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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sketching and the Devil in the White House

Sketch a day, day 1
I am trying to force my creativity by doing a sketch a day.  I am using some free video lessons by http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-lessons/free-art-instruction-videos.html to inspire me.  I used a lesson today on using shapes to draw buildings... this is the house across the street from me.  You could say I am homeschooling myself in art... kind of as a refresher. This sketch took all of 10 minutes.  I am sure I will revisit it later and add ink.

As I was drawing, the news was on. I got distracted from my task when I heard the phrase "the devil in the White House". They were interviewing an elderly early voter who was saying he was voting a straight Republican  ticket because he dislikes the devil in the white house. I had a personal heart response to his comment. It hurt my feelings. I've heard presidents called a lot of things by fellow Americans but never the devil. I couldn't help but wonder what in him made him view Obama as the devil, and what about Obama made him do so.  Do I have some of the same qualities?  Am I a devil too?  I should hope not.... I am sure he though what he was saying was cute. It wasn't cute to me.

And then well-meaning people try to defend it.  I. Just. Can't.

But it did feel good to do a sketch...

One of the lessons I viewed suggested I hold the pencil differently, so I am drawing with my arm and not my hand.  I'm not sure if it was effective or not. It worked well for scaling out the house, but when it was time for detail, I could not help but flip the pencil back around.

Speaking of art, have I ever mentioned that my daughter is minoring in art in college? She wants to up it to a double major, but that is crazy. Her art major (for which she is scholarshipped) already takes up 99% of her time.  That kind of time commitment would be educational suicide. She's real good though. Everything she has created in her 3D class so far this semester has blown me away. You can still see the theatrical influence in her art, so it is a nice compliment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

False starts and misdirections after homeschooling

It has been 1 year and 5 months since I finished homeschooling my kids.  My youngest is well into her Sophomore year at college, and my son is well past the halfway point.  They are doing great!

And then there's me. I have a lot of ideas about what I was going to do after homeschooling.  Homeschooling gave me so much focus... so much direction, and was so passion-filled... now I'm feel like I am grasping at straws.

I thought I was going to work with homeschooling families after homeschooling, but found out real quick, that the people who need me the most can't pay me, and I am not in a place to volunteer that kind of time.

I thought that I was going to get a Real Estate License and sell houses, but after going through the course, I found out there were a lot of things about that industry that I - just - don't - like.  So that's not going to happen.

I thought I was going to go on a bit of an adventure with my husband, but we are not sure that is still going to happen...  (the marriage is fine by the way... it's more job related.)

So here I am asking myself what I do want?  What do I want to do?  How do I want to fill my time? With or without my husband... with or without our kids... with or without any sort of leadership.

And the answer keeps coming back... follow your gifts.

But my gifts are so varied, I reply.. and so many people are pulling me in so many directions towards different aspects of what I am capable.

And the answer keeps coming back... follow YOUR gifts.

hmmmmm.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Are we spending enough time on math???

I polled a group of homeschoolers this past weekend, asking "How much time do you spend on math"... the consensus was "How much time do you spend on math?".. i.e.  the I didn't really get an answer, but was asked in turn how much time my kids spent on the subject.

I thought my answer would be, up to 90 minutes a day or more for high school students... but no.  It seems I may be the only one of that opinion.  You see, my kids were not math whizzes and it took that long to get through a math lesson and then practice, especially in the high school years.  This started in middle school, where we were doing AT LEAST and hour a day, and it just took more and more time as they death with Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and so forth.

And even after all that work, they just did OK on the SAT/ACT exams in the subject.  It was their verbal scores that won them their acceptances and scholarships.

So I'd like to ask a bigger audience.. how much time you spend on math, in what grades, and why.  And what are/have been the results.  I really want to know.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fundraisers at my door, and not a cent to spare

The door bell rang yesterday, and the dogs went wild as usual.  Fortunately, I still had their leashes on them from a recent walk, so I was able to grab it and control them and they acted like they wanted to eat whomever was at the door. (They are Minature Schauzers, so aren't dangerous, just bossy.) Anyway, there is a young man at my door.  He had a chipped front tooth, and he was holding a pretty big coupon book.

He was talking pretty fast and slick.  All I could make out was "help me out, Help me out, something-something-coupons".  I replied, I've purchased those before and I never use them, so no thank you.".  That wasn't good enough for him.  He insisted, "Help me out, help me out.... don't you want to help me go to college".  I stifled a laugh and said, "how old are you?... twelve?. "  Because he looked... well.... twelve, and he replied, "no, i'm 16".  "Ok... that's cool, but I'm still not buying, " was my reply.  "But it comes with the Sunday paper and more coupons.  You need the Sunday paper", he insisted.   I replied again, "no, whenever I order the paper, it goes from the driveway to the garbage bin, no-thank you", I said firmly, and began to close the door.  "You don't want to help me out?", he said incredulously.  "Not today, I replied."  "But you NEED coupons he said, help me out", he demanded. "No, I do not, I replied.  There are very few coupons that are for anything healthy.  I am not interested", I said firmly, closing the door further.  He got agitated, and went back to his first schtick, flipping through the coupon book saying "help me out, help me out"... I said, "you are getting too pushy.  NO."  was my final answer.  He was still doing his plea as I gently closed the door and walked away.   This whole conversation happened as I was wrestling with my dogs' leash... they clearly did not like this little dude.   I checked outside when he was gone to make sure my tires weren't flat... He had THAT kind of vibe.

I used to entertain young people at my door, buy whatever they were selling, but the last few times, I got ripped off.  I purchased items that never came, or the person claimed to be a neighbor and were not, or the item I received was just crap.  I am going to put a no solicitation sign on my door from now on.  I wonder if I can find an attractive one.  Plus, I have enough relatives and family friends selling things that I still get my fill of magazine subscriptions and wrapping paper.  Know what I mean?

But it doesn't end there.  This past week, there were no less than 7 requests for donations in my email box.  Most were for organizations I had given to before.  Others were for organization that I want to support.  But I am not rich.  I cannot give to them all!  It broke my heart to get an email letter for Georgia Shakespeare this week that they were closing their doors, but If I had given them ALL my spare money last month when they sent out their final plea, it would have not been enough the fill the void they needed, and so where would my little donation have gone.  This is truly exhausting, and I am bewildered as to what has broken somewhere between corporate giving and crowd sourcing.  Clearly, large organizations have found better tax loopholes then charitable giving, because so many groups that used to depend on these charitable organizations are dying.  At the same time, crowdsourcing is doing wonderful things for small organizations that don't need a lot of money, but it still only goes so far.  When they need that next round for bigger and better funding, it still seems to fall short.

So right now I am looking at what I have to give, and the organizations that have asked for money this week, and asking myself, who needs it the most. Who is most deserving?  I have to tell you that the answer is my two college age children.

Is anyone else in this dilemma?