Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School

We were slowed down in our start of the new school year by an unpleasant respiratory illness (which hit this nursing mom hard enough that she got prescribed antibiotics for possible pneumonia), but today we finally did a regular, whole day of school!

Dd5 did a 15-minute block of reading (using an old Lippincott I got from my mother's textbook collection), writing (Handwriting Without Tears), and math (BJU's Math K5 worktext). Then she played and overheard dd7's academic instruction for the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, she went to a charter school for recess, playtime, and music with her kindergarten class. She is delighted to be in a formal school setting for part of the day.

Dd7 has a lot more academic work now that she is in third grade. We do schoolwork for about 2.5 hours each morning: reading (from both scriptures and a secular textbook), spelling (an Evan-Moor workbook), math (an old A Beka grade 3 book until I get the BJU grade 3 math worktext), First Language Lessons (for grade 3), Latin (using Linney's Getting Started With Latin), music (piano and recorder on alternating days), history (Story of the World, in which we are still finishing up volume 2), and German/science (reading short segments of a German book about the earth). I often put on videos relating to anything we've been studying in any of the subjects; today it was a DVD on Portugese explorers. Dd7 loves her time at the charter school in the afternoon, where she is making new friends in a new class.

Dd2 likes being the "oldest kid" at home in the afternoons when her older sisters are at school. She seems to really enjoy getting to have the computer to herself to play on

Monday, August 6, 2012

Second Amendment Rights

In the wake of recent terrible shootings by clearly disturbed men, the issue of gun control is alive again. Everyone seeks immediately to find a cause of the shootings that we can control in order to prevent future mass shooting murders. Guns are an obvious target for the sentiment, "We've got to do something!" That is normal and understandable, but I do not agree with a knee-jerk reaction to suddenly ban all guns. (Semi-automatic assault rifles, well, there I would happily see more restrictions like mandatory drug tests and psych clearances.)

Columbine, Fort Hood, Aurora movie theater, Virginia Tech, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, yesterday's Wisconsin gurdwara, and the 2011 massacre in Norway--what did they all have in common? The perpetrators were mentally disturbed males. And they were using guns. But when such creatures don't have guns to carry out their twisted goals, they build bombs (e.g., Timothy McVeigh, using fertilizer and a truck) or use knives (see the Osaka School massacre entry on wikipedia if you want to be appalled). What typically brings an end to their violence? Return gunfire, or at the very least armed policemen.

We can't keep weapons away from all the aggressive, mentally ill men out there. No matter how many restrictions we put on gun ownership, some of these often very intelligent, disturbed men will slip through the restrictions via military/police/security employment or illicit means. What are the rest of us basically sane people supposed to do to better protect ourselves from these predators? Never go to church, school, cinemas, or work again? Not really an option. We can arm ourselves and learn how to use those weapons safely and properly. So it shouldn't be nearly impossible for the average Joe (or Jane--there's nothing like a gun to equalize the sexes in a fight) to get a handgun for defense of self, family, and home. Otherwise, only those with criminal intent or a lot of money will be able to obtain and carry guns.

So for those who wonder why I and so many others in the USA do not embrace gun control after massacres like yesterday's, I hope the above clarifies it a little. We're not callous gun-lovers putting some abstract right over innocent victims' lives. Rather, we see gun rights as a way of helping limit the success of monsters' evil plans.

My sympathies are whole-heartedly with the Sikhs in Wisconsin today. May they know the bravery of their fallen men is appreciated and their loss mourned throughout the country.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer vacation

Family reunion last week, ongoing floor tiling in the kitchen for the past month....we could use a vacation from our vacations!