So that’s the problem…

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  There are several reasons.  Of course, I’ve been busy so that’s one reason.  Second, I’ve had another post mostly ready to go for some time but wanted to include some screenshots to better illustrate what I did. That’s a lot like documentation and no programmer likes to do that.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a horde of followers clamoring at me to post, but perhaps most importantly, as a college buddy of mine once accused, I have little or no capacity to maintain even a bad habit, let alone a good one.  But today, something odd happened. I slept until noon.  I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but for no apparent reason the house went silent, even with house guests so I just didn’t have the usual noise forcing me out of bed.

Well, I had things to do so I hopped out of bed, somewhat displeased with the loss of hours I needed to get things done and got myself ready for the day.  I came out, saw some laundry needing folded and decided to do that first.  Since the kids were all up in the loft still being surprisingly quiet (I went up to check on them just to make sure) I decided to turn on some music because I rarely get the chance.  While the Roku TV was firing up though, I made a sudden change of mind and tuned into the Ted Talks channel instead.  I went to the list of many, many talks I’d marked for listening and came upon this one:

I encourage you to take a moment to listen to it now, even if you’re familiar with it, it’s just over nineteen minutes long.  This video is rather old now and I am seeing it for the first time, which is an interesting line of thinking all it’s own.

I marked this initially because of the title and because I’ve agreed with this sentiment for some time.  What I did not realize was this is very likely my CORE dispute with the current public school system.  I’ve chipped away at it for years now from many different angles.  A child who scores literally off the chart in some areas while dead average in others, yet in the advanced academic program tended to score better in subjects he was not supposed to be good at.  Getting C’s in class, not because he was getting C’s, but because he was getting A’s and zeros.  Another child who scores high average across the board, in literally every subject but is not considered “advanced.”  This might seem somewhat obvious, but the truth is, such a student is almost guaranteed to be bored in every single subject with not the slightest bit of challenge.  This in fact proved to be true when he showed himself able to run straight A’s just because the school gave a goodie bag prize that was better for A Honor roll than A/B honor roll.  While I admire the school administrators for finding a way to motivate students, I don’t feel the difference should be so easily attained, nor do I feel that should have been the end goal.  While I may be a bit harsh on this point (or even wrong), keep in mind, this was the student who was NOT considered AAP qualified yet he had “mastered” everything they threw at him.  Perhaps something more challenging would have been in order?

It was the above video however, that caused me to step back from the details and recognize what is likely the core flaw.  I remember a story my mother once told about my first day of school.  I was the oldest so like all mothers, mine was a bit unsettled by this first send off.  She waited anxiously at the bus stop for my return.  As I exited the bus she quickly asked me what we did today to which I replied, “we did everything, and I was good at all of it…”

Somewhat accidentally, I kept this viewpoint throughout school.  I scored high, but did so with little effort and no focus.  I did NOT score perfectly.  I scored high enough on my tests to qualify for any university I wanted.  I would later learn the difference between being qualified and competitive.  In fact, I never did finish college, but this one trait created a career for me.  I retained the ability to be “good at everything” which actually has nothing to do with actually being good at the particular task and more with having no fear of it.  Another example:  A friend of mine whose skills I highly respect was having a problem with a bit of code and in frustration, he handed it off to me.  I worked out the issue and gave it back.  After I explained the solution and how it worked he gave to me the best complement I have ever received.  He said, “now that you’ve shown me the solution and why it works, it makes perfect sense.  What I don’t understand is what in God’s name made you think to try that in the first place…”

To this day, I don’t recall the particular issue because for me it was the same as any other problem I’d worked on.  I had worked myself into a niche where I would troubleshoot the problems that baffled the experts.  This did NOT make me smarter than them and it certainly did not make me more qualified for those jobs.  In fact, I used to explain this ability by stating my skills in such diverse problems came primary from NOT being crippled by actual knowledge.  I had no preconceived notion of what could or should be done, so I had to work it out blindly.  This simply allowed me to see past their assumptions.

The point of all this is, I retained a rather severe dislike of being wrong.  In many ways, that is what drives me most.  Now I know your first response will be, we all hate being wrong, but I’ll argue with you on this.  By and large, most people hate getting CAUGHT being wrong and so will fight ferociously to retain the ability to still claim they are right.  I on the other hand, actually hate being wrong.  So much so that if you prove me wrong, I will switch sides in the blink of an eye, truly.  Now for the most part, this won’t be obvious at first.  I will argue my point as defensively as anyone because I’ve actually thought it through.  However, should you actually present me with some evidence I was not aware of, or perhaps some insight that slipped past me, I will stop and switch my views right then and there.  I realize this is a rather lofty claim, but I’ve done it and the reaction I get every time is to some degree or another the same; shock.  Many will try to needlessly continue the argument refusing to believe I had truly given over.  The most extreme version of this had a manager calling security because she thought I had snapped.

Now, it still remains to be seen how this applies to my own children.  Are they like me and “good at everything” or do they have a single, true passion?  What actually drives them?  Regardless, how do I bring that out and mange or reconcile it with my notion of insuring they go to college?  The only thing I do know for certain, is that for all the claims of public schools, they are most certainly NOT looking for that natural talent or interest in my children and so will succeed, only by the greatest of accidents.

P.S.  I once thought a very good friend of mine was “wasting his time” studying Art in college.  I had no doubt of this, despite his obvious skill.  He is now illustrating for the likes of the New York Times, Time Magazine, the New Yorker and many others.  I think it’s obvious now who spent their college years more wisely…

The New Administration

So with goals set and curriculums chosen it was time to tackle the administration part of this beast.  Yes, in case you are wondering, I’m about to over-complicate this thing.  In my defense, you’ll recall in the end, I blamed the public school administration for the sad state that is our current system, so this part was important to me.  Besides, I’m a computer person so of course, I’m going to look to computers and software to save the day.

Communication.  That is the key to good administration.  Even with a massively smaller audience, we do still have to communicate.  My wife and I have to communicate to stay in sync.  We need to communicate with our kids to make sure they understand what our goals are and we understand when they need help.  We are also still farming out some of the instruction so we need to stay in communication with teachers, band directors, archery instructors, etc.  Finally, since we chose the option of a portfolio review, we need to save everything for an end of year presentation.

As it turns out, there are a great many ways to fumble the communication and not all of them were so obviously predictable.  When it comes right down to it, our problem was choosing a buffet style approach to homeschooling, rather than choosing a single method to deliver all or most of the education.  Because of this, we have to coordinate things.  Imagine my surprise when I realized answering the simple question “What do I need to do this week?” was not so easy.  We knew that some sort of calendar, whiteboard or something would be necessary.  What we did not realize was how difficult it would be to pull it all together.

One of the nice things about purchasing a curriculum, or using online resources, is they come with a plan.  That plan has a pace, not just an order.  From that you get a syllabus.  In public schools (or college) you know what to do and when it is due based on the calendar week.  So, in week twelve, you look at the syllabus for week twelve for all of your classes and you plan your week.  But what happens if you start Math first, just to get your homeschool “feet wet” and then a few weeks later, you start your FLVS classes, only you have to schedule an interview with your teacher before you can actually start, so you don’t really start that week?  Even so, only four of your teachers get back to you that first week, another the second week and the last is actually part of the County Virtual School, not the Florida Virtual School and they start on the same schedule as the public schools, so you can’t even start that one for another couple weeks, and then someone forgets to put your son in the class so he starts two weeks late.  So now, you are on week eight in one syllabus, week five for four others, week four for another and week one for the last (even though it should be week three, so you are already behind…) and a couple others you had in mind aren’t even started yet.  On top of that, you realize the syllabus and pace chart is not actually what you want because that says when everything is due and what your kids are really asking is what they should be doING right now.

At this point, the tool, Google Calendar, whiteboard, sticky notes, whatever doesn’t matter.  The problem is the “administration” was having trouble keeping things straight.  Who didn’t see that breakfast full of irony coming?  We needed a rosetta stone for our calendar.  We needed a way to translate back and forth from our various syllabi to the current week and we needed a way to capture our work and store it.  In theory, simply printing it out and putting it in a file cabinet would be the simplest and most obvious thing to do.  Unfortunately, loose papers suffer horribly in our house.  They always have.  No matter how much care we take with them, some will go missing.  We had a choice of fighting this ever present, daily reality, or admitting our limitations and realizing a paper record was not likely our best goal.  So we needed a way to schedule our work according to our week ahead, but store the completed work in  a sensible manner for each individual class.  Ideally, this would all be presented in a dashboard of some sort so our kids would not even need to ask us what was next, it would all just be there for them to see at any time.  Equally important was a need for them to see some sort of progress.

You’ll recall I said I was a computer guy right?  It turns out, I’ve also been keeping a casual eye on technology in education.  I’m an advocate of it, but I’ve seen it horribly misused also.  In fact, a good deal of my experience with educational software could be seen as a long litany of how-NOT-to examples.  But I’ve seen some really stellar things also and even more potential.

For the time being, I have settled on a core set of tools with possibly more to add over time.  Although I fought somewhat to avoid it, I eventually made Google Classroom and Google apps the centerpiece of my homeschool, administrative framework.  I create a Google Classroom for every class and map out the syllabus.  I then schedule assignments (when to start on them, not when they are due) and they show up in the family Google Calendar.  They then use the various Google applications to do their assignments.  They can then save their assignments as PDFs to submit to their FLVS teachers.  They can also save their quizzes as PDFs and save them on Google Drive.  Quizzes, notes and assignments can then be attached to the Google Classroom assignment and grades recorded.  Grade reports can then be generated from Google Classroom as Google Sheets.  From all of this, I can create a live report card and transcript that updates automatically, every time I update the grade sheets.  I can also create a portfolio from a Google Doc that links directly to every assignment uploaded.

The final piece needed was to try to make this all fun and provide a single portal for the kids to know what to do next.  For this, I paid for an annual subscription for ClassCraft (  This would provide a gamified portal linked directly to Google Classroom telling them what assignment was next and allowing them to gain points for completing assignments.

There are many, many details that went into all of this and many are still being worked out.  Did you know there are about six different ways to calculate a GPA and there is no accepted standard?  I didn’t.  But as I create each of the pieces to this puzzle, these little details start to pop up.

So hopefully, I am now ready to start showing you how I use each of these tools in detail, including how I built my calendar rosetta stone.  Oh, and hey, we might even talk about the schooling itself as well…


Educational Fruit Salad (part 4)

All the Rest

The remaining goals, Learning to Learn, Learning to Mastery, Making Learning fun and Avoiding Test Anxiety all pretty much got lumped together. This also encompasses the second part of College Preparation; that being College Survival Skills.  The driving force for this is Learning to Mastery. In simple terms, this means not progressing until you are ready, i.e. you don’t leave the current chapter until you’ve actually learned it. From a day-to-day perspective, this means if you don’t get an “A” on the test, you go back, study some more and take it again. Yes, I realize getting an “A” does not actually mean you have mastered a subject. But I think we can all agree NOT getting an “A” does in fact mean you have NOT mastered the skill. So it is a weak indicator, but, at least in some cases, the only.

In a true homeschooling sense, this is not a problem. Just send your child back to read and try it again. In public schools of course, this just simply isn’t allowed. In some cases, students can in fact ask to retake a test, but nothing about the class flow or schedule changes to accommodate that. The student just takes the test again while the class continues on. Interestingly, the Florida Virtual Schools do NOT follow the policy of their brick and mortar cousins. Each section allows up to three submissions for its quizzes and assignments. Depending on the class and teacher, the chapter exams may or may not allow retries. Additionally, they do not force a strict adherence to a schedule. Students are expected to make “some progress” weekly, but within certain constraints, the start and end dates are flexible. So while not perfect, it offers just enough flexibility to be usable.

Gamification is a concept making the rounds in Education, Corporate Training and even social research programs.  The concept is as simple as it sounds.  Everyone loves games, so make lessons into games to motivate learners.  In theory, a game is more fun and adds a competitive component to further motivate students.  It’s not even a new concept.  Games like Chess are believed to have been used to teach nobility war strategy.  Special skills training such as Corporate Leadership Training and the like have used games as a way to create situations stimulating the same decision processes as those required for common work scenarios.  In it’s simplest form, it can be nothing more than a points system where various actions either add to or subtract from a student’s points where the end goal is to meet some specific value, usually for some tangible reward.

As it turns out, there are many, many options for this.  Duolingo is a language learning site where members gain points for learning lessons.  Groups can even create private leader boards to compare results on a continuous basis.  Moodle, an Educational Content Management System has many plugins for turning lessons into games. While Moodle is still a possibility, our primary game learning platform is ClassCraft.  This is a paid service that allows you to create “quests” for your students.  By turning in assignments, students progress through the quest, earning points and gold.  Our hope is to turn their ClassCraft gold into actual cash as a reward/allowance system.

Anxiety is another concern.  Its not that we want to shield our children from all adversity.  However, we see very little value in intentionally creating artificial deadlines or disproportionate consequences.  The sentence needs to match the crime, so to speak.  The reasoning for this should be fairly obvious.  If you frame the goal in the form of a disassociated reward (a grade, a scholarship, video game time) and try to teach your child to make “responsible decisions” they may just opt to take the “C” and let the future be damned.  Then your only recourse is to say “I dislike your choice, and since I’m the parent, I’m going to overrule your decision.”  So, rather than saying on Friday you’re taking a test and your MIT scholarship is on the line, we simply say the only way to complete the chapter is to learn the material.  If you fail to learn it, we do it again.  Now the effort and consequence match the goal.  By learning the material and getting an “A”, we finish the chapter and move on.  If we fail to get the “A”, we do it again.  And again.  And again.  The ability to complete the required work and move on to something more fun, is now entirely in the hands of the student and the cause and effect are directly related.

Learning to Learn is the final piece of this puzzle and something else that has just gone by the wayside.  No teacher teaches this anymore.  Now, one might argue this is not the teacher’s responsibility but the parents’ and there is a good chance you would convince me of this.  HOWEVER, when the teacher refuses to communicate with the parent about expectations, lesson plans, etc. and instead filters every communication through an eleven year old, there is no reason anyone should expect anything other than accidental success at best.  In the public school system, this would require a true partnership between the parent and teacher but teachers (or their administration) have instead drawn a line in the sand where we send them our kids and they send back end of cycle reports and that is it.  If you decide to blacklist your child by declaring a special need for them, then you negotiate a contract (IEP) for your child but you still get no ongoing, interaction or oversight. You’ve just created a more complex way to be ignored.  In our new homeschool, we have started to take the time, even stalling our instruction to review note taking and record keeping.  This late in the game, it is quite painful, but we are hoping it pays off in the long run (and hopefully in the near term as well, once we get past the whining complaining…)

In short, we are looking to do all the things our schools have promised to do but have continually failed to accomplish.  By homeschooling, we have the unique scenario of complete agreement between Teacher, Administrator and Parent and we get direct and immediate feedback from our students as to our program’s effectiveness.


Educational Fruit Salad (part 3)

Well Rounded Education

One of the areas we felt was falling apart or downright failing in the public school system was the concept of a well-rounded education.  We, like many others found ourselves massively disappointed with the test-centric metrics for success being used by the schools.  This ultimately meant any class not directly mapped to a government mandated test or other program, was continuously on the chopping block.  The other  programs and classes were underfunded or outright eliminated.   Even within the “protected” subjects, the precise curriculum and activities were focused on the end of year, testable outcome.

As part of our research, we stumbled onto educational methods such as the “Trivium” and “Classical Education.” These seemed to be exactly what we were looking for. Unfortunately, we were a bit late to the party here.  These methods start with Elementary School and we were starting with Middle and High School.  So the question we had (and still have) was, is it possible to jump into the middle of this?  Our choice was ultimately to give it a try.  And our choice of curriculum was the one from Memoria Press. It is the same program (or mostly so) as offered by their brick and mortar schools, The Highlands Latin School as well as the Highlands Latin Cottage Schools (for Homeschoolers) and their online Academy.

In practical application, it meant some things in the standard program will be “substituted” for what they have done in the past or which we have planned going forward. In other cases though, we are just behind and in essence, need to start at the third grade level.  You can’t just start with Latin V because that’s what the program dictates for your age.  This does break some of the continuity and for us, remains to be seen if the disruption is relevant or not.  Our hope is, once we get going, we will be working at an accelerated rate.  Since we have no goal of finishing Middle and High School early, this will create the time needed to deal with the backlog. This is also what we hope will allow us to take additional science and elective courses.

Educational Fruit Salad (part 2)

College Preparation

This really comes in two flavors: College Entrance and College Survival Skills.  This goal is focused on College Entrance.  What things can we do to insure the best possible chances of college entry?  Our research pretty much filtered down to four high level points:

  • Curriculum mapping
  • Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors level coursework
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Scholarships

For the most part, we had very little heartburn with the actual curriculum offered at public schools.  We felt it lacked a few things and that it was implemented poorly. So if anything, we were looking to ADD to the standard schedule, not remove anything.  So having a clear understanding of the required, public school course load was essential.  Fortunately, it was also easy to find. The Florida Department of Education made this easy.  The Lake County District web site had all this information readily available.  I even found a list of text books used.  It became really a straight forward task of mapping the classes we wanted to the particular curriculum or resource I chose for that subject.

Currently, we are using the following:

  • Mathematics – Saxon/Shormann Math
  • Advanced/Honors/AP History/Civics – Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS)
  • Advanced/Honors/AP Science – Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS), Shormann Science
  • Spanish – Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS), Duolingo
  • Fitness/Health – Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS), Community Programs, CoOp
  • Language Arts/Literature/Classical Studies – Memoria Press
  • Latin – Memoria Press
  • Fine/Performing Arts – CoOp, Community Programs
  • Religious Studies – Memoria Press, Church
  • Other Elective – mixed

I’ll talk in more detail about each of these later.

For Advanced Placement and Honors level work this is accomplished through a couple, pretty straightforward means.  Many curriculums have this as a simple option. For the FLVS classes, you simple enroll as Advanced/Honors, then do the additional assignments as you work through the class.  For other curriculums, they include instructions for how to grade or manage the curriculum for an advanced level.  For AP classes, the key is taking the Advanced Placement test, which in Florida at least, is supposedly offered to Homeschool students. We’ve not looked into details for this yet, but it seems fairly clear it is easily available.  Therefore, what we looked for was either an AP option for the class, or the presence of AP preparatory options.  Both the FLVS and Shormann series offer these.

Dual Enrollment (taking college level classes for college level credit while still in high school) turned out to be an unexpectedly sticky widget.  While we are not yet convinced we want to take advantage of this (the whole point was to slow down Middle and High School to get the most out of it, not rush through it even faster), but we did not want to lose the option either.  For Florida Public Schools this is offered free of charge.  It is also offered to Homeschoolers.  However, referring back to my earlier mention of tricky vocabulary, there is a “homeschool” option that by Florida law is not considered homeschooling.  Many Homeschoolers use what are called “Umbrella Schools.”  These offer certain benefits and protections to homeschool families.  However, by Florida Law, these are considered Private Schools and are therefore not offered free usage of the Dual Enrollment program.  The current policy is that Dual Enrollment fees are charged back to the school.  Because most of these Umbrella Schools are nothing more than legal shields for Homeschools, they are not able to afford this option for their members.  Those that do offer this option appear to have adopted a “play it safe” approach and only offer it to Homeschoolers who can provide grades from accepted institutions such as the Florida Virtual School and the county Public Schools.  Because of this, we opted to go with the “Portfolio Review” option even though it puts us at the mercy of “the man.”

The state of Florida has a scholarship program named Bright Futures.  Somewhat surprisingly, this program is in fact open to Homeschoolers.  However, you do have to meet pretty much the same criterion as public school students. For us, the really wasn’t much of problem except to serve as a checkpoint for us as we designed our curriculum. Including things such as a world language, service hours, etc. are the types of things we need to insure we include in their records.  Fortunately, these also align naturally with our plans anyway.

Educational Fruit Salad (part 1)

When choosing a public school, we all know the drill.  We want “A” rated schools.  We check various forums for comments from attending families.  We try to live in areas with long standing, highly rated schools.  What I find ironic is not once did my wife and I even consider looking at the actual curriculum.  We didn’t look at the structure of their day, or the classroom environment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, public schools are generally speaking, an apples to apples comparison.  We don’t actually get a choice about anything with our public schools except our choice of geography.  With homeschooling, the first hurdle is to decide what you even want.  You’ve already decided you don’t want apples, so what do you choose?  Oranges?  Figs? Pomegranates?  Are you going to insist on organic only?  Perhaps you’ll actually grow your own.  All of the choices the public schools have taken away from you, homeschooling gives back in spades.

Unfortunately, given this many options with no obvious common boundaries to provide direct analysis, our brains tend to freeze up.  Many, like us, come into homeschooling with a litany of reasons NOT to use public schools.  Not surprisingly (in retrospect), that is not even close to the same thing as having a list of reasons TO do homeschooling.  We in fact did investigate private school options.  We looked at them without considering cost (that would come later only if we decided we wanted that route) because we wanted to know if they in fact provided anything better to make the cost worthwhile.  The differences [and similarities] between public and private schools was educational and did indeed help us start forming specific homeschooling goals.

Some of those goals included:

College Preparation: Like the public schools, we recognize the need to prepare our boys for college.  The question at hand was exactly how.  In Florida, this includes state scholarship initiatives, dual enrollment (taking college classes in High School), Advanced Placement (AP) classes, etc.  We wanted to make sure we did not lose these options if we could avoid it.

Learning to Learn:  To our mind and according to our experience, one of the critical failures of the public school was make students responsible for much of their learning and provide little to no guidance on how to manage that.  Any learning method that resembles concrete shoes and the deep end of the pool is a fail.

Well Rounded Education:  In my day, this was the educational motto, although technical majors, such as Engineering were already starting to move away from this.  Our goal was to bring it back.

Learning to Mastery:  Too many subjects depend directly on mastering the pre-requisite classes, especially Mathematics.  Even other subjects where there is no obvious connection, there are patterns and similarities you will never pick up on if you do just the minimum to pass the test.

Make Learning Fun:  This comes in many forms.  Modern educational gamification is one.  Going out into the world and seeing what you are studying about in action.  And then there is the simple need to sometimes stop and just go outside and run around with no purpose at all.

Avoid Artificial Anxiety:  Life is tough enough without making up nonsense to stress over.  This is not a case of “coddling” but rather recognition of a plan in the process of failing.  i.e., most test anxiety comes from not being properly prepared or comfortable with the material which means you’ve not yet mastered the material and you’re most likely not having fun.

Next, we’ll look into how we translated these goals into an implementation…

So what is homeschooling?

Homeschooling it seems has as many variations as there are practitioners.  More actually.  If you talk to most anyone who has homeschooled more than one child they will tell you how they had to modify their basic plan from child to child, somestimes drastically.  This of course, is what makes homeschooling such a scary looking cliff to jump from.  It’s just not easy to evaluate the waters below.  Public schools however, are in essence, all the same.  That’s why we can grade them.  This school is an “A” school, this one is a “B.”  We can do this because public schools are, by design, an apples to apples comparison.

Now, I’m not going to spend time educating you on all the variations on homeschooling.  Google can lead your research there.  The reason I mention this is so I can define what homeschooling is to us.  I’ll define our “vocabulary” which may or may not agree with the way you have heard these words used by others.  As I’ve managed to discover, context matters, so I want to be sure I set the proper context for my posts that follow.

For instance, we contacted a teacher to evaluate our plan.  From her perspective (county homeschool assessor), we were labeled “Unschoolers.”  Our current plan does not at all resemble what most Unschoolers would expect.  From her perspective however, we took a look at all the available options such as the public Florida Virtual Schools, Umbrella Schools, CoOps, Unschooling, “Big Box” curriculums, online/edelivery courses, local commercial “homeschooler” activities and treated the whole big thing like a buffet, picking and choosing the parts we wanted.  As such, we failed to fit into any one category and were thus labeled “Unschoolers.”  What this most likely means to her, is she cannot just use her knowledge of existing curriculums and then test our kids against it.  She’ll have to be more creative and look more closely at exactly what our curriculum consists of.

In my next post, I’ll discuss a bit of the lingo and how it applies to us, affects us or is interpreted by us.  That will hopefully set the context needed to discuss more details concerning how we are going about this whole thing…

Hello World!

Hello, indeed world!

The cat is pretty much out of the bag now.  For those friends who are not aware we have entered the world of Homeschooling, let it now be common knowledge.  My apologies for not informing you sooner.  For various reasons, once we made the decision to do so, we pretty much kept things under wraps while we researched the homeschool arena; we didn’t even tell our kids about these plans because we did not want to torpedo their last year of public schools.

What that means from a blogging perspective, is all the research, soul searching and questions I spent about six months working through are now lost to the mists of time.  I may yet return to them as part of a rants and raves thread, but for now, I’ll start with where we are now and move forward from there.  Should anyone find these musings amusing, even better.

So come on in, take a seat, and open your drink of choice…