Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Caboose Child Singing Chinese Song on Stage

James is my caboose child - that comfortable car at the rear of the freight train.  Maybe not so comfortable, though.

This 10 year old doesn't get nearly enough attention but he should.   He says the most hilarious things.  When criticized for not taking his daily vitamins he responds this way: "I scoff at your remarks."   In the car today, after drilling me with pointed questions about salamanders, the demise of Freddie Mercury, and what the Polynesian language sounds like (I could answer none of these) he said dryly: "Well, it appears you know very little, I am worried about you, mom."

He makes me laugh out loud every day.  That says it all.

Here he is singing a Chinese song on stage with his friends from the South Jersey Chinese School.  He's the tall one wearing khaki pants, hands in pockets, wondering when this strange ritual will be over and done with.  If all of life's a stage ... he'd rather be a prop!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

She did it!

My beautiful and brilliant daughter was awarded the US Dept of State scholarship to study in Singapore and Malayasia through the American Youth Leadership Program!  While there, she'll get to do more of this fun stuff:

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I have to give this kid credit.  She discovered the opportunity.  She dogged me until I agreed that she could go ahead and apply.  She reminded me, she followed up, she asked for references and she made it happen.

So....Nora can't wait to begin her experience and dad can't believe that he doesn't have to take out his checkbook.

Proverbs 12:14  (NLV)   Wise words bring many benefits and hard work brings rewards.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No Labels in NYC !!

Jon Huntsman charmed the crowd there!
Just before heading to the Hersey Store !!                

I spent yesterday in the Big Apple with my 16 and 13 year old students.  Along with 1,500 other concerned citizens, including many students, we attended a convention hosted by No Labels, a nonpartisan, grassroots group.  They are involved in the worthy work of trying to get a dysfunctional government back to the job of serving the people.    This group, whose motto is "Stop Fighting.  Start Fixing." has the support of heavy hitters on both the left and right.  What a good investment of a day.  The simulation at the end, which took all of the students and citizens in attendance through how a major crisis might be handled by the powers in DC, their business constituents and the media, was the most illuminating part of the day.

My favorite part of their "big push" is No Budget, No Pay.  Surprisingly, there is a good deal of support for this in Washington.  Additionally, they want all of our representatives to work a 5 day week.  We do, don't we?

It is complicated and no one pretended that it isn't.   They spoke earnestly about COMPROMISE for the sake of progress. They are ready to motivate both sides to make decisions for the country not for the "party".  They want them to talk to each other and bleed from their eyes and fingertips until compromise is reached !!  Amen.

I like everything they say and encourage you to join this fight.  It costs nothing but time and thought.  Every politician who spoke yesterday said these words at some point or another:  "This isn't for us, it is for our kids, for their future.  Unless something changes now, we have left them a terrible legacy, an awful mess, and little to hope for."   This cold truth keeps me awake at night.  It should keep you awake, too.

The enemy is not your democrat or your republican friend ....it is apathy.


Photo: The problem solvers have been unveiled and are now taking questions from citizens. 

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Miss Nora

I am so proud of this young woman.  Not only did she scorch on her PSATs, but she is a semi-finalist for two separate US Dept of State scholarships.  While waiting on these, she was accepted in U Penn's Young Scholars Program and begins a class in the School of Arts and Sciences on Evolution/Anthropology this week!  She was also accepted into Drexel University's High School Scholars Program and began a class on Expository Writing today.   She is working diligently - some days I really do have to stop and count my blessings - all of them.

Back to Penn he went

My college freshman's winter break ended today and I had the pleasure of delivering him back to his fine institution of learning.  His first stop was the dining hall, as usual !

He loves U Penn and especially enjoys being around smart people every day.  My favourite recent quote from John:  "Home education was the very best preparation for the rigorous academics here."   Love this young man!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Homeschool?

After thirteen years, I do not ask myself this question any more.  But many others ask me this question.  In fact, if I had a dollar for every person who has asked me "why?" in the past decade, my family might be able to take a vacation on the earnings.

This article in the Courier Post sums it up nicely:

But, there's still more to it. My results are good, so far, this is true.  My kids are well-balanced.  They know how to think and rarely accept being told what to think, either by the talking heads on TV or the talking heads they meet in life.  They possess intellectual tenacity.  But, more importantly, because they have each had ownership in their education, they are stakeholders in their own futures.  Things don't merely happen to them.  They have to allow it, they have to endorse it, they have to be part of the plan.  Each one of my kids notices how the children and young adults in the state conditioning centers move in unison when bells ring or when they get some group communication about the commencement or conclusion of a particular activity and it utterly creeps them out.  Of course, I always point out the necessity of these management tools and they understand this, but it is a cold comfort.   My kids think that the faces of the ocean of brick and mortar school kids are vacant as they are absently pushed along by the group, without knowing what they are doing or why they are doing it.

Regardless of what happens in world politics - fiscal cliffs, Arab Springs, advances in forensics anthropology - my students have informed opinions to share.   And it is their own unique thoughtful position, not what a government school has taught them to think.

It is difficult to find this kind of intellectual development in most adults.

It is golden.

I haven't drunk the Kool-Aide and I always sound like a crackpot to those who have.  It is a useful litmus test for me.

The Beginning

For three years I have resisted the urge to blog.  I don't know why, I certainly have plenty to say.  Maybe I have thought that there was not much of an audience for my pontifications.  No matter, I have decided to write anyway.  My journey and metamorphosis from unthinking citizen to observant challenger of the status quo has been too interesting to remain silent about for much longer.  And so, I begin.