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what to do now?

It's raining (naturally, being June in Washington) and I have completed my obligations for Spring Quarter.  We have some home-schooling curriculum to finish up, but there is room in my life for some projects.  The nominees are:
  • paint all the interior trim on the addition
  • work on my manuscript
  • clean out the basement
  • purge the kitchen & laundry room
  • make jam from last year's frozen jam berries
  • clean out the barn
  • prep a Pilot course for a private English class I am teaching next fall, pending sufficient enrollment
  • prep a fall Eng 101 class I am teaching, pending sufficient enrollment


nest learning thermostat

Last January I took the plunge and bought TWO Nest Learning Thermostats .  No regrets. They were super-easy to install and program.  I can even adjust the temp from afar via the app for iTouch or iPad.

The best part is that, when I compare this year's gas bills with last year's, the bills are lower (despite a rate increase) and yet we experience a warmer house.  How so?  It is warm when we are in it.  When we leave and forget to turn it down, Nest turns itself down.  It has a little sensor that sees motion.  If a couple of hours go by without motion, it goes off.

Once a month I get reports in my email about usage:

But if I am ever curious between reports it is easy to peek at the last ten days of use on my Nest Thermostat website.

My old Honeywell thermostat had four settings (Wake, Leave, Return, Sleep) and three days (Weekday, Saturday, Sunday).  The Nests have unlimited settings and all seven days.  Given that we live in our home full-time, this works so much better for us.  I can change the programing from the thermostat, or from my computer.  The computer interface makes arranging a rather complex pattern of off/on/off/on really easy.  I have all the days set the same, but I could easily drag those temps over to change the time.  Or add other changes.

The thermostat for the newer part of the house required a slightly different set-up.  The helpful and easily accessed support team talked me through the diagnostic and when it was confirmed that I needed a professional they arranged for one (at their expense).  He would have come that evening had I wanted it.  I was very impressed. 

Yes, the Nest Learning Thermostats are expensive to purchase, but they will pay for themselves in lower heat bills.  As they do that, however, we have the benefit of a warmer home.  It doesn't hurt that they are pretty too.


Home-school curriculum 2012-2013

Here is what we are doing this year.

Math: We will continue with Math-U-See because it works so well for us.  The nice man gives the lesson on DVD, the children do the practice exercises. It's great.  Dandy will also participate in MathUSee's online once-a-week tutorial. We will continue with the  very charming Life of Fred series, which pairs nicely with MathUSee. 

Language Arts:

Writing: Both children will take the  Institute for Excellence in Writing's once-a-week online tutorial. 

Geography: Maps, Graphs and Globes from Steck-Vaughn.

History: We will use Beautiful Feet Books' Medieval History packet, which we'll augment with the Story of the World material.  I'm really looking forward to this unit: Beowulf, Robin Hood (the original socialist), King Arthur.  Yum.

Science:  Beautiful Feet Books makes a great Learning Guided titled History of Science.  It walks us through the great scientists via engaging biographies.  We will augment each topic with hands-on Science in a Nutshell experiment kits -- that is, when we are studying Thomas Edison's life, we'll also be doing experiments with electricity. 

Dandy will also take a once-a-week science class with ZLO (Zacchaeus Learning Opportunities).

Bible:  The children and I will all attend Bible Study Fellowship's Study of Genesis in the fall.

Art/Music: Chickadee will take once a week art/music classes at ZLO (Zacchaeus Learning Opportunities).

How about you?  What are you using this year?