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Hi there! Ever the teacher here, I just have to throw in my two cents. 🙂

I feel lucky that I can (I think) see most sides of this issue, and commend those on all sides who know what they are doing, and why they are doing it. I taught in a public high school setting for 10 years, grades 7-12, students with everything from Mild Mental Handicaps to Learning Disabilities to Severe Emotional Handicaps (Behavior Disorders) to the kind of failure-to-thrive-academically kids who end up in programs like mine because they don’t really fit anywhere else. I know there are wonderful, responsible homeshooling families out there who are doing their utmost to teach their kids not only academics but also the moral and social framework they need in order to thrive in the world. I know there are teachers (I was one of them) who undertake to do the very same thing for the huge number of kids whose parents either are not able to do this for reasons of their own.

I know that there are parents who send their kids to public school, whose goals are directly in line with those homeschooling parents and good teachers, who do not the have ability to stay home and homeschool, and thus must do what they can in the time they have, and hope that the public schools will support and enhance their own goals for their children. Unfortunately, I also know so-called “homeschooling” parents who actually do not homeschool, but keep their kids home for company, because they do not want to deal with keeping their kids clean and clothed, or do not want to take the responsibility of dealing with their child’s misbehavior at school. It is too bad that this small minority sometimes give “homeschooling” a negative connotation, just as a few bad teachers can give “public schools” a bad reputation. I will say hats off to homeschoolers who take on their responsibility as seriously as any life commitment.

These are the kids who will go on to succeed, imo. I will ALSO say, hats off to school teachers everywhere. When I taught, I didn’t just focus on English and science. I spent a good deal of my time trying to teach kids a lot of skills that they *should* have learned at home: how to be a responsible adult, how to handle anger and frustration, how to speak up in a positive way. I worked with kids who were known criminals. I dealt for hours on end with a 15 year old rapist, and separately, with the girl he brutalized.

My goals: to help her in her recovery, and to try to help him gain some empathy and anger control so that he would not go on to murder his next victim. (Psychologists will probably tell you it is impossible to instill a conscience into someone who is 15 years old…I felt I had no choice but to try. Who else would be able to get through to a kid with virtually no guidance at home?) I listened to parents berate their kids, and spoke up for the children.

I dealt with parents who wanted ME to make their kids behave, because they couldn’t do it at home. And although it sounds like I am talking about ME here…I am not. I am speaking about the experience of practically every good teacher I know. So…I am just glad that this discussion has not become a diatribe against public schools in general. Teachers do not deserve a bad rap. Most of them are doing the very best they can with the resources they have, limited though those resources may be. And they are, all too often, the last chance for a very significant number of kids. And, although it won’t help anyone specifically here, I can assure you that in MY classroom, NO ONE was abused, put down, made fun of, or harassed. 🙂 Whew!

Every time I get started, I get all carried away. 🙂 Hope I have not stepped on anyone’s toes. Just wanted to add yet another view. Now, ask me what I think would be the *ideal* school set-up, lol…..

Coming in late on this

we were away for the weekend. Way to go !

This must be exciting for you ! I’m sure if you get your emergency fund built up you’ll be okay if something comes up after you quit work. Things have a way of working themselves out it seems so I’m sure you’ll be fine.

I am excited right now because we came home with $160 of the money I had budgeted for our weekend trip to VA. We only ended eating 2 meals on Friday because we couldn’t check in our hotel room until 3 and until we got settled and went for dinner it was 4:30 so we had a combined meal. The kids had snacks on the way so they were fine and we had a late (10:30) breakfast.

Also we ordered pizza in for Saturday evening which was only $20 for all 8 of us ( My Mom and brother were along too). I had taken drinks and chips along so that rounded out our meal. Also coming home we didn’t stop for lunch because we were back before 2 and decided to just wait. We had all had a big cooked breakfast anyway. We took all our snacks and drinks along so NO 70 cents sodas at the machine at the hotel. We collected some shells along the bay and the hotel had a pool so that was pretty much the entertainment for the weekend. It took less gas than I thought and I had some in case money in another envelope and we didn’t use any of that.

Yippee !

More ideas here:

Now onward toward my semi-frugal planning for our week coming up at the shore. I admit I’m not as frugal on vacation as normal. It’s sort of our time of the year to let go a little. There were several B1G1F coupons for stuff in our Entertainment book and I have gotten sets of them from 2 other friends. The condo we are staying in has a full kitchen so we will probably only eat out a couple of times. I HAVE to have Boardwalk fries and ice cream (LOL) and we are going to do an amusement park one day. Of course we are going to gather more shells. There is a shell wreath on the cover of Family Circle that we are going to make with our gatherings. They basically just took a straw wreath and covered it in muslin and glued shells all around it.

Well back to my list making. I sure don’t want to have to run out and buy something at the shore that I forgot to pack! LOL

Camp perks

My oldest daughter worked at Girl Scout camp this summer. They finished up yesterday and since the camp was closing, they sent the extra food home with the girls who helped out in the kitchen. She did great at picking what she thought we’d use! Among the goods was two HUGE bags of Kelloggs cereal, three gallons of apple juice, five lbs. of American cheese and 10lbs. of cheddar! I was sick last week and missed some work so these perks will really help out.

If you have a daughter who has the opportunity to work at a Girl Scout camp, I’d recommend it. Not just because of the food at the end. She got free food for the summer, swimming, horse back riding etc… was paid and I didn’t have to hear I’m bored or cart her around from place to place. She just turned sixteen so having her around a bunch of girls all summer had other advantages too!

Good web site for money-saving tips

I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so forgive me if someone has already posted this URL.

http://www.clark.com/

Clark Howard hosts a consumer action radio show in Atlanta, and the site has lots of good information about all sorts of things pertaining to saving money.

Also, did you know that many states have passed laws that require auto insurance companies to reduce your premium if you have completed a defensive driving course in the last 3 years? These courses do not have to be “behind the wheel” types of classes. I signed up for one through the local community center for $15.00. I spend 4 hours in class, I save over $100 on my insurance premium. Not a bad deal.

Insurance companies don’t like to publicize this, so you may need to call your state insurance commissioners office to see if this pertains to your state. Also, if you ask your insurance agent, maybe they’ll tell you.

Glad to be back to the new and improved CBer list

Dryer question

My husband always tries to fix the washer/dryer appliances and I consider his job strictly a “desk jockey” – or computer geek.

He starts by getting the model name and number of the appliance and contacts appliance part stores that he finds in the yellow pages. Luckily we live within walking distance of 2 and I’m sure in FL you will have good success.

The parts stores can tell you over the phone what part to try first, and will give you the price over the phone. That way you can decide if you want to attempt it yourself. They are also great sources of repairmen who work independently and often charge less in labor than big repair contractors.

I live in Northern OH and have stopped using my dryer entirely to save on electricity – especially during air conditioning season. I’ve just started adding vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser, and the wash is coming out cleaner, fresher, and not so stiff from line drying.

I have a question

My dryer apparently needs a new heating element (?) or thermostat or something. I hang most of my clothes out, but was drying a load of towels last night and went to check on it and the dryer was not even warm.

Can anyone tell me if this is something we can do ourselves and if there is any way to get parts fairly inexpensively?? Of course everything is breaking now that I left my job to be a SAHM again……..but I’m becoming quite handy with the help of my 14 and 10y/o!

I just went through this exercise and I definitely think that you can make this repair yourself. First of all I would flip the breaker. The heating element runs at a different voltage then the rest of the dryer and so even though the dyer may “run” the heating element may need to be tripped. If that doesn’t work I would take plate of the back and look at the thermostat.

There are two and they kinda look like a Mickey Mouse head – round with half circles on the side. You can look at the schematic on the dryer to see which one goes to the heating element or just test them both. Inspect these to see if there is a dark spot that may indicate that it has burnt out. Use a voltmeter to see if there is a voltage running across the thermostat. Or if you don’t have a voltmeter you can short circuit these wires (put them together – use a small amount of electrical tape to hold them as you would shock yourself if you keep them in your hand) and see if the dry heats. Only do this for a couple of minutes as it is a fire hazard. As a last resort you can apply for payday loan (you live in Utah as far as I remember) here or at similar established website and order dryer repair. Fast solution and you are done. And if you ever decide to consolidate them – here’s the article with detailed strategy.

If the dryer heats while the wires are together then you need a new thermostat which if I remember correctly runs about $12. If the dry doesn’t heat it is most likely you heating element. For this you just about have to take apart the whole dryer. Under the back of the housing you’ll find the heating element. It is kinda long and looks like springs side by side. If it is broken you should be able to tell right away because one of the “springs” will be broken.

A new heating element costs about $40 if I remember correctly. I hope this isn’t to confusing. There are many web sites on appliance repair that give detailed instructions and show pictures. You can also go to your local appliance repair shop and tell them how it is acting and they will help walk you through the process and make sure that you get the right parts.

Finally made last payment!

After 10 years I just made my last student loan payment! WooHoo! Anyway, I digress. It was with Sallie Mae, and they are really good about working with you, because they would rather have some money than no money.

But, student loans are not a write-off, but if you get a 2nd mortgage to pay off your student loans, then that 2nd is a write-off. Friends of ours just did that. I wish I had a site to figure out the amount for you. But I think you will be better off in the long run adding the amount to your mortgage. I enjoy anything that is a write-off! Hope this helps!

Also, Once a month my local Library has a book sale put on by The Friends of the Library

I have never been to the book sale but you have reminded me to get some books ready for this coming month’s sale

I was at the library Thursday and there was a table displayed with National Geographics (old) and in good condition Condensed Hardbacks of Reader Digest Novels

I did no succumb as I am getting rid of a lot of reading material also when my daughter came to take me home – she was also in the Library as my grandaughter was at the Safety Town Camp the prekindergartners go to before school – It is a2 week camp but they were in doors because of the rain it is put on by our Local Police station which is next to library —-
When my daughter came to get me she showed me a flyer of an Alice In Wonderland performance being put on by another camp – this one was for Secondary and High School Students – the show was a musical and it was free – I did not attend for I had to attend a meeting in a few hours

my daughter said it was well worth the price and it couldn’t be any better than free. wish there were more performances in our area

If you like to stay home and cook then you can get more meals at a cheaper rate for bean dishes – some beans take longer to cook and you have to consider your gas or electric whichever your stove requires

Are you still going to be the moderator of Creativie Budget – If you are please let me know by Email how I will be able to sign on

Marie G

I have to agree with you about catholic school

The three R’s in our Catholic School is Respect, Religion and Responsibility. Last year was the first year our daughter went to private school.

What difference it has made in her. She actually talks and has conversations with adults instead of mumbles when spoken to. She is totally responsible for her assignments and she always comes home and does the homework right away before she does anything else- without me nagging at her. The teachers treat them with respect and demand nothing less from them. And you’re right the “bad kids” don’t get in. They have to meet the requirements-grades, recommendations from previous schools, etc. I’m not saying that there are no bad kids but in this school, parents are so involved and everyone knows everyone else (only 135 kids-Kindergarten through 8) that it’s like when I grew up.

You knew that if you did something you weren’t supposed to, there was going to be someone, neighbor or relative, around that knew your parents and it would get back to them. I’m not against public school, my son is in fifth grade and still goes to public school. his elementary school is great. But when he starts middle school he’s going to the Catholic school with his sister. The teachers at the public school have their hands tied.

They can’t do much about discipline for fear of law suits and discrimination suits. And they are required to teach so much more then the basics subjects that the basics often don’t get the attention they need. I applaud anyone that can homeschool. I think it would be a battle ground here. Terry

This is exactly why i put out the money for my kids

Guys, this is exactly why i put out the money for my kids to go to a private catholic school!

basically there are bad kids in any place- but the parents of the problem kids cannot pull the old “my taxes pay for your salary ” argument- if they say “my tuition pays your salary ” they are told if they don’t like the schools rules they do not have to pay tuition- they can leave – the teachers are treated with respect at all times as are the Moms who run the cafeteria and playground – rudeness to a teacher or Mom gets ya seated alone at lunch or recess smart mouthing gets ya to the principals – cursing is an instant detention of course (and probably a few holy Mary’s LOL!!) ( oh and before someone says it our school is not a drop off point for bad kids who need to be reformed – if they are coming with a bad record they most likely will no get in at all) and i do not believe it is the public schools fault, that they cannot always enforce things the same way, but as you said the parents fault for taking their kids side no matter what happens -and not teaching their kids respectfulness and the kids who are taught right and are respectful are probably in the minority in their school

A friend of mine works as an aide in my towns public school district – and said that if everytime a kid smart talked a teacher they went to the principals office they’d need a class room for the principals office- not to mention the hissy fits a lot of parents would make …

i kind of see this all an extension of the need of parents to have a perfect child- the best at baseball or the best at school – kind of like they are their trophies- to admit the child may have done something wrong tarnishes their “trophy ” which they think makes them look like not as good as a parent to their peers- unfortunately to many its just the opposite i have much more respect for a Mom / Dad who acknowledges their kid done wrong and does soemthing about it – denial will just bring bigger problems later on

I’m back from vacation

Thanks Jane for directing me where to join the blog. I was getting very lonely.

I have been back from our camping vacation for almost 2 weeks and I had no clue what happened to you.

We had a great vacation. We went camping for a week in Cherokee, NC.

There is so much free stuff to do there. We went to see the old farm houses in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We seen the old cable mills where they still grind cornmeal. There was so much to do there. (Hiking to the waterfalls, swimming in the rivers). We camped in a wonderful campground called Wolf Campground. The kids loved it, every afternoon that we came back to camp from our adventurious day the kids had tons of kids there to play with. We cooked breakfast every mourning, took our coolers with us when we left camp and had a picnic lunch whereever and whenever we decided. Then we would come back to camp and cooked dinner each night. We did eat out one night at the BRIO Tuscan Grille.

We went to Ghosttown in the Sky and the Bear Zoo. It was great.

We had a very wonderful and frugal vacation.

Below is what it cost us:

$110.00 in gas (round trip)
$119.00 campsite for 7 nights
$120.00 GhostTown in The Sky (includes 2 adults, 3 children, 1 toddler and eating lunch there) We could of took our coolers there and had our picnic lunch but didn’t realize we could.
$7.00 for hubby fishing license for one day the kids didn’t need onebecause they were under the age limit.
$7.00 for wood for our fire
$15.00 for Bear Zoo (admittance fee for 5 people, toddler was free.
$50.00 for dinner for 6
$45.00 for souvieners
$15.00 for bread, milk, and ice

We took all of our groceries for our meals and snacks from home except the extra bread, milk, and ice we needed.

We had a wonderful vacation for less than $500 and we could of even went cheaper if we left some of the stuff out. It was a blast.

Sorry this was so long but I had to let some of ya’ll know you could have a great vacation without spending thousands of dollars.

Thanks, Tina in FL