28 September 2010

The Host

by Stephenie Meyer The Host, A Novel 1 editionBook group read.  Stephanie Meyer is great at thinking up interesting conflicts.  She's also pretty good at working up to a climax.  But she is a master at the anti-climax.  Everything always works out so conveniently.  Don't bother getting worried that something might go wrong; it won't, not really.  Or if it does, it'll be fixed very soon.

I did like this better than the Twilight books (I couldn't make myself read the last one after the reviews).  There were a lot of interesting (or at least potentially difficult) questions raised.  Too bad the book didn't really do much with them.

23 September 2010

eSchooling

We're finishing up our second week of eschooling (if that's the right term for it since I'm not talking about any sort of virtual school; in fact, we hardly use the internet for school).  It's sort of odd to be doing it in the US right now, since the whole point of scanning all the books was to use them overseas, but I suppose it's good to work a few things out now.

Our biggest problem so far is that we need to use the iPad a lot.  It's on for at least 5 hours a day just for books, and since there's only one, it's been tricky to work out a schedulde for sharing it.  Plus the two-year-old's picture books, so he wants it during naptime, and all my cookbooks are on it. If we can find a used Kindle DX for under $200 before we leave, we'll probably get it since the math, grammar, and Uzbek books are all black and white anyway.  In case you're wondering, we can't use those books on our smaller Sony Readers because the formatting on any reader is wonky when you increase the font size, and you have to increase the font size.  Math problems don't look right with wonky formatting. 

(An aside: I said before I wouldn't want to use the iPad as a reader.  Even though we use it for books a lot, there's no way I'd sit down and read a novel on it for fun.  It's wonderful as a color ereader, but my eyes don't like it for a long time.  That's another reason why a DX would help.  But it's not likely we'll find one for the right price before we leave.)

Even though I LOVE that we can take so many books with us, it still makes me a little nervous to have almost all our books be electronic, especially for the little one.  We still have about 20-30 picture books that we'll take, but it bugs me to think that he'll probably learn to read on the iPad.  This should not bother me.  But I can't help it.  Maybe parents thought the same thing about their kids learning to read a codex rather than a scroll.

The hardest subject to do right now is Uzbek, for obvious reasons. We're testing a new fifth grade writing program that's going surprisingly well. 

So, what we're doing this year:

Uzbek and Latin (Lively Latin 2)
Grammar, writing, spelling, and reading (ebooks and audiobooks)
Geography (capitals this year)
Social media thing (the grandmas like this)
Math (Singapore and Life of Fred)
Medieval history
Earth science and astronomy

We've dropped the art and music this year, but I'm counting on an interesting cultural experience anyway.  And I'm willing to cut back on some things if we need to focus more on Uzbek.
If you're smart and reading this on some sort of aggregator, this won't apply, but if you're here and thinking things look odd, I do apologize.  I might get around to fixing it soon. 

18 September 2010

Sitting around Seattle

So we're still in the US.  I so wanted to be in Central Asia today.  I've packed everything that can be packed, eaten almost all the food in the fridge, scanned 400 books, and sold the car.  But we don't know what country we're moving to, and won't for several more weeks.  You can't buy plane tickets if you don't know where you're moving.  That's not exactly a minor detail. 

I'm not sure which member of the family is going to go crazy first.  Even the 2-year-old asks when we're moving to Uzbekistan.  All he really cares about is flying on the airplane though.

Maybe we should go by boat.  That would kill some time.  The 2-year-old would approve of that.  Aren't there passenger ships from Seattle to Singapore?

200,000,000 Years Beneath the Sea

200,000,000 Years Beneath the Sea: The Story of the Glomar Challenger, the Ship That Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans and Their Continentsmj (or her husband) recommended this a long time ago, but it wasn't in my library then, and I only remembered now to get it from this city's library.  I enjoyed it, even though it's about 40 years old.  It's about the Glomar Challenger and the scientific discoveries it made through deep sea drilling in the late 60s and early 70s.  This book only covers the first few years of the Glomar Challenger's expedition, but those first few years were some of the most significant in what was learned about plate tectonics.

Plate tectonics is such a basic part of science now that it's a little strange for me to imagine that it's really not been an accepted theory for more than 50 years.  This book is an interesting and readable glimpse of those earlier years.

12 September 2010

God's Harvard

God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save AmericaJulie recommended this one a few days ago and I can't say much more than she did: Very, very interesting.

04 September 2010

The Beak of the Finch

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our TimeI think Julie recommended this a couple of months ago and I liked too.  I did feel at times that it made its point very, very thoroughly and I skimmed a bit (or maybe the book's just a little too long for its own good), but overall it's very readable and interesting.  A good book to read about evolution.