Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New interface test

So, I just got the new Blogger interface. My first reaction is that I'm hopeful because the old interface had been very clunky for quite a while.

Switching between "compose" and "HTML" seems functional. That's a vast improvement. Let's add a photo.

Papa and Chloe look pretty good and they loaded efficiently. Excellent. Howzabout if I add another?

A bit slower but not too bad. I missed the movie at the theater. It'll probably come to DVD pretty soon. I just hafta remember that it's not the book and doesn't even seem to have pretended to be "A Princess of Mars" just a movie (loosely) based on the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I've talked about him a coupla times on this blog, once for my HDS post and once for my first, and longest, unschooling post.

Ok, dat's enuf. I like it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For Mother's Day 2012

Ronnie is THAT MOM.

The best poem I ever wrote, no contest, is the one I wrote for Ronnie for Mother’s Day 2009. She inspires me. From the very beginning of our relationship to this point, more than a quarter of a century later, she is my muse in every aspect of life, not just poetry.

Kindness and thoughtfulness are inextricably intertwined in my perception. She is both of those personified. She has put up with my shit for that quarter-century-plus and still retained the bandwidth to be the best mom imaginable for our MJ and Chloe throughout their sweet, young lives. And even beyond that, she has demonstrated the depth of character to also share herself unselfishly and unstintingly with relatives and friends.

She is the bravest person I know, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ll tell you one illustrative story. In the Fall of 2005 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we finally managed to get our family sailboat, the Zombie Princess, under the multiple bridges keeping us in New Orleans and escape to the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. We spent a couple of days resting at anchor behind a Mississippi barrier island waiting for a good weather window to make our crossing from there to Naples, Florida, then tucked in behind a squall front which was heading in our direction but ahead/away from us.

Unfortunately, we were faster than the front and caught up with it the evening of our departure day. I’ve been sailing most of my life. I’ve been in some truly shit conditions: conditions bad enough to knock down a keelboat manned by a skilled 8-man crew; conditions where a tack consisted of the crew running the tack then climbing to the high side to be “rail whales” where they all sat puking their guts out and anticipating the same experience on the next tack; conditions where the autopilot could not handle things and hand steering was required and that was so taxing that we had to switch off every hour due to fatigue; and so on. During all those experiences, I never puked. I was always the iron-stomach guy.

Well, I puked that night. And I was cold and miserable. Yes, cold in the Gulf of Mexico in September. And it was all hand steering, all the time. And you know who kept an eye on the girls and relieved me at the wheel? You guessed it. Ronnie would get up from trying to rest and relax in the forward berth. She would first puke in the head, then make her way aft to the galley, near the companionway, where she’d puke again, in the sink. Then, she’d climb up to the cockpit, come sit by me at the wheel, and puke off the stern. Then she’d take the wheel and relieve me so I could try to rest and relax and recuperate a bit. After a coupla off-duty hours where I was at least horizontal and not at the wheel, I’d return and relieve her. Ronnie would relinquish the wheel to me and reverse her approach path, puking off the stern, going down the companionway to puke in the sink, going forward to puke in the head, then lying down to try to rest for a coupla hours until she relieved me. Again. And again. And again...

She did this for two days, until we mostly parted ways with that squall. If you’ve never been in circumstances like that, I can only tell you that she is not just mentally, physically, and emotionally tough, she is double tough. Beyond tough. Even though the squall was gone, we still faced three more days of sailing before reaching Naples. She, of course, continued to do her part and more. I wish you could have seen her as she piloted the Zombie Princess into the gas dock at the Naples Marina pretty as you please. An elemental power. A goddess.

My ability to tell you about her is desperately poor compared to her own writings. If you’ve never met her, or only know her superficially, read her in her own words. Start anywhere, read in any order. An exquisite human being will reveal herself to you. Ronnie is the Zombie Princess incarnate.

And as Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci) says in “My Cousin Vinny”:

She’s cute too, huh?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Guest post

Near the end of March a person named Dana Le Roy sent me an email asking to do a guest post:

I would like to see whether you'd be open for guest contributions. I am looking to write about something related to unschooling and thought that the topics I had in mind may go well with your blog.

I was thinking about the following subjects:

1. What are the benefits of unschooling?
2. How to begin unschooling?
3. Difference of homeschooling and unschooling

Apparently, there's a service which would like you to hire them to do regular guest posts and to gain your interest the first one's free. I've had that experience before. (wink)

So, here's the post I got based on the email quote above. I'll post it with no additional commentary. Feel free to leave your comments, however.

----------GUEST POST--------------

7 Benefits of Homeschooling Your Children

More and more parents are homeschooling their kids today, and for lots of different reasons. For some parents, the fact that public and private schools are filled with children who are behaving badly is a huge turnoff. Parents don't want their child to be sucked into that environment. Others complain that public school is too insular – kids aren’t learning enough about the world and how it got to be the way it is. There’s not as much of a focus on diversity or tolerance. Whatever the reason, homeschooling is becoming very much en vogue. It used to be that parents had to teach their child themselves, but this is not the case anymore. The internet has allowed parents to home school online, but still get the benefits of educational pedagogy. This advanced technology makes home schooling more enticing than ever before, plus there are still many benefits to homeschooling that have always rung true. Here are a few!

1) The Environment

What a student gets out of their education is what they put in. Focusing their efforts in a private or public school environment will not work if there are negative influences and/or other problems. Home school is the environment they are most comfortable in, so a child can relax and concentrate on their education with a clear head. Furthermore, there’s no competition with other children or mean-spirited peers.

2) Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Public and private schools have one teacher with tons of students in one classroom. That means less one-on-one time with the teacher, which makes a child feel left behind. With homeschooling, the teacher has less people to teach. This means that more time is spent on each student, which helps children understand the material better. With the help of parents, any child can excel in this environment.

3) Customized Education

Public and private schools have one way of learning. Some people get it, others get left behind. Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Homeschooling takes this into account and makes sure that their programs are made for every child to succeed. Homeschooling allows you to concentrate on your child's strengths and get special assistance for weaknesses. A child can also decide if they want to learn in the morning, afternoon or night, which can help if you have to work too.

4) Emotional Pressure

In addition to learning, students in regular schools have the added pressure of ‘fitting in’. In all schools, there is a social hierarchy that students create (i.e., popular kids, jocks, geeks, outsiders). Home schooling takes children away from this stressful environment and helps them to concentrate on what is important--their education.

5) Peer Pressure

The wrong crowd at school can convince a child to do things they would not normally do just to fit in, such asdrinking, smoking, doing drugs and skipping school, whichsway people from their educational goals. Homeschooling brings no such pressure, because their environment is in the comforts of home. It is the parents' responsibility, however, to teach them right from wrong.

6) Bonding

Parents and children can spend quality time together when learning. This is so great, because public school often makes interacting with your children impossible.Thanks to home schooling, parents and children have time to get to know each other on a deeper level, because you can share setbacks, struggles & intellectual interests.

7) Insularity

The biggest drawback to homeschooling is that your student will likely miss out on socializing with people who are different from them at school. This is a serious problem, but you can go above and beyond and ensure that your kid not only interacts with people who are different from them outside of the house, but also of different ages. Regular schools can’t provide this, because students there only interact with people their age. If you play it right, your children will know how to talk and behave around others their age, younger children, teens, adults and senior citizens.

Camilla Ford likes to write about education, saving money & visiting www.homeinsurance.org.

----------------END POST----------------