Saturday, February 16, 2008

Active military + donations = Ron Paul?

Many of you know that my brother is serving in a specialized unit in the armed forces, already having experienced several tours in Iraq/Afghanistan in a short amount of time.

Given my personal interest in this so-called "War on Terror", and given my support of Ron Paul for president, I find it fascinating that Ron Paul consistently receives more financial support from active military donors than for any other presidential candidate. I believe this is for several reasons: 1) Many active duty military personnel don't agree with the premise that we went into Iraq because it was a direct threat to our nation's security 2) They don't want to be in a place indefinitely in a nation building capacity (as John McCain has proposed) 3) They trust Ron Paul's word that he would refocus the military on defending the greatest threats to our nation's security 4) They know that Ron Paul would seek to procure greater health care and other related benefits for them once they retire, without bankrupting our country (i.e. drastically cut the size of government).

Obviously, Ron Paul will not win the nomination. However, I believe these donations send a very strong message to those who would seek to be our Commander-in-Chief - namely, that the Constitution matters and that our fighting men and women should not be used and discarded!

The video below illustrates one of the many reasons why I believe Ron Paul is the ONLY qualified candidate to be Commander-in-Chief.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition -- Math

I'm almost embarrassed to post again. I completely forgot about last week's post. By the time a friend alerted me, I was too behind and too busy to post. So, I'll try to include an extra little treat at the end (if I can figure out how to upload it!).

I'm thrilled though that this week is Math because James finished his Primer level this week! I filled out his first certificate that he wants to keep in his room, and we have officially started on the Alpha level.

We use Math-U-See as our curriculum. If you do much reading on homeschooling, math is one of those subjects that everybody has a strong opinion on. I don't. I've read about waiting to start math until they're 10 years old, I'm just not brave enough to try it. I've read about teaching straight math facts whether or not they understand what they're learning, and I've read about taking a gentle approach to learning math.

Math-U-See is a very gentle approach, in my opinion. I'm still not quite sure why I chose it except that it seemed to present the material in a practical way. It is also recommended on Ambleside Online (a Charlotte Mason community). James understands what he's learning, and it's exciting to see! Math-U-See sets a foundation for future algebraic equations as well. Believe it or not, story problems were introduced in the Primer level as well as solving for an unknown. It is very gentle and not at all hard for him, and I don't think it's because he is gifted. I'm not convinced that he is in math.

Math-U-See uses manipulatives to teach the concepts. The manipulatives are colored rods for each number 1-10 and they have blocks for the hundreds. The rods can also be used as building blocks (Legos idea) and my children have enjoyed that aspect as well! As with any curriculum, you can modify exactly how you use it. I found that the manipulatives greatly added to understanding what was being taught. In fact, today, as I was making out some subtraction flashcards, I asked him what 9-1 was. He hesitated and then said 8. Then he said, "I remembered how I built it, Mommy."

Math-U-See also introduces place value in a unique and gentle way so that the child understands what 359 is. He understands that there are 3 hundreds, 50 tens, and 9 ones. That's amazing to me!

In the Primer level, he was gently introduced to writing the numerals, using the colored rods, adding +1 up through 10, adding double numbers (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc.), adding combinations of numbers that equal 10 (6+4, 7+3, 8+2, etc.), telling time and subtracting by 1. As he learned each concept, I made flashcards to go along with them. Math-U-See also introduced adding the tens. For example, after he learned all of the +1 equations (1+1, 2+1, 3+1, etc.), he learned 10+10, 20+10, 30+10, etc. I decided to add the hundreds to it and made flashcards for 100+100, 200+100, etc. He had absolutely no trouble understanding what it meant after I explained it the first time.

I have enjoyed doing math with James, and he enjoys it as well. It ranks up there with his favorite subjects. Actually, the only subjects he doesn't like are piano (wouldn't you know that I'm a piano teacher) and German. Oh, well.

Monday, February 4, 2008


This morning, in our home, we had a thankfulness problem. Apparently, since I didn't make the millet with applesauce but added sugar instead, it was unacceptable. Even after I asked the offending child to remind me in the morning for tomorrow's breakfast, the ungratefulness persisted. As that child sat through breakfast watching us eat (without eating themselves), we went through Bible verses that were especially applicable. These verses were intended to help both of the older children, since the other one had been complaining that I wasn't fast enough. "I'm hungry, Mommy. I'm hungry now. May I eat now?"

One of the most obvious verses that probably every parent uses is I Thessalonians 5:18. "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Have you ever meditated on the last half before? "...for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I certainly hadn't.

Isn't it wonderful how the Scriptures are truly living? God's Word is applicable for every person in every circumstance. How many times I've been correcting the children using a "child's verse" and the Lord's convicted my heart when I realize that verse applies to me as well!

Am I thankful for my hard-working husband, even though he won't be home until 10:30 any night this week?

Am I thankful that I have a godly husband and that I get to fall asleep and wake up beside him every day this week?

Am I thankful for the three wonderful children that God's given me, even though they create an immense amount of work? Could I imagine life without them?

With each of these situations that I've been tempted to complain about, I was reminded this morning of those that do not have these wonderful blessings.

I have a friend whose husband (due to work circumstances) is only home on the weekends.

I know of several women who were recently widowed.

I have a friend whose son was fighting for his life 2 weeks ago after being diagnosed with spinal meningitis.

We have a great God who gives grace and strength for the circumstances that He ordains for our good. Who am I to question God's goodness?

In everything give thanks...