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Health of Our Republic’s Presidency

I think our republic is healthy and doing what it should in regards to the mechanics of party control of the US presidency in a two party system. During my lifetime, a little over two generations or forty years, we see two patterns as regards to party control. A candidate of one party has two terms in office (1) and the next person is of the opposing party (2).

There are only two aberrations I can point to during this time. In 1976, Jimmy Carter had only a single term and again in 1988, the first Bush presidency was a single term after following two terms of another president of his own party. But from 1992 on, there have been no aberrations whatsoever.

(1) Incumbents always have an edge over their challengers. This is why having an amendment limiting the presidency to eight years is healthy. It keeps us from having a lifetime dictator.

(2) It would be unhealthy for either party to be in power for years and years. Statistically, each party should be in control half the time in a two party system. This back and forth gives each side a chance to administer the executive branch in one direction with the next president able to bring his administration in an opposing direction in a way that corrects course. It doesn’t always work this way in practice but it is a good built-in check on power.

1976 D Carter

1980 R Reagan

1984 R

1988 R Bush

1992 D Clinton

1996 D

2000 R Bush

2004 R

2008 D Obama

2012 D

2016 R Trump

2020 ?

Since 1992, both parties have had “their guy” in office for two terms before switching to a person from the other party for two terms and keeps switching. Of course, many folks believe they know better on issues and such. It is easy to believe the other guy is wrong. You have to consciously look to find commonality and agreement.

You shouldn’t be able to ignore and roll over folks with opposing opinions. A party that is always in control would naturally do this. It is human nature and we see this throughout history. Both sides should be heard no matter how much we disagree on issues.

It isn’t fun to be the loser or on the losing team, but this mutual back and forth with the presidency shouldn’t be such a surprise. This eight year turn around has become the modus operandi of controlling the US presidency. Neither party should believe their guy is special when he wins a second term nor expect a third term in the hands of the same party not to be a long shot. It is the one term president and the president elected on the coattails of his boss that are special cases.

I find it distasteful that the Democrat party’s presidential candidate had a knee jerk reaction that something was wrong with our system of elections both times since 1992 that they lost. Both these elections, a predictable pattern continued in which it was time for the parties to switch control of the presidency.

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Rethinking previous posts

I recently traded devices with my husband and took a look at what apps to put on here. Decided
to keep WordPress on and looking over old posts.

The first one was on balancing housework and family attention. I was turning toward FlyLady at the time, doing a little here and there throughout the day. Getting to other jobs around mealtimes was an idea found in A Mother’s Rule of Life.

FlyLady says to do it all at once, that it is better to do one load daily instead of being in the process with several loads. While I agree, I think our family will need to do more than one daily.

I have found that I prefer doing laundry big bunches once or twice weekly instead of rotating laundry through the machines every single day. There are three things that came into play. First my kids are a bit older and there are more of them. Even continuously running laundry machines all the time by myself and a little help from my oldest wasn’t doing it. I have realized the dryer is what holds everything up. You can do four or five washes in a day, but it takes a long time to dry just one load.

Anyway, I didn’t want to be saddled with doing all that myself, nor just saddle my oldest with work I don’t like either. Now I have more kids that can do laundry. So now it isn’t all on me. 🙂
And asking everybody to do their own or a little more I can be do without feeling guilty or conflicted.

I started with everyone putting their own, already folded clothes away. Even the toddler, with supervision, can do this.

Next thing that happened was buying laundry sorters and later on the dryer breaking. With the laundry bags, I could divide by boys, girls and the last for parents and the youngest two. I gave the girls’ laundry to the oldest. The oldest two boys get the boys’ laundry (their own clothes and the next two boys). This left me with Hubby, my own and the two youngest, but it was still lots of pushing or simply remembering the logistics of who’s turn to do what.

When the dryer broke, I started running several loads through the washer myself and taking it to the laundromat to dry. Oh how nice to get half the laundry in our house done drying all at once in under an hour!
I am in no hurry to get it fixed. Eventually I imagine we will, but I will keep going to the laundromat to catch back up each week. It just feels great to have it done and not in the process. 🙂

It is just easier to wash them myself, plus I don’t trust kids to check pockets. I get volunteers to go to the laundromat to dry the clothes. I just have to sort them out before they go into the washer and when I get them home from the laundromat, I fold up my bag and divide up the rest up. The girls get their own clothes. The boys I sort out and fold up for the youngest, leaving the oldest two to get their own. All but Hubby and baby put their own clothes away. That’s very little left for me to finish up.

I need to continue streamlining the procedures for laundry and the oldest two boys are old enough to get some of their own clothes, but I feel we are getting there. 🙂

CHC handwriting

Catholic Heritage Curricula publishes handwriting books that have the right feel for me. They don’t advertise the particular qualities that I like about them.

Most handwriting books do an entire page of just one letter. That’s very monotonous and counterproductive to fostering better handwriting. After a line of writing a letter, if not before, kids are likely to hurry up- giving sloppy letters, therefore practicing bad handwriting.

Catholic Heritage Handwriting (CHH) books will do lessons with three lines or so of forming letters at the top of the page for the first lesson and the next lesson practice writing words with that letter on the bottom of the page. There will be practice sentences and poems. So these lessons include a gentle progression from letter formation to words to sentences or poems. I like this format. And it works for the kids too.

The other extreme would be to only do copy work without practicing individual letters. There has to be some practice working on each individual letter. It helps to have that focus. But it isn’t the boring page full of just a single letter.

Besides working on letter formation, the children are doing copy work. I point out that sentences start with a capital letter, have spaces between words and end with end marks. After a few lessons, I stop pointing it out and simply check whether they paid attention to everything.

When looking over their work I look for these five things:
1) Are any words left out or not spaced?
2) Are there capital letters where there should be?
3) Are the correct punctuation marks where they should be?
4) Are there any spelling mistakes?
5) Are the letters properly formed (manuscript) or legible (cursive)?

Update: It has been six years. Catholic Heritage Handwriting is still my favorite handwriting curriculum. I have made some changes in teaching that subject. Found that simply printing out lowercase letters and words to trace has helped two of my boys to do their work.  Their older brothers and sisters had horrible experiences transitioning from print to cursive.  It took awhile, I am thinking a couple of weeks to a month before they got the feel of cursive.  With these guys, they have gotten the feel through tracing.  I had them both try their hand at not just tracing, but copying and it was much better quality than the other children and they didn’t have a bad attitude.

It has been very easy.  I found a website that generates the worksheets for me using cursive similiar to CHH 3 and 4.  Haven’t switched to CHh 3 yet.  It’s on my list of books to grab soon.  This site generates 8 lines, which I have the boys trace 2 lines daily for 4 day’s each week.  I only have to figure out what to put on a single line.  Then I hit copy to all the other lines.  Each begins with the letter of the week printed out 3 or 4 times with a single space between.  That’s followed by words using that letter and any already covered.  For the first 2 or 3 lessons, I had to use a letter we hadn’t got to yet.  The site allows you to keep it simple with just the work or you can choose to generate 3 outline pictures on the bottom for the kids to color in.

Language Skills in Early Grades

These are the three English skills we focus on in the early years: phonics/ reading, handwriting and spelling. I see these as foundational to later English grammar and composition and to studying literature. If kids cannot read, write letters and form words at all- how can we expect them to work on writing sentences, paragraphs and various writing forms; like letters, book reports and answer questions?

For writing, I see all the skills along a sequence. The first two being intertwined with phonics learning. First comes handwriting, where you learn the form each of the letters learned in phonics class. Next comes learning combinations of letters to make syllables and words. The same phonics rules that taught how to decode words are now turned around into spelling rules that help you encode words. This last concept isn’t new and is easy to see, but I had missed the connection before I began teaching my kids.

Before beginning spelling lessons, it is my belief the child should be able to read those words. It shouldn’t be about memorizing words by themselves. Reading the words means it is more likely the child can see the pattern/ rule that is the focus of that particular lesson. We want them to be able to spell the list words and beyond to similar words.

At the end of this level, I want to finish up phonics, have them master manuscript and finish the first two spelling book levels. That much prep is needed to move on to informal English.
When they are comfortable with these skills enough, the focus can be mostly on the English lesson’s skill. Gaps can still come up, but the lesson isn’t as tiring with trying to coordinate many skills that are just starting to develop.

More on commentary on Jeannie Fulbright

Jeannie Fulbright answers whether it is okay to only use only some of the books to benefit from them.

The Young Explorer Series digs deep, investigating concepts often reserved for high school or college, students are able to deduce and induce more effectively when answering questions concerning fields of science they have never studied. Since the same Creator created all of science, much of the processes you will find in one field will cross over to other fields. Furthermore, the vocabulary used in every field is similar; therefore, students who are taught immersion science are able to easily understand other fields.

Jeannie Fulbright is correct in this assertion. This is true outside the hard sciences as well. When I took various 101 introduction courses in the social sciences, the lens through which each subject examined people(s) was different, but the vocabulary was almost identical.

In addition, because they have enjoyed learning science in elementary school, they will be motivated and empowered when tackling harder science courses in high school.

Definitely. I pretty much agree with these too. Though I don’t put much stock in science portions of standardized tests, which is something she further uses to back up her claims.

Elementary Science: Lots of One Area Over a Little of Many

Jeannie’s site is written in a Q&A format. The question has to do with spending a year or a semester immersing children into one area of science.

Though many educators promote the spiral approach to education, wherein a child is exposed over and over again to minute amounts of a variety of science topics, we believe there is a far better way. The spiral approach theory goes that we just want to “expose” the child to science at an early age. Each year he is given a tad bit more information than was given the year before, thus spiraling upward.

This is the way I learned curriculum was supposed to work for practically every subject area.

However, this approach supposes that young minds are incapable of understanding deeper science; and education is thus dumbed down.

My opinion is that math is the only academic field where this is true. But the difference is that language and math are “skill areas” whereas science and social studies are “content areas”. Content areas don’t require all the practicing of skills and mastering simpler skills that build into higher level skills. For math, a student has to have an understanding of numbers before beginning addition and subtraction which must be understood before multiplication and division.

Science, history and geography cannot be taught to young children as youth are taught it. But they can be taught so much more than an ever-expanding exposure to those subjects.

You can read the rest of her critique in immersion over spiral learning here.There is not really much to comment on this topic. I was already convinced of it through another homeschool writer. I will look up the name. But she chose to do science as a family and work on one area at a time in-depth.

Elementary science is usually divided into three broad areas: life science, earth/ space science and physical science. Schools do a unit in each of these areas every year. For this homeschool mom that I read from, she focuses on just one of these area each year. She divided it a little different. Then after going through all of them would come back to them. She found because they took the time and went into such depth, her kids could remember from before.

Blogging about Jeannie Fulbright’s website

My husband says it works well for him to write up a blog post for things he comes across. So I am thinking about doing that, along with coming up with things on my own to post about.

Since my job is homeschooling and being a chief home executive, I do tend to look online or otherwise at other perspectives and tips.

I am looking over the website of Jeannie Fulbright at this time. She’s the author of Exploring Creation With…, the elementary level Apologia science books.

I came across it recently because I am considering using her books for my two older boys. I already agree with her on some things and want to take a closer look at her beliefs. It is important to me, and so easy, to look up the author or publisher of materials we use. After all, I like to imbd or wikipedia actors and such that are in shows and movies I like.

I am sure no one believes exactly as I do. But it is good to know where people come from when talking with them. Even more so to know where you might want to check in materials where problems or differences arise.