Wednesday, October 9, 2013

SEO for beginners

If you have a high schooler who is building a website in the html or wordpress class this term, they're probably considering monetizing that blog or website. When you have information you're trying to share it's just natural to want to benefit the most amount of people, right? I mean, it makes sense that if you think your stuff is awesome then you think others might like it, too, right? Maybe it's just me and my opinion. Either way, there's a website to help people write for income and there are also sites to help people learn about niche blogging and building topic-specific websites. In the web design world, a lot of that stuff is called SEO, Search Engine OPtimization. It's an ever-changing field of study that's entirely man-made, so is it an art? Is it a science? Either way, for some of us, it's a job. Crazy world we live in, right?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Let's define "dropout"

I hate the stereotypes about education in the US. It's like "finishing school" is a separate and holier thing than learning and actually getting a real education. A high school aged person who decides to take charge of their own life and education and that involves leaving the institution is very very different from the inner-city kid who can't make it to class every day because he's hung over or working to support his crackhead mother and her 5 illegitimate kids. Dropping out of high school is not the problem we're afraid of, giving up on life is the problem. Being under 18 and giving up on life is really a sad state of affairs. But taking charge of your future as a teenager is just about the most responsible decision you can make. In The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education teens are empowered to take control of their own life. It's a lesson that's often stolen away from kids before they realize that they ever had a choice in the matter. But it's a fact, the only person who owns a life is the one living it. Simply leaving school isn't a precursor to misery. Also, I've never ever ever ever ever had a potential employer ask for a copy of my high school diploma. But whatever. Maybe I'm biased because I'm an unschooler and have seen kids doing amazing things outside of the institution. And come to think of it, I've never had a college ask for my high school information either.
Reference Site

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New to Washington State Homeschooling

As if moving wasn't complicated enough. As if homeschooling wasn't complicated enough. As if life wasn't complicated enough. We've all had these thoughts at times, right? There are important things to remember when you're moving and homeschooling. The first bit of helpful advice I have is to research the homeschooling laws on official state websites. For example, the state of Washington has a Home-based Instruction law and their site defines it clearly. There are commercial and nonprofit websites that also offer up their own translations of the law, which are sometimes easier to digest than the actual legal terminology. At other times, however, these translations are unnecessarily wordy. One nice thing about legal language is that it's concise. The Washington Homeschool Organization provides a nice translation. One of the nicest things about the WA homeschool law is that children aren't subject to the compulsory education laws until they're eight years old in Washington State. Once the legal aspects are out of the way, you can focus on the necessities of packing and switching over your utilities and making sure everything is insured and transported safely.
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Using RSS

RSS stands for "really simple syndication" and it was invented by (among other developers) Aaron Swartz, a teenage boy who happened to grow up and invent Reddit and commit suicide when the FCC was prosecuting him for hacking into the database of federally funded schools. He believed (and I think he's damned right) that if our tax dollars fund the research, the school shouldn't be profiting from their publication, the information and finding should be free for all taxpayers to access. Anyway, RSS is a code mechanism that allows a central server to be pinged (notified) when there is new content (like a new article or blog post) on a website.
Image Credit Subscribing to website feeds is one way to follow new developments without checking each website on a daily basis.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Moving the Homeschool

Moving is a pain in the behind. All of that looking for boxes and then packing things and labeling boxes (if you're smart) and stacking boxes and moving them out to the truck and then into the new house (which room?) and then the unpacking and then the getting rid of the boxes... it's no wonder moving is on the top ten list of stressful things in life.

I was really surprised to find out that it's possible to deduct moving expenses.  I've never relocated for a job, that's an entirely different situation but most people HAVE, especially when they're in a situation where they have a husband who is working to support their family. I never had that luxury when I was married, but a lot of people do.

When you're homeschooling the moving consists of a ton more books and musical instruments and art supplies and the inconvenience of unpacking melts over into several other areas of life.  Right now I'm living in my favorite house ever so I can't imagine moving away from here.  I hope you love your house just as much as I do. I also hope I never have to move again.  Unless it's closer to Seattle or Portland.  Small town life has not grown on me.

The most unexpected things can lead to the best lessons

You can learn so much about the world by looking at things from different angles.  When we were running our family business, we learned so much from communicating with vendors, Hotel Bar Supplies companies and government agencies.  Simply being in the postition to hire and fire employees showed us a different side of human nature.  We had no idea how much of a worker's wages went into paying taxes, for example and how the employee's paycheck represented sometimes less than half of what they were actually costing us.

Well, recently we were staying at a hotel and we saw that they had dispensers for their shampoo and conditioner.  It was a rather upscale venue and we were looking forward to taking home little souvenir bottles of shampoo and conditioner because we wanted to enjoy them in our big bathtub.  That led to a great discussion whereby we discussed the costs of things (both financially and environmentally) and we ended up googling for Hotel Supply Online where we found an  Atlanta Hotel Supply company that gave us some new insight into how the world of hotel supplies works.  We were surprised and now my kids have learned so much more than they would have if we were just blindly stumbling through our days.  Yayyy for homeschooling. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Small Town

Written by Fermin Washington

Being from a small town meant that when I moved I had no idea what to do about home security. I had a big dog and I figured that was enough, that is, until one of my neighbors’ houses got broken into. I just didn’t imagine I was so vulnerable but you know, when something like that happens it really forces you to think about things. I went to and got a home alarm and actually had all the locks changed since the previous owner was, in a word, sketchy. I feel better now about being here along and I actually want to buy expensive stuff to decorate. You know, there’s nothing like owning your own home and really being part of the process and that’s what I’m in the middle of right now. I love that this place is mine and that I’m the one responsible for taking care of it and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Owning your own home is the most amazing feeling ever!