Saturday, September 29, 2007

Banned Book Week

It's the American Library Association's Banned Book Week
September 29–October 6, 2007.

I did not know this when I visited my library this afternoon, sadly. I would have picked up a few to read this week. Our library opens again Monday, and Thomas and I will be making a visit.

I challenge everyone to read a banned book this week!

I think I'll revisit I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings this week--if the library has it. I'll pick for Thomas since he'll read what I put before him but doesn't like to select. Little Black Sambo (if our library has it) or How to Eat Fried Worms.

I will bold the books that I have read on this list. (Clearly not enough!)

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

Forever by Judy Blume
I am forever grateful to this book, because it taught me what I did not know. I read this in a train bound for San Fransisco, in a sleeping car with my parents within two feet from me. I was 16. Talk about leading a sheltered life, eh?

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
I read this and Thomas and I listened to it on tape together.

Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
I have flipped through this. My mother asked that I buy it for her, and I did. It still sits on her bookshelf, even though she's been gone 14 years. She died of natural causes, not from anything she learned in the book.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Not yet, but it's on our reading list for this year.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My favorite book in high school -- loved everything by S.E. Hinton!

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
I really wish we still had my childhood copy of this.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Name Meme

Because I have no blog fodder, and because I read this meme on two different blogs, I decided to play along! (Thanks to Meg and Gherkin Pickle)

Rock Star Name (first pet & current car):
Tammy Aerostar

Gangsta Name (fave ice cream flavor & fave cookie):
Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip

Fly guy/girl name (first initial of first name & first three letters of last name):

(What IS a fly guy/girl name???)

Detective name (favorite color & favorite animal):
Pink Cat

Soap Opera Name (middle name & city where you were born):
Gail Laramie

Star Wars Name (first three letters of last name & first two of first name):

Superhero Name (”The” + second favorite color + favorite drink):
The Purple Diet Pepsi

Nascar Name (first names of both grandfathers):
Willie Hugh
(as opposed to Huge Willie --er, Hugh Willie)
(I have a rotten sense of humor)
(Please forgive me, I try to keep it G rated, but I'm not perfect.)

Witness Protection Name (mother’s and father’s middle names):
Ann Eugene

TV Weatherperson/Anchorperson Name (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name & a major city that starts with the same letter):
Johnson Juno

Spy Name/Bond Girl (favorite season/holiday & favorite flower):
Spring Petunia
Fall Black Eyed Susan

Cartoon Name (favorite fruit & article of clothing you’re wearing plus “y” or “ie”):
Banana Shortie

Hippy Name (what you ate for breakfast & your favorite tree):
Bran Flakes Weeping Willow

Rockstar Tour Name (”The” + your favorite hobby/craft, favorite weather element + “tour”):
The Genealogy Rain Tour

Well, that was silly! I can't even pronounce Fstr.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hump Day

Today I got up and was showered and dressed by 8:15. I had my coffee and nasties in the garage and was raring to go. Thomas, on the other hand, had my yesterday today. He couldn't move. He was so tired. So I set the timer and told him he could sleep for a half hour longer if he promised to get up when the timer went off.

That worked.

So we started working Late, if there is such a thing in the homeschooling realm. However, he was spot on and working hard and he was done with everything, including math, by 11:30. I think we started at 9:30. Woo-hoo. In the afternoon we snuggled up to listen to a CD of SOTW. Yes, I fell asleep again. When it was over, we got up and cracked open the Spanish books.

My eBay purchase arrived. I ordered the lab book/workbook, which also came with a second text. That worked out really well for each of us to have our own text. We worked on our lesson, studied the words, then started talking. Thomas surpassed me in what he remembered. Good for him. As we were chatting, I noticed that the "no pencil marks" lab book that I ordered had pages missing. Tons of pages missing. UGH. I bought it because was described as follows: "THE WORKBOOK SHOWS SOME WEAR BUTR THE SPING IS FINE AND IT TOO HAS NO WRITING OR HIGHLIGHTING." They just neglected to mention there were at least 30 pages missing.

So I'll shoot off an email tomorrow. I've never asked for money back, but I think I'll ask for a small discount this time. It will work, because Bob kept his lab book from college. So I can white out Bob's answers and use that, but what a pain. That's why I wanted a new, clean-no writing workbook to begin with. Oh well.

We still had fun. We ran an errand tonight and were all speaking Spanish in the car. The boys surpassed me, but what great practice.

Who says you can't use a college textbook in 6th grade homeschool, eh? We'll just have to take it a bit slower. It will do.

I apologized to Bob yet again for continuing to move all his college textbooks. We've used a couple already, and I'm sure we'll use more to come.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A typical day OR ATYPICAL day

Our atypical homeschooling day

I awoke a little before 7 only to hear Bob grumbling about something. A few minutes later he was actually talking to me, the incoherent zombie, telling me that Jerry got sick but he took him and out and cleaned it up. He was late for work. Jerry jumped on the bed, snuggled in with me, and I passed out.

Awoke at 9. My heart raced when I saw the time. I was so tired. I rolled over and rubbed my doggie's tummy. All of a sudden it was 9:20. Wow, how did that happen?

Jumped out of bed, woke Thomas, started a pot of coffee and took Jerry potty. Got the dog his medicine, saw Thomas was preparing a bowl of cereal, so I took a cup of coffee to the garage aka smoking lounge and had a morning cigarette. And then another. Thomas called out stating he was still hungry and could he have another bowl of cereal. Sure. Lit a third cigarette.

It was going to be one of those days. At this point I was still exhausted and in zombie mode.

Went to the kitchen and Thomas had finished breakfast. I told him to start on his seatwork. He worked in: Nonfiction reading, Write!Write!Write!, Logic and Wordly Wise while I did the previous night's dishes. (Note to self: Spare myself morning misery and do the dishes when they are used!)

Did a quick spelling test using Sequential Spelling.

Got out Lial's for math. Working on Order of Operations again today. Made Thomas do 15 problems in the book after I worked through five on the white board with him.

Remember that I thawed cinnamon rolls for breakfast and got them out of the fridge to rise again. Hopefully they'd be done in time for lunch, which would be a nice surprise for my hunk of man.

Still haven't showered or dressed.

Thomas needs a break after the difficult seat work, so I go outside for another cigarette and let him run wild. His father had downloaded a Beavis and Butthead game the previous night, so Thomas tries it out. I hear squeals of laughter, uncontrollable giggles. Not wanting to face that, I light another cigarette and get another cup of coffee.

Go back into the house, call Thomas away from the computer. Am met with many whines. Throw the rolls into the oven as they've doubled in size. We discuss the history we listened to yesterday and kinda/sorta pick up our mess. We look at our Spanish books, but don't do a lesson because Bob will be home any minute.

Buzzer rings, rolls are out and frosted just as Bob walks in. Bob and Thomas discuss Beavis and Butthead. I just can't take it. I think it's grounds for divorce. Go out into the garage, again, with another cup of coffee.

The secret must never be revealed that I actually think Beavis and Butthead are funny. There, I said it. I laugh inwardly, but frown outwardly and put it down all the time. I will not share in their B&B joy.

Bob comes out to join me in the garage. Then he's off to work. Thomas and I read a section in our science book. We then snuggle in bed ready for SOTW CD. We've been listening to a CD every day. Fast history! Today we gasped as we heard people's bodies, who had died of plague, were put into catapults and thrown into a city. Was too tired to hear the name of the city. We were horrified, but in high listen mode. So high that all of a sudden I heard Thomas say, "Mom, it's over."

Huh? Did I fall asleep? Thomas: Yes, mom, you fell asleep AGAIN.

Jump up, assign him his reading for the day and I hit the shower. By this time I'm not pleasant to be around. Feeling much better I get dressed and put on a happy face. It's 3:00 in the afternoon by now and I'm finally awake and ready to start my day.

Oh wait, it's 3:00! We scramble fast, jump in the car, drive to the public school to pick up Thomas's friend to take her to ceramics class. Driving to the public school is just SO much fun--NOT. All the soccer moms drive by me in their SUVs with their perfect hair, perfect clothes, just looking down on me. lol So I drive a sedan and not an SUV, so what! So I threw on a t-shirt that has a small hole in it. So what?

Take the kids to ceramics, stay with them because the teacher isn't there yet. I desperately want to sit down and do a project with the kids. It just looks like such fun! I told teh teacher that once and she invited me to come to the adult class which is on Wednesday mornings. Sorry, I have other classes at that time was my answer. I wonder if she'd let me buy a piece to take home and paint and have her fire. Will have to ask. I pay her for Thomas's last two projects, $27-ouch, and am on my merry way.

As I'm driving home I remember there is one computer tower and two monitors in the trunk of my car. They've been there for at least a month. I curse them every time I go to get groceries. I pull my car over, and grab my cell. I do NOT drive and talk on the cell at the same time. I do chew bubblegum and walk and rub my belly at the same time, though. I call Bob.

"Hi, you big hunk of a sexy man, you, my stud muffin, my sweetheart, my manly man."

Bob: "(Sighing) Okay, what do you want now?"

Well, guess a little afternoon delight is out of the question.

I ask him to accompany me to the Waste Management place to unload the beasts. He does, I pick him up, and we pay $37 to get rid of the two monitors and tall base. I think we cheated, though, because when we paid the bill we didn't tell them about the keyboard. We put the keyboard in the pile, too.

Done. I now have a trunk that is almost completely free! Except for the big, huge bag of concrete that Bob put back there. At least I'll be able to get the groceries in now.

Drop bob back off at work, and drive home. My dog was anxious to greet me. I took him outside and played a bit. He's feeling really good today and only got sick once. He's happy and energetic, so we have a fun play. Went back into the house and had to scramble. It was time to go get the rugrat. My keys, where in the Q@#$ did I put my keys? A five-minute search in the house finally ended up with finding my keys in the bottom of my purse, where I always put them. Ahem.

Go get rugrat. Stop at the store for more hamburger for dog and cereal for us. And french bread as we're having spaghetti for supper.

Drive home, start boiling five pounds of hamburger on the stove. (I don't fry burger.) Start supper. Thomas is playing the Beavis and Butthead game, Bob is napping on the couch, Jerry is at my feet begging for hamburger.

Call the crew to "slop". I usually say slop's on. I shouldn't do that, it's not very appealing. But the boys both hate spaghetti, so I wanted to use a word they'd appreciate. This is one of the few ways I can get a vegetable into my child -- the very child who wants to be a vegetarian. And I'm not saying spaghetti sauce is a vegetable -- with all teh sugar and other stuff, it's pretty far from it. But at least it is a good copout in my mind.

We eat supper and then it hits. I'm tired.

Put the food away, leave the dishes, and I lie down on the loveseat for just a minute. An hour later I hear Bob and Thomas laughing about beavis and Butthead. GRRRR A whole hour went by. This is my second nap of the day. Yuck.

Check for emails, take the dog out, search teh TV. Nothing is on. Sweep the kitchen floor, look at the dishes and say...I'll do them tomorrow.

Come down to read blogs and boards and Bob and I have a music war. We take turns playing our favorite songs at youtube. We call Thomas over because this is a music lesson. Good rock versus bad rock. We tell him to memorize the songs and the artists as there will be a test. First up is Frankie with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Thomas is scared watching the video. He doesn't like the way the look. I explain that in the late 70s early 80s all guys had really bad hair. lol Bob plays Juice Newton's Just Call me Angel. I break out in song, singing along, totally ruining their experience. (I can't sing.) I play Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. Boos from both the boys. Bob plays Pat Benitar. A few of them. Once again, I sing along. I play my all-time favorite, Hotel California. I sing along. I sing loudly. I turned around to look for Thomas -- he had left the building. Gone. Couldn't handle my singing. Bob played some Led. I made Bob leave by playing the theme song from Brokeback Mountain. When that was done, Bob came back and played sever of Heart's songs. Then Joan Jett. Once again, I sang along.

I'm scary.

That was the extent of our night, other than explaining why our picks were better than the others. I was quite surprised that Thomas liked his father's music better than mine because he always takes my side. I was getting ready to play some Willie Nelson--guess I would have lulled him to sleep with that.

Get the boys to bed, take my sleeping pill, take the dog out one last time, get online again, print some math worksheets while waiting for the pill to kick in. It's 12:35.

12:35. Means I'll get to bed before 1 tonight, but it will be a groggy, sleepy incoherent morning tomorrow yet again.

And that is a typical day in our homeschool. Nah, it's not typical. We didn't hit on all our subjects and we didn't do any fun projects. But there was some learning going on. Perhaps tomorrow I'll print out the lyrics for Hotel California and we can figure out what in the heck it means. Bob and I thought it was a drug song, but beings as though I've never been in the drug scene/culture, I wouldn't know. I love the song nonetheless.

And now it's to zombie land.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Evening

Don't feel like blogging, yet I feel the need to get rid of some of the negativity here with something actually homeschool related.

This year is continuing to go well. I have had streses over math, but when I relaxed and realized we were in no race (thanks, Carole) things became much more clear.

We will continue with Lial's. And we'll take our sweet time. Today Thomas worked on exponents and order of operations. He just told me that even though he hates math, he loved order of operations. It's a good thing, because there are two more pages in the book I will have him complete.

Life is much easier when one takes a breath, relaxes, and lets it flow. The answers are there, we just get too worked up to see them. I think this will work.

Thomas continues to have a fantastic attitude. (Mostly, he is human, so I don't expect perfection. lol) He's working hard, learning and getting his tasks done in good time. Still. Knock on wood.

This year we bought Write! Write! Write!. It's a format writing book. The kind of book that gets lots of negative reviews because it's fill in the blank, has story starters and does not tap into one's creativity. Well, it is just the ticket for my reluctant writer.

The book starts of gently. The first few lessons were fill in the blanks, similar to AdLibs. Thomas loved them, and of course wrote the stories with gross, boy-loving, mom-disapproving humor. Okay, so he writes about poop. Whatever. He's writing!

Today he had to write sentences that started with the same letter. We had lots of giggles, evil mother looks, mother shaking her Head, and mother saying NO -- but he laughed and had fun. And he wrote some funny sentences. And that was the point.

As we move on in the book, it will get more into writing that most of us are familiar with. I like the fun approach because he's not hating it already, not complaining that it's boring. He actually asks to start with writing. What more could I want?

We finally added spelling in today. That goofy child started mocking me. Every time I gave him a word and used it in a sentence, he was a half a second behind me repeating everything I said. I said stop it and he said it almost in unison with me. This went on during all 25 words. At the end I laughed and told him that it was fun, ONCE. I explained how spelling is serious business and he needs to have a serious attitude. Right as I said that, Bob walked in the door. I told Bob what Thomas did, had him tell me how his morning went and I did to him what Thomas did to me. Bob won't win the father of the year award today. He laughed. And laughed and laughed. Yeah, Bob, way to encourage your son.

Tomorrow we will start school with a roll of duct tape sitting on the table. When Thomas asks what it's for, I'll tell him it is to zip his lip.

This is a JOKE. I would never do that to my child. But it is my evil revenge.

While on the topic of writing, I had Thomas look at some of the books at History Scribe. He's looked at these before and balked. Today he saw that they might be fun, because he could draw a picture and write about the topic. He asked me to buy one. So I bought three. Colonial Times, Geo-Terms, and....don't gasp, but The Life of Jesus.

Yes, I know this is mostly a secular blog. But I'm not a secular person. I keep my religion close to my chest. We are Christians, but we don't go to Church. Thomas has been begging to go to church. I tried, we picked one out, talked to the pastor, he told us he'd come to our house and meet with us -- and he never showed. I took that as a sign. So instead I bought him a junior bible at our brand-spanking new Walmart. Who knew they sold bibles? And we've been reading that. (Did you know there was polygamy in the beginning of Genesis? I was shocked, because I didn't know that! Me, a fan of HBO's Big Love, didn't know that. I thought it was later in the book.) I thought about getting some curriculum. We do have Rod and Staff bible, but it's rather dull. When I saw the History Scribe, I figured I could handle that because it is basically bible verses--no preaching, no one sharing their version of what those passages mean.

So that will be our religious studies. Nice, easy, reading, sharing, discussing, coloring and writing.

And with that shocking revelation, I think it's time to close this entry and start printing.

p.s. because it's my blog, I get to talk about my poor old doggie ad naseaum. Jerry only threw up once very early this morning, and has kept the rest of his food down. He's perkier, feeling better, and has a bounce in his step. We'll probably take him in Friday (unless he gets worse) for blood work. If those enzymes have lowered, we'll have surgery. We think. It will cost $500. That's a LOT of money. He's a special dog, though. There are no guarantees about surgery, but I love him so much, and as long as he's not in pain now, it may be worth a shot. What would you do???

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I needed a laugh today

And I got it. I laughed so hard at this I had tears running down my face. Even my dear, sweet husband Bob thought it was funny!


Dear Walter:

I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for
work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as
usual. I hadn't gone more than a few hundred yards down the
road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a
halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help.

When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was parading
in front of the wardrobe mirror dressed in my underwear and
high-heel shoes, and he was wearing my make up.

I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for
twelve years. When I confronted him, he tried to make out
that he had dressed in my lingerie because he couldn't find
his own underwear. But when I asked him about the make up,
he broke down and admitted that he'd been wearing my
clothes for six months. I told him to stop or I would leave

He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he
has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I
love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum
he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get
through to him anymore. Can you please help?


Mrs. Sheila Lusk

= = = =

Dear Sheila:

A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be
caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by
checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is
clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes
onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves
the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is
faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor
float chamber. I hope
this helps.