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Everything posted by Joshin

  1. Get a field or pocket scope to start with. The ones that can hook to a smart phone camera are awesome. We prefer 60 x - 100x zoom. A good one is less than $20. It's more than enough to get you through logic -- and through high school depending on how science-heavy you are. Take it with you when you are out and about. Use it often. It's so easy to use, why not? If you find that you need more or your kid is suddenly gung-ho about science and biology and now needs a more in depth course of study, invest in a good microscope. The field scope will still see tons of use, so you aren't out any money and you don't have to invest in a more expensive scope unless you actually use it. In fact, we had to buy a second field scope because both boys insist in keeping them in their hiking packs. What not to do is to get a cheap traditional microscope. These will put your kids off ever looking through the eyepiece because they are so frustrating to use.
  2. Regentrude pretty much summed up my feelings on obedience. I often see it as the opposite of a virtue. Even as young as two or three my kids understood basic reason, and it only took a few words to explain why an adult needed to be listened to. Perhaps my kids were advanced, but I doubt it! One is a natural rules and order type, while the other is definitely more rebellious (but oddly easier to reason with because he isn't as tied to rules). Of course, I have older kids and we have made it clear that they are free to make most of their own decisions, but they will also have to reap the consequences. This has lead to a teen and a preteen that research, discuss, and tend to make careful and non-rash decisions -- much better than obedience. My teen isn't expected to ask permission to do things. He may ask if we have family plans or if I need him around the house before making plans with friends, and we do ask that he lets us know where and when he is going somewhere. But we have a more important virtue -- trust -- so we know he will make the right choices 99% of the time. (And it played out this summer actually where we learned our trust was very founded in fact, after we received a call when he was the only one out of a group of peers that made the right and honest decision during a situation that was turning illegal :) ) Critical thinking and common sense -- those are much more important to me.
  3. I can't stand people that are constantly correcting their kids in public. It will make me leave an area because it is so uncomfortable. Witnessing public swattings and spanking were enough to give my sensitive kid nightmares and reduce him to tears when we witnessed it when he was younger. In my experience, public correction seems to fall into two camps -- you either see the kid physically wilt under the constant criticism or you see kids that begin acting out even more in false bravado because they are embarrassed. Note, I am talking about kids about age 7 or 8 and up that are behaving (or misbehaving) in age appropriate/expected ways. I'm also not talking about respectful corrections like "Jimmy, please stop climbing up the slide," but stuff like "You climb up that slide one more time I'm going to belt you!" I've never been one for public shaming or violence (spanking et al.). I can yell pretty loud if need be, but I've found pitching my voice lower gets it heard better. ;) My method has always been to pull the child aside and discuss the behavior privately. With only two kids almost 5 years apart, my experience with things like the swimming pool situation was much easier because I'd just wade in after the errant child because I didn't have a bunch of littles to keep track of. I know moms of multiples or with kids closer in age have it much more challenging!
  4. While there are some around here that still use it as an insult, overall "nerd" and "geek" are now the counter-culture cool kids. Most of my older son's friends are public school, and most fit more into the trendy clique than the social outcast cliques, and they are constantly trying to prove their nerd-cred or geek-cred. Of course, if someone says it to be insulting, I'm sure they would pick up on those overtones. My introvert 11 year old has always considered himself a nerd and he is exasperated with trendy nerd culture. As he generally puts it, he's a nerd not because he wants to be cool, but because he wants to be left alone. :P
  5. Mulling more over this topic and I was reminded of a friend of mine that made comments when we first began homeschooling years ago and weren't sure if we would go all the way through. He was adamant that we should at least HS through middle school. His reasoning was that middle schools were prisons for kids going through puberty (he pointed out how most of them have few windows, which is actually true for this area), and how everyone gets upset when young teens act out like criminals after spending a day in prison. Now, I don't really think this is the case. I had a tough go of it in middle school, but I can't blame it on puberty (at least not 100%) or school since I will still catch myself acting out in the same way I did in MS, even though I am now 40 years old, when I am around the same person (yep, my mom). This makes me think that in some ways rudeness and acting out is family related. There is a happy balance you have to strike at this age -- giving them room to begin separating from the nest so they can fly (and sometimes fail), but still being there to coach and catch them when they want it or absolutely need it. Acting out can be the result of either holding too tight or not quite tight enough. The result is then a "tough puberty." Disclaimer: This is absolutely not true of 100% of the middle school/puberty angst and issues that are out there, simply one more piece of the puzzle that may apply in some cases. Each family has to make choices that work for them.
  6. I've only had one go through puberty thus far, but overall not too bad. He was/is normally easy going and slow to anger, never back talks, but during the height of the hormone rage we did have some acting out, back talking, and anger issues that had to be worked through. Overall mellow compared to some of his peers (both HS and PS), although there were a few that handled it even better than him. I'm firmly in the camp that it is more a mixture of parenting and personality, rather than HS vs. PS. Along with better sleep - that's a biggie! Oddly enough, our biggest puberty issue was with other HS parents (although from my own experience I know it happens in PS, too). There were a few girls in our usual a HS group that got hit with puberty pretty hard, at least in their fathers' eyes. Which for some reason made these two dads think it was okay to threaten the boys in the group with physical violence if they laid a hand on the girls. Note that at least my son, and to my knowledge none of the boys, hadn't behaved in any way that could be deemed out of line towards these girls. They still didn't get it when my husband and I let them know that threats of violence against kids would result in us filing charges if it happened again -- it isn't acceptable, cute, nor a joke for an adult to threaten a child even if it's considered a "puberty right of passage" in some circles.
  7. We never blocked. My kids knew about the birds and the bees quite young, so they've never had the forbidden fruit urge to go looking for the naughty parts of the web. Younger son would have been able to find away around any blocks from the age of about 6 on, anyway. Younger son's computer is in a public part of the house. Older son has computer and smart phone in his room, but at this point he is more young adult than child. He's not as computer savvy but he knows we can check at a whim. We have all of his passwords to social media just to keep him honest, but we are really not concerned. We don't allow social media until age 13 (which is when we allow cell phones, as well). Older couldn't wait, younger is my introvert and the idea of purposefully talking to people makes him roll his eyes so social media may never be his thing anyway.
  8. I grew up in a suburb of a major city in east Texas. I've been back once and will be perfectly satisfied if I never have to go back again. It was hot and humid, people weren't very nice, and I remember a lot of ignorance, sexism, and racism and basic good ol' boy mentalities. A lot of religious persecution. At 9 an older woman grabbed me by the hair as I left the corner shop (a common bike riding destination with the elementary set) and screamed at me about going to hell because I was wearing a supposedly demonic care bear shirt. Yes, this was normal behavior and no one stepped in to stop her. My mom drove around for an hour trying to find the lady, and the police wouldn't even take down a report. My sister and I never fit in, even though my dad and all of his family was from there. Come to think of it, my dad never really fit in, either, but he could talk the talk and cut an imposing figure, so he could bluff his way through. My immediate family left when I was 14 and except for me having to go back there once in the late 90s on a work trip, they have never been back. My visit back in the 90s further solidified my views on the area. It's just not for me. I consider my college town of Denver my hometown now, because that was where I truly became the person I am today and that's also where all my lifelong friendships were formed.
  9. There are quite a few good options on Coursera. The University of Tokyo, in particular, has one called something like Big Bang to Dark Energy, that is set up so that you can understand and get a lot from it without knowing all the higher math. The instructor keeps that optional so students can take the course at their level. Your local astronomy club may also be an option. Ours, for example, has cosmologist, scientists, physics professors, and astronomers rotating through monthly as speakers.
  10. Hiking Medication Yoga The more I do the first, the less I need the second. In fact, the medication I am prescribed to take upon the onset of anxiety is now almost seasonal -- my anxiety now peaks during the heat of fire season when I can't get out much, so that's when I take medication. The focus and slow movements of yoga also work almost like meditation for me -- actual sitting still meditation worsens my anxiety if I am in the midst of an episode.
  11. We have a 1940s home. No eat-in kitchen and a semi-formal (?) dining area. It's just a small room sandwiched between the kitchen and living area, with an open entry into each. It doesn't really fill formal and the biggest table that fits comfortably is one for 6. It is designed in a way that would allow one to put up a large table stretching into the living room, if desired, I guess. Our entertaining usually takes place outside around a grill or in the living room, so I haven't really thought about it. I lived in a house growing up that had a very formal dining room, a casual dining area off the living room, a breakfast nook in the kitchen, and bar seating at the kitchen island. It was overkill and it was my job to keep all the crap in all of these rooms dusted and cleaned - and my mom loves crap! My motto now is less rooms and less stuff, and now I think know why! :lol:
  12. My son has taken three credit via an ALE for the last two years. We retain full-time homeschool status as long as we don't take more than one core class credit, fill out our declaration, and fill out the form to request ancillary services from the school district. I think the rules may be per school district, but not 100 percent sure. (We are in district 81, if that helps. If you are in Eastern WA, there is a Facebook group, Spokane Area Homeschoolers, that is run by a very responsive WHO representative).
  13. This isn't meant to offend those with a religious world view, but true existential depression goes much deeper than finding religion. While this can help certain people deal with an existential crisis, it just adds a different facet to depression. Instead of what is the meaning of it all, the questions become things like "why has God abandoned me/us?" In other words, it becomes both a religious crisis and ex. depression. I have been in support group settings and seen this first hand. One thing that may help, from a more agnostic POV, is to explore Zen Buddhism together. There are plenty of resources aimed at preteens and teens that can be fitting. I only mention Zen because many of the resources are relatively divorced from religious dogma, but the basic philosophy applies over many belief systems and is relatively accessible. The philosophy and beliefs were also purposefully crafted for dealing with existential, meaning of it all, crises.
  14. We read them both in 6th grade, along with some biographies on Twain. Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac are my two favorite authors, and both were men of their times trying to reconcile their differences in outlook with that of their contemporaries. Both failed in many respects, while they succeeded in others. Both said very offensive things, but while some some are offensive to modern people even more was offensive to their contemporaries. Kerouac, of course, isn't MS appropriate so I don't assign it until high school, and I offset it with a healthy does of Ginsberg as well. I also love Tom Sawyer for whenever my mom and her generation complain about "kids these days" and how kids were so much more respectful in the past. I just look them in the eye and say, "Have you even read Tom Sawyer? Don't tell me that kids were perfectly behaved! That 11 year old was even dating - -two girls!" :P
  15. As someone that suffers from this, I only have one answer. If you are seeing signs of anxiety or actual depression, please seek a therapist or counselor for your child. There is no one size fits all answer to existential depression and anxiety, because the root cause and internal belief structure of each sufferer is so different. I can go years now with meaning and purpose, and then a series of events can shake me to the core and I need my anxiety medication again. Now that I have a greater knowledge of science and the universe, and can see the big "picture," I'm fairly content with the small part I play in the game of life, and the even smaller part life plays in everything else. But it has taken me 40 years to get to this place.
  16. Thrift stores (but not Goodwill or SA) and garage sales are our main shopping outlets. We don't purchase new when avoidable for ethical reasons, so I have a running list on my phone. Whenever we are near a thrift store or garage sale we pop in and see if we can find any of our list items. My latest score was a new pair of converse for older DS and two pairs of good condition Columbia pants for younger DS -- grand total $6 and change for all three. Even DH's North Face jacket is from thrifting. As long as you are shopping for quality items you will do better at a thrift store/garage sale, you just can't plan on picking everything up in one trip.
  17. Thank you, Luuknam! I'm sitting at the oil change place on my phone, and my phone wouldn't load the link correctly for easy reading :)
  18. We do shots, but I'm curious -- was this just last year's vaccine or the mist vaccine in general? I simply ask because if it was only last year's vaccine, it isn't a major longterm problem. There are many different flu vaccines, and each year the CDC has to try and make (an educated) guess which ones are going to be the main culprit for most flu cases. This is why you can still get a flu virus with a vaccine. So, if the CDC made the wrong call with the mist last year, then it wouldn't have been very effective over whichever strains were the most common.
  19. We have a county virtual school that is open to all county residents - including homeschoolers (my oldest took math through it). It's open to MS and HS, and I heard they are adding elementary. There is also K-12 virtual school available to residents in the state. There's also deals between other counties, I know no details though. I just know some out-of-county homeschoolers that use our county's virtual school because their county doesn't have one. They had to get a waiver or pay a fee, or something. We are able to take advantage of school classes in services here, as homeschoolers, per state law without having to enroll in any other classes.
  20. I can't recommend John Muir Laws's books and online video enough. He's an Audubon guide naturalist and illustrator. His focus is nature journaling and art, but he also provides a ton of watercolor tutorials on his website for free. He also has a very good club group on Facebook where a lot of resources are provided. I'm on my phone, so can't link easily right now, but just Googling his name should find him!
  21. I don't have to prove anything. You just did it for me. You took the normal defense tactic of the privileged majority -- denied and belittled the experiences of the minority and then turned it around so that the majority is the victim. This right here is what privilege looks like. You can continue to engage me if you wish, but I will not be responding back.
  22. To be fair, you don't see it because you aren't the target of it. In this case, you are part of the privileged majority. It's just like it is rare for me to experience racism or for my husband to experience misogyny. It is often insidious and subtle, but the intent is very much obvious once you have been on the receiving end enough times. So just because you don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Your experience isn't the only experience.
  23. I can't understand how people that live off of plastic packed fake meat and tofu products, that were shipped halfway around the world using petroleum products and produced in smog-producing factories, can call themselves environmentalists. ;) (I'm not assuming you do this! Just my thoughts when I hear this argument. :) ) For me, locally grown food that is produced ethically and with as few fossil fuels as possible is the most environmental choice. I am not ethically nor environmentally opposed to meat eating when it is hunted from overpopulated species or raised ethically, since I do not see myself above other animals and consider all of us as part of the food chain. I cannot see a way for there to be ethically raised beef, for example, on the environmental side, so I will not eat it. This is only my opinion of course, and I do want to emphasize that I am not judging vegans, etc. I just hope we are all doing out best to preserve the planet for future animals and plant species for as long as possible.
  24. I have a tricky relationship with meat animals. I will likely never be vegetarian because as an animal myself I don't inherently see meat as unethical to consume. I think our treatment of the animals in factory farming is unethical. I do not eat red meat at all, as it's just easier not to. Strictly poultry of some form that is raised locally that I pick up from the farm myself. DH and I are also learning how to bow hunt (turkey and other wild foul), as I don't feel up to the commitment of ethically raising meat ourselves so this is the next best option. We fish and do shellfish (when on the peninsula), as well. I'm a very big environmentalist, zero waste, the whole nine yards, as well as going through a naturalist training program right now, but I do see an ethical side of hunting and know that in some cases meat is more enviro friendly (big picture). Trophy hunting is not the same as food hunting. It is not about food or hides. It is no longer about showing off prowess. Many ethical hunters and marksman are all about prowess, so they challenge themselves in other ways (such as using a bow to bring down an elk, instead of a gun). Trophy hunting is about power over another living thing. This is a dangerous personality trait, IMHO. Many trophy hunters are not skilled hunters or marksmen/women. They hire very expensive guides to line up the shot for them and guarantee they get their kill. They only have to pull the trigger when told.
  25. Doing my best to leave political details out.... I'm unhappy my candidate didn't become the party nominee, but I will still most likely be voting for the party although I am not too fond of the current candidate. My reasoning: The two most major third parties each have something on their platform that are on my no-compromise list. I have a short list of things I can't compromise on when selecting a party for my vote, so this is a biggie. The other major party has several things in their party platform that are on my no-compromise list. I agree with about 90% of my current party's platform although I don't agree with their nominee. When stuff gets hard, I vote for the party platform that most matches my desires. Less than perfect, but better than tossing away my vote for whatever it is worth.
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