Friday, February 29, 2008

Virginia School Census Information

This has been making it's rounds today and we figured we'd share it here:

2008 Triennial School Census Begins!

Virginia law requires local school divisions to report a census of children ages five to 19 every three years. January 1 through July 15, 2008, is designated as the period during which the 2008 Triennial School Census will be conducted and completed. The census counts are used to apportion state sales tax revenues that are set aside to support public education.

According to the Virginia Code §22.1-281 [] through §22.1-286 [], school divisions are required to submit a summary count of all persons, ages 5-19, who reside in their counties, cities, and towns. This includes public and private school students, homeschoolers, and dependents living on federal military property. Children away from home, in college, or in the military must also be counted.

How Will the Information Be Collected?

The data may be collected by the division superintendent's office in several ways:
1) by a survey mailing,
2) by a phone call, or
3) by a door-to-door survey.

What Is the Purpose?

This census is an important planning tool for public school divisions. Based on school census data, each locality will receive approximately 1% of sales tax revenues for public schools. Locally, the school division uses the data to plan for construction of new schools and to identify future staffing needs.

What Information Will Be Collected?

Information on the survey may not be limited to the number of children in your home. The district may also "gather statistics related to the interests of education" as deemed necessary by the superintendent.

Most districts assure families that the information provided will NOT be used for any other purpose but the census. Only a summary count (no names or addresses) from the census will be used by the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine the distribution of sales tax and other monies to counties, cities, and towns.

Do Homeschoolers Have to Participate?

It is the responsibility of each school board to make sure the census is taken at the proper time and in the proper manner. However, the law does not state residents are required to supply information for the census. If you prefer not to give out personal information, you may simply state, "I do not care to participate in the survey." The decision to participate is up to each individual family.

Is More Information Available?

You may view the Department of Education 2008 School Census information here. []

*************NOTE FROM YVONNE

Participating in the census should not have a negative effect on a family's homeschool status. If you decide not to participate, be aware some census takers may become very aggressive. It is their job to get a complete count. Obviously, including your children in the census will help the local school district financially; however, census takers are not allowed to harass families. If there is a problem, ask for the number of the census taker's supervisor and report the incident.


Yvonne Bunn, HEAV Director of Government Affairs

Home Educators Association of Virginiae-mail: legislative@heav.orgp

Monday, February 18, 2008

Will Homeschooling Make Me a Better Christian?

I have been often asked by women who have participated in Christian forums or e-mail lists if they have to do XXX to be a good Christian or mother. "Will breastfeeding make me a better mother?" "Does homeschooling make you a stronger Christian?"

They see the signature lines proclaiming "attachment parenting, noncircumcising, organic veggie-only eating, cosleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding, head covering, nonvaccinating, full quivering, stay at home, homechurching, home birthing, homeschooling mother of 25."

Some women see these signature lines as ways to find like minded friends. Others see them and feel heavily burdened. While it is wonderful to seek out like minded friends to encourage us on the path God has led us to, we need to be careful to not become legalistic or boastful. We also need to make sure that we encourage other mothers even if they do differently than what we prefer. God is not limited to our ideals when He does His marvelous work in and through our lives.

What is going to make us an effective ("good") mother is the same thing that will make us an effective Christian: a humble, obedient heart open to the Lord's leading and correction with a strong will to make right what is revealed as wrong; not only doing, but doing with the right heart with the right goals.

If we are doing anything because we feel it makes us better than someone who does differently, we have a pride issue. There are plenty of fantastic, loving Christian mothers who do a terrific job of raising their child in public school, with formula, using a stroller, while working, etc.

If we are doing anything because we want to fit in with a group, we are doing them to please man. We have substituted a false god (of friendship, popularity, self worship, etc) for the One Living True God.

If we are doing them because God led us to it, we are an obedient Christian mother.

I recently read an article in a Christian magazine aimed at encouraging mothers. The young author was extolling the virtues of her way of mothering, but in doing so, she tore down those who did differently by making disparaging remarks towards their style of mothering. As I read it, I could just feel the discouragement of young women who were trying the best they could but were unable to follow this woman's model of "good mothering." We are to build each other up, not tear each other down. We do not have to tear down the house of another to build our own.

We should be shining the light on what Christ is doing in and through us, but not on the method.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. I Peter 5:5

Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Psalm 138:6 (my note: notice He stays far away from the proud.)

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psalm 34:2 (emphasis mine)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In Search Of...

my front tooth!
This one was messy! It had been wiggly for weeks and then he fell hard and knocked it out. He came running to me with a mouth full of blood! Thankfully, I spotted that gap and then my heart started beating again!
We don't do the tooth fairy here. The whole family gets donuts when someone's tooth falls out.
We are hoping he loses another one very soon!
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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ham & Tater Tot Chowder Recipe

Half of us really liked it. :-)

18 frozen tater tots (we used a large package)
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cups cooked ham cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 3/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes (we used leftover real mashed potatoes)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 tsp onion powder (we minced an onion)
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cook tater tots according to package. Combine broth and milk in large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat; reduce heat to low. Add ham, potato flakes, corn, onion powder and black pepper. Cook while stirring often for 7-10 minutes until creamy and slightly thick. Put in bowls and top with tater tots. Serves approx. 4. If you like it thicker, add potato flakes. If you like it thinner, add milk or water. Add some cheddar cheese for a different flavor or as a garnish.
Hello to our friends in Jerusalem!
Hello to the troops in Iraq who come here for a bit of home now and then.
We appreciate your service to our country!
You and your family are in our prayers. Stay safe.
Be a blessing to someone today.

Friday, February 08, 2008

At the Park #2

The computer wouldn't let me post all of the pictures at one time. It has control issues. :-)
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At the Park #1

These were taken last Sunday at Beaverdam Park.
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Emily Ready for Shipping

to Gramma and Grandpa Selvage's!
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wife Swap Invitation #3

We received our third invitation to be on Wife Swap. It's very flattering, but not something we are interested in. You can read about the other two invitations here.

If you sign up, please let them know we (Clint & Wendy Asbell, P.O. Box 244, Achilles, VA 23001) referred you. We'd make good use of the $1,000 referral bonus!


My name is Danielle Gervais. I'm a Casting Producer for ABC's Primetime show, "Wife Swap." I hope you don't mind me contacting you, but we're currently into our fourth season at the moment and we're actively looking for one-of-a-kind families with plenty of personality! Specifically, we're looking for parents who strongly believe in alternative forms of education for their children. If you’ve always thought your family was meant for television, we’d love to hear from you! In addition, please feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think would be interested in taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the moms switch places to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. Then she introduces a "rule change" where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It's a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life. Wife Swap airs on Disney owned ABC television on Wednesdays at 8 pm- the family hour!

Requirements: Each family must consist of two parents and at least one child between 7 and 17 and should reside in the continental U.S. (There may be other children living in the home who are older or younger than the required age…as long as one child is in the required age range.)

Participating in the show is a very unique experience that can be life changing for everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives $20,000 as compensation for their time. Anyone who refers a family that appears on our program receives $1000 as a 'thank you’ from us.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this email and I hope to hear from you soon. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! If you're interested in learning more, please don’t forget to include your contact information.

Thank you for your time,

Danielle Gervais
Casting Producer, Wife Swap

Making Goat's Milk Soap

I get asked about the goat's milk soap a lot too.

Lye: You DO have to work with lye to make soap. You HAVE to wear glasses to prevent the lye from getting into your eyes. I do not wear gloves or an apron.

If the lye gets on your skin, you can wash it off. Lye feels very slippery to the skin. You need to flush the area with water while you rub the "slippery" away. Then I wash a bit beyond that to ensure I have all of it off of me. When lye gets on my skin, I first feel an itch. If it is on my skin for too long, it starts to burn.

Is it hard? Making the soap is not hard at all if you can follow directions, have accurate equipment (scales and thermometers) and pay attention to details. Soap ingredients and temperature have to be precise.

How to make it: There is one main book I recommend reading when learning how to make milk based soaps. This book will teach you all you need to know and has several recipes to try.

Milk-Based Soaps: Making Natural, Skin-Nourishing Soap

This is for water based soaps, but has tips and recipes to gather ideas from when experimenting.

Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life)

Other Milk: I have not tried other milk.

Canned Milk: While I have used canned goat's milk for my personal use face cream, I do not use it in milk making. It would not be cost effective. I am not sure how it would affect the process. I know some ladies have canned milk from their goats and it has not worked well in the recipes.

There are many, many women online making goat's milk soap. Some of them have wonderful recipes and pages set up to help the beginner.

For general soapmaking (not milk specific): Kathy Miller's page is excellent!

Skin conditions I personally know it has helped: eczema, dry skin, those scaly, bumpy arms, psoriasis, poison ivy/sumac/oak, etc.

Did I miss a question?

Please keep praying for Luke. Aunt Jenn says he weighs a little over 11 lbs now, so he has made great strides in the weight department!

Friday, February 01, 2008

James and Sarah Asbell

This is for John D. and other genealogists. I apologize for the broken link on the genealogy page.
This is James and Sarah Asbell.
James was shot in the mouth while serving in the Civil War and would not accept pension for his injuries.
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Science in the Kitchen – The Scientific Method

This link was shared on the local homeschool e-mail list. Good article!