Two completely unrelated things had me frustrated for most of the weekend. Also, alliteration is fun.
First, my iPhone. Let me say that while I'm not an Apple fangirl, I love, love, love my iPhone. Not only is it the best toy I ever had, it really is functional. I use real apps on a daily basis. However I had wifi issues from the very beginning. Sometimes it would drop out and go to 3G. While it was only mildly annoying, I had to pay attention and reconnect to wifi so my data plan (the cheapest) wouldn't be charged. I chalked it up to the Evil AT&T Empire trying to get me to use more data. Last Friday however, it went from mildly annoying to major problem. Wifi dropped out and would not come back. At all. We played with our home network settings. We played with the phone settings. I reset everything. We bought a new router because the old router did have a tendency to randomly drop other devices too. The new router solved the problem with all devices except the phone. I went to where there was free wifi, and...Surprise! Still no wifi connection. The nice people (really, they are nice) at the AT&T store told me the problem was with the phone.
So, a trip to the Apple Store, 40 miles away at The Florida Mall, was in order. The Florida Mall used to be my stomping grounds back in my Mall Rat days. For the life of me, I can't remember what I liked about it. I'll chalk it up to being young, single, and having money to burn. Man, that place was crowded! Not just the mall, but the Apple Store was also packed. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get an appointment at the Genius Bar. Yeah, that's what they call their tech support. I suppose Mac people know this. We did not. Sorry Apple fans, but I think that name is just as silly as the Geek Squad. Anyway, the phone was able to connect to the store wifi. Great. Go to the dentist and the toothache is gone. They decided the best way to solve the problem would be to wipe the phone, then they told me to go home and set it up as a new device rather than from the backup, which might have the glitch in it. We left the Apple Store after dragging Dennis away from an iPad, and made a quick stop at the food court. While there, I decided to play with my new, "clean" phone. Guess what? It couldn't connect to any of the available free networks. Back to the Apple Store we go. This time they tried to connect to a network that wasn't theirs, and were able to see the issue for themselves. A few minutes later I walked out with a brand new iPhone. I came home, restored it from the backup, since we now knew it wasn't a software issue, and I'm back in business. Phone frustration solved. Yay.
So physics. Middle school physics. Eighth grade. Mostly conceptual, without all the math. Science is the bane of every secular homeschooler's existence. It's either religious (overtly or covertly, both equally bad in my opinion) or is meant for a classroom setting. The religious curricula either treats evolution as not true or omits it completely. Not really a problem with physics, but I still don't want books that give supernatural reasons for force, motion, or magnetism. The secular materials are either too textbook-ish or assume there's enough students for class discussions and lab partners. Last night at nearly midnight, I think I might have solved this frustrating problem. While reading a post from someone at a homeschool forum, I clicked on her signature link which offers a list of secular homeschool materials. I found Awakening Wonder. It looks promising. Some quotes from their FAQ page in which they are asked about the worldview represented in their products.
"This is a common question when researching homeschool curriculum materials, and as homeschoolers ourselves, we recognize the importance of this question. The short answer in the case of Awakening Wonder materials is that we have selected secular books and kits for our studies of science. If you are seeking a program with a strong, explicit religious component, this is probably not the program for you."
They go on to state that they are Christian and their faith is a big part of their lives, but then they say this:
"We believe that faith and scientific inquiry are two distinct methods of learning about the world around us."
It sounds promising. I already have some of the books listed. The rest are either inexpensive or available through our library system. We used Thames and Kosmos kits for chemistry and have not been disappointed. The kit looks like the biggest expense, and even that is under $100. Physics frustration solved. Double yay.