Friday, February 29, 2008
2008 Triennial School Census Begins!
Virginia law requires local school divisions to report a census of children ages five to 19 every three years. January 1 through July 15, 2008, is designated as the period during which the 2008 Triennial School Census will be conducted and completed. The census counts are used to apportion state sales tax revenues that are set aside to support public education.
According to the Virginia Code §22.1-281 [http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+22.1-281] through §22.1-286 [http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+22.1-286], school divisions are required to submit a summary count of all persons, ages 5-19, who reside in their counties, cities, and towns. This includes public and private school students, homeschoolers, and dependents living on federal military property. Children away from home, in college, or in the military must also be counted.
How Will the Information Be Collected?
The data may be collected by the division superintendent's office in several ways:
1) by a survey mailing,
2) by a phone call, or
3) by a door-to-door survey.
What Is the Purpose?
This census is an important planning tool for public school divisions. Based on school census data, each locality will receive approximately 1% of sales tax revenues for public schools. Locally, the school division uses the data to plan for construction of new schools and to identify future staffing needs.
What Information Will Be Collected?
Information on the survey may not be limited to the number of children in your home. The district may also "gather statistics related to the interests of education" as deemed necessary by the superintendent.
Most districts assure families that the information provided will NOT be used for any other purpose but the census. Only a summary count (no names or addresses) from the census will be used by the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine the distribution of sales tax and other monies to counties, cities, and towns.
Do Homeschoolers Have to Participate?
It is the responsibility of each school board to make sure the census is taken at the proper time and in the proper manner. However, the law does not state residents are required to supply information for the census. If you prefer not to give out personal information, you may simply state, "I do not care to participate in the survey." The decision to participate is up to each individual family.
Is More Information Available?
You may view the Department of Education 2008 School Census information here. [http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Publications/schcensus/2008/index.html]
*************NOTE FROM YVONNE
Participating in the census should not have a negative effect on a family's homeschool status. If you decide not to participate, be aware some census takers may become very aggressive. It is their job to get a complete count. Obviously, including your children in the census will help the local school district financially; however, census takers are not allowed to harass families. If there is a problem, ask for the number of the census taker's supervisor and report the incident.
Yvonne Bunn, HEAV Director of Government Affairs
Home Educators Association of Virginiae-mail: email@example.com
In case you are new to the blog, we had problems with coyotes killing our cats, rabbits, chickens, a friend's son's puppy, and then our goats. We were featured in the local papers and on the local news.
Our neighbor is having one mounted as a trophy and has invited us to see it when it comes back from the taxidermist. The coyote weighed 47 lbs and looked like it might have been a "coy-dog." Coyotes will readily breed with domestic dogs. From what we were told, this one looks like it was bred with a German Shepherd.
Our sharpshooting neighbor told us there are at least two more living in the woods around our house. Those are just the ones he's seen.
Anyone local want to try their hand at hunting coyote? firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/transport-tech/how-to-hack-your-swiffer.php how to make your own reusable covers for Swiffer (I put this here for mothers.)
http://www.bigbrainz.com/Download.html FREE downloadable times tables adventure game.
http://www.grammarbook.com/interactive_quizzes_exercises.asp Some FREE interactive quizzes on grammar, capitalization and punctuation
http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/lapbooks.htm FREE homeschool lapbooks
I have spent years putting together this extensive list of homeschooling links, which will provide you with more than enough resources, available for free online that won't have you scrambling to purchase over-priced textbooks and workbooks. It's all at your fingertips."
http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/maria_links.htm links on test preparation, a SAT improvement course, etc, go to her home page for more educational links
http://www.kidzone.ws/ fun facts for children pre-K through 5th grade
http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/ homeschool news and information
http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/ Jon's Homeschool Resources "With over 140 distinct pages and over 1¾ meg of HTML text, this is one of the largest homeschooling sites on the Web. This site's size and neutrality is why it remains one of the most popular homeschooling sites on the Web..."
http://budgethomeschool.com/ "I have spent years putting together this extensive list of homeschooling links, which will provide you with more than enough resources, available for free online that won't have you scrambling to purchase over-priced textbooks and workbooks. "
I was going to put a verse with this, but Emily says I have to go now. :-)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This is only part; see full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/government-concedes-vacci_b_88323.html
After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.
The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff's identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.
The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal "Vaccine Court," was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the "defendant" in all Vaccine Court cases.
The child's claim against the government -- that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism -- was supposed to be one of three "test cases" for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.
Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and "concluded that compensation is appropriate."
The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).
Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of "relatedness;" insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and "watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination."
Seven months after vaccination, the patient was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a leading neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Children's Hospital Neurology Clinic, with "regressive encephalopathy (brain disease) with features consistent with autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development." The girl also met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) official criteria for autism.
In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was "aggravated" by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.
"The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder," the concession says, "which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD."
This statement is good news for the girl and her family, who will now be compensated for the lifetime of care she will require. But its implications for the larger vaccine-autism debate, and for public health policy in general, are not as certain.
Clint and I would love to attend, but he has a commitment to work that he can not get out of without creating major problems. I am nursing an infant and don't want to drive the distance alone at night. We'd also have to leave our other children alone because no one is available to watch them that night.
That doesn't mean we do not care or are too stuck up to be bothered...it just isn't working out for us.
There is not one person we've known that we would not enjoy catching up with, so drop us an e-mail and let us know what is going on in your life. contentmentacres at yahoo . com
Bring the children and come out to the farm for a visit.
We know some of you are searching Google for info about the reunion. The class blog with details is http://www.fghs87.blogspot.com/. The reunion is set for this Saturday night 7-11 p.m.
Btw, everyone looks great, but we wish Ricky G. would pick a better driver. :-D
Monday, February 25, 2008
I do not know if this will look any different than the last picture, but it has 3 thick coats of satin polyurethane for protection. Clint and Brandon moved the fridge and stove back in this a.m. Sometime very soon, we'll come up with a concrete plan for the cabinets and pick out a counter top. Clint has some plumbing and wiring he wants to do before then. He also has to rig a pump to carry water from the distiller to the fridge for the ice maker and water dispenser. We have not had an ice maker in the house since Isabel! We buy ice every week.
I am EXHAUSTED! Clint and I put in 13 hours Friday and 11 on Saturday. We finished the floor and the first coat of polyurethane was on it at 8:45 p.m. Sunday after church, we took a nap. Well, I tried to sleep. When I figured out it wasn't going to work, I got up and put the last coat of polyurethane on while Clint slept as a surprise. He was so thankful I spared his sore knees, he took me out to eat! The scoundrel stole my covers in the middle of the night...so I didn't sleep well last night either. He, snugly warm with MY blanket, slept like a rock and feels great today! :-D I've been picking on him about it too.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Then, we found out our goats were out of the fence and venturing too far. They were still on our land, but way out back where our neighbor on another road could see them with his binoculars. He came to let us know because he is aware of some illegal deer hunting going on right now. (That's a problem in rural areas, but it beats muggers and rapists.) He doesn't want the dogs or the hunters to go after our goats. Clint and I were appreciative of him taking his time to come let us know. We lost a little more time rounding them up.
Clint got a little sidetracked this afternoon playing with Emily too. She is 100% Daddy's Girl now! She would bury her face in his chest and just breathe his scent in. You could just see her thinking "Daddy smells good!" (I think so too!)
Right now, Clint has about five rows of planks to put in. Then Bethany and I will finish the stain. After that, Clint and I'll start putting on the coats of polyurethane to seal it. We hope to get the first coat on tonight, another on early in the a.m. before church and another late tomorrow night. Then we'll have one or two more to do before we will let the children on it. We are trying as hard as we can to get things as close to normal as possible as soon as possible. The house is a wreck because we had to clear out those three rooms.
The cabinets should be in within a month. I was given a beautiful $600 Kohler cast iron sink with a $400 faucet by an older mother of twelve. She was very happy to hear we have six children.
I am using the woodstove and the toaster oven to cook.
Thank you to everyone who is praying the work will go fast and easy...it is. Thank you for cheering us on!
Please keep Luke in your prayers.
Friday, February 22, 2008
You can see the old flooring (what was under the linoleum the flood ruined) above. (The linoleum was new too.) We went with pine because it will match the Douglas Fir (pine family) in the rest of the house. It will clean easy and hold up to our busy household. We found beautiful oak flooring under the linoleum layers in the kitchen, but it wasn't salvageable. We also chose wood because we are now "gun shy" about floods. We know real wood will last through one, but the other flooring options clearly won't!
Clint picked up our kitchen/hall/bathroom flooring yesterday!! He had tried to pick it up Wednesday night, but was told by the salesman that he could not use a the hatchback of his car. The reason was that the"forklift could not load the pallet" into the car. Clint said "Fine, I'll load it by hand." The man would not let him. So, Printpack allowed him to borrow the company truck to go get it. Thank you Printpack! And, when he bought it, it was loaded by hand. We think the salesman was trying to pressure Clint into using their delivery service.
Clint took a vacation day so he could have today and tomorrow to install it. We got a good start on it last night. I am cooking breakfast on the woodstove this morning!
This is the last BIGGER job in our recovery from Hurricane Isabel. Clint has done it all without going into debt. I am very proud of and thankful to him for his godly leadership to our family.
That's Joshua unloading the wood. All five of the older children helped Clint unload the truck so he could get it back to work in case someone needed it. They had it unloaded in a jiffy too. At times, all Clint and I could do was stand out of their way! The flash made the lights look like that.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
There are no lines on the paper. It is an off white and is recycled paper.
We live in 7 miles from the bridge in Guinea.
We will be offering more free textbooks in the near future.
Please keep Luke in your prayers. He's home with his family, but they all still need prayer.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
They see the signature lines proclaiming "attachment parenting, noncircumcising, organic veggie-only eating, cosleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding, head covering, nonvaccinating, full quivering, stay at home, homechurching, home birthing, homeschooling mother of 25."
Some women see these signature lines as ways to find like minded friends. Others see them and feel heavily burdened. While it is wonderful to seek out like minded friends to encourage us on the path God has led us to, we need to be careful to not become legalistic or boastful. We also need to make sure that we encourage other mothers even if they do differently than what we prefer. God is not limited to our ideals when He does His marvelous work in and through our lives.
What is going to make us an effective ("good") mother is the same thing that will make us an effective Christian: a humble, obedient heart open to the Lord's leading and correction with a strong will to make right what is revealed as wrong; not only doing, but doing with the right heart with the right goals.
If we are doing anything because we feel it makes us better than someone who does differently, we have a pride issue. There are plenty of fantastic, loving Christian mothers who do a terrific job of raising their child in public school, with formula, using a stroller, while working, etc.
If we are doing anything because we want to fit in with a group, we are doing them to please man. We have substituted a false god (of friendship, popularity, self worship, etc) for the One Living True God.
If we are doing them because God led us to it, we are an obedient Christian mother.
I recently read an article in a Christian magazine aimed at encouraging mothers. The young author was extolling the virtues of her way of mothering, but in doing so, she tore down those who did differently by making disparaging remarks towards their style of mothering. As I read it, I could just feel the discouragement of young women who were trying the best they could but were unable to follow this woman's model of "good mothering." We are to build each other up, not tear each other down. We do not have to tear down the house of another to build our own.
We should be shining the light on what Christ is doing in and through us, but not on the method.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. I Peter 5:5
Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Psalm 138:6 (my note: notice He stays far away from the proud.)
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psalm 34:2 (emphasis mine)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There are some InTeReStInG stories in the Asbell genealogy....like the hired hand that went missing after he messed around with an Asbell's daughter. (Clint says that will be repeated as necessary.)
We also are working on setting up a 55 gallon aquarium for Science class. We had the aquarium so we only need the filters, rocks and heater. Joshua, Caleb and Bethany are "bouncing up and down eager" to get the fish.
Brandon has taken over the morning devotions so he can get youth leadership experience. He is doing very well with it.
Amanda and Brandon have not had horseback riding lessons the past few weeks due to the weather and the fact that Katie, the instructor, has had strep throat.
Brandon and Amanda already have some piano lessons under their belts, but Joshua will soon be taking it as well. We use Piano Discovery software with a keyboard hooked up to a computer. If any of them decide they want to take it further, we will hire someone to teach them.
Clint has some classes to take for work coming up soon. He'll be commuting to Richmond daily for those.
We woke up to snow on the ground this a.m., but it's melting fast in the sunshine!
PRAYER REQUEST: Today is the big day for Luke. Let's keep all of them in prayer as they do this MRI to see what is going on with this cute little boy.
This one was messy! It had been wiggly for weeks and then he fell hard and knocked it out. He came running to me with a mouth full of blood! Thankfully, I spotted that gap and then my heart started beating again!
We don't do the tooth fairy here. The whole family gets donuts when someone's tooth falls out.
We are hoping he loses another one very soon!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
18 frozen tater tots (we used a large package)
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cups cooked ham cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 3/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes (we used leftover real mashed potatoes)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 tsp onion powder (we minced an onion)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cook tater tots according to package. Combine broth and milk in large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat; reduce heat to low. Add ham, potato flakes, corn, onion powder and black pepper. Cook while stirring often for 7-10 minutes until creamy and slightly thick. Put in bowls and top with tater tots. Serves approx. 4. If you like it thicker, add potato flakes. If you like it thinner, add milk or water. Add some cheddar cheese for a different flavor or as a garnish.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Brandon has hundreds of glow in the dark stars on his walls and ceiling. When you cut out the light, it looks like the sky is falling on you and it causes your belly to drop. He has the coolest room in the house!
That's Miracle, Brandon's cat. She slips in now and then and goes to Brandon's room. She's trying to hide his dirty clothes so he doesn't get fussed at again :-).
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The grand prize (first place) went to Hannah Haas, a 13-year-old homeschooler from Charlotte, North Carolina. The eighth-grader developed wallpaper designed to stimulate and engage children afflicted with autism.
Second place went to Nicolette Mann, a 13-year-old homeschooler from Christiansburg, Virginia. Nicolette used Bubble Wrap brand cushioning to create a single kit that enables the easy assembly of multiple flying kites by providing detailed instructions on how to construct different formations, shapes, and styles.
Read more about the Bubble Wrap Competition and be inspired for next year at the website below!
This was in the HEAV newsletter.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
If you sign up, please let them know we (Clint & Wendy Asbell, P.O. Box 244, Achilles, VA 23001) referred you. We'd make good use of the $1,000 referral bonus!
My name is Danielle Gervais. I'm a Casting Producer for ABC's Primetime show, "Wife Swap." I hope you don't mind me contacting you, but we're currently into our fourth season at the moment and we're actively looking for one-of-a-kind families with plenty of personality! Specifically, we're looking for parents who strongly believe in alternative forms of education for their children. If you’ve always thought your family was meant for television, we’d love to hear from you! In addition, please feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think would be interested in taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the moms switch places to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. Then she introduces a "rule change" where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It's a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life. Wife Swap airs on Disney owned ABC television on Wednesdays at 8 pm- the family hour!
Requirements: Each family must consist of two parents and at least one child between 7 and 17 and should reside in the continental U.S. (There may be other children living in the home who are older or younger than the required age…as long as one child is in the required age range.)
Participating in the show is a very unique experience that can be life changing for everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives $20,000 as compensation for their time. Anyone who refers a family that appears on our program receives $1000 as a 'thank you’ from us.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email and I hope to hear from you soon. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! If you're interested in learning more, please don’t forget to include your contact information.
Thank you for your time,
Casting Producer, Wife Swap
If you sign the guestbook, you will get to click a box that will tell you when Christy has updated the page. Then you won't have to keep asking me :-D!
Lye: You DO have to work with lye to make soap. You HAVE to wear glasses to prevent the lye from getting into your eyes. I do not wear gloves or an apron.
If the lye gets on your skin, you can wash it off. Lye feels very slippery to the skin. You need to flush the area with water while you rub the "slippery" away. Then I wash a bit beyond that to ensure I have all of it off of me. When lye gets on my skin, I first feel an itch. If it is on my skin for too long, it starts to burn.
Is it hard? Making the soap is not hard at all if you can follow directions, have accurate equipment (scales and thermometers) and pay attention to details. Soap ingredients and temperature have to be precise.
How to make it: There is one main book I recommend reading when learning how to make milk based soaps. This book will teach you all you need to know and has several recipes to try.
Milk-Based Soaps: Making Natural, Skin-Nourishing Soap
This is for water based soaps, but has tips and recipes to gather ideas from when experimenting.
Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life)
Other Milk: I have not tried other milk.
Canned Milk: While I have used canned goat's milk for my personal use face cream, I do not use it in milk making. It would not be cost effective. I am not sure how it would affect the process. I know some ladies have canned milk from their goats and it has not worked well in the recipes.
There are many, many women online making goat's milk soap. Some of them have wonderful recipes and pages set up to help the beginner.
For general soapmaking (not milk specific): Kathy Miller's page is excellent!
Skin conditions I personally know it has helped: eczema, dry skin, those scaly, bumpy arms, psoriasis, poison ivy/sumac/oak, etc.
Did I miss a question? email@example.com
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Right now for our home worship and study times, we are going through basic doctrines. In other words, we are studying why we believe what we believe. We are using Scripture and several texts to do this, but the favorite so far seems to be ABeka Book's Bible Doctrines for Today. It has some facts about the church, archaelogy and other history that really add to the lessons.
For school, we do not use a Bible curriculum. We read the Scripture at breakfast and discuss it. Sometimes I will use a story to illustrate life application of the lesson learned.
One reason for this is that I have never found a curriculum I liked. Many of my lessons are taken from stories in Scripture and then we discuss it. I use to take the time to write lessons down and then teach them. My life has changed a lot since then and I no longer have the time. However, we have found allowing the Holy Spirit to lead the lesson has been very rewarding. Sometimes the lesson we learn is not the one we aimed for...it's something God had for the entire family and would have been lost in a more structured lesson.
It is our belief Scripture was written for all ages, including children. The hearing of Scripture is beneficial because God says His Word will not return to Him empty. When the people of Israel were called to listen to the text be read, they were all assembled...young and old together. (see our thoughts on family worship below)
Bible study doesn't just happen at the breakfast table though. It is an all day occurrence. As we hear stories of people who have been ensnared in sin or blessed because of obedience, we point those out with Scripture. We emphasize the need for obedience and the consequences to disobedience.
Obedience is not a chore. It is a joy. The boundaries God (and godly parents) give us are not to limit us but to keep us free from entanglement of sin, which is dangerous. It's like the fence I keep my goats in. The fence is not to limit their lives, but to increase it. Outside the fence are poisonous plants, dangerous items, predators, lack of shelter, etc. All of those things are negative and rob them of life. Yet, my goats think the best things are on the outside of the fence...until something happens and they run fast to get back inside of it. They holler and carry on loudly for me to rescue them. I usually do, but every once in a while, I let them learn from their disobedience.
Please note that you can not teach your children if you have not studied Scripture for yourself. They need to be "in your heart" before "you teach them diligently" to your children. (See Deuteronomy 6:6-9 below.) So I recommend a good study Bible and personal study time.
Family Worship: Our family does not appreciate being pulled apart to learn about or worship God. We learn under Clint's leadership which builds and strengthens us as a family. More and more families are crying out for this and that is why we now have churches who are doing away with nurseries and children's church with wonderful benefits for the church and the family. Families with these types of churches in their area can not stop talking about the many blessings found on so many levels. Children are no longer seen as intrusions or burdens to the service, but as the blessing of a future generation...the godly heritage spoke about in Scripture!
Monday, February 04, 2008
While I was about 5 months pregnant, I found a bargain on Earth's Best Organic Baby Food. Each case of 12 was marked down to $3. I had $1 coupons off of 10 jars. Then, I found a rebate for $3.50 on each case. I usually just feed the babies off my plate by mashing cooked vegetables and meats, but this was a deal I could not pass up. Praise God for His provision!
Friday, February 01, 2008
This is James and Sarah Asbell.
James was shot in the mouth while serving in the Civil War and would not accept pension for his injuries.
I was told I would not have children. Look what God has done!
I was once a young wife convicted by the Holy Spirit and God's Word to be a keeper at home. I can remember finishing the day's work in the afternoon and thinking "I wish I had more to do." Look what God has done!
I can remember getting a handle on having three children and thinking "maybe God will send one more." Look what God has done!
I really miss having more time for e-mail and phone chats. I miss spur of the moment shopping trips. I miss having more time for personal Bible study and reading in general. I miss sewing and gardening when I felt like it. Being a helpmeet, homeschooling and raising my children are worth investing my time and energy. So, while I miss some of the old things, I am rejoicing in the new things!