Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Every once in a while they all work on something together and all is quiet.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Excuse me, I need the soapbox.

Today is Earth Day.  I cringe inside. The news is constantly telling us about how WE are destroying the earth and if WE don't change then the world will have a horrible end.  

Here's my not so humble take on the subject.
  1. The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it. Psalm 24:1

  2. Since God made the world, He (not people) will decide how and when it's destroyed. How arrogant are we to think that mere humans can destroy what The Almighty spoke into existence?

  3. The world is cursed because of sin. Romans 8:22   Because of the sin , we humans make big messes of all our relationships, including our relationship to God's creation.

  4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states: All processes go from order to disorder.   This means that the state of planet Earth is also tending toward disorder.  Can't argue with physics.

  5. God gave man dominion over the earth. Genesis 1:26-27 As Christians, we are commanded to be good stewards of all of God's gifts, including the world's animals, plants, water, fossil fuels, etc. just as we are commanded to be good stewards of our time and money.

  6. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (sound mind) 2 Timothy 1:7.  It makes me so mad to see little children being made fearful of global warming and begging grown-ups to "do something or I may not grow up."  God gave us brains to think. We must weigh our decisions carefully by considering the motive behind and the consequences of changes we are asked to make.

  7. There are no totally good environmental decisions. For example, there is a push for everyone to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's). They are more expensive up front, but they last longer and use less electricity. The environmental downside--they are hazardous waste because they contain mercury vapor and cannot be put in household trash. I will have to store used CFL's until there is a hazardous waste day at the county landfill and then drive 20 miles to take them.  Also, most CFL's are made in communist China, while incandescent light bulb are made in the USA.  See, changing a light bulb isn't simple. Even growing organic crops (which I totally support) has its share of problems, and the ethanol issue is much more complex.
OK, so where does that leave my family on Earth Day. We do without what we can. We don't waste food, electricity, or water. We have some compact fluorescent light bulbs. We recycle what our recycling center takes. We write on the backs of envelopes and junk mail. What little garden we have is organic. We buy used when possible. We don't eat a lot of processed foods. We use grocery bags for trash bags. We drive as little as possible, though more than we would like. We use mostly homemade, natural cleaners.  That being said, I used disposable diapers on my children and I refuse to feel guilty about it.  Our "green" habits generally correlate to "cheap" habits.

I guess my point is that there is no"magic bullet" that will rid the world of pollution or solve our energy problems.  I can only attempt use what God has given me wisely and encourage others to do the same.   Worrying about it only wastes my time and energy.   

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Week Off?

I wish. We have been busy like many families this time of year.  Doing taxes (Historian's job), a vet appointment (Historian's job), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, providing refreshments for homegroup, making a final exam, and a friend's Mary Kay party are all extras on the agenda this week.

I'm usually good at rolling with the punches, but right now I am close to burning out.  I feel as if all of my energy and creativity are gone.  I haven't had taken time to plan out the rest of this year much less think about next year.  I have been in “do the next thing” mode for several weeks now.  We haven't done any projects or experiments or any of the fun stuff lately.  The Crafter is cooperative, but bored.  I think she needs a break too.

Anyway this week we have the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  Another mom asked me if I was going to count the testing days as “school days” since we weren't doing any “instruction”.  You've got to be kidding.  Of course I'm counting them!  Don't public schools count their standardized testing days?  Why shouldn't we?

That got me thinking, why not take the rest of the week off?  We finished up a test prep book on Monday, and we've been reading the latest stack of library books.  That was enough for one day, right?  Tuesday and Wednesday are test days.  Thursdays are tough on homeschooling because I'm not at home from 8:30-12:30.  We generally don't get much done on Thursday anyway.  Friday's the only day left.  Who wants to start working on Friday?  Not me!

A couple of days off so sounds like a good plan.  We could plant the garden.  We could spend some time reading aloud together.  We can watch something noneducational on TV.  We can just rest.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Slight Case of Cheating

I'm sure this happens to everyone eventually, but I was not prepared for it to happen to us. The Crafter cheated on her school work.  Here's how it went down.

There was a play that she disparately wanted to attend.  It was at night.  The Historian works at night.  Wild Thing and Sweetie do not do well being out past their bedtime.  The Crafter's best friend's mother graciously invited her to attend the play with them and to spend the night afterward.  We gratefully accepted the offer on the condition that the Crafter diligently complete her work for the week.  I even got organized and made a color coded spread sheet listing each assignment for each day.

Everything was going well.  The Crafter completed her work on Monday in only 3 hours—including piano practice.  The Historian and I strongly encouraged her to work ahead a bit.  Thursdays and Fridays are difficult school days because I teach at the college.  She didn't want to work ahead; she wanted to have extra play time.  Tuesday and Wednesday passed in a similar fashion.

Thursday was not good.  I wasn't here to stay on top of her work.  The Historian was busy with Wild Thing and Sweetie and couldn't help as much as he would have liked.  I arrived home and saw what was happening.  We gently reminded the Crafter that going to the play depended on getting her work done. She said she understood, but the diligence of earlier in the week was gone.  She messed around and spent two hours on math instead of the 30 minutes it should have taken.  She didn't finish Thursday's list. There was still time though.  Her Friday list was short with only math, reading, piano, and a spelling test. She could manage the undone items from Thursday and do Friday's work with time to spare.

If only she had asked for help with her math.  I arrived home to the Historian looking at some math problems or rather some correct answers to some rather involved math problems with no supporting work.  We knew some mischief was afoot.  We asked her to redo the problems and show her work this time. Thirty minutes passed with no math.  I point blank asked her if she had copied the answers from the answer key.  She said no.  After another thirty minutes, she began to cry.  The Historian finally got her to confess to copying the answers and then lying about it.

Daddy handled the discipline.  There would be no play, no spending the night with her friend, and she would have to apologize to her friend and tell her why their plans changed.  The Crafter shed many tears.  I believe that the toughest part of the punishment was when she actually had to confess her sin to her friend.   I pray that we handled this appropriately.  The answer keys are now in a less accessible area.  I hope this doesn't happen again.