Archive for October, 2012

Homeschooling In Texas

It appears that Texas is one of the best states for homeschooling. Their stance is that if your school doesn’t take state money, the state can’t tell you what to do — and here, a home school is considered a private school for those purposes. In the late 80s, the court ruled on a Texas standard for homeschools — they need to meet 3 criteria:

There needs to be 1. Bona Fide learning going on with a 2. Curriculum in 3. the Required Subjects.

What are the required subjects? Reading, spelling, grammar, math and good citizenship.

Good citizenship! I’m sort of charmed by that. When I was in the 4th grade, we took a tour of the Capitol building, and I got to sit in Gov. Sununu’s chair. [It was a nice chair.]

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Math Curriculum / Calculators

I stumbled across this post today [via Joanne Jacobs] on how widespread early calculator use affects later academic performance. [Hint: it’s not good.] My post-partum memory is fuzzy, but I seem to recall not using calculators regularly until my college statistics class. In fact, I still have my trusty TI-36X from that class and still use it. [I’ve since sold the TI-81 that I used in calculus.] I always enjoyed calculating in my head — I remember working at San Francisco Street Bakery in college, and I’d keep running tabs for folks as they picked out their items and would announce their total to them before I even got to the cash register. Cheap fun. Heh.

I’ve been reviewing different math curricula lately — there’s a fairly wide variety of approaches out there, but my gut tells me that tried-and-true like Saxon or Singapore Math is what most effectively teaches math competence. [The girls who babysit for us — and who are homeschooled — use Saxon.] One thing I like about them is that they discourage calculator use.

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A Letter from our Mortgage Company

We got a Very Important Looking mail from our mortgage holder recently and I just love it:

Your Account Has Been Reviewed And We Would Like To Speak With You.

A recent review of your account indicated that your home may be carrying up to $large_number in equity. This amount is very important because it is the number that can help determine how much cash you may be able to access by refinancing, blah blah, blah blah blah, etc.

It goes on in this vein for the rest of the page, implying that they’re going to do us a favor by letting us take out our equity, and reset our mortage at an interest rate over 2 points higher than what we currently have.

As the movie SuperTroopers once noted, desperation is a stinky cologne. It couldn’t be that we have such a large equity amount because we’ve been aggressively trying to pay down our mortgage for the last 3 years, could it? It couldn’t be that with the recent and upcoming spates of ARM adjustments that our mortgage company — who has been on the forefront of exotic and risky mortgages and refis — really wishes that we would stop squeezing their profits on our own mortgage, which is one of their least likely to default, and get back on their cash cow wagon?

They Would Like To Speak With Us, Indeed.

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