Questions and Answers: Common Core, Essential Oils, Turnips, Guestbooks, E-book Winners!

freezer meal cookbook cover2 Scroll down for results of the freezer meal cookbook drawing!

What does your guestbook look like?  

The one we are now using was gift that somebody bought at the store. It’s nearly full, and would be totally full if I had no forgotten to have about half our houseguests this year sign the book. I’m working on making some alterations to a blank lined book to make it functional as a guestbook. when we run out of space in this one. I’m adding quotes on hospitality to the bottom of each page. I think I’m going to make a rubber stamp ‘form’ to note places for things like email addresses, snail mail addy, phone numbers, and maybe ‘where’d we meet?’ as well as comments.


I want to learn more about essential oils, can you suggest any good books?

Once you’ve read this post, check out the comments.

Robert Tisserand is a good author on the topic.
“Essential Oil Myths” at is useful.
Cynthia Hillson at writes about oils and their use in Bible times. 
Robert Pappas is a chemist and researcher who has an essential oils study program on the internet and several interesting articles on the internet.

Learning About Essential Oils has a lot of information.   They also raise money for third-party testing of multiple brands of EO’s. Donors have a say in which brands are tested, so it won’t be the same brands each time. I think they’ve done four so far.

What do FYG and FYB stand for? IS there a cool story?

The only story behind it is my shortsightedness. Most of the blog names and the blog itself come from British boarding school references. When we started the blog, they were our First Years- that is, they’d just started formal homeschooling that year and the year before. So, First Year Girl, First Year Boy. It’s too tedious to change their names now that they are 10th years. So we go with Fine Young Girl and Fine Young Boy, thanks to a reader. Don’t know what we’ll call them if I’m still blogging when *they* get married.

What do you know about Common Core?  Is this something that should worry homeschoolers?

To answer the second question- while I am a homeschooler, I still care about the nations public schools and the children institutionalized within those walls.  In addition, since the Common Core includes changing the current educational atandards, this will be reflected on standardized testing.  Textbooks will be changed to match Common Core, and eventually this will be true of many resources homeschoolers use as well.  Furthermore, in states that require homeschoolers to follow the state’s standardized testing program, homeschoolers who object to the Common Core program will at some point find themselves at odds with the way their children are being measured.  I believe the goal is a fully federalized education system, from early childhood education on, and I find that appalling, as well as unconstitutional. The Federal government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in education, in fact, the opposite is true.

What do I know about it?  Well, there’s this:

““Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education,” the Catholic scholars point out. “The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to “over-educate” people. The basic goal of K-12 schools is to provide everyone with a modest skill set; after that, people can specialize in college – if they end up there. Truck-drivers do not need to know Huck Finn. Physicians have no use for the humanities. Only those destined to major in literature need to worry about Ulysses. Perhaps a truck-driver needs no acquaintance with Paradise Lost to do his or her day’s work. But everyone is better off knowing Shakespeare and Euclidean geometry, and everyone is capable of it.”

Professor Anthony Esolen, of Providence College, who teaches literature and poetry to college students, told a South Carolina legislative committee that Common Core evinces a “cavalier contempt for great works of human art and thought, in literary form.”

“We are not programming machines,” he said. “We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women.””

Children really deserve a rich and generous education; merely utilitarian based schooling short changes them and fails to meet them or respect them as whole people.


For more in depth analysis and legislative updates, keep up with Spunky Homeschool’s blog.  This is a useful overview of how it will lead to federalized education.

Do you have anything special you do for bumps and bruises?

Ice, and Pip’s comfrey salve.

How do you fix turnips?

I like them raw, sometimes with salt. I also cut them up and use them in stews like potatoes. And they are good combined with chopped onions and other root vegetables, tossed in oil and seasonings of your choice and roasted in the oven.

Turnips do vary in flavor from slightly sweet to bitter based on how cold they’ve been in the ground. I’ve read that they are actually best after at least one freezing temp night, but I don’t know that I’ve been able to tell a difference.

Freezer Meals Drawing

Using this random number generator, the following people have won the freezer meal cookbook I recently offered:

Juanita; MacKenzie; Rachel; Stefanie in Arkansas; Connie Sue

Shoot me an email at heartkeepercommonroom and I’ll email you the kindle formatted e-book.

IT’s a gmail address.=)


P.S.- be sure to visit Kim at Life in a Shoe.  She’s doing 30 Days of Thankfulness.

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  1. Fatcat
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I think the guest book thing is cool.

  2. Spring Creek Academy
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Common Core will affect home schoolers in so many ways. Our future business and political leaders will be making life decisions influenced by their inferior education. The future spouses of our children will be trying to navigate through life with this inferior education. So scary to think of this coming decline.

  3. Posted November 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I will send the email off as quickly as possible. I certainly will be reading the book & using several of those recipes.

  4. Heather
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    For your next Q&A (or whenever):
    I have a question about hospitality. We’ve had a hard time feeling like part of the community at our church (we’ve been there about 1.5 yrs). We’d like to do a better job of inviting people over, but we live in the middle of nowhere (and we love it here!). Almost everyone else at the church lives within about 10 minutes of the church, so when we tell people that we live 40 minutes away, the way they react you’d think it was a different country. We even invited our small group members here for a potluck, but the group leader decided to have it at a park in town instead, because we live so far away. Hello? We drive 40 minutes to church every week, and you can’t do it even once? Anyway…. I know you live in the country – have you encountered this problem at all?

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, very much so, and it is very disappointing. More about this later.

  5. Lady M
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Bumps & Bruises – I swear by B & T’s Arnica gel. I wish I had known about it ages earlier, but thanks to my best friend, I found out about it when G2 was about 3ish. Best find ever. I keep a tube in my purse and in the diaper bag – always. It will take a goose egg down in minutes & very little, if any bruising will be left behind!! Oh – and it works great for arthritis pains as well. A little goes a long way. That said, I am going to have to look into Pip’s comfrey salve as well.

  6. Posted November 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I sent an email and was wondering if I had sent it to the correct address. If not, the address for this comment is also my main email. I can try again too. Thanks!

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted November 15, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I’ve been running behind all day long and haven’t even gotten to check my email yet today. Apologies!!

  7. Donna
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Heather – re the hospitality; not sure I can explain but know that in our homeschooling group we would have a rotating game day at different people’s houses, with almost everybody, who hosted, living in town, while there were some of us who didn’t – most of us encountered what you did with the “townies” not wanting to leave but there was one family who probably lived the farthest out plus when you got to her house you had to park down at the road and walk up this extremely steep hill to get to her house – so steep you practically had to have a walking stick to make it up but something about her and her place when you got there just made everybody want to go; it was like nobody could wait until it was her turn to host and I’m not sure I can explain why, just something about it all was just so hospitable; I think she just always seemed so calm and together, not stressed, she did have several – 6 – children – who were all such a part of the hosting as well, not having to be seen to, chased after, etc. – maybe DHM can actually articulate what I’m trying to say – but I don’t know, just says more to it than the distance

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