Category Archives: Family

July 13, 2009, 11:52 am

On not paying for your kids' college

Meagan Francis has this “bad parent” column today in which she confesses that she has no plans whatsoever to pay her five kids’ ways through college. Snippet:

Our plan is to assist each of our children with lots of support (including living at home if necessary), encouragement, and information; and as much financial support as we are able to — and that it makes sense to — give. [...] Paying our kids’ ways through school has become such an integral part of “good” parenting that we feel pressured to do it even if footing the bill means mortgaging our own futures. Yet even Suze Orman warns that it doesn’t make sense to tap into our retirement funds or put our own finances at risk in order to subsidize the education of young, able-bodied people with lots of time ahead of them. By doing so, couldn’t we in effect punish those adult children when they have to, one day, support our broke an…

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January 25, 2009, 3:19 pm

The iPod touch: Keeping new parents sane since 2009

With Harrison’s arrival on the 15th, I have had neither the time nor the raw material for blogging about math, education, or technology. Instead I’ve been mostly figuring out how to decrypt my new son’s little coded messages and trying to sleep when I can. But there is one tech item from my experience of the last week that I would like especially to highlight: the ongoing awesomeness of the iPod touch.

Originally I wanted an iPod touch to replace my aging third-generation Photo iPod. I figured the main purpose of an iPod is music playback, and having internet and video capability would be sort of nice too. But now I see that the iPod touch is a lot more than a music player: It’s a passport to new-parent sanity. Consider the following ways the iPod touch has been of use lately:

- I used the iPod touch to provide real-time updates of my wife’s delivery — well, at least right up to the …

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January 14, 2009, 7:48 am


Apologies for the light blogging for the last couple of weeks. As longtime readers know, I’m on our Promotion and Tenure Committee here at my college — this year I’m the chair of this committee — and we do all of our work reviewing portfolios during the month of January while the rest of the college is doing Winter Term. It’s always a challenge to manage our work so that we get all of our recommendation letters written in a reasonable amount of time, but this year there are some personal reasons that have added an extra sense of urgency.

So ever since the first of this year I’ve been spending all my time either doing these P&T reviews or trying to cram in course preps for the spring (two sections of Calculus and a section of Linear Algebra), in an attempt to get as much done as possible before the baby arrives (click on the link above for the backstory). I don’t think anybody wants me…

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November 25, 2008, 8:38 am

Thanksgiving break and thoughts

thanksgivingI’ll be taking a hiatus from blogging from today through Sunday as the Casting Out Nines crew travels to Tennessee to visit the grandparents for Thanksgiving. We normally make our long road trip  to the Volunteer State at Christmas, but this year that’s way too close to Harrison’s arrival to be traveling.

I love Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that Christmas really should be — a time to relax, enjoy family and food and down time, and be thankful for all the ways you have been blessed in your life. I am pleased to say that I have much to think about in that respect: my wife, my two girls, my son on the way in a few weeks, steady employment in these tough economic times, and simply the ability to think and reflect and write like this. I think our culture would be a lot better off if we could discipline ourselves to be thankful. And our haste to skip right over Thanksgiving and go …

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November 4, 2008, 7:21 pm

Two small votes

In case you need a smile in the midst of Election Night seriousness, my two daughters have an Election Day Special for you.

October 18, 2008, 12:51 pm

Another new venture; well, actually two.

Back in May, my wife and I found out that our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting. Everybody, meet Harrison Lewis Talbert, our “surprise” baby and third child overall.

He may not look so big, but he’s having a huge impact on our lives. We’re very happy! But we are also definitely entering some uncharted, and unplanned-for, adventures starting in January, when little Harry is due. To chronicle all this, and since my wife and I are unapologetic nerds who will use any excuse to do something technological, we’ve started up a new family blog: The Talbert Five. We had a family blog twice before, and we tried to make them pseudonymous or password-only, and it was just either too much work (in the former case) or no fun and kind of stagnant (in the latter). So we’re making this blog wide-open and hoping not too many creepy internet people show up. (That doesn’t apply to the a…

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May 15, 2008, 1:51 pm

School's out for summer (for two weeks)

Blogging’s been light lately because of the push to finish spring semester courses. I did so today, turning in my last batch of semester grades. So maybe now I can get back into a regular swing of posting. 

My main role this summer will be that of the stay-at-home dad. Our two girls normally attend preschool and daycare during the week, our 4-year old full-time and our 2-year old part time. This summer, the 4-year old will be going just three days a week and the 2-year old just one day a week. I will have one day a week to myself (see below), but the other four weekdays will be spent either one-on-one with my 2-year old or two-on-one with both of them. It’s a role that I am greatly looking forward to playing. 

I will be “Mr. Mom” during the day, and then I will be teaching not one but two classes in the evenings. I signed up to teach our 8-week summer calculus course on Mondays,…

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December 19, 2007, 8:54 am

On the road

204820817_e61b9111dc.jpgJust a public service announcement: Our crew is heading down to my Mom and Dad’s for Christmas* this morning, and we’ll be gone until Sunday. So no posting, probably.

In the meanwhile, I’ve got some posts percolating on Sage, Jott, design principles for college syllabi (as suggested by virusdoc), and lessons about teaching that I’ve learned through my Advent devotionals so far this year. All coming your way hopefully next week.

If you’re travelling too, be safe out there and enjoy  your time with family or whomever/whatever it is you’re travelling for.

* My sisters and I spend Christmas Day with my folks in even-numbered years and with the in-laws in odd-numbered years. So Christmas Day is more like a week-long affair, which our two girls rather enjoy. 

October 30, 2007, 8:04 am

Retrospective: On working and having a life (4.5.2006)

Editorial: This is the fourth installment in the retrospective week series. I’m having a lot of fun putting these together, by the way.

This article garnered zero comments when it was posted, but it’s one of my favorites because it addresses the issue of balancing work and life — an issue that higher education is often miserably bad at addressing — and exposes some of the arrogance and sheer nincompoop-titude that can only come in these quantities from university faculty. Honestly, put a sock in it people. Don’t some of these people have families? 

On working and having a life

Originally posted: April 5, 2006


I could definitely get used to this Spring Break business; all week I’ve done nothing but spend quality time with the wife and the kid. Today we took advantage of the brilliant spring weather, going to the zoo around lunchtime; and after the kid’s nap we made…

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September 14, 2007, 9:37 am

Friday Random 10 for September 14

From the random number generator of my now-obsolete iPod:

  1. Zing Zang Wing Wang Wong (The Wiggles, Wiggle Bay)
  2. Captain Feathersword Fell Asleep on His Pirate Ship (The Wiggles, Toot Toot)
  3. Biko (Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree)
  4. Memor esto tuorum (Hildegard von Bingen, performed by Anonymous 4, The Lily & the Lamb)
  5. Romp Bomp a Stomp (The Wiggles, Magical Adventure)
  6. Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
  7. The Waiting (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits)
  8. Do it For Love (The 77′s, Sticks and Stones)
  9. Fare Thee Well (Phil Keaggy, Beyond Nature)
  10. Sea of Faces (Kutless, Sea of Faces)

You can laugh all you want at the preponderance of Wiggles songs this week. I don’t care — I will freely admit that I’m a fan. They write catchy, clever kids’ songs that work on the kids’ level — they don’t need to throw in some silly bone to the adults to legitimize themselves — and they are actual musicians. …

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