Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Clean Up

Can you think of a more fun way to get paint (er, I mean chocolate) off?

And Now for the Chocolate Factory...

A Chocolate River...

Chocolate Footprints....

Chocolate Walls...

Mixing Chocolate...

More Fun....

And Nathanael decided he wanted a garbage truck....

Today was a fun day. I have been bringing home boxes from work for the past couple of nights to make our chocolate factory. Well, this morning, Taliesin decided he wanted to make an ice cream truck.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I got two compliments today at church - one about Taliesin and one about Nathanael. Nathanael's children's church teacher told me today that Nathanael is so smart. He answers all the questions. And he's so good in class. Then not five minutes later, Taliesin's children's church teacher told me how Taliesin does so well in class. She told me she is so happy to have him there. He's every teacher's dream.

I was very proud of my boys. If only they were so good here. LOL. Just joking. But it does make me feel good that they enjoy their classes at church and do well.


Worshipful Writing

I just posted this on my Passionate About Writing blog, but I think it's appropriate to share here as well.

Have you ever had a confirmation of feelings you've been feeling? I just blogged about how I feel God was giving me confirmation through the experience with Nathanael's toy that He is in control. Then this morning at church, the sermon was the second part in a series about worship. The pastor spoke about how when we come to church, we should be a part of the worship, not just a spectator. I've had some disagreements with some of the people at this church, but I think that's the reason I've always stayed around - I feel a part of the worship. I remember at my previous job, whenever I was feeling upset about something that happened, it never failed; the sermon that week would address the exact issue I had been experiencing. I truly believe our work should reflect our own, personal worship of God. That hits home for me with working so diligently on my writing projects. Ironically, just last night I felt a deep inspiration to write something rather unusual in the Heath Ledger book - why I am supposed to write it, why I'm passionate about it. People that I talk with, I think, often wonder why my writing or my college is so important to me. I think the pastor at church this morning hit the proverbial nail on the head. It's my form of worship. I give glory to my God through my writing and my studies. That may sound silly to some. After all, for instance, how can writing about the life of an actor give glory to God through my worship? I cannot explain it. I look at worship as one of those mysteries only God can explain. The Bible's full of them. I just know that these interests of mine are ways that I become a sanctuary for the Lord.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taliesin Making a Recycled Bird House

Next up is downloading pictures of all of the kids from this celebration onto the uschooling group's website at


Nathanael Doing His Own Thing

Finally Figured This Out

Okay. So I'm going to attempt to post some pictures from one of our unschooling group events on my unschooling blog. Special thanks to Teresa Riggins for taking this for us. :^)

The White Rabbit

I got home from work last night around 11:45. After completing my quiz for college and taking a bath, I peeked in at Taliesin and Nathanael sleeping. Kelsey always lays their favorite stuffed toys nearby. Well, last night, or actually early this morning; I found all of the toys except for Nathanael's favorite white stuffed rabbit (whom he calls "Baaaaby Rabbit" in the cutest Southern accent. Why Southern, I don't know when we live in Kansas, but it's adorable). So, anyway, I searched the house for it to no avail. So I decided we'd look in the morning and sat down to do some writing on my book. Of course, the minute I sit down, Princess, our beagle, wants out to do her business. So I open the door, reach for the lead to fasten her out, and see a rabbit sitting in our front yard. So I wait a second to see if it hops off. A beagle and a rabbit do not mix at 3:00 a.m. Our neighbors would all be awaken by the howl of Princess. I look down a few feet away from the rabbit and guess what I see? Nathanael's little, white baaaaby rabbit. I sigh a "Thank you" to God for leading me to his favorite toy that he would be quite upset about losing and take it in the house where it joins his other friends.
What exactly is the lesson in this? The lesson to me was God will provide. How appropriate that this happened just as I was sitting down to write. Just reinforcement for me that I am supposed to write this book. And now my book has a new chapter that I was not planning on.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Discussion with another College Student

... over curriculum standards for Kansas.
I am having an interesting discussion right now with another student in my teaching class over why I do not agree with the standards of learning in place for the state of Kansas. I have stated my opinion - the original posting from a couple of days ago. One of the students has replied to me that, as a public school parent, she is glad states have standards of learning in place. This was my reply to her:

I definitely agree. I think since the school system has those in place, it is good that parents are able to follow along and help the school with their children's education. I think the key to success in any school system, as has been pointed out in many of the previous lessons, is cooperation between the school, the teachers, the parents, and the children. What I mean to say is, that at least with Kansas' curriculum standards (I have not had a chance to review a lot of the other states' standards) is that the standards in place are, in my opinion, not the best - or at least not as adequate as they should be. I did find out somewhat what the public school system here is like when we had Taliesin enrolled in speech therapy. They honestly did not allow any room for children to be different - whether that be in a good or bad way. One of their main focueses was to be sure he acted like his peers. Well, I do not want him to be just like his peers. I want him to be able to think for himself, whether people agree or disagree. I want him to have his own interests. That was a big point of conflict between the public school system and us (my husband and me). I think there are several reasons schools now are focusing mostly on math, reading, and social skills. I think one is, of course, No Child Left Behind. I think the null curriculum, however, speaks volumes about what the school system here in Kansas wants. They want kids that are socialized by the school system. Any type of curriculum that would allow for a child to use his own creativity and imagination is not there, even in children as young as kindergarten. This is a link to a poem that I think all teachers should read before beginning their career. It speaks volumes:
That said, I think each of us students in this class are gleaning information for our futures in teaching - whichever form that may take. There are some who are studying psychology who are gleaning psychological information for their future work with children. There are those who are studying to be teachers in a public school school area. They are gleaning the teaching information and have to pay attention to the standards for their states. There are those who are planning to teach in private schools, who will glean information from the standards but do not have to apply it as much as the public schools do. Then there are those of us (I think just me in this class) who are using any teaching credits strictly for homeschooling. When I see the standards for Kansas, I see another reason why we choose to homeschool. I hope that makes sense. I am just trying to explain my viewpoint in general, not just about homeschooling. However, since homeschooling is my purpose in taking this class; I apply what I learn to real life - which is for us, homeschooling.
God bless.

I could not answer what other states have as curriculum standards. I can only answer for Kansas. But I hope I got my personal point across. :^)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Assignment over Curriculum Standards

Thought some of you might be interested in this. My final assignment for this teaching class was over the standards of learning for different states. When I read this, I was thankful we do not utilize the public school system. This is what I had to say:

I had a difficult time choosing which grade level to choose for this assignment, since we plan to homeschool our sons all the way through their highschool graduation. Since Taliesin would "officially" be entering kindergarten this coming "school year," if he were in a public school; I chose to cover the curriculum standards for kindergartners in the state of Kansas. I found it amazing that we have covered most of these areas and much more - in one way or another - by following my sons' interests. I think the only thing we "missed," had we been following the standards, would have been graphs and frequency tables. We do not actually go by "grade levels" or "school years." Our belief is that learning occurs naturally all the time, not just during a school day or school year. I also believe that children learn best at their own pace. For this reason, this has probably been the most difficult assignment for me for this class.

According to the website:, the main emphasis for kindergartners is, no surprise placed upon reading and math. According to the standards, for reading, a kindergarten student should be able to understand phonics and phenomic awareness, speak with proper intonation, and read simple sight words. Kindergartners should also be able to understand stories and answer questions about them. They should also be able to sequence events in the order that they occur. For mathematics, according to the Kansas standards, kindergartners should be able to have a beginning understand of fractions - such as whole, half, a third, a fourth. They should be able to understand positions, such as first, second, last, middle. They should be able to write their numbers forward 0 to 20 and backwards 10 to 0. They should also know how to add and subtract. They should be able to understand early algebra - such as sequencing, and early geometry - such as being able to point out shapes from within a picture and making new shapes from existing shapes. Kindergartners should also have an understanding of graphs and frequency tables. Kindergartners should study science in many forms - science as inquiry (science experiments), physical science (describing science in motion - such as the difference between solids and liquids), life science (biology), earth and space science (astronomy), science and technology (computers and other techology), science in personal and environmental spaces (habitats), and history and nature of science (study of scientists). Unfortunately, for history the scope of learning is much smaller than for the above subjects. Kindergartners are expected to have an understanding of laws, our rights and priveleges in the U.S., how to be a responsible consumer, a basic understanding of geography, and an understanding of patriotic holidays and accomplishments of various groups of people. In my opinion, what is even more unfortunate is that the only subjects that are covered as a part of a standard curriculum in "other areas" are counseling, environmental education, health (including beginnings of sex education), library media (socialization), and physical education. Areas that actually encourage the creativity of young children - such as art, dance, theater, and music are not included. There are no such standards for kindergartners for these subjects in Kansas.

Kandy Crosby-Hastings

More on Rewards, Willy Wonka, and Ooodles More

Well, yesterday was a fun day for Taliesin. We went on a Willy Wonka tour at the Salina Community Theatre. He had so much fun going backstage and seeing how everything works in theater. Then when we saw the children perform who are going to be in the Willy Wonka play, he wanted to get up onstange with them and sing and dance along. So, on the way home, we stopped by the library and picked up a video of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We also picked up a book containing the play. We're having fun with it. Nathanael is even getting in on the fun. He loves inventing dances.
Today was the first day of Taliesin's new art class. It's only a week long, but he really enjoys it. I peeked in at him today through the door and saw him intently working on his building project. He is very passionate about his art. After that, it was off to deliver a small Buyer's Guide route. Taliesin and Nathanael both did a very good job. I was proud of them. They took turns delivering houses. We took a break in the middle of delivering and drank some water and cooled off. They're both very excited over the prospect of earning money to buy a special toy they have both been wanting.
A few weeks ago, Nathanael picked out a book from the bookstore about an ice cream truck. We have been awaiting the musical arrival of the ice cream man down our street every since. Well, today, Taliesin and Nathanael finally had the opportunity to buy ice cream from the ice cream man. Taliesin chose a Ninja Turtle pop and Nathanael a Tweety pop. After all of their hard work today, I felt they definitely deserved it.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the postings on rewards. I've actually been having some interesting conversations regarding rewards. I love conversations that make ya think. So I've been thinking to myself, "Are rewards a good idea for our family? Do children, then, simply work for a reward or for the value of the activity itself? When I work for good grades, am I working just for an "A" or am I working because of the value of the study itself." Then I saw Taliesin today in his art class. When I saw how focused he was on his project and the pride in his eyes when he described it to me, I knew that was a reward it in itself for him. He definitely has a that passion for what he enjoys. Has giving him an occassional reward made him lose his enjoyment in fulfilling his tasks? I saw today that it definitely has not. Then I saw Taliesin and Nathanael deliver newspapers. No, they did not do all of the work at all. They delivered just a few of the papers - but they knew they were working toward a goal. They know that when they get paid, they will be able to save their money to buy something relatively expensive. They have created their own reward. Did that take away from the enjoyment of work? Not at all. I loved watching them giggle as they threw the papers on the porches. They were enjoying their work. But who works for free? I cannot think of anyone who does. They deserve their paycheck at the end of each month. After a couple of times of getting paid, we will have some discussions on giving part of our money away - to charities, to the church, wherever they feel they should give it. Speaking of giving, I was so proud of Taliesin this afternoon. After he ate his ice cream from the ice cream man; he told me, "Mom, we need to make something for the ice cream man. Something good for him to eat for the next time he comes around." So that's next on our agenda. Was the ice cream a reward for doing a good job in art class (and Nathanael behaving very well while we were waiting for Taliesin)? Was the ice cream a reward for doing so well with their new paper route? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But now Taliesin is ready to give to someone who, in a sense, came around at the perfect time for a reward. I think what I have discovered is reward or no reward, it's how our children care about others that really matters. When I see Taliesin making something to give to someone else or damanding that we do not throw something away that can be recycled, I know he truly does care. The same is true of Nathanael. When I see him pick up a worm and talk to it or show deep concern for our pets' well-being, I know he truly cares as well. Yes, they do get rewards at times when they work really hard. Yes, we do refer to our unschooling as "school," in a generic sense of the word. Those are ways for them to relate to life. They see Mommy and Daddy get a paycheck for working. They see neighbors ride the bus to school every day. What they also see is we have our own, individual way of doing things. We do not sit down at worksheets every day for school. We learn from real life and from following their interests. They see that when they work hard, they will get paid as well. Such is life. And when I really think about it, I've always said we homeschool for religious reasons. We unschool because we do not like the way the school system, in general, operates. I believe in unschooling because it offers choices. Children make their own choices. They learn from their mistakes and their failures just as much as they learn from their successes. They do not feel bad about their mistakes, they learn from them. I believe that God, as the ultimate Parent, gives us those same choices and the same free will to make mistakes and learn from them. That said, God, My Father, does reward me. The Bible speaks very clearly about the rewards God has planned for us - words cannot even speak of what we in store for us as our reward. Since I strive to be like God in my parenting, should I view it as wrong to give my children a reward? I, personally, do not think I should.
As for my grades... I love getting good grades. I guess a good question would be why? Why am I passionate about getting good grades? You know what I love about Liberty? They encourage the students to think for themselves - even if that disagrees with the professor, even if that means disagreeing with the textbook. When I get a good grade, that means I accomplished what I set out to do - defending what I believe, no matter who agrees or who disagrees. I can then apply that lesson, that defense, that learning to my life. People often ask me what I want to do when I graduate. I always give them the same plans - writing and lecturing - in defense of what I believe, whatever the subject. Such is life. "But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logcial defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully" (I Peter 3:15, Amplified Bible).


Sunday, June 22, 2008

To Reward or Not to Reward... That is the Question

I think some people may have misunderstood my intent in my blogging about my making the dean's list. I did word it strangely - especially for an unschooler. When I said that I explained the dean's list to Taliesin as a reward for me just the way he gets rewards for when he does well in school, I did not mean it in the traditional school way. I guess I'm just used to using certain terminology with Taliesin. He knows what I mean, so I think everyone does. And that's definitely not the case. When I say to Taliesin, you get a reward for doing well in school, that means he did a good job sharing with his brother or he took turns nicely or the two of them did not argue. For a while, when Taliesin would go somewhere and an adult with speak to him, he would talk back. We talked about how that is disrespectful, how he does not like to be treated that way, and he has done a lot better. When he does an extra good job at being respectful and working with his brother as a team, sometimes the two of them get rewards. I found a packet of reward certificates at Dollar Tree a few months ago. We use them for everything from a trip to the park to being able to get a Happy Meal to getting a toy from the dollar store. That is what I meant when I said I explained to Taliesin that the dean's list for me was like a reward for him when he does well "in school." As an unschooling family, we do not keep grades. We evaluate behavior and real-life experiences. I am not at all opposed to rewards. I do believe we are able to have rewards in real life. If I do well at work, I will get a raise in my pay. If I go above and beyond, oftentimes the company I work for will offer incentives. That actually happened this past Christmas. The company for which I work was asking customers for a charitable donation. Many of the employees did not ask. I did, not because I wanted a reward (or even thought about that at all), but because I believed in the cause. However, it was a nice surprise when they gave me a gift card for being one of the top employees at having customers donate. In the same way, I want Taliesin and Nathanael to realize that the real reward is in working as team, is being respectful to others; but, every once in a while, there may be a little surprise to go along with it.

That said, I am not totally against grades, either. Whether we keep grades when Taliesin and Nathanael get older will really be up to them. If they want us to keep grades, we will. If they want to continue with no grades, that's great, too. For me, personally, my grades are important to me. Most people think I'm crazy because I strive for "A"s. I'm disappointed with "B"s. I push myself to the limit when it comes to my grades. But that's just me. I really do not consider myself a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination. But good grades are important to me. It's kind of strange, because getting good grades was never something that was stressed when I was young. My mom honestly would have been the perfect unschooler had she thought about it. She was almost to the point of being anti-education. She never pushed any of her kids to go to college. She never pushed for "A"s or "B"s. She just wanted us to do our best. But good grades were and still are something that I am passionate about. There's that word again - passionate. Some people call me eccentric. That's a good adjective as well. If I were a color, I'd be red. I'm as passionate as passionate can be when the topic is something that is important to me - like making good grades.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

E-mail's Down

For some reason since this afternoon, I cannot access e-mail in my Yahoo account, which is my primary account. If someone is trying to reach me there, I will respond as soon as it comes back up. Otherwise, you can post here or contact me by e-mail at

God bless.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Made the Dean's List

I just received an e-mail from Liberty informing me that I made the Dean's List for the spring 2008 semester. I'm so excited! The letter explained that the qualification for the dean's list is having a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Taliesin asked me what the dean's list is. I explained to him it's a reward, like the rewards that he gets when he does well in school. :^)


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Taliesin's first job. :^)

Taliesin (with help from my sister, her husband, and even Nathanael) is trying his first job - a Buyer's Guide route. Both Taliesin and Nathanael helped my sister and her husband deliver a couple of streets today. Next week, after his art class, we're going to try a route of our own. I'll, of course, do most of the delivering; but it will be a way to instill responsibility, making money, spending, and saving. For those not familiar, the Buyer's Guide is a weekly newspaper. The route we're looking at is very small. But that should be perfect. :^)


Unschooling Group Day

Well, today we met for the unschooling group at a local park. We decorated t-shirts, bags, socks, baby clothes, whatever with t-shirt paint. Then someone had forwarded a recipe for soda pop to one of the online discussion boards; so we made soda. Well, it actually takes 4-6 days for the yeast to carbonate, so we'll see what the results are in a few days. :^) Taliesin and Nathanael had a lot of fun. They decorated a t-shirt for Kelsey, among other things.
We have had such a busy week this week. Yesterday, I found a website of free unit studies. Taliesin loves the volcano study. So, later on today, we are going to be making a volcano. Taliesin and Nathanael have both been very interested in any kind of weather event or natural event since the tornado warnings here. I also talked with Taliesin to see if he would be interested in doing some literature lapbooks over some of the books we're reading for the library's summer reading program. He said he wants to. He usually enjoys lapbooking, so I think he will.
I only have three official weeks of this teaching class left. I'm actually ahead, so I should be done in a week and a half to two weeks. I think I mentioned that I enrolled in four classes for this fall - a class over the Book of John, a church history class, another education/teaching class, and a youth ministry class. I'm really looking forward to them. I am glad, though, to have a couple of months break to work on my book. I got a return to sender on the Jake Gyllenhaal interview request because I'm not a client. So I guess I'll need to call them, explain my project, and go from there. Oh, check out the passionate about writing blog to see a really neat post from Shakhar Kapur's blog. I'm going to provide a link to it.
Well, need to make a milk run. Taliesin is on a milk kick again. :^)


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taliesin's New Interest

Well, Taliesin discovered checkers today. Yesterday I bought Nathanael and him a Dora the Explorer checkers game from Dollar General. We actually left in in the car accidentally and brought it in the house after church and taking my dad's Father's Day present by to him today. Taliesin loves it. He loves "jumping" his opponent but enjoys it just as much when his opponent "jumps" him. He is so much into games. It's amazing. He's always loved puzzles as well. One of his favorites is a big floor puzzle of a map of the United States - a good way to study geography as well. Nathanael's more like me. No puzzles, no games for him. But he's learning in his own way as well. Such is unschooling.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Past Two Days

Well, the past two days have been extremely... well, uh, filled. Yesterday, we drove three hours to Baldwin City to A Day Out with Thomas. Taliesin and Nathanael had soooo much fun! It really is worth the money for the tickets. It is so much fun for the kids - everything from tents set up with toy trains to play with to a giant slipper slide and bouncy castle to a hay maze to a petting zoo. Then today we had 4-H. Nathanael is, of course, not old enough for 4-H. But Taliesin is a clover bud. We always stay to help. I think it's important for a homeschooling parent, especially, to be at events with our kids. It shows them we really care. Other than the 4-H meeting, the kids made pizza out of something similar to pita bread, peanut butter, jelly, dried fruits, and mozarella cheese; painted Christians ornaments; and made recycled art. I finally got rid of all of the recycled materials that have been accumulating in the kitchen just to start saving it again. LOL. Tomorrow's church, then I think we all need a nice, relaxing day on Monday.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tornado and Homeschooling Conversations

I was at work last night when tornado sirens went off. They know I will not stay during a tornado, so I left. Then I called after the first bout and asked the manager if they were going to open back up since there were two more storms coming according to the radio. He said they were opening back up in fifteen minutes. I couldn't believe they would. So I waited about ten minutes before leaving and told Taliesin and Nathanael I had to go back to work. Nathanael kept grabbing ahold of my and saying, "No, seven more minutes. Seven more minutes." So I waited a couple of more minutes. I started walking up the basement stairs, and the sirens went off again. I called the manager back again and told him we were in another warning. So I waited until it was over, then called him back again. This time he told me they weren't going to open back up, not come back because they had someone else closing drive-thru. What had happened was one of the girls came in to collect some money for a fundraiser she is doing for her church. She closed drive-thru since she was there. Then she called me this morning and asked when would be a good time to collect the money I owed her. I told her I would bring it by to her tonight at work. I told her the only reason I wasn't there last night was because of the tornado. She told me, "Yeah, I closed drive-thru for you last night." For some reason when I got off of the phone with her, that hit me wrong. I didn't want a sixteen-year old girl thinking I had her come in during a tornado to close for me. So I called her back and I explained to her that she had closed for the manager, not for me. I had called the manager several times, but he told me not to come in. I told her I'm not stupid enough to stay in a building like that during a tornado warning, especially when a building a mile away had the roof taken off by the same tornado. I wouldn't have someone come in for me. Like I told her, I would have come in at 2:00 in the morning to close, but I was waiting until it was over. But I took the money over by this afternoon. She had not come in yet, so I left it with the manager to give to her. I think today has just been a day for interesting conversations for me. I had Taliesin and Nathanael at the library today. We were there for a couple of hours and were getting ready to check out the books. A lot of the kids were getting in trouble at the library today, because they were playing too rough. Thankfully, Taliesin was only involved once. That time, they were just getting a little noisy. Anyway, one of the little girls there was named Allison. Well, apparently when Taliesin was being too noisy and I corrected him for it, I called him Taliesin, and this mom thought I was saying "Allison." So she asked me as we were checking out if his (pointing to Taliesin) name was Allison. I told her, it is Taliesin. She said she thought I was talking to her daughter. She said her name is Allison, but they only call her that when she's in trouble. I assured her I was talking to Taliesin. I didn't think her little girl was being that noisy, honestly. She was being really good. Anyway, one of the librarians was checking me out and one was checking out this other mom (whose older kids were corrected two or three times for being too rough). But I heard the librarian that was helping her talking about someone who comes in. She said this lady has the best behaved children, and then she threw in "I think she homeschools." Everytime I hear the word homeschool, I automatically look, I don't know why. LOL. But the other mom kind of shook her head and said something about homeschooling. I couldn't catch what. Well, I had been talking to this librarian earlier about the storm last night and she glanced over at me. I think they all know we homeschool. So I, talking to the librarian, told her, "Yeah, we'vehomeschooled for almost three years." The other mom, I think was a little embarrassed. She then said, "Oh, I respect those who can homeschool. I just could NEVER do it." You know how much I wanted to say, "If you think you never could, you probably shouldn't." But I didn't. I finished checking out and left. Yeah, it's been an interesting day. LOL. But we went to the park after the library, and now Taliesin and Nathanael are downstairs watching a video so I can get started cleaning. :^) Boy does the house need it!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Exciting News!

Just blogged about this on my Passionate About Writing blog:
I just found out yesterday that Women of Passions is back from the publisher. I'll be receiving my copy soon. I cannot wait to see it! I'm very excited. This is my first published article for quite a few years - a good start again!


Park Day Vent...

Okay, so both of my sons have long hair. Nathanael has never really had a haircut - in the traditional sense of the word. He's had trims, and his bangs and sides are short to keep him cool. But the back of his hair is long and curly. Taliesin has had traditional haircuts, but he has decided that he wants a pony tail. So, like Nathanael's, his hair is short on the sides and he has short bangs, but it's long in the back. Today we were at the park. Taliesin had on a green sleeveless short set. Nathanael had on black basketball shorts, a black t-shirt with Lightning McQueen, and green camo crocs. Someone thought he was a girl. Yeah, he really looked like a girl in his little boy shortset. I'm assuming that, using this logic, I can give him a crew cut and put a dress on him, and people will think he's a boy. Why do people automatically assume long hair equals girl. They can see a little girl with short hair and think nothing of it. Ughhhhh! Why are there double standards?
Then, if that wasn't enough, Taliesin and Nathanael were playing; and, lo and behold, the city starts spraying the park for weeds! I called the parks department and asked them how they can spray with kids there. Kids can't play on a just sprayed yard. He told me they shouldn't have been spraying with kids there. He would call them. Well, I heard him radio the guys spraying, but they didn't hear it. So I walked over and told them. I think they thought I was a crazy trouble maker, but I don't care. We don't even spray our own yard, and I'm not going to have them spray a park with children there. That isn't healthy.
Anyway, just venting a little. But, Taliesin and Nathanael had fun, anyway; so that's all that matters.

P.S. I finally got a digital camera. I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure out how the camera operates and how to post them. I still have some pictures from the unschooling group's Earth Day celebration that my neighbor took that I need to post as well. :^)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Work and Conversations....

Boy, I'm having a lot of good conversations at work here lately. LOL. Tonight I closed with the manager again from the previous posting. We have such good conversations. I love it! LOL. Tonight, we talked about The DaVinci Code. She has never read it. I explained to her the basic jist of the book, since my other book I'm working on does dispute the ideas found within its pages. She was flabbergasted at what this novel claims. I told her of some of the research that I have done - even a National Geographic special pointed out the historical errors found in the book. We also had a little more of a conversation about the Heath Ledger book. I told her some of my ideas that I'm going with in the book. She told me she will want to read this one when it's published.
I also had a short conversation with her husband tonight. He told me he suprised his Bible study group tonight by telling them that the word Trinity is never found in the Bible. From my Bible studies, college studies, and theological studies, I knew that. I just nodded in agreement. I love theological conversations! It is so interesting to me to hear different perspectives. One of my favorite things about a recent class over the Book of Romans was to study the differences between the Reformation interpretation of Romans and the New Perspective on Romans. It sounds like my manager's husband is starting to see some ideas that would fall under the New Perspective. I find it encouraging that a lot of Christians that I know are attempting to go back to a New Testament-style church. I have a good friend who, along with her husband, has decided to have church at their house in the way the New Testament Christians conducted church. I think that is so wonderful. I've actually thought of beginning a house church myself at times. But then, I think I'm too stuck in the traditional church mode. I love the look of old church buildings. I love the sound of a worship team. I feel God's Presence in a traditional or contemporary service where others feel His Presence in a house church. Isn't it wonderful how God reveals Himself to us according to our own personality? I guess that only makes sense, after all, it's all about a relationship with Christ.
Speaking of church, I volunteered today to help with our church's children's church class for next semester again. I really do enjoy it. Today, the kids just really opened up. The lesson was on building ourselves up for God. We had some discussions, I think, that really made the kid think - ways that we can honor God through helping others, through studying the Bible and praying, etc. I love it when I get the chance to have kids think about theological topics. :^)


Saturday, June 7, 2008

More on Educational Theories...

I just finishing taking a quiz over a chapter in my teaching texbook entitled "The Organization of American Schools." Part of this chapter deals with the structure needed in a classroom in order to make a classroom feel safe. Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm about as anti-structure as one can get; but I can understand now why public school classrooms need structure. With the prevalence of drugs and gangs and other evils that harm children's safety- found right in the classroom - it's no wonder that teachers and parents call for more structure. What I do have to wonder about, however, is why homeschoolers call for more structure. One of the leading reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children is due to safety issues. Obviously, this owrry over safety should not be a concern in a homeschool. There should be no threat of bullying, no threat of a student walking in with a gun and opening fire. So why do some homeschool parents insist that everything be structured? Maybe it's because I truly believe learning should be enjoyable, but when I watch Taliesin and Nathanael observe their pet caterprillars or build a fort out of sofa cushions or bring me books to read with them; I cannot fathom structuring their learning and taking the enjoyment away. (By the way, the hummingbird moth caterpillar we found a week or so ago is now burrowing into the dirt in the bottom of the aquarium - must be getting ready to form his pupa).
I hear people a lot say they create an orderly structure because the universe is orderly, showing evidence of an orderly God. I have no doubt that we live in an orderly universe, and that God is orderly. But does orderly have to be overly structured? That's really a loaded question. I believe in order - I'm not going to allow my sons to play in the street. I'm not going to allow my sons to hit each other and call each other names. I'm not going to allow my sons to be cruel to another creature. But I do allow them to make choices regarding how they learn and what their preferences are. For quite some time, Taliesin went through a stage in which he did not want to wear shorts or t-shirts. He wanted to continue wearing his long sleeves and long pants. We talked about it. I showed him there were shorts to wear. But to have forced him to wear something he was uncomfortable in would have been wrong of me. Finally, a few mornings ago, he decided he wanted to wear shorts and short sleeves. Yesterday, he even took his socks off and wore flip flops (Taliesin wore socks all summer last year). I admit I was concerned for a while that he would get too hot, especially because he gets hives when his body temperature rises too much. But I got a lot of assurance from other unschooling moms - and even some suggestions on making light-weight pants and longsleeved shirts for this summer. Encouragement is a good thing - especially for us unschoolers. :^) Why do I allow my sons such choices? Why do I not decide for them? God is the ultimate Parent, and He allows me choices. Should I not do the same for my children?


Speaking of Beliefs

My husband ordered a couple of classes from The Teaching Company a few years ago. They've been sending catalogs every since. But two of their classes really caught my attention from this last catalog. One is a class over the luminaries of Christianity - including my two favorite Catholic saints, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick. No, I'm not Catholic, but I love learning about them and respect their dedication. There is another on the Renaissance thinkers - particular Thomas Aquinas (yes, another Catholic saint). I took a history class this past semester for college. I loved learning about scholasticism. I remember learning in high school history (via A Beka video homeschool) of the evils of scholasticism. But the more I get into theology, the more I see that scholasticism is simply another way of understanding our own Christian beliefs better. I really enjoy studying the ideas of Thomas Aquinas. I really want to buy these courses. And this conversation last night at work and blogging about these things is really making me eager to take a theology class again this fall for college. I'm getting antsy for that. :^)


Interesting Conversation...

Well, tonight I had an interesting conversation at work. The manager closing tonight was not the usual closing manager. I don't get to work with her very much. She's typically a day manager. The subject of beliefs came up. This manager is a wonderful, devout Christian. I respect her a lot for her beliefs. She has mentioned to me in the past that she feels I'm controversial. That subject came up again tonight. I asked her why she feels I'm controversial. She told me she feels I'm controversial because I'm a Christian, but that I have so many different beliefs. (We have had conversations before about prophetic dreams and prophecy and the symbolism behind why I have my nose pierced. So I think that's probably what she meant). So I told her that I feel God does reveal things to us. We know when we are called to do something. She agreed, but added that what we are called to do should line up with Scripture. I agreed, but pointed out there are examples in Scripture of those who were called to do some things that did not necessarily line up with Scriptural teachings - such as the Old Testament prophet who married a prostitute, Esther who married a non-Jewish man (but because of this union, the entire Jewish race was saved from extinction), and even the Apostle Paul who was familiar enough with Greek teachings to compare the Greeks' beliefs with Christian beliefs at the Aeropagus. I explained to her that I do believe God reveals things to us - sometimes in the form of dreams. Sometimes in the form of feelings. I referred back to Joel 2:28-32 to back up my beliefs. Had we had more time to discuss, I would have referred to the theological teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, who used Greek philosophy to understand more about his own Christian beliefs.

It is interesting to me that this conversation came up now. I'm neck-deep in research for my biography on Heath Ledger, which I am writing because I truly know I am meant to write it. God gave me a literal dream to show me I am supposed to write this. Now He is fulfilling that through a symbolic dream - a dream that I have of publishing the work when finished. I often ask myself why? Why am I meant to write this book about someone I never met? I do not have the answers. Sometimes I wish I did, but then I know I just have to trust God. Whenever I trust Him, He never lets me down. I've trusted Him with leaving a job that did not give Him glory. I've trusted Him in unschooling the two precious sons He has given me. I've trusted Him in my marriage - which people often view as controversial in itself. I've trusted Him in my other writing endeavors. Now it's time to trust Him for this book and give Him total control.

Okay, I'm tearing up now. Time to get to work on a college assignment and more book writing. Think I'll cross-post this on my other blog as well. :^)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Flag

Taliesin, Nathanael, and I have been talking a lot lately about the meaning of the flag. They have enjoyed learning why it has thirteen stripes. We count the stripes everyday. I love them learning about the flag. We talk about how we respect the flag. They are just becoming so interested in things like this. :^)


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Taliesin teaching "Sally" to pray

Taliesin has a teddy bear he named "Sally." "Sally" is becoming quite a part of the family (much like "Bibi" has in the past and still is to a certain extent). Taliesin likes to make her clothes and dress her up with belts and swords and hats so she can play pirate with Nathanael and him. Well, this morning, Taliesin and Nathanael were making "soup" again with their plastic vegetables. Taliesin explained to "Sally" that they should pray. He then proceded to teach her to pray. It was the cutest thing. Taliesin has been saying the cutest things here lately and asking some interesting questions as well. I love his curiosity at this stage.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Another Day

Yesterday I established a website and blog for my new book endeavor - and my passionate about writing blog about my writing experiences in general. Anything that goes into too much detail about the book or my writing experiences will be posted on the new blog, and I will try to keep the website updated as much as possible as well.

Today, Taliesin had Nathanael had fun "cooking." That is, they enjoyed putting their plastic vegetables in skillets and making "soup." They had some interesting combinations. :^) Taliesin enjoyed reading his "I Spy" phonics readers today. He is doing so well on his phonics and site words. I wouldn't be surprised if he started reading short sentences on his own sometime this year. This evening, we went out to eat and took Taliesin and Nathanael to the mall to play. There was a little boy there who just took to Taliesin and Nathanael right away. They had so much fun playing in the play area.

Well, Nathanael is getting tired. He's ready for bed. We'll probably watch a movie until they go to sleep.