Thursday, April 30, 2009

List of free online college courses--including Stanford, Yale and others

I was familiar with some of the university course material available free of charge online, but it was great to discover this site that pulls all the information together in one list!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


It's time for an update on our lives!
I've been busy, and mostly staying off the computer, which I find to be a very effective Man in Gray (read Momo by Michael Ende if you want to follow up on that reference--the Men in Gray are Time Thieves). My best computer-avoidance strategy is to actually disconnect my monitor and hide it away in a closet. I really have to think twice about getting online "just to check on something" if I have to reconnect cables and boot the whole thing up first!
I've been reading "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille and its two companion books. Lots of really good ideas, although I find the tone of "I am the authority and this is the Right Way to educate!" to be slightly irksome... The whole premise that all leaders must be educated in a particular way is frankly not one that I subscribe to. I do believe in principles, and I think there are good principles in these books. My hope is to take the best of this and others great thinkers and practicers of education, and create my own synthesis. Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, Maria Montessori, Susan Wise Bauer, Raymond and Dorothy Moore...these are all thinkers and educators worth studying and learning from. In the end though, my children are mine and my husbands to raise up and educate, and we need to find the path that works best for our family and best meets our particular objectives.
Lily has another violin concert coming up on May 9th, and one on June 27th, with a piano recital in between--so we have a lot of practicing to do. I've been on something of a book-acquisition spree, which my husband hopes will not last much longer. One of my favorite finds is a beautifully illustrated edition of "The Secret Garden", which I hope to read to the children soon.
We had a fun weekend, including a visit to the parking lot at Knott's Berry Farm. Yes, just the parking lot, not the park itself! There was a hand-built autos show, which my husband was eager to see. We looked at neat cars, had lunch at a McDonald's with electric trains for entertainment, and then stopped at a local Goodwill store where we found a few more nice books, a great pair of shoes, and an inflatable wading pool referenced in my last post.
Life is good!

Warning: No Diving

We got a wading pool for the kids this week, you know, the kind with inflatable sides and a maximum water depth of 6 inches? As I was setting it up, I noticed the warning in bold print on the side: No Diving. Really? I am so very disappointed. I was all set to plunge in head first.

Anyway, I've thought up a few warning signs that might prove more useful in my life:

On my 5-year-old daughter: Warning: Do not say anything within my potential earshot that you do not want me to hear, analyze, and potentially repeat.

On my 3-year-old son: Warning: Do not underestimate climbing ability

On my 16 month old daughter: Warning: Monkey See Monkey Do

I could use a few other reminders in my life. For instance, a mechanism in my car that would beep if I am leaving something behind (like the groceries in my cart after my last shopping trip--I didn't even realize the mistake until 6 hours later! At least it wasn't one of my children...) Maybe a light that would appear on whatever item I am looking for when I enter a room, especially if I have forgotten just what it was I came into the room to look for. A GPS locator for each child when the are running around outside would be nice, too.

Oh well, until such gadgets and warning labels become available, I will just have to be content with remembering NOT to dive headfirst into the wading pool!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Yesterday evening I was in Target, kidlets in tow. As we made our way through the office supplies section, I could hear a loud voice coming from the next isle over. As they rounded the end of the aisle I saw two teenage girls, one talking on a cell phone with the volume turned up so high I could hear both sides of the conversation. What I heard went something like this:

Girl: I'm gonna have a girl. If the doctors tell me it's a boy I'm having an abortion...
(male voice on the phone): But it's a baby...
Girl: Nah, I want a girl. If it's a boy I'm gonna...

The voices faded as the girls walked away. I felt like I had been splashed with cold water. The tone of the conversation of that of flippant, irreverant teenage gossip; the subject was a human life. I reluctantly followed my kids down the aisle, wishing I could follow ofter this young woman and communicate to her just how precious a baby is.
I still wish I could.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If I weren't there...

Last night as I snuggled down at bed time with my still-nursing toddler I called out "Sweet Dreams!" to the kids going to bed in the next room. Little Esther looked up at me and said "ee eee!" copying my intonation exactly. I said "sweet dreams" to her, and she went back to nursing. Several times before she fell asleep though she pulled away, looked up, and said "ee eee". I always responded "sweat dreams!" and, satisfied, she snuggled close again. I lay there thinking how glad I was to be there, to share those little moments with her. Then I thought of all the other things I am there for, and how much I would be missing if my days were spent away from my children.
I'm just glad to be here.

Kid-created lacing doll

Lily drew this doll and asked me to cut it out and laminate it for her. Luke later got ahold of it and started punching holes--much to Lily's dismay. I salvaged the situation by punching a few more holes and turning it into a lacing toy.

Cooking with Kids

Mary Anne recommended a really neat book for cooking with kids: Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson. My kids really eat up their recipes ;-) This is Luke making Zuchini Moons. Don't worry, he's using a table knife.