Music Appreciation (no soda, but maybe lederhosen)

Again on the message boards...
Q: "Uh, dude, do Latin Americans just drink a lot of soda? Because, yo, I see a lot of soda in the Latin American stores."
A: "Well, dude, Mexicans DO drink a lot of soda..."

[Sorry folks, if I am getting blitzed with over 100 emails a day with this stuff, you are fair game for my blog]

I'd like to spin that and instead talk about Latin American music.

One of the things I like to do with A when listening to music is ask, "Where do you think this came from?" So, some ethnomusicology...

Cafe Tacuba is an "alternative" music band from Mexico. A friend invited me to a live show of Cafe Tacuba's, and one piece that stood out in particular was a cover they did of the traditional (non-Mexican) folk song "Ojala Que Llueva Cafe" complete with traditional Mexican fiddler. Everyone in the audience went nuts. I had listened to mariachi music before, but during this non-mariachi tune I thought, these guys are really yodeling. A seems to like this song a lot, as well.

Links about the German influence in Mexican music:

From this site


From PBS (click on German Texans on the right).

On another occasion, I was at an Upper West Side book signing, and a strangely familiar yet exotic music could be heard. I could almost place my finger on it, but could not quite. What was it? It's Cuban, declared the host at the UWS signing. Now, Maitresse knows Cuban when she hears it. Cuban it was NOT. The host showed me the cover of the CD. Ah, Senegalese. They're a band from Senegal. Influenced by Cuban son, these guys have created a sound all their own. Popular in Europe, I chose the CD with the word "Pirate" in it because it was the coolest.


And now for something completely different...


Recently, there have been discussions on the Well-Trained Mind message boards about the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections. I'd like to add my two cents.

To get started, you might use these links:

From Scholastic.

The Democracy Project.

Also from PBS...

And from C-Span.

Before this Thursday's debate, we (A and I) will be learning about the elements of debate. Here's a link for Debate Central. Their information can be modified for school-aged kids.

I know this is really hard, but try not to interfere with your child's thought processes (no deliberate prodding, no negating) while he/she explores the answers to questions about the Presidential debate and elections.

What issues are important to your child? Why? Are there pros and cons to the views that each candidate espouses? Why? What about how they convey their views? What sort of speech is acceptable?

My favorite: What is a flip-flop? Has only one candidate "flip-flopped" or do you find elements of changing a view/changing goalposts in both candidates?

I find it useful to refer to newspapers and other periodicals to follow what the candidates are saying.

I recently showed this clipping to A, from the September 25, 2004 NY Times:

In Their Own Words

President Bush

Remarks yesterday in Janesville, Wis.

"I met with the prime minister of Iraq yesterday. He's willing to do the hard work, too. He came to our country - he came to our country to thank the American people. He came to our country to thank the moms and dads and husbands and wives of those who have sacrificed for his freedom and America's security. That's what he came to do. He gave a strong speech. He's a strong man. The fellow - he woke up one night in London, England - he'd been in exile. And there was two people by his bed with axes sent by Saddam Hussein - seriously - to chop him up. And he survived. And now he's the prime minister of that country. He is going to lead this country. No matter how hard it gets, he will lead this country to a better day. He believes in the people of Iraq.

He spoke to the Congress. He gave a great speech to the Congress. He talked about his strategy of defeating the insurgents, of holding the elections in January. This country is going to have elections in January. Afghanistan is going to have them in October, and they'll be held in January.

And my opponent chose to criticize the prime minister of Iraq. This great man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America, and Senator Kerry held a press conference and questioned Prime Minister Allawi's credibility.

You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility."


Senator John Kerry

Remarks yesterday at Temple University in Philadelphia:

"Let me be as blunt and direct with the American people as I can be. Let me tell you the truth, which is what America deserves.

The invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy, Al Qaeda, which killed more than 3,000 people on 9/11 and which still plots our destruction today. And there's just no question about it; the president's misjudgment, miscalculation and mismanagement of the war in Iraq all make the war on terror harder to win.

Iraq is now what it was not before the war: a haven for terrorists. George Bush made Saddam Hussein the priority. I would have made Osama bin Laden the priority.

As president, I pledge to you, America, I will finish the job in Iraq. And I will refocus our energies on the real war on terror. I will wage this war relentlessly, with a single-minded determination to capture or kill the terrorists, crush their movements and free the world from fear.

But to destroy our enemy, we have to know our enemy. We have to understand - we have to understand that we are facing a radical fundamentalist movement with global reach and a very specific plan.

They are not just out to kill us for the sake of killing us, they want to provoke a conflict that will radicalize the people of the Muslim world, turning them against the United States and the West. And they hope to transform that anger into a force that will topple the region's governments and pave the way for a new empire, and oppressive, fundamentalist superstate stretching across a vast area from Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Central Asia. That's their goal.

And the American people have the right to hear the answer to a fundamental question: How are we going to win this war?"

*Me and a special friend in Switzerland, about to launch one of many balloons bearing a gift card for the wedding couple. The bride later reported cards returned from neighboring countries. Our votes, like balloons, can wind up in territories we least suspect. Launch carefully.

For coffee lovers who also love the Greek Classics...

How could you resist these? From Illy:

"Each signed and numbered cup by Greek-born artist Jannis Kounellis bears the name of a heroine from classical Greek tragedy—Electra, Antigone, Phaedra and Persephone—juxtaposed with modern symbolic images of dolls and inkblots. Beautifully gift boxed, each set includes four signed and numbered espresso cups and saucers, an 8.8 oz. can of illy and a Kounellis Collection brochure."

Registration deadline approaching

Anyone out there feel like registering your child for this year's Grades 4-8 National Geographic Bee? Deadline is October 15, 2004. Details here. Open to institutional school and home school students.


Houston, we have a problem...

We can't find the Big Dipper in our backyard. Nor the Herdsman. Nor anything else. We have too many trees.

Ech. Next, plan B.


Hey kids, let's learn about hurricanes

You can click on


to start...

And again to my bloggy readers, friends & family in Florida: Hang tight.


The Quito Table.

If I were a rich man?

After finishing Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt a couple of weeks ago, I felt a huge sense of urgency to be a better parent, and still felt relief that I can feed not only toast and tea (in a real teacup) to A in the mornings, but an egg, pancakes, sausages, and most anything else that I can afford...right now, it's a bit more than the author of AA enjoyed from his parents as a child.

As a child of immigrants, things for me were not so easy growing up, either. My father owned his own business and was better off than my mother's family. When my mother divorced my dad, suddenly, we had far less than I was accustomed to. We moved in to an old white wooden tropical house in Florida, with cockroaches and possums as additional boarders, and I remember the house glassware being comprised primarily of McDonald's $.99 specials glasses that I could get with my weekend Happy Meal.

Even when the miracle of miracles happened, I got to go to school abroad for a couple of years, what I brought back was mostly in my head, not in the trunk that came on the trans-Atlantic ship 2 weeks afterwards.

That formula made me person and parent that I am.

Dr. Phil is on a book tour right now, and seems to be counseling a lot of families who give an awful lot of things to their kids. Those parents once were poor(ish) and perhaps to compensate, are creating a new generation of kids who feel entitled to owning things. Things like Kate Spade handbags, a brand new sportscar at age 16, etc. etc. Mommy! Mommy! You don't love me! [mommy immediately purchases whatever Thing she feels necessary to prove her love]. What are those parents doing about their kids' educations? How are those kids going to make a go of their lives, if necessary, without the help of their parents?

Paris Hilton was on Oprah explaining how her stint at McDonald's left her surprised that "They like, only make $40 a day...like, how can they have dinner with that money?" Ah, yes, Paris...

Material wealth does not necessarily lead to cerebral riches.

Poverty is particularly useful for keeping things in perspective. Something is stolen out of your car trunk while you were gone? At least it wasn't your health that was taken. Don't have pancakes for breakfast? At least you have toast, tea, and shoes to wear. Donnatella Versace calls on the phone? [yes, happened to me] Don't worry. She was once poor, too. [heh, heh, we even talked about how poor she once was] Kid didn't make it to Harvard? Thank goodness that he has a head on his shoulders, he can make a living, be a good parent, and do good things for his community.

Thank G-d for the value of poverty. I doubt we would see Tevye dancing as much once he had his riches.


What we're studying (for pleasure)

What A is reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (hey, it's a big book!).

What I am reading: 'Tis by Frank McCourt.

I'd like to provide a small plug for the Strand bookstore, and Alabaster Books, which sells really really good books outside its shop window for $2, but does not have a website. Alabaster Books is located at 122 Fourth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 212.982.3550.


Latin (and French and Spanish)

Latin test this week for A (a test from our Latin Primer we have not done). A took his "homeschool" work to a friend's house yesterday while they both worked on their "school" work. Can you say, "proud"?!

French - we're now on year 7 - is going well, although with a one-year absence from French studies (after we moved from Miami and from A's French school there) he had to re-learn conjugations of the verbs "ĂȘtre" and "avoir."

We have not started the CNED studies yet.

Spanish...ah yes. The reluctant language for both myself and A. My mother's family speaks it and I didn't actually "try it on" until I was 16. In England. Go figure. This weekend in Weggis, Switzerland, I was seated at the "Quito" (as in Ecuador, where the bride grew up) wedding reception table. Maitresse had to strike up conversation in Spanish with Ecuadorians, Spaniards, and Swiss Spanish speakers to talk about, oh, renting a boat in the Amazon and how great Brazilians are, that non-numerical native tribe from Darby's article (yoo-hoo, Darby! your article made it to dinner conversation in Switzerland), future trips to Machu Picchu, and the Swiss road system. I finally escaped to sit with the comic Australians, but at least, I did not feel stupid. I was able to shoot the potty in Spanish at the Quito table.

So I've learned from my mistakes and A is taking Spanish now. His pronounciation is pretty good and claims his tests at school so far have been a bit too easy.

Tonight, it's constellations - learning that map that lies in the sky. Using pages six through eight in H.A. Rey's Find the Constellations, we will become expert in finding The Big Dipper. The Great Bear. The Herdsman. And the Lion.


Trip too short (where did the Alps go?)

Random ramblings...

My lady's razor remained in my purse while I went through security at JFK. No one pointed it out or confiscated it.

At Zurich airport, I was told to put Alexander's new engraved Swiss Army knife in my check-in luggage. My lady's razor remained in my purse while I went through security in Zurich. No one pointed it out or confiscated it.

The most recent issue of Der Spiegel had Hitler on the cover.

The wedding bus was the most fun, and the most ridiculous-looking piece of wooden machinery ever. Sunflowers attached in the front, the gawks and smiles we got from street bystanders alone were worth the trip.

Swiss buildings and houses are largely architecturally dull (plain-jane). Who cares? The scenery is spectacular.

Children walk/bike home from school. On the regular roads. Sometimes alone. No one seems to worry much about safety.

Starbucks. McDonald's. Claire's. Western Union. Morgan Stanley. Some joint called New York Pizza.

Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World" by Tears for Fears on the radio is actually one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard.

Cows are able to graze on hills that are almost completely vertical.

The graffiti that adorns Swiss buildings and railways actually looks artistic.

Those men who blow Alpenhorn really exist.

A salsa band at Pax Montana? And it was actually a good one? OK. Maybe I could even live there.

Hispanic and Asian food in Lucerne? And it was actually pretty good? OK. Maybe I could really live there.

Mojitos and capirinhas? OK. I am so there.

Man cannot live on spaetzle alone.


Cinema Club

Cinema Club is something I started last year when I decided to homeschool A. Cinema Club is whatever you want it to be; while we watch a good number of films, not all films are of the caliber that can make it to our Club. I watch the film first, then develop questions for free-response answers (I find multiple choice does not afford full value of the assignment). I allow anywhere from 1/3 page space to an full page for answers.

Our first film was "Dead Poets Society" - a somewhat grown-up film, but as we ourselves have had a suicide in the family, I felt the plot might be still "young enough" for A to explore that very personal issue, in a safe and structured way. So here is an example of what Cinema Club is for us...
"Dead Poets Society" - Cinema Club assignment #1

1. You know what "carpe diem" means in the dictionary. What do you think it meant to Mr. Keating?

2. How did the poetry book used for Dead Poets Society meetings get into Neil's room? Who do you think put it there? Why do you think it was put there?

3. After watching the entire film, who are the students that you think figured out what "carpe diem" meant? What did they do?

4. Which student do you think you are like most in the film? Why?

5. Neil makes a drastic decision in the movie. a) Why did he choose suicide? Explain fully and thoughtfully, keeping in mind his character, the characters of his family in the film, and what he learned under Mr. Keating's teachings. b) Was suicide his only answer? If you had a chance to be Neil, explain what you would have done differently.

6. I am from Planet Deadpoetsurnia. I have just walked into the Wellton classroom at the end of the film, and Todd is standing on his desk. So are a lot of other students in that English classroom. I don't understand what is going on!! Is Todd actually trying to say something by standing on his desk? Can you tell me what it is?

7. Fun question: What is a Pirate of the Carpe Diem? [note: A has a blog of a similar name]

8. Mr. Keating talks about going to the beach and getting copies of Byron kicked in his face. Take a look at the Mr. Atlas cartoon (attached) and see if you understand Mr. Keating's joke. The Mr. Atlas cartoon was very popular in the 1950s!!!

Back from Luzern (Lucerne)

Sorry I gave no warning; I took off to Switzerland to attend a friend's wedding. I roomed with the groom's family, a lively group of jokemeisters freshly flown in from Australia. An excerpt of a conversation on the wedding bus from Pax Montana to Weggis:

Aussie child on bus: "Dad, do you know what an 'Ausfahrt' is?"
Aussie dad: "It's those exit ramp signs on the road."
Aussie child: "No, dad, they're the farts that we Aussies make. Oz. Faaaaaht. Because all Aussies fart."
Aussie aunt on bus: "Don't tell the Swiss, dear."


NY happenings

Slava and his Snowshow have arrived in town. It's been getting rave critical reviews. I plan to see it with A, and we don't really like clowns!

Bill and Liz, the Talk to Me folks, are having another annual get-together in Bryant Park. They are friendly and well-mannered (I am not sure what their goal is other than to develop friendly conversations with total strangers). Alexander talked to Bill and Liz about his studies last year. Talk to Me Party: Bryant Park, October 2nd, 1 pm. Last year 700 people attended. Bring a blanket, picnic setup (or money and you can food-shop at the kiosks nearby).

De La Guarda closes 9/22. This show is suitable to attend with your teenaged kids, or kids who don't mind standing up while watching/having a bit of fun, as you have to stand up during the entire show. This review explains what is in store for you if you go.


This week in NY Times Magazine

This article was difficult for me to read (you may have to register to read it, but registration is free). I am wondering if it was for anyone else?

I get the sense the parents so desperately want their child to have the same kind of childhood that they had, just because. I couldn't help thinking that somwhere lies a guilt-driven motivation, perhaps, grounded in their child's (maybe avoidable) complication at birth, to "make up" for the CP in a big way. I may be wrong. I hope I am.



During A's lesson today, I bumped into my friend, Guitar Guy, and his girlfriend (who is a sweetie) at Whole Foods supermarket (also known as Incredibly Prohibitively Expensive Organic Food Store Which is Why You Only See Rich Botoxed Women and Their Nannies Shopping There). We were across the street from Central Park. Guitar guy's girlfriend recommended that me and A go to an audio-assisted public art installation ...where else, in the Park! The exhibit was free to the public but booked beyond belief. We decided to head to Strawberry Fields. I gave A a Central Park map, and allowed him to take me down...

Believe it or not, I had forgotten what day it was today.

The Imagine mosaic was surrounded by a larger-than-usual crowd of people and their pets. We sat down on a bench. The mosaic itself covered in roses. The roses were configured around the mosaic to form a peace sign. A bespectacled guitar player continually churned out Beatles/Lennon tunes.

Me: "Wow. He seems to know every single Beatles song from memory."
A: "I think he has a tiny Beatles anthology on sheet music somewhere in his glasses."
Me: "OK. How does he turn the pages?"
A: "They turn automatically in his glasses once he's done with a song."


A not-so-ugly American

is maybe...

- someone who does not seek revenge as a matter of course but is not afraid to instead use practical conflict resolution;

- someone who understands that, perhaps, the date on which fell a sunny clear blue sky - but equally fell the most terrible tragedy possible - might also be a date of another type of possibility: for the opportunity to create a safe space for others and for good in oneself;

- someone who attempts to speak the foreign language of the foreign country he is visiting; if that is too hard, offers a kind, "I am sorry, but I speak English. Could you assist me?";

- someone who attempts to understand the different types of Americans that exist in America (poor, rich, white, black, Native-American, modern-day immigrant, English-speaking, Spanish-speaking, Cantonese-speaking, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, I am excluding a lot of religious folks and faiths here but you get the idea, bullish, bearish, conservative, progressive, etc.) without the expectation that the other types should be a mirror image of himself;

- someone who reads a newspaper as often as he can, once a week being the absolute minimum;

- someone who reads a fiction or non-fiction book every month or two;

- someone who attempts to formulate his own opinions about the world (and does not resort to regurgitating sound bites from others or t.v.);

- someone who has performed non-paid work for his country/or a not-for-profit at least twice in his lifetime;

- someone who keeps a promise when he makes it;

- if he can't keep it, he is someone who makes up for it to maintain integrity; and maybe

- a person who does not mind helping a neighbor when a reasonable call for help is made.

Note: This post was written by me, and I live in New York. It is intended to be apolitical and areligious. Have a peaceful September 11.


cool link...

for free downloadable Latin resources and posters.

A's first week as a WTM afterschooler

...has gone well so far. The newest language that he is learning is Spanish. With French under his belt (it's been 7 years of French studies now) and Latin from this past homeschooling year (which we are continuing this year with Minimus), he reports that he is *loving* Spanish. Advanced Math at the institutional school does not seem to be a problem, what with Singapore Math and EPGY supplements in our afterschooling program. I do, however, admit that there appear to be gaps with his Math - or maybe A just forgot some of his work with fractions last year. Science seems okay, although the 7th grade science textbook looks more like my university biology textbook.

I remember how in 6th grade I had a 15-question test on evolution. That was it. The test was, in retrospect, pretty dumbed down. How times have changed.
I am wondering if someone could possibly homeschool me in my legal studies. One of the attorneys at BigLaw actually sat the Bar without ever attending a law school. She apprenticed her way to BigLaw in the 1960s. Which is surprising, as BigLaw recruits primarily from Yale, Harvard, NYU, Columbia and Stanford law schools. If someone at BigLaw accepted me as an apprentice student, I'd have a salary (hopefully) and no more tuition worries. Sigh.

Tomorrow, Catherine.


Maitresse's Totally Useless But Interesting section

Found this tonight.

Notice the "cartoons" link directs you to some very, very anti-American and anti-Semitic stuff; I do not, therefore, endorse the publication at all. I DO think the first 3/4 of the article is otherwise enlightening. The rest is useless.


And yeah, the random chicken site.

Maitresse in action (in Times Square)

A cute little girl (about six or seven years old) in pink flip flops who was walking with her mom and a sibling asked me for directions to 51st Street. Her mom did not speak English. This is how I answered:

Me: "What street are we on?"
Litte girl: "Erm...42nd!"
Me: "OK. Can you count from 42 to 51? [me holding up my fingers] Let's try. 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51."
Little girl: "That's nine blocks!"
Me: "Yup. So how many blocks do you need to walk?"
Little girl: "Nine?"
Me: "You're right! It's nine blocks! And if the blocks go 'up' thataway, and 'down' the other way, which way do you need to walk?"
Little girl: "Thataway."
Me: "Right again!"

She communicated this information to her mother. I realized seconds afterwards that I didn't simply give directions (In the typical New York scheme of things, the answer might have been, "Um, a few blocks" or as has often been the case for me, "About 2 blocks" no matter what the actual distance!). I helped the little girl to count the blocks to find her way home.

I give total credit to the above occurrence, to my homeschooling A.

New neighbors in our 'hood

In our Westchester neighborhood...

A nice Swedish Jewish family has moved two doors up from us. Very weird; both parents are Swedish Jewish, and the mom is Iranian Swedish Jewish. A has both Scandinavian (Danish) heritage as well as Iraqi-Jewish (not Arab, although we respect Arabs, so don't go there) heritage.

Sweden/Denmark Jews.

Iran/Iraq Jews.

Could we be more geographically joined?

(I know, I know; they're missing that "tropical country "factor. I'll try to find it)

OK - what is up with my blog?

because my pic is gone, profile gone, blogpatrol counter gone, even the weather girl is gone.

"Please Stand by."


Jumping the gun a.k.a. "you wanna piece of me?"

Tonight, after shopping for school supplies, I was midway into hopping into a cab when a hispanic man started calling out to me. "Oye, preciosa," he whispered. Ew, I thought. As I got into the cab, he persisted. "Beautiful lady!" My blinders were on. "Look. Leave me alone," I replied, "I have to run." "You don't remember me?" He actually reached out to touch me. OK. Enough. I looked up above the cab seat in front of me and the shopping bags.

It was my son's barber. A.K.A., Mike Tyson's barber.

I felt awful. I was actively running away from this man, with whom I worked so hard to establish a stable business relationship and friendship. He had met my grandmother when she was in town, too.

"Look, I am so, so sorry. I just had no idea. You see, sometimes random people say the same things....I am so embarassed to have reacted that way."

No problem, Maitresse.

"Are you sure?" From the cab, I grabbed his hand and asked him to really forgive me.

I jumped the gun. I pre-judged. I feel terrible. Need to book that haircut immediately.

Galileo - If it is worth learning, it has been
printed in Latin. You want your children to
have a classical education. You teach the
Trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and
the Quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, music,
and astronomy. Ancient history is fascinating
to you, and you own several Greenleaf Guides to
prove it.

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla.

Dentist then Latin Test for A today.

I think maybe I am not so cool right now.

Guess what.

I brought A with me. And I told plenty a concert-goer that he is my kid and he's "What? How old? 11? No way! Your mom is cool!" (How did I become the cool mom? No way). There was some Creatures music, some Banshees. Happy House, Arabian Nights, Dear Prudence (yay), Kiss Them For Me. I heard Killing Jar was played last night.

The show had some educational value. Leonard Eto played Japanese drums throughout. And Siouxsie's music likes historical references, such as the one about King Canute (you know, the Anglo-Saxon king who ruled in 1016).

With the new New York smoking laws, the venue was pretty clean, and no whiffs of any herb gardening anywhere.

And Siouxsie has a big head. Physically speaking, that is. I suppose that's what happens when we age. Although Budgie looks the same.



A was at his friend's in the Upper East Side this weekend. The report is that they biked, fished, played soccer, and had an overall great time. Meanwhile, I went to IKEA in New Jersey.

I could not sleep while A was away.

My mother reports only heavy wind and rain in Miami. Miami was in Frances' "tail." They lost electricity several times but I was able to phone her throughout the storm.


Runs with scissors.

To my Florida friends, family, and readers: hang tight.



There are other news stories going on, such as Frances and Clinton's heart bypass surgery. Beslan is what I will discuss here.

The historical situation in Chechnya can - off the top of my head - be perhaps likened to the British (Protestant) occupation of (largely Catholic) Ireland. I am not justifying the actions of Britain or Ireland* (nor of Russia or Chechnya) by stating this; I am, however, sick of reading/hearing people's rants about "those muslim terrorists" when it seems the person who rants knows jack about Chechnya. Of course, there is absolutely no excuse for a hostage-taking of a school filled with innocents. Terror does not win sympathy for any cause, so I cannot imagine what the insurgents were thinking win they picked that as their strategy. But the problem with Chechnya goes beyond a religious moralistic discontent. And I think that as parents and teachers, we can learn something from Beslan.

Those of us who homeschool are happy that our kids are, for the most part, protected by scenarios such as that which occurred in Beslan (or Columbine, or other domestic American school massacres). But what, in all this, is our lesson learned about conflict resolution?

The insurgents went into a school of over 1,000, took them as hostages, and demanded that their homeland be free of Russians. Or else. They acted with might, and placed landmines in and around the school. Russian authorities responded with might and blew up the landmines and stormed the school.

Might is Right. Right?

I wonder what would have happened if Putin instead said, "I have this policy that I do not negotiate with Chechen rebel terrorists. I am making an exception. To talk, you must de-activate your mines, leave the school, harm no one, and be ready to face a prison sentence for your crime. However, your land might be free from our government forever as a result of your actions. Yes, we will sit down and talk with you. Let's begin today."

How do we raise our children? Bobby took my toy. Okay, son, his toy is now rightfully yours! The first rule of Property is possession, right? So he's a jerk!! It's okay to punch him in the eye if he asks for his toy back!

A mine for a mine? A hit for a hit? A toy for a toy? An eye-punch for an eye-punch?

Or, I want you to talk to the bully directly or, if that doesn't work, a counselor so you and the bully can figure things out and stop hurting each other. Yes, folks, this is where it begins. Really.

Britain was "big enough" to sit down with the IRA-backed Irish representatives in 1921. The modern-day IRA cease-fire took place years later...and began only 10 years ago.

The Chechnyan problem is not just Russia's. How we deal with conflict on a global level might be answered with how we deal with conflict on a personal level, beginning at home. Modify to your curriculum as you wish.

* I do not take sides with respect to regional conflicts. This post only addresses my view that regional conflicts originate with the ways in which we are taught to deal with conflict. I myself had a brush with an IRA bomb in a phone booth when I was a student in the U.K.

admissions (and maybe some breaking news)

First admission: I do not visit the WTM discussion boards. I used to, but I have enough addictions at the moment. Caffeine, shopping for academic books, and blogging, suffice.

Second admission: A and I moved to a location outside New York City. We maintain our NYC address, as well. We were desperate to be surrounded by nature as we had been in Florida- a need for trees and grass and squirrels and deer and quiet from the club noise outside our bedroom window in Chelsea. I found a location that offers that, but is populated with plenty of City folk. There is a possibility that A will begin studies at the new area (gasp) school at our undisclosed location, and we will then become WTM afterschoolers. I have been grappling with this issue, and the only consolation I can find is that it will be a temporary solution to a temporary inconvenience. This is due to my having to finish law school and not take 10,000 years to do it. I also acknowledge that I am the only breadwinner in the house and maybe this solution is OK for now.

I spoke to someone recently about this, and the first question I was asked was, "What about the blog?" Well, that's easy.

As homeschoolers, we have utilized the River Project, Catherine, the Japan Society, swimming and sailing instructors, and other instructors - who fill in the gaps. I am still la Maitresse. And I still write a mean curriculum. I am still here.


okay, you astronomy kiddies...

Want a cool site to visit? Go here.

Java or no java, I'd sign up for the generator, as well.

hurricane, hurricane, go away...

Why can't you hurricanes just leave the Florida folk alone for now? I am stressing out about Frances. My mother does not have a car, and I've just called and begged a Publix manager near her home to drive her some much-needed supplies.

Speaking of supplies, I have otherwise prepared for A's 7th Grade studies by getting:

- Minimus Pupil books
- Critical Thinking Book One
- Singapore Math Level 6 (you Singapore Math people know why I am getting 6th grade books for 7th grade studies)
- Singapore Science Level 7
- Writing Strands Levels 6 and 7
- another semester in EPGY Math studies.

We will continue with the Kingfisher History, G.U.M., Wordly Wise, French CM2 studies, etc.


a Maitresse blog reader?
...and tonight at BigLaw, where most attorneys describe themselves as Clintonian Democrats, who are not oblivious to the stampede that exists blocks away and holds up traffic and brings out the police who hold up that orange mesh to enclose people and arrest them and bring out the ire in absolutely everyone, the Firm decided to become host to a "bipartisan dinner." "Why bipartisan?" I asked. "What if I don't fit into either party's profile? Can I still have dinner?" I always ask the really tough questions.