it over, I am ready to explode. Even if the homeschoolers met for classes at a homeschool group not all groups offer classes in all the subjects required or they are not offered at the level needed. It also occurred to me that not even public and private school children meet these requirements. Are all your chess students in the same class learning from the same curriculum? How can a 1st grader be expected to be doing 3rd grade level math? I am very disappointed, at minimum, in this decision. When the GCA told me they were coming out with a rule for homeschoolers, I asked them if they had any homeschoolers in their panel or had they heard from homeschoolers to better understand us and they basically said no and were not interested in learning about us. I offered and I know one other mom who offered to meet with them and be interviewed. They declined us both. They were going to make their decision and we had no say.

The reason behind all this is that they want to avoid a super chess team from forming. Well, to that I must say thank you. Thank you for assuming my son homeschools simply to beat out other kids in chess tournaments. Thank you for punishing those kids that simply want to compete with their friends and they and their friends just happen to be homeschooled. Thank you for limiting who the other kids and teams in this state compete against. With this decision you are not making better tournaments.

If the homeschool teams happen to be on top it is for a very good reason. They are good chess players. When homeschool kids study something they do so with gusto. Homeschool kids have more free time to pursue their interests. They do not sit at their desks for 8 hours or more and watch teachers have to deal with undisciplined children all day long. Then go home and do homework for another 3-4 hours.

An “all-star” team assembled or recruited by student abilities rather than by their pre-existing regular study relationship will not be allowed.

The majority of the children we know are homeschoolers. It is the circle we have decided to be in contact with. From those homeschoolers, we are friends with those whose interest are similar to ours. Those include chess players, swimmers, baseball players, and basketball players. I would have never met a number of homeschool families if not for our mutual interest in chess.
The GCA decision makes no sense. Homeschoolers do not register or have to report to one particular place. How else are we to "meet" if we do not have some sort of relationship. I do not study with groups of people because my children do better at home with one teacher......ME, hence why I homeschool.

Are you seeing the big picture now!!!!!

To say only if you meet for academic classes and do these said subjects and you happen to play chess is ludicrous. NO ONE will meet those requirements.

Now there are ways I can see to meet these requirements but that is not the point. Those kids on my son's team would gladly meet one afternoon and do the required subjects asked by GCA and we could participate as a team but isn't that what GCA is trying to avoid. They think by putting more restrictions it will stop some people. They are dead wrong. It will just make the majority of us angry. Personally, I swear here and now to avoid as many GCA sponsored events as possible, even at the risk of my son's tournament play.

I am sorry for my rant but I thought I would share my anger. My son just wants to play chess and he enjoys it that much more when he can compete with his friends and not just against his friends. At Saturday's tournament he had to play against someone he practices with and has lessons with. Because this child is not homeschooled he could not be on our team. He hated winning against him because he knew it would be a lose for his friend.

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Fortune Cookie!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Even the Amish can use letter-openers.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

I love this!

My title!!!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Patricia the Omnipresent of Throcking in the Hole
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Since I can't sleep AGAIN, I went a searching for blogs to read and look what I found.

Go get your title! I LOVE the Omnipresent.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

OK! My little sis has bugged me just about all week to write something. I have felt no desire to write since not much has happen around here. I was dog sick with the flu and am still suffering lingering affects. My sleep has also suffered greatly. I spend all day tired but once the kids are in bed I am recharged. This is not exactly a good thing.

Today we did a little school work. I have finally put together a doable schedule.....I hope......for the final installment of our history program. We have not done much history since our return from Ecuador. I just did not have the energy to fight the children for narrations. I also did not want to fight with oldest peet to pay attention. Well I must say she has learned to focus her mind this year. Maybe she is maturing or years of me telling her to focus have finally sunk in...I don't know...but she was very attentive today. I know she likes to know the answers and it frustrates her when her younger brother can answer before she can. Since we are doing it with friends sort of a co-op thing she is enjoying it.

I don't know what I will do next year with her but I do know I have to spend the next 2 years catching her up. She needs to do the 4 year logic stage of history in 2. We took a very long time to get through the grammar stage and we now have to make up for it. I may use Pandia Press' History Odyssey. I really want something secular, with as little bias as possible, and sufficiently detailed to make it an independent program.

Baby peet is going to need more and more of my attention and she must start working more on her own. I need to set a schedule for the little guy as well that will help me keep track of what he is learning and what progress he has made this year. The reading is finally coming along.

Tomorrow Middle Peep will be taking part in a chess tournament. I am scared as to how he will performed. In the last tournament he was in, he had a meltdown round and we still have not really discussed it. It was the last round in a 2 day, 9 round tournament event. I understand his meltdown but it was very much out of character. He is my happy little rock. Maybe on the way to the tournament I will talk to him about it. That reminds me I must print out directions.

Well I am off to watch some TV before I doze off. OH I must tell you all about a new series Papa Peep and I have found. ROME on HBO. It has been very well cast and even though I know the story and how it ends, it is very cool to have it before me. HBO has done a great job with casting, costumes, makeup, and customs of the Roman period. They did their homework. I was hoping it would be appropriate for the kids but alas, it is HBO and definitely NOT kid appropriate. It is very entertaining for the adult enthusias however. The best thing is that most fo the series is available ON DEMAND on Comcast! See you all tomorrow.