Friday, February 26, 2010

Falling Waters

Falling Waters State Park

While in Florida we took the opportunity to continue the learning so we went to Falling Waters state park in Chipley Florida. The next entry will be our photo montage. Yes, I'm all about pictures.

Huge trees and fern-covered sinkholes line Sink Hole Trail, the boardwalk that leads visitors to Florida's highest waterfall. Falling Waters Sink is a 100-foot deep, 20-foot wide cylindrical pit into which flows a small stream that drops 73 feet to the bottom of the sink. The water's final destination remains unknown. Only a few miles south of I-10, the park provides travelers with a quiet, serene stop on their journey. Visitors can see beautiful native and migrating butterflies in the butterfly garden, take a dip in the lake, or have a family picnic. Hikers can experience the verdant, gently sloping landscape of North Florida. Park rangers host interpretive programs in the amphitheater. Full-facility campsites nestled in a shady pine forest provide the perfect excuse for an overnight stay at Falling Waters.

Preserve through photos

Seacrest Wolf Preserve

All information comes directly from the web site ... photo slideshow that will be in the next entry is of our trip to the preserve. It was an amazing experience, one that we won't forget anytime soon.

Founded in 1999 by Cynthia and Wayne Watkins, the Seacrest Wolf Preserve provides a safe and humane habitat for wolves needing placement and rescue. Located on "The Oaks Farm" in Washington County, Florida, the farm covers over 400 acres. A haven for wildlife, it is dotted with spring-fed ponds and lakes and crisscrossed by nature trails. This setting provides a perfect environment for the incredible animals Seacrest Wolf Preserve is home to, the Gray Wolf.

The goal of the Seacrest Wolf Preserve is to provide a safe, humane habitat for displaced wolves, and to educate all who visit, especially children, about the beauty, intelligence, and importance of the gray wolf. By teaching tolerance and respect for these animals they hope to educate the public on the vital role these animals play within the natural world, and cultivate a passion to protect them in the wild. Currently the largest wolf preserve in the Southeastern United States, Seacrest is licensed by the State of Florida and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Riding Lesson

Nick on the guitar

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lysa's Riding lesson

God vs Science

'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The atheist
professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new
students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'

'Yes sir,' the student says.

'So you believe in God?'

'Absolutely. '

'Is God good?'

'Sure! God's good.'

'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'


'Are you good or evil?'

'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment.
'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can
cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could.
Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does
he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to
Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?'

The student remains silent. 'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He
takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to
relax. 'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er..yes,' the student says.

'Is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in
this world?'

'Yes, sir..'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'


'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything,
then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle
that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred?
Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.
'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks
away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. 'Tell me,'
he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to
identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not..'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have
you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'


'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies.. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats.. 'And that is the problem science has
with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His
own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat? '


'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room
suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ' You can have
lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white
heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We
can hit d own to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go
any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would
be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is
susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes
a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the
total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe
the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal
units because heat is energy. Cold Is not the opposite of heat, sir, just
the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding
like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of
something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing
light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called
darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In
reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness
darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a
good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start
with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you
explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains. 'You
argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God.
You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can
measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.' 'It uses electricity
and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To
view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death
cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just
the absence of it..' 'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students
that they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes,
of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where
the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot
even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching
your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has
subsided. 'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other
student, let me give you an example of what I mean.' The student looks
around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the
professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter. 'Is there anyone
here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain,
touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So,
according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable
protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.'
'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face
unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I
Guess you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,'
the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?' Now
uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it everyday.
It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the
multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These
manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does
not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like
darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of
God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man
does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes
when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'

The professor sat down.

If you read it all the way through and had a smile on your face when you
finished, mail to your friends and family with the title 'God vs. Science'

PS: the student was Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein wrote a book titled God vs. Science in 1921.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Importance of Language Mechanics

The substance of capitalization and punctuation is this: you must be able to comprehend what the speaker is saying; that is, when it has written on paper.
Envision if I were to say that sentence again, but this time, devoid of all the punctuations and capitalizations. It would be extremely confusing, and very hard to understand.
Otherwise, look at it this way: Pretend you are reading the Bible. Without punctuation and capitalization, the Bible would sound a lot like a bunch of nonsense. God’s name would sound like just a simple word with no real significance. It would be extremely aggravating, and bewildering.
In addition, what if people would just randomly come up to you and start speaking without pauses in their speeches. Imagine your parents telling you something important, but their words were together without a pause.
It could be really, really irritating, or you could mishear and do something you weren’t supposed to do.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Observing President's Day

Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971 President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents' Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.

GEORGE WASHINGTON (February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799). Early in his life George Washington became an experienced surveyor. Following these years, he fought in the French and Indian War. After the war he returned to Mount Vernon in 1758, married Martha Dandridge in 1759, and became a planter. That same year he became involved in politics when he was elected representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was a representative until 1774 when he became a delegate to the Continental Congress. In May of 1775 George Washington was appointed Commander of the American army during the Revolution. He was the first President, (1789 1797) governing the 13 states.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865). Abe Lincoln was born into a poor family and had little formal schooling. He basically taught himself to read and write and walked long distances to borrow books. He failed in early business and political ventures, yet became President in 1861 and guided the Union through the Civil War. He shaped his own character and education as was evident in the simple language he used in his speeches. His famous Gettysburg Address was delivered in 1863. LincGln was assassinated on April 15, 1865 during a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington just a few days after General Robert E. Lee and his army surrendered.

President Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America.

I do not know where to start so I might as well start, well where it all started. Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 inside of a log cabin. The cabin presided in Kentucky, and he was born to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. When he was eight they had moved to Indiana where Abraham would help his father to build another log cabin. Sadly, Abe’s mother died only a year later. The cabin seemed bare with his mother gone. Soon his father would remarry, and to add on to the family they had three more kids.

Lincoln had only a little over a year of schooling. Books were as scarce as paper and it made it difficult on Lincoln. As inventive and resourceful as he was he simply worked all of his arithmetic problems on a board and used a knife to clean the board.

This family owned a bible as well as spent hours reading it. Abe would copy parts of the bible so he could memorize it line by line. At times if he wanted a book, he would walk many miles Just to borrow a book. His all time favorite book was “The life of George Washington.”

By age seventeen, he wanted to be a lawyer. He wanted to figure out how to be one so he would walk more than seventeen miles to watch the lawyers at their work. He would sit at the back of the courthouse to watch them work Yelling, Screaming, and Faces turning red, winning cases. When he was finished at the courthouse he would walk another seventeen miles back to his home to think about what he had seen.

When he was twenty-one, he spent his time on a farm in Illinois. While on the farm, he and the man he worked with had split more than three-thousand rails in 1830 alone. On top of this, he also managed a flat boat on the Ohio River.

Every time Lincoln got a new job, he would try to be as honest as was humanly possible. This was a skill, which he believed would help him as a lawyer. While he was a Shopkeeper, he shortchanged a woman six cents. He followed her home just so he could give her the money back. As a postmaster, he learned to get along with people very well. As a surveyor, he made near perfect measurements.

Although he had done many different jobs in the past, he still wanted to be a lawyer. With the perseverance, he would study throughout the night. Because he did not have many books, he would borrow them from a neighbor in the evening and return them in the morning. In 1836, he passed the test and became a full-fledged lawyer.

During this time, the Whig party would elect him to the Illinois legislature. He became elite when it came to debating and public speaking. He had countless debates with John Calhoun regarding the tariff. The spoke before large audiences for hours at a time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dew point Experiment


Why must the metal can be shiny?
So you can see the perspiration.

Why must the ice be added slowly?
So the water can adjust to the new cold, therefore creating water on the outside of the can.

What advantages would be in repeating the experiment several times?
You would be able to see if the information you have drawn from the experiment is correct or not.

What is the average dew point?
Sixty degrees Fahrenheit.

If possible, compare your findings with someone else who did the experiment.
How are your results similar or different, and why?
They are similar. We both got around the sixty-degree range, although they did not add the ice in as slowly as I did.

What did you find out from this investigation? Be thoughtful in your answer.

I have found that the dew—perspiration on a metal can, in this case—comes in at about sixty degrees. It came just about when the can got extremely cold. It was not a thick sheet of perspiration, though. It was actually just a thin sheen of moisture.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How long does it take?

How long does it take to homeschool every day? That all depends on your child and you. Some kids just naturally grasp things quicker than others. If you have in mind the seven-hour "school" day that your child is getting in the public school setting, let's discuss that a little bit. On average? I would say if you asked 10 different homeschooling families, you would get 10 different answers. The answer to that question is unique to not only each family but to each child. Guesstimation? I don't know, but it will not make you end up looking like this. Let me see if I can shed some light on the subject.

First of all, the State of Alabama does not give a legal definition of how many hours makes a "school day", but to put it in perspective for you, let's get a visual of an average middle/high school level "school day" in a public school setting.

•Hold up seven fingers in front of your face. You can use two hands if you need to. The seven fingers stand for the seven hours in a "school day":
•Take one finger down for the hour it takes for the car/bus line in the morning/afternoon along with homeroom time. When my son was in public school, he was brought out to the car line promptly at 2:30 p.m. every day. Why? I don't know. Moving on...
•Take one finger down for the embarrassing, sweaty hour of P.E. Let's don't even talk about the immense joy of dressing out.
•Now take one finger down for lunch (if you can possibly call it that)/study hall.
•Let's see, we are down to four hours a day. Hmmm...four hours. That's not bad. I think four hours a day is a reasonable amount of time to expect to homeschool every day. Don't you?
•But wait! Don't forget to take one hour away for the 10 minutes in between each class period to go to lockers, be bullied and pushed around, buy/sell and/or talk about those who are buying/selling drugs, and get to the next class.
•Take one hour away for the time it takes in each class to take roll for that class, take up homework, hand out papers, answer the same question three or four times, break up fights, potty breaks, etc.
•That leaves you with two hours. Two hours out of seven.?????
•Okay, so we are down to two hours, but wait! Don't forget about the hour of (mandatory) electives that your child has everyday which is usually art, chorus, band, etc. we are down to just one hour a day.
•Let me suggest to you that it only takes half the time to teach one child something as it does to teach a classroom full. That leaves you with about one-half hour of actual learning that your child is getting in a school setting. That is on the days that they do not watch a Disney movie, go to a pep rally, have a fire drill, sit in the principal's office, etc. Don't even get me started on that whole "No Child Left Behind" crap. Did you not ever wonder why your kids had so much homework to do when they got home from school? Now you know why when you ask your child what they did that day at school they almost always inevitably say, "Nothing."

Let me make clear that I am not discounting the fact that your child needs to eat lunch, have physical education time, study music or art, etc., but I am sure that is not what you were referring to when you asked the question, "How long does it take to homeschool a child each day?" Let me also make it clear that I am not putting blame on the school system or on the teachers. That's just the way it is, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Now that we have a little perspective, let's get back to your original question of, "How long does it take to homeschool every day?" There are many different variables that can change this answer such as:

•How many children do you have? Obviously it is going to take more time with five kids than it is with one. How much more time? Again, more variables such as...
•How old is your child(ren)? Younger children who are not reading and writing yet take more one-on-one time teaching them everyday skills. Older children can largely self direct themselves with your main job being to provide them with the resources that they need. If you have children near the same age, you can combine learning going a little more in depth with the older children. You can also combine reading time, videos, field trips etc.
•Are there a lot of outside disturbances? Pretty self explanatory.
•Is your child very focused or have the attention span of a gnat (which is actually a misnomer by the way)? If you have a child with a short attention span, try breaking up their day into small bite-sized blocks of learning. Try doing some book work followed by taking a walk and doing nature studies, etc.
•Also, you should take into consideration what "lessons" are you doing? For instance, my son has a love of politics. I know that he is going to watch every political show, read every book, discuss politics as often and as in depth as tolerated (don't get him started, please!), and research it until his eyeballs fall out. He knows FAR more than I would ever CARE to know. Of course, I provide him with resources to delve into, but I don't actively count this as his "school" time because I know he is going to get it anyway. Does that make sense?
All of these are things to take into consideration. As you begin homeschooling, a lot of this will become clear to you. Your days will become a natural ebb and flow of learning if you will let it. You will find learning in places you never even thought of. Each day will be different and full of all kinds of learning opportunities. Be adventuresome and creative. Homeschooling should be more about learning and life and nurturing the LOVE of learning rather than fulfilling a daily time quota. (I'm just sayin'!)

Awarding High School Credits

Confused about how to award high school credits to earn a high school diploma? Don't worry, you are not alone! Since my son will be in high school next year I wanted to figure out how to calculate his credits without going insane or worrying if I could even do it. So this is what I found.

First, a little perspective... It is important to remember that you aren’t taking classes just to get out of high school. Knowledge is power and is its own reward. It is also important to keep in mind any post high school plans you may have. Students planning on going into the military or attending a trade school, certificate program, community college or a four-year public or private university should research the credits needed for entrance and to be well prepared for success once there.

There are generally two different methods used to determine high school credits; curricula completion and Carnegie Credit Units or a combination of the two.

•Curricula Completed: If you are using a set curricula, a general rule of thumb is that you can award a credit in that subject upon completion of at least 75% of the curricula.

•Carnegie Credit Units: One credit of high school equals 120 - 180 hours of class work, labs, research, independent reading, review, and field trips.

•Combination: Most homeschoolers award credits using a combination of curricula completed and Carnegie Credit Units. Carnegie Credit Units awards credits on time spent and not material covered. Most homeschoolers award credit by the quality of the work completed, not just the time spent. Some students work at a fast pace, while others take more time. Many homeschool students are bogged down using the traditional school methods for awarding credit. Their goal is knowledge of the subject taught, not just to spend a certain amount of time on the subject.

Tim Tebow Bill

Welcome! We are a group of citizens of the great state of Alabama lobbying for our state public education establishment to allow homeschooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities. Legislation which would provide this access has been introduced into the Alabama Legislature.

Our bill derives it's name from Tim Tebow (with his family's permission). Tim has attained the highest level of success of any football player in history at this point in his career. He was a homeschooled student who played football for a public high school team in Florida, led Neese High School to the 2005 state championship and played in 2006 as a true freshman on the National Championship Florida Gators team. As the Gators' starting quarterback in 2007, Tim lead his team to a very successful season. For his performance and character, Tim, in addition to the Heisman Trophy, also earned the Maxwell Award as the nation's top football player, the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best quarterback, and the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport.

Also, 24 other states support some form of equal access for homeschoolers. It is time for Alabama to step up and support our hard-working homeschool educators, students, and student-athletes as well. We are urging the House and Senate Education Committees to bring these bills out of committee so that a full vote can be taken in the legislature. The passage of this law will not only benefit homeschool athletes and musicians, but it will also benefit the entire system of education in Alabama. The ultimate goal of any educational system should be to provide the services needed for all students to have a well rounded education. Extracurricular activities are one of those services, beyond academics, that help today’s children learn the skills they will need to be tomorrow’s leaders. USA Today said in a 2003 article that supporting homeschool choices “benefits children, their parents AND LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS.”