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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The #1 Favorite Gift This Year.

I'm always fascinated to see which gift will become the favorite. It is always something bizarre and usually something from the local dollar store.

The Number One Favorite Gift This Year in the Grizzly Den?! (drumroll please.........)

The Whoopie Cushions From the Dollar Store!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The po' people really know how to decorate for Christmas.

We were all over the Philadelphia Metropolitan area on Christmas day. From here to there we dashed in our little car, exchanging gifts, visiting friends and eating tons of food. From our little working class neighborhood to others nearby and then out to the tonier locales: Edgemont, Newtown Square and West Chester.

We noticed that the working class REALLY do it up right when it comes to Christmas lights. Including us - oh yes. Although Troll didn't feel like stringing lights outside this year Grizzly Mama would have none of it. Since half of our lights seem to have died over the summer - off to the dollar store I went. Lighted candy canes for across the garden, window lights for the upstairs windows and of course the huge 7 foot polar bear blow up thingy that has a fan keeping him inflated and lights inside. Along with the greens and the little Santa sign that Mom-Mom made. Lights around the big living room window to frame our most beautiful Christmas tree with the twinklers on it. It was the best I could do in a pinch.

We love to drive around and look at peoples Christmas lights. We noticed that the further out we got - the less of the ostentatious displays we saw. At most maybe white lights only. I guess they feel 'less is more' and that is so true in most cases - but NOT for Christmas lights! And all white lights is SOOOOOO boring. Unless it is paired with greens in every window as it was in one mansion we passed.

Down here with the poor people it's fragging beautiful! I need some color! Some action! And lots of it. THEN I'll oooooh and aaaaah. Why, just a few blocks over where it's mostly Section 8 housing the whole fragging block is lit.

Tomorrow I will cruise out with the girlies to see what's 75% off for lights and buy some for next year. I'm dying to get one of those little trains that the lights move in such a way that it looks as though the wheels are going 'round and 'round. And a whole bunch of small spiral trees to line the walk to the front door. And one of those white plastic fake trees with a million multicolor lights on it - although Troll wants the one that changes from blue to white and back again. I know - we'll get them both!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!

The Grizzly sloth would like to extend holiday greetings to all! I'm polishing off some pork fried rice (a great midnight snack!) before I fall into bed after a long day of cleaning, prepping, wrapping, defrosting, last minute shopping etc... The count-down is on. The coal is set in the smoker. The wood is stacked by the fireplace. 'A Christmas Carol' is queued up, the lights are lit. I can HARDLY WAIT for Christmas!!!!

Have a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Odds and Sods

This piece by Steven at 'A Republic Madam If You Can Keep It' turned my patriotic little head today and gave me some food for thought:

Colder Than Usual.

My friend Abe, who roams the great American desert, put this up a bit ago and I loved it! You will too:

You Might be a Moonbat if...

An interesting bit from The City Troll about Rep. Murtha - you know. The one who is urging a pull-out of troops from Iraq? HE was the one who advised Clinton to pull-out of Mogadishu. Yes - THAT Mogadishu.

Mogadishu Murtha (as I, Grizzly Mama, will call him from now on..)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I'm stressing about border control again.

Help me out here. Whatever your feelings about border control and illegal immigration, please take this survey:

Online Survey.

Vicente Fox is pissing me off again. Something is WRONG with that man. First he spouts racial remarks about 'jobs that blacks won't do', now he's tripping on a fence being erected to keep the illegals out. I can't stand listening to his crap anymore.

He needs to read THIS!

Mr. President, I'll do that job!

I'll say it again - those jobs that Vicente Fox says blacks won't even do are jobs that I have done to stay alive!

As for the fence? We don't need a stinking FENCE! We need a 3 foot thick, 12 foot high WALL manned by armed military. No it's not a Berlin wall you lefty whackos. The Berlin wall was designed to keep people IN. This wall will keep people OUT. Just you read this:


What KIND of people would this wall keep out? From the above article, here is a sampling:

"Our southern border is militarized now as we speak, but not by U.S. Troops. The Mexican military is on and across our borders on a daily basis. The Zetas are crossing at will and firing on our citizens. MS-13 and other violent gangs are waging the battle alongside of the rest. They are participating in and assisting smugglers of drugs, arms and people, and they are not afraid of retaliation from the United States government."

Yo, Vicente! Kiss my white American ass!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Didja ever get that feeling that Deb doesn't like you? ;)

She tagged me - yes. She did!

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Learn a few languages - and ensure that my kids learn a few, too
2. Travel to many far away places - and take the kids
3. Sculpt
4. Get out of debt
5. See my girlies grow up strong and good
6. Hold my grandchildren
7. Home educate these girls through high school.

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Tan
2. Cut people's hair
3. Fly a plane
4. Reach the top shelf at the supermarket without climbing up the lower shelves
5. Drive a semi
6. Cook a steak properly
7. Run very far - my knees hurt :-(

Seven things that attract me to home educating:
1. Having control over what my kids are being taught.
2. Being able to spend more time with my kids.
3. Having that opportunity to experience new things together.
4. Being able to sleep late. (none of us are morning people...)
5. Knowing the families and kids that my kids hang out with.
6. Seeing those achievement test scores. Dang - we're doing a great job!!
7. Being able to travel with the kids when we want.

Seven things I say most often:
2. Have you put your shoes on yet?
3. Crap!
4. Maybe if we try this...
5. Are you full?
6. Good Lord!
7. Who left this in the middle of the floor?

Seven books (or series) that I love: (Hard to narrow down...)
1. Harry Potter.
2. Sherlock Holmes.
3. Anything Dickens.
4. Anything Twain.
5. Eloise.
6. The Wind in the Willows.
7. The Bible.

Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time):
1. The original version of 'The In-Laws' with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.
2. Pulp Fiction.
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
4. Any Charlie Brown holiday movie.
5. Interview With a Vampire.
6. The Sound of Music.
7. Finding Nemo.

Five people I want to join in, too. Hmmmmmm - Let's torture the homeschoolers this time:
1. Tshsmom
2. Dani
3. Sprittibee
4. The Thomas Institute
5. The City Troll (He's the homeschooling Grizzly Papa.)
6. Neo
7. In Rejection of Mediocrity

Sorry y'all. I KNOW you're busy. Criminy - the work never ends!!!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

It's official. The studies have now been studied.

Socialization of homeschoolers is no longer an issue.

"Susan McDowell, author of "But What About Socialization? Answering the Perpetual Home Schooling Question: A Review of the Literature,” has researched 24 studies on the socialization of homeschoolers, according to Bristol Herald Courier. "It’s a non-issue today," said McDowell, who earned Ph.D. in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University. "All the research shows children are doing well.""

Does she have enough initials behind her name for you to listen to her? Is the University she attended prestigious enough for you?

Well - thank goodness for her. It's only what I and anyone who has home educated their own kids have been saying for years now. The kids are FINE. In fact, they're better off.

You will still find the naysayers though. Our Susan McDowell has tried to find something, ANYTHING, to support the naysayers. Here is what she found:

"On one occasion, she was challenged by one of her publishers to find evidence that homeschoolers were socially deficient compared to their publically educated counterparts.

However, she claims finding no one in the academic field with such view supported by research."

The next time you hear the claptrap of homeschoolers not being 'socialized' - just refer them to this woman's book:

I'm at the library now. (The kids are participating in a Christmas craft project and guess what? There are OTHER KIDS there!! Yes - my kids actually DO get out of the house and spend time with OTHER KIDS!) When I get home to my notes I will put up a link on the sidebar to Ms. McDowell's book.

H/T Sprittibee


Friday, December 09, 2005

I owe you one, Big Blue Hairy Eye..

Well! The old lady managed it after all. It took hours of searching for just the right thing. Then the testing phase. Finally full implementation.

Happy Blogaversary!!


Saturday, December 03, 2005

High School Diplomas and Homeschoolers in PA.

Although PA is a state with high regulation in regard to homeschoolers - we are lucky in that we have the PHAA - Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency. PHAA's high school diploma is recognized by the PA Department of Education.

Unlike the GED - which many homeschoolers are forced to get in order to attend college or join the military - there is no stigma associated with PHAA's diploma.

From the website:
"PHAA's standards, which can be found in its bylaws, are based upon seven principles:

1.Homeschool graduates should be literate.
2.Requirements should be construed in flexible ways.
3.Homeschooling families can be trusted.
4.Outside structure can be helpful.
5.Requirements should be clear.
6.Diplomas mean more if someone outside the family is involved.
7.Graduates are not drop outs."

The emphasis is mine - of course! Apparently, there are drop outs who claim to be homeschooled to gain admittance to college or the military. When discussing these types of students Chris at O'DonnellWeb coined the term 'homefoolers'. Catchy - isn't it?

Thank you Chris - you are a clever young man!

The Pennsylvania State requirement for necessary high school courses is as follows:

"SECTION 3. REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION. In order to graduate from a home education program, a student must complete all of the courses that are required by Pennsylvania law during high school (grades 9 through 12). These requirements are: (1) Four years of English, (2) Three years of mathematics, (3) Three years of science, (4) Three years of social studies, (5) Two years of arts and humanities."

The Olsen Family's Knowledge House has an interesting discussion about what to consider for the future of your homeschooled high schoolers.

The first paragraph contains the good news:

"College acceptance is a concern for homeschoolers, but in many cases, homeschooled applicants are looked upon more favorably than their public-schooled counterparts. Homeschoolers can also receive substantial scholarships!"

How true - and we have the families that went before us to thank for that. Yes - they're the ones who paved the way, fought the fight to have our right recognized, resulting in all 50 states recognizing homeschoolers.

The Olsen family also discusses the military experience of homeschoolers. Normally homeschoolers are placed into Tier 2 - the same tier at which drop outs are placed. An amendment was duly passed which required the armed forces to induct a certain number of homeschoolers into Tier 1. They tracked the homeschoolers for 5 years. THIS is where the 'homefoolers' may have skewed the results. The debate is ongoing.

In any case it is wise to look to the future, know what your options are and sketch out provisions for your children's future. Our daughters are quite young now - but I am keeping track of the goings on.

Check to see what is in place in YOUR state for high school homeschool graduates. If there is no homeschool diploma program recognized by your department of education - well - get moving!! Contact PHAA and ask for some advice - I'm sure they would love to help you - they are very helpful and enthusiastic (yet pragmatic) people.

If you ARE in Pennsylvania - contact PHAA and get cracking on those requirements. (I KNOW that you already are dear!) They have a wonderful graduation ceremony in Gettysburg every year. Caps, gowns, the whole 9 yards.

God Bless America!

The graduation for PHAA is not at Gettysburg. It is in Harrisburg. The most recent information that I could find for the Gettysburg graduation is that is open to all homeschoolers whether a recognized diploma is issued or not.

Grizzly Mama is drinking the Kool-Aid! LOL! Oh dear, dear Chris. I have not claimed to be cooler than you. I am just opening the discussion up to the possibility that drop outs wrongly claim to be homeschoolers and this just may have a negative impact on for real, for real homeschoolers. I have presented one possible solution that I think sounds reasonable. If you don't like the solution please just say so, to me, on my blog and explain what it is you don't like. So far you have left a couple of sideways sounding comments. I'd like to hear a reasoned argument, calmly stated, without sarcasm if possible, so that we can all chew on it. Please come back to Grizzly Mama, dear! Tell me. Tell me everything!