Response to Never Ending Winter

My husband wrote this for Alaska and posted it to his Facebook page. I thought it was just too cute and wanted to share it here. 🙂

ATTN: Alaska, Director of Seasonal Performances

The Alaskans in attendance would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication over the centuries and commend you for your stellar performances and visionary adaptations. The performances “Denali” and “Glaciers” have been impeccable and truly awe inspiring. However, the above mentioned attendees do have some concern with the most recent adaptations of “Seasons”. We would be honored and delighted if you would take the time to review the following concerns and consider them for your upcoming performances.

The characters Spring and Autumn. We fully understand your adaptations of the beautiful ladies, Spring and Autumn, for short and powerful prelude performances. We feel that Spring’s performance has been cut uncomfortably short in our recent viewings and we would ask that you restore her stage time to normal levels as to enjoy her beauty and glamour to its fullest. The short performances of these lovely vixens bring joy to our hearts.

The character Lady Summer. Lady Summer is by far the dearest to our hearts and her performance is the decisive reason for growing attendance in the past century. Our concern is sometimes she fails to appear on cue and other times her performance seems halfhearted. Her beauty is breathtaking when her performance is to par and we would ask you encourage her spirit with the knowledge that she is the star of the show and an inspiration to our souls.

The character Old Man Winter. We unanimously feel that Old Man Winter’s best performances are conducted only during the fading out and fading in of stage lights. Once the lights have faded in past the halfway point he becomes hard on the eyes and tiresome to the soul. We delight in his performance and don’t mind the frequent over-the-top style acting as long as his performance is restricted to his stage time. We have heard mumbling among attendees during drawn out performances and we wish to curtail this before attendance drops. Current productions have also seen Spring make a fleeting dash across stage during Old Man Winter’s stage time. This is not necessary and at times uncomfortable; it is too dark to enjoy her beauty and it distracts from Old Man Winter’s performance.

Thank you for taking the time to review our concerns and we applaud your magnificent skill and artistic renditions. We look forward to your continued productions that only you can direct. We ask that you don’t take offence to our criticisms but instead use our input to heighten the enjoyment of future audiences. We also ask that this be kept secret from the cast as to not cause hard feelings or anger Old Man Winter. Last time he was angered he would not leave the stage, assaulted Spring, gave Autumn a white wash and pushed Lady Summer off stage repeatedly.

Regards,
Alaskans
P.S. Break a leg! 
P.P.S. Figuratively this time!

 

Never Ending Winter

I’m not usually a cabin fever sufferer. Until now. This is the winter that does not seem to want to end! Record lows were broken (again) this morning, with many of those temperatures dipping below zero!  This is the third coldest April on record. The interior has not seen the likes of this since 1924. Someone on Facebook decided to document this in a picture…

never ending winter

Enough said.

Cashing In on Homeschool’s Success

Alaska is an interesting environment: culturally, geographically, and politically. Perhaps because I am still waiting for springtime to get here I am getting anxious and turning my attentions to home education. I can’t get out and garden or build a barn and chicken coup with my children, so here we sit longing for the snow to disappear, the ground to thaw, and the summer sun to shine. It’s cabin fever at its highest in a long, long time.

Until recently, Alaska was one of the only states that offered homeschool programs through enrollments in public school districts. These programs aren’t correspondence programs. Parents are free to use whatever curriculum best fits each child. Parents educate their children at home using whatever education method or methods that fit their family. Parents receive support from certified teachers and the programs arrange a variety of educational classes and clubs.

Alaska’s law about homeschooling can be found in the Compulsory Attendance statute, AS 14.30.010(b). Many parents are unaware that this law even exists. Parents that choose to educate their children according to this statute are free to use whatever curriculum best fits their child. Parents are free to educate their children using whatever educational method or philosophy best fits their family. Parents have the option of receiving support through several different networks of other independent homeschool families. Some of these groups also arrange a variety of classes or have clubs for their membership base. The families are considered “Independent” homeschool families.

So what’s the difference? Enrollment in programs provides funding for curriculum, supplies, and activities. Independent parents provide their own funding, usually through the family budget. This is always a big persuader because we are a very money driven society. I heard it explained by a family that moved here from California, “Alaska is the only state that PAYS YOU to homeschool!” While I don’t agree with that statement, many do indeed feel this way.

There is a trade off. Enrollment brings with it state and district regulations and requirements. There are required courses to teach, hours to track, work sample submissions, quarterly reports, monthly contacts, and mandatory testing, just to name a few. It can be stressful enough to homeschool, yet many choose to succumb to these extra rules, regulations, and requirements. In other states, homeschool parents have similar regulations; the amount depends upon the individual states. In Alaska, parents are choosing to have this regulation.

I have to pause here and give kudos to the public school district that first implemented a program of this type in Alaska: the Galena City School District. They had the vision and foresight to see the increase in popularity of homeschooling and devised a way to tap into it. We don’t see a lot of ingenuity coming from public school districts; yet their IDEA program was visionary and managed, as they intended, to capture a multitude of homeschool families.

Regulation aside, the further I step back and look at Alaska’s homeschool culture, the more realizations I am able to make. As the popularity of the IDEA program spread, other districts developed their own homeschool programs to compete with the IDEA program. We have, in essence, the “voucher” system where students are able to enroll in whichever school they feel will best benefit them to encourage competition. The only difference is that these students don’t receive a “voucher” to take to a rival school program. Enrollment is open to any family living anywhere in the state.

Parents that have enrolled their children in these programs do so because they ultimately believe that homeschool is the best option for their children’s education. These parents are actively involved in their children’s education; these parents are striving to turn their children into productive, upstanding citizens that will, one day, be influential people in our communities. These children are homeschooled in every sense of the word. Their transcripts, academic records, and test scores, however, reflect “public school students.” None of the statistics are included in homeschool statistics; rather, their scores and successes are reflected in the public school statistics.

I don’t know about you, but I get angry when someone else takes the credit for MY hard work. It’s not right! It’s unjust! And, as much as I don’t like to use this phrase, it is not fair! Wasn’t one of the reasons that you decided to homeschool because you believe it is far superior to the public school systems? It appears that Alaska public schools have found a way to “cash in” on homeschool success and take the credit for parents’ hard work.

Submission

This was written by my husband. I wanted to share it here.

What is a wife’s submission? The prevalent narcissism in today’s society prevents many from understanding this ideology. As with every aspect of life there is a better way, whether or not we choose the better way is up to us. Take this for an example: I know a person who took pills to lose weight and one that chose an exercise program and better diet. The one who took pills now has a damaged heart and the other is slim and healthy. There was a better way.

With the high divorce rates, suicide rates and domestic violence, don’t you think we need to find the better way in marriage? It doesn’t come easy like a pill, it takes work, but in the end it is easier than the alternative. First and foremost, it takes a man and a woman; like it or not that is the only way. My four-wheel drive truck has a transmission and transfer-case that are “Married”. These two parts are not the same part, they are not even similar, but they work as one to allow that vehicle to cross rough terrain, icy patches, sticky mud and much more. These two are married via an adapter and the transfer-case submits to the transmission. If either one doesn’t work, the truck is broken. They are not side by side nor are they reversed in order, for if they were the truck would be broken. I could marry two transmissions and the truck would have a lot of gears but not four-wheel drive. I could marry two transfer-cases but the truck would be very limited. So the better way is a married transmission and transfer-case that allows the truck to go down the highway, through the deep snow, across the creek and through the washout.

If you don’t like the mechanical analogy how about this one? A chair has four legs because it sits on level ground. Tripods, like stools, always have three legs because they need to stand on any ground, level or not. My wife submits to me; she stands behind me as my third leg. If we stood side by side the rocky ground would tip us, the gusts of wind would toss us and when the dirt and garbage was blown our way, she would be pelted the same as me. I am the two sturdy legs that can take the abuse; she is the third that provides the stability and who wipes the dirt from my eyes when the winds subside. I lead us not where I want to go but where we need to go. She follows, not because she doesn’t know the way, but because she trusts I will go the right way. When I stumble she catches me and when she falls, she falls on me. When I step into soft ground she helps me out and I find the solid ground again to lead her on, for I would never want to lose my wife to the quicksand. Two legs don’t work like this. Four legs don’t work like this. We are completely different but married via an adapter.

This isn’t my idea. I didn’t come up with this way; this is just the better way. The man must be a real man, the woman must be a real woman and Christ must be the adapter. It’s not a pill, it’s not easy at times but in the end it is the better way. It sure beats the bad heart or broken truck or being tossed in the wind.

 

Societal Burdens

We are trying to raise our children to be productive members of society. We are hoping to raise the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs on the heels of the current “entitlement” generation. There is no such thing as a free lunch and we want our children, especially, to know that there is a world out there in desperate need of accountability in the form of responsible adults.

EVERYONE that is not a productive and responsible member of society is a burden on society. It’s not about just providing for yourself or your family’s basic needs. It’s about a moral obligation to not be a burden on someone else and to leave behind a better place; something for your great-grandchildren.

So how does one not become a burden? One obvious answer is to avoid all forms of public assistance and pay your taxes. Another, not so obvious, answer is to search out ways to lessen the tax burden imposed by you. In an effort to explain what I mean, I will give three examples.

roads

Automobile Registration

 You pay your biennial registration for your mode of transportation: car, truck, SUV, van, etc. You have paid for your use of public roads and bridges, including the maintenance and upkeep, for the duration of the registration period. The wear and tear your automobile puts on the roads and bridges is figured into that registration fee. By avoiding those registration fees and driving with expired tags, you’re burdening society with wear and tear on those roads and bridges that you haven’t paid for. It’s stealing. It’s dishonest.

Public-Safety-Police-Fire-EMS

Ownership & property taxes

Property taxes, while they may be outrageous, pay for EMS, police, and fire service. Many fire departments used to have a list of those who were current on their taxes and those who were not. If your house caught fire and the trucks showed up, but you hadn’t paid your taxes, they would watch it burn. That’s not the case anymore. If you don’t pay your property taxes, you are increasing other property owners’ tax burdens to provide your residence, and theirs, with these invaluable services. While you hope you won’t ever need to rely on these services, they are paid for when you pay your property taxes.

Education_cap1

Education

Communities have an obligation to insure that its members have access to an education so that they can get jobs for its own sustainability. This is the public education system. Obligation does not mean responsibility. It is not the community’s responsibility to see that every child attends a public school. It is the parents’ responsibility to see that their children are educated. Public education is paid for, in part, by property taxes.

For the 2012-2013 school year, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District enrolled 14,264 students at a whopping cost of $18,091.92 per student! When it comes to property taxes, each student cost the borough taxpayers $3,709.53. The remaining $14,382.39 is from federal, state, and “other.” (Information obtained from http://www.k12northstar.org/sites/default/files/2012-13fingertipfacts.pdf) I know that not everyone pays almost $5000 in property taxes every year, so if you are a property owner with only ONE school age child AND your property taxes are less than or equal to $3709.53, you’re already “upside down” and your child’s public education is a burden!

What can a parent do to lessen their children’s education burden? You can opt to send your children to a private school. Private school tuition is far less than the $18,091.92 that the FNSBSD spends per student. Far North Christian School charges tuition at most, $3850 to educate Pre-K and K, and $2800 per Grade 1 -12 student. They also offer discounts when enrolling multiple students. By choosing to enroll your child or children in a private school, you erase your children’s public education burden.

What if you can’t afford or don’t like private school? The other option is to independently homeschool. By taking full responsibility for your children’s education, whether you have one child or many, independently homeschooling means that you also take 100% of the financial burden. Our family chose this option. For our six children, we relieved $22,257.18 from our neighbors’ property taxes. ($3709.53 x 6) We erased their overall public education burden (federal, state, local, and “other”) in the amount of $108,551.52 for the 2012-2013 school year! ($18,091.92 x 6)

A society cannot bloom and prosper with thieving and dishonest ideologies. Every choice we make has an impact. Everything we do has both an immediate and a long-term effect. In choosing the moral high ground, you are leading by example. By choosing to be a responsible and productive member of society, you are not only relieving a burden, but also planting the seeds of prosperity for the next generations.

Pet Peeves: Toilet Paper and Socks

Pet Peeves. Everyone has them. They exist because something small highly irritates, annoys, and gets under your skin. Some of those small irritations have a merit in logic and reasoning. Others are completely irrational and have no substance aside from self-gratification.

 pet-peeve1

A pet peeve of many has been circulating Facebook. You may already know the one I’m referring to. Which is the RIGHT way to put on a roll of toilet paper: so the paper will roll from the front or from the back?There are serious arguments over this!?!? Before I was married, I worked as a housekeeper at a local hotel. We were taught to place the toilet paper a certain way because the end was to be folded in a triangle. For the sake of my job, there was a right way. Years later as a homemaker with my busy household, I’m just thankful when someone (other than me) actually replaces the empty roll with a full one. The fact that toilet paper is there, within reach, should be a blessing in itself. My children’s successes or failures in life are not traced back to how they placed the toilet paper in the bathroom! Does it really matter which direction it falls from the roll? If today, a roll of toilet paper in your home is placed the wrong way, would you still be able to remember that and be upset ten years from now? Or does it really matter?

Since we’re on the subject of the bathroom, what about that toilet seat? I’ve taught my children to be courteous when using someone else’s bathroom: leave it as you found it. Some households prefer the seat up, others down. In my house, the toilet has a lid; please close it. In the event that the lid is forgotten, it takes all of two seconds to situate seat and lid for personal use. No big deal. The collapse or continuation of American society is not linked to how the toilet seat is positioned!

 PetPeeve

Having six children has created a few pet peeves that I did not have previous to my marriage. One of those is not wearing clean socks. If one of my children decides to wear the same shirt two days in a row, that doesn’t bug me (provided it doesn’t have yesterday’s meals all over it). But if that same child tries to get away with wearing a pair of socks two days in a row, I come unglued!

What’s the difference between a shirt and socks? A LOT!! Our feet give us a quick, overall picture of our health and wellness. Feet sweat! Some of our feet sweat more than others’ and that sweat contains toxins that our bodies are releasing. Did you know that your feet affect your taste buds? Don’t believe me? Go to the store and buy a tin of Altoids (R). I don’t advise getting Cinnamon flavored. When you get home, place one Altoid mint between your toes. Wait. It may be faint, but soon you will begin to taste that Altoid! Makes you wish you washed your feet before trying it, huh? 😉

Is my dirty socks pet peeve irrational? No! In ten years, my children’s health could be eroding because they don’t change their socks. By wearing dirty socks, they are not only risking their overall health, but their foot health as well. They may be more prone to Athlete’s Foot (fungal infection) or ingrown toenails that rather infect than heal. We could even begin to discuss the possible dietary implications due to poor foot health affecting the taste buds!

 pet-peeves

Pet peeves. Everyone has them. Is it worth getting bent out of shape over them? That depends on whether there is a rational or irrational merit to them. There’s a simple way to decide if you should make a fuss or not. If it is something that will affect you or someone else ten years from now, then be courteous and kind when you bring it to another’s attention. Make sure you plainly state your case, with factual evidence, without being critical of the other person. If it won’t matter in ten years, don’t worry about it! Your life is far more valuable than the stress created by pet peeve conflicts. NO relationship is worth destroying over something as silly as dirty socks, toilet paper, or toilet seats.