Extreme Introvert Attack In Progress

Seri­ous­ly. I didn’t even want to make a post, because it counts as inter­act­ing with the world. But hey, that’s the price of Blog365, right?

I remem­bered those “Writer’s Block” prompts on LJ, and decid­ed to try that as a starter. Who comes up with these things? One of them was about what you’d want to do with your favorite “super­star” if you were alone with him or her. What, are we all 12?

Katie and I had more run­ning around to do today, but it didn’t hap­pen. I should have planned to have a flare, since we did. We had anoth­er appoint­ment sched­uled tomor­row, but it’s been post­poned. Yay.

I def­i­nite­ly need to find some­thing more uplift­ing to read than Lau­ra Lipp­man. There’s a fair amount of casu­al fat-bash­ing going on in her books. Very look­ist, all around.

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Happy Wednesday!

Sam and I had a very nice date night while Katie was out with her beau. He had start­ed mak­ing chili last night, fin­ished it tonight, and added corn muffins. I’m not a big fan of chili (I won’t eat it if Sam didn’t make it), but it was a very sat­is­fy­ing meal.

The girl is doing very well in the online course she’s tak­ing, and I’m hap­py to say that my semes­ter is going well, too. It’s hard to believe that my baby will like­ly start col­lege cours­es this sum­mer or fall!
Read the rest of this entry »

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Have any homeschooling or education thoughts?

Today’s entry, Home­school­ing High School in Col­lege?, is over at Acad­e­my Car­i­tas. I expect to update there more reg­u­lar­ly, now that we’re offi­cial­ly home­school­ing again.

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Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

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Reading

So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors—especially an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Necessity—is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14–18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too—although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art—you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

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Homeschool to high school update

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing in school in a while. While there have been some adjust­ment issues switch­ing over to “school” from home­school­ing, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nui­sance, and she and one of her teach­ers just do not com­mu­ni­cate on the same wave­length, but she’s deal­ing with it. She adores her art class, some­thing I’m def­i­nite­ly not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three aca­d­e­m­ic class­es are advanced, and the third would be but was already over­crowd­ed when we reg­is­tered her for class­es. So much for hav­ing trou­ble get­ting into high school as a home­school­er.

The sched­ule isn’t easy on her body or the fam­i­ly, but again, she’s deal­ing. She does have increased fibromyal­gia symp­toms as a result, and has had to add a dai­ly nap to her sched­ule after school.

One of the most dif­fi­cult issues is hav­ing cer­tain lines of dis­cus­sion “off lim­its.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encour­aged to fol­low her inter­ests and inquiries wher­ev­er they lead. While she’s attend­ing a rel­a­tive­ly lib­er­al school, the fact that it is a school means that there are con­straints on sub­ject mat­ter.

Her lit­er­a­ture teacher referred to chasti­ty belts as a medieval urban leg­end ear­li­er in the year, and when she start­ed explain­ing just how very wrong he was, he slammed the dis­cus­sion to a close. If the man is going to be so slop­py with his facts, he shouldn’t be sur­prised when he encoun­ters dis­agree­ment!

Sam and I met some­one yes­ter­day who said, “Advanced class­es are how we seg­re­gate these days.” I point­ed out that they cer­tain­ly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, reg­u­lar, and reme­di­al (although the last two weren’t called that, pre­cise­ly) tracks, too. I found it an inter­est­ing state­ment, but we were in the mid­dle of Charis Books and dis­cussing many things, and didn’t get to pur­sue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?

I’m a Girl Scout!

Yep, I’m a 39-year-old Girl Scout. In fact, all three of the humans in our house­hold are reg­is­tered Girl Scouts—myself, Katie, and yes, even Sam. Men can be reg­is­tered as adult Scouts. Katie’s troops have always asked that at least one, and prefer­ably both (or more if there are more!) par­ents in a fam­i­ly reg­is­ter as adult Scouts for var­i­ous rea­sons.

I’ve been a troop leader in Junior and mul­ti­level (Rain­bow) troops in the past. I had one year of Brown­ies and one as a Junior Girl Scout when I was a girl. I didn’t have great expe­ri­ences, and want­ed to make things bet­ter for my daugh­ter and oth­er girls, so I stepped up to be a leader when need­ed. I found that I enjoyed it every bit as much as the girls do. As just one exam­ple, I had nev­er gone camp­ing until Katie became a Brown­ie, and thought I’d hate it, but it was real­ly fun.

There are some mar­velous resources on the net for Girls and their par­ents and lead­ers. Katie is going to share her favorite links with oth­er girls, so I’ll con­cen­trate on the adult stuff. Since I’m rel­a­tive­ly new, I don’t have any­thing like the list of links some sites have, but I want­ed to share the best of what I have found.

  • The Nation­al GSUSA site has far more infor­ma­tion on it than most peo­ple ever real­ize. If you don’t already know what local coun­cil serves your area, you can find out here.
  • We’re in the North­west Geor­gia coun­cil. That site also offers a wealth of infor­ma­tion. Pay spe­cial atten­tion to the reg­u­lar­ly-post­ed Learn­ing Oppor­tu­ni­ties, which is the sched­ule of class­es offered for adults and some­times for old­er girls. Coun­cil events are also post­ed here. We would have missed out on some mar­velous oppor­tu­ni­ties if we wait­ed for some­one else to tell us about them instead of check­ing the council’s site reg­u­lar­ly.
  • The Scout­ing File Cab­i­net is a col­lec­tion of links, songs, cer­e­monies, activ­i­ties, infor­ma­tion for par­ents — you name it! It’s part of a larg­er site, the Leader/Guide Cyber Coun­cil, which is mar­velous.
  • Scout­ing­Web offers an aston­ish­ing range of mate­r­i­al.
  • New Moon Mag­a­zine isn’t specif­i­cal­ly for Scouts, but it’s a mar­velous mag­a­zine for and by girls that does occa­sion­al­ly fea­ture some Scout­ing mate­r­i­al. They also have a great mail­ing list, care­about­girls. The list is “for adults who care about girls: par­ents, teach­ers, coach­es, coun­selors, pas­tors, troop lead­ers, rel­a­tives, researchers, etc. This is for every adult who wants to help raise healthy, con­fi­dent girls and make the world bet­ter and safer for girls.”

Some­one expressed sur­prise when learn­ing that I’m a Girl Scout leader because she was under the impres­sion that Girl Scout­ing is only for Chris­tians. I wrote an arti­cle to clear up that mis­con­cep­tion, “Is There a Pen­ta­gram Badge?”

I espe­cial­ly encour­age home­school­ing fam­i­lies to explore Girl Scout­ing as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for their daugh­ters. We use the GS badge require­ments along with unit stud­ies and they’ve giv­en us many great ideas.

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Link: Mindful parenting and unschooling

Today, a post to one of the home­school­ing lists I’m on includ­ed a link to Con­nec­tions: ezine of unschool­ing and mind­ful par­ent­ing. I haven’t read all of it, but there’s def­i­nite­ly lots of good stuff there. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed!

Namaste,
Cyn

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A Day in the van

And it was, tru­ly. Which is why this looks much the same as it did last night.

Katie and I drove all over metro Atlanta, test­ing out the new wheels in the process. A med­ical appoint­ment, a trip to the bank, the post office, our mail drop, a craft store, a school sup­ply place, a cou­ple of book stores, Phoenix & Drag­on, and some­thing I know that I’m for­get­ting.

You wouldn’t believe how much “home­school­ing” gets done on the road. Had the deal­er had a van in stock with a DVD play­er installed, I could eas­i­ly have jus­ti­fied it for pure­ly edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es. As it is, I’m glad my lap­top has a DVD play­er, as we find var­i­ous BBC and PBS series pret­ty good sup­ple­men­tary mate­ri­als at times.

No AV mate­ri­als today, though — just books, paper, cal­cu­la­tor, and a lot of dis­cus­sion. Sci­ence, alge­bra, world his­to­ry, crit­i­cal think­ing, Eng­lish, vocab­u­lary, cur­rent events…

Oh! We got our Latin texts! Katie and I have decid­ed to start study­ing Latin togeth­er this sum­mer. I’ve always regret­ted not hav­ing had a chance to study it, and it can only help her. So here we go!

The girl got some knit­ting done in the car while we talked, too. As she gets more con­fi­dence in dri­ving, I look for­ward to get­ting some stitch­ing done while she dri­ves. On the oth­er hand, she’d get few­er lessons done. Hmmm.

I need to study to try to keep a lit­tle bit ahead of her. We’re going to have anoth­er blog where she, Sam and I post about our learn­ing adven­tures. It isn’t quite up yet, unfor­tu­nate­ly.

Namaste,

Cyn

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Learning curve

Did HTML ever seem this intim­i­dat­ing?

The array of themes avail­able for Word­Press is absolute­ly over­whelm­ing, but I am a stub­born cuss. I want MY OWN theme. Of course, cre­at­ing one is not triv­ial, because I haven’t actu­al­ly learned CSS or XHTML yet. I’ve done just fine with my rusty HTML skills, since I haven’t been able to work out­side the home or done any heavy web work in years.

Oh well — I have a rea­son to learn now!

Please be patient 🙂

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