Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blog Readership

 . . . is down by one today. But since it's my grandma, it is a big one.

Grandma makes me regret ever saying, or thinking, that it is an insignificant epitaph to be a faultless housekeeper. Because she was, and it was significant. Her house was always a place of refuge and serenity and beauty. And dinner rolls mostly made of air, and quilts that were a family history in stitches, and delicious but strange tuna salad. She loved watching baseball and partisan politics.

The thing I think I learned the most from her, though, was a deep respect for the personhood of little children. She loved children, but she was not the type to pounce or coo or demand kisses. She insisted firmly that no child ever be forced to give hugs or kisses (she never lacked for volunteers). She listened to them seriously and talked sympathetically. She always kept the chest of toys and the stack of books ready. And when her eyesight grew too poor to read the books to the ducklings, she would listen while they read them to her.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Twin Time

It is the time of drama camp. (So any well-earned rest after the end of school must wait a bit.) This year Duchess and Deux are both performing in Beauty and the Beast. Deux is very excited to be playing the role of Chip, the teacup, and Duchess is the baker's daughter and a pepper shaker.

But beyond our one chance of the year to experience the joys of wearing shoes before nine in the morning, it is also my first chance in a very long time to have extended periods of times alone with the twins and get some answer to the question of what is going on in their heads.

The answer is, "A lot."

They have opinions on everything. And questions on everything. They talk about them all the time. And when the big kids are not there as a buffer, they talk to me. They talk about why cars need gas and whether zombies could have their brains and eat them, too, and whether anyone would donate cake to Goodwill, and whether the existence of the wind, with unseen causes, proves the reality of magic.

Dot asked me one day, "What is inside of bones?"

"Well," I said, racking my brains, "It's kind of like a sponge, with holes, only hard, and in the center there's a squishy part that makes your blood."

"Ah," she said.

Moved by her interest, I overstepped myself. "And birds have hollow bones, so they can be light and fly."

"So birds don't have blood?" she asked.

It took me a moment to see the connection. Then I was flummoxed. All these years I have known these two facts but never put them together. (Fortunately there is the internet and so I later discovered that yes, birds have bone marrow, as the hollow spots do not take up the entire bone.) We also checked out a cross-section of a bone at the grocery store.

I may need to start them on school to slow them down to where I can keep up.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I got to attend three days out of a six-day trial: pretrial motions and jury selection on the first day, opening arguments and the first witness on the second day, then missed the bulk of the testimony and showed up for end of trial motions, jury instructions, and closing arguments. The case involved a property that had once been used for dry cleaning--the family owning it has been cleaning up dry cleaning solvents out of the soil for several years since discovery, but the developer-neighbor who had his sights on the whole block wanted more, sooner, different.

The jury came back for the defendant (that's us). There's a piece left that the judge still has to decide--I haven't heard what yet, but she seemed fairly favorable to our case thus far. I got to make my first argument in court. Since it was on a question where we just wanted the judge to stick with her previous ruling, it wasn't too hard to make: "Yes, your honor, you're absolutely right." Still, I flatter myself that I avoided saying anything stupid, which is a good start.

My new dresses looked good, I thought, though no one was around who would tell me so. (I was staying with Bookworm, who does not offer opinions on dresses.) Opposing counsel, in recess discussions about technology, did make a reference that I would of course be too young to remember overhead projectors in grade school, so apparently I have not yet evaded the curse of never looking like a grownup. (I didn't tell him that I had, in fact, *taught* school using an overhead projector.) I undoubtedly should get pictures of the dresses, but I can only find the cord for the camera that doesn't work.

Meanwhile His Majesty stayed with the ducklings, and they had such a marvelous time visiting the parks and the library that they are most disappointed that the trial is over. To my great pleasure, they actually managed to complete a decent component of school work under their own steam while I was gone. This was done mostly with the motivation of getting their daily computer time despite my absence, but it will do for a start on personal responsibility.

And with that, and some more work since, we have at last come to the end of school, on time, and, in fact, a day ahead. (Once they realized how close we were, they plowed through what was left today.) And I believe all the research I had to do on that case--which has dominated my life since the end of March--is over. I feel rather as if we have come through fire and water to get here, but here we are. My feet are up. They need it.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Another Snarky Thing I'm Not Saying on Homeschool Forums

There's a news article making the rounds which says something like this: Homeschooling is growing at 7 times the rate of public school enrollment.

To which I can only say: Duh.

Most kids are already enrolled in public school. The only way public school is going to grow significantly in enrollment is if there are suddenly, say, twice as many kindergarteners as there were graduates. Which doesn't happen very often.

The vast majority of kids aren't already homeschooling. Therefore, it takes a very small number of kids switching to homeschooling to make a significant rate of growth.

If that doesn't make sense like that, try imagining a town with 100 kids in it. Ninety of them are in public school, eight in private school, and two homeschool. This year there are two extra kindergarteners, and one of them goes to public school while one gets homeschooled. Voila! Homeschooling is increasing at the rate of 150% (3 instead of 2), while public school is increasing at the paltry rate of just over 1% (91 instead of 90). So homeschooling is increasing at 150 times the rate of public schooling!

This is not exactly worthy of a headline.

(This turns up in other areas, too. Just keep in mind when someone talks about X belief system/activity/product being the "fastest-growing" in its field, it usually means it was really, really small to begin with.)

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Visitation

DOB's parents have been out for a two-week visit, during which we did lots of fun things like listen to the house be quiet because the children had all gone out to the trailer to see them. We did not go on a last-minute weekend trip to the coast, although we did all the packing and unpacking for it. We did go see Narnia in the woods and it stopped raining just long enough for the show, but the battle was very realistically muddy.

The case I have been working on for the last several months is supposed to go to trial this month (whenever a courtroom opens up), and I'm supposed to get to go along and help with voir dire. This, in turn, proves to be a good excuse for getting some very nice clothes and shopping at an actual department store. DOB was kind enough to do it with me, which was good, because if there's one thing I can't do by myself, it's spending money. Also, he has good taste. I went with dresses, which both looked better and didn't require me to hem. I am too tall for petite and too short for regular, so unless I want to wear four-inch heels (which is never, ever going to happen), I would have to hem all pants. Or just wear them to rags at the heel, which is what I do with jeans.

Also, with extra babysitters on hand and willing to stay very late, we went out for a late night Magic tournament at the local game shop. I astonished myself by coming in third. Bibliohippo came in fifth, and DOB seventh, so we were all prime numbers and pleased with ourselves.

School has been a little less than inspiring, what with all the other fun things going on, but I am determined to get finished before summer drama camp, so we slog on. I am hoping to enliven things a little this week by making comic books about Columbus. Also, it looks like we are going to start probability in math. And perhaps--just perhaps--it will really stop raining.