Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Janet rarely writes when she is happy

It's true. I sit here looking at the computer day after day, thinking to myself, "I should really post something on my blog." The sad truth of the matter is that I do most of my writing when I'm excited about something. One day I told someone that I have a "mad" blog. That's not quite true. I've been getting a bit more blog traffic lately so I went back and re-read a lot of the old posts (to make sure there wasn't anything too terribly embarrasing on here). It's not so much that I write when I'm mad, it's just easier to write when I feel strongly.

The number of posts addressing religion and religious issues astounds me. I do tend to think about religion and faith a lot (who doesn't?) but it suprises me that it's something I write about so frequently. I have typed things here on my blog that I would never dream of saying to people I'm not very comfortable with. When new people read my blog it is the religious posts that cause me the most concern- because they are from that very soft, easy to hurt, belly of my psyche. My faith is the most private thing I write about.

It also suprised me to find how few of my posts are directly about my children. I'm with the kids all day, every day. You would think that I would write about them, and not just as an after thought. Perhaps it's because I'm with them all the time that I don't write more about them.

Moms spend a lot of time during any given day going through the motions. A lot of what we do can be done on autopilot. Although time consuming, there's not a lot of intellect required to fold the laundry. Cooking requires a bit of direction following (sometimes) but it's not rocket science. Scrubbing the floors, cleaning the toilet, running the kids to appointments- there's not a lot of thought involved in any of those tasks. And so... I think. I think not terribly deep thoughts, but they're my thoughts. I own them. They don't belong to other people. I don't have to speak them, but some days I want to share my thoughts and in a household with three young boys, two dogs, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and internet.... well...

The world wide web provides me the opportunity to speak my mind, vent when I'm angry, rejoice when I'm happy, grieve when I'm sad, and share when I feel creative. Through the marvels of modern technology I can connect with other people who have similiar interests and sometimes I can just put my thoughts "out there" and it feels as good as if I'd had a major heart to heart with a good friend. I think it makes my husband happy that I can work through things by writing before I come and vent to him... it shortens the stories.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Presidents Day!

I have a kind and wonderful husband who let me sleep in this morning...until 7:30. He had very good intentions, but then he went to the bathroom. At that point Chris came into my room (loudly) and proclaimed that since I told him he had to continue reading every day in order to keep his new horse- he was there to read! I thought about sending him back out of my room. I thought about putting him off until I had my glasses (and clothes) on. In the end, I patted the bed next to me and told him to go ahead.

Today is President's Day and I thought we'd take the day off (which isn't unusual since we're really unschooling types). I walked into the kitchen. There they were- my precious offspring- eating bagels and wiping melted butter all over the table. Ahhh, it was a sight to warm a mother's heart (or make her think seriously about getting up earlier so that she can control the meal making and clean up mess as it happens).

As we were eating our bagels Chris started asking questions about his ancestors. He was fascinated to find out that some of his Anderson ancestors were pioneers (I have no idea how the subject came up). Of course, he didn't really know what pioneers are or how they're different from people who move into new areas today.

We've recently been exploring medieval Europe so Chris did understand a bit about fuedalism. Over breakfast we talked about how much unclaimed land there would have been in the United States outside of the original 13 colonies. We spoke of the hope for land ownership that would have driven most immigrants to commit to the long journey by ship into America. Then we learned about the pioneers who moved even further from civilization in search of large tracts of land they could farm and then own- all through the merits of their own hard labor.

In looking up the Homestead Act I found that it was signed into law by Pres. Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. We also talked about the Civil War (but not in depth) and the freeing of the slaves. We learned that the Homestead Act was still active in Alaska until 1986. There were 170 million acres homesteaded in the United States.

Today is a holiday. It is now 9:04 am. We're taking the day off.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Go visit.

I have nothing of great importance to write about today, but I would like to encourage you to visit one of my favorite blogs. I love Octamom. She's a homeschooling mother of 8 and her blog frequently cheers me (especially the one about sippy cheese). Today she wrote about her daughter (who is hearing impaired) getting mad and using a bad word. Please go read all about it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How do I stand?

February 4, 2009
> Idaho--Legislator Contemplates Homeschool Restrictions
> Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
> We have been receiving calls from Idaho members who have been
> contacted by Representative Donna Boe. Rep. Boe told these members
> that she is planning to introduce a bill in the Idaho Legislature to
> require homeschools to be registered and be annually tested.
> She told these members that according to the Idaho Constitution, it is
> the state's responsibility to educate the children. She indicated that
> she wants to know what homeschoolers think about this proposal.
> To help her, homeschoolers may want to email her through the Idaho
> legislature website at or call
> her at (208) 332 1038 and let her know whether you would support this
> proposed bill. You may want to briefly share with her the benefits of
> your homeschooling and your thankfulness for the current freedom you
> have to teach your children in Idaho.
> Thank you,
> Chris Klicka
> HSLDA Senior Counsel

This lovely missive was waiting in my inbox this morning when I logged on. Truthfully, I don't know enough about the proposed bill to be for or against it. My gut reaction is that I'm opposed to regulating homeschooling. On the flip side, it might be a good idea to register our homeschooled students with the local school district- just so they're accounted for somewhere. Idaho is one of the least regulated states in the nation for homeschooling. We simply fall under child abuse and neglect laws- there are no laws specific to homeschoolers. Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Possibly it just is what it is.

We're in a budget crunch at the moment so I also have to ask how the testing and registration will be funded. Will the money come out of the state budget? The school district's budget? My budget? Who will administer the testing?

Will the testing establish parameters for "acceptable" education at home results? If a child is special needs (or simply a poor test taker) how will that affect and effect the results of the testing? Will there be a limit on how poorly a child can test before they're forced to enroll in a public school? How will this affect private and parochial schools? Homeschool in Idaho is on equal legal footing with private school now- will this bill change that? What happens if the public school children fall below the "acceptable" limit that affects homeschool enrollment? Will those children have to change schools? Is there a possibility their parents could lose custody?

If there is no limit on how poorly you can test- what is the point of the testing? How will compliance be enforced? Who will fund enforcing compliance? What will the total real cost of this bill be? Is the cost an acceptable expense during this time of economic crisis? Is there an indication that Idaho homeschool students are being neglected and that this legislation is necessary? If there isn't any sign of a problem- why is this legislation being introduced?

Why? Why? Why? How? How? How much? How Often?

I think a whole post of questions must set a new record for me, but I wanted to get all my thoughts down and out there for public consumption. There are no deep thoughts here. If anyone has input on any of these questions (or new questions you came up with on your own) please leave me a comment.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room