I should be working on my Tech Guy post right now, but the urge to say something on my own turf is too strong to ignore.

I haven’t been writing much here anymore, and the reasons are so myriad that it’s hard to put into words.  First of all, there’s the apathy that comes from realizing we are doomed unless a major correction of some sort.  This apathy has plagued me since the 2012 election.

Then there’s the fact that I write for someone else once a week.  It turns out, my standards are much higher when someone else’s reputation is at stake.  Which means I spend too much time on too few words.  But I’m happy with the arrangement and will continue it.  Frankly, I may have quit blogging altogether without the impetus of a commitment made.

Next is the school situation.  Now, I pulled the boys out of brick-and-mortar way back in aught-diggety-eleven (2011).  Being a chicken, I signed up for Kansas’ virtual school program.  Which was worth the public school baggage, given the fact that it was run by a man whose wife homeschooled their children.

He knew that the social component was important.  Fun Fridays were not to be missed.  Folks from other districts would sign up to his district and drive the distance, because their district simply didn’t have an equivalent program.

But the point is, I wasn’t in charge of the curriculum.  Someone else was.  All I had to do was sign up and follow the schedule.

Our first year in Tampa I signed up for so many private homeschool opportunities, there wasn’t much time to think.  Math was neglected as a result.  It’s pretty easy to neglect the thing that causes the most pain.

This year is really the first in which I have taken full responsibility for the education of my eight and eleven year old boys.

It has been glorious.  With help from the Khan Academy, math results have been positive.  I could write a whole series of posts on the adventures of teaching math, but maybe another time.

The Sonlight curriculum is great for marrying literary material with the history material.  Mostly, though, I have ignored the rest.

That means that it’s up to me.  STEM and TAG classes for both.  Multiplication drills for Younger Son, math problems daily for Older Son, grammar lessons for both, typing and cursive, impromptu vocabulary lessons, whatever reading material they choose, a random geography project, and whatever else crops up.  It’s amazing how much there is to teach and to learn.

Children have a saturation point, unfortunately, and I run up against that point on a regular basis.  Cross that point, fine.  But don’t expect them to absorb a thing.

There’s another important aspect.  Homeschooling is as much an educational endeavor as it is a mission.  Get active, and before you know it, you are coordinating field trips, offering carpooling, and generally looking after the welfare of your community.

Fills up your time quite nicely.

But I just wanted to say hello anyhow.


World’s Tallest Midget, Reporting

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from three weeks ago:  Is the Duck Pond the High Water Mark?  (Answer:  Yes.  Yes it is.)

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from two weeks ago:  A Conservative New Year’s Resolution

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from last week:  History Matters

I am terrible about posting and making the rounds nowadays, but nevermind.  At least my kids should be able to pass tests like these by the time they are in high school.

That’s kind of like being the World’s Tallest Midget, perhaps, but I’ll take it.

See you soon, raccoons.

Winners: Detroit Unions. Losers: Linda Szugyi and families like hers

My latest post at Da Tech Guy is commented upon very astutely by a blogger Who Gets It. Unions: worth the money. Military Retirees: not so much.

The Fog of Law

Da Tech Guy promoted Linda Szugyi’s blog post about the proposed cuts to military pensions in the Ryan-Murray budget deal.  She does an outstanding job of explaining why early military retirement is a necessity, not a civil-service luxury. (Hey, peeps: let’s not confuse a paper-pushing bureaucrat with a military family, okay?)

In her post, Szugyi opines that there is another place to save $7 billion [over ten years]. Unfortunately, one option for saving money is already gone: taxpayers lost $10.5 billion on the GM bail-out.

The money that taxpayers lost on General Motors could have paid for about fifteen years of military pension benefits.  Just so everyone is clear, Washington finds it more important to bail out union workers at car companies than to uphold its promises to the members of our military who risk their lives for us and their families.

View original post

Hub is Home!

Hub got home from Afghanistan the night before Thanksgiving.  So we had a lot to be thankful for.  The boys were wonderfully surprised.

Any deployment veteran will tell you: never ever tell the kids the precise date to expect Daddy’s return.

First of all, you often don’t know the date until the end.  Even if you do get the date sooner, it is subject to last-minute change or even weather delays.  Lastly, are you crazy?  Do you want your children losing their minds and crawling the walls for the last couple of weeks of countdown?

It’s a hundred times worse than any Christmas, birthday, or vacation countdown.

Maybe a thousand.  IMG_5417

Because I am wicked, I maintained the element of surprise all the way to the airport pickup.  I told them we were picking up Uncle John from a business trip.  This ruse was a plausible one, so they were looking hard for the wrong face.  The right face got right in front them before they recognized it.

Good times.

And for once I’m not being sarcastic.

This week’s post at Da Tech Guy is about Afghanistan.  Please do click over if you have the time!

A Follow Up to Educators Gone Wild

Here I am!

Last week’s contribution to Da Tech Guy is a barn burner:  Education Experts Gone Wild!  Since that post, more recent Zero Tolerance Zero Brain idiocies have occurred:

Six Year Old Suspended for Sexual Harassment

10 Year Old Johnny Jones Suspended for Shooting Imaginary Arrow

In searching for the above two links, I found some more cases, but they aren’t new:

Back in 2011, somebody got arrested for burping in school.

Via Reason.com, which has a good list under the tag Zero Tolerance:

An autistic student was suspended for drawing a cartoon bomb. (It’s a pretty good drawing.  Reminds me of Spy v. Spy.)

A high school girl was suspended for driving her brother’s car which unbeknownst to her had a gun stowed inside.

A high school girl was arrested because she rescued a drunk friend from a party.

Say, all this reminds me of the case of the honor roll student who actually told on himself because he suddenly remembered that his unloaded shotgun was in his locked truck the school parking lot.  Expulsion for you!  (At least he got a scholarship to Liberty University scholarship for his troubles.)

And of all things, how could I forget the video of NEA union delegates doing “the wobble?” (Via EAGnews.org)  Apparently, “Wobble” is yet another disgusting, unmelodic rap song that we’d all be better off never hearing.

And finally, I found a website devoted to the unfair suspension stories that “zero tolerance” creates.  It is entirely relevant, but focused specifically on high schools funneling students into the criminal system for minor school infractions.  The video in their latest post is worth watching.

Phase Two

Here’s my latest at Da Tech Guy’s place.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!


Some Advice for Civilians


I love you guys.  You are so quick to befriend us when we move into your neighborhoods and communities.  You open your homes and your hearts, and you really respect my husband’s military service and the family sacrifices this service entails.

It is out of this love that I am writing this post.  To help you guys.  Because, as big as your hearts are, and as much as you respect us, you sometimes don’t know what to say.  When it comes to frequent moves and regular deployments, well, you sometimes don’t know what not to say.

I’m here to help.  With a list.

1.  Unless we are leaving in six months or sooner, don’t ask if we know where we are going next.  We don’t know.

2.  Don’t tell me about how you warn your children not to get too attached to our children because we will move in a couple of years.  That bothers me a little.

3.  Don’t tell me about the people you know who are totally messed up because of the frequent military moves during their childhood.  Seriously you guys.  It’s exactly like you are saying to me, “wow, your kids are screwed!”

4.  If my husband is deployed, and you haven’t seen me in a while, don’t say, “Wow!  He’s been gone ___ months already?  Time has just flown by!”  I know you mean that in an encouraging way, but a deployment only flies by when it’s not your loved one who is gone.

5.  If my husband is deployed, and you know of someone whose husband was deployed for a longer period, do not say, “Count your blessings, at least he is not gone as long as so-and-so!”  I know you mean to be encouraging, but I struggle with feeling insulted.  I’m already aware that many military families have it a lot tougher than we do.  To point out that fact somehow diminishes my own efforts.

6.  When the deployment is coming to a close, do not ask, “do I have a date yet?” in front of my childrenEven if I have a return date, I have not told them.  It’s hard enough for grownups to handle the anticipation, let alone children.  And even though they don’t know the exact date, they know the time is soon.  The end of deployment is a hundred times harder to wait for than Christmas Day.  So don’t remind them!

7.  There is another important reason you should not ask, “do I have a date?”  Even if I have one, there is no such thing as a guarantee in the military.  Big things (like 9/11) can interfere.  Even little things, like VIP visits or unexpected airplane maintainance, can delay a return.  Not only do I need to protect my children from being disappointed by the “needs of the military,” but frankly I need to protect myself from that too.  So don’t ask me zero in on a certain day.  Okay?

Okay.  Perhaps now you are thinking, well, cripes.  What am I allowed to say, that won’t offend your mysterious milspouse sensitivities?

I’ve got a list for that too.  Things you should say to military spouses:

1.  “How are you doing?”  Simple, I know.  It may even sound impersonal, but remember that if you know my husband is deployed, you will say it with an intonation that says, “have the kids driven you crazy yet?”

2.  “How are the kids doing?”  This may also sound impersonal, but it’s just another way of asking whether they are driving me crazy.

3.  “Is there anything I can do to help you?”  This is a vague offer of help, so it is not ideal, but I’ll take it in a pinch.  It might be that I was wishing the younger child didn’t have to come along to a soccer game, and I’ll say, yes.  Can you look after younger son for a few hours?  So don’t ask unless you mean it.

4.  “If there is any time when you need help, please let me know.”  This is the invitation to call you, should I ever need to take one child to the ER in the middle of the night.  I am not likely to take you up on this offer, but still.  I’m glad you offered.  It’s reassuring to know you can leave the healthy child with someone if you really have to.

5.   “Would you like to do ____ with us this weekend?”  One of the primary objectives of a military spouse during deployment is keeping busy.  Time goes by faster when you are busy.  Getting lots of invitations helps us keep busy.  So thanks.  Whether it is a church function, a sleepover, a day at the beach, or a trip to Walt Disney World, I am glad to have the opportunity.  Thanks for asking me!

6.  “Would you like me to take your sons to ____ activity?  You don’t have to come along.”  The answer is yes yes YES!  I do want you to take my sons to ____ activity!  And I do want to stay home!  This kind of offer makes you a sort of platinum level milspouse supporter.  Just in case you were wondering how to score a home run with your local military family.

Well, that’s about it.  In case you were wondering, yes.  Every single one of the items listed have actually occurred.  If it is negative then no, it wasn’t you.  It was someone else.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 628 other followers