Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Leap Day !

Today is Leap Day, the extra day that we tack on to February every four years to keep the calendar in time with the seasons. We do this because the Earth does not orbit the sun in a nice round 365 days, but rather in 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Ancient peoples based their calendars on many things, from the movements of the stars to the activities of plants and animals. The Greek poet Hesiod told farmers to begin the harvest when the constellation Pleiades was rising and to begin plowing when it was setting, and to sharpen their farming tools when snails began climbing up plants. Most early calendars were based on the stages of the moon, with lunar months of about 29 days each. But the problem with the lunar calendar is that it's about 11 days short of the actual year, so instead of having to add a leap day every few years, you have to add a leap month. The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to develop a calendar with 12 months and 365 days. When Julius Caesar rose to power, the Romans were using a calendar that was so faulty they often had to add an extra 80 days to the year. In 46 B.C., after his affair with Cleopatra, Caesar chose to adopt the superior Egyptian calendar, and this became known as the Julian calendar. In the first version of the Julian calendar, February had 29 days most years and 30 days in leap years. Caesar named the month of July after himself, so when Augustus came to power, he decided he needed a month too. He named August after himself, but he had to steal a day from February in order to make August as long as July.

The Julian calendar worked well for a while, but in the 13 century, a sick old friar named Roger Bacon sent a letter to the Pope. He had calculated the actual length of the solar year as slightly less than 365.25 days, and he pointed out that the Julian calendar was adding one leap day too many for every 125 years. The result was that Christians were celebrating holy days on the wrong dates. Bacon wrote, "The calendar is intolerable to all wisdom, the horror of astronomy, and a laughing-stock from a mathematician's point of view." Bacon was eventually imprisoned for implying that the pope had been fallible, and his writings were censored. It wasn't until 1582 that Pope Gregory XIII hired a group of Jesuits to fix the calendar, and they came up with the complicated system of omitting the leap day at the beginning of each century, except for those centuries divisible by 400. When Pope Gregory made the change, the calendar was about 10 days off, so Gregory deleted 10 days from the year. People went to sleep on Thursday, Oct. 4 and woke up on Friday, Oct. 15.

At first, the Gregorian calendar was only accepted in Catholic countries, and even there people were uncomfortable about losing 10 days of their lives. It led to protests and financial uncertainty, since people weren't sure how to calculate interest or taxes or rent for a 21-day month. Protestant countries didn't adopt the new calendar until much later, and this meant that for a long time, if you crossed the border of certain European countries, you had to set your clock back or forward by at least 10 days. When Great Britain finally accepted the Gregorian calendar in 1751, 11 days had to be deleted from the year. The change led to antipapal riots, because people believed the pope had shortened their lives. Mobs gathered in the streets, chanting, "Give us back our 11 days!" When the British colonies in America made the change the following year, Ben Franklin wrote in an editorial, "Be not astonished, nor look with scorn, dear reader, at ... the loss of so much time. ... What an indulgence is here, for those who love their pillow, to lie down in peace on the second [day] of this month and not awake till the morning of the fourteenth."

The Gregorian calendar has since been accepted everywhere as the standard. It is so accurate that we will have to wait until the year 4909 before our dates become out of step with the Earth's orbit by a full day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update On The TN House Bill (2795)

The below message came to us via email and is concerning the hearing of Tennessee House bill 2795 previously mentioned on this blog. Please continue to pray for homeschoolers and non-public schools in Tennessee, that our freedom to educate is protected.


Hello Tennessee Homeschoolers,
Please pass this on to your support groups, co-ops, tutorials, e-lists, etc. Thanks!Sorry I've taken so long to get this out to you. Please try to read the whole thing, at least eventually. All across Tennessee homeschoolers opposed HB 2795! Rep. Windle's assistant told me their office had received 4000 calls opposing HB 2795. That is a phenomenal number of calls! Thank you all!! A HUGE Thank You to all the homeschool families, Dads, Moms, children, graduates & all, leaders of Church-related schools and Church-related school organizations, who took the time to come to Nashville today in the ice, snow, tricky road conditions and very cold weather!

There were homeschoolers from all over the state at the Capitol today. A family from Sevierville came and spent the night in Nashville to be here today. There were homeschoolers from Memphis, who also came in last night, others came from Goodlettsville, Columbia, Spring Hill, Hohenwald, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Cookeville, Crossville, Fall Creek Falls, Livingston, Kingston, Brentwood and, of course, Nashville.

We printed 104 "Vote NO on HB 2795" stickers. We came home with only 5, so 99 homeschoolers wore the identifying stickers. There were a good number of other homeschoolers there who didn't have stickers. So our estimate, with help from Mike Bell, is that there were 80 - 90 adults and 30 homeschool students. It was a great turn-out for a day with such awful weather! Again, thank you, for coming!

OK, So what happened?

We gathered and waited out in the hallway of Legislative Plaza, outside LP 16, for the House Education Committee to conclude their business. As you know it was scheduled to end at 11:45, but they went until 12:20! And while they continued to meet, our numbers continued to grow and grow! Everyone was very, very patient with the whole situation! Rep. Hardaway came by and went into the Committee room for a short time to observe their activity; he returned to the hallway and let us know he wanted to talk with us about the bill. So in groups of 10-12 or more, we gathered around him in the hallway and the lobby at the foot of the escalators to dialogue with him about his reasons for the bill and our reasons for opposing it.

Waiting in the hallway, speaking with Rep. Hardaway, we were then greeted by Special Initiatives sub-committee Chair, Rep. John Mark Windle, who came out of LP 16 to check on us, to assure us that even if the bill was not voted on today he would let homeschoolers speak, recognizing that we had come from far and wide. He returned to the LP 16 and the Committee meeting. At 12:20, as the full House Education Committee finally concluded, the flat screen TVs which show the activity in LP 16, changed from "House Education" to "Special Initiatives sub-committee", we started into the room, motioning to others in the hallway that finally it was time for the Special Initiatives Sub-committee! It was then announced that the order of the sub-committees was being altered; the Higher Ed sub-committee would meet first, and afterwards the Special Initiatives sub-committee. One thing you learn at the legislature, stand your ground, but about certain things, be flexible and patient!

Thankfully the Higher Ed. sub-committee was a brief one as they promised and Special Initiatives began at 12:45. The sub-committee quickly went through their list of bills, rolling (moving to future dates) some of the bills, moving quickly down their agenda (also called a calendar) to HB 2795.Sub-committee member, Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, made a motion to consider HB 2795. Discussion was then allowed. Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, so much a freshman that this is his very first February as a lawmaker, elected in a special election to fill the seat of Rep. Kathryn Bowers who was indicted in the Tennessee Waltz sting, was recognized to speak to the sub-committee. He has told us since January, as Mike Bell has spoken with him about this terrible bill, that he believes the Gateway, end-of-course tests are unfair to the public school students who many times, while making good grades during the school year are not allowed to graduate just because they make poor scores or fail the Gateway end-of-course tests required for graduation. Somehow he thinks the solution to this problem is to now require all private school students in Tennessee to take these exact same tests! He says he is trying to highlight the unfair plight of the public school students who miss graduation or eligibility for the Hope Scholarships because of their poor scores on the Gateway tests. No one in the private school or the homeschool arena can understand this rationale. We are deeply concerned that there is another unspoken agenda, perhaps from other motivation, perhaps from the TEA, who has always wanted to control homeschooling. It is as we all understand a grossly unjust attempt to control the world of private education in a back-handed way, i.e. through testing, while saying the reason is distress over academic struggles of public school students. It is very puzzling, very disturbing!!

As Rep. Hardaway addressed the sub-committee, he didn't spell out his reasoning in quite this detail to the Special Initiatives sub-committee, though he did say the Gateway tests were unfair because they are preventing public school students from graduating and receiving scholarships, ruining their future.He did turn and look at the audience, the homeschoolers, thanking us for coming, acknowledging that government is of the people, by the people and for the people as demonstrated by our presence there today and by our calls!! OK! He also said that the purpose he has in this legislation is to begin a dialogue with homeschoolers and private schoolers, which he believed had begun today. All of this is very confusing!

He said the bill was in a state of change, that it was not in its final form, but that since the dialogue had begun, he would rework it and return with a new and better piece of legislation. Rep. John Mark Windle took the committee into recess so that homeschoolers and others from the audience could speak to the committee.

Homeschool father, Dr. Carr spoke well on behalf of homeschoolers, bringing up the concern of the issue of control, explaining that course-specific (or end-of-course) testing and granting of diplomas based on those test results, will dictate our curriculum choices and control our education, eliminating private education in Tennessee.

Another homeschool Dad, Mr. Hoffman, made a very good presentation about his family's home schooling. He mentioned that HSLDA has warned that this is the worst legislation in the 23 year history of the modern homeschool movement in Tennessee. He spoke of his own homeschooling and of his children's, giving a brief explanation of their standardized achievement testing. He pointed out that this legislation will force end-of-course tests on homeschoolers to our harm. He then offered, that they consider the fact that homeschooling is doing well and suggested that they remember the saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!"

A representative of the Department of Education's Testing/Assessment Division, a Dr. Obie, I believe, spoke to the Committee about the DOE's testing requirements. He gave a good deal of detail about the tests required by the TN DOE and then those mandated by No Child Left Behind. He then informed the sub-committee that the TN DOE has altered their requirements regarding end-of-course tests; that no longer is passing the Gateway and end-of-course tests required for graduation. Instead these tests scores are calculated as 25 % of the course grade; indicating that this is a fairer way to handle the end-of-course tests. ( We just have to ask at this point, Isn't this the intent of Rep. Hardaway's bill? Hasn't he achieved his goal? What is the need for the bill to continue forward now that this goal has been met? To our complete amazement, no one on the sub-committee addressed this point to Rep. Hardaway!!)

Debbie Landers, Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools, TANAS, an organization of church-related schools, 50% of which umbrella homeschoolers, also addressed the sub-committee, explaining the testing required by their schools; that they are nationally-normed standardized tests. She also explained that homeschoolers regularly take these nationally-normed achievements tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or the Stanford Achievement Tests and that all of the homeschoolers going to college after high school take the ACT or SAT College Entrance Exams. Her testimony precisely answered the specific questions the committee had on how this bill would affect the TANAS church-related schools and the homeschoolers affiliated with them.

Committee member, Rep. Tommie Brown addressed us, homeschoolers in the audience, telling us that she has always supported us, that she is very open to us, referring to the fact that we should realize this because the TN legislature has granted us the freedom to home educate. She added that she knows the nuclear intact family is a powerful force in children's lives and makes a profound impact on their futures. She wanted all families to have the nurturing environment that homeschoolers typically have. As Claiborne Thornton understood it, it was her take on this bill that Hardaway was clever to sponsor this bill because it encouraged the legislature to be aware of the problems and inequities of Tennessee public high school graduation procedures, with the requirement that student's pass the high school proficiency, Gateway and end of course tests in order to graduate. She said she wants the public schools to improve to the point that homeschoolers will want to enroll our children. In a very simple response to this, I just have to say, that we have such differing views of the whole matter of education that at one level we really are speaking different languages.

Rep. Hardaway was called back to the podium. Mr. Hardaway promised everyone again (?) that the bill was going to be reworked, reworded and that he would be back with a new bill. (?) Rep. Les Winningham, D-Huntsville, long-time Chairman of House Education Committee, and not a supporter of homeschooling, really made it clear that he was not happy with the way Rep. Hardaway had managed the bill, creating the firestorm among us, disrupting the work lives of legislators and their staff with our distress calls and e-mails. He suggested in a very strong manner that Rep. Hardaway consider letting the bill die (he didn't use that word, but that idea), or that if he decided to roll it to a future sub-committee date, that he first rewrite it, then a week before it comes to the sub-committee meet with and discuss with those impacted by the bill, to make sure there would be no new firestorm. Sub-Committee member, Rep. Joe Towns-D-Memphis, arrived at the sub-committee meeting as Rep. Hardaway was at the podium this second time. Mr. Towns jumped right in. He learned from Rep. Tommie Brown that the bill needed a second to stay alive, so he supplied the second and very sadly, gave this bill continuing life.

Rep. Hardaway said he wanted to roll the bill for three weeks, so we face negotiations with Rep. Hardaway. This is what we intend to say to him; we want him to completely alter the bill, removing entirely the testing requirements of non-public school students from the legislation, which will alter it so drastically, it will have in essence, died. This is what we will accept in this legislation and nothing less.

If, after talking with Rep. Hardaway today or on phone calls with him, you have a helpful insight into a way to reason with him, a point you made that seemed to impact him or other insights into relating to this legislator, please let us know your thoughts, your insights. Thanks.

At this point, we don't have an alert about this bill (2795), asking you to call or take action, other than to PRAY. We will be alerting you to the developments when they occur. Let's join together to ask God to change Rep. Hardaway's mind and heart, to change his understanding of this problem and its solution!

God Bless each and every one! >>

(2) THAT REP. HARDAWAY'S HEART (and those other House members who are not in-favor of such unencumbered choices) WILL BE CHANGED TOWARD ALL NON-PUBLIC EDUCATION.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Carnival Is Starting

Next Tuesday, March 4th is the next edition of the Charlotte Mason blog carnival.
There is no particular theme for the homeschool carnival this time so please submit any blog entry that you are interested in sharing on any CM topic.
Here is the link for submitting an article: CM Blog Carnival
The deadline for submissions is Monday evening at 8 pm Pacific Time.
"Large families constitute a witness to faith,
to courage, and to optimism,
because without children
there is no future."

Said by: Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's That Time Again ....

That's right ... it's SOCCER SEASON !! Can you belive it ??

To our family, it seems like only yesterday we finished the Fall season and had our End-Of-Season party.

Sign-ups were a just few weeks ago, and last evening the coaches gathered to divide teams.

And this evening I called all of the members on both of our teams (DadToCherubs and I are coaching 2 teams together again this season) to set up our first practice for Monday.

We realized last night at the Coaches Meeting that we have coached for 7 years, 2 seasons per year. So that is a grand total of 14 seasons -- plus we have coached as many as 4 teams at a time, but never less than 2 teams per season. WOW - that is a lot of coaching !! We can also say taht we have never had a bad season -- we have never once regretted coaching. And we can also say that we have been blessed to meet so many children and their families !!

All six of our children have played A.Y.S.O. soccer, and we have almost always coached their teams. DadToCherubs and I have both really enjoyed coaching, and the children have all enjoyed playing.

These days, teams for children over 10yo are few and far between however. That is a shame !! Just a few years ago there were teams up through 18yo. We are not sure what the cause of the decline is -- all of the other sports groups (football, baseball, football, softball, etc) are reporting similar losses. It is a shame -- the big kids need good exercise and physical activity just as much as the little kids. We are not really a "sports" family, but we insist that our children remain very physically active whether with soccer (or with helping coach soccer) or with some other activities.

So - this season Cherub 5 will play her 6th or 7th season. And Cherub 6 will be playing his 2nd season. They are both PSYCHED for the season to begin. Cherub 1, Cherub 2, Cherub 3, and Cherub 4 will be assisting with the coaching of both teams, and will also participate in team practices to stay active adn to gain experience coaching for the future. And DadToCherubs and I are excited about it too !! It is such a joy to share our love of the game of Soccer with children -- to watch them learn and improve, and to pass on Good Sportsmanship to the next generation of players.

Please pray for our soccer season - that we have a lot of fun, and that we all stay healthy and safe !!

Monday, February 25, 2008

"You Know The Drill"

Most years we are pretty healthy overall -- and when Flu season hits it's PEAK in our area, we have a "routine".

First, we switch over to CLOROX brand cleaning products -- all of these products kill the FLU virus, as well as many other "nasties" that are common this time of year.

We bleach sheets and pillow cases, toothbrushes, bathroom counters, and more. I even wipe the door casings and doors and doorknobs with a bleach solution .... just to be safe.

We strip the beds and wash the bedding on HOT HOT HOT with Clorox of course .... and we spray the beds and pillows liberally with Lysol spray (which kills the flu virus and plenty of other nasties too !). We also use Lysol spray on everything that cannot be wiped with bleach -- like phones and remote controls for the TV and videogame system pieces .... and school books.

For the in-between stuff, and in-between times, I love these Clorox wipes -- my favorite is the greenish container ones which do not have a heavy after-scent. You WIPE AND TOSS which keeps germs from getting circulated through hampers and such. (Sick Season is the only time I use this disposible wipes to clean - they are pretty pricey.).

We try to go for a car ride or out for a snack one evening for several hours -- preferably when the weather is COLD --- we strip the sheets and blankets from every bed, spray the beds and pillows with Lysol first, then wash all of the bedding on HOT with plenty of Clorox --- then we open all of the windows in the house so that the COLD air (the colder the better !) can come in and help "disinfect" everything -- and we hang the sheets and blankets outside while wet. They usually dry despite the cold temperatures; the most improtant part is that all of the cold air helps kill any hidden germs, and also helps to keep new germs at bay. Then we come home and pop the linens in the dryer if they are not dry -- and we remake the beds. There is nothing that smells "cleaner" than line-dried bedding, especially in the cold crisp air of winter !!

We were just getting this process started on Sunday afternoon (the flu is at it's peak, plus the Os obvoiusly were ill when they arrived too, however our symptoms are not the same as the Os so this is obviously somethign else entirely) .... but, I fear we were too late. WE'RE SICK !! On Sunday night (around 10pm) we had 2 children with headaches, sore throats, and high fevers of 103 - 103.5. And as of lunchtime today, we now have 4 children with headaches, sorethroats, and high fevers, one of whom is also complaining about her ears hurting a lot. We have had some coughing and sneezing mixed in too (more so at night), but mostly it seems the fever is the worst of this "bug".

So -- DadToCherubs offered to help me disinfect everything tonight -- he said "what can I do ?". And I said (with a giggle) -- "You know the drill" as I handed him a can of Lysol and some Clorox bleach wipes. To the germs floating and hiding in our house we say C-H-A-R-G-E .... AND B-E Y-E G-O-N-E.

So, we are sick -- some of us are sick now, and probably some of us are yet to get "it". Hopefully we can get through it without too much difficulty ... and maybe without DadToCherubs and I getting it too ????? (DadToCherubs and I almost always seem to SHARE illnesses, meaning we get them at the same time. This is NOT what I think " 'til death do us part" meant though during our marriage vows. HA !!)

(2/26) TUESDAY'S UPDATE: Cherub 5, DadToCherubs, and I have not gotten this illness yet. Cherub 3, Cherub 4, and Cherub 6 seem to be well again. And Cherub 1 and Cherub 2 are still ill -- high fevers, headaches, sore throats, and now Cherub 2 is throwing up. Please pray for GOOD HEALTH to return soon !!

(2/27) WEDNESDAY'S UPDATE: Cherub 1 is slowly on the mend, but is still feeling cruddy. Cherub 2 is fever free today but still feels lousy. Cherub 3 is fine. Cherub 4 is fine. Cherub 5 is still untouched by this bug. And poor poor Cherub 6 .... he got up this morning saying "I have a hurting neck and I'm cold" .... a sore throat and a fever. Poor little guy - it seems his turn has come. And DadToCherubs and I are yet unaffected by this bug --- we are praying it will miss us entirely.

(2/29) FRIDAY UPDATE: Cherub 1 and Cherub 2 are mending, but not quite better yet. Cherub 3 remains untouched. Cherub 4 is completely better except that he is tired from the ordeal. Cherub 5 began with a nasty cough yesterday, and this morning has a 103 fever. And Cherub 6 is still plagued with a fever and sore throat, congestion and a nasty cough. And now .... DadToCherubs is fine, but I think I am getting it now .... OHHH NOOOO.


We had some very special company this past weekend. Six members of the "O"s came to visit on Saturday afternoon.

Miss Sparkle, who loved the sparkles on her shirt.

This young lady has the BEST "evil laugh" in all of history .... it was so funny to hear her "cackle" while running about trying to shoot everyone with Nerf darts.

Cherub 5 and her friend playing on the computer I never knew using the computer required soooo many giggles.

The Wi was a big hit - everyone took turns playing.

Even though the house was filled with girls, our boys enjoyed the company as much as our girls.

The "O"s stayed overnight -- we watched the new movie SNOW BUDDIES -- it was very cute. Then the coughing and sneezing began, and some low-grade fevers I think too --- four of the 6 visiting Os were obviously getting sick.

On Sunday everyone was up and getting ready for church -- and one of the Os had a pretty high fever and pain in her ears. THE POOR DEAR !! It is just awful to be sick and away from home. So we returned the Os to their mother, and then our family continued on to church. The Os headed home to put the under-the-weather-Os to bed ....



Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Stations Of The Cross

Some of our own Cherubs portrayed the women, children, and bystanders along Jesus's path to the Cross.

Cherub 1 portrayed a Soldier in several scenes.

One tradition during Lent for many Catholic churches is focused attention on the Stations Of The Cross.

On Friday evening, the Youth Ministry Group from our church did a live reenactment of the Stations Of The Cross. This is always such a touching presentation !! Last night's performance made quite a deep impression in several of the teen's hearts (Cherub 1 too !), as well as the hearts of several adults. The youth did a fantiastic job.

For a simple (intended for children actually) explaination of The Stations Of The Cross, please click here:

Our First CoOp Classes

Cherub 1, Cherub 2, Cherub 3, Cherub 4, and Cherub 5 attending the Physical Fitness & Good Health class at CoOp on Friday.

Cherub 6 painting with Tempras during his Art Class on Friday -- and using unorthodox tools to texturize his "Masterpiece" (the plastic cup). This "Work" was an alien with invisible eyes.

At the very beginning of our homeschooling adventure, we took some CoOp type classes. But since then, we have never taken any more. It was just counter productive that particular year.

But this semester the children thought it might be fun to take a few classes with other homeschoolers. So we looked at the list of class offerings and picked some things that interested us.

So the five "big" Cherubs will take Health & Physical Fitness together, which focuses on healthy eating and healthy life-habits like good exercise. And while they are taking that class, Cherub 6 is taking an Art class where he will get to paint and play with clay and such other fun "messy" activities. Then, after the first class, all 6 Cherubs are taking Beginner Level Clogging. This was a class they thought would be "fun"; just a new experience. Apparently God gifted our family with bright minds, but He did not think that we needed a helping of rhythm, nor did He apparently think we needed a bit more coordination. (KIDDING !! Ha !! Ha !!) So the clogging class was quite an experience, but it was enjoyed by each of the 6 Cherubs who are enrolled.

During these classes, we met several homeschooling families - so that was nice too !!

Our lesson plans are set up so as to allow a "light" schedule on Fridays, so as not to make Fridays awful. We will go to our classes in the morning, and then at lunchtime will come home and have lunch, and then we will work through some schoolwork in the afternoon. On Fridays we only have core-academics to do .... Math, Reading, Penmanship, Phonics or Grammar, and Spelling. So Fridays should go smoothly.

(I did not get any photos of the clogging class - will try to take some next week.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


February 21, 2008
Tennessee: Calls Needed to Stop Testing Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

We need your help now! Tennessee homeschoolers are facing the most serious threat to their freedom since the homeschool law was enacted
23 years ago.

House Bill 2795 would subject non-public school students, including homeschool students, to additional state testing. It would require them to take subject matter tests based upon state-approved textbooks.

It would also require them to pass the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program tests before receiving a high school diploma. These new testing requirements would also apply to students being taught at home through extension or satellite programs of church-related schools. Your calls to state representatives are needed to stop this dangerous legislation!
If House Bill 2795 passes, it will essentially mean the end of homeschooling in Tennessee. Parents deciding to teach their children at home would have to conform their curriculum to the material taught in public school in order for their children to be able to pass the state tests. The Tennessee Department of Education, not parents, would determine whether a student taught at home was eligible to receive a high school diploma.

Sponsored by Representative G.A. Hardaway (92nd District), this horrendous bill is now in the House Education Committee. It is scheduled to be heard by the Special Initiatives Subcommittee of the House Education Committee this coming Wednesday, February 27.

Representative Hardaway and members of the House Education Committee need to hear from you today!

Action Requested:

(1) Please call or write (both would be better) Representative G.A.
Hardaway and at least one member of the House Education Committee with this message:

"Please oppose House Bill 2795, which would impose public school testing on non-public school students. This bill would effectively destroy non-public education in Tennessee by requiring private schools, church-related schools, and homeschools to adopt the public school curriculum for their instruction programs."

The contact information for Representative Hardaway and members of the House Education Committee is set forth below. Members of the Special Initiatives Subcommittee which will hear the bill on Wednesday are indicated by an asterisk.

If your last name begins with A-I, please call the following members:

*Chair Les Winningham,
(615) 741-6852

*Vice-Chair Tommie Brown
(615) 741-4374

*Secretary Joe Towns, Jr.
(615) 741-2189

Barbara Cooper
(615) 741-4295

If your last name begins with letters J-R, please call these members:

Dolores Gresham
(615) 741-6890

Phillip Johnson
(615) 741-7477

Ulysses Jones, Jr.
(615) 741-4575

If your last name begins with letters S-Z, please call these members:

Michael McDonald
(615) 741-1980

Gerald McCormick
(615) 741-2548

Richard Montgomery
(615) 741-5981

*John Mark Windle--Chair of the Subcommittee
(615) 741-1260

To find the name and contact information for your state representative, use HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at .

(2) Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact Representative Hardaway and a member of the House Education Committee as well.

Additional Art (Artist and Art History) Resouces

Below are some of the resources in our Home Library that focus on Artist Study and Art History:

The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course In Art History From Pre-Historic To Post-Modern
By: Carol Strickland

The Story of Painting (By: H.W. Janson and Dora Jane Hanson) -- an older book, but FANTASTIC !
Art Through The Ages: Sixth Edition (Revised By: Horst de la Croix and Richard Tansey) -- another older book that is well worth having !!

Dover Publications has many of these "coloring books" -- some are period specific, some are artist specific. These are fantastic black and white "outlines" of works that can be colored, painted, and more. We have used MANY of these Dover books through the years, including this one.

Additional Art (Technique) Resources

Here are some of the Art Technique Resources in our home library. We highly recommend these:

The Watercolorists Bible (By: Joe Garcia)
The Watercolorists Nature Journal (By: Jill Bates)

Teaching Children To Draw (By: Barbara Ward)

Also on YouTube a search for HOW TO instructions will provide many results -- from how to sketch people, how to use perpective, learning about colors, oil painting, sculpting, acrylics, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, oil pastels, and more ....

On Teaching Art

One of the many "beauties" of Charlotte Mason's philospohy for education is that it includes Art.

First, there is the artistic "bent" to Charlotte Mason's methods -- sketching, watercolor painting, pastels, colored pencils, and pen and ink drawing (and more) employed most notably in Nature Journals, but also in Narrations and many other areas of study.

And then there are Handicrafts -- skills according to Charlotte Mason that are valuable in Real Life. These skills include knitting, sewing, crocheting, knot typing, leather work, carving, woodworking, and so much more.

But when speaking of "Art" as it was incorporated in Charlotte Mason's schools long ago, the intended study was of artists, and their greater and lesser works. And this study of "Art" is always a vital part of a true Charlotte Mason style education. I realize that this is not the Art-Class-Norm of today, which often is focused on 101 projects to do with paper plates, fingerpainting, toilet-paper tube construction, and other such projects. Projects such as these are (to me) Crafts. Crafts are great, but were likely not by any means "Art" to Charlotte Mason (nor are they in my humble opinion either).

These studies of Artists sadly seem to be disappearing from modern "school" education today - what a tragedy! In my own heart and mind, I cannot imagine a "complete" eduation without the admiration and basic familiarity with AT LEAST the Great Masters. How can one study history, literature, music, or even science without a basic understanding of Art -- true great art ??

When we began investigating Homeschooling, this Art focus recommended by Charlotte Mason appealed to me greatly of course !! But I will admit that I struggled the first year with this "subject" - how to teach art to "children". Would they "see" ? Could they "understand" ?? How would I share my LOVE of art with them ?? Unfortunately these questions (and the search for the answers) were put aside, and instead I focused on academics with all of the challenges facing a new homeschool Mom. However, I DID want to "include" artist studies but assumed any depth to these studies would come in the later years. Instead, I read all of the suggestions offered by Ambleside and in the various Charlotte Mason "style" resources, and we studied Art with these recommendations for our first year "at home". We learned some artists names, a bit about various mediums and styles, and recognized a few works "on sight". Atleast it was something, I thought. And it was better than "most" of the art that is being taught today. However, my heart did not rest -- even as we had learned about these beautiful things, the study itself felt very "isolated" and even "unrelated" to our lives and disassociated from our home eduation as a whole. And when short periods of time had passed, the lessons had been completely forgotten. The artist's place in their hearts and minds was disconnected - each study seemed to be an "end" rather than a "beginning". Our studies were not INSPIRING for the children .... they were purely academic in the "memorization" type sense. My own eduation taught that Art is meant to bring forth feeling and emotion, to inspire, to teach .... it is not meant to be filed in a "folder" in ones mind with a list of "to be remembered" trivia. Art is to be experienced and the children should form a "relationship" with the Work.

Back to the drawing board ....

I was discouraged, but was also inspired to try again. In our second homeschool year, we tried a new approach (and have used it ever since). We temporarily put aside the recommended Artist Rotation (although I do keep the vast quantities of resources from AO saved for future use by our family - these are great !) and took a detour from all of the suggestions available that I had read before. Going back to my own roots, instead we began to study artists that related to the period of history that we were studying. Bit by bit, Art moved INTO our studies ... became nearly a daily occurance, or discussion .... and gradually became PART of our education integrated into our other studies. We had successfully begun to form relationships with the artists and their Works.

How does this look today ?? When we study early Colonial United States History, we study artists from 1400-1600. And when we study the American Revolution, we study artists from that time period. We study artists and works from those "key" places in the world that we are studying. We go to Museums to see specific pieces that relate to our studies -- so as to incorporate them into relative studies and so that they "complete" or "fill out" our studies. This is to prevent Art from being "isolated", which eventually leads to being forgotten nearly completely (at least in our house). We focus on forming a relationship with the Artist or Work that we are studying, and this so far has proven to last in memories for quite some time, and hopefully forever (I can hope, right ?).

Our study of Artists through history has been incredible and vast, and is not nearly as difficult to "assemble" as one would think. But most importantly, it has brought forth INSPIRATION. We all have preferences and favorites, but this method of study pushes us routinely past those limitations into the discovery of new mediums, new methods, new periods and styles, new artists, and new works. It has been an amazing adventure so far and we are looking forward to more.

On a recent trip to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., -- to hear our children (talking to each other, to DadToCherubs, and one more than one occassion to total strangers) speaking of this painting or that sculpture and relating their impression as to "why" it is this way or that, or of how the "time" influenced this particular artist --- well, that was the goal; to have these studies relate to the "whole picture" of their education. What a blessing it was to hear them speak of what they know, and to discuss these works from such an "informed" perspective -- not only are these studies in their minds, but in their hearts as well. They have experienced ART, going beyond "like" and "dislike" into a relationship with the artists and the works, as well as the life and times surrounding them -- Art from history has added to their lives, to their hearts, and to their eduations.

**We also try to study Music and Composers in this manner as well, although it has proven to be much more complicated to find such a timeline to use as reference as this (below) one (not to mention that my own understanding and knowledge of music is grossly limited, so this does not help matters at all.)

The Met has a fantastic timeline of artists through all of history -- categorized by region, period, medium, and more. It has certainly been a favorite resource of our family !! It is with this site and with a few other books that I have been able to "plan" our studies in Art --- and it was so simple. Please check out this site --- perhaps your family can begin to experience Art too !!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

TONIGHT: Total Lunar Eclipse

From: UTC Campus Information [mailto:UTCINFO@RAVEN.UTC.EDU]
On Behalf OfJack Pitkin
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 9:53 AM

Subject: [UTCINFO] February 20 Lunar Eclipse

Friends and Colleagues,
Make your plans for the Lunar Eclipse Wednesday February 20. The partial
eclipse will start at 8:43 PM. The total eclipse will begin at 10:01 PM and
end at 10:51 PM. The partial eclipse ends at 12:09 AM. The UTC Jones
Observatory will be open to the public from 9:00 PM to 11:00PM.
Members of the Observatory Staff will be there conducting observation
and imaging studies.

A telescope is not necessary to appreciate the majesty of an eclipse.
A pair of binoculars, a comfortable chair, and a view of the moon
are all you really need. This event is weather dependent.
If it is cloudy, or rainy we will not be able to see the eclipse.
And, if it is cloudy the Observatory will be closed.

(The above is from:)
Jack Pitkin
UTC Physics and Astronomy

** The best viewing time according to our local news is around 10:30pm tonight !!

UPDATE: The children said "BUMMER !!" It was just too cloudy and we were unable to see the Lunar Eclipse here at home. However, we were able to see some great photos after doing a Google Image search for LUNAR ECLIPSE FEBRUARY 20, 2008. In case you missed it, there are some great images available to see with just a simple search.

CM Blog Carnival Announcement

Please take a look.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vacation 9 (The Journey Home)

We left Shohola at 430pm on Sunday .... our original plan was to drive 4 hours to Hanover, PA and then stay overnight with my sister ... then continuing the journey home on Monday. However, there was a HUGE storm system spanning from Alabama to NewHampsire .... all rain, but on Sunday night and Monday it was forcasted to bring ice and snow with the cold front that was pushing this storm system to the north east. So .... we made the decision to continue our drive ... to leave Shohola and head home to Tennessee.

The children watched movies and chattered .... and ultimately fell asleep (Cherub 4 and Cherub 5 above) .....

Cherub 6 struggled to stay awake until midnight ... he was talking big about staying up all night .... then it was midnight and he was SO pleased (photo above) to be the Last Child Awake ... but at 12:11am he was sawing Zzzzz's with everyone else. HA !!

We pulled into our driveway at 4:15am ... I called my sister to tell her we were home, and she said they were having terrible wind and that the ice had coated everything pretty thickly. Thank goodness we did not stop there ... that would have made for a messy departure from PA, and possibly a risky trip home to TN across the roads in PA, WV, VA, and upper TN.

At last ... we are home again ... safe and sound. HOME SWEET HOME !!

We slept until 10am this morning, and now are unpacking and getting settled here at home again .... we will resume our school lessons tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone in Maryland, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and Connecticut for making our trip fantastic. We had a truly grand time .... and we love you !!

Vacation 8 (The Poconos)

This is my sister, her husband (whose house we stayed in while in the Poconos) and my nephew.

This is Boo, who lives in the house in Shohola. He is the SWEETEST dog ... we all loved him !!

Cherub 5 and Boo spent lots of Quality Time together during our stay in Shohola.

On Sunday we played in the snow all day .... and DadToCherubs and I packed the car for the trip back to Tennessee.

Another cute photo of Cherub 5 with Boo.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

About The Washington Monument

One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington, D.C. there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument .

With all the uproar about removing the ten commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time. I was not aware of this amazing historical information. On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington , D.C. , are displayed two words: Laus Deo.

No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.

Once you know Laus Deo's history , you will want to share this with everyone you know. These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say 'Praise be to God!'

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States , it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo 'Praise be to God!' From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant ..a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message.

On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore;
on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians;

on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy 'One Nation, Under God.' I am awed by Washington's prayer for America Have you ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on! 'Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

Laus Deo!

When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of 'Laus Deo ', its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: 'Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.' (Psalm 127: 1) It is hoped you will send this to every child you know; to every sister, brother, father, mother or friend. They will not find offense, because you have given them a lesson in history that they probably never learned in school.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vacation 7 (Part 3)

After visiting with Granannie & GranDan & Cousins & Aunties & Uncles for the afternoon, we went to Mass at Our Lady of Loretto in Watertown, CT. The Mass was lovely. It seemed to us to be in "fast forward" --- every word was said soooo quickly --- New England style. HA !! This is the church where Cherub 1 was Christened, and Granannie & Grandan are his Godparents (and this is still their church) so it was an extra special Mass for each of them.

After Mass, the Beck's Bounty Bus headed over to Daveluy's for pizza --- one of DadToCherubs' favorite childhood resutrants. We had pizza with Uncle B (DadToCherub's only sibling), his friend C, and Cousin A and Cousin AA joined us too. We shared a lot of laughs and some delicious pizza .....

.... then after a few photos and some hugs, the Beck's Bounty Bus headed southwest toward the Poconos again.

Vacation 7 (Part 2)

Playing with the C Family and the B Family in Connecticut.

More playing in Connecticut.

"Look at the Space Ship we built !" (with the proud aritists on either side)

Cousins visiting.

The bigger boys "ice skating" in the back yard in Connecticut.