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Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Home School Fragments (and a Puppyism)

Half Past Kissing Time presents Friday Fragments.  Today I will share some Home School info that might not otherwise make it into it's own post.

SB 136 footnote.

Last year a state senator from Illinois made a name for himself in the homeschooling community by proposing that all home schools and private schools would need to be registered on the state level.  The proposed bill showed no understanding of Illinois  state law.  One reason for this is that Home schools in Illinois are considered private schools.  That means that the wording of the bill was redundant because  merely requesting that all private schools register would require home educators to do the same.  Alas private schools were never really the target of the bill and the wording was quickly changed to refer only to home schools.

The senator Ed Maloney introduced the bill and there was an instant reaction of the negative kind.  Home Educators after flooding their representatives with phone calls,  stopped what they were doing and headed to Springfield in the thousands to discuss the bill.  Ed Maloney was never able to give sufficient proof that homeschoolers were "falling under the cracks" and the bill was tabled without ever being voted on.

I wrote several pieces on the matter here and have become very interested in the career of senator Maloney.  He has decided not to seek reelection.  I did some research and found that one of the candidates running to replace him states that she is a  strong supporter of homeschooling at her campaign website.  Thanks again Mr. Maloney for bringing the people of your district a potential advocate to the institution you sought to alter.

Speaking of Frivolous Laws

One of the main reasons I opposed SB 136 besides the total lack of need to "fix" something not broken was the additional cost to taxpayers in doing so.  This is one of the reasons why I am opposed to SB 3259 which is a bill being considered to raise the compulsory school age in Illinois from 17 to 18.  The law is sponsored by Kimberly Lightford and co-sponsored by 6 other senators from her party.  Lightford like Maloney and 4 of the 6 co-sponsors received significant campaign funding from teachers unions.  I mention this because teachers and their unions are the direct beneficiaries of this law as more teachers will need to be hired if the age is increased. 

I am opposed to the bill for 5 reasons.

1. The proposed law will not be able to do what it says it will as there is no proven correlation between dropout rates and compulsory age.

2. It should be the job of parents and not the government to decide when their children should end their schooling.

3. By my reading it seemss the law would require home educators of 18 year olds to register with the state; and I think we all know how I feel about that.

4.  While the law would benefit teacher and unions and not neccesarily the students it purport to help (see objection 1) it would increase the tax burden of parent affected by the law.

5. It is a law that was conceived by lawmakers who didn't even consult with school superintendents to see if a law was needed.  There was also similar lack of reasoning for Sb136.  It has been told that Senator Maloney conceived SB136 after learning of a homeschooling relative while at a Holiday party.  Our tax dollars are certainly at work.

Mount Rushmore

I am teaching 2 classes about the Mount Rushmore Presidents at our home school co-op.  If you wanted to teach about one object in American History that encompasses more time than Mount Rushmore you might be hard pressed to do so.

The history of Mount Rushmore and the presidents thereof, goes back to the colonial period prior to the French American war and goes though to Depression Era works projects.  This has been a very enjoyable process for me and hopefully my students as well.

Non Home School Related Puppyism

Puppy sometimes pretends she's a wolf named Wolfina.  Just like when she used to play with pretend puppies on the bed she now brings pretend wolves everywhere she goes. 

On Wednesday we were visiting my Dad who is recovering nicely from a very successful prostate cancer surgery.  On the way home Puppy was sitting in the back seat and we had this conversation:

Puppy/Wolfina: Dad I left one of my wolves at Grandpa's house. 
Me: One of your Pretend wolves.
P/W: That's okay we don't have to get it.  He likes it there.

The funniest thing about the exchange was the was that Puppy said her last line as if I had fully intended to turn around and get the missing wolf.  When actually at about the same time she asked we had just passed a gas station selling it's wares at $4.52.9 a gallon.  (I had only paid $4.39.9, so that's a relief.

Well that's that for Fragments for this week and probably for a while.  I am participating in Blogging A to Z starting Sunday and if I think of a fragment idea, I will probably figure out what letter it starts with and share it on it's given day.

For more fragments click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break So Far

Not all homeschoolers take a Spring Break.  But since Amy is employed by a local  school district and gets the week off, we take the week off. 

We are not going away anywhere this week.  Here is what we have been doing. 

Our co-op met on Monday, so Amy went in to work. Only a handful of people were there, but it is one less day that she has to work once school is out of session.  We had a major tire blowout as we were travelling from co-op to dental appointments.  Not 5 minutes after we pulled over on the side of the road, a man who works at the same tire company we bought our last tires pulled up behind us and assisted me in putting on the spare.  A family from our co-op noticed us on the side of the road, dropped most of their kids at home came back and drove Amy and the kids to their dental appointments while I got the tire changed.

We have been watching movies this week as part of our break.  We watched Hugo and it is certainly worth all the hype.  I found it very enjoyable.  (Not everyone in the family enjoyed it.)

My father had a surgery to remove his prostate last Tuesday, as it was cancerous.  He is now cancer free and after being releases from the hospital last Friday on his birthday he is getting back to normal life.  Today we visited him and my Mom and he had fixed an old computer and gave it to Spider Droid.

Tomorrow my brother is coming over and he, SD and myself are going to do a little work in the bathroom.  We have been without a bathroom sink for almost a week now.  I bought one at Menard's yesterday and we are going to put new floor tiles in while we were at it.  The girls will have an action packed day at Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier while us men beat the bathroom into submission.

We have other day trips planned on Thursday and Friday.  I am also trying to write a few blog posts for next month's blogging A to Z which starts this Sunday.  We are relaxing and enjoying.  This accounts for no posts since Saturday. 

Hope you all are having a great week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Occasional Rants: Primarily Speaking

A few months ago the website Teacher Certification Degrees put HSD on their list of the Top100  homeschooling  blogs.  In their description of my blog they described me by saying, "Dave is the “Home School Dad”, White Sox fan and movie buff whose sense of humor shows in creative nicknames and occasional rants;"

While I appreciated the mention, I was especially tickled by the phrase "Occasional Rants".  I thought that would make for a pretty good segment here.  So here is my rant for the occasion of political primaries.

The Illinois Primary was last Tuesday.  I voted in it, as I do in most elections.   I voted in every contest listed on my ballot.  I tried to do as much homework as I could in deciding who to vote for. I even took Spider Droid to see one of the Presidential candidates speak. 

Because I have been asking for a Republican ballot in primaries for better than 2 decades,  I get targeted by Republican pollsters and candidates come election time.  For example, I received no less than 15 calls from representatives of one of the Republican Presidential Candidates in the 4 days prior to the Illinois primary.

Not once in any of these calls was I told why to vote for this candidate, a former governor whose name fits him like a glove. I was only told repeatedly why not to vote for one of his opponents, Rick Santorum. 

It has been repeatedly said of this robocalling Republican that since he has run a successful business, he will know how to use our money.  I don't think so! He doesn't even know how to spend his.  He outspent all the other candidates in the Illinois election and not once with all that money spent, did he tell me why to vote for Him

It turns out that all the spending did not get my vote.  If the calls were enough to dissuade me from voting for Santorum, I would have simply voted for another one of his opponents.  He  had 15 opportunities to tell me why to vote for Him and failed each time.  This candidate, okay, okay you dragged it out of me, Mitt Romney, ended up winning in Illinois by a pretty good margin.  On Tuesday I heard his victory speech on the radio and when he finally got around to telling me why I should vote for him  he had some convincing reasons why I should support him.  They might not have swayed my vote, but I would much rather heard them before I voted rather than 14 hours after.  Sure, I could have researched him on my own, but if a guys gonna call you 15 times shouldn't that provide you with all the information you need to get about Him?

Following up Romney's victory in Illinois, one of his top advisers was asked about his social policies.  Here is what happened . . .

I found this particularly disturbing as every one of Romney's 15 calls were about Santorum flip flopping to the left on social issues. It seems Romney's plan is to outspend his opponents telling voters why not to support his opponents.  His adviser's comments make me wonder if the reason why he doesn't tell social conservatives why to vote for him is because he doesn't have anything to say.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Change of Face

Puppy has been obsessed with the beginning of Spring for almost a month now. Each morning she checks her calendar and announces how many days until Spring.

In honor of the start of Spring tomorrow I decided to shave of my beard. As you may recall, I grew my present beard because my having facial hair was a previous obsession of hers.

So, after dinner and a pleasant stroll with my beloved Amy, I transformed myself from this to this

To This

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pandora and other Fragments

It is time once again .  Yes Half past Kissing Time and time for Friday Fragments. 

1.  I heart Pandora.

I have a very eclectic taste in music.  Show tunes, Pop, Rock, Christian, folk, country.  You name it I like it.  I don't even mind listening to many genre's at the same time.  That'w why I like Pandora.  I have about 50 different channels and when the mood strikes me, I hit the shuffle option and get my eclectic on .  This is what I am listening to right now.  I can go from that to Under The Sea from Little Mermaid.  (Which, incidentally just happened.) From there maybe Bowling For Soup or Barry Manilow to Bing Crosby or Puppy's favorite, JJ Heller.   This musical journey may contine with music from Journey or the musical saga may continue with The Saga Begins by Weird Al.  Like I said, eclectic.

Sure, I could do and  do the same thing with my IPod and Itunes.  But, the songs I listen to, I have to own.  With Pandora it often plays songs I not only don't own but am sometimes not even aware of.  I just listened to 5 O'clock world by the Vogues from my Beach Monkeys(Beach Boys and Monkees are the seed artists)  channel on Pandora.  I may have heard it before on an oldies stattion but I would never be able to ask for it by name.  That's why I like the music genome project employed by Pandora.  It takes what you like and plays music similar to it.

2.  A to Z coming soon.

Earlier this year I joined up for the A to Z blogging challenge for this April. March is 1/2 way over and I hope I am up to the task of 26 letters in 30 days. We get each Sunday off except the first Sunday, which is the first of April. It seems a little NABLOPOmish to me. Click here to review my love/hate with Nablopomo. I don't have a theme or even a plan yet. But I do have a little inkling of a system. I love systems, so it may still work.

Here is a cool promotional video for the event.

3.  I owe I owe so back to blog I go. 

I am so behind in my blogging for promotional items  I have received.  There is a math program that Spider Droid and I used last month that I need to write a review of.  There are almost a half dozen books I received that I owe reviews for.  Hey I think that's a good future Friday Fragment post!
I also owe the host of Home Spun Juggling a review of her fabulous book of cartoons. 

Bunny did  her own review of this fine Tome of Homeschool wit and wisdom.  So in lieu of my  review here is a link to hers.  Hopefully, I'll catch up soon.

4. It's not a test, it's Iowa

Did you ever take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills? I did a few times as a kid.  I really enjoyed it, because it was a day or 2 off from the routine of regular school.  I also brake for scantron.  Next week I will be proctoring an Iowa Test for a bunch of home school kids.  Spider Droid and Bunny will be among those taking the test.  I will spend the next few days of school just getting them  familiar with the world of testtaking in a classroom setting.

I'm not out of fragments but I am out of time.Click here   For more fun filled fragments of Fridaytude.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nice Day to go to The Park

Huck Finn on the Jungle Gym
Swinging with the Roman Empire
Preoccupied Puppy
Big Finish

End Notes: Diocletian was made emperor of Rome in 284 A.D. He divided the Empire and ruled the Eastern half himself and appointed Maximian to rule the Western half.  Maximian was the name Spider Droid and I could not think of in our interview. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Celebrate our Fatao Christian Heritage

Last week I received an email to write a blog post about a boy named Fatao who needed emergency heart surgery.  The email was sent to me as a Compassion Blogging assignment.  Fatao is a 6 year old boy from southwest Burkina Faso who has a heart condition known as VSD – Ventricular Septal Defect.  Put simply, he has a hole in his heart.    Read more about Fatao by clicking here. (Spoiler ALERT)

In December 2010 Fatao was registered at a local church into the Compassion Child sponsorship program.  During his first  physical as part of his sponsorship,it was recommended he see a cardiologist.  The cardiologist was able to diagnose the VSD. 

The surgery was planned to take place in India.  Fatao’s parents who work so hard to provide their family had no means to travel with their son.  I could not imagine my 6 year old having any kind of medical work done with out Amy or myself being there for her. 

There was also the matter of paying for the surgery.  The costs involved would be great.  $23,000 dollars worth of great. A heart surgery is not really in the budget of the monthly amount paid by Compassion sponsors.   That is why bloggers like myself were contacted to get the word out to help raise this amount in as short time.  Those who donated would even get the opportunity to write fatao a letter of encouragement that would be read to him prior to the surgery.

Now, I didn’t really get the word out.  I am just getting to it now. However, the word did get out and more than 23,000 was collected and the surgery was a success!  Please pray for Fatao as he recovers from the surgery.

So, why do I even bother to write if the problem has been resolved?  Because there are more kids like Fatao.  Kids like Alexander who had the surgery a few years ago.  More than $10,000.00 was collected for his surgery.  Kids like Rossy from Guatemala and Victoria from Ghana.  In all 4 of these cases, the heart defect was discovered because of a physical that came with the Compassion sponsorship. Physicals that probably would have never been administered if these children were not part of Compassion. 

The $23,000.00 for Fatao has been met.  But by clicking here, you can donate money for the next Fatao, Alexander, Rossy, or Victoria that comes along.  You can also sponsor a Compassion child, insuring that another child will get a physical and perhaps have a rare disorder come to the attention of someone who can help. 

But physical ailments are not the only problem.  Each child in the world, each person in the world, has the same problem as Fatao – a hole in their heart.  The great philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal said (this is a paraphrase), That we all have a God shaped vacuum that can only be filled by him.  Yes ours is a metaphysical hole, but a hole just the same. 

Part of the Compassion sponsorship goes to diagnosing and fixing the sponsor child’s spiritual heart condition.  This spiritual component is why my money goes to Compassion.  There are many organizations that touch the physical need of the poorest of the poor.  Compassion gets to the heart of the matter, by reaching out to the soul at the same time. 
Acts Chapter 2 verse 45  says that in the early church the Christians were  selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  This tradition continues today in many ways.  One is in cases like Fatao.  Please consider sponsoring a Compassion child and continuing this tradition.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Name's Bob. I'm a Tomato, and I'm here to help.

Fits Me to A T

My Life in T-shirts

Shortly after Amy and I got married, my sister in law gave us 2 t-shirts.  Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber from veggie tales.  For years we would mix and match the shirts and wear them out together.

A few years ago Larry went missing.  So Bob became my shirt of choice.  He has gone everywhere with me: swimming, filed trips, the library and occasionally even to church or co-op.  Sometimes (especially at the pool) I would forget what shirt was wearing. So I would wonder why kids were talking to me about Veggie Tales.  Then it would dawn on me, walking billboard. 

Bob is now in his teen years. As the above picture attests, (taken for this post) Bob has seen better days. The white of the eyes wearing out gives a certain bloodshot look. But through it all, he keeps that goofy grin on his face.

Now-a-days it's a sleep shirt and an around the house shirt.  I am sure it's also a great shirt to play Mouse Trap in.  You roll the dice, you move your mice. Nobody gets hurt. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Disney Defrosted Give-a-way

I got an e-mail today from my contact at Feld Entertainment. Those are the great people that put on the Circus, Monster Jam and Disney on Ice. They are putting on a show called Disney Live! Presents! Three Classic Fairy Tales. It will be at the Akoo (Bless You) Theatre aka Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois on March 16th through the 18th.

  Mickey, Minnie,and the gang host the stage versions of the timeless tales of
Snow White



Beauty and the Beast

 The show promises dynamic storytelling, award winning music, stunning costumes and glittering special effects.   There are 7 (1 for each dwarf)  big beautiful shows: Friday – 10:30, 6:30 Saturday – 11:00, 2:00, 5:00 Sunday – 1:00, 4:00

Tickets are on sale right now, starting at $15.00!  Feld is offering my readers a chance to obtain tickets for $5.00 less (per ticket) by using the promo code MOM.

Reading about this show, it seems a lot like Disney on Ice.  Which is one of the reasons I called this post Disney Defrosted.  Watching the below video, gives me the idea that the stage adaptation will be every bit as good as the escapades on ice.  Don't get me wrong. I'm a Roller, I love skating.  It's just the Rosemont is a great theatre for children's productions.  I saw Veggie Tales Live there years ago when Bunny and SD were younger that Puppy is now and we all had a fantastic time.  I think this show is going to be great.

I am giving away 4 tickets to one of the 3 following shows March 16th 10:30 a.m., or the 11am or 5 p.m shows of March 17th.

Here is how to enter.

Comment here or on my FB page.
Also, I will give 1 entry for each of the seven dwarfs you can name.

The contest will end Sunday at 10 p.m. central.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Puppy;s Pets on Display - Epilogue

I mentioned at the beginning of last month that Puppy's pillow pets and Webkinz were on display at our local library.

Here are a few tidbits and pics from the experience.

Puppy was a little panic stricken concerned with the idea of leaving her pets at the library for the whole month. So to keep her from the psych ward help her I . . .

1. Let her keep some of her favorites at home.

2. Bought her a new Webkinz cardinal at Target after we set the display up

3. Let her visit her animals often including visiting her turtle George Washington on February 22nd, which is George Washington's birthday.

After the month was over while we were picking all the pillow pets and Webkinz up, the children's librarian called Puppy over. She told Puppy that about 6 months ago, a child had left a pillow pet behind at the library and never claimed it. Little Miss memory chip said she remembered seeing it at the desk in her visits to the library . The librarian continued, saying that since Puppy took such good care of her animals, they thought that she could give the orphaned pillow pet a good home.

Puppy was so pleased that she named the Pillow Pet after her self and takes her every where. 

George Washington and comapny
A Bird in the hand is worth 20 in the display case

Puppy II

Happy to be home.
Thanks again to the Dundee Township Public Library for their fine program.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sponsor A Waiting Child

Today is my first official post as a Compassion Blogger. Today we're going to talk about children in poverty. And I'm going to get specific.

Before we do let's talk about waiting. Waiting has changed a lot in my lifetime. When I was a kid, if I wanted to watch an old movie, I had to wait until they aired it on television. Then the VCR came along and if I wanted to I could record the movie or buy or rent a copy and watch it at my leisure.

Waiting in the past few years has been mostly obliterated by smart phones and the phrase "there's an app for that." I bought myself an Ipod touch with Christmas money and since then many things I used to have to wait for are available in moments. I don't even have to type my posts anymore. I just speak into my Ipod and 2 taps later my thoughts are shared with the teeming masses.

But today let's talk about children in poverty who are waiting. They are waiting for a sponsor. A Compassion sponsor. Imagine it this way . . .

You are a child growing up in poverty.

A local church announces a new program coming to your village.

A program that will provide you with

*educational opportunities that you would not receive other wise.

*health care and health related instruction that you would not receive otherwise.

* food, clean water, and sustainable nutrition

* life skills and spiritual training.

A church volunteer takes your picture and gets information about you and your family. You are registered. You begin to receive the benefits of the program. But there is one thing you are missing a sponsor.

A sponsor is the person who donated money to Compassion so you can receive the benefits of the program. They do so much more than that. They write to you, they pray for you. They take that picture that was taken of you and put it in a prominent place in their house. On your birthday and Christmas they have the opportunity yo send you a special gift for you and your family.

You see when you went into the program, your whole family benefits from your sponsors contributions, letters and prayers.

But you don't have a sponsor yet and there is not an app for that.

So, you wait,

and wait,

and wait.

Some children in the program wait 180 days or more without a sponsor. Click here to see a list of children who have been waiting for a sponsor for more than 180 days.  That's 1/2 of a year.

You might be thinking "So what? They don't have a sponsor.  But they are in the program.  As long as their needs are being met.  Why do they need a sponsor?"

That's a great question.  Here are a few good reasons:

1) While these kids are having their financial needs met, their lack of sponsors is keeping Compassion from moving onto the next village and staring the program for other children in poverty.  Remember when I say children in poverty, I really mean families in poverty as the entire family benefits from the program.

2) The opportunity to communicate with your sponsor and to know your sponsor and be known by them is one of the best parts of Compassion.  Knowing that a real person is providing money, prayer and love makes a difference in a child's life. 

This video really captures the heart of how we can help a waiting child.

Sponsor a Waiting Child from Compassion International on Vimeo.

On A Personal Note

When we pick a child to sponsor we look for something that will tie him or her into our family.  Our first compassion child had Spider Droids exact birth date down to the day and year.  He also had Spider Droid's first name.  We never forgot his birthday!  When that boy's families situation improved (due in part to the program) so much that he didn't need to be sponsored anymore we found a girl Puppy's age who was born on Bunny's birthday

Please click here to see if you can find a waiting child to sponsor.  You can make a difference in a  child's life right now and you don't have to wait!

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