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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Homeschoolers Need Not Apply

hmmm...what do you think about this?....

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=65217

Subway sandwich contest: Homeschoolers not wantedSpelling-challenged promotion offers gift 'bastket' to winners
Posted: May 24, 20087:00 pm Eastern
By Jay Baggett© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Subway, the sandwich restaurant, wants to hear your child's story – unless he or she is homeschooled.
The national chain's "Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest" offers prizes and a chance to be published on the Subway website and in Scholastic's "Parent & Child" magazine but specifically excludes homeschoolers:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.
Subway's website promotion not only misspells "United" States, but offers the grand prize winner a "Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home."
The 2007 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was Evan O'Dorney, a 13-year old homeschool student from Danville, Calif.
Contestants are urged to write, in 500 words or less, a story that has a beginning, middle, and end using one of four provided story starters:
The Mysterious MeatballWhen the invitation to the Meatball came in the mail...
Turkey Doesn't Live Here AnymoreThere was a loud knock on the door, but when Salami Sam opened it ...
The Race to Red Onion RanchEveryone gathered in the center of town for the start of the race except ...
Nothing BetterThe smell of fresh baked bread coming from the store was so good that ...
The contest, launched in January, has a deadline of June 30, 2008. A grand prize winner and 6 runners-up will be selected on July 15 and announced approximately a week later.
The company's website promotion encourages submitters to describe in their essays "random acts of fitness," such as eating right, exercising, playing sports and living a healthy lifestyle.
Subway has marketed itself for several years as a healthy alternative to fast food, featuring spokesman Jared Fogle who went from 425 pounds to 190 pounds on a daily diet of the chain's lower-calorie sandwiches.
The exclusion of homeschoolers, presumably because the grand prize includes $5,000 worth of athletic equipment for the winning child's school, has caught the attention of bloggers who educate their children.
Valerie Bonham Moon, writing for HomeEdMag, referred to the exclusion as "Subway's P.R. gaffe."
"By now, the Subway sandwich shop marketing division must know how bad of a decision it was on the part of whichever wonk who decided to expressly exclude homeschoolers from their latest contest. E-mail lists may not be utterly aflame over the exclusion, but there is more than one p---ed-off homeschool mom spreading the word. I've been reading their e-mails."
Moon notes Subway, with a bit of forethought, could have easily included homeschoolers:
"One of the more obvious work-arounds that the developers of the Subway contest could have included for homeschooling parents who entered on their children’s behalf, was for the equipment to be donated to a local park, or to a school of the winner's choice. Problem solved – good will all around. Too bad that it didn't play out that way.
"I look forward to seeing how the Subway wonks handle their self-inflicted wound."

The blogger at Capturing Today, a homeschooling mother, isn't waiting for the self-inflicted wound, suggesting homeschool families "act now!"
"Excuse me, but there are MILLIONS of homeschool students in this nation and this is just discrimination. A homeschool student could easily donate the athletic equipment to their homeschool athletic association, local park, athletic center, neighborhood center or the like. I realize they are doing this to have a mass-marketing effect, but they could have just as great a media response from a charitable homeschool student donating the prize.
"I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for us to make our voices heard that we as homeschool families are tired of being cast in a negative light.
Jim and Cathy Peschke, blogging at Croydoncraft, expressed their displeasure by entering an essay on behalf of their 3-year-old homeschooled daughter who, while visiting a Subway restaurant, breaks into tears upon learning she's not eligible to enter the contest.
"I cried and cried, and asked Daddy if we could leave. He said 'Certainly. Not only will we never visit a mean old Subway store again, we'll organize a B-O-Y-C-O-T-T of Subway stores by all your homeschooling friends!'
'I sure hope Subway changes their silly policy so Mommy and Daddy can take me back for more sandwiches.'"
--------------------------
For more info on the contest go to: http://www.subwayfreshbuzz.com/kids/Click on the box at the bottom of the page for the Sandwich Story Contest.

Contact scholastic at: P&CConnects@scholastic.com orCConnects@scholastic.com.

Contact Subway :http://www.subway.com/Applications/CustService/frmCustomerService.aspx

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May is for Mary

Along with our May Day celebrations we designed an altar for Mary. It was so easy to do -- I bought 2 light blue candles, let the kids sniff out their favorite candle at Wal-Mart to light (it bothered them so much that we weren't going to light the blue ones), and sent the kids out in the backyard to fill a vase with flowers (we ended up with a dandelion bouquet the first day). I had a statue on my nightstand that never quite fit there and the kids chose a pretty linen (the holy card was just laying around after being used as a bookmark.)

When the hamsters died last week, we scootched the gerbils over to make a spot for Mary. We rewrote and erased our daily memorization list on the wipe-off board and the girls wanted a world behind Mary. It was SO EASY! I guided them aesthetically and they chose most of the individual items.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

News Anchors

The kids were trying to keep busy for a few hours while I worked on the computer, but they were given strict instructions NOT to mess up the house! They held up their end of the bargain, so I promised to put them on my blog. They wanted to be News Anchors.

Skip Counting Practice

This is a work in progress and is a little painful (for me) to watch.



If you've ever practiced skip counting with kids over and over and over and over... you may get a kick out of OUR less than perfect practice.

Good News Student Planner vs. Pflaum Student Planner

This is a comparison of the 2 Catholic student planners I've used. Do you know of another one I should consider?

I haven't used the Pflaum Teacher planners, just the student ones. I thought the Good News Planners were more "Catholic". (just my opinion). The Pflaum ones had more vocabulary words and I thought more fluff, the Good News had more saint days listed and had a more spiritual focus (again, just my opinion).

I did like that you could fill in your own headings on the Pflaum ones and in what order you want. For me, the fact that the Good News ones had a column for spelling words (or poetry memorization or whatever you wanted to put there) really compensated for that loss.

I just looked at this year's Pflaum Student Planners and it looks like they put headings at the top of the Intermediate Planner and it sort of looks like the two are competing and becoming more alike (the differences were more when I switched from Pflaum to GoodNews last year).

I also found the 2 boxes at the top of each subject distracting and just took up space. It seemed like a good idea at first, but it didn't match the way we do school. We may have 2 or 3 assignments in one category (read book & narrate & sketch for history -or- memorize poem, copywork on bible verse & page 29 of grammar workbook for lang. arts), so I would need to check off each of those lines, not just the whole of Lang. Arts.

The lines in the subject boxes in the Good News planners are much lighter (light grey) and I can easily write over the check off boxes or continue assignments on the next line without it being visually distracting. The Good News Student Planners feel like they have more space to write in...I don't know if they do. Where the spiral comes, the Pflaum planners have a definate edge to the column so there is a margin. In the Good News, the lines extend into the spine so you aren't writing past the line ending that column (maybe that doesn't bother other people, but my kids and I get frustrating feeling like I can't fit everything in if I have to write past the edge -- there's not an artificial edge to interfere in the Good News. I also think the Good News columns are wider, but I don't physically have a plfaum to compare it with right now. I think the headers may be the same, but the footer is smaller in the Good News leaving more space to write in assignments.

I also like how in the header the Good News planners look ahead to next week's Gospel while on the date they have whatever Sunday we just past. The Pflaum planners only look back on last Sunday's Gospel in their 2 page spread. Even in their intermediate planners the pfaum ones seemed...a little simplistic -- I guess it depends on what age you want to use them for.

There's NOTHING WRONG with the Pflaum. I used them for 2 years and was pleased. The Good News planners fit our family better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Good Morning, Baby!

Our baby is sooo happy in the morning!!
This video is from last month when he was 5 months old.

Friday, May 16, 2008

This was the gift we gave our Moms this weekend - a picture of our children!
When I look at the incredible blessings God has given the song from Cinderella comes to mind :

So this is love, mmm
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I'm all aglow, mmm
And now I know (and now I know)
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings, mmm
And I can fly
I'll touch every star in the sky
So this is the miracle
That I've been dreaming of
Mmm, mmm So this is love

Sand EVERYWHERE!

We're so excited about a trip to the lake in August we've already started dreaming about it.

I'm not so excited about trying to keep the kids and an infant clean! Heather had a grat TIP!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great Product - Catholic Student Planner & Catholic Teacher Planner

I've been ordering from Creative Communications for a couple of years, now. I'm thrilled with their Catholic Student Planners and my kids do pretty well :
  • keeping track of their work
  • and learning to work independently with them
It's the first thing I order each year
  • as it's a ready-made tool helping us teach and live the liturgical year
  • saints days
  • bible verses
  • and focusing on Sunday's Mass
  • -- in addition to being a lovely planner.
  • I can also look back to see what we've accomplished
when the homeschool worriing bug starts biting at me and I'm afraid we haven't accomplished enough. (In the article about Susan Wise Bauer I blogged about this week, she speaks to this bug that bites us all.)
I've told you all this before.
This year, I've discovered a NEW tool....it's their Teacher's Planner. That was the best $10 I've spent for next year. They have a Lutheran and Christian one, too -- but of course, I ordered the Catholic one. It's fantastic. Their paper catalog describes it better than their website.
  • It s got an entire section on saint biographies (just about a paragraph each) that coorespond to the saints in the kids' planners along the liturgical year.
  • It's got refections on each Sunday's Gospel for you to read/discuss with the kids
  • It's got "trivia" about the life of Jesus and historical background interspersed throughout along with ideas for cross-curricular learning.
  • This year, it's got a study of the 33 Doctors of the church
  • A sheet on Jewish holidays, what they mean and when they occur
  • Copies to make of the Advent "O Antiphons" symbols
  • A study of the Requiem Mass for November
  • Ideas and poems to study the fruits of the spirit
  • It's got a grading sheet in it and while it's set up for a classroom, I can use one sheet for each child to keep track of what I need (now that my oldest is nearing highschool I have to get used to keeping grades).
  • It's got a cheat sheet grader (number of problems and number wrong = this number grade)
--- I'm saying that this thing is PACKED with great information!! And it's already organized by date -- ALONG WITH having all the information that's in all 3 of the kids' planners and being a planner that you can put information you want to keep track of for the kids. Rather than put all the recurring assignments for each child in mine that I put in theirs (Math sheet 1, Grammar sheet B, study spelling words...) I'll use it for MY assignments (Listen to DS#3 read, Read Beowulf with all kids, grade Latin for Dd#1, discuss new math concept with Ds#4...) .
SERIOUSLY KEWL STUFF!

What's the difference between the elementary & primary planners?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Academic Rigor vs. Readiness

I read a TOS article [the link is at the end of this post] (I get their weekly e-mail and enjoy it very much) that I found very interesting and it required me to do a little soul searching.

Although I thought I couldn't teach Latin and was shaking in my boots about it (especially considering I'd never taken it), the kids are doing fine with it. I'm pleased. Am I pridefully pushing my kids? I was able to answer 'no'. I've seperated the girls in their pacing of Latin, even though it's more work for me, so one is moving faster than another and they soon will be in 2 different books.

Although I don't want my kids' school to be too hard, I also don't want them to think it's all fun and games. Do I give them the impression that school is all about fun? Or do I make it too difficult for them? I honestly think I'm ok in both areas, although there have been times in the last 6 years that I've had to adjust things because I found myself falling into one of these pitfalls.

Although I want my children to get the best education they can, I knew several people in highschool that pushed themselves to their limit and emotionally burned out at an early age.

It's all a balancing act (BALANCE is one of Dave's favorite words).

That's one of the things I like about classical education. My children have not all reached the stages at the same chronological age. Some have been in the transition between two stages much longer than others and all have different strengths in different subject areas.

Here is a great article about an interview with Susan Wise Bauer who wrote Story of the World that we use extensively in our homeschool.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Things I wish I'd known

I've learned alot from homeschooling - these are things I wish I'd known from the beginning :

Things I wish I'd known...

I wish I knew that if my happy dd consistently cried through math that it wasn't because of deficiencies in her or me -- we needed to keep trying math programs until one fit us (Math-U-See). I spent so many of my own tears on the fact that I was "failing" to teach her math and that I was "failing" her and that she was "failing" math. Except for the prayers, they were wasted tears.

I wish I knew not to be afraid of other homeschoolers. I'd had a fair amount of rejection out in the world and dd and I spent our first year of hsing desperately lonely. It took me making friends of the moms to find homeschool friends for her AND IT WAS SOO WORTH THE EFFORT! These were not people who rejected our oddities but allowed themselves to be vunrable so we could see them for who they were -- these were kindred spirits. I didn't realize the effort I'd have to make in finding friends of my own to find friends for her, and I didn't realize the wonderful payoff, either.

I wish I'd known how much I'd have to teach myself about my faith to pass it on. I knew I'd have to learn some Latin to teach it, but somehow I thought I knew all I needed to about my faith. I know now how much continuing education I need (LOTS) to adequately form these children.

I wish I knew how much "success" I'd have in homeschooling circles. When I tried to make a difference at my parish, I was just off from many other people and couldn't get much accomplished. When I applied that same effort in homeschool groups, I was shocked how much I got accomplished!

These are things that others have said that resonated with me, too:
* I wish I would have know to not worry so much. They will learn in spite of your least efforts most of the time.
* Set up some notebook or scrapbook of all that they have memorized--prayers, poems, and songs.
* What I would do differently (and what I'm trying to do now that I didn't do with the first children) is BE MORE RELAXED (not stress over the little things...to take things as they come...chaos will ensue some days....plans will not always be implemented perfectly, but that's ok....make a plan and try to generally stick with it, but it's ok to adjust too.)

Things I'd still like to know ...

I wish (this is present tense) that I could set aside the work for the day and spend more time cuddled on the couch reading to them (but then they start touching each other and end up wrestling and I have to discipline them and it's easier to have them at their desks).

I wish (present tense) I had a better feel for discipline (self and others) vs. fun. I always feel like this balance eludes me. Now that I've experienced 4 toddlers, I have a much better handle on how much discipline a toddler takes and what things are only worth giggling about rather than getting angry. When I've graduated 4 kids I think I'll have a feel for the line between discipline and fun -- just when I don't need it. anymore!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Abortion -This is a Dismemberment Abortion

Abortion -This is a Dismemberment Abortion There aren't any gorey pictures on this, just facts.

Like many other people, I wasn't sure what I thought of pro-choice until I had my first baby. Now I know that babies deserve the choice to make choices and not have those choices taken from them.

Happy Birthday, Baby!!

Our beautiful baby is 6 months old, now!! The day before his 6 month birthday he learned to roll over from his tummy to his back. On his 6 month birthday, he learned to roll the other way!! We're so proud and excited about our adorable gift from Heaven!!

He was trying to catch butterflies like his siblings did at Botanical Gardens.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May Day 2008

To celebrate the month of Mary right, we had friends over and did ...

  • a May crowning

  • made May baskets with a "Mary" theme and took them to other friends

  • listened to & sang Mary songs

  • some of the kids made a clothespin Mary doll

Some of the inspiration for these things came from the ideas on these blogs:

Marian May Basket i.e. Paper Cup Challenge

The children did a lovely job!