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Experiments

I follow the 4 Hour Body (4HB) diet and exercise program (and blog about it).  As part of that program, they suggest you use thermogenics (cold therapy) to accelerate weight loss.

The tactics involved include:

  • taking cold showers/baths
  • drinking cold water upon waking
  • using cold packs on your upper back for 20 minutes each evening
  • swimming in cold water

There’s a reason I don’t live in a cold climate – I hate being cold.  Simple as that.

I’ll drink the ice water in the morning and, after a run, I’ll talk a cool (not cold) shower, but I’ve never been able to convince myself to try the ice pack therapy.  This weekend, I changed my mind and decided to give it a go.

We have a cold pack which is about 6″ x 4″ and I tried that the first night, leaving it behind my upper back for about 20-30 minutes. (I lost track of time.)

But I wanted something bigger so I looked up recipes for homemade cold packs and found that the most common formulas are:

  • 2:1 – water to rubbing alcohol
  • 3:1 – water to rubbing alcohol

I used the 2:1 ratio and made three cups of the mixture, partially filling a gallon-sized Ziploc™ freezer bag.

Seeing an opportunity here, I started a lab book for my 4 and 6 year-old daughters and we recorded the “experiment.”

We talked about how different things freeze at different temperatures and thought about what might happen when you combine water with alcohol.  Would the mixture freeze at the same temperature, a lower one, or a higher one?

We recorded our method, our hypothesis, and our expected results.  (The younger daughter guessed correctly that it would not completely freeze at the same temperature that makes ice while my older daughter guessed that it would freeze at the same temperature.)

Tonight, we’ll take out the bag and examine it, recording the data we observe.  I’ll post the results here after we check it out.

(It’s fun to be able to combine these two aspects of my life. =)

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Safety

I like Lenora Skenazy’s Free Range Kids.

And I try my damnedest to give me kids room to grow and to do things as they explore life and the world.

And I did not want to homeschool my kids to “protect” them from what is generally a safe experience for the vast majority of kids in gov’t schools. (At least from a physical standpoint.  From an intellectual point of view on the other hand….)

All that said, because we homeschool, we’ll never have to worry about something like this….

Police: 13-year-old Girl Gang-Raped by Classmates

Mandatory Subjects

BLUF*: As homeschoolers, we are happy that we get to choose what our children learn.

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Mandatory Arabic classes coming to Mansfield ISD

February 7, 2011 11:03 PM [emphasis added throughout]

MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – Some Students at Mansfield ISD schools could soon be learning Arabic as a required language.  The school district wants students at select schools to take Arabic language and culture classes as part of a federally funded grant.

The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded to Mansfield ISD last summer by the U.S. Department of Education.

As part of the five-year $1.3 Million grant, Arabic classes would be mandatory at Cross Timbers Intermediate School and Kenneth Davis Elementary School.  The program would also be optional for students at T. A. Howard Middle School and Summit High School.

Parents at Cross Timbers say they were caught off-guard by the program, and were surprised the district only told them about it in a meeting Monday night between parents and Mansfield ISD Superintendent Bob Morrison.

The DOE has identified Arabic as a ‘language of the future.’ But parent Joseph Balson was frustrated by the past.  “Why are we just now finding out about it?” asked Balson.  “It’s them (Mansfield ISD) applying for the grant, getting it approved and them now saying they’ll go back and change it only when they were caught trying to implement this plan without parents knowing about it.”

Trisha Savage thinks it will offer a well-rounded education.  “I think its a great opportunity that will open doors. We need to think globally and act locally.”

Mansfield ISD says in addition to language, the grant provides culture, government, art, traditions and history as part of the curriculum.

Some parents had concerns over religion.  “The school doesn’t teach Christianity, so I don’t want them teaching Islam,” said parent Baron Kane.  During Monday’s meeting Morrison stressed the curriculum would not be about religion, but about Arabic language and culture, similar to Spanish curriculum already in place in the district.

Kheirieh Hannun, was born in the Middle East but raised in the U.S.  She believes giving students the option to learn Arabic will give her son and others like him the option to learn more about their culture.  “It was surprising, but I think it’s okay, and it will help come down on the stereotype.”   Hannun says she is hopeful the class could broaden the minds of not only students, but also parents.

M. Hannun would be correct . . . if that’s what The Almighty Federal Gov’t were doing — presenting an option.  Unfortunately, as seems always to be the case, The Almighty has issued its diktat without regard to what parents want for their kids.

I think it would be wonderful if more people learned Arabic and knew about Middle Eastern culture and society.  But if, as with so many other “good ideas,” it really is such a good idea, why can’t the promoters of this scheme (1) present it in the light of day and (2) use persuasion to convince others that this is the best thing to do?

As homeschoolers, we get to choose what our children learn.  You know what?  If they want to learn Arabic, or we decide that would be best for them, good!  I’ll be happy to spend the money to purchase the lessons / software.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some faceless bureaucrat with a “good idea” is going to force me to teach my child things unless we want them to know it.

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* BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

Should YOU Homeschool Your Child? Do You Have What it Takes to Teach Your Child at Home?

A good article covering many of the concerns and fears faced by people considering homeschooling.

Questions covered include:

  • Is this really legal?
  • Am I capable of teaching my child?
  • Don’t I have to be trained as an educator to teach?
  • Do I have enough patience to teach?
  • What about my work?
  • But what about the expenses of homeschooling?
  • If I homeschool my child, will he learn how to socialize with others?
  • What will everyone say?

A nice place to start if you are exploring this possibility.

Also, if you have any questions left over, please send us an email and we’ll be happy to help. We may not know it offhand, but I bet we can find a good answer for you.

So we’re all sick today…everyone but Jack. Thankfully, my mom was able to take him for the day and that allowed the rest of us to get some sleep. As best as we can tell, it was food related rather than contagious.

More importantly, Nora lost her first tooth yesterday. Of course she put it under her pillow. As I checked on the girls before going to bed, I heard them talking.

When I asked what they were discussing, Julia said, “We’re talking about if the Tooth Fairy is real.”

Of course, this floored me, coming from a barely 4 year old. I asked them, “So what do you think? “

Julia said she thought the Tooth Fairy was real but Nora said she wasn’t sure and we’d just have to see in the morning.

I could not have been prouder of my girls that they were actually thinking things like this and that Nora was taking a slightly skeptical, experimental approach to the question.

Gina and I looked for the tooth later during a throwing up episode (of which there were about 20 last night) and could not find it.

Eventually, she admitted that she had put it in her dresser so she could keep it rather than give it to the Tooth Fairy.

Oh well, she was close to a breakthrough and will get there soon.  ;-)

The Tooth Fairy

John here…today’s ROTD is that homeschooling allows you the freedom to explore lateral thinking skills.

Nora has a loose tooth. She’s excited about it and can’t wait to put it under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

For now, of course, she believes in the Wee Mite of the Molars.

Just for fun, I asked her, “I wonder what she does with all of those teeth?”

Her reply? “Maybe in her world they are money and she’s a banker!” =D

Freedom of Speech

Things you don’t hear from most 5-year-olds at the breakfast table: “I need my gun to be camouflaged.”

I wonder how that would go over if she had said it at a traditional school. I know kids have been expelled for drawing pictures of guns. (My daughter has done that, too. It was a picture of her shooting a shotgun. The picture even includes a bad guy bleeding profusely.)

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned before how much I HATE zero tolerance rules. It’s more like zero thinking. Expelling kids for drawing pictures, pointing chicken fingers, or giving candy to a friend is just stupid. More than stupid, it’s horrible for the lessons it teaches to our kids. It doesn’t teach them “These are the rules, and we mean it.” It teaches them, “We don’t use common sense, and you’ll be better off if you don’t either. Our rules are more important than you, your education, or your independence. There is no responsibility to do right, only to follow the rules. We’re watching you, just waiting for you to screw up.”

Regardless of how you feel about guns, please stand up for your rights and freedoms, and for your children’s rights and freedoms. Every little insult we allow, from zero tolerance rules at schools to body scanners and pat downs at the airport, is one more piece of straw on the camel’s back of our Constitution.

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