Thursday, January 28, 2010

Learning About The Law

Today we got a wonderful opportunity to both tour the new (and absolutely gorgeous) Federal Building in in our city, but also to spend some time in one of the courtrooms, hearing from and asking questions of a judge there. A mom in our homeschool group had set this up (what an awesome idea!) and so with some reading about the Constitution under our belts, we headed to the courthouse this morning.

The kids got to sit in the counsel chairs or the jury box, and asked questions of the judge. While for the younger kids I'm sure it was fun to see the courtroom, many of the judge's answers might have been a bit too involved (Asa turned around at one point and mouthed "I'm bored" to me). But for Mackenzie, it was just perfect. Strangely, because at his age I don't think I really gave a whole lot of thought to my future career, he's already considering "three paths: doctor, lawyer, computer programmer" (according to Mackenzie). So this was a great opportunity for him to hear from someone in the field of law.

Myself, I was really impressed with the questions he asked (and also impressed that he always remembered to preface them with "Your honor,...") He asked about the judge's background, why he became a judge, whether he'd ever looked back on any of his decisions and wished he'd ruled differently, and a couple other thoughtful questions. I was also really really impressed with the time the judge took out of what must be a busy schedule to meet with the kids, and with his very thoughtful answers. For instance, one mom asked what one piece of advice he would give to kids. I was sure he was going to say something cliched about following the law, but he thought for a time and said that he thought more people should say "I'm sorry" when they do something wrong. That our society has become increasingly litigious, and that often people are discouraged from apologizing by lawyers who think it will open them up to a lawsuit, but that we should return to owning up to our mistakes and apologizing.

He also talked about an interesting civil liberties case he ruled upon, which ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court, PGA Tour vs. Martin. This case involved a disabled golfer who asserted that the PGA could not deny him access to a golf cart to ride between holes. It's worth visiting that link to the Wikipedia site just to read through the Supreme Court's dissenting opinion by Justice Scalia (which has been nominated as one of the funniest Supreme Court rulings of all time).

All in all, it was a terrific opportunity, and Mackenzie came away saying "I wish I could just sit with that judge and ask him questions all by myself for an hour!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don't Know What's Funnier

I'm not quite sure what's funnier, the fact that Mackenzie Rickrolled Wayne (told him to check out a cool airplane video, that was slick!) or the fact that Wayne didn't know what Rickrolling was, and so he watched the whole video, enjoying the musical flashback (I hate to admit it, but my hubby has a thing for 80's music). Mackenzie also managed to get Asa with a link to a "cute baby bear" (he sure knows who's a sucker for what in this family!).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Road to Annie

Our weekly newspaper is doing some cool reporting on the production of Annie that Asa is in. One of their reporters is attending all of the rehearsals, auditions, etc. and blogging about it as an ongoing feature called "The Road to Annie". You can find it here! You might have to scroll down to find the latest Annie installments as they're mixed in with other blogged items.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What We're Into Lately

Just an overview of what we're all doing on our unschooling journey these days...

Asa: Just got her script for Annie. Gave up on putting pop-up stickies on the pages with her lines, cuz she's on every other page! Lots to memorize so she's working on it multiple times a day and starting to work on the songs as well. Her Santa gift this year was a skateboard and she's been taking that out to a flat cul-de-sac nearby to practice on. Making lots of earrings with the bead kit that Mackenzie gave her. Favorite TV show is Dirty Jobs, and is currently reading Black Beauty.

Mackenzie: Doing lots of computer programming. Custom-making arcade games and selling them to friends ($5 a pop, he'll make an arcade-style game to your specifications) He's always been an enterpreneur like his dad, sure doesn't get that from me! I'm charging him at cost for materials (CDs that he's burning on) so at least he's getting a sense of that side of business too! He's liking karate a lot right now. He and I are watching Frontline's From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians, a fascinating documentary on Jesus himself and "The Jesus Movement" (Christianity, before it became an organized religion). He just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 (the book he would memorize: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, mine would have to be Lord of the Rings) and is now reading some graphic novel series about famous and gruesome events (kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, Lizzie Borden, etc)

Myself: Working on writing (a non-fiction book at this point), pursuing my black belt in karate (hopefully will test in June), just finished reading Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike and am burning my way through Michael Crichton's Prey. I haven't read good techie fiction in awhile so that's fun.

Wayne: Working his day job, enjoying the fruits of his labors as our home gym takes off, and fighting me over the paperback copy of Prey. Can be heard laughing his head off when he watches re-runs of That 70's Show (honestly, I don't get the appeal, but hey we can have a few such discrepancies and still be married...)