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December 30, 2010

Quote of the Day!

‎"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being...It is up to you as teachers to make all of these sick children well–by creating the international child of the future." ~ Dr. Chester M. Pierce, professor (now emeritus) of education and psychiatry at Harvard.

It is my understanding that quote came from Educating for the New World Order (1973).  If that was the thought then I shutter to think what it is now. I doubt that this line of thinking has done a 180; if anything it most likly holds true today as it did then.

I know that this is only one professors line of thinking, but I'm sure he taught this to the education majors and in turn I'm sure they either taught it or believe it. Thus I wouldn't be surprise if there are teachers teaching that honestly believe this, not only that but I'm sure HOW they do their job is greatly effected by it.

December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

December 17, 2010

The Brain Dissection

We finished up our ExploraVision projects with a sheep's brain dissection. Of course no brain dissection is complete without some food first! First pizza, then brain dissection.
Image is from our co-op's site: I-HOPE. Used with permission.
The sheep's brain honestly felt much smoother then what any of us imagine. That really was a shock for all of us. Even the outside of the brain where it looks all wrinkly was relatively smooth.

Doing the ExploraVision project hasn't been exactly easy for us, however I'm glad we decided to do it. Web-princess and Superstar really did get to learn a lot about the brain, ADD, ADHD, cochlear implants, and other learning disabilities and what effect they have on the human brain.  Dissecting the sheep's brain was just icing on the cake so to speak. After spending weeks learning about the different lobes and their functions they got to see the different lobes on a real brain!

December 16, 2010

Happy Meals are Banned!

Back in April 2010, I shared how in  a CA county there might be an ordinance/law that would banned toys being sold with happy meals. Well this ordinance/law just passed and will be in effect by Dec, 2011. I think it's great that the Mayor tried to veto the ordinance, but the committy over ruled the mayor's veto. Thus it will still be law.  What is happening to our FREE market?

It's not McD's fault it's parents lack of will power and willingness to tell their children NO! We frequent fast food joints, more often then I really would like to omit, but I can tell you it's been a good year now since my kids have had a Happy Meal. One they NEVER liked fries; second they have never cared for the apples either. So I would spend the money for the drink, hamburger, and toy. Instead of doing that and throwing away food. I've resorted to just ordering of the dollar menu for the children. They eat all the food then and it's cheaper.

Superstar: McChicken, yogurt, and water. Cost $2
Web-Princess: McDouble, yogurt, and water. Cost $2.
(water if free if you are ordering food; I just get the cup and the kids will fill it up w/water at the soda machine)

That is my spending habits now, but not everyone is like me and that's fine. I just think government is over reaching when they go into the private market place and dictate what can and can not be sold with a product.

This morning thinking about it: I wonder if McD could get around the ordinance by charging extra for toys?? Similar to charging more to get cheese on a sandwich? The toys, technically would no longer be sold with the meal, but consumers would have the option to buy them. "Yes, I would like a hamburger happy meal with fries, soda, and a toy please".

December 14, 2010

ExploraVision!

My world has been slightly consumed with ExlporaVision! Hopefully the team projects will be done this week and life can go back to somewhat of a normal life! LOL What is ExploraVision? ExploraVision is a science competition that encourages K-12 students of all interest, skill and ability levels to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. It's a hands-on, minds-on project that inspires students and fuels imagination. The competition is sponsored by Toshiba and NSTA. First place teams will receive a $10,000 savings bond for each child on the team. National finalist will also recieve a trip to Washington DC.

This has been a good and fun project for the kids and I. It has really stretch us! I'm coaching a K-3 team. I can't share exactly what the project is, but I can tell you it involves AIR! It's amazing to see what these girls have come up with in regards to air.

Web-Princess and Superstar are on the same team. Their team consist of kids of a more broader age range. The oldest child in their group is in 7th grade. So even though Web-Princess and Superstar are in 4th/3rd their project will be competing in the 7th-9th grade age range. It's totally acceptable that their group has that wide age range, but it also means they have to compete in the grade level as the oldest child. I can't share much about their project either. I can just say it involves the brain and on Friday we will be dissecting a sheep's brain!!!

Seeing it's a group project we are going to be dissecting the brain with the group! We will be doing this Friday Night. It will be a pizza and dissecting party! That's going to be fun!!!!!!

December 6, 2010

Facebook and Networked Blogs

Catholic Christian Homeschooling now has a fan page on facebook. We have stepped up in the world! LOL! The primary purpose of the fan page is let people know when we have a new blog post here. I've also have set up networked blogs. That way the posting I make here will automatically be posted on our facebook fan page! :) Just thought you would like to know!

November 28, 2010

Summer Reading = Ice Hogs Game

Our local library like many local libraries across the nation had a summer reading program. For participating and doing the summer reading program our children earned FREE tickets to an Ice Hogs Game. Hubby and I had to pay for our tickets to go with them, but the kids did earn their FREE tickets by reading over the summer. So last night we went to an Ice Hogs Game!

On the way there I took out the camera and took some snap shots. I got told right away from the children "Oh no it's the Mamarazzi!" "The Mamarazzi is WORST then the Paparazzi. Hide don't take the picture." Thus the reason of the hands up look.
Of course we all started to laugh and my husband kept asking in between laughter how do you know about the paparazzi, but I don't think his question ever got answer.

Being the Mamarazzi does that mean I take to many pictures of my kids? Are you a Mamarazzi? If so perhaps we can have a support group! LOL!! "It's the Mamarazzi!"

The Ice Hogs lost (5-0) but we still had a good time. At the first break they were throwing free T-shirts into the audience and we got one! Hubby was the one who caught it! Hammy, the teams mascot also came our way, but I wasn't able to get his picture when he stopped and waved at us.  We didn't get home until after 11 pm last night!
Thankfully there was no CCD (Religious Education) this morning. That allowed us to sleep in so we can go to Mass tonight.  Next Sunday Superstar, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Superstar will be serving as an Alter Server. This will be his first Mass as an Alter Server.

November 21, 2010

Here I thought a Picture was worth a thousands words....

I can't believe I got slammed by an anonymous poster for my last post "I'm a Mistress". If they would have taken to the time to LOOK at the picture and READ the caption they would have SEEN I was pointing out the fact that Mrs. is a contracted form of Mistress!!!  As I said in that post, don't believe me look it up in the dictionary! So yes I'm a Mistress (i.e. Mrs.) and I'm PROUD of it!!!!!!!


EDIT ADD: So after all of this I went to Hubby and told him I can't believe I got slammed, and before I could really tell him what anonymous said he told me. Hubby did it to raze me some as a joke. He knows I moderate comments and THOUGHT I would tell him about anonymous posting before I actually publish it. So he THOUGHT he was going to be able to tell me, "Hey Nikki that's just me giving you a hard time!"

He wanted me to share with readers cause it was NEVER his intent to cause drama on my blog. He sincerely thought I would tell him about the post before posting it and that it really would have never been published. He just was looking to give me a bit of a hard time over it and never meant to hurt my feeling or anything like that.

I told him if he would have posted as himself I would have realized it was him just trying to give me a bit of a hard time. :) I do LOVE my hubby and he does LOVE me! This was a just a joke that went wrong.

November 20, 2010

I'm a Mistress and proud of it!

Mrs. (mi'iz) n. A title prefixed to the name of a married woman: a contracted form of Mistress.

Don't believe it! Look it up in a dictionary like I did!

T/H: Bedlam

November 18, 2010

Watching A Science Video

What?!? You didn't say HOW we had to watch it!

November 16, 2010

Shaving Cream Gone Wild

I know I've mention before we do lot of writing in shaving cream. Well this is what happens when it gets a little wild! Yes, even at 8 and 9 they have their moments were they are a bit like toddlers with the shaving cream! This isn't how it is normally here, because I normally stop it before it goes out of hand.


November 15, 2010

Boy banned from flying US flag from his bike.

I seen this story just today. A middle school boy, in California, was told he could NO longer fly the American flag from the back of his bike because it OFFEND some people. At least that is the story behind the video posted today on YouTube of a 13 year-old boy riding his bike to school with an escort of at least 100 other bikers.


I did research the story some and did find out the the boy indeed was told he could not fly the flag because some students did indeed complain about it.  The out cry, phone calls to the district as far as Afghanistan, and the community support has made the Superintendent apologize for the banned. The boy is allow to fly his flag now.

I don't understand what was the nature of the complainant was. From what I can tell it the American Flag wasn't affixed to the bike in a bad way. Who would have thought that in AMERICA a student would be banned from showing pride in his country, its veterans, and being patriotic?

Online Townhall meeting w/Al Gore and Mythbusters

On November 17 at 11 am CT, join host former Vice President Al Gore, inventor Dean Kamen, astronaut Sally Ride, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" and young people from around the world for an interactive discussion exploring youth attitudes on math and science, and what these subjects mean for future success. This online townhall meeting would be for those middle school age students, about 11-14 year old, that have an interest in math, science and the future of our nation.

Math, Science, and the future of our Nation
Date: Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010
Time: 11 am Central

For more information please see Connect A Million Minds

T/H: I-HOPE: Illinois Homeschoolers for Open Peaceful Education

Solitude

Lately Web-princess has been seeking some solitude and frankly I don't know what to make of it. I find her often in her room alone with a nose in a book or playing quietly with her toys. Even yesterday with Grandpa here she hung out in her room alone.

She seem happy and last night when we asked her why she didn't want to join the family in the living room. We got I much rather be alone in my room where it's quiet so I can read, draw, etc.

On one hand I'm glad that she has taken an interest in reading. I doubt because of her reading abilities that she is truly reading the books she's has stuck her nose in, but she trying and seems content looking at the page and doing her best to make out the words.

Last night after hours of being alone in her room she emerged with a book and ask if I would read it to her. I said yes, so we went into my room, snuggled on my bed and read. She insisted that she turn the pages and was truly following along, because at one point I repeated the same line 3-4 times and she said mom it said this. She read the line I was on and the line right after it, fluently and just fine. I was a bit surprise she read that well, because we still struggle with words and her lexile score is 200. For her age/grade level she should have at least a lexile score of 500.

So we have a way to go. I know we do, but at the same time April of 2010 her score was below 100. So we have made HUGE progress the last few months. For that I'm thankful. We have been doing a lot of mommy read, books on tape, and following along as the tape or mommy read. We have been playing phonics games and she has been reading to mommy or daddy.  The phonics games we play are card games so she has the physicals cards to manipulate. That helps her the most!

We even have been playing scrabble too. Although the traditional scrabble is a bit hard for the kids, because spelling is still weak spot for them. So we have been thinking about getting scrabble slam or scrabble flash. Do any of you have these scrabble games? Are they any fun? Do you think they would help with spelling/reading? Do you think the kids would enjoy either of them better then traditional scrabble?

November 2, 2010

Trying Different Types of Milk

Over the next few weeks and months we will be trying different types of milks. Today we tried Soy and Almond Milk.  I video taped the children's reaction to today's milk trial.


We plan on trying others over the next few weeks and months. So if you have any suggestions for us on WHAT to try please send them our way!

October 28, 2010

Update: Superstars ITW, braces, recovery

Wow! Can you believe that nearly a year go is when SS had surgery for ITW? Seeing him ice skate, run and play yesterday makes it hard to believe that almost a year ago both of his feet were in a cast! Followed by painful walking with the cast ON.


When the casts came of on New Years 2010 he was given braces (AFO's) to wear. He has been wearing them religiously since then.  We have been able to have them off for up to 4 hours per day, which allowed him to do things like soccer April 2010 and swimming over the summer.  Yes he was playing soccer just 5 months after surgery!

Well this pass Tuesday we had seen the surgeon for an another post surgery follow up. This is what the surgeon told us:

Yep that's RIGHT we were told that he does not need the braces! At LEAST for the next 2 months. We will see the surgeon again right after Christmas and will learn then if he'll need a new set of braces.  A new set would mean braces for 12 months. Oh and he does NOT need physical therapy! Which just amazes me because I was so sure that he would.

A visual for just HOW bad things were for Superstar! The chart below will show you the range of motion he had before surgery and the range of motion he has now in his feet. Both feet were pretty equal prior to surgery and both feet are pretty much the same now.
picture source

Before surgery the max range of motion he had with his foot was at the 30 degree mark on the picture. The doctor called this -30. That means that was the furthest his foot would go back when pushing on the toes.  Prior to surgery he could not even make his toes to be perpendicular to the floor.

Today his foot flexes all the way to the 10 degree mark the the picture. He has GAINED 40 degrees of motion!!! This is a LOT better then what even the doctors thought! They are simply amazed at his range of motion and it's clear when we are with them how amazed they are.

So here we set nearly 12 months post surgery. SS has gained 40 degrees of motion and is brace (AFO) free for at least the next 2 months! Do you know how odd it is for me NOT to be telling him to put his shoes and braces on and see him run around the house in just his socks?  He had to wear shoes with his brace.  So for about 12 hours a day he wore shoes AND braces.

He also the last 2 days been more active!!! Running like won't believe!  It must feel really good to have your feet free!!!! He knows that come Christmas he may need braces again. However he said to me well that's okay at least I get 2 months without them for sure!

October 20, 2010

STEMfest 2010 - Saturday October 23, 2010

Are you in driving distance to NIU? If so then you may enjoy going to STEMfest 2010 on Saturday, October 23, 2010!

STEMfest seeks to increase public awareness of STEM initiatives, activities, careers, and education for people around northern Illinois. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. This a FREE whole family event! There will be 100s of hand on activities in an carnival like atmosphere.

Even though the event is FREE there is $5 parking fee! Please see STEMfest 2010 Site for more details.

It truly looks like it's going to be fun for the whole family!

October 18, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

This is a talk given my Sir Ken Robinson. This one is about "Changing Education Paradigms". It's about 12 minutes long and a must watch if you care about children and education!

October 17, 2010

Chess Tournament Fall 2010

Yesterday the children competed in a local Chess Tournament. They did well. Superstar individual score placed him in 4th place and Web-Princess individual score placed her in 9th place. (note the time stamp on the photos is wrong. These photos were taken October 16th)

Superstar with this 4th place metal.

Web-princess with her 9th place ribbon.

The kids had fun participating in this tournament. This is their 2nd tournament. They participated in this same tournament Fall of 2009. When I pulled up the old post I was SHOCKED to see how short WP hair was last year! LOL! She still likes to hold the ribbon next to her face when showing it off. They also got the purple participating ribbons again this year but I didn't get a photo with those ribbons.

Last year WP scores were 0-wins 1-draw and 4-losses.  Her scores were the SAME this year, but she placed in 9th place, because she was placed in a different section: 3rd-5th graders. There are 60 some kids in the 3rd-5th grade level, vs. the 20 in the K-2nd grade level.

Last year SS scores were 1-wins, 0-draws, and 4-losses. THIS year his scores were 2-wins, 0-draws, and 2-losses. Not only did he play a better game this year, but he placed 2 spaces higher then last year. We plan on participating in the winter and spring tournaments this year as well.

October 15, 2010

Art: Leaf Rubbing

It's a nice fall day! So we decided to do some leaf rubbing. I told the kids to go out into the yard to get some leafs. I suggested that they get some off the trees seeing they won't be as dried out as the ones laying on the ground. Our whole fence line is lined with trees, bushes, etc. A toddler could easily walk up to our fence and pull leaves of the "trees". So I assumed that is what the kids would do.

A few minutes later I looked out the window and this is what I seen:



Web-Princess is pulling on the leafs and branches that Superstar was able to snag with the rake! Leaf (pun) it to the kids!

October 12, 2010

Making Bio-Plastics AT Home!

Yesterday we went with our homeschooling group to a local pumpkin festival. It was fun! The kids do crafts, play on the playground, and participate in the scavenger hunt. The best part was that the things we did were FREE! There were ride and other games to do that cost money, but we decided that we weren't buying tickets and that we would only participate in the free activities.

One of the crafts the kids did was make this biodegradable plastic "stuff".  They call it bio-plastic. When it's done it is kind of this rubbery stuff. We weren't able to mold it, shape it into a ball, while it was still warm. We didn't even realized that once cooled it would pretty much be this hard, rubber, plastic stuff. So if you want to try to shape or mold it you have to do that while it's still WARM!

To make this bio-plastic you need water, corn oil, corn starch. Food coloring is optional, although it nice to make things in color!

  1. Place a tablespoon of cornstarch in a plastic ziploc bag
  2. Add two drops of corn oil to the cornstarch
  3. Add one tablespoon of water to the oil and cornstarch.
  4. Mix the cornstarch, corn oil, and water in the plastic bag by rubbing the outside of the bag with your fingers
  5. Add two drops of your favorite food coloring and mix again
  6. Place the bag in a microwave oven on high for 20-25 seconds. DO NOT completely seal the bag. Careful, it's hot!
It is very warm-hot when it comes out of the microwave so be careful with it. However keep in mind that if you want to mold and shape it you have to do that while it's still warm-hot. 

This is something the kids can very easily do, but because it does get hot I would advise that it is done with adult supervision. Just because of the risk of getting hurt with the stuff as it comes out of the microwave.  Once it's cool it's fine!

Edit Add: We just discovered that you can use vegetable oil instead of corn oil. 

October 9, 2010

SCARCE: New (to me) books

Today several members of I-HOPE (the new homeschool co-op/group that I have started) traveled to Glenn Elyn, IL to visit SCARCE. SCARCE is a "school" book rescue. I learned about them back in February, but I didn't have the privilege to go down their until today.

They are FREE for public school teachers, but do make homeschoolers pay a yearly membership fee, plus $5 per book. They have a LOT there! Digging around I was able to find Social Studies (World History) textbooks for the children. I was able to get 2 textbooks (one for each child), the corresponding student worksheets, chapter tests, and the complete book on audio CDS for $30 (not including the yearly membership fee).  Based on my brief assestment of the material while at SCARCE I'm confident that this material will last me for 2 school years.


I'm excited to dive into the books more and see what's actually there! I'm also over joyed to have been able to get the corresponding audio version of the books. We were told almost an year ago that Web-princess has convergence insufficiency. At first we didn't do anything with that knowledge because we were in the middle of dealing with Superstars surgery for ITW. (Can you believe that it he had the surgery almost a year ago? At the end of the month we see the surgeon to learn if he can be brace (AFO) FREE!)

After things started to settle down post surgery, I started to dive into convergence insufficiency to learn what I can do for Web-Princess. I learned that those with convergence insufficiency responded best to reading with the same methods used for dyslexia. Those with dyslexia respond best with a multi-sensory approach to reading.  I learned all of that January 2010, but it took me several months to learn what the means and HOW to do that in our home. I really didn't start applying things until April/May 2010, which really was at the end of our school year. I've started THIS school year trying to do things as multi-sensory as possible.

Thus the more senses I can engage when learning to read or doing reading activities the best! We do a lot of writing with shaving cream, writing in sand, reading with audio books. We have been learning phonics with card games. The more I can engage the different senses at the same time the better she responds. So to get a Social Studies Book today with the corresponding audio version is AWESOME!!

Speaking of Web-princess, I'm so please to see progress in the reading, writing, spelling area. Her independent reading is more of a 2nd grade level. Her writing is more of a K level. However she's starting to get it and is actually trying to read more on her own.  Not only that but she has also made up her own books and stories. All independent and outside of "school" time.

Her latest creation is called "Soopr Sron Boy" (translation Super Strong Boy). It's a chapter book! She even included a table of contents at the beginning of the book. She informed me that this book will have a sequel (although she called it a new chapter, but what she describes to me is sequel).

Chapter 1: Her Ces the Hero 
Sopr Sron Boy wes a vare god hero.
Translation: Chapter 1: Here Comes the Hero
Super Strong Boy was a very good hero.

 I know this is "behind" what most of her peers would write.  However it took us two school years to learn why reading, spelling, and writing was a such a struggle for her.  Now that we know and have been applying multi-sensory approach as much as possible she has made HUGE progress. In just a few months she has gone form a child that refused to even TRY to read something to a child that is TRYING  READ and WRITE her own books!

I know that as long as I try to use multi-sensory approach to reading, writing, and spelling as much as possible that she will continue to bridge that cap and will no longer be "behind" when it comes this area.

That's why it's so cool that I found the social studies books today with audio CDS! Yes it's social studies, but it does require that she reads it! So being able to read the book and listen at the same time, engaging both senses, will be awesome!!!

October 5, 2010

Web-Princess, Kidneys, and a better Update

First my apologies. I have had few people ask why do I have to re-potty train WP? What does that have to do with the spot on her kidney? I'm not following.  So I'll back track some and make a better descriptive post here. Over the summer WP had a really bad kidney infection; it landed us in the ER. She had to have 2 CT scans both of which showed a spot on her kidney.  These events cause us to see an urologist, who wanted her to have a VCUG to rule out Kidney Reflex.

Today's urologist visit was a follow up to the VCUG that was done mid August. It also laid down the course of treatment, re-potty training, that we have to do. I've over the last several months have been journaling WP voiding habits. She on average only urinates 3 times a day. That is her AVERAGE there are days where is only goes once in 24 period and other days where she goes 6 times.

Urination is a learned behavior, basically she learn incorrectly and now I have to re-train her to learn properly. She should be voiding, peeing, on average 5-7 times a day. Everyone should be really; Just like FREQUENT urination is not healthy the opposite NOT ENOUGH is not healthy.

Spot on her kidney?
The spot on her kidney is not a mass or a cyst or anything of that nature. It was infectious tissue that was infected due to her severe kidney infection. Clear up the kidney infection and over time the infected tissue will heal. This also means we have to help avoid future UTI because if she continues to have them it can't heal.

Is it kidney reflex?
No, it is not kidney reflex the VCUG that was done in Madison showed that she has normal kidney and bladder functions. That means they have the ability to function and work properly. So if everything can work properly what's the deal?

The issue:
The deal/issue is that WP just doesn't go regularly. Somewhere along the lines she learned to "hold it" and just doesn't go as often as "should".  Not going regularly (5-7 times a day) is causing her bladder to be too full. Thus it's interfering with the kidney functions.  If the kidneys want to drain urine to the bladder but can't because the bladder is too full? Then what? Well just like with a clogged drain it's just going to sit there in the sink (kidney).

The solution:
Re-Potty Training her! I have to make her go into the bathroom at regular scheduled times. 7 times a day actually.

  • Wake-Up
  • 9:30 Am
  • Noon (Lunch Time)
  • 2:00 pm
  • 4:00 pm
  • 7:00 pm
  • Bedtime
She is not expected to actually urinate at this times, but she has to make an honest effort. She does have to go in and sit and give it a few minutes. If she does not go at that time, fine.  She is also free to go at any time outside of those schedule times, because we don't want to hold it, however she will still have to go and try at her scheduled time.

So lets say she went pee at 1:30 pm. That's fine, but she still has to go in and 2:00 pm and try. The goal is to hopefully retrain her body to urinate and a more "healthy" frequency. Urination at a more health frequency should help avoid infections.

She does NOT need medication or anything else at this point. However she does have to take a daily dose of metamucil. This is because those that have hold their pee also tend to do the same with BMs. So the metamucial, per the urologist instruction, should help avoid any constipation issues as well. She has not had to my knowledge any constipation issues, but at this point taking metamucil can't hurt her seeing is a fiber supplement.

I'm thankful I'm homeschooling because I can be sure she can go at these scheduled times. I know it can be done in "school", but I also know it would be difficult on the teacher, staff, etc. At least I don't have to worry or wonder if she is really going and at least trying and making an effort at her scheduled times.

I hope this clears up somethings and answers everyones questions. Again I'm sorry that my last post wasn't as descriptive and left a few people asking for details and wanting clarity etc.

Update: Urologist and Web-Princess

Good Afternoon!

Well today we seen the Urologist for a follow up for the testing that WP had done a few months ago in Madison. There is NO kidney reflex (that is what the testing in Madison tested for).

However, I learned today that I basically have to re-potty train her! I have to make up a schedule of set potty times and make her go potty at those times. She may not have to go and if she doesn't go that's okay, but I have to make her go and at least try, regardless of when she use the bathroom last.

So we are potty training again!!! We see the urologist again in January for a follow up to see how the potty training is going.

September 29, 2010

The Problem with Word Problems

I already shared recently what we use for curriculum. I like what we are using for math. It's simple but yet effective. At times there are what even I consider to be "too many" problems. However, I think it's better to have to many then not enough. It's easier to say will skip some of these then to find or come up with more problems.

Today's math activity required Superstar, 9, to look at a chart and to answer simple questions about this chart. This chart had 3 columns to it. The first for the countries name, the second for the population, and the  3rd for the year the data was collected. It's worth noting that each countries population number was collected in a different year.

His question: List the countries in order starting with the country that has the least population and ending with the country that has the greatest population.  Looking at this question Superstar announces that he can not do the work.

I ask him why, what's the issue. He reads the question to me, I point to the chart at the top of the page and tell him. It wants you to use this chart to solve the problem. "I know that Mom, but I'm telling you I can't do it".  Puzzled and confused, because I KNOW he can list numbers from the smallest to the greatest with great ease, ask "Why not?"

Superstar's answer: "They all have different years! So I really don't know which country has the least and which has the most."

I shared this tidbit with some of my local homeschooling friends. I had one that backed Superstar up and said well technically he's correct. If you are going to compare data such as population sizes then you should be using data that was collected in the same year.

In regards to my son's reaction to his math book problem my mom made a statement "Thank God you homeschool! And we wounder what is wrong with the public school system!" Of course my mom was being a little sarcastic when she made those remarks. LOL

I don't think math problems like those are the issue, but perhaps lack of free thinking and questioning why something is done like this; or how, what should have been, a simple math problem could not have been done because the facts given were not "accurate".  hmm....I don't think accurate is the right word there.... It's late and I can't think; so I'll just use accurate for now.

I told Superstar to just answer the question anyway with the data he had. I basically had to tell him to ignore the years the data was collected. He did do it, but the whole time made it known how it really wasn't an accurate answer and the problem truly could not be solved!

September 26, 2010

FYI: Catholic Bloggers

I know several of my followers participate in the Catholic Mothers Online Blogroll. Angie at Catholic Mothers Online has important information regarding changes to the blogroll!

Several Members of this blogroll have had their sites  labeled as malware and need to remove the old blogroll from their site. There is a NEW malware free options available to them!

Please see Catholic Mothers Online for details

2010-2011 School Year Curriculum

We have already done 3 weeks of school. Tomorrow the 27th, will be the start of our 4th week. Then for the week of Oct 4th-8th we will have NO SCHOOL. I've decided to school for about 200 days over 40 weeks. I've also decided that it will be more of an ALL year schooling. Because of this I can almost every 4-5 weeks take a WHOLE week off!  Our off weeks will give me time to grade papers, tweak our plans, and see how things are going.

Language Arts:

Math:

History:
Science:
Fine Arts
PE/Health
  • Various fitness DVD
  • Library Resources
Foreign Language:
Miscellaneous Enrichment:
Catholicism:

September 24, 2010

Ultrasound Vehicle Forced To Leave

Last month I shared with you how an free ultrasound clinic was going to be parked outside the local abortion clinic. It was a good thing while it lasted! On September 8th, the owners of the free ultrasound clinic were told they had to leave or face a warrant for their arrest. This amazes me seeing the signs in the window of this SAME clinic do not seem to bother the city's legal department.

It's my understanding that pro-lifers worked for weeks with Rockford Police, prior to the ultrasound clinic's arrival, to ensure the ultrasound clinic would be allowed to be parked near the abortion clinic.

September 17, 2010

America The Story Of Us


Back in March I shared how the history channel was giving away FREE copies of America The Story of Us.  Well Just wanted to share that our FREE copy arrived today.  This is several weeks later then I expected but I'm still thrilled that it's here.  Have you received yours yet?

September 14, 2010

Growing A Willow Tree

One of DH's all time favorite tree is the willow tree. He has always said that he wanted one.  I started to question what are willow tree seeds? Seeing we know we where we can find some at a few public parks and other areas.  My thinking was if we knew what the seeds looked liked or when they seeded we could get some and just grow a willow tree.

A few weeks ago we were @ my mom's house. My step sister was there and we asked her if she happen to know. She said I think you can take a branch, a cutting, and it will grow. So with that I asked my mom if I could borrow her computer to look it up. Seeing there was a willow tree there that we could take a branch or two from it that turn out to be the case.

It was clear that yes, a cutting or broken branch can and will indeed grow and take root for MOST willow tree varieties. Of all the different varieties there are only 2 of them can not be cultivated in this matter. So with that we took a few small branches of the tree that was available to us.


I came home and place it in some water. We have noted the leaves are starting to dry out and fall off. I thought perhaps it didn't work but today we noted there are roots starting to grow off the branches.

In about a week we'll transfer the branches to a pot with soil and leave it  inside for the winter. We think we'll keep them in a pot until they are bigger and then transfer the biggest strongest one to the yard and give away the other ones if they all make it that is!

September 13, 2010

Liquid, Gas, Solid

We know that matter comes in three forms; Liquid, Gas and Solid. I'm sure everyone knows that those 3 forms can be easily shown at home with water. However did you know it can be shown with a candle too?

The candle is a solid. When it is heated up it turns into a liquid and gas. After the candle burns for a period of time you can clearly see the liquid wax. It's possible to see the gas by relighting the "smoke" from the candle right after you blow it out. This is because the smoke is really not smoke but the candle wax in its gas state.

Although technically that gas is not a gas but a vapor. However seeing my children are young and we are just trying to grasp the idea of solid, liquid, and gas, I feel it's okay for us, at this time, to describe the vapor as a gas.

Please see our video:
video

September 11, 2010

Thankful for New Stove!!

I got a new stove tonight (thanks to my step father).  A few weeks ago we were down at their house and made mention how I needed a new stove. Mine was falling apart. My step dad said that I should have spoken up and let him know these things because he has the gift of find those kind of things for UNBELIEVABLE prices!  How unbelievable? How does a Jackson or less sound? I don't know where or how he comes across these things but he can and does! We are incredibly thankful!!!

This is my OLD STOVE!!!

The arrows are trying to show how the top was pulling way from the side. The piece circle laying on top is the side. As they were pulling the stove out of the house it totally fell off! I had a feeling it would totally fall apart, but I was hoping and praying that it would hold out until we could get a new one. We were planning on getting one from the store until my step-Dad told me about his unbelievable way of finding incredible deals!

This is my NEW stove!!

Soon, I'll be able to have my Mom and step-Dad up for my salmon and white bean soup!!!! This will be my way of saying thanks for finding such and awesome stove!!!!  Tomorrow, I will have some friendship bread to bake in the oven!!!! Very awesome.... I'm sincerely thankful, not only for the stove but for the time they put in bringing it and installing it.

Not only did they gift us with a stove today, but they gift us with a front door screen!  It's so cool to be able to sit here and have the door open and not worry about bugs coming in :) Thanks :)

September 9, 2010

School Has Started!

Who knew trying to start up a new homeschooling group/co-op and lessons would eat up all of my computer time? It really hasn't been the group stuff, just the building the website: I-H.O.P.E. Illinois Homeschoolers for Peaceful Open Education.  Luckily webs.com, the service the site is built on, makes it "easy" to build the site. Even though it's "easy" it still takes TIME to add content, tweak things, and submit it to google, yahoo, bing, etc.

On the school front we are 4 days into our lessons! Kids are enjoy getting into the grove of things, although yesterday and today due to unforeseen errands we haven't really stuck to our schedule.  Although we are getting the work done!  In the near future, I'll post what materials we are using this year, lesson plans, and our ideal schedule for this school year.

Well, I'm off to the races....
Okay not really, but I do have work around the house that needs to be done, lessons to be taught, and all the other "mom" activities. I just really wanted to post to say, I'm alive and well! Some of my more faithful followers may have thought it was odd that over a week had pass without any new content, posting, etc.

Hopefully things will iron itself out here shortly and I'll be able to better manage all of my online activities.

September 1, 2010

I-H.O.P.E. is here!

Yay, We have developed a group name and on our way of becoming a reality! We've got an email address and a website. (I-H.O.P.E.)!  Now we are just hoping to spread the word and get other homeschoolers in the Rockford, IL area interested in joining our group and making I-H.O.P.E. a reality!!!

August 31, 2010

Riding His Bike

video
Last Night, thanks to DH's patience, 9 year old Superstar finally learned HOW to ride his bike. DH took Superstar down to the local forest persevere where they got to practice just the two of them; or so they thought! A deer did end up jumping out in front of Superstar, because it was startled.

Last Night, Superstar came home and showed me what he could do on the bike path across the street from our house. I was going to take video last night and post it, but my camera battery was dead! So I took this video this afternoon! Enjoy!

He can NOT start on his own, nor can he really do turns right now. However we are still really proud of him! We have tried several times over the years but he just never got it. Looking back at it now I can't help but wonder if his toe-walking was stopping him from riding.

So last night was huge for us!! With more practice he'll get better including starting on his own. Right now to start him we have to hold is bike and give him a good "push".  Now it's time to get web-princess to master it!

Actually I have to say, I'm glad that Superstar, being older master this first. I remember my brother, who is 1 year younger then me, learned how to ride first and it made me angry! Superstar's personality, at times, reminds me of my own and I just know it would have not been good if Web-princess learned first!

August 28, 2010

ACK!!! NEW Co-Op-Group!

I and another local mom both are feeling that our local homeschool group isn't full filling our needs, wants, or desires for a group. It's a fine group but we both can envision something else.  It's come clear to us that this group will not blossom into what we envision. So we've decided to start our own group from the ground up.

We already know that this group will be welcoming to all homeschoolers regardless of race, creed, or beliefs. This is one aspect we do like about our current group. The next few months will be planning, advertising, and just getting some of the leg work done like "guidelines, rules, etc".

We are hoping to be able to offer the children classes and be a functioning group by January!

For those of you that have started groups or have been involved in the planning process do you have any tips, advice, or anything else that you feel is helpful?

Thanks!

Nikki

August 26, 2010

Good Thing Outside Local Abortion Clinic

I know most of the things I've posted in the pass about the local abortion clinic have been depressing to say the least.  Well this is one positive thing. A bus is outside the clinic when it's open to offer FREE ultrasound to the women if they choose before walking into the clinic.

August 20, 2010

VCUG Testing and Zoo Visit

WP (Web-Princess) had her VCUG testing done today at the Children's Hospital in Madison. Walking into the Hospital was not like any other hospital I've been in.
This is the lobby as you are walking in. They had a chair that looked like the tail end of a car.
We got to our room and the staff explained how the procedure worked. They gave WP a catheter to play with.
They let her pick out a blanket that she got to BRING HOME! She chose this blanket because it reminded her of her Auntie that is in the Army!  She even said I wanted this blanket because of Auntie.
They even let her put stickers on the bedpan she was going to use for the testing.

When it got closer to her testing time they gave her some oral midazolam. This is what they called their "goofy juice". It makes the kids a little goofy because it impairs their cognitive reasoning. It also has a bit of an amnesia effect so they don't exactly "remember" everything.

Shortly after they gave her the midazolam DH and Superstar (SS) left to go to the playroom down the hall. A very nice playroom too. They had board games, a Wii, and a computer with internet to occupy their time.  DH was able to use the hospital computer, in the the playroom, to check his work emails. He and Superstar also played a game of Clue.

While DH and SS were in the playroom, I occupied WP's time with an "I Spy Book". We were looking  for a clock. As we were looking I made an off handed comment how the clock goes "tick-tock". After saying that WP took the book, held it to her ear, and after several minutes said "There is NO tick-tock". I knew at that moment the midazolam had kicked in! I took out my cell phone; called DH and explain to him what just happened with the book.  DH said okay I'm on my way down I want to talk to her.

So DH leaves the playroom and comes down the hall to WP's room. SS stayed in the playroom which was fine. (see my post on Free Range Kids). Anyway, DH comes into the room. WP took one look at him and said "Who are you?".  DH responded "My name is Johny!" (I should note that DH's name is NOT Johny).  Well at the moment, WP looks at him and points, with two fingers, "You are Johny with two eyes".  We crack up and with that DH said his I love yous and went back to the playroom where SS was waiting.  Later DH and I shared how that was NOT the response that either one of us was expecting. We both thought for sure she would roll her eyes and say "Dad!"

Shortly after our "Johny with two eyes" moment the nurses came in to administer her some nitrous oxide and prep her for the procedure by inserting the catheter. As they were raising her bed she exclaimed in delight "I'm growing!". Then she almost fell out of the bed, because she decided at the moment she wanted to see how the bed works.

It was at that moment we decided it was best to have someone on each side of her. They put the nitrous oxide mask on her and put in the catheter. There was more funny stuff after that, but those are things I will not share on a public forum.

As they were finishing up the producer and testing it was clear that the medicine had started to wear off because WP became very aware of her nakedness and needed to cover up immediately. It was very much like an Adam and Eve moment. As the drugs wore of she felt the need to hide her nakeness.

After the testing we went to lunch at a local restaurant followed by a trip to the zoo. We share our intentions of going to the zoo with the hospital staff and they said WP should be fine to go if she felt up to it. After lunch she did feel up to it so we went.
We seen many of the animals including some white rhinos that WP was able to correctly identify without the aide of the signs. I asked are those white rhinos or black rhinos? Without hesitation WP said "White  Rhinos". I then went around the corner to read the sign and sure enough they were White Rhinos.
I praised WP for knowing the answer, to which she replied "Well I just guessed!" Hey, the odds were 50/50; so the gamble was in her favor today!

Oh and before I go I should note we were given the preliminary results on the VCUG today. Before leaving the hospital we were told that her bladder and urine flow is NORMAL! That she does not have kidney reflex. Thank God things look normal. This is JUST the PRELIMINARY results. They were going to go over the test results in finer detail and send the full results to the pediatric urologist. I will be calling the urologist on Monday to schedule a follow up.

August 19, 2010

Painted Lady Butterflies ARE here!

As I shared last week the caterpillars made their chrysalis. We were surprise to learn that they shed their exoskeleton to reveal their chrysalis. I didn't share any pictures last week so let me show you pictures now! This was taken last week on the 14th after all of the caterpillars formed their chrysalis and they were moved to the butterfly habitat.
You'll note that two of the chrysalis has fussy stuff stuck to them. That is the shed exoskeleton. Sometimes the shed exoskeleton gets stuck to the chrysalis as it's drying. You may also noticed some red spots on the paper. This the the dye that is used in the coloring of the wings.  Insect lore's paper work did state that we may see some excess meconium so don't worry and it's not blood, etc.

So this morning about 7:30 I checked the chrysalis and everything seem "normal" they looked pretty much the same as they have been. Although I noted that two of them are slightly different color. No movement, just different color.

Then at 8:30 something caught my eye. I took a look and what did I see:
This butterfly came from one of the chrysalis that were a sightly different color this morning. I have been checking them now pretty regularly.  From 8:30-9:30 there has not been any new butterflies. However there has been a TON of meconium released by this one butterfly.
See how the one chrysalis below the butterfly on the left side and in between the two chrysalises with the exoskeletons attached. That is the one that is slightly different then the rest. That is the one we feel will become a butterfly next.  Can you see how it's a little bit darker then the rest and darker then it was before (see picture above). It the middle one on the bottom I'm referring too. Now I understand why the one commenter on Ten Kids and a Dog stated they get a bit messy when they leave their cocoon.

For food we have placed some coffee filters soaked in sugar water and placed on a Tupperware lid "on the bottom of the container". It's actually the "top" of the container. However when I thought about having to feed them I new it would be easier to just unzip the lid and slide the food in and out instead of having to  place my hands and arm into the container to place things on the bottom.  So we made the top the bottom so we could just unzip and slide the food in and out with minimum disturbance to the butterflies.
We know it will be several hours before the butterfly will move around seeing the wings still need to dry out, but the food is there for when it's ready. Some point before we let them go will also feed them some orange slices and perhaps even some watermelon slices.

August 18, 2010

Bald Eagle

photo by mnlamberson

I sincerely wish I had pictures of what I SAW to share with you. It was one of the moments you don't expect to happen, and why would you. Sunday after Mass we met up with my Father In Law at the local pizza range. As we were pulling into the parking lot, I said oh look at the "Hawk", but then I realized that this hawk was much larger then any hawk I've seen. Not only that but it had a white head and a white tail.

DH parked, and I realized that there were several other people just starring at this bird too. This was a sighting that just made everyone stop dead in their tracks. We all stood there starring watching this bird circle and circle.

My Father-In-Law at first dismissed it as a turkey vulture. However, I questioned it! So he watched a little bit more intently. After several minutes he was sure it was an Eagle; but wouldn't call it a Bald Eagle. I just knew this bird had to be something specially because it wouldn't caused several people to stop and just stare at it. We see hawks and turkey vultures all the time. These sightings do not cause people to stop dead in their tracks and stare for long periods of times.

I'm sure what I seen here in Northern IL was a Bald Eagle. No other large bird to my knowledge has a white head and a white tail!  I know that we went a few hours west towards the Mississippi River and Galena, IL that bald Eagles can be spotted there. However, I've NEVER known them to be in and around "The Forrest City"!

I told hubby, this is one of those times I wished I had my camera. There have been several times where I've thought that perhaps I should just keep my camera on me at all time. This was one of those moments. Then again I just never think if it; I mean why would I need it just to go down the street to the pizza ranch?

August 16, 2010

An Archeologist-In-Training

My sister (step-sister) is an "archeologist-in-training". She just got back from Peru, where she ate some guinea pig and help on an archeological dig and preservation. She will be going to India next toward the end of September/October.

As part of our social studies history lesson this coming school year we will be going over the continents. I figured that we personally would follow Auntie and her blog "Crystalline Adventures" as we do our studies.

I'm sharing her blog here, because I though PERHAPS some of my followers would also be interested in her travels and the little tid-bits she has to share regarding her stay, the food, and the bit of culture she learns along the way.

August 13, 2010

Big Dipper is it a constellation?

Of course it's a constellation! It's one of the first one's I learned and the most easiest to find!  However that line of thinking is FALSE! The Big Dipper is NOT a constellation. It is an Asterism!  We learned that today at our local children's museum. We went today for the Splish, Splash, Splat! Activities.

The kids got to play with cornstarch and water suspension; dunk some museum employees, and watch the watermelons we brought to the museum become squash thanks to the giant catapult. Not only was it a catapult, but a great magician seeing it turned watermelons into squash; water jugs into squash, tomatoes, garlic, pineapple all became squash! As a matter of fact nearly everything became squash, everything but eggplant that is. For whatever reason the eggplant did not go through a metamorphosis like everything else! It came out as still an eggplant! Go figure!

I decided to pay the little bit extra money to participate in the planetarium show as well. It was at the planetarium show that we learned that the big dipper is NOT a constellation, but an asterism. Not only that but different parts of the world call it different things! We, in USA, say it's a big dipper, but in other parts of the world they call it a butcher's clever, a plough, or even a saucepan.

Our local ABC affiliate was there! They took images and videos of OUR watermelon going through the catapult. We have no idea if those image will make the cut for tonights "news", but we are going to watch just in case!

Non-Related Note: All of our caterpillars are now in their chrysalis and have been moved to the butterfly habitat! In about 7-10 days form now we should have some butterflies.

August 12, 2010

Exoskeleton: Painted Lady Butterflies

Karen's comment in my last post regarding our Painted Lady Butterflies (Forming the Chrysalis) had me do some more digging! We hadn't really seen any "green" waste in our jar. I'm sure there is some, but that wasn't what stood out for us. We seen a lot of what looked like black fuzzy balls, sometimes very big balls.

Up until a few moments ago we just assumed the black stuff was 'waste' and that perhaps it was fuzzy to confused predators etc. It was black not green, but at the same time I thought perhaps it was a dark green almost black, and if the lighting was a a little better we would see it was green. The material that came with our painted lady butterflies NEVER said anything about them shedding their skin.

Well Karen my digging found this information again from Earth's Birthday Project:
What is that black thing hanging on the bottom of the chrysalis? Is it the caterpillar’s head? Nope, it’s the caterpillar’s last exoskeleton, crumpled into a ball and stuck to the chrysalis. Painted lady caterpillars molt—shed their exoskeletons—five times, the last time just before they pupate. Often the exoskeleton doesn’t fall completely away from the pupating caterpillar but gets stuck on the outside of the chrysalis as it hardens.
So that "fuzzy" black caterpillar looking stuff we've been seeing has not been "waste" as we thought! It was the shed exoskeleton! I wished the material from insect lore shared that as well! That would have been extremely helpful and beneficial! Clearly insect lore delivered on the caterpillars and they are doing great. They do guarantee that at least 3 of them will make it to adulthood. I just wish the material they give with them shared more information like the fact they shed their exoskeletons.

Forming the Chrysalis: Painted Lady Butterflies

Well 2 of the 5 Painted Lady Butterflies have already "made" their chrysalis this morning. Two more are hanging upside down now on the lid, and the 5th one is just hanging out on the side of the container. The literature that came with the caterpillars said that it will take about 1-2 days to form the chrysalis and 7-10 to emerge from it. So we are going to move all of what we can on Saturday (day 3) to the butterfly habitat.

We knew the process had started this morning. When I woke up at around 7 am I asked Web-Princess if she checked on her caterpillars yet this morning. She said no but I will. Web-Princess and Hubby, who was finishing up getting ready for work, checked them out and seen that 2 of them were already hanging upside down and the one was just wiggling really fast. Hubby said let's move them (to the butterfly habit). I had to tell him NO, it's to early they are still caterpillars. We have to wait until they are in a chrysalis to move them.

DH asked why was he shaking like that and I naively said he's spinning his chrysalis. Seeing it would take some days, we just went about our business and when we looked again at about 8:30, this morning, the chrysalis was completely form and the second one had started on his. It was at the time we also observed that 2 more caterpillars and made their way to the top and started to hang as well.

Some things we observed at that point was the completed chrysalis had a "fuzzy" thing next to it where it was hanging from the jar. The one that was working on his chrysalis had it started down the bottom towards it's mouth. What is going on? What is the fuzzy stuff? I thought they spinned their chrysalis? I know I got this idea from school, teachers, or someone as I was growing up.  We could tell this fuzzy stuff was caterpillar skin. We were just confused why it was outside they chrysalis. Not only that but I was confused on why the other one was starting his chrysalis at his mouth.

So I went searching and found this video on Youtube:


I then dug a little deeper and found this information on Earth's Birthday Project:
The caterpillar finds a safe place to rest. With a silk thread that comes out of a hole just below its mouth (spinneret), the caterpillar spins a silk pad to attach to. The caterpillar hangs from this pad. Soon, the caterpillars’ skin splits open, from head to abdomen, revealing a shiny green case underneath—the chrysalis.
So that fuzzy stuff we seen was indeed shed skin and the painted butterfly does NOT spin a chrysalis!

We are still waiting for the aquasaur eggs to arrive.

August 10, 2010

E-Readers

I've been eying some e-readers for a while now! Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook to name a few. They are, right now, out of my price range but I still have been eying. Then last night it hit me my Palm Z22 which I've had for the last 3 years (Hubby bought it for me when we decided to start homeschooling) has an e-reader on it.

I from the beginning was under the impression that I could only use the material found on palm's site, materials that had to be paid for. Well I just realized last night that I can use free application called Stanza (desktop version) to convert pdf, txt, (and I believe doc) files into pdb files. Pdb files is what my Palm Z22 e-reader can read! I have already used Stanza to convert .pdf and .txt files to pdb files.

My memory space on the Palm Z22 is limited so I can only have one book @ a time. However I'm overjoyed to learn I had this feature the whole time. Reading isn't horrible on it; it's doable. I have no idea if the Palm Z22 is still available normal retail or not, but I've seen models sell on e-bay for as little as $10. When we bought the Palm Z22 new 3 years ago it was just under $100.

Finding materials to convert is not hard...there are tons of free books out there from sources like Google books and Project Gutenberg.

On unrelated note: Web-Princess's Testing  is going to be done on August 20th.
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