Hello from The 4 Brothers Ranch! Our family has a lot going on and a couple blogs in order to keep things organized. You can find all our homeschooling stuff here! Annissa's regular everyday blog is called A PAGE IN MY BOOK and also there is a blog to update the kids medical issues at MY UNIQUE FLOWERS. Please check those out too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Websites: Whiteboard, Acrobabble, and more...

So there are a couple of websites I thought were to great not to share!!

The first one I want to share is Scholastic's Whiteboard Lessons  found at  www.scholastic.com/interactivewhiteboards

You have to download a little program to be able to use the free lessons, but it didn't take me long at all.  So I just basically checked it out and was very impressed.   I clicked on one of the programs, Capacity Lesson (Grade 1) by Joey Savoy which is in the Science & Math section..  and here is an example of what you see and/or do...

This was the screen that I saw...  so I then moved the items...

And then moved the boxes that said "answer" to see if I was correct... 

They have a bunch of great lessons in there.  It's definitely worth checking out!!

Also, a friend of mine introduced me to a fun little free web-based game called Acrobabble.  You can use things like Yahoo, AIM, Facebook, Myspace, etc to sign in to play.  You can create a little "nickname" and then join in the fun!!  www.acrobabble.com

You choose a room ...  there are "unrated" rooms that can get awful dirty, so be sure if your child is playing that you have them in a clean room.  I would suggest this game for teens & adults.  There is some language that would probably be questionable for little kids (I've seen "sex" or inappropriate situations expressed in some answers, it's all about what you as a parent are comfortable with) ...

You can see your category in the upper left corner, and your timer bar counting down.  You simply write a phrase with the letters given. 

And then everyone in the room votes for the "best one" ... if you win the next category choice is yours.  You simply click the category you want from the list, and then you can choose if you want random letters, or a word, and then if you want to add or subtract 10 seconds, or just leave it as it is... and don't forget to hit the submit button or your category will default to "general"

And last but not least, there is a fun link that lets you in on the secrets of LOL and all those combos that we look at and go huh?  Got an older texting child and you just can't understand what all the cryptic acronyms and symbols people us...  check it out at www.netlingo.com

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Off Track....

We have been off track lately, between medical appointments with in the family and my surgery, life has been busy and we haven't been buckling down the way I had hoped.   Found out the baby had a loud heart murmur (probably normal)..  Noah's kidney's are starting to fail again.  And Nathan, well, he's a medical aww on his own.  LOL...  and me I had major hernia surgery. 

I hope that we will be getting back on track this week.  We hope to go out and collect leaves, and talk about why they change, the Fall season, Halloween and it's origins, we plan on going to a pumpkin patch and hope to take the kids to a haunted house/trail.   We're going to make some soup, and do some crafts.

Today my goal is to organize a bunch of links and add them on here .. which is always nice, because no matter where we are or what computer we're on, we have access to those links.  

Banned Books Week ~ Sept 26 - Oct 3

We're coming to the end of the Banned Books Week.  I have been meaning to get this up all week.  I found it quite interesting to look at all the books that people have issues with and why.  It amazes me.

Most of the books I read (was assigned to read) in school are on the list for one reason or another.  The top five books of all time that have been "banned" or are on the "challenged" list ...

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Seriously?  Here is the list if you want to read it for yourself.   Banned and Challenged Classics   There are huge surprises on there, at least to me .... like.... Charlotte's Web and Winnie-the-Pooh

So some of the more recent lists are of course equally if not more interesting...  100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999  ...  I found a lot of surprises on here.  Several Judy Blume books, I laughed at home many Stephan King books are on the list, and the one that made me shake my head the most was Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford and A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein .... Seriously?  There are ones that I'm not surprised by, of course, Harry Potter is on there.   Apparently anything having to do with magic, ghosts, or witches is bad bad bad.  If it has to do with gay/lesbian issues, like having 2 Mommies or 2 Daddies... that's bad bad bad.  And if it has to do with learning about puberty or sex, it's equally as bad.  However, I have some issues with that.   There are some titles on there like Sex, by Madonna and Private Parts, by Howard Stern, ... I mean seriously, if your children are getting ahold of these books, YOU have a problem as a parent.  I have seen that some of these issues revolve around them being on public library shelves.  Last I knew, libraries were a public place (er.. yeah... PUBLIC libraries) where people of differences can find books of different interests to learn or research and learn more about other peoples beliefs or lifestyles.   So in my opinion if you have issues with these books, then don't let your children see them in the public library, don't buy the books for your house, etc.   But it amazes me that even books that have to do with learning about puberty, changes in a young child's body, and understanding how babies are made (sex) are banned/challenged.  I can understand that some parents don't want their children to just have this sort of thing, but a lot of parents (like me) would rather have their children educated about the changes so they don't worry about things, rather then having them scared and confused.  We as parents have this choice and if others don't like it, then don't buy the books.  Again, don't let your children find or check them out at the library.  Stay by your children in the library.  It's not that difficult.  

Fact is, as children grow older, you can't control their actions at all times, our children have minds of their own, and all we can do is let them make their mistakes, and hope that we have taught them correctly so they will grow to be good humans.  

It really bothers me that people out there try to "ban" books based on their opinions.  We, as a country, are not robots.  We have freedoms, and rights.  Freedom of speech with both spoken word and written word.  Freedoms of religion.  Freedoms of sexuality.  A lot of these books that are challenged or banned have a great educational value to them in some way.  As homeschoolers, you know, you can learn something from ANYTHING.  Everything is a learning experience.  Even if it's about learning a lesson of what not to do.

I honestly look at some of these books and just think it's sad that people are so worried about something "turning" their child from their beliefs, or un-educated about thing that they fear it.

  2008-2009 Challenged and Banned Books w/ reasons (pdf link)  ... 

Recently, I had a relative spend some time in my home ... we love Harry Potter, we read Twilight, we love scary stories and educational ones...  magic is allowed in our house in whatever form - because reading, to us, is magic.  Allowing us into another's world.   This relative got so excited we had the Harry Potter books because her parents don't allow them (mind you she's over 18 but living at home) ... so she sat down to read.  Yet, it just struck me as funny because she is a huge Twilight fan and that IS allowed.  It just posed a question in my head, why is a Witch or Warlock not allowed in the house, but Vampires are?   I just have to laugh.  I love these relatives, and of course I believe parents have the rights to do that sort of thing if they so choose.  However she is an adult now and I think that is what bothered me the most.

I also have major issues with the label of "satanism/occult" for anything that has to do with magic.  Just because it's magic, doesn't make it satanism.  It blows my mind really.  Everyone has their religious beliefs and rights of choice... however, that's awful close minded in my opinion. 

Calahan and I had a long discussion yesterday about how books are banned and why.  Why he thought it was wrong, why he thought people felt the need to do it.