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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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Homeschool Brew for Halloween - the 44th Carnival of Homeschooling

Henry and Janine Cate are hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling this week at Why Homeschool. It has a decidedly Halloweenish twist to it. The tricks and the treats of homeschooling. How frightening the thought of homeschooling can be for a parent who has never considered it. The 'Who, Witch, Why, Where, When, and How' of it all.

There is some great reading there, so go check it out. Wonderful job by the Cates - thank you!

We are busy today with our Halloween preparations. The decorations are almost done, the fog machine is working, the face makeup is ready and the costumes MomMom made will be here soon. Oh! We'll be having to do some school, too.

Happy Halloween!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Meet the new boss...

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie

Do ya?


There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

By: The Who

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Day In The Life Of A Sick Grizzly Mama

It's a school day. Has been all week. Had a terrible night waking up and hacking. Thankfully the girlies slept until 10:00 (for the older one) and 11:00 (for the little one which is very unusual for her). Bacon and toast for breakfast. The morning is the worst with this illness - dang. After an hour or so my sinuses actually cleared up and I could breathe.

The little one gets logged onto the computer and accesses her History lesson while I am on the phone talking to a homeschool mom friend. She thinks I ought to see a doctor and I am inclined to agree. As the day passes, the coughing fits grow fewer and farther between. Last night I must have really strained something because every time I would cough, my left butt cheek hurt. I have been crazy doing laundry to keep up with my little accidents - I am getting older you know - and these coughing fits remind me of when I was heavily pregnant and would laugh really hard. Troll's underwear had to be put to use which is something I probably shouldn't admit on the world wide web, is it? What can I say? I ran out and it takes some time to get everything washed and then dried.

Anyhoo - so I'm doing load after load of laundry and today's first grade history lesson happens to be about the nomads settling in the Fertile Crescent. We talked about Mesopotamia, which happens to be Iraq now, and the Nile river. Rivers in general are important and that is the gist of it. She decides that we need to make mud bricks - just like the settling nomads who now need houses to live in.

2 cups of dirt, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water later they are making bricks while the oven heats up. They found a worm - eeewwww. I am happy about it because worms are good for the garden, which is where the dirt came from. While they are playing with mud, Troll calls. He is in hell. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, to be exact. He had to drive to JFK for a training class. North Jersey is a bugger to drive through, unless you do it at - like - two o'clock in the morning. I whip up a batch of mac and cheese and we eat lunch while the bricks are baking.

It's raining. Cold. The wind is just raw and cold. I haven't done any inhalations today because I've been so busy with laundry, dishes, mud, etc. We find out that our neighbor has died. He was 51. Massive stroke. We were just hanging out with him on the block 5 days ago while the kids played. God bless him. The girlies cried - he was always good to them and always remembered their birthdays and always had a kind word for them. No matter how far along I get I am always brought up short by the death of someone I know. They're here one minute and gone the next, never to be seen again. I will never get used to that. We must make a lasagne for his parents and family.

On to math for both girls. Little one is practicing simple subtraction and identifying patterns. Older one is working on improper fractions. Piece of cake - move on. Science for the older one, watersheds and topographic maps. She creates a topographic profile - something I have never done before in my life. It's fascinating stuff for me.

It's just amazing what one can learn while homeschooling ones children!

The phone starts ringing - kids are home from school and want to gab. The older one gabs while the little one and her friend from across the street try to con us into going outside so they can play. Not today - not in this nasty mess. Anyway it's time to get my check and go grocery shopping. Off we go - we don't need much this week. Just stuff to hold us through. The girlies always help and like to find the stuff on sale, they help keep track of cost, scan the stuff at the self scanner and bag for me while I wrestle with the coupons and the electronic payment. Then it's off to get Chinese, home to find Troll back safely.

We eat and watch the new Dr. Who while The Avatar records. Great shows.

Aesop's Fable Friday

The Oak and the Reeds

An Oak that grew on the bank of a river was uprooted by a severe gale of wind, and thrown across the stream. It fell among some Reeds growing by the water, and said to them, "How is it that you, who are so frail and slender, have managed to weather the storm, whereas I, with all my strength, have been torn up by the roots and hurled into the river?"

"You fought against the storm, which proved stronger than you: but we bow to every breeze, and thus the gale passed harmlessly over our heads."

Moral of the story: It's better by far to bend than to break.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

150 Things

The idea is to highlight everything you've done from the list. I saw this at Mama Geph's and decided to play along. I am still sick (although my herbals arrived!) and this looked like fun.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero (with the girlies..)
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (in the process of...)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Friday, October 20, 2006

Aesop's Fable Friday

The Lion in Love

A Lion fell deeply in love with the daughter of a Cottager and wanted to marry her; but her father was unwilling to give her to so fearsome a husband, and yet didn't want to offend the Lion, so he hit upon the following solution.

He went to the Lion and said, "I think you will make a very good husband for my daughter: but I cannot consent to your union unless you let me pull your teeth and clip your nails, for my daughter is terribly afraid of them."

The Lion was so much in love that he readily agreed that this should be done.

When once, however, he was thus disarmed, the Cottager was afraid of him no longer, but drove him away with his club.

Moral of the story: Misfortune awaits those who love unwisely.

I would like to add that misfortune awaits those who allow themselves to be disarmed!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chamomile Flowers and Eucalyptus.

Grizzly Mama has run out of Chamomile flowers. How could I have let this happen?!? I ordered some and they should be here soon - until then I will have to suffer with the Tussin and the Fisherman's Friends and some hot tea and soup.

This nasty bug has got ahold of me and won't let go. Thank God the girls have escaped with nothing but a sniffle for a couple of days. (They have wonderful little immune systems, don't they? I'm so proud.)

It sucks getting old. It gets into my lungs and I am screwed. I hate taking antibiotics. I will if I have to, but I don't have to yet. If the chamomile doesn't get here soon I may have to resort to conventional medicine on this one.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GOP Bloggers Straw Poll

Let's see what happens. There is a new twist - - the poll asks what state you're from.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Grizzly Report: Working Undercover for the US Department of State.

Skye, Troll and Grizzly Mama at 'reception'.

It's an unlikely pairing, you have to admit. Time for an analogy. Conservatism : State Department :: Oil : Water. I am just now free to discuss our role in the so-called 'networking' so-called 'reception'. Troll and I were working under the alias Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It was a diabolical scheme and I am sure that our cover wasn't blown while the operation was taking place although the young man from Mosul had his doubts about our identity.

Troll and I were invited to attend a reception by Skye, an exceedingly well spoken Philadelphia blogger. The International Visitors Council is an organization that believes 'face to face is better than fax to fax.' They work in partnership with the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. They put people together, foreigners distinguished guests from abroad are invited to the reception every month to engage in dialogue with Americans in various fields of expertise. I am positive that they do much more than just that but you really must visit their website to get the entire picture. It's quite complex. Interesting but complex.

Our assignment? Have a good time with Skye and attempt to engage in conversation with the foreigners distinguished guests from abroad. After having WAY too good of a time with Skye conversing together, myself sipping on a gin and tonic (and I am quite sure that the bartender forgot to add the tonic), we frightened a new member off by our talk of conservative values while making fun of 'good neighbor leftist'. (Oops - sorry!) Time to sober the old Grizzly Mama up with a cup of coffee. It worked and we circulated. Troll had an interesting conversation with a Navy Admiral, then on to a man who has been living in the Netherlands for many years and is thinking of relocating to Philadelphia. We pointed Troll in his direction with the instructions to 'get him.' 'YO! TIM!', Troll yelled out and the hapless man was in our clutches. Hey. We just wanted to give him some information about the various education options for his kids in the state of Pennslyvania. How were we to know that he would have some crazy, preconceived notion about homeschoolers just like everyone else???!!

We were all interested in speaking with the Palestinian 'militant' and the Israeli student who are working together toward a solution to their troubles. I believe Skye was able to corner one of them, but they were very popular and constantly had people vying for their attention. Same with the retired Iraqi General - who was in the Iraqi Military before the coup in 1958 (I believe it was).

The absolute 2nd to best highlight (the 1st best being sitting and drinking with Skye!) was our encounter with Mohammed from Mosul and that strapping man in the Army Uniform who had recently returned from duty in Iraq. Mohammed was a good sport with a great sense of humor. Our Army Guy was just as friendly and engaging as could be. We thanked him for his service and told him that he's doing a beautiful job.

We ended the evening driving in circles around City Hall trying to get to - - Broad Street - - I think it was. We encountered the Admiral again and hollered to him. Now that man is a Philadelphia native judging by the way he can yell across a street!

Thank you Skye. We had a great time. Although our politics may not quite mesh with those of the Department of State - nobody got hurt. Being different is the American Way.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Aesop's Fable Friday

The Wolf and the Horse

A Wolf on his rambles came to a field of oats, but, not being able to eat them, he was passing on his way when a Horse came along.

"Look," said the Wolf, "here's a fine field of oats. For your sake I have left it untouched, and I shall greatly enjoy the sound of your teeth munching the ripe grain."

But the Horse replied, "If Wolves could eat oats, my fine friend, you would hardly have indulged your ears at the cost of your belly."

Moral of the story: There is no virtue in giving to others what is useless to oneself.

No More Tantrums/ Simple Math

As seen at Mr. Smith's Refusal.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The 40th Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being hosted at Homeschool Buzz. It is a fascinating read not only for those who homeschool but also for those who want more information about the possibility. I submitted an entry to the Carnival and I am proud to say that it is included.

Go check it out - you have everything from teaching a child to read, to reasons for homeschooling, to teaching children Shakespeare and just about everything in between.

Thank you to the Cates family.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Oh, But You're Patient.

That's what I hear a lot when I talk about how teaching children at home is a very doable choice. Truth: I am no more patient than they. I get frustrated and so do my kids. We have our 'bad' days but most of them are good. Even the 'bad' days aren't really so bad afterall.

I Would Kill Her If I Had To Spend That Much Time With Her. Yikes! You would be amazed at how many times I've heard this one from mothers. Yes - they are speaking about their own daughters. Truth: I have never felt the need to kill my children. In fact, the more time I spend with them the more I appreciate and enjoy them.

She Won't Listen To Me. Truth: Sometimes my kids don't listen to me until I holler at them or take a privilege away. I know my kids (as a result of spending time with them) and do my best to respond to their needs as students. You can't believe how much they respond to that. Kids are curious. Kids want to know how things work. Your kids will be amazed at how much you know. Kids will follow your lead when it comes to learning something together.

I Am A Terrible Speller. Truth: Okay, okay. Spelling was one of my best subjects. I am still a stickler for spelling and grammar. Here's the deal though - - a list of correctly spelled spelling words is provided. The kid studies it and practices with the words and does puzzles and games and sentences with the correctly spelled words. Then when the spelling test comes - the parent has the list of correctly spelled words to refer to when checking the child's work!

I Am Not A Teacher. Truth: Actually - you are a teacher. You are a parent and teach your children every single day whether you realize it or not. Not only that, you want the absolute best for your child and are the one person in the world who most wants to see your child succeed and be happy and whole. You care more than anyone else.

What About Math??!! (said with a horrified look on the face) Truth: I am not a mathemetician yet my kids test 2 to 3 grade levels above their peers in math. For example, I never understood the fractions 100% when I came up through school. I do now, since I have had to teach it to my child. It's all right there in the book. Everything you have ever forgotten is right there in the math textbook.

Some Parents Help Their Kids Cheat. Truth: No way. No how. Not any of the homeschoolers I know. Take the fractions thing for example. I could have done like they did me in school - think it is okay that I only understood 3/4 (<== lol! get it? It's a fraction!) of the material for fractions and move on. My kids understand it 100% before we move on. Even if it means taking a couple of extra days and trying some different ways of presenting the information. What good does it do for a kid to not know the material? It does them no good at all. Besides. Cheating is not the American Way! And also besides: Kids want to know.

You Can't Deny That Academically Home Educated Children Are Better Off - But What About Socialization? Truth: It now cannot be denied that home educated children are better off in their socialization as well. There have been too many studies done that prove my point. There have been studies done on the studies. Children need adults to teach them how to act in the world, not a pack of clueless kids to teach them how to act in the world.

TRUST YOURSELF! There is also tons of help out there for anything, and I mean anything, that you are feeling unsure about. We have so many options!