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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gotta Love NPR

I totally love NPR, and lately since we've been commuting for the kids' school program (Yes, we're still homeschooling) we get plenty of time to listen to NPR. Since we're driving on weekdays we don't hear car talk but I did enjoy that show. The other day we got to hear short stories and that was nice. I also like the compelling discussion programs and the interviews with great minds. One of my favorite recent broadcasts is an interview with Philosopher Samuel Scheffler on All Things Considered. You can hear the broadcast or read the article here: A Philosopher's 'Afterlife': We May Die, But Others Live On I love listening to new ideas and discussing them with my kids.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't be an edu-sucker

Statistics that try to show links between dropping out of high school and an eventual life of crime really bother me. It's not logical to assume that simply leaving school will be the one factor that can drive an otherwise good kid into disastrous situations.  Wouldn't it be more likely, instead of saying that dropouts were 8x more likely to go to prison that prisoners had a predisposition toward quitting school?

Posters like the one below bother me, with a bunch of unrelated statistics arranged in a way that makes them SEEM related.  You can't deny that learning is important, and thank goodness information is free.   The idea that kids simply MUST finish out the government-mandated process of indoctrination and socialization is dangerous.  "Dropping out" of school won't lead to a life of crime any more than nose-picking.  If someone is going to lead a life of crime, they will do it whether they finish school or not.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fun for teens

In my mind, wearing makeup is ridiculous. I just can't imagine, on a daily basis, putting that stuff on my skin like that. It's just plain silly to me. But whatever, I'm sure I am the minority here.

 I've spoken with other women who don't wear makeup and many of them have self-proclaimed as "too lazy" and wish they could do it. I'm different, I don't want to and I actively think it's lame. But I know that my daughters should be able to choose to be ridiculous if they want. And, in order to avoid being sexist, if my sons (if I had sons) wanted to wear makeup I'd let them learn how to put it on, too.

 I always tell my kids that the girls at the makeup counter are a fun resource for learning how to put makeup on. They work with the stuff all day long and even though they spend their days in fluorescent lighting, they still pay attention to trends and techniques.

 I just realized that I lied. I do wear makeup. I wear one thing, it's Maybelline New York Superstay 24 in Hot Chili. It is a natural looking lip color that lasts 24 hours. I never have to reapply it during the day, not that I would.

It's all the foundation and blush and eye shadow and mascara and eye liner that makes me freak out.  I can't imagine not being able to suddenly get wet or rained on without looking like a clown.  And if all that stuff is waterproof, then what on earth are you washing your face with at night?

Anyway, I have given my kids makeup as gifts before, like theSHANY 2012 Edition All In One Harmony Makeup Kit, 25 Ounce, for example. If they choose to wear makeup when they're adults I don't want them to have to struggle with the application process and looking silly. I also don't want to make it taboo, so that they're sneaking behind my back in order to experiment with something that's harmless.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Online learning with rss

If you're planning to host any online classes, you totally need to check out this tool I found, called Bookeo. They offer online class booking all over the world, using their web based server that integrates RSS subscription technology with a variety of resources. It's so exciting, even if you didn't think you wanted to teach an online class you just might change your mind when you see how easy it is to work their interface. They have statistics, so you can watch your business grow and they also help you track your enrollment and process credit cards and things like that. they just make it look so easy. i was most impressed with the fact that they offer a free demo because honestly, why would you ever want to try something that might potentially be complicated if you haven't even had a chance to run through it and see how it works yet, right?  But most importantly, they let you sign up for free, so you can actually get your hands wet (not literally, this is still computerized) and see how it works "for real."  Like I said, go check it out.  I can see a lot of ways to use this technology but that's just me. The question is, how will YOU use it?  seriously, go check it out and I bet you'll end up with a hundred ideas, too.  It's not as awesome as Khan Academy but it's still a neat thing. 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

rarely saying stuff

No, of course RSS doesn't stand for rarely saying stuff. Nor does it stand for rapid smiling squirrels. Nope, it's really simple syndication and it's a coding mechanism developed by a team that included a 14 yr old boy. RSS revolutionized the way web content is shared and distributed making it easy to auytomatically send information from one place to another, in a syndicated way instead of manually. Remember google reader? They were developed to use the rss technology, which was new at the time and now it's so common that google just gave up on it which is really crappy for all the google reader addicts out there but it did make us see just how valuable this whole thing is. If you're missing your google reader, try Feedlyinstead. Another thing that makes RSS cool is that if you're trying to make money with your blog you don't have to depend on readers clicking into your site all the time. You can place your ads and they will see your feeds through their readers and your subscriber count can be higher than your web traffic which is really helpful.
Graphic Citation

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beyond Art Lessons

I've always thought it was important for kids to have high quality art materials throughout their lives. Nothing frustrated me more when I was in preschool than our gunky funky tempera paint. I think it was mixed from a powder, so as the day wore on instead of maintaining a nice consistency it tended to dry out. Also, if we used it on anything other than construction paper it would flake off. Imagine being 3 or 4 and working your tail off to create your masterpiece, then watching it crumble in front of your eyes.
Reference Have you seen their rain room? It's the coolest thing, the ceiling is covered in plumbing and cameras, you walk out into the middle of it and the cameras SEE you, so they don't rain on you. You stand in the middle of the rain and don't get wet. The photos are quite dramatic, it looks like so much fun. In addition to using only high quality materials, like Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint instead of tempera, I also like to take my older kids to museums. It's a fun family day together and it puts us in an environment where we can focus on noticing the beauty in big and small things, and appreciate the creativity of other artists, dead and alive. Have you taken your family to an art museum lately?

Large family?

I once wrote a letter to the Duggars to let them know that they should call Sysco and shop for their groceries the way we were shopping for food for our restaurant.  As a matter of fact, I should probably call them myself.  It was so nice to have a sales guy sit down with us and say "How are you doing on meatballs?"  Instead of pushing a cart around the store wondering if we needed spinach or not.  When you have a large family, simply getting to and from the store is such a pain in the behind.  It just makes sense to have a service that comes to you, takes your order and schedules delivery when it's convenient for you.  And I only have six kids, the Duggars have a lot more than I do. But who's counting?

Anyway, so I was thinking it would probably be smart to do this with bar supplies, too.  I mean, we go through a lot of napkins and cups and glasses and I'm just thinking that if we bought industrial level Hotel Bar Supplies like from Atlanta Hotel Supply then we'd be saving so much time, stress and money, right?

But that's not all, I'm also thinking about linens and toiletries and all sorts of other things we could get from a Hotel Supply Online company.  The insanely low prices on aluminum foil and corkscrews alone make it a bargain.  When I started looking I was afraid we'd have to buy in bulk, but that's just not true.  You can order just one corkscrew and it's OK.  So check them out, there's really no reason not to. Especially if you've got a large family, do yourself a favor. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homeschoolers Moving to Yakima?

Are you new to Yakima? We seem to have a lot of new homeschoolers moving here, I hope they enjoy it. When I first moved here, I was so disappointed. It took me months to even FIND another homeschooling family, it's almost as if they were hiding. There was no web presence and it seemed to all be based on phone trees, with secret phone numbers straight out of the 1950's. When we finally did find them, they were all so friendly and sweet. That was ten years ago and to this day some of my favorite people are the ones we met that year. We've been very lucky to know so many kind people in Yakima but I'd still move back to Seattle in a heartbeat if I could. Some day, right? I know a lot of people think Yakima is a much better place to raise kids but I prefer the tons and tons of museums and educational opportunities that you find in a bigger city. Another motivating factor for me is the architecture, the variety of cultures and religions and ethnicities that are represented in a bigger city. There's also the fact that Seattle has a milder climate and it's closer to the sea and has an International airport. Eventually, I'm sure, we'll end up making it there. Until then, we're happy as clams to hang out in Yakima. As long as we can escape to the city every now and then.