Category Archives: Home Educating

Keeping Records

Yeah, i’ve harped before about keeping good records and tracking expenditures and income, but when i hear the same people complain about having no money to pay bills, yet when asked if they keep records, they say ‘no,’ it causes me to wonder if they just want to complain, don’t have any idea of where their money is being spent, or perhaps don’t want to know.  But, like anything, if one doesn’t make improvements, then you’ll always be able to complain about something and that is stressful.

Here’s a short article i stumbled upon.  “Make a Personal Budget and Keep Track of Spending

It’s imperative and so easy to keep track of expenses.  Most can simply use a notebook and pencil.  Even easier is to have a calculator in the mix. (Coffee optional)  Write down the amount or ask for a receipt when you stop by the coffeeshop for a latte.  Picking up a soda from a vending machine – well, you’ll have to write it down.  Whatever you need to do, keep track of even the smallest expenditure and categorise it.  THEN, you can make decisions to change and improve your financial situations.  Reimburse your cash expenditures by writing a check to maintain your petty cash stash.  Sure, you can take cash out of your paycheck each month, but it makes it more real when you have to write a check.  Keep your petty cash in balance.

This can be applied to businesses as well, but managing one’s household and personal expenses is the first step.  Personal finance record keeping should begin in the preteen years – as soon as you earn or spend money.

Cheers!

tauna

Roadbank Grazing

Friday morning the plan was to fence off a portion of Cord Drive to let the cows in to graze the road banks.  Worked perfectly, except the cows had already had their brekkies, i guess ,and were really not interested in grazing!  Next time, i’ll put them on short pasture the night before, then they’ll be eager beavers.

They were mostly interested in watching me sit on the Gator and read my new book, Colorblind, by Amy C. Blake.

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Tools of the trade.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

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View from my ‘office’ window yesterday.
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Coming out of the pasture into the road.

Moonlight Sonata

The only regret i have for my children and their formal piano and vocal lessons is that i didn’t have them start much earlier in life.  Now, we’ve always listened to music or music history when we homeschooled, but no formal training until Jessica was 14, Dallas was 12, and Nathan (starting later) was about 11.  Nathan didn’t take for very long because their teacher moved away, although we did find another wonderful teacher who gave him lessons for about a year later on and introduced him to the world of stage production musicals.  Jessica became good enough to earn a small vocal scholarship at Central Methodist and was very active in their music programme and even participated in rehearsals, special ensemble small group called ‘Chorale,’ and was an officer in SAI.

Dallas, through his training actually showed the most improvement!

Nathan is a good vocalist, but not quite good enough to snag a singing part in Carousel Production of Les Misérables a couple years ago as a sophomore in high school.  It was a great experience for him anyway as he participated with four different roles in the musical.

Anyway, I started playing the piano when i was nine – hated practicing -but was required to continue for five years.  Only way later in years did i appreciate my parents forcing me to continue for as long as i did.  My children, however, really enjoy playing the piano and enjoyed their lessons, although none of us are accomplished pianists.

Those of us who play or teach piano know that it helps our brains.  It’s even scientifically proven according to some.  Playing the Piano Might Make You Smarter is a neat article that gives some of the evidence for that.

Now today, I struggled through playing a part of a song (Sonata quasi una Fantasia – First movement) i used to be able to play, but i cannot now.   Although, it’s far from starting an unknown piece, it will be a long time before it sounds decent.  So my question is – can old brains be made smarter and/or improve memory by playing the piano?  Hmmmm  Maybe if can push forward and learn Movements 2 (i can stumble through) and 3 (only in my dreams) by L van Beethoven.

Listen to Sonata quasi un Fantasia in its entirety by L van Beethoven

Shabbat Shalom

tauna

Music Parlor

Although I had renovated all five bedrooms in our old Sears-type 2-story house for use as our guesthouse, and we had used all five as such until recently, I was wont to move my old piano back home and out of my father-in-law’s basement where it’s been these past two years.  Jay Shearer, our piano tuner, came Thursday morning, so it’s sounding great.

So, the former master bedroom is now a music parlor.  I plan to purchase a queen size futon, so a quick bed can be made if necessary, but with two children moved out by and large, we still have two bedrooms open upstairs.  When i had four strong boys available, they moved a lot of furniture around, including moving the queen size bed upstairs to Jessica’s room.  It’s kind of big for that room, but it’s more comfortable sleep in than the full/double size she did have.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

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This is the first book I started with when I started lessons at age 9 – the same time my grandparents bought this piano for me.  They paid $950 for it in 1971 and our piano tuner appaised it a few years ago for $950.  But an ebay search shows this style more in the $650 range now.

 

Nathan’s High School Graduation

For some reason, I never blogged about my home schooled children’s high school graduations.  Here is my youngest, who graduated this past May (2015).

This writeup is what i submitted to the newspaper.  The photo, however, is one we took on the front porch after he had his hair cut.

Having completed 12 years of home education, Nathan Allen Powell, rural Laclede, MO graduates high school with a 4.0 GPA, Summa Cum Laude.  Nathan is the son of Allen and Tauna Powell.  He has received Bright Flight scholarship (having scored 33 on ACT) and the President’s Competitive Award ($20,000) from Northwest Missouri State University at Maryville, MO where he will be pursuing a 4-year MBA degree in International Business through NWMSU’s CATapult program – CATapult is an accelerated program designed for high-achieving freshmen to complete a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration within four years. 

 

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Senior Pictures – Nathan turned 18 today! October 10, 2014
Nathan Powell, at Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland – the ancestral home of his 14th great grandfather, William Keith, 4th Earl of Marischal, whose granddaughter married Alexander Falconer in 1543.

Sponsored by:

POWELL SEED FARM, INC

23116 Hwy 5

Linneus, Missouri 64653

One mile south of Linneus on Hwy 5

 

660.895.5434 or 660.412.2001 (Allen’s mobile)

 

Buying and selling field and grass seeds – Selling retail and wholesale

Custom Seed Cleaning

Three way Skyping!

So thankful for modern technology: Skyped (3-way skyping, so cool) with daughter, Jessica Powell and son, Nathan at 8a this morning, so she could tell me about her first day teaching her kindergarten students (she teaches at GEMS Dubai American Academy, so is 9 hours ahead of us) and so we could both send Nathan best wishes on his first day at Northwest Missouri State University (first class at 11am is accounting).

Beats Pony Express and sailing ships!

Interesting class she has: 22 students representing Sweden, UAE, US, Canada, France, Jordan, Germany, and somewhere else i can’t remember. All speak English and some speak 3 or more languages! Kids these days…… Totally different than Tegucigalpa where the first several weeks were spent teaching English.

Cheers

tauna

Downtown Dubai, UAE
Downtown Dubai, UAE
Dancing fountains in Dubai
Dancing water and lights at the Dubai Fountain

An Argument for Insourcing

Nathan’s Here:  Now, following a long delay, it is finally here!  I actually held off on publishing this because I couldn’t decide whether I should or not.  To be honest, before the week of research I spent before writing this essay I didn’t know very much on the topic of outsourcing.  What I did know, however, was that I was very strongly set against it.  Now, after that week of research, I still oppose outsourcing, but I have a better understanding of how little I know on the topic.  That said, here’s the argument essay I wrote in favorite of “insourcing” jobs back into the United States.

Today more than ever, current and future professionals must face the prospect of their jobs being sent overseas.  In 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor and Forrester Research, Inc. estimate that between 2003 and 2015 over 3 million jobs would move offshore (Young).  No longer is it only low wage manufacturing jobs that are being threatened, but also white-collar positions, from call center operators to paralegals.  As a nation, we must recognize the detriment this “offshoring” trend represents for both our economy and future generations of workers.

With the advent of modern modes of communication, even white-collar jobs previously thought safe from offshoring are being threatened.  From call center operators to informational technology jobs, roles which once could only be filled by domestic employees are now being replaced with much cheaper foreign equivalents.  And it’s not just jobs that require low skill or education levels that are being moved.  Alan S. Blinder, a respected author on the topic of offshoring, comments on the lack of correlation between the required education level of a job and how “offshorable” it is, “… it is easy to offshore working in a call center, typing transcripts, writing computer code, and reading X-rays.  The first two require very little education, the last two require quite a lot” (Blinder, par. 14).  Even employees who don’t face the offshoring of their positions can find themselves being forced to train foreign replacements being brought in from other countries, often on a temporary work visa such as the H-1B visa, or else forfeit their severance package after their inevitable release (Greenhouse, par. 6).

This trend of white-collar jobs being sent overseas also has severe implications for job seekers.  Shortly after the recession of 2008, Don Peck, deputy managing editor for The Atlantic, described the challenge of recovering from the job losses in that period, “Because the population is growing and new people are continually coming into the job market, we need to produce roughly 1.5 million new jobs a year … just to keep from sinking deeper” (Peck, par. 13).  This means that Forrester Research’s estimate of 300,000 jobs offshored every year represented 20% of the job growth needed to prevent the recession from getting worse!  However, the economy has since recovered, and new jobs are being created, though as Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brooking Institution notes, “In a sense, every time someone’s laid off now, they need to start all over.  They don’t even know what industry they’ll be in next” (qtd. in Peck, par. 16).  The increasing variety of jobs which can be done remotely means that higher education is no longer a cure-all, and that many people who spent time and money obtaining a degree now find themselves out of their chosen career field.  Alan Blinder suggests that “the kind of education our young people receive may prove to be more important than how much education they receive” and that “looking forward over the next 25 years, more subtle occupational advice may be needed” (Blinder, pars. 16 & 17).  Where once it was common for students to go to college automatically, now students must consider future career options or else they risk joining a pool of terminally unemployed or underemployed career seekers burdened with student loans.

Offshoring jobs also has the dual effect of diminishing the skills of the talent pool in the U.S. and imparting those talents on workers in foreign nations.  Persons who find themselves displaced by offshoring can find it difficult to find new work, because as Peck asserts, “As a spell of unemployment lengthens, skills erode … leaving some people unqualified even for work they once did well.  This can be made even more difficult by the other effect of offshoring: leveling of the playing field with foreign workers.  As jobs and equipment are sent overseas, those nations receiving them become more competitive with their American counterparts.

Proponents of offshoring argue that importing low-wage, low-skill services (sending those jobs overseas and importing the fruits of the labor) allows companies to streamline their services and creates more opportunity for high-wage, high-skill positions.  J. Bradford Jensen and Lori G. Kletzer, senior fellows at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, speak of a threshold above which jobs tend to be safe from offshoring, stating “Most employment in tradable service activities is above this threshold and thus most workers in tradable service activities are unlikely to face significant competition from low-wage, labor-abundant countries any time soon” (Jensen and Kletzer, par. 7).  They argue that a majority of employees in tradable jobs in the U.S. are above this threshold and hold a “competitive advantage” over comparable employees in those low-wage nations and as such it benefits the economy as a whole to allow those jobs which fall below the threshold to be sent overseas.

While their position is currently true and well-supported, it fails to take into account the trend of higher-wage jobs moving overseas.  Blinder describes this trend, saying, “Offshoring is no longer limited to low-end service jobs.  Computer code can be written overseas and emailed back to the United States.  So can your tax return and lots of legal work …” (Blinder, par. 9).  Where offshoring was once limited to basic services, modern communication has allowed more complex work to be completed in other nations.  How long before this trend surpasses the “comparative advantage” Jensen and Kletzer say protects U.S. jobs which are already considered tradable?

In an era of globalization, it is impossible to prevent at least some jobs from being sent overseas, but if we hope to avoid losing away our economic status and employment base, we must recognize the damage being dealt to the economy by offshoring and find a way to reverse the trend.

Works Cited

Blinder, Alan S. “Outsourcing: bigger than you thought: the outsourcing wave is about to hit the service sector.  To keep good service jobs, we need to prepare the workforce and understand the jobs.” The American Prospect. 17 Nov. 2006: 44+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Greenhouse, Steven. “Offshore Outsourcing Will Cost Americans Jobs.” Outsourcing. Ed. David M. Haugen. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009.  Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. From “Offshoring Silicon Valley.” The American Prospect. 19 Jun. 2008: 18-20. Opposing Views in Context. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Jensen, J. Bradford, and Lori G. Kletzer. “Offshore Outsourcing Can Favor Some High-Skill Service Providers.” Outsourcing. Ed. Jenny Cromie and Lynn M. Zott. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. From “Fear and Offshoring: The Scope and Impact of Imports and Exports of Services.” 2008. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

“Number of U.S. Jobs Moving Offshore.” Free Trade. Ed. Mitchell Young. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009.  Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  Web.  13 Apr. 2015.

Peck, Don. “The Recession Has Caused the Highest Rate of Unemployment Since the Great Depression.” Jobs in America. Ed. Debra A. Miller. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Current Controversies. Rpt. From “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America.” The Atlantic. Mar. 2010. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.