Friday, August 24, 2012

Alas King Poultron, we meant him well...

So some school projects go well and others stink. Literally. King Poulton was unceremoniously sent to rest at the local dump after three days of treatments left him smelling like... rotting chicken. Was I disappointed? Yes. What woman hasn't always dreamed of mummifying her own chicken? I decided that we needed to figure out why an experiment performed by so many others had failed.

Results of our scientific inquiry? The head embalmer didn't pay enough attention to what kind of salt she bought.

This is the salt I bought:

This is the salt we needed:

So what did we learn class? That Epsom salt is not really salt. I should have been thinking chemicals - magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride are harder to confuse. Mag sulfate is no good at preserving anything, with the exceptions of preterm pregnancies and moisture in your skin, which were both very unhelpful to His Royal Stinkiness, King Poultron.

The boys have I have decided to try again in a few weeks, but on a smaller scale. Maybe mummified Cornish hens?

Mr Montgomery and his class
(at St. Helen Catholic School, Pearland, TX)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Ninth Year Begins!

It is hard to believe that I have been lucky enough to homeschool for the last NINE years, even though that number makes me feel old. Wasn't I in high school then?

Today is actually our 22nd day of school for the 2012-2013 year. We have been very busy getting into our new schedule and it's been going really well. Maybe it takes ten years to really know what you are doing in any job. I wish I'd had the guts to put my troops on a schedule like this years ago, but I think at the time, having no schedule worked just as well for them. Maybe not for me, but they thrived on it. This time I wanted to come at the school year as a whole and with a plan. Strange as that may sound to some, it's new to me. We have always done child based learning where we have flown through some subject and lingered for weeks on others all based on what they wanted to explore. This time I had a list of things that I really wanted to do with them.

Our schedule:

Morning Moving (PE)
Devotional and Bible Memory
History (Monday and Tuesday) or Science (Wednesday and Thursday)
Math/Music/Game rotation
Daily Assignment (Art, Home Care, Library, friends, ect)

So far this schedule as worked out really well for us. We don't always stick to it, but we managed to get everything done everyday. Homeschooling Gold!

Today's assignment is History and we are making our way through Story of the World Volume one. It's perfect for the younger boys, but for Austin's freshman year, it is too light, so I've added a book list for him to read in addition to our regular work. After studying dinosaurs this summer, we've hit prehistory, earliest writing and the uniting of Egypt. This week we are in the Old Kingdom of Egypt and are studying Mummies and Pyramids.

This is King Poultron. What, you've never heard of him? He's huge on Jimmy Neutron! Hardy harhar. Anyway, we have begun his mummification process as lined out in the SOTW activity book.

Removing the organs - ew.

Digging for organs

Patting dry and mixing the soda and salt

Pouring in the mix

This little man is VERY excited!

We can't wait to see if this actually works. I hope it does. I have a weak stomach! HA!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Socialize Much?

Ever have that moment when you are reading something and suddenly everything makes sense? That feeling that you have found the missing piece of a puzzle you didn't know could ever make a picture? I had that moment yesterday.

I have been working my way through a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking as a bit of homework on myself and my little introvert. It seems that homeschooling your kids often involves homework for mom. Honestly, I love that part. My son is the kind of kid that likes to have one or two friends and needs lots of time to himself. As a recently discovered introvert myself, I am trying to figure out why people think time alone is a bad thing. So, yesterday afternoon during my reading time (ALONE) I was thrilled to find not only some answers, but the answer to a question that has bothered me since I was eight years old; Why do people believe "socializing" in school is SO important?

Here is the excerpt that sent me running through the house to read it to my husband and kids:

The idea of wrapping their social anxieties in the neat package of a psychological complex [Inferiority Complex] appealed to many Americans [in 1924, thanks to Alfred Adler]. The Inferiority Complex became an all-purpose explanation for problems in many areas of life, ranging from love to parenting to career. ... Another popular magazine ran an article called "Your Child and That Fashionable Complex," explaining to moms what could cause an IC in kids and how to prevent one. Everyone had one it seemed... psychologists, social workers, and doctors focused on the everyday child with the "maladjusted personality" - particularly shy children. Shyness could lead to dire outcomes, they warned, from alcoholism to suicide, while an outgoing personality would bring social and financial success. The experts advised parents to socialize their children well and schools to change their emphasis from book-learning to "assisting and guiding the developing personality." Educators took up this mantle enthusiastically. By 1950 the slogan of the Mid-Century White House Conference on Children and Youth was "A healthy personality for every child."

Well meaning parents of the mid-century agreed that quiet was unacceptable and gregariousness ideal for both girls and boys. Some discouraged their children from solitary hobbies, like classical music, that could make them unpopular. They sent their kids to school at increasingly younger ages, where the main assignment was learning to socialize. Introverted children were often singled out as problem cases (a situation familiar to any parent with an introverted child today).

William White's The Organization Man, a 1956 best-seller, describes how parents and teachers conspired to overhaul the personalities of quiet children. "Johnny wasn't doing well at school," Whyte recalls a mother telling him. "The teacher explained to me that he was doing fine on his lessons but that his social adjustment was not as good as it might be. He would pick just  one or two friends to play with, and was sometimes happy to remain by himself." Parents welcomed such interventions, said Whyte. "Save for a few odd parents, most are grateful that the schools work so hard to offset tendencies to introversion and other suburban abnormalities."

So there you have it! The roots of America's need to socialize. I have to say I'm awfully glad I can keep my introvert at home where he can be alone without it being looked at as a "maladjusted personality"!