Countdown to Launch

I know I haven’t posted in forever, and actually, the homeschooling endeavor is beginning to come to a close.  Ultimately, I suppose this blog, if I continue it, will have to morph into something else.  But before the morph, there are some things from the last several months I would like to consider.

Something transformative happened to Rhino this spring.  It was a gradual transformation—there was no single moment in which I said “Aha!  Rhino has become amazing beyond my wildest dreams!”  But that’s how the winter/spring have culminated. 

Rhino is the outreach coordinator for the District Youth Service Committee for our religious denomination.  She recruited many new youth to the quarterly conferences, and churches that had never participated before sent their youth.  She served as a dean at one of the conferences.  She went to monthly meeting all over the region.  The adult person in charge of youth for the district asked her to revise the standards for the YES (Youth Empowerment and Supportive Congregations) Award.  She arranged and ran a Cluster event at our church that involved baking a huge number of pies (and raising $250 for a local charity).

Rhino served on the religious education committee at our church.  She co-chaired the Youth Adult Committee (YAC—it’s a community service committee).  She ran the youth group (which won a YES award under her leadership).  She attended the Leadership Committee (because she was co-chair of YAC).

Rhino wrote a proposal to amend our church’s bylaws to allow youth to become full members with voting rights after they complete the Coming of Age program, a  program that is supposed to lead youth to religious adulthood (kind of a low-key bar mitzvah type thing).  She lobbied for congregational support, and ultimately the board passed her proposal unanimously.

Rhino is going to accept the Governor’s Service Award on behalf of the youth volunteer program at the zoo.  The volunteer coordinator told her she had been chosen because she did Junior Zoo Crew, Junior Zookeeper, Junior Interpreter, and Animal Handling and had worked at the zoo for 4 years.   

Rhino is a penguin keeper at the zoo.  She knows the name and identification number of every penguin.  She assists in feeds and in teaching baby penguins to swim (did you know baby penguins hate water?).  She watched over four hatchlings born into the Endangered Species Preservation Program.  And she endured a lot of penguin bites.

Rhino has seen more than 100 children pass through the preschool for homeless children.  Our church decided to make the preschool one of its places to contribute special offerings.

Rhino applied to two Americorps Programs.  She first heard from the one that accepts fewer than 20% of applicants, most of whom are college graduates.  So next year, Rhino will be a City Year corps member in a city about an hour away.  She’s going to live on her own (with some roommates from the program).

Also, Rhino did school.  She is currently preparing for two AP exams, and because City Year requires that she have a diploma, she is planning to finish the requirements to graduate from the University of Nebraska’s independent study highschool by mid-July.  It’s not perfect.  She didn’t finish her Spanish class or her math class.  She’ll only finish the first semester of AP English.  

Somehow, I think she still came out okay.

Rhino takes one for the cause.

Not all penguins want to love you. Some want to bite you.

Rhino takes one for the cause.


Not all penguins want to love you. Some want to bite you.

Math for Homeschoolers

Last night, Rhino took the big plunge and enrolled in Precalculus, which is as close to calculus as she’ll probably ever get.  But that math is actually not the subject of this post.  We are going to focus on something more user-friendly: Arithmetic.

Rhino has 7 days a week with 24 hours in each of them, just like everyone else.  

7 x 24 = 168 = number of hours in Rhino’s week.

Rhino sleeps about 9 hours a night.  At least I think she does—it’s hard to tell when she goes to bed.  But we are making her get up in the morning, so we’ll call it 9.

9 x 7 = 63 = number of hours sleeping per week.
168 - 63 = 105 = number of waking hours in Rhino’s week.

Rhino has taken on a babysitting job.  The actual babysitting runs from 2:45 to 4:30, but she has to walk the better part of 2 miles to pick up the kids (the family drives her home).   Thus, she leaves between 2 and 2:15.  And of course, she has to get ready to go.  She is doing this 3 afternoons a week.

Rhino is volunteering at the zoo once per week.  She alternates between Junior Zookeeper (7.5 hour shift) and Junior Interpreter (4 hour shift).  She generally has to take the bus, which adds about an hour on each side.  

Rhino also volunteers at a preschool for homeless children one day per week.  She is driven there and takes a bus home.  She spends 3 hours at the preschool, and has a combined transit time of about an hour.

2.5 x 3 = 7.5 = hours spent babysitting per week
[(7.5 + 4) / 2] + 2 = 7.75, rounded to 8 = average hours at zoo per week
3 + 1 = 4 = time commitment for volunteering with homeless preschool

 7.5 + 8 + 4 = 19.5 = scheduled volunteer and paid work per week

Rhino is very involved with out church youth group and attends church every Sunday.  We leave the house at 10:45 and return at 1:15.  It’s actually kind of a joke that we leave at 10:45, but we intend to.  In any case, the only work anyone is doing after 10:45 is hunting for lost shoes. Once a month, Rhino has a meeting of the Youth Adult Committee, which she chairs.  Once a month, she attends a meeting of the Religious Education Committee, of which she is a member.  Once a month, she attends a Distict Youth Service Committee meeting, which lasts from Saturday evening to Sunday morning, but usually involves extensive transit time, as the meetings are often held in other states.  Once every other month, Rhino attend a Youth Con, which lasts from Friday evening to Sunday morning.

2.5 + [(1.5 + 3 + 20) / 4] + (40 / 8) = 13.625, rounded to 13.5 = hours of church affiliated activities per week

105 - (19.5 + 13.5) = 72 = average number of non-scheduled hours in Rhino’s week

Rhino has annoying life details to attend to such as showering, eating, brushing her teeth, tending the ferret, cooking dinner once per week, and cleaning the bathroom.  This takes from 1-2 hours per day.

Rhino likes to have some limited time to check her Facebook.  She also likes to email, text and post on her blog. This takes about an hour per day.

Rhino likes to see her friends once in awhile.  This varies from 0 to 24 hours a day.

Rhino likes to watch endless reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Gilmore Girls,  She also likes to watch chick flicks, which has become infinitely easier with now that our house has Roku and Netflix.  This takes anywhere from 0 to 10 hours per day.

Rhino is taking AP Biology, Multicultural Literature (which will be replaced by AP English), AP European History, Spanish III and Precalculus.

I think we need an alternate number system.  Or a time warp.