Friday, January 30, 2009

Video Game Content

This site was of special interest to me because it was created by a Lenexa mom, Darla Liebl. I like her concept. is an easy, reliable video game review site for parents who want the facts, not opinions, on today's popular video games. I simply watch kids play videogames and look for anything a parent would want to know. No more searching the web for details, no more trusting the videogame rating system, no more depending on other people's opinions on what's appropriate for your child.

What this site is: A video game review site for parents who need a quick, easy way to get the facts about popular video games based on an evaluation of SLARV:

Sexual Content


Additional Comments

Racial Insensitivity


What this site is NOT: My video game opinion. You're the parent, you can form your own opinions on what's appropriate or not appropriate for your child.

You can read the article from Kansas City Sun Publications, or view the site here.

Thanks for the tip, Shelley.

White House Farmer

There are two Kansans on the list for White House Farmer. I don't know how serious the site is, but voting closes on January 31st. So if you hurry on over, you can vote! was conceived by the Brockmans, a farm family in central Illinois. The idea came on an endless blue sky day, after reading the Pollan article in the New York Times magazine, and while strolling the country roads with our father to help him regain his strength after Whipple surgery.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Homeschool Buyers Co-op

The thing I have to remind myself each time a Homeschool Buyers Co-op newsletter arrives is that I don't really need all the cool things they have to offer. Membership is free, however, and they really do have a little something for everyone. If you are shopping, you certainly can't afford to pass up some of the deals you can receive through the Co-op.

The Homeschool Buyers Co-op is the nation's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschooling families.
They have more than 36,000 members at the time of this entry.

As well as the many great deals (on-going and limited time offers) through Homeschool Buyers Co-op, they have an extensive list of freebies including curriculum, field trip links, and a growing collection of product reviews and FAQs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kansas Day: January 29th

From the Library of Congress:

Kansas entered the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861. About two hundred years earlier the French Jesuit priests, Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, were among the region's earliest European explorers. A map drawn by Marquette in 1673 indicated that the Kanza, Ouchage (Osage), and Paneassa (Pawnee) tribes dominated the area that would become Kansas.

The United States acquired Kansas in 1803 from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. During its early years as a U.S. possession, the area was part of Indian Territory and was used by the federal government to relocate tribal peoples. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed the residents to decide if theirs would be a free or slave state.

Some activities for Kansas Day...

Kansas Day at the Museum
Kansas Museum of History, Topeka
9 a.m. — 3 p.m. Thursday, January 29, 2009
Free Admission

Kansas Day at the Museum
Smokey Hill Museum, Salina
Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sunset Zoo, Manhattan
Kids visit for free the entire month of January!

Kansas Day Celebration
Santa Fe Trail Center, Larned
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lecompton's Bleeding Kansas Program Series
Sundays, January 25 - March 1, 2009
Free Admission
Constitution Hall State Historic Site

Celebrate Kansas Day!
Kauffman Museum, Newton
Sunday, January 31, 2009
1:30-4:30 p.m.

Kansas Day Celebration
Butler County History Center & Kansas Oil Museum, El Dorado
Sunday, January 31, 2009

If you know of more, please send them!

On TV: The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies

From Jim Lovett,

From time to time the monarch migration and associated conservation issues are covered in the national media, via articles in newspapers, magazines, and short clips on TV news programs. Overall, the coverage of the monarch story has been spotty bits and pieces, and Americans have not been exposed to an in-depth treatment of the amazing monarch migration, nor the people and cultures that encounter monarchs on their yearly north and south passage across the continent. This is about to change.

NOVA's "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies" will be aired on PBS at 8PM (check local listings) Tuesday, 27 January 2009.

Read Chip's complete blog posting online.

Union Station: January 27-30

From Sherri Woodward, Union Station Kansas City

We hope you are planning to visit Union Station next week during Home School Days, January 27-30.

I wanted to notify you in advance, that due to operational issues related to a portion of the exhibition, Dialog in the Dark is temporarily closed. We hope to have information on when the exhibition will re-open on Wednesday, January 28

However, our other attractions will be open and available to the Home School families at the discounted rates below.

Science City: $6 per person

Regnier Extreme Screen: $4 per person

The Tsar & The President: $6 per person

KC Rail Experience: $4 per person

Additional information regarding shows and exhibits can be found on our web site at

Also during Home School Days….
• $10 off Family Membership (for 4 or more people) purchased January 27-30
• Special science demos each afternoon
• FREE educational materials

Please call (816) 460-2020 if you have additional

Doing, Doing, Doing

My son loves doing things. He loves making, creating, planning, building, constructing, dreaming, figuring, contemplating… and, although I have moments when I’m not entirely sure how I am going to keep up with him, I love that he is a constant reminder to me that there is no better way to learn than by doing.

The things I see my son do each day are the very reason we opted to homeschool in the first place. I don’t want him to be confined to a seat in a classroom when his nature is to tackle the world in leaps and bounds (sometimes literally).

One of my concerns, however, has always been that one day my kids will get to a place where they will need expert guidance that is beyond me. And the hang up is not that I feel I must be or become an expert in everything that interest them, but that I am not always the personality that is good at going out and asking for help when I need it. I want them to be good at asking for help when they need it, and therefore I’m having to figure out how to do that – how to model that – myself. I’m good at exploring along with them. I enjoy doing a wide variety of things myself. But sometimes I think I take the “figure it out myself” approach a little too far. Sometimes it’s a relief to be shown how to do something. Sometimes you can get places a whole lot quicker if you just ask someone who is really good at something to provide a bit of mentoring.

My son has been taking electronics apart for years, and he’s recently started focusing on putting stuff back together. “I want to make it work again,” he was telling me the other day about a broken CD player that hasn’t worked in years. “If I could just figure out what part of it isn’t working.”

He proceeded to take the thing apart, review all its pieces, and then put it back together again. It was very important to him not to “break” it further. He wasn’t successful, but I so admire his attempt.

I told him I couldn’t help him with this particular problem, but maybe if we looked at opportunities to “do” more with the inner workings of electronics and electricity, he’d get to the point where he could build things himself and successfully repair things down the road.

I pulled out a 4-H book for the electricity project that I thought would give us a good start. We made a trip to radio shack where he spent his own money buying a few supplies (we also scavenged quite a few of the supplies from old flashlights and stuff we already had around the house). He’s making circuits. He’s already built a flashlight and yesterday he put together this switch to turn his light on and off.

Radio Shack has some a great little electronic “project of the month” that he’s looking forward to taking part in. Eventually we will make an opportunity for him to spend some time with his uncle and/or grandfather to get some serious hands-on experience. I’ll be keeping my eye out for other good mentors along the way, as well.

Right now, we’re both having fun with these projects – but I have a feeling his enthusiasm might outlast mine by quite a bit. Or maybe we’ll both gain enough skill that wiring needs in our old house will eventually seem not so intimidating. Better yet, perhaps I’ll have a skilled electrician in-house (or at least willing to come visit and work for cheap) by the time we get around to building a new one!

This is how it works! I think he likes explaining what he's figured out as much as making it work in the first place.

His sisters have been quite interested, as well. Here he's telling them about the switch he put together and how it works.