Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Homeschool is Revving Up for the New Season


OK, my work area isn't quite this bad, but my mind might be. ;)
(photo credit)

I thought maybe someone would be interested in how and why we homeschool, and how and why I create and prepare my plans for the season.  If you want to skip all the blah, blah, blah, go about half way down and I get into how I do my units.  Nothing special.  Just the way I do things.

Let's be clear up front.  I have long detested the public school system, and the further I got from it the more I realized it wasn't just the curriculum or the bureaucracy, but it was everything about it. The structure, the "mass" mindedness, the rank and file march toward mediocrity and "normalness."  Forget it.  There are NO redeeming qualities to public-so-called-education in this country.  From the government inflicted curriculum to the oh! so important socialization, they are nothing but very thinly veiled indoctrination centers designed to remake your precious charges, your babies, into good, silent, obedient little statists, and I'm out.  Like a fat kid in dodge ball, I'm out!

My views on public school are already well established within my immediate circle of friends, but for the visitors, lurkers and strays, here is my official declaration, stowed over in my facebook notes page.

I've homeschooled for many years and tried many different methods.  I've felt the biting constraints of too may rules, schedules, and too much paperwork, and I've felt the untidy, uncomfortable remains of a badly executed attempt at freestyle learning.  I think I finally struck a chord where the tension is right.  For quite a few years now I have leaned heavily toward unschooling.  Contrary to popular belief, unschooling isn't some oogy-boo thing where children get to decide what they feel like doing.  There are some fringe unschooling families who have, unfortunately, gained much attention, who go to extremes and let their kids do anything they want and swear it's "school," but in what arena in life do we not find those sorts of people that give good things a black eye?  All it is, as I understand and practice it, is a self paced, interest led method of learning.  If a child is interested he will learn.  My job is to aid in the directing and to cultivate interest.

I decided to try to do it on my own with as little monetary investment as possible.  It was necessary at first to conserve because of our budget, but eventually I came to believe that education-- learning-- shouldn't have to be a big, expensive undertaking.  With the internet available and all it's free resources, I discovered I could create my own interesting, comprehensive, top quality units, still covering scope and sequence and all the other nebulous ideals that most homeschool parents tremble with fear about missing or messing up.

Somehow, to a lot of people who knew me, I came off looking like some homeschool goddess.  It made me seem like I knew what I was doing, when in reality, for a long time I only knew what I WASN'T doing.  I WASN'T going to be like the public school!  I'd like to be able to take a bow and whatnot, but this goddess' scepter is just a pencil, my main realm is the internet, and the power behind the throne is simply determination to teach my children what they must know, to teach them to love to learn, to transform them into happy, successful, contributing adults, to be good citizens, and to be just good ol' decent people.  I want to give them a chance at a life outside the collective.

There were times when messed up so badly on things.  I have created some terrible units.  I have made things that didn't have enough substance, so we came up short, or that had so much material we couldn't have done it all in a year.  Over time, however, if I have not perfected the art, at least I have eased into a comfortable and competent way of dealing with our basic educational needs.

The needs vary from child to child, home to home, and day to day.  If you style things yourself, there is plenty of wiggle room for busy days, sick kids... surprises.  The main goal is simple here at our house: Teach them a love of learning.  Curriculum, units and everything else is secondary.

OK, anyway, in case anyone interested, with a few variations here and there, this is generally what I do:

I get an idea of what I need to cover this year and do some internet searches on the main topic(s) just to get the ol' concentration kicked in.  Once I land on something I think will be a good basic starting point, I search that subject and look at LOTS of links, lots of other people's ideas concerning the subject.
I find many interesting links such as (but CERTAINLY not limited to) this one:

Learning Through History

*PLEASE UNDERSTAND* This is JUST AN EXAMPLE link!  It was a random choice.  These may be great resources and they seem to be reasonably priced, and I'm not knocking them nor am I endorsing them. I'm just using them for an example for now.  Sometimes I will combine information and ideas from several sites.

I take all of the sub-headings out of this plan and use them for my initial list:

1. Tribes of the American Plains
2. The Italian Renaissance
3. The Rise of Nazi Germany
4. The Dutch Golden Age
5. The Roaring Twenties
6. The Late Middle Ages

I use it like an outline, add anything else I may want, and take away whatever we may have already covered. For instance, we've done all of our Nazi Germany stuff and our American Tribes, so I can knock those out and add in something else, or just teach the other four.

I begin adding in the main points to cover.  If I have trouble fleshing out the outline, I may Google up some other units on that subject until I get something I'm happy with.  THEN the fun begins.  I go in search of reading materials to go along with each topic.  ALL kinds of reading material are fair game: fiction, resource materials, comics, art for the period, music, etc... then I arrange them into usable units.  I try to keep myself under control so that I don't run more than 2-3 weeks per section.

I use art and music a couple of days, resources (aka "study" materials) 2-3 days, fiction or anecdotal reading daily, and maybe throw in a podcast or a video or two on the subject for good measure. I mix them up to break up the monotony, and if I find anything else interesting I can work into it we'll use that as well.  We use period recipes, 3D models, period clothing or weapons, take field trips to museums: whatever enhances learning.  Don't be stiff!  It's SUPPOSED to be fun.

A typical unit would look *something* like this:
Week 1

Monday:
Study on major changes to society during period.
Who were major influences in politics? Music? Art? Lit?
Choose a book to accompany unit.
Research period architecture, who, what, where...

Tuesday:
Read from chosen book (fiction set in the time or by an author from the time.  Ex: "The Three Musketeers" is set in Renaissance Italy.
Research the Kings of renaissance Italy.
Who were most important?  What did they accomplish?  Good?  Evil?

Wednesday:
Watch example- "Rosencranz and Guildernstern are Dead."
What can you get from this movie that pertains to daily life, socially, ethically, etc.. in Renaissance Italy?

Thursday:
Read from the book chosen for the unit.

Friday:
Who were major art/music influences?  Cover a multitude, but single out some of the major ones for study over the next week.
Read from book.

See how it goes? The next week we build on the info gathered in the first week with some reading every day. Some may carry over 3 or 4 weeks.  Big studies can go on and on.  We can do more than one at a time

I pick all of our vocab and spelling from the reading material.  Maps and geography, obviously, go along with  and incorporate nicely into it.  Then, I end with a written report/summary of the unit to be sure there was plenty of good comprehension and retention. This also helps me keep up on his writing, grammar, spelling skills and whatnot.  Sometimes I let him write a short story from the perspective of someone in the time period or even make a role playing game of it.  It's a very creative process, and as long as he comes away with a working knowledge of the subject and I am satisfied that he has, I don't care how we get there.  ;)

An alternate way to build a unit is in starting from the point of literature.  I started with historical time periods, but if I'd decided to go through a few great books by some of the masters, I could have taken the historical, scientific, social, architectural info from the context of the book and worked backwards.  You could conceivably use anything your child is interested in and dissect it into a unit, hence the idea that it is child driven.  It's really interest driven, and I cultivate the interest.

There are always those subjects that we not particularly strong in.  Personally, I'm not great at math, and therefore not confident that I can incorporate math into our units, especially now that my student is older.  I bow before the book sellers on that one.  I'd rather make him sweat through it old style than to trust myself on it.  I was never great at math and I want him to get what he needs.  A little rigid discipline is a lesson of it's own, so I only struggle with a tiny bit of guilt about it.  ;)

It's really easier than it may seem written out long like this.  I can knock out a years worth of studies in just a few dedicated evenings.  I think the process is enjoyable.  It insures that I am on top of what he's studying, and I don't have to hurry and study up on anything if he has questions or isn't grasping the concepts.  Even if I don't get many units completed early on, if I start now I can have a decent jump on it, then as he's doing a unit I can put more together.  I usually get more done than we can use!  It gets easier as you do it, too, and becomes second nature.  Then everything is a lesson.  ;)

PLEASE try it, especially on a subject your child doesn't really show a lot of interest in.  It makes things much easier on them and opens up so many new possibilities.

P.S.  If anyone has suggestions on incorporating math into units, please feel free to share. I would really like to try it, but don't feel that I could give him what he needs at this point.  I know it can be done.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Follow-up Post on Lighting



Sorry it took me so long to get back to this topic.

When we started replacing our lighting in our travel trailer we didn't know whether we should go for fluorescent or LED lighting.  We wanted good, even lighting, cool burning bulbs and something relatively economical to use.  We tried both and I have come to a two part conclusion.

1.)   LED lighting is popular, cutting edge, and sure to improve.  It is also very bright.  You can get it in a variety of colors, or degrees of warmth, you have a good variety of options for output, and a LOT of design options.  LED's are also the most economical to use.  If you have to monitor your power usage closely, LED's are probably the best choice.  They also last a lot longer than any of the alternatives.

I put my LED light fixture over my kitchen sink, just under a cabinet.  The first thing I noticed was that it's very bright in the immediate area, and since it was in my kitchen I really liked that.  It wasn't long that I began to realize that the  light doesn't really spread much.  It lights the immediate area very well, but at night, when the rest of the room is dark, I noticed that it really doesn't illuminate much beyond the cabinet area at all.  It's possible that it's got something to do with the fact that I mounted it under a cabinet, even though it is mounted near the front, but I really believe it has more to do with the lights.

They have strange covers over the lights on all the fixtures I saw, presumably to disperse the light more evenly.  The cover on the one I got makes a strange sort of amber-ish "rainbow" effect at the edges of the light pattern.  Being under my cabinet and shining directly onto my counter top and sink it was very obvious and took a long time to get used to.  I did, however get used to it, and it's a non issue now.

2.)  I personally find the lighting from the fluorescent bulbs preferable for a couple of reasons.  It is a cool light, like the LED we chose, and it's also bright without being harsh or glaring.  Some people have experienced problems such as headaches and dizziness when exposed to fluorescent lighting for extended periods, but you know who you are.  Don't use them.  For the rest of us, I find they are satisfactory, even pleasant.  They are quite bright without creating big, harsh shadows.


The fluorescent lights also spread and lights around the whole area well.  There's no weird pattern in the light coming through from the light cover because they either come with a plain cover or no cover at all.  Unfortunately, there aren't many design options, so if you are looking for something stylish you may be in for quite a shopping adventure.

The bottom line:  If you're off grid and have to be very careful with power consumption, LED is probably the way to go.  They are long lasting and use very little power.  ( some elementary info and stats I collected on power usage are on my other blog page: here.)

If you are not quite as concerned about the power usage, the fluorescent lights seem like a better choice to me.  Fluorescent lights are much easier on power than regular lights, but not as good as the LED's.  They last a lot longer than regular lights, but not quite as long as an LED.  From my limited experiment with them, they seem to illuminate larger areas better than LED's and they cast no weird light patterns.  Replacement bulbs for fluorescent fixtures are much cheaper and (so far) easier for me to to find locally than replacements for the LED fixtures.

Although I don't know a whole lot about all this, I am speculating that since LED's are newer in the market, they're probably still improving and changing them a lot.  That's good for the future of LED lighting, but in the short run, if industry standards are still being determined, it could mean that your fixture could become obsolete.  The lights may be modified to the degree that they no longer fit older fixtures and you could have trouble finding replacements.  Maybe, maybe not.

Now, where does that leave me and what will I be choosing?  Drum roll please:
LED's.
I think that with as many fixtures as most RV's have, if all or most of them were LED, there would be plenty of light to cover, so I can scratch that from the list's negative column.  The weird light patterns are just something I'd have to adjust to, and I can: scratch.  Replacement bulbs might be an issue at some point, but they last SO LONG that it might never be a big problem.  If I buy a few replacements now, while I know they'll fit, I probably would never have to worry about them: scratch.  We plan to go off grid, and with that, power usage will be a very, very important consideration.  LED's win on that one BIG.  The original expense of the fixture with lights already in them is the same or very close no matter which way you go with it, so that isn't a factor.  I may put fluorescent fixtures in strategic places for occasional use because I like them, say in the center of a room or maybe leave the one in the bathroom, but for overall daily use, I'm going with LED.

Please feel free to comment with your views on it.  I haven't gone out and bought all I'll be needing, so I am still open for suggestions and corrections.   :)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Renegades



ren·e·gade  (rĕn′ĭ-gād′)
n.
1. One who rejects a religion, cause, allegiance, or group for another; a deserter.
2. An outlaw; a rebel.
adj.
Of, relating to, or resembling a renegade; traitorous.

rogue government
n

1. A government that conducts its policy in a dangerously unpredictable way, disregarding law or diplomacy.

*I usually try to be careful for my spelling and grammar, but this is a rant, written quickly, just because I got started.  If you are a critic, an armchair editor, or if you just don't want to know what my rant is about, please, come back for a different post.  :)

Have you not noticed America lately?  She's not the familiar "Land that we love," anymore, is she?

Police are taught that they are under siege and everyone is a potential threat. They are trained in crowd and riot control, that anyone and everyone is a potential threat.   They are no longer taught to serve and protect the people, but to suspect and surveil.  The fact that they are acquiring battlefield type equipment reinforces in their own minds that it's an "us against them" type situation which lends itself to aggression against those they should be protecting. THEY believe they are RIGHT.  They are taught and trained to believe it, and that makes it all the more alarming and ominous.

Federal agencies with no reason to fear any kind of violence are now armed to the teeth, all while they are doing their dead level best to take our arms from us.  How difficult is this to see, people?

IRS?  What could go wrong there?  (Separate rant.)

How about the USDA going all paramilitary?  Why, oh, why would they need submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W with "Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsible or folding, magazine - 30 rd," to enforce agricultural regulations?  That's what they've put in orders for.  Maybe it's just in case one of those late night Amish milk raids goes bad.  Somehow my mind goes back to Obama's appointment of a "Food Czar...."  Funny, those same police I talked about have some of their riot training scenarios centered around desperate people rioting at food distribution areas.  What could that mean?  Oh, nothing.  Don't read too much into that.  You'll sound like one of those crazy conspiracy theorists.

The EPA and radical environmentalism have eroded personal property rights to the point that the idea of actually owning personal property is all in your head.  It's gone far beyond just eminent domain.  With all the wetlands laws, and indigenous species protection acts, woodlands preservation agreements...all the tip of the iceberg.  People are having their homes taken from them by federal land agencies because they are on or too near public or federal lands, and the feds require it to be confiscated for use as a traffic thoroughfares or parking areas or easements-- things that were never disclosed if they were known or even existent during contractual arrangements by the, ehm --"owners."

All this ties in to the Patriot Act very neatly.  They have intruded on any personal privacy you may have thought you had.  If you are found crosswise of any of their multitude of ever changing laws, you can wind up with everything you have, self and family included, in the hands of the government to do with as they will. They have extended the reach of their intelligence gathering organizations to the degree that you can be watched and listened to in the privacy of your own home without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion and any intel gathered can be used to secure your property and send you to the hoosegow-- all in the name of domestic security.

Oh, "domestic security"  - the DHS is a group of paramilitary, jack-booted thugs with local, state and national authority to kick your butt on a whim.  If you disagree with the government approved, mainstream train of thought, you may be eligible for a long stint in the custody of the feds, with or without clear charges or a trial by a group of your peers.  Don't think a good lawyer (as if any of the regular citizens could afford one) can help you.  IF you have one, they have better ones.   If you get a good one they'll change the laws or the charges.  No, being right doesn't matter in this new America. This is the America of the executive order.  This is the Post Constitutional America.

Who is supposed to hold these storm troopers in check?  The national media, that's who.  Our wonderful "free press" is supposed to do that for us, the people, the citizen taxpayers.  However, as in Hitler's Germany, our own propagandists misrepresent all these overreaching government agencies and their heinous plans, as "progressive" and necessary changes for the good of the nation and the people.  I struggle with the realization that there are so many ignorant people out there that believe them.  Obviously they do, but I can't comprehend it.  This is only the surface turbulence of a very deep, deep sea.  I am a chubby, middle aged housewife and I can see this at a cursory glance.  Why can't other people?

This is my rant, while I can still make it.  WHEN will Americans rise?  When will this insane spinning stop?

It won't.  Not unless people MAKE it stop.  That may make us domestic terrorists in the eyes of the powers that be, but I have news for you if that scares you: they'll fit you into one of their little categories before it's over with any way.  They're busy making laws that make all law abiding citizens into criminals.  One way or another they can find a reason, if they decide they need one, to arrest you if they find you a problem or an inconvenience.  Why wait until one fits your situation?  Why not start the battle while there's still a fighting chance?

I never knew where or how to start!  I'm far from influential and I have no outstanding skills.  I am useless and helpless in such a huge land of turmoil.  How can I do anything?

It begins with fearless communication; simple talk.  DON'T remain quiet and accepting.  DON'T assume you are alone in thinking these things are scary and wrong.  DON'T be frightened into submission by what appears to be "mainstream" thinking simply because the media sources all say the same thing.  They are lying to you.  DON'T BUY IT.  TALK!  Talk to your neighbors and friends.  Know them.  Associate with them.  On some level, make this a topic of conversation among people wherever you go.  You will be surprised to find that almost everyone, someplace in their life and in their mind, is sick of the government's overreach and afraid of the possible outcome.  It touches us all somewhere, but we're being conditioned NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT, so -- TALK!  It's where we start.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yet Another Short Hiatus



Eventually I'll be back in here.  Our lives are practically at critical mass with the extra bodies and activity and whatnot.  It's quite life altering to bring two adults into our living quarters.  Not that it's bad, or unpleasant, but if it were going to be a permanent change I'd have to start from scratch and re-arrange everything, physically and mentally.  Most 'normal' things are in a state of flux for now.  Until we have a clear picture of what's going on I'm likely to continue *not* blogging.  It's just not a high enough priority at this point in my life to stress out about it.  When we get ready to do anything major I'll make it priority again, but the way things stand, we are just on hold -- again.  My brain and my heart have a terrible aversion to more waiting, and my thinker is sort of on auto pilot.  I think I'm safest if I just leave it like that a while.

Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later.  I'm ready and anxious to get 'er on the road!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Marking the Time or Making A Mark In Time?



(photo credit)

I can't believe how quickly the summer got away from us.  Now the Holiday season is right around the corner!  I don't like that our "big days" have lost so much of their sparkle.  Our lives have been in such a state of flux that nothing has any kind of pattern, good or bad: no great planning, no anticipation, no festive air.  Nothing is really any different from one day to the next, yet everything is always changing.  It's not boring, in fact it's an exciting and adventurous way to live, but it doesn't lend itself comfortably AT ALL to celebrations or feasts or what most folks consider to be 'typical' traditions.

I really want to make the big dinners and the family time special, but all the sudden I don't seem to know how to go about it.  We did pretty well with it last year, but looking back, it was only a nice meal that was 'festive' and the rest was just like any other day.  I don't need to decorate and plan games or any thing, but I would like to create memories with my kids while they are still here.

Last year, Thanksgiving was great!  Allen cooked a good portion of the dinner outside in dutch ovens, taking LOTS of work off of my shoulders and allowing us all to spend some really wonderful outdoor time doing what we like.  Granny came out for the week for a really wonderful visit, and the whole thing was quite memorable, if not festive.   Everything was nice and right and I think we all enjoyed it.  We had pictures and leftovers and naps and messes, as we should.

We will be alone this year, just our immediate family, which is OK.  We like our home and each other's company, and we have always liked Thanksgiving the best.  It's a get-to-be-with-family, lazy, lay around and eat kind of a day: all our favorite things. We really like our rather non-traditional Thanksgiving food, as well.  Most people have the turkey and stuffing thing, but we usually do roast or stew, sometimes ham, and green beans, taters and gravy and all the good side disshes.  We'll probably try cooking it outside, campfire style again this year, too.  That was just about the shizz, right there!  We may take in a movie, or eat out the next day. Fun time, fun times.

As for Christmas-- unfortunately, last year's Christmastime just sort of came and went.  We are very anti-everything-modern-commercialism-has-done-to-Christmas at our house.   One year we actually tried to 'postpone' Christmas for a month or so and do it our own way without all the ridiculous hype, but it felt sad and flat and we determined not to do that any more.  We've tried to disentangle the typical gaudy Christmas decor from our celebrations, but despite the department stores, it's still always been a traditional and happy part of Christmas for us, and we missed the pretty lights and shiny things.  We'd rather not allow the likes of Walmart to rob us of our wonderful traditions just because they are tacky and greedy.

I would like to think up some more clever ways to make Christmas memorable and happy and "Christmassy" again without falling into the Santa, Coke-a-Cola bear, zillion dollar trap and whatnot.  Our house is very tiny, so extensive decor is out.  We have a string of lights up over the couch/dinette area, and it is very nice.  I tried to add a cheap little, tiny tree with fiber optic, multi-color tips to the festivities, but it was such a silly (and really ugly) little thing that I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving that off this year.

I think maybe we'll go back to one of our old traditions and have stockings up for the two weeks or so before Christmas.  I would always wrap tiny, silly little gifts and add them day by day until Christmas Eve.  They could take them out and feel and shake them and try to guess what they were.  I think they'd like that.  Maybe if I add some home baked goodies a few times and force some old corny movies on them, it would be good.  :)  I want to clearly mark the holidays this year as being special and happy.  Time with my kids is slipping away faster that I realized!

One thing is for sure -- I'd better get started!


Monday, November 11, 2013

I Write A Lot of 'I Forgot To Blog' Posts

I'm not sure why I don't blog.   I enjoy blogging, I just sort of forget.  A schedule here in my home is pretty much non existent, so blogging is something I can remember to do between, say, items F and G on a list, or after school, or after the days' work.  Things are so fluid and changeable that nothing really rings a bell for me like that.  I might consider setting an alarm on my calendar, but we'll see.  At any rate, I am posting just to (hopefully) prime the pump a little and get it up and going again.  I hope see you here soon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

If The Media Doesn't Like Him, Well...

Is it too soon to start talking about how to choose a candidate?  Is it too soon to start looking at Presidential candidates?  Well, the big media and the news herd have already started talking about Rand Paul.  Obviously they're trying to get a head start on destroying his chances.  They say don't like him.  They say he's scary.  They say he's inexperienced (yes, they actually had the hair on their backs to say that out loud with straight faces.).  That's all I need to know to look into him a little more closely.

Could You Vote For Rand Paul?  

The short answer, if you're just taking a survey, is yes.

The long answer has to do with how much I do agree with him and whether or not I think I can deal with the differences.  

The inexperience factor of the junior senator has to be addressed.  Yes, he's a noob.  We've seen the disastrous consequences that a certain junior senator from Chicago has saddled us with, due in part to inexperience, but I tend to think that has less to do with things than most people do.  These top guys get tons of very experienced counsel from hand picked people to join them in leadership.  I think the failure of the current administration has less to do with the leader's inexperience and more to do with his ideology and that of the people he has chosen as advisers to further his ill conceived agenda.  You become like those you surround yourself with.  If you surround yourself with intelligent, experienced and successful people, you can benefit from them.  If you surround yourself with thugs, criminals, radicals, race baiters, Marxists and terrorists, well... you see my point.  I am not put off by inexperience as much as I once was.  Obama has proved that even the most inexperienced can achieve their goals with the right people in place.

I've been a registered Republican for all my years as a voter, but I haven't been a republican in many years, at least not the way they are now.  I still hold to the platform for the most part.  I just wish they still did.  I think I'm more of a Conservative Libertarian.  I think Rand Paul, too, is conservative, probably adheres to the Republican platform but no longer to the party.  I don't have to see eyeball to eyeball with him in order to support him.  To discount a good candidate because you don't agree on what brand of gum to chew, or whatever, is pretty immature.

He wouldn't be able to pass laws to enact everything I do like and he won't be able to pass them all for the ones I don't.  No president is ever going to change everything during his own time in office.  There's no worry that after eight years with Rand Paul we're all going to be just like him or forced to live inside his world view.  He will have influence and make some changes, but no single president alone during his time in office is going to re-make America.  

Having said that, at this point in history I would *almost* vote for an anarchist over one of the two parties that get handed to us every election cycle, just to get us turned and going in a different direction.  Even an anarchist, in one or two terms, is not going to take the country all the way into anarchy.  That's silly!  He might, however, get things going in a direction other than the one we're in, which is a fast, right-hand swirl down the drain if we keep following the pattern we've been following.

I guess it comes down to character.   I know character is not supposed to matter any more, but it does.  Rand Paul has been consistent.  That's an admirable trait in today's politics.  He has been actively involved, present, voting yea or nay, not abstaining or missing in action, and he's seemingly tireless.  I believe it's his intent to get back to where the government is of/for/by the people, where politicians are public servants.  (That almost made me laugh!  It's been a while!)  That's is a great goal and should be a common goal.

I also think, for what it's worth, he means what he says.  That's not to say he can't or won't go the way of other politicians, because Washington has it's Washington ways, but I'd like to think he would continue to maintain his character.  Thus far he has, and that's what I have to go on.  That's practically an argument for him and his noobosity.  Maybe it will take a while for them to get to him.

I believe he is more of a "regular guy" than any of these suits that have been paraded out before us in recent years (decades) and can still see the forest despite the trees.

And, he's likable.  Evidently his "likability" crosses party lines.  That can't hurt.

I know one thing: If Libertarians, Moderates, "Reagan Democrats," Republicans, Tea Partiers (and whatever other group would like to see the government reigned in) don't stop making their voting decisions based on single issue, pet projects like a bunch of dang toddlers, we're going to keep getting George Bush and Barack Obama.  Educate yourself, vote your convictions and for the candidate you think is best able to accomplish the most at this time and who is likely to get the chance to do so.  

Voting for candidate 3 or 4 is noble, and I can understand why you would and have done it myself.  I don't consider it a "wasted vote".  Votes are wasted when we wind up with the guys we've had in recent history.  I never want to have to vote against anyone or hold my nose and vote again.   THAT is a wasted vote.  The problem with 3rd party votes is that they can't rally enough support no matter how qualified or right for the job they are, and they detract votes from other candidates.  In many cases that's fine.  For instance: Barack Obama or John McCain.  Seriously?  Vote for ANYONE else!  God help us!  

However, in an election where there is a possibility of having a decent candidate make it past the primaries, or (Oh! May it be so!) a 3rd party candidate that could garner enough support on a national level, then vote for the best choice and get someone in office that isn't "one of them" for a change, and might actually be "one of us!"  If we could just stop letting the powers that be and their right hand, the 5th column -- the media-- keep us divided among ourselves and factioned into micro groups with too many heads, we could get a good man at the helm.  NO ONE wins when we are divided.  Obama only wins because he divides his competition against itself.  It works.  Folks, don't let it happen again. The Libertarians are the worst about this!  That's a main reason I don't associate myself with them.

I will support Rand Paul if he runs, provided no one I like better is running against him.  I will vote for him if he is nominated.  I will vote for a good candidate who has a chance to win.  In the event that we get handed candidates X and Y again, then I will pray for my country, because I don't think there's much hope for a future if things are left in the hands of the ones who are currently in charge, Democrat or Republican.