Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bellows Air Force Station

This is the beach we camped at this weekend.

It is incredibly beautiful. The water was so clear it was like swimming in a pool. The ocean has amazing shades of blue and green in this area. Some beaches on the island have very coarse, beige sand. Bellows has a very fine, white sand. When we first arrived one of the moms said, "I love this beach! The sand is like sugar! It's so pretty!"

Someone else said, "Ugh! I hate this kind of sand! It sticks to you like glue. Three weeks from now you'll be taking a shower and you'll still be finding sand on yourself somewhere."

It's funny how people can have such different opinions about what makes a good beach.

All the kids with us had a blast in the ocean. The waves were just big enough for some boogie boarding. The water was clear enough for good visibility while swimming.

Katie came and told me that one of the boys her age had told her there was a Portuguese Man of War in the water. "No, there isn't," I told her.
"No one would be swimming out there if there was a Man of War in the water."

"But Mama," she said, wide-eyed, "He said it brushed up against his leg."

"He's just trying to scare you," I scoffed. "Just ignore him."

Shortly thereafter, one of the pre-teen girls came shrieking out of the water. A Portuguese Man 'O War had wrapped its tentacle around her left arm, leaving three burning welts circling her forearm. She ripped it off with her right hand, stinging that hand in the process. When she made it up to the beach and the adults were trying to help her, she wiped her nose with her hand, transferring some of the burn to her nose.

Ben caught the Man of War in a bucket and then buried it deep in the sand to keep it from stinging anyone else.

It was only then that I found out Man of Wars and jellyfish are at this beach on a regular basis.

This went from being my favorite beach to a beach I never want to visit again in about two seconds flat.

No one wanted to go back in the water, we all went back to the camp and played games.

We all went back in the water eventually. We just kept a close eye out for any more dastardly critters. We managed to keep anyone else from being injured. We ended up having a fabulous time.

And if we have to sacrifice a few kids to the jellyfish, well, at least we had a fabulous view.


This weekend we went camping with a group of friends from church.

It was the really good kind of camping where we cooked food over a fire...............

......and swam in the ocean.

The kids got to help set up the tents.

Being allowed to hammer in a tent stake is apparently a great joy when you are a kid.

Ben was handed a hatchet and he was as happy as a boy could be.

Between all the different families in the campsite, we had quite a variety of tents.

There was the Taj Mahal.

The Holiday Inn.

And the Motel 6.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Own Mary Poppins

Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!

Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring,

Up through the atmosphere

Up where the air is clear!

Oh, let's go fly a kite!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Quality of Our Local Public Schools

A friend sent me a link to the Tropic Lightning Blog which asked for people's opinions about the public schools in Hawaii. Because this is a local military blog, all respondents have personally dealt with the Hawaiian school system. Here is a sample of the comments:

"We tried...honestly tried to deal with the Public School system. Regardless, one of my children will end up going to a private school next year...at a cost of over $10K for the year it is extreme, which impacts the families which must "endure" the paradise which we all inhabit."

"I hate to leave this beautiful island but for the sake of my children I am so blessed to go. God help those who are stuck in Hawaiian schools."

"My experience with private school is that we are paying premium prices for average results. The homework loads are high, but the actual classroom teaching and emphasis is low. However, the alternative option of public school is unacceptable."

"Our 5 year stint on this island is over.... and we are about 60K "poorer" because - after doing our time in public school we ended up enrolling our children in privat school... $ 60,000.-- that could have gone to my children's college funds instead... Quality time with the family was cut to zero, flying home to see Grandparents was a no-no, all in the name of education, simply because we run out of available funds."

"My children attend Solomon Elementary School on Schofield. They've recently taken a placement test for a school on Colorado and will both have to repeat their current grade."

I wish some homeschoolers had gotten to respond on this forum before it was closed to new comments. I'm amazed at the people who still think their only choice is public school or private school. I understand why people feel they are not "qualified" to teach their children - it's been drilled into them that a "real" teacher has to have a degree in how to teach a specific subject and no one person could possibly know enough to teach every subject.

Well, I occasionally snoop around some "real" teacher message boards and I see many teachers discussing how much of their time is spent on crowd control, passing out papers, taking up papers, getting the students to stand in line, or finding busywork for the students to do. I've heard one teacher say, "I mainly teach students how to be bored quietly."

One of the most telling signs is the number of former school teachers I know who now homeschool their own children. They've been in the system. They've seen how it works. And they want better for their own kids.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ben the Tiger

Ben was recently invited to attend a "How To Host A Murder" type party.

He played a futuristic half-cat half-human.

He spoke in a condescending British accent all evening

(and all day before he left).

No surprise, he won the "best costume" award at the end of the evening.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Reason I Choose To Homeschool

This student has been accused twice in three years of planning a Columbine style attack at his high school.

I would not be happy knowing there was a student at my kid's school who had already tried to plan a mass murder on school grounds.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rice With Breakfast

This morning we took the kids to a big breakfast buffet. Everyone ate their fill and we headed out to take Kerry to the airport.

About the time we got to the car, Katie mentioned that her stomach felt "funny".

About two minutes into the drive Katie was wailing that she was going to be sick.

Luckily we had just purchased a few items, and we had two plastic shopping bags in the car. I handed her one and she threw up her breakfast in it. Emily was in the seat behind her, holding Katie's hair up. Ben was in the seat next to her holding a bottle of water for her. And I was in the front passenger seat trying to help her hold the bag and not (please God!) spill it in the car while Kerry drove. We're quite a team when it comes to someone being sick.

Once she filled up both bags, she felt much better and became quite descriptive about the experience. "I threw up everything except the omelette. I didn't see any of that in there. You know what though? I need to chew my rice better. I saw a whole bunch of rice in there and it didn't look like it had been chewed at all!"

"Katie!" No one in the car wanted to hear about it. We could all smell it and none of us was improved by the experience. I started feeling a little icky myself.

"We've got to get that bag out of the car," I said. "I can feel something coming up in my throat every time I look at it."

"Is it rice?" Kerry asked cheerfully.