Saturday, July 24, 2010

DANGER! The ban on SHARP and lead containing rocks

I am floored!  Absolutely floored at how an agency is permitted (and encouraged) to go beyond it's boundaries into the absurd. 

It started with CPSIA's (Consumer Product Safety Commission) lead ruling on toys made in China...then it spread to all toys, books, clothes, etc, etc, etc.  CPSC Children's products

Don't get me wrong, I don't want little Billy to have lead poisoning!  But, did the government powers that govern this agency ever CHECK TO SEE if this ruling was sound from a scientific standpoint?  Did they determine the amount of lead absorbed by merely playing with a toy painted with lead paint in ppb (parts per billion)?  How about the health threshold for lead poisoning via oral route....just how much chewing does little Billy have to do on a toy before he ACTUALLY has lead in his system.

Did anyone check an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) concerning the routes that lead enters the body through (and the physical state that the lead must be in) to determine that casual contact with the object  should cause alarm ???

Now the CPSIA wants to ban ROCKS that contain lead and SHARP POINTS in schools.  An educational company or rock/mineral vendor will be unable to provide these to consumers.

So, this means that if you are studying Geology, you are now unable to get your hands upon the very specimens necessary to determine the identity of minerals and rocks.  Rock and mineral identification is the very building blocks of this branch of science and necessary in understanding larger Geologic concepts.  Thanks to the CPSIA you will now be permitted to look at a poster of rocks and minerals.  I'm left wondering, how exactly does one utilize Moh's Hardness scale in identifying 2 dimensional rocks?

While I'm no expert, I do possess a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology.  On many occasions, I handled BARE HANDED such lead-containing specimens as:  aragonite, cerussite, wufenite and one of my favorites, Galena.  Part of the draw for me was the ability to hold each specimen, examine it thoroughly, perform a streak/hardness test and then identify it.  Many hours were spent happily doing so.  Countless more hours were spent in the field, digging, sifting, cleaning, categorizing and identifying.

After graduation, I went on to work in an environmental testing lab where our blood and hair were tested yearly for abnormal levels of heavy metals.  Guess what?  Mine always came back within normal parameters.

And you know what else?  I eventually went on to birth four healthy children that have no health issues what-so-ever.  They also handle my mineral and rock collection.  There's no gnawing of specimens and each session is followed by hand washing.

Unless you are sucking on Galena lozenges or bathing in pools of lead, your chance of over exposure is small.  In reality, you've probably come into casual exposure to lead-containing rocks that occur naturally in the environment.

Which brings up another question.....will the CPSIA now require testing of soil and rock formations to determine if they contain lead?  What will happen to such mountain ranges and areas that are found to contain lead?  Will they be off limits?  Will they be excavated and sent to the dump????

Yes, that's as absurd as this CPSIA's ruling itself!

And just what about all those sharp rocks?

Other links to peruse:
CPSIA Comments and Observations
Students Aren't Allowed to Touch Real Rocks

Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Crew Travel the World! Review E-book/Unit Study

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

The Schoolhouse Planner - Travel the World! (June 2010 Module)

Schoolhouse Planner/Modules


Grades K-12

The Schoolhouse Planner - Travel the World

How would you like a monthly E-book unit study chocked full of activities and links in an eye catching format for an unbelievable low price?

Look no further!  Here is The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's E-book monthly module.  Each  month is based on a different topic.  Each topic is thoroughly researched and expanded to include something for all students kindergarten through high school ALL from a Biblical perspective.

I had the opportunity to "Travel the World" in the June 2010 issue with my children (grades 2, 4 and 7).

First we took off with the basics:  what is Geography, globes, maps, longitude, latitude etc.

Then to the tune of "God Has the Whole World in His Hands" we proceeded to learn more about each continent.

Amazingly, each page is overflowing with hyperlinks on mountain ranges, bodies of water and games which help bring each continent's uniqueness to life.

Intermixed thoughout the E-book are word searches, quizzes, word finds, lapbook activities, and copywork for various levels.  The high school expansion pages include higher mathematical/scientific thought, creative writing assignments and literature recommendations.

To cap it all off, we enjoyed making the two recipes in this study.  Both (Chicken in a Pot and Greek Stew)were easy to prepare and passed my household's taste test!

Here's what other crew members had to say.

I received this item free of charge in return for an honest review

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PADDLE finally makes it to the SEA!

Last week we wrapped up our unit study on Paddle-to-the-Sea.  This is one of my childrens' favorite stories.  They loved using the map and learning more details about the Great Lakes region.  We also spent some extra time on the geology of Niagara Falls (a passion of mine) and capped everything off with a big bowl of popcorn while watching the original movie.

Paddle to the Sea Map - Great Lakes Region
Paddle to the Sea Map - Great Lakes Region

Next week we will begin "The Tree in the Trail".  In anticipation of our next adventure, we are enjoying nightly readings of "The King's Fifth" by Scott O'Dell.  Happy trails!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gems from the 2010 FPEA Homeschooling Convention


For those of you not in the know, the annual Florida Parent Education Association Convention is a homeschoolers paradise.   It is three days of seminars, wall to wall homeschoolers and a Vendors Hall that goes on and on and on!

This year, due to having an infant in tow, my time spent at the convention was limited.  So, making the absolute best of my time, I was very select in the seminars I sat in on and booths visited. 

Here are some of my discoveries and absolute gems!  (I've included links to their websites for you to see them too.)

Center for Literary Education
I attended Adam Andrews' seminar entitled, "Asking the Right Questions:  Teaching with Socratic Discussion".  As an example, Adam gave a spirited reading of "A Bargain for Frances" and then lead the group through the steps of identifying, categorizing and distinguishing the details of the story. 

In our house, you can never have too many books....and with all the books, come many literature guides.  I enjoyed this seminar because it gave me a glimpse into how to take books apart with my children without having to shell out big bucks for a guide to each book we read.  The Center for Literary Education does sell literature guides (for you faint of heart or short of time) and also a DVD seminar series explaining in detail how to gear these discussions to your homeschooling family or group.  Why merely have your children read books when they can totally and thoroughly devour them by gathering every tasty morsel?

The Learning Parent
I also attended Margaret Boyer's seminar called "Beyond Textbooks".  She has 14 kids ages 11-35 and has been homeschooling for 30 years.  She's one Mama who REALLY knows what she's talking about!

She stressed the importance of relationships with her children and building character through the use of scripture.  That real education comes through books and real life experiences and getting them involved with all age groups.

 I loved hearing how the father handled one of his daughters' requests to go on a missions trip.  Unknown to her, he signed her up on a trip with SENIOR CITIZENS!!!  She ended up having the time of her life, making lasting relationships with these seasoned, godly people who she has gleaned much wisdom from. 

Margaret has also written a book called "For You They Signed."  It is a biographic/character study on EACH signer of the Declaration of Independence.  This would make a great Devotional or a bonus to Early American History! 

Homeschool Programming
Although they didn't have a seminar, they did have a booth in the Vendors Hall. Homeschool Programming offers Windows & Game Programming curriculum to children in Upper Elementary/Middle School and High School levels (Side note: levels can be arbitrary due to the skills your child possesses. Visit website for more information!) What I liked about their curriculum is that it's very user friendly, well written and illustrated and is student paced.  Something that would definitely work in our house!