Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Online Learning Replaces Snow Days

A school district in Ohio is trying online learning this year to replace snow days. Then they won't have to make up snow days in June, when no one wants to be inside!

Here's a link to the NPR story:


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Chosen

I just finished an excellent book, The Chosen by Chaim Potok. The story is about two Jewish boys growing up in New York City at the end of World War II. One boy is a Hasidic Jew named Danny. He becomes unlikely friends with the narrator, an Orthodox Jew named Reuven. Each of their fathers are important influential men, but the boys have very different relationships with their fathers. Danny's father is "raising him with silence", which means he only speaks to him when they are studying the Talmud. Reuven and his father talk about everything, including his friendship with Danny and the way Danny is being raised by his father.

I learned a great deal about Jewish history and thought from this book. I have to say, I admire the seriousness with which the characters in this book take their faith and the great lengths the older generation goes to in order to pass this faith down to their children. We Christians could learn a lot from them.

I can't put into words all my thoughts about this book, since I just finished it this afternoon. But I know it is one I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bremer Bank

I heard a story yesterday on NPR's Marketplace about a great community bank in (of all places! :)) North Dakota. You can listen to the story here:


Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Thomas Jefferson Education

I am reading an excellent book right now, A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille. It's about using classics to educate your children. But the emphasis is on educating yourself first. One of my favorite quotes is, "In reality, you are unlikely to pass on to your children a better education than you have earned yourself. ... The most effective way to ensure the quality of their education is to consistently improve your own."

Another point the author makes repeatedly is that the purpose of education should be to help people be good. In other words, it should give them the wisdom to discern what is right and what is wrong in any situation, and the courage to do what is right regardless of the personal cost. Classics help in this endeavor by providing examples of people choosing right or wrong, and what the results of those choices are. By studying these examples, we can develop our ability to see situations in our own lives more clearly. And the examples of those who chose to do what is right can help us make those same choices.

I've been inspired to read and study more classics now, and I'm hoping I can inspire my family to join me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Economic Trends and Grocery Shopping

This morning, while my favorite writers racked up more word count, I went grocery shopping. My usual store is a large discount grocery store which doesn't take credit cards and doesn't run specials or mail out weekly fliers. It isn't much to look at. It doesn't have a deli or coffee shop or any of the other amenities a lot of the other stores in town have. But it always has the best prices in town, which is why I shop there, because I'm cheap!

I got there before 8 am, and the place was already packed. I had to play cart derby and avoid running into other people and their carts as I went around corners. One thing I've noticed recently at this store is that they keep their stock rather low. I think it's called "just in time" supplying. They have just what they think they're going to sell and not one item more. And if you happen to be the 10th person that day who wants something they normally only sell 9 of, you are out of luck. That happened to me this morning. Despite the early hour I arrived and the fact that it's less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, they were out of turkey loaf.

(Now I can hear all you Thanksgiving purists and foodies exclaiming "Turkey loaf?? You eat turkey loaf? For Thanksgiving???" I've discovered over the years that the only thing my family likes about turkey is that you can make sandwiches with the leftover white meat. So now, instead of going to the trouble and expense to roast a large bird, only to have at least half never touched, I get an all-white-meat turkey loaf...it slices beautifully for sandwiches...and save my energy for making all the side dishes everyone really does love.)

I had to get turkey loaf. I mean, you can't have Thanksgiving without at least a token amount of turkey, right? And I wasn't planning to go grocery shopping again until after Thanksgiving. So I decided to stop at one of the "fancy" grocery stores on my way home and see if they had any. I get there, and the parking lot is almost empty. The aisles are quiet. I don't have to dodge any carts. It was eerie. Then I realize this is a sign of the current economy. The people who used to shop here on Saturday mornings are over at my regular store, because they've decided low prices are more important than all the niceties this store has to offer. For some reason, I felt a little sad. I found my turkey loaf and went home.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNo Goal Reached!

My daughter finished her NaNo novel yesterday, ending with 52,500 words! Today she started on her second novel. I couldn't keep that girl from writing even if I wanted to!

My husband is still working hard on his. If he keeps up his current pace, he will finish before Thanksgiving!

I'm so proud of my two writers, esp. since I've tried creative writing and know how hard it is. I can barely come up with a blog post every day!

(And I know this is a short one. It's Friday, and I want to spend time with my family. I'll try to come up with a longer one tomorrow!)