Infinity Goods blog

A blog for God’s People

Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

BrainPOP Works For Moms And Kids

Posted by infinitygoods on March 25, 2008

wfmwbluebanner.jpgA bunch of us moms were discussing what works for us regarding our children’s education and a lot of things were brought to the table, but the moms were unanimous about one teaching tool. At the time, it was brand new to me, but my trusted network of moms went on and on, and on about all the qualities of this animated educational site: BrainPOP! I am not affiliated in any way with this company.

All the moms loved it because it truly taught their kids and because their kids loved it too. It works for us, and I’m sure it will work for you too. Go check it out for free for two weeks.

If you use BrainPop, go ahead and put in your two cents.

What teaching tools work for you and your kids?

Be sure to visit Rocks In My Dryer for more participants.

Posted in America, Blogroll, Caring, Children, Children's games, consumers, deals, education, entertainment, Family, free, frugal, history, Home, homeschool, homeschooling, Household Tip, Household Tips, How To, howto, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, life, Math, reading, savings, science, Science Experiments, solution, Tips, U.S., Uncategorized, United States, USA, Website, WFMW, women, works for me wednesday, Works For Me Wednesdays, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

SSSS — Training Hearts Blog Oozes with Christian Love

Posted by infinitygoods on November 18, 2007

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Super Simple Spiritual Sunday is a carnival list of blogs, posts or websites which are spiritually encouraging. To join in or to find other participants, visit Heart of Wisdom.

I’d like to share with you a blog I just discovered yesterday, but found to be a real blessing.

Training Hearts is a blog written by a Christian homeschooling mom named Tamara. Her blog oozes with thoughtfulness, generosity and Christian love. You’ll find lots of encouragement, Bible verses, household tips, homeschooling resources and ideas, prayers, and lots more.

Her readers love her and reward her with lots of comments.

You’ll want to visit again and again because her blog will give you a nice warm and cozy feeling. You even get to pick what her blog looks like with the theme picker.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27

  • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
  • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

Posted in blog, blogging, Blogroll, carnival, Christianity, education, Faith, Family, Friendship, God, Home, homeschool, homeschooling, Household Tip, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, life, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, novel, novel in 30 days, religion, spirituality, Tips, Website, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bookcases at the Breaking Point? Join Paper Back Swap.

Posted by infinitygoods on November 17, 2007

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I meander through blogs one click at a time and I found what seems to be a great Web site for all of us bookworms. I periodically lighten the load on my bookshelves by taking lots of boxes to my local charity and start the process all over again by filling up those shelves quicker than my wallet appreciates. I know all of you fellow bookworms can identify.

Well, I’ll still give to charity of course, but I’m going to give Paper Back Swap a try and see if I can’t give my wallet something to cheer about for once.

Basically you sign up your unloved books (hardbacks too) for adoption at Paper Back Swap. When a fellow PBS member wants to adopt your book, you mail it to them and you can adopt someone’s unloved book. It’s an even trade book for book. The site is free. Even with postage, which PBS tells us is $1.59 for a paperback, that’s still cheaper than buying from a used bookstore.

They claim their members are the best part about their club.

Co-founder Robert Swarthout says, “What started as a trading system has turned into a social community of readers that share so much more than books. Our members transcend miles and become best friends through club communications, discussion forums and coffee-time chat rooms.”

There’s also a writer’s corner called The Eclectic Pen and a recipe corner, too. They claim to have a large selection of homeschooling books.

They have almost 2 million books available and have been recommended by Good Housekeeping, Wired, Real Simple, Martha Stewart.com, The Today Show, CNN, Nasdaq’s Marshall Loeb, ABC News, and numerous more media sources across the country, so they should be a reliable site.

I’m going to give it a try, and if you already have tried them, please let me and my readers know what you think.

  • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
  • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

Posted in America, blog, blogging, Blogroll, book, books, Cookbook, Cookbooks, Home, homeschool, homeschooling, Household Tip, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, life, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, News, novel, novel in 30 days, reading, Recipe, Recycle, Reuse, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, Website, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thursday Thirteen #6 — My Interests

Posted by infinitygoods on November 14, 2007

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I am sharing with you 13 topics which interest me and are important to me. They are in no particular order, because most of these would all tie with each other. These are topics
you see and which will recur on my blog. To see more participants in this carnival or for
details on how to join, visit Thursday Thirteen.

1. Computers/Internet/Blogs/Technology/Science
These sort of overlap in many ways. I’m forward thinking and I’ve been using computers
since before my teen years, back in the days when people were saying it was a waste of
time, and it wouldn’t last. Wait, aren’t a lot of people still saying that? Well 30+
years later, I’m still interested. I remember asking for a calculator as a Christmas gift
when I was in Kindergarten. The people selling them were flabbergasted that a child would want one and thought no child would ever need one. This “pocket” calculator, the smallest on the market at the time, was about the size of a small paperback!

2. Fine Art
I was an art history minor and an art minor. I seriously considered switching it to my
major, and often wonder if I didn’t make a mistake. I draw, paint, photograph, make
ceramics and do a lot of new media paintings — that’s every stroke hand-painted by me, but instead of using paint, I use computers. Museums and galleries recognize new media, but the average person out there still claims the computer makes the paintings. Not so! This would be the equivalent of saying oil paint and brushes are the artists making the artwork. Computers do not make art. Paint and brushes do not make art. The people, the artists make art, regardless of which tools they use.

3. History/Biographies/Autobiographies
As much as I like the future, I also like the past. We can learn from our past and our
past can help us understand our present. I’m very much interested in people and their
lives which is why I like history and also what leads me to the next item.

4. Psychology/Sociology
I’m interested in people and what makes them tick. I’m also interested in science, so
psychology helps me understand the individual and sociology helps me understand the groups and societies we live in. In college my sociology professor had wanted me to switch majors to either sociology (he hoped) or psychology (which he admitted was related and thought I would like too). I ended up with an additional certificate in psychology, but I never switched majors to either psychology or sociology.

5. Cross-stitching/Crafts
My grandmother taught me how to cross-stitch and I spent numerous hours watching her even before she taught me how to do it. I find it very relaxing and as I like art and to create, cross-stitching and other crafts are just related to that.

6. Reading/Writing/Journalism/News/Books
These are all intertwined. As a professional journalist, writing and reading are just my
life. I just could not live without reading. I have to learn at all times and reading is
the best way for me to do that. I have been wanting to write since early childhood. I
have attempted not to write for a living, but life was just too miserable without a pen in
my hand or a keyboard at my fingertips. I’m a published journalist, but I would love to be a published author using either my journalistic skills to write non-fiction or even writing a
novel. I’m one of the crazy participants in National Novel Writing Month. Any publishers
out there interested in my writing voice?

7. Religion/God
I believe in God and shout it from the rooftops, but won’t attempt to convert atheists as
belief needs to come from inside your heart and soul. I worked for my parish for several
years and wanted to work there until retirement, but an evil man came into our midst,
getting rid of staff and clergy, swiftly putting a financially viable parish in the red,
and destroying the work of the last 40+ years. Some will turn away from God because of
him, but the destruction he brings is not of God. Destruction can never be of God.

8. Education
I love to learn, my husband and I have both taught, and since we have a son, education is very important to us. He went to private schools for several years and while that was fine, we found something better through an excellent public school system with an independent study program. Forget all the stereotypes of homeschooling and of public school. That’s not what it is. It’s more a combination of when people had private tutors teach their children, the one-room schools and parents nurturing their own children. The program is what it is thanks to our son’s wonderful teachers, especially the founder, Resa Steindel Brown. If you want a glimpse at what it’s all about, read her fantastic book, The Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators. You can also read about his science teacher in my blog posts here and here.

9. Family
Family and extended family is extremely important to me. It is where we receive and give love and support. Here on Earth, not counting God in Heaven, it is the one most important thing and it just doesn’t get more basic than that.

10. Movies/Plays
I don’t watch much TV, but I love a good movie or play. While it can’t replace a good
book, it’s still a story, whether real or fictional, and I love to be entertained. I
prefer comedies, especially for movies, because I don’t know about your life, but my life
is enough of a drama as it is. I just don’t need other people’s too, especially the made-
up ones. I really like adventures too, because this way I can escape to some fabulous
world and live vicariously. I would like science fiction, but most don’t meet my quality
standards unfortunately.

11. Hiking/Walking/Swimming
I enjoy being in nature and these are the most fun forms of exercise for me. These are not boring to me. I enjoy the scenery. Running would be too fast and strenuous to enjoy the
scenery. These are also quiet and since I despise noise, anything with bouncing balls,
whistling referees or echoing gymnasiums just would not work for me.

12. Cooking/Gourmet Food/Reading Cookbooks
Yes, I read cookbooks. I actually read cookbooks more than I eat or cook. As a teen my
mom would tell me that I read cookbooks instead of eating. I also love to cook when I
don’t have a full-time job. If I’m working, then cooking is no longer a pleasure and
something that I do for the family that I love. It becomes a chore and a race to put
anything on a plate in front of starving eyes in less than half an hour from the time I run
through the front door. But when I am not working, I will use all my knowledge from
reading all these cookbooks and all my creativity and use cooking as another art-form. I
also like real food. I am against eating engineered chemicals, dyes, artificial products.
I like wild salmon, trout and other fish, I like real butter on all my foods and especially
my popcorn. And you really don’t want me to get started on cloned meat, or cloned
anything, because I’m really against that!

13.Travel
I don’t travel enough. I would love to travel 365 days a year, but that’s simply not
possible. I put roots down with a family and a house. Once upon a time I contemplated
becoming a foreign correspondent, a travel writer and even a pilot or a stewardess, just so
that I could travel, but I will just have to be satisfied with having been to Germany,
France, Switzerland, Italy, England, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Arizona,
Nevada, Georgia, … Oops, that sounds like another Thursday Thirteen! 😉

Just click on Mister Linky to add your Thursday 13 link and see the other participants who linked here. And please don’t forget to post a comment. Thanks!

  • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
  • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

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Tell Your Car to Pick Up the Milk

Posted by infinitygoods on November 5, 2007

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And DARPA’s Urban Challenge Event autonomous robot car winners are:

  1. Tartan Racing — Carnegie Mellon and General Motors with “Boss,” a Chevy Tahoe taking the $2 million first prize;
  2. Stanford Racing Team — Stanford University with “Junior,” a VW Passat gets the $1 million second prize;
  3. Victor Tango Team — Virginia Tech with “Odin,” a Ford Escape Hybrid claims third prize of $500, 000.

I hope all of you reading this post realize just how exciting this all is. Our 10-year-old son is quite excited that his very own science teacher competes in the Pentagon’s DARPA Challenge each year. This is the third challenge. Nobody won in 2004, and Stanford won the $2 million first prize last year.

Our son, who already wanted to be a scientist to follow in his Grandpa’s impressive footsteps, is even more energized now that he has seen and touched his teacher’s autonomous robotic car.

His teacher tells us that not only will these “auto-mobiles” be used for military purposes such as transport through danger zones (DARPA’s goal is by 2015), but much sooner than we think, we’ll be able to tell our cars to go pick up the milk for us at the grocery store. This is not science-fiction fantasies, it is our own near future.

Already car makers are fine-tuning driver assistance systems where the car is constantly monitoring the road for the driver, warning the driver of hazards and as soon as the driver touches the brakes, the car applies the brakes at just the necessary pressure.

We hope to get many more details at our son’s next science class, but in the meantime, you can watch the video and look at pictures on DARPA’s Web site.

All the science and technology media are writing about it too. You can check out WIRED and Popular Mechanics‘ numerous articles and blog posts on their Web sites.

And if you didn’t read my previous post on Oct. 26, 2007 about autonomous cars, be sure to check it out FIRST. It will give you all the basics to understand what it’s all about.

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  • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
  • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

Posted in America, blog, blogging, Car, cars, culture, education, Family, government agencies, Home, homeschool, homeschooling, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, life, manufacturers, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, National Blog Post Month, National Novel Writing Month, News, novel, novel in 30 days, politics, science, Science Experiments, Scientists, technology, U.S., Uncategorized, USA, Website, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Starbucks Throws Children and Parents Into the Street

Posted by infinitygoods on November 3, 2007

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Starbucks strikes again. I keep hearing in the community, in the news, and on the Internet that Starbucks does not like children, and at least based on the experience we had a few days ago, I can say it’s absolutely true.

Our son’s teacher had prearranged with the local Starbucks manager in Oak Park, Calif., to have a small group of 6-10 homeschoolers accompanied by parents to journal for one hour. The thought was to have comfortable seating, pleasant music and, since the weather is getting chilly, perhaps even a cup of hot cocoa all while the children and parents wrote in their journals.

It seemed it would be a better experience than sitting in a school district classroom, which seems particularly uninviting to all of us who are so used to the pleasures and comfort of homeschooling.

We would have gained a clean, well-lighted place to write, and in exchange Starbucks would have gained some free community outreach in an affluent area which is extremely family oriented, all the while gaining some extra business at a time of day the manager had claimed was always slow.

Well, that was not to be.

Despite the prearrangement and the fact that several parents were already purchasing drinks and snacks, the manager asked the teacher to leave even before several of us had the chance to arrive, claiming there were too many patrons there that morning despite the seats still available both inside and on the patio.

Now, I ask you, since almost every single one of us had made a purchase, were we not patrons?

Mind you, we were not a group of screaming preschoolers or scary teen gang members. The three children who had already arrived were polite and quiet elementary school children who were accompanied by both a school district teacher, and one parent each.

Starbucks did not refuse to serve us. No, they gladly took our money. Starbucks refused to allow paying customers to sit down and sent children out into the cold!

When the teacher went to Starbucks to prearrange this, the manager had the choice to simply say no, or that she didn’t feel comfortable doing that, or that it was sometimes a busy time of day so it might not be comfortable for us, or any polite customer service excuse she wanted to give. But instead, she chose to tell the teacher yes, that it was a slow time of day and that it was “fine,” only to rudely go back on her word.

That’s not how to win repeat business or create community goodwill, Starbucks. That’s not only the perfect recipe for losing business today, but also for losing business tomorrow when those children become adults.

As you can see by this blog post, it’s also the perfect way to earn bad press for all the World Wide Web to read.

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  • Don’t know what NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are? Read all about it here and here.
  • Want to know why I’m participating in both? Click here.

Posted in America, blog, blogging, Caring, consumers, culture, education, Family, Food, food products, greed, Home, homeschool, homeschooling, Infinity Goods, infinitygoods.com, Internet, life, Music, U.S., USA, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Autonomous Robot Car Drives Itself — What a RASCAL!

Posted by infinitygoods on October 26, 2007

UPDATE: For the winners & additional information, click here for my Nov. 5, 2007 post.

We had such an exciting science class yesterday! Our son’s science teacher is a research scientist and has helped build an autonomous robot car named RASCAL.

RASCAL is autonomous, NOT, I repeat, NOT remote controlled. It drives itself!! With sensors, a GPS system, lots and lots of computer software and a laptop in the back, RASCAL drives without a driver!

The Grand Challenge is set by the U.S. government, and the grand prize last year was $2 million won by Stanford University, but RASCAL was one of the top finalists.

The U.S. government is hoping that they can have fully functional autonomous cars by year 2015 (that’s only about 7 years from now!!) so that soldiers won’t get shot or bombed while transporting supplies.

RASCAL is competing again in the 3rd Grand Challenge, the “Urban Challenge” to be held near Victorville on Sat., Nov. 3.

The Grand Challenge folks have promised to have a live webcast, so stay tuned as they announce more details in the next week.

Check the website at www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/index.asp, or if you’re in the area and you’re an early bird, go out and see the excitement in person! It starts early 😉 !

Posted in homeschool, life, News, politics, science, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NaNoWriMo — Ready, Set, Write a Novel in 30 Days

Posted by infinitygoods on October 19, 2007

As I was hopping from one blog to another yesterday, I discovered an 8-year-old phenomenon which has been sweeping the WWW community of writers and bloggers.

National Novel Writing Month is coming up in November. The point is not to write the greatest novel ever written or the next best-seller, but rather to find the dedication to write 50, 000 words in 30 days and to refrain our dreadful inner editors which cripple so many, even professional writers.

If you succeed in writing that novel, or should we really say that first draft, you get bragging rights. Winners receive a web icon and a certificate, but more importantly, they get the empowerment that comes with the accomplishment of such a challenge and the knowledge that they succeeded.

What started with 21 friends challenging themselves in 1999, with six of them finishing their 50,000-word novels, grew to 42, 000 participants in 2004 and 79, 813 participants last November. The number of winners was 12, 948 or about 16 percent of participants.

To help you succeed in your endeavor, Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, has written No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days (also available as The No Plot? No Problem! Novel-Writing Kit), and has grown his website into a nonprofit corporation, The Office of Letters and Light, with forums, FAQs, and 500 affiliated chapters around the world.

Baty is also reaching out to students with the Young Writers Program, where more than 300 schools participated last year. Students set their own goals, but the same principle of refraining their inner editor applies.

I’m considering joining this NaNoWriMo phenomenon. It would be an interesting experiment. Can a wife and mother with a blog and an on-line Amazon-affiliate store, write about 1,700 words a day when there’s also homeschooling and life playing interference?

I’ve written that many words a day, a lot more actually when I was a full-time journalist, but I didn’t have a child to babysit and homeschool in those days. And I’ve never attempted a novel before. What do you think? Is it even remotely possible without creating a novel orphan?

Maybe I should sign up our son, too. After all, he has been working on a novel since the age of 8. It’s about time he took the time to finish it, isn’t it?

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