Once again, I am not giving up Facebook for Lent, nor blogging, nor Twitter, nor email, nor (snort) snail mail, nor Morse Code.
But holy smoke, a lot of people I look forward to seeing on FB are. So -- *I* should suffer?
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Not giving up any food or drink either. Usually I do the required fasting and abstinence but no more; this year I'm excused from either, nursing a newborn as I am, and I'm not even looking twice at the fasting.
Meatless is easy enough, so that I can do on Fridays and Ash Wednesday, no problem. Except when I forget and start to eat a Thai chicken wrap left over from dinner, and get halfway through it before I notice the chunks of chicken falling out of it onto my plate and think, "oh yeah, I forgot what was in this."
But I didn't really have to abstain from it, so I didn't even bother feeling guilty. I did stop eating it, though, and put the rest of it back in the fridge.
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I've found it's not really a great idea for me to give up ANYTHING for Lent that would be "good for me to give up" in general. Before you know it, I'm skipping sweets because I need to lose the baby weight and I'm getting up early because I need to get extra stuff done. I am the queen of mixed motives sliding into Nice Enough Motives. Lent is not just a self-improvement program, and if I try to make it a both/and then I will quickly make it into a Nothing More Than.
I really have to give up something pointless for me to get the point.
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Highlights of today included our first-ever day of working with oil paints.
Two of my kids have been gifted little suitcase-shaped art boxes in the past year, boxes that included a set of oils.
I forbade them from using the oils until we could systematically learn about oils. And then they had to suffer through a semester of watercolors first, because my painting book suggested that it was good to learn basic watercolor techniques first.
I've never played with oils either. They're so different from watercolors, it was really a treat. These are special student oils that are formulated to be miscible with water, so you don't have to mess around with linseed oil and turpentine.
Today's lesson was:
- Me lecturing them on the properties of oils and how they differ from those of watercolors (cheating by reading two sentences ahead from my paint book as I wrote things on the board - I wonder if all those people who think homeschooling is Too Hard realize that parents are allowed to use the teacher's manual?)
- Looking at my collection of postcard art prints to see the variety of different effects that oil paints can produce
- Explaining how the water-miscible oils will make our lives easier
- Mixing a few new colors using wax paper as a palette and painting the newly mixed flat colors thickly into a row of circles on a piece of canvas paper
Next time they'll blend colors on the paper.
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A couple of days ago I related on FB a Minnesotan homeschooling story: my three oldest children, ring-led by the 13-year-old, decided to have a "Who Can Stand Barefoot In The Snow Longest?" contest while I was upstairs nursing the baby in the bed and they were supposed to be cleaning up the lunch dishes.
It would have been smart of them to check the status of the knob-lock on the door first.
Eventually I stopped yelling "Stop that awful pounding!" from my bedroom and went downstairs to investigate, where I discovered some unhappy children. My seven-year-old daughter fared the worst, since just as I was coming down the stairs she had run around to the front (barefoot, in about two feet of snow) to try to ring the doorbell, and then she ran back. She had to have a very weepy, painful, warm footbath. No one was damaged and everyone learned a lesson.
Foresight-related winter exposure is a risk that is not borne only by Minnesota's homeschoolers, though, as this bit someone posted on my wall shows:
It happened around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Como Park High School in St. Paul. Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz says she was in the school’s pool when the fire alarm went off.
While other students had gotten out earlier and were able to put on dry clothes, Hagen-Tietz said she was rushed out with just her towel.
On Wednesday morning, the temperature was 5 below, and the wind chill was 25 below.
“So the alarm went off, and I thought it was like just a drill, like: Do I have to go outside?” Hagen-Tietz said. “And then he was like no, we usually don’t have fake ones in the winter.”
There's a lot wrong with this story. So...
This is Minnesota, where we can easily have snow on the ground in 7 out of the 9 months of the school year, and you don't have fire drills in the winter?
So... do you expect everything to, you know, go okay when there's a fire in the winter? Or do you only expect fires to occur during the 22 percent of the school year that is somewhat reliably NOT cold and snowy?
And you typically allow students to ignore fire drill alarms because they're "like just a drill" and it would be inconvenient to practice?
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I must be doing something right. My 13-yo today:
"Maybe 42 is the determinant of a matrix that stores all the data in the universe."
Could be, son, could be.