Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Banned Book Week!


Let's take a look at the list of most challenged books of 2013, according to the American Library Association:

1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey~ Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison ~ Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence. 
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ~ Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James ~ Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collin ~ Religious viewpoints, unsuited to age group
6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone ~ Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green ~ Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky ~ Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. 
9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya ~ Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explcit
10. Bone by Jeff Smith ~ Poltical viewponts, racism, violence 

I have read a few of these, specifically, 4, 7 and 8. I think I want to read Bless Me Ultima. It was the big read here at the library last year, but I was not in a place to take on a new book. 

The reason I make this post every year, is because of something Ray Bradbury said, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." This is important. If someone can come along and say that you can't read The Hunger Games, then someone else could come along and tell you that you can't read Curious George. Where do we draw the line?

I don't believe that anyone should have the right to tell me, or you, what books we can have access to, or what b ooks we can read. I believe it's each persons right to make those decisions for themselves. And it's each parents responsiblity to be actively involved in the books their child chooses to read. 

I wish people could spend as much time working on themselves and their own lives as they do trying to control what other people can do with theirs. 

But until that happens, all we can do is to continue to speak out against book banning, read banned books and educate the future generation to do better!!




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Homeschool Planner Blues..

I am going crazy trying to find just the right planner for our new school year. Half of me wants to just order this one from Etsy:


But I have a hard time spending $20 on myself, when I can probably create something from a composition book and some markers.. 

I have not needed a paper calendar for years now, but I want a more flexible way to document the children's learning this year, and while I love the Homeschool Helper App, I want to be able to just jot things down then transfer them to the app to create reports for the children's charter school. 

I am thinking some pictures cut from my old Doctor Who magazines, some washi tape and a bit of work and I can make a usable planner, from a $0.50 blank composition book from Target.. 

It's super difficult to find the perfect homeschool planner, a huge percentage of them are religious for one, I don't need a bible verse a day or a space for planning my bible readings. 

So what planner do you use?


Monday, August 04, 2014

How Weird Al changed my whole day..

I've had a rough day today. And I was in tears, when this song came on my Spotify, and changed my whole outlook on the day..



So I decided instead of a long post about how irked I am with my insurance, I'm going to make a list of the things I am thankful for today, August 4th, 2014...

1. I am thankful I have a clean, safe place to sleep every night.
2. I'm thankful my hubby makes the coffee around here, because I am terrible at it.
3. I'm thankful my kids are happy and healthy.
4. I'm thankful I can take a hot shower when ever I please.
5. I'm thankful my husband has a job, when so many others do not.
6. I'm thankful said job provides insurance.
7. I'm thankful that said insurance covers my daughter getting her eyes checked, and a pair of glasses. And that we have an awesome optometrist office that helped us pick glasses that are covered by the insurance.
8. I'm thankful that when things go awry, there are super helpful people out there who are still willing to go out of their way to help.
9. I'm thankful I have transportation, especially when I have to get to Clovis to take advantage of those helpful people's help.
10. I'm thankful it didn't rain while I was out and about sans windshield wipers.
11. I'm thankful that I have a kitchen full of things that can be combined into a meal for me and my children.
12. And I'm thankful for Weird Al, for reminding me that my problems are tiny and manageable, and if you can laugh, it's easier to stop crying.

So what are you thankful for today?



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gist Academy for Gifted Youngsters 2014-2015 Curriculum Choices

We will probably be doing a Savvy Homeschool Moms show on our curriculum choices for this year, but I thought it would be a good way to get back into blogging. Keep in mind, as with everything homeschooling this list is subject to change! 



TOGETHER:

History 
  • History Odyssey Modern Times, we are still working on the level one curriculum, but Dani still enjoys it so I think we will continue this as something both children do together. 
JACK-JACK, 3rd Grade (9 years old)

Language Arts 
  • Moving Beyond the Page, ages 6-8, this also incorporates Social Studies and Science appropriate to the books we are currently reading! 
  • All About Reading, Level 2, we are working on Level 1 now, and we are loving it! Jack has done so much better with this than any other language arts program we've tried, for learning the mechanics of reading. 
Math
  • Math Mammoth, 4th Grade, we are continuing with Math Mammoth, Jack is a grade ahead in math, and he continues to do very well with the concepts as they are presented by MM. 
Science

DANI, 7th Grade (age 12)

Language Arts
Math
  • This one is up in the air at the moment. Math Mammoth says they will have 7th grade available at the end of August, if so, we will continue with Math Mammoth. 
Science

And of course, they will continue to attend enrichment classes at Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center.




I suck as a blogger these days.

I was coming to my blog to check out my old Menu Planning Monday posts, for some inspiration for our menu for this week, and I see that I haven't actually blogged since October of last year! My goodness, I remember when this blog was so important.. but now with Facebook, I don't need this blog as an outlet to keep friends and family updated on our lives anymore. But I do want to keep it going, I still get hits (bizarre!) and I still enjoy the long form version that Blogger offers vs Facebook. So, here I am, and I am gonna be here more often. But for now, I think I will make a post outlining the curriculum we are going to use for fall this year! I have a 3rd grader and a 7th grader this year! WOW! 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Annual Halloween Post (#2)

Every year at this time, I climb on my soapbox like Andy Rooney on a bender, and rant and rave about how people are ruining my favorite holiday, Halloween. My usual favorite topics are the ever amusing Chick Tracts that people have the audacity to give to my children with their fun sized bags of M&Ms (check out the new one for this year, First Bite!), cities that postpone or worse yet cancel their trick or treating because of religious pressures or Halloween falling on a Thursday, and ANYONE who holds a Trunk or Treat in a church parking lot to help save their spawn from the horrors of the Pagan holiday. So far the airwaves have been pretty quiet, so I will just repost my post from 2009, and keep an eye on this space for any future developments ;)

REPOSTED FROM 2009:

Free Range Kids has a great post about how Halloween is being ruined for scores of children FOR NO GOOD REASON!! Something I have discussed on this blog several times ;)

Read it here!

Here is a repost of my classic posting from 2008 ;)

It's that time of year again...
When families are faced with the choice, to celebrate or not celebrate Halloween. Personally, I am sure all of you know, I not only celebrate Halloween, I revel in it! I LOVE Halloween, and would prefer to get rid of Christmas and Thanksgiving all together ;)

But I swear, the more I read people's arguments on why to NOT celebrate Halloween, I am filled with a dread that I can't shake. Are people really so paranoid of a holiday that PartyWorks and Hershey's have so corrupted from it's original form, that it is barely recognizable?? I understand the not wanting to expose your children to excessive blood and gore, okay, I get that. But to not even let them dress up and trick or treat?? Or worse yet, to be a TOTAL hypocrite and let them go to a trunk or treat at the local church. If they are trunk or treating, you are celebrating, so get over yourselves.

Let me give you a few thoughts to ponder. First off, if you have EVER gotten your information about Halloween from a Chick Tract, then please, click away from my page now and go and pray or something, cause you are too stupid to continue reading.

First off, Halloween started out as a harvest holiday known as Samhain. Now contrary to popular Christian belief, there was NEVER a pagan god known as Samhain. Samhain is derived from the Celtic word for Summer's End, cause DUH! it happened at the end of summer, LOL! So, no pagan god Samhain, and therefore no human sacrifices to him. Also, pagan's don't believe in Satan, and they sure don't worship him, cause he's NON-EXISTENT in pagan culture. So, no human sacrifice to him either. In fact, there is NO human sacrifice in paganism today, AT ALL! And if you look at history, Christians have killed many, many more humans then any pagans, I'm just sayin...

Secondly, the whole idea of poisoned, tampered with, or booby trapped candy. This is a myth that has been blown so far out of proportion, it's absurd! TWO, yes TWO cases of children being killed by Halloween candy have been recorded in the news since 1964 (yep, that was 44 years ago people). The first was a boy in 1970 who ate his uncles stash of heroin, and then the family tried to cover it up by saying the drugs were in his Halloween candy. The second, in 1974, a boy ate a pixy stick that was laced with poison. Upon investigation it turned out the boys own father planted the candy in his son's bag, to collect on the boy's insurance money. NEVER has there been a recorded incident of a stranger handing out laced, tampered with or poison treats on Halloween to random neighborhood children, and contrary to the Chick tract above, it is not common practice to do this to harvest sacrifices for Satan!

So, while I can go on and on about the non-horrors of Halloween, I do want to make a point. These days, Halloween is another hallmark holiday, cleansed of all it's original roots, and make palatable to the masses. If you are a family who chooses to NOT celebrate Halloween because of it's pagan roots, then I recommend you think twice about Easter and Christmas too. Because the "historical" activities attributed to those holidays, namely the birth of Christ and his resurrection, remain unproven at best, and the actual dates of said activities and the celebrating of those holidays are NOT specifically condoned in the bible. Shockingly the dates and MOST of the activities now celebrated for those holidays are in fact PAGAN in origin ;) Christmas trees or Easter bunnies anyone??

I will accept reasonable discussion of this topic in my comments. BUT keep in mind, any argument you make to me that uses God or the Bible as it's basis, will be countered with the teachings of the ALL POWERFUL AND KNOWING SQUIRREL IN MY BACK YARD :) After of course, the appropriate offerings of nuts and seeds are made ;)

It's that Halloween time of year again..

Time for me to step up on my soap box, with my annual Halloween Post! 

There is something I want to remind people about. There are going to be lots of children out trick or treating. And honestly, I'd hate for one of them to see me beat you down. 

Why, you might be wondering, would I be threatening the nice people who are just handing out candy to kids? Because every year there are a few ignorant f*cks who require my son to say "Trick or Treat" before making with the fun sized Snickers. 

My son has a speech delay, and while most of the time most people mostly understand most of what he says, he has a really hard time speaking to strangers, or in stressful situations. Such as when some idiot is holding a bowl of candy just out of his reach and saying, "what do you say??" Umm, I say make with the candy before I smack your stupid face. 

There are few things that actually get me as angry as this insistence on saying "magic words." Heck, I don't even make a fuss when people give my kids Chick Tracts (see previous Halloween post) or campaign literature with their cheap dum-dums. I calmly strip the offending paper off the candy and hand it back to them with a smirk. (Unless its a Halloween chick tract, I'm saving those for an art project). But insist my child says "magic words" to get candy and I will go mama bear on you. And yes, I suppose I could explain to all those people or better yet, make him wear a button, right? WRONG! 

There is an unwritten contract on Halloween, you have lights on, kids knock, you give them candy. Period.. 

As Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick" especially on Halloween..