Reading Gives Me a Headache

I sometimes take in proof reading to earn a few extra dollars now and again ($$$ goes into the "Buy Tim Horton's Coffee for Mommy Fund"). 

University level papers.


It is a sad commentary on our culture when I recieve papers stating such things as...(okay...I added most of the nastier comments as I was writing this entry...)

1.  Canada's envolvement in the First World War started when Communist China bombed Pearl Harbour off the coast of Nova Scotia.  (from a paper titled "Canada's Envolvement in World War One" - yes, that was how "involvement" was spelled...)
Now, I am not proclaiming to be a History Expert by any stretch of the imagination BUT I do know a few things.  Even if you don't make it to the library on time and all the good history books are gone when you finally make it there, simply renting a couple movies would prove to anyone that...
a) Pearl Harbor was bombed during the SECOND World War, NOT the first!
b) It was NOT bombed by Communist China.  It was bombed by Japan.
c) Pearl Harbor is NOT off the coast of Nova Scotia.  Heck, Pearl Harbor and Nova Scotia do not even share the same ocean!  They are on opposite sides of the continent AND in different countries
d) Pearl Harbor is NOT the reason Canada became involved in the First World War...Period.  For further explanation, see a).
e) Computers come with a thing called "spell check".  Please make use of it.

2.  I don't believe in war so I think the point of my having to write a history paper about any war is fruitless and a waist of my valuble time and I wish to state that I am writing this paper under protest and that the only reason I agreed to write it at all was the fact that I would fail this class otherwise which I don't believe is fair and that some of us have other really important things to do with our lives than write papers about things that happened 200 years ago like World War One and...I could go on here but I won't.  This is well over half a page of stuff just like this.
a) It is a HISTORY paper.  Not a commentary on your beliefs.  Just the facts, ma'am.
b) World War One did NOT happen over two hundred years ago.  It did not even happen one hundred years ago.  Close...but not quite.
c) The rest of the paper went on to make random disjointed points that were little more than direct quotes she was claiming as her own but joined together in paragraph long single sentences with "and", "but" and "or".
d) When I pointed out that what she had was and would be considered poor writing and plagerism by her professors, she was NOT happy and refused to pay me.
e) I told her I hoped she was going to spend the money on something she really needs - grammar and spelling classes because if she hopes to make it beyond first year university, she is really going to need them!

3.  Cnda has 10 prov and 2 terr.  They r BC, AB, SK...(etc)  Cnda is a gr8 plc to liv bcuz we dont hve jst 1 kind of whether lyk other is even hard to copy this...It was FIVE pages of one giant text message, complete with slang and only three or four periods in the whole thing.  One giant RUN ON text message!!!
1) Canada does indeed have ten provinces, and you were correct in your listing of them from west to east.
2) For several years now we have had THREE territories - my 8 year old son has known that since he was four.  Any updated map includes Nunavut.  Heck, just typing in "Canadian Territories" into your google search engine will bring up that fact, I am sure.
3) Save the texting for your friends.  Even if this is a "rough draft" of your paper, this is NOT the place for texting.
4) Please act your age - you are 20 - and don't send "Mommy" to my door when you don't agree with the comments I've made on your paper to demand your money back for you.  Even Mommy was stumped by the fact that you handed me a copy of a text message and said "this is NOT what she handed to you was it?"

so there! (yes, I am sticking my tongue out here)

4.  I think this book was really good and found it really easy to read.  I expecially liked the part where the main charcter changed from being a nasty kinda guy to a real nice person.  And the part where Jim, the bartender, saves the little girl's life but ends up scarred was really sad but I can see where the writter wanted to point out that sometimes not everything good ends up being good for everyone and how events can make a person change for good or for bad...
a) Who was the author?  What was the name of the book?  I never did find out.  Of a report that was supposed to 500 words, she had less than a page...and not once was the title or author named.
b) When writing a review as such (or a report) don't use "I".  "(insert title here) written by (insert author here) was an easy read that told a story about how events in one's life can change a person." is much easier to read.
c) "kinda" is slang.  Avoid using slang.  It is "kind of".  Better yet, avoid the term completely.  "The main
character changed from a bitter, nasty person to someone who was kinder, gentler and more understanding of those around him.
d) This paper was written by a woman in her 40s.  She did get nasty with me when I made my comments
and told her where to improve her writing.  She also told me that "the professor was not concerned with grammar so why should I be". 

HUH?  I have yet to meet an ENGLISH PROFESSOR who is NOT concerned with grammar! (Besides, I know this professor.  He is ALWAYS concerned with grammar in the papers handed in.  This paper, as it was, would have garnered a "rewrite this as a second year university student and NOT as a fourth grader, please and thank you.")

5.   I don't realy like to watch the Simsons but it was kind of funny how they summerised the book "Lord of the Dance" into a 30 minute cartoon show and actully made it far more injoyable then the book.
a) Am I the ONLY person with spell check on their computer???  Honestly...It feels like it!!!
b) Lord of the Dance?  Sorry...It is NOT about Michael "All About ME!!" Flatley...The book is called "Lord of the FLIES".  Correct title of book is always worth bonus points.
c) The Simpsons does MANY episodes based on literary works.  I especially loved their version of "The Raven" by Poe.
d) HOW can you NOT enjoy watching The Simpsons????  (If I was the professor I would have deducted marks for that alone!!!)

Alright...Some of them were really poorly written pieces.  Horrid, to be exact.  And honestly, I know for several of the papers I see it is not the school system or the teachers to blame but complete and utter laziness.  Honestly, thinking you can get away with writing your paper in "text style"?  I know one high school history teacher who recieved an actual final draft "The GOOD COPY" as such, and the parents showed up to defend their daughter when he failed her!  (The principal sided with the teacher on this one!)

It is "minimal work investment".  I see the same work ethic when I go shopping or head to the local fast food outlet.  Minimal work.

And so many parents seem all to ready to help their children do "minimal work" rather than promoting "going that extra mile" and "doing your best, and then adding a little bit more".

And if we continue to raise children who only do minimal work and that is ALL that is ever expected of them, it just leaves me wonder what our country will be like in another 25 years.


....(I have copies of these papers...simply because I wanted DH to read them as well to prove that I wasn't completely crazy in thinking some people just "don't know nothing"...)

Side note: Not all the papers are handed to me from "fresh from high school" students.  Some of the papers are written by 35+ aged students returning to school after an absense.  Some are returning to school after having already earned a degree in another area.  Most of them are written by students over the age of 30 who honestly should know better by now...

The Financial Cost of Homeschooling

I was recently approached by someone asking how on earth we can afford to live off one income simply so I can homeschool.

Easy, I told her.

First, it costs me very little to homeschool.  I don't purchase a lot of items every fall for the school year.  This year I did spend a bit more than usual simply because of the math program I wanted for Squirt, as well as the grammar program.  All totaled, those two programs cost me $75 for workbooks and texts.  The rest we get for free from the library or internet.  (I did spend a bit this year on games and other educational items such as the globe, models of the heart and other body parts, etc etc - but those are one time purchases so not a yearly expense so I did not include those in my "curriculum costs")

There is a wealth of free stuff for homeschoolers on the internet.  It just takes some time to sort out and bookmark what you think you might use.  If they come in the form of downloads, do it.  The cost?  Space on your computer or a few CDs or DVDs that you can peruse at your leisure.

Then there are always other homeschoolers or former homeschoolers.  Not only to they offer a wealth of information and support, but often they have items you can borrow.  I was able to find text books and unused workbooks that one former homeschooler never used - and she had been given them from another homeschooler who only used them slightly.  Squirt didn't use the whole books, but there were bits and pieces of information and activities that we put to use.  When we were done, they were given to another homeschooling family.  Since these particular books had been long out of print we didn't feel guilty about "handing them down" to the next generation.

BUT I was not blind to the fact that she was not exactly asking about homeschooling costs, but the fact that we went from a two-income family to a single income family.  Funny thing is, it was only AFTER having gone from 2 to 1 income that we were able to afford to purchase a house and buy a new vehicle.


Because our own silly spending habits HAD to change.  After quitting my job to stay home and raise our son, we no longer ate out 3-4 times a week but started cooking and eating at home.  We no longer bought what ever we wanted, when we wanted - every purchase has to actually be thought about and more often than not, we end up deciding we don't need it or we wait until it is on an extremely good sale - such as DHs quad - when others purchased theirs for $4000, he waited and waited and found a brand new one for $1500.  We don't have brand new furniture and are in need, but we will find what we want at a price we can afford eventually. 

I no longer had the expense of travelling to and from work or the added expense of rent on another house depending on where I worked - reserve positions often require you to live there simply because of distance so I would have to pay for a complete second house, food, television, heating, power, telephone, etc as well as contributing to our own house together.

So if I had returned to work, I would have had the added expense of child care costs (anywhere from $800 to $1800 a month depending on the establishment and if I would require Squirt to be transferred to and from school - and so much because we would not qualify for child care subsidies due to higher income levels).  I would also have to have a decent wardrobe - no going to work in sweats or pajamas every day.

Then there are days when I would be required to be away, due to conferences or class trips, etc.  And if Hubby was gone that week to work out of town?  Well, we would have to arrange for Squirt to stay at one of the 24-hour day cares an additional cost because we don't have family able to take him without him missing school.  And really, who wants their kids staying with strangers for 2-3 days?  NOT me!

Our yearly income tax would also be higher because DH would not qualify for the lower taxes because I would be making above $20 grand a year.  As a teacher, if I had not taken any time off to raise our son I would be in the $50 thousand plus group now and would be paying taxes on that as well. 

I had to laugh and told her that in actuality, our take home pay NOW is actually MORE than what it would be if we both worked - yes, it is something we figured out one evening just because we wanted to see.  We would be living off of close to $10 thousand a year LESS if I returned to work simply due to taxes and monthly expenses.

So for us, it makes more sense financially for me to remain at home and homeschool our child.

Does it work that way for every family?  Of course not.  BUT what is true for any family is the fact that in order to homeschool or even remain home to raise your child/ren, you have to make adjustments.  You have to change your spending habits - which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Story of OUR World

We have been using Story of the World as a basis for our Social Studies, History and Geography programs.  We've spent a lot of time exploring the different countries of the world via SOTW and Squirt knows not only where Egypt is but the surrounding countries as they were and as they are.

But I've decided that for the next couple months we are going to focus a little closer to home.

So starting today, we are going to explore Canada.  We will be learning about Canada's rich history, the Aboriginal peoples, the provinces, resources, economy and all that kind of stuff.  But we will also be focusing on Saskatchewan - our home province.

I decided this after a discussion DH and I had last night about what we're going to do this summer.

In June we are going to the science centre in Regina with the Beaver Scouts.  We will even be spending the night IN the science centre so the Beavs are looking forward to that one!  Watching IMAX as well...It is going to be a fun trip!

So then we started talking about how to extend this into a family holiday like we did with the Scout trip to Drumheller, Alberta last June.  We went to Drumheller for the weekend with the Scouts, then extended our trip and visited the Calgary Zoo, Pincher Creek, Frank Slide and took the "scenic route" through the mountains and down into the Okanogan and back up into Banff, Alberta and home again.

So I thought, why can we not do the same thing this year BUT keep it in Saskatchewan?  And what a better way to reinforce what we have learned about Saskatchewan than to explore a small corner of it?

DH agreed...but then added...

"Or, we could get our passports and maybe head down into the States and take him to see Yellowstone.  And we never did make it into the Dakotas.  I'd like to visit them someday so maybe this year since I'm planning on at least two full weeks..."...

So I guess holiday plans are still in the discussion phase...And two full weeks?  I am still reeling from that announcement since he hasn't taken two full weeks of holidays since 1995 when we won a cruise on a clipper ship!

Anyways, you would think being Canadian and having lived in Saskatchewan I would KNOW what we're going to study right off the get go. wrong!

And I've come to realize just how much a person takes for granted and just lets slip by when it is part of a person's daily life.
  • I can tell you the name of the governor of California...but I honestly had to look up to see just who our MLA and our MP were!
  • I know who the president of the US is (and yes, the prime minister of Canada)...And I could tell you who were the two who ran together against Obama...but I had to look up to see who leads the opposition party of this country and the leaders of the parties who ran against Harper!
  • I can tell you the name of Obama's wife and that they have two girls...but I honestly couldn't tell you a single thing about Stephen Harper's family...I can now tho!  His wife's name is Laureen, and they have two children, Benjamin and Rachel.
I could go on...and on...

Just goes to show how American television is such a part of our lives.

I think I'd better start watching the CBC a bit more.  Dad will be happy with that.

Happy Anniversary!!!

This week Carnival of Homeschool celebrates its FOURTH anniversary!

Don't know what the carnival is all about?

Well, each week homeschool bloggers can send in a blog entry.  And each week, a few of those blogs are selected and posted in one spot for your easy viewing.

It is a nice way to check out various blogs and views without having to sift through a million and two blogs that are out there and the blogs are always thought provoking, often humourous, and always educational.  Who knows.  You might find a new favourite blog...err...let's make that SECOND favourite!!!

I sent in a post for this recent carnival ..."If the Shoe(Box) Fits..." be sure to read that as well when you check out the other blogs posted with Carnival of Homeschool!

I especially enjoyed Michelle's contribution on putting kids to work...Now if I could only convince my mother-in-law that Squirt picking up his own toys at the age of 8 is not considered me being a slave driver...Ah, well.  She seems to have forgotten that her own youngest son was milking cows on his own at the age of three and carrying the two 5-gallon pails the mile back to town for her.

Anyways, enjoy the carnival!!!