31 January 2008
From the In a Shoe blog, this video details a little of what Ron Paul stands for. He has little or no chance of winning the Republican nomination, but I like his ideals of less government intervention in... well, everything. If we're thinking Constitutionally, he's our best bet for a more sane tomorrow. I've voted for him in the primaries so that at the very least, the "powers that be" hear one voice for the principles we as a nation left so long ago.
30 January 2008
"You do need to brace yourself- there will be those who accuse you of everything but starting the Holocaust for being so presumptuous as to take on the responsibility for the education and upbringing of one’s own children. You will be accused of being selfish for ‘robbing the school system’ of the funds it would receive for the presence of your child, for removing your Christian child from a Godless system and thus damning every man, woman and child in it to Hell for all eternity, for abandoning the system and leaving the rest of humanity to degenerate into blithering idiots. I am often amazed at these statements, because of what they are actually saying. I leave you to realize the underlying philosophy made evident by these protestations."
You know you want to click the link and read more for yourself.
29 January 2008
Hi! My husband and I are thinking seriously about homeschooling our daughter (5th grade). I work as a marine police officer (busy summers) and he is a deputy sheriff. We both work weekends. Our off days are in the middle of the week. I make my own schedule -my job includes alot of evening work. He basically works 4 to 12. Do you think this is something we are capable of doing? Lana
Can we all help her out? Please leave a comment and a link, if applicable, about how you homeschool, why you homeschool, or whatever you think will be helpful. And if you dislike homeschooling or think it's not a good idea, please leave YOUR comment and links as well. I'd like Lana to have all the information she needs from us (and other sources!) to make the best decision for HER family. I will re-appear in the next couple days to post MY comment after you have all had your say.
Recently, we've been talking about social services and their acting on anyonymous or unsubstantiated tips. I've heard from some of you saying, well, when would YOU tell? Or wouldn't you tell? Here's a good example of "the answer:"
In this story, we see the NAME of the person who told. She doesn't cover up who she is or why she called. She genuinely believes she's doing the right thing and seems to have no premeditated malice toward the mother in this case... in other words, she didn't just have a big fight with her and think of some way to get her back. She was GENUINELY concerned about the welfare of this child. She doesn't seem to feel as if she "won" anything when the girl was taken away. In fact, she seems to recognize that there are no winners when child abuse happens.
On my "maternity pads:" Place with adhesive side away from body. ('Nuff said.)
On my candle: Never leave flame unattended. (So that ten-day trip you were thinking of taking while the whole house was aflame with unattended burning candles? You might want to re-think that one.)
On my pencil: WARNING: Sharp point. May cause eye injury. (OK, I'm just kidding on that one. But it's probably going to happen soon.)
28 January 2008
Interesting stuff. Reminds me of the words of Jesus, twisted to say, "Do onto others as others have done onto you."
27 January 2008
This time, thankfully, the staff were very helpful and understanding. Although they did not help by making it all stop in the middle of labour like I asked them to... I had a very tolerable labour until about the last half hour. That part was awful, but thankfully didn't last long and the baby came quickly. I managed to keep enough composure NOT to get an epidural and I'm very glad I did. When I was in labour with Woodjie, by the time the anesthesiologist arrived and rammed the needle into my back about SIX stinkin' times and got the medicine started, it was really too late. The baby arrived about 15 minutes later and it was pointless.
I've spent two days in the hospital and though the staff were very nice, the hospital's weak spot is its "nutrition department." Most of the food was extremely unpalatable. It was nearly impossible to find someone "responsible" for the food to at least get a choice on what unpalatable thing to eat. The only stuff they had that tasted good was probably made somewhere else and full of thousands of calories. I'm glad to be home... hopefully everyone hasn't eaten all the "good" food while I was gone.
One strange thing about the hospital was the constant asking about what I "need" for pain. Um, I didn't have any pain. I didn't need anything for pain. No, thank you, I don't need pain medicine. No, I don't need any "foam" for pain. No, I don't have any stitches or anything so I DON'T NEED ANYTHING FOR PAIN. (Seriously, if I had a problem abusing prescription drugs it woulda been heaven there...)
Poor Woodjie is having a rude awakening. He got very upset that baby Rose was on HIS changing table. HIS mom and dad keep holding her and worst still... they fed her a BOTTLE. He is supposed to have all bottles! He is supposed to be the "baby." He's pretty mad.
25 January 2008
Forget about the Constitution... how else are we going to ensure safe homes for all the children? We need to monitor you more closely.
Thanks to the Why Homeschool blog for bringing this article to our attention. Please go read it; Olivia St. John speaks to the frightfulness of government intrusion better than I could. And she's speaking of what is happening here in America TODAY. Go check it out!
24 January 2008
I can't use my credit card at the local Jiffy Lube without showing a valid ID. I can't rent a movie. I can't pay by check ANYWHERE. That means no FOOD for my family, unless I get money out of the bank... OH! But I can't take money out of the bank or get into my safe deposit box without an ID. Don't even think I can take my husband's paycheck and cash it on my own, either.
But somehow, when it comes time to vote, poor black folks and old people can't POSSIBLY come up with ANY sort of valid ID at all... according to Democrats. To back up this assertion, the reporter has interviewed a foolish ninny of a mother who "can't" get a copy of her birth certificate to get a photo ID because it'll cost her $50. But guarantee if you look at her children, they're wearing GAP and Tommy clothes or Nike shoes. You can be almost positive she spends over $50 on her hair each year as well.
The reporter also interviews a very old woman in her 90's who allegedly HAS no birth certificate and has allowed her license to lapse. If voting is important to her, she'll find a way to get a state ID. Surely there is some way to contact her congressman or make a little effort so that she can vote by next November, at least. It sounds like she just wants to waltz into the polling place, say who she is, and get a ballot just because she says she is who she is. (I'm a rock star and I have a billion dollars in the bank. Think they should just hand the money over to me just 'cuz I said so??) Somehow being old and tired entitles her to rights no one else has.
And call me racist or mean, but I also don't think it's too much to ask for voters to be able to read their own ballots in ENGLISH. Though I've voted in Florida years ago and the chad system WAS a little confusing. That's when you use a little intelligence, read things over twice, and THEN punch out the holes in your ballot. Novel idea, I know.
I'm not understanding why the news stories seem to indicate that this requirement would somehow tilt all scales in favour of Democrats. I'd tend to think that those without IDs would have a greater liklihood of being illegals, transients, convicted felons, or someone committing some kind of fraud. (Wait... are they saying those people are more likely to be Democrats? I'm confused.)
We all know IDs can be faked. But can we at least make a small effort at containing voter fraud? The idea that this ID requirement would keep black people away from the polls also smacks a bit of racism and paternalism... as if to say that we as a society need to "take care" of these folks who have no clue how to get an ID card like any other adult. Or read, for that matter. Good grief, I find that insulting.
23 January 2008
Elf had some pants with a large hole in the knee. I felt it was a design a bit hard to sew a patch onto, so I cut them a bit above the knee. Then I sewed some Hawaiian fabric onto the inside so that it is an inside-out layer beneath the shorts when straightened. Next, I folded the fabric up as if I were making a casing and sewed straight across. This way I break no needles by hemming the denim fabric, and we have a nice contrasting layer on the shorts as well.
How 'bout going to the new Jedi Church? You can learn about the Force and take classes on how to use your light saber.
22 January 2008
Headline: Lack of food isn't to blame for poor kids' obesity.
Wow. I'd have NEVER known that had I not been told by the all-wise at MSNBC. I was SO worried that if we didn't give these families enough food dollars, that they'd wind up FAT somehow. Whew! That's a load off my conscience.
21 January 2008
I've had situations where other parents have tried to call and talk about one of my children's behaviours. And do you know what? I totally blow them off. I'm not talking about friends who are discussing what happens on a playdate. That's different. I'm almost always ready to get *constructive* criticism from people I know who care about my family and my children. But right now, I'm discussing moms I've never met whose children were insulted or had a tiff with one of my kids.
If my children did something at school, I'd like to hear what the school has to say. Not some snippy old mom that I've NEVER MET whose little precious was insulted, has only heard half the story, and is calling in a big fume for me to "fix everything" by punishing my own child severely.
If you call me and have something negative to say about my children, you'd better be ready for what I have to say about your kid, too. Maybe your kid got insulted because she was picking on my kid. So my kid called your kid "fat and ugly?" MAYBE he never would have mentioned the FACT that your child was fat and ugly if that hadn't happened. Go talk to the school about it, but good stinkin' luck getting any support from me.
I'm not going to go out and punish my child to suit you without hearing my child's side of the story AND what the school has to say about what happened. If anything, I'm less apt to punish my child as a result of your call. If only you had let the school handle it reasonably objectively, I might have been a little objective as well. Not anymore. I'll tell my kids exactly what you said when you called, too, and how whiny you were. Thanks for the call!
This is but one of the reasons I no longer have my children's names, addresses or phone numbers in any "school directory."
20 January 2008
Just so you know that Elf has nothing left to learn on the subject.
We all know that pens, clocks and mugs with "DrugName" on them do have an effect on prescriptions for those medications. We also know that fancy kickbacks and lunches on the drugmaker's dime also contribute to physicians being so "aware" of the medications that they are more likely to prescribe them routinely.
But we also need to think about prescription "samples" as well. Often, when I have a prescription for something, I may receive a sample before I fill it. That's great! But then I wonder... at a $55 copay for a "name brand" prescription (each!!), is it really such a bargain? Would I have been prescribed this medication if I were on a different insurance plan? Is it the only effective way to treat my problem?
I just wonder if the "free samples" lead doctors into thinking they are doing some sort of favour to the patient when they are prescribing. I mean, why give a $4 generic prescription for some sort of old thing that's been on the market forever when I can dash out a prescription for something "new" and not only that... here's a free sample! I can show that I'm up on the latest dosing suggestions for this problem and I'm informed. See what a good specialist I am?
OK, that's what I wonder sometimes, although it may just be that our famiy has very complicated medical problems that necessitate LOTS of these $55/each prescriptions. Maybe I am being very unfair to those in the medical profession. I'm starting to think not, though. I think next time, I'm going to ask about less expensive alternatives. In the past, I've been afraid that doing so would compromise my care and was a bit scared to do so. But now, I think I'll at least mention that this stupid drug costs me $55/month, and our family has a billion of 'em and they add up. Anything cheaper out there that's still good?
Yep. Think that's what I'll do next time.
19 January 2008
Her son was being abused at school, and while I don't know the particulars of the situation, I can associate. Elf has been locked in a closet many times by our local school. (It's called a "safe room" where we can calm down, you know...). It only escalates the behaviour. Elf is one of those people who, when he is overwhelmed, will go run and hide somewhere. Poking and dragging him when he is fearful and upset is NOT going to get you a pleasant response. Of course, what do people at school do? Get out NOW or we're going to... and then Elf reacts... and then it's all HIS fault for behaving inappropriately, not the school's for failing to let the kid hide for a few minutes so he feels safe again. He WOULD have joined you in about five minutes, but instead you provoked a tantrum that lasted an hour and a half. Thank you!
So Casdok is blogging about her frustration with this school. And there were plenty of comments supporting her parenting and her efforts to amend the way C is treated. I know lots of you homeschool parents would say, "Just homeschool him!" but it *truly* is not that simple when you are dealing with a child with severe disabilities. Even G, who can carry on a conversation and is not noticeably autistic on your first meeting, really needs a lot of "extra" help that I feel unable to provide at this point. Of course, we always keep our options open but right now, that's where he is.
And at taxpayer expense, yes. We pay taxes and two of our children do not go to school. If we are mandated to pay these taxes, then we ought to be able to get every last benefit that those taxes would provide. I'm sure Casdok is paying hers, and C consequently should have every benefit that he is entitled to based on his particular educational needs. Do you know what? I don't even have an objection to people applying for and receiving welfare if they're genuinely looking for work. As long as they're legal citizens and availing themselves of every opportunity to get off the rolls, that is.
I can understand people who say that we should just cut all funding for this or that. Go ahead! Oftentimes you'll find I'm one of those people, too. But until that becomes the reality, there is no reason to criticise those families who avail themselves of the services they're already paying for.
18 January 2008
Came across this little story in my browsing today. A woman who protested abortions outside a clinic has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and take any drugs that are prescribed as a result. Now, suppose you don't agree with me on a particular political point, and I'm the judge. Should I be able to make an order like this? Apparently so. Worse, the case is reported to have been decided based on hearsay from Planned Parenthood (aka. the ghost of Margaret Sanger).
Now, if she were violent, or stated that she would kill, say, Mr. Smith on November 10th with a gun, I could at least understand why the court would do such a thing. But this has me genuinely clueless. I should not imagine that a Christian judge would order something like this if the shoe were on the other foot. I'd hope not, anyway. I may not agree with your opinions, but I most assuredly defend your right to have them, dopey as they may be.
But seriously. Read these two short paragraphs in which she pleads her cause:
"I believe psychiatry to be a pseudoscience on par with astrology, fortune telling, and palm reading. Must I be punished for my refusal to recognize psychiatry as a legitimate medical science? What gives this court the right to order medical help for which I have no need or desire? … Must I also ingest mind altering prescribed psychotropic drugs to satisfy this court order? Does this court routinely order psychiatric evaluations for misdemeanor convictions?"
"This court is acting as if it were lawful and morally righteous to slaughter the unborn. Yet 35 years ago it was unlawful, and unrighteous. Does changing the law change morality? … In 1856, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Negro is 'chattel.' By denying Dred Scott his freedom, slavery was made 'safe and legal.' Had I stood before this court for opposing slavery or the 'Jim Crow laws' instead of aborticide, would this court suspect me of being mentally deficient or ill?"
Um, yeah, probably if you started protesting in the Deep South in 1856...
17 January 2008
1. Every time I change religions or get married, I change my name. Legally. I've done it three times so far and don't plan on doing it again... but... you never really know who I am, do you? Oh... and my last name doesn't really begin with a C. I just do that to throw all you guys off so I don't get stalked and have my kids stolen or anything.
2. I have several internet alter egos as well, but they don't all frequent the same blogs. That would get too confusing. One thing that really BOTHERS me are people who are plain nasty in their anonymous comments; I think that's cowardly. At least think of a pseudonym and be consistent about it on that blog!! There have been a lot of news stories about peoples' lives being ruined by others posting nasty things on the internet. Be assured that's not what I'm doing. I'm just hitting the porno sites (NO, NOT REALLY!).
3. I also have to change my look every few years. Right now, I'm going through the "fat, dumpy housewife" stage of life. I've gained 100 pounds and let my hair grow naturally. I think sweatpants are a fashion statement. I was going to do the anorexic look but that was just too much upkeep - it really was. Caramel popcorn is a plus in my personal lifestyle.
4. I found out that l-cysteine in many products like pizza and bagels is made from human hair or boiled duck feathers. I'm trying to never eat the stuff again. I have taken to reading the labels on everything. You wouldn't believe what HAS that gunk in it ... and what doesn't that you'd figure for sure would!
5. Aside from a bit of road salt we track in and a couple blankets to cover car seats, our van is CLEAN. No one is allowed to eat in the van except on very rare road trips... and I've had it for five years. It still looks good.
6. I learned yesterday that at this stage of pregnancy it is literally impossible to jump. I'm perfectly capable of going, "OwOwOww..." and holding my back every time I change position, however.
7. I don't do highways very well. I just KNOW that I will die if I get on the highways. I am scared of merging. I think the national speed limit should be 35 - we can cut down on a lot of highway deaths that way!! Yes, I'm that lady in the van you "waved" at as you were going by. I'm not driving like that to get you mad. I'm just scared that you're going to kill me and my children with your vehicle.
I really liked reading your post, Daja! The eyelash part just makes me itch, though.
Sunniemom blogs about parental rights and how our rights are being eroded. All parents, NOT just the homeschool parents, should be up on these issues.
Found this link on Casdok's blog. Did you know that autistics and other developmentally-handicapped can still be given shocks for their behaviour? In the United States? Some of these children are as young as NINE.
16 January 2008
For some reason, Dad thinks coloured frosting is kinda gross. Instead, we're decorating with MUSTARD while Mom's out at the doctor's!! And Sprite to drink! Yum! Dad had everything under control during Mom's appointment, although math worksheets that should have taken a bit over an hour to complete wound up taking all... day... long... I read a lot about homeschoolers being independent and accomplishing tasks without as much supervision as public-school kids, but if anything our children need more supervision than most kids who function well in p.s. That's what I'm here for most days. Poor Dad is ready to go back to work tomorrow.
15 January 2008
No, it's really about the "right" of the school administration to force its diversity training on impressionable children over the direction of the parents. Parents, as you well know, can be quite the intolerant bunch. They have these things called "opinions" about social issues and sometimes they even try to teach their children religious dogma! This is worse than having Joey eat his vegetables, folks. Good thing the school systems in Massachusetts are kind-hearted enough to squash these moms and dads in court so that the children get that all-important free exchange of (school district - mandated only) ideas.
"An exodus from class when issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage are to be discussed could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students," claimed Judge Mark L. Wolf of the US District Court.
We don't want to violate anyone's self-esteem by protecting the rights of parents over the education of their children. Besides, these little Christian kids need allll the help they can get from Masachusetts schools so that they can understand and tolerate the gay lifestyle. Who knows? Maybe little Joey might find that he's really gay after all, and this class will help him uncover things about his "preferences" he had no idea about before. The schools are performing a valuable service by raising the next generation of students to have respect for gay culture. I mean, it's a compelling state interest that SO way trumps anything Mom and Dad might have to say about it, right?
Even better: the schools are now forcing monitoring on an IEP student, and additional services against the specific request of the parents. The judge says, well, if you don't like it, then you have the option (um, at YOUR expense) to send your child to private school or even to homeschool him.
Yeah. I visited Boston a few years back, and I think a pack of gum, a soda and a newspaper was $10. I exaggerate only slightly. Wonder what a full year at a decent Christian school would run?
And have you looked at that homeschooling laws in Massachusetts? Good stinkin' luck getting your homeschool approved. I think I've bought houses in fewer steps, and with less hassle, than these parents have to go through every year in order to homeschool. You need approval from the superintendent or the local school board to proceed. Your education has to be deemed (in HIS judgment - ha ha on you, Mom!) equivalent to that of the public schools. Hmm... with a special needs kid, you get a LOT of money from the state. Should we give that up and let the parent have her kid for the year, or should we balk and ask about the speech therapy, OT therapy, special education curriculum and modified instruction techniques the parent would be using in lieu of our handy-dandy IEP? You know... make it impossible for Mom to even think about beginning this task?
I *guess* this awful attitude wouldn't be such a travesty... if it weren't funded by tax dollars, and if it didn't literally force parents to relinquish their children to the state for hours each day! By ALL MEANS, go ahead and have a school that requires diversity training and tolerance of gays. But my tax money shouldn't be used for it. At least make some sort of feeble attempt at objectivity and consideration for all points of view if you're taking my money away. What's sad is that we've gotten beyond that point where schools need to appease parents; they can blatantly do whatever they feel like, and charge the public for it.
I know all you homeschool moms and dads out there are going... so... pull your kids out of public schools! But I think it's deeper than that. As taxpayers, you're funding it whether your child attends or not. I think these administrators need to be accountable to the people. Unfortunately most of the people in Massachusetts are under some sort of liberal fog or something... how else could Ted Kennedy possibly get elected all the time? We're reading about Lexington and Concord in our social studies on the Revolution... I wonder what happened to that American spirit of independence and free thought? The Christian minority looks pretty quashed in that neighbourhood to me. How are the righteous to live in such a place?
I will say this, though: As of *now,* our local public school teaches some sex ed but allows us to opt out without ANY problems. Their materials are a little left-leaning and sappy, but hardly strident, and respectfully-voiced opinions are theoretically welcome in class.
This story is about a month old, but I'm sure very current for the family involved as well as parents everywhere fighting "the powers that be" for the sake of their children. God bless 'em.
14 January 2008
My post about the Benita Jacks story is on there. There are a lot of other good articles there as well!
13 January 2008
This is awful. One crazy lady goes off and kills her children. She withdrew some children from public school and allowed another to be truant under the law before the killing. She told an officer that she was homeschooling. Now that the children are dead, we don't need to get upset at the woman's actions or wonder about her mental state at all. Nope. We need to police the homeschoolers so this tragedy will not happen again!
It's a funny thing, because this is what public school administrators and big-government people have been wanting to do all along. A dream come true, and now this story is the means to make it happen! All homeschoolers and children who transfer schools in Washington will now be monitored. This is the first step: make sure the children are in good health and have a book. Next, we'll want to be sure the children are learning all the right things. We don't want them to have a BAD education. We're here to help. Oh, here's your science curriculum... we need your children to be taught to state standards, you know, so they're not behind or anything. That creation science is just bad science. Don't teach it.
Soon it will be downright impossible to homeschool. There will be too many hoops to jump through, with lots of required tests and paperwork. It's already happening in Massachusetts and Vermont. We don't want these children slipping through the cracks. How are we going to be sure they see a doctor every year, unless they're in public school and providing records? How are we going to get money for the public schools if they're not participating? How are we going to build our empire without every child participating? We want NO child left behind in our great state system! We want to be sure your child learns the proper tolerance for all lifestyle choices and that no parallel societies start cropping up. It's for the children's health and well-being, you know, because we want them to be prepared to participate fully in our society upon graduation.
In all seriousness, that's already the case in Germany. I am very distressed that there is NO MENTION OF THIS Washington news story on the HSLDA website. They need to get up off their butts and get involved if they aren't already. One crazy nut who uses homeschooling as a shield should not be the pretext for snatching away the constitutional rights of every parent in the nation.
That's right: every parent. You have the choice to homeschool, even if you never use it. You have the choice to send your child to private school. And honestly, I think you should have the choice not to educate your child at all. It's your kid, not mine.
I'm furious that homeschoolers are defending themselves in their blogs, or worse: defending the laws that are already in place!! No. Defend the constitution! It's YOUR CHILD, not the state's! So what if this crazy lady who murdered her children didn't follow the law in the first place? JUST because she murdered her kids, DOESN'T mean the law isn't stupid and shouldn't be repealed. Why should we have to give notice to anyone about our homeschooling? These are OUR children. I think our arguments should not be what great parents we are or how we follow the law, but the fact that the Constitution should be construed as to defend our rights to be mediocre or even poor parents.
Yes, there are heinous cases of abuse out there. But they need to be prosecuted according to due process of law. That means some spiteful neighbour or angry grandma in a custody case shouldn't be able to whisper false accusations anonymously and put you through hell. All calls should have a name and address, and be public record. You read that right. If 911 calls are public record, so should these calls be. You're accessing a publicly-funded agency and using my tax dollars to occupy the staff member on the other end of the line. I want some accountability and prosecution of all obviously false reports. And no more shields for educators, administrators, nurses and the like. They should be held personally liable, because God knows the families are when the police and social worker shows up at their door.
On to another thought...
Next time there is a murder by a parent whose children are in public school, can we talk about how the public school failed? Can we talk about how the school should be disbanded immediately, or be monitored by the federal government? Can we hold the principal and the student's teachers personally liable in civil court for damages to bereaved families? I mean, if we're going to be crazy and ridiculous about homeschooling parents and set intrusive standards for them to uphold, let's go ahead and act irrationally and un-Constitutionally across the board, shall we? Let's not even think that that parent might be crazy, or murdered for some reason that has nothing whatsoever to do with that school. Let's not go off and think that sometimes, just sometimes, people are stupid or crazy or selfish and you can't do much about it as a government without violating the rights of a LOT of decent people.
PS. This link was provided by http://www.principleddiscovery.com/. There is a good discussion of this news story over at her blog as well. Go check it out!
12 January 2008
The Why Homeschool blog (link to left) just posted a good link to the Corn and Oil blog detailing "pushouts" in Indiana. Pushouts are children who have been pushed out of the public schools by one means or another. Homeschooling would be a great choice for these children, but so long as their parents are taxpayers supporting the "system," they ought to have every chance for a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). It's like, this federal law thing ya know, that they're kinda supposed to provide that. Actually they're supposed to provide that to every child in the district regardless of the parents' taxpaying or legal status.
But even with the fuzzy math we've been discussing before, the districts have figured out that if you just get rid of the poor testers and the kids with family or truancy issues, you look SO MUCH BETTER on NCLB testing scores. And we all know that those scores are greater than God Almighty Himself as far as the public schools are concerned. No, really, the scores are that important to them.
I was reading on someone else's blog... wayyy deep in the archives somewhere, some nutball saying that the kids aren't invested in the tests and it's not fair that the teachers get judged based on how the kids do on the tests. Know what? The MAP tests here are the first step to determine your eligibility for gifted programs. You'd better believe people like Patrick are motivated to do well on them when they're trying for a slot. Administrators even get a big rallly for the elementary students and talk to them about how important these tests are. Do well, and our school gets more money. That means nice playgrounds. Do badly, and our school won't have any money for fun things like ice cream socials or field trips. We want to do better than the other schools!
I don't think the pressure they put on these kids is fair, but if I'm paying taxes to the school district, there's no reason the district can't be accountable in some way to people like me in how they're doing. That does mean tests. We can't just have the schools saying they FEEEEEEL like they're performing reeally well, thanks (and hey, we have the kewlest school spirit colours!!). And they're supposed to be teaching every child that comes in their door.
I'm not doing it "right." Thank God! We are spending a lot of time on the flash cards and on knowing our facts. I like the word problems in Everyday Mathematics and think those are helpful. I *don't* like the way they teach the math. I'm pretty much just using the worksheets I feel like, doing the drills independently and supplementing with the Horizons curriculum. Thankfully D says as long as the children understand the math CONCEPTS taught in the public school curriculum, he's ok with it. So I'm just going to teach them to multiply the "regular" way. And I'm not going to worry when they introduce concepts that are obviously not meant to be mastered just then. I went about crazy when my 6 and 7-year-olds had difficulty telling me what 5/8 of 16 was. JUST because it's on a worksheet in this curriculum does NOT mean the children need to know how to do the math just yet.
11 January 2008
Salient points of the article and my thoughts:
Four children murdered, allegedly by their mother. The family had applied for housing and food stamps and been turned down.
(OK, so what? That drove her to murder? They're mentioning this... why? God forbid a tragedy strikes MY family after I put in an application in for aid. I wouldn't want everyone to know this shameful fact. Isn't disclosing this information a violation of privacy, or does the public's "need to know" these little details overshadow that?)
A nurse is concerned because the parents have drug addiction problems.
(Hmm... what kind of nurse? A school nurse, perhaps? I'll bet you it was. And she knew this information about the family ... how? Asking the children questions? Observing the parents? Sounds like a bunch of hearsay or judging a book by its cover to me. A lot of people might look like drug addicts who aren't and vice versa. Mind you, I don't advocate taking drugs... but even if this nurse SAW EVIDENCE of drug use that does NOT mean that the person is a drug addict. It just doesn't.)
The children stopped going to school after their dad died. A "suspicious social worker" alerted police, who checked up on the children. The children seemed just fine in the officer's judgment.
(Would YOU keep your kids home from school for a bit after dad's passing? I would! I especially would have a hard time sending those kids back to school if I suspected the school nurse was making reports about me to the authorities! Would YOU have a little trouble getting your act together for a while? I would. Did you notice the idea that the poor murdered children were "homeschooled" is played up prominently??)
Now, apparently the mother went nuts and killed her children. Whose fault is that? Oh. The article implies that it MUST be the GOVERNMENT's fault for not protecting the children... probably (it's implied) because not enough "help" was given or the children not taken away from a dangerous situation. So now they're going to comb through all the area's 300-plus child welfare investigations that were closed in 2007, just to be sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.
This sort of thing scares the crap outta me.
The lady who killed her children was nuts, ok? I don't know if she was crazy because she was on drugs, or had bad life circumstances, or was biologically loony, or a combination of all three, or *whatever.* It does NOT make it anyone else's fault when someone goes off on a killing rampage. It just doesn't. These people are going off looking for answers or a place to put blame. Put it on the mom and (if applicable) anyone who heard her make a *specific* threat against the children.
It's a sad, sad story.
But that doesn't mean we all have to ratchet up our "care" for people who are suspected of child abuse. Social agencies should leave these families alone unless their workers have seen the actual abuse committed and are willing to testify to such in court. Otherwise it's a police matter that should be investigated like any other crime... you know, gathering evidence and having probable cause in a court of law if you want a warrant? You know, fourth amendment and stuff?
If you're that concerned about the welfare of children, be a little less judgmental of the parents - even "bad" parents - if you want them to trust your organization, access the system or ask for help. You're NOT going to change parental behaviour with "investigating" and coercion. How about, instead of sending armies of these workers out to look into family lives, organizations concerned about child abuse and domestic violence set up a phone number for people to call and ASK for help? You know, voluntarily asking for help and knowing you can stop the process at any time with NO repercussions. Voluntarily looking into what these social services can do for your family and thinking about whether that's something you want to pursue. Trust builds up over time. I guarantee the 300-odd families whose cases were closed, who suddenly are open to more scrutiny and "investigation," are not going to trust anyone in that arena again.
And I'm sad to say it, but it makes genuine help for people with problems in their families less likely to happen. I'm concerned that when the state begins to steal children away when criminal activity against them has not been proven in a court of law, that the abuse is just going to go underground. That means MORE abuse you don't know about, not less. The solution of more social workers and more foster families is NOT GOING TO WORK.
I think that the "powers that be" will use stories like this to gain more and more control over our families. Notice how the children being "homeschooled" is mentioned in the article as if that in itself were to cast doubt on the parent's fitness? I doubt they were being homeschooled in light of all that happened, but I'm thinking the next step is that these agencies will get their feet into all our homeschooling families' front doors for the sake of "protecting the children" or some such nonsense.
10 January 2008
D is sure to remind me several times a day how difficult I am to live with. I don't try to be. I really want to be more pleasant, but doggone it if every time I enter the bathroom someone has urinated on the floor. I am tired of playing potty police with the five men in the house, but it's SO HARD to get on my hands and knees and clean it up every time. No one is admitting fault or helping me clean this mess several times a day. The lid is left up. It bothers me. I ought to play spy games and hide in the hallway whenever someone is going to the bathroom... and then sneak in and find out "whodunnit," but I don't have the energy for that, either. Can you imagine me in the black spy gear at nearly 300 pounds, hiding behind walls and creeping toward the bathroom with stealthy spider-like movements? Me neither.
Looking back, I think that this has always happened, but I just cleaned it up because it's less trouble to do that than to nag at everyone and then have everyone somehow get mad at me (like *I* could have really been the culprit!!).
I want to get the energy to actually vacuum, but I keep spending it all on homeschooling and taking care of the baby. When I get a break I do things like insisting on eating or checking my email, and the vaccuming hasn't been done in... a while. My mirrors don't really reflect any more. My house is full of things that just need to be straightened or put away. My kitchen is disorganized.
These are only a few of those things we could put in the category of "little things that bother me until I act like a crazy person." Oh, and please don't touch me or get too close to me either. Don't cook certain foods or I'll feel sick. It's hard to sit down or stand up or just be nice.
There are some big bright spots, however.
I do get the laundry done. It might be after everyone else in the family is raiding one another's drawers for pants and underwear, but it gets done. At least for now, no one else is remotely my size. There are a few things someone might consider taking, if they weren't pink!! For now, the pink defense works well. That and Hello Kitty seems to be a talisman against all borrowing. It has magical powers to repel all men of any age, no matter what the marketers would have you believe.
And even if I haven't vacuumed in um, a while, at least the entryway is straightened and not too cluttered. I figure I can at least tackle that one room that everyone will see upon entering my house. Then I can try to confine my guests there and not serve them too much water... I don't want them going off to the bathroom if I haven't checked it first LOL!!
I have a husband who does most of the grocery shopping. It's true!! He's going to Sam's Club even as I type this to make sure we have enough milk and diapers in the house. My father used to swear that all the necessary ingredients for a good shopping trip were aluminum foil, peanut butter, bread and light bulbs, but I'd have to differ. You really need milk and diapers *first* and peanut butter and bread probably come in third and fourth on the list. D, though, has a good eye for bargains and comes home with a nice bunch of stuff almost every week.
D gets all kinds of stuff there at Sam's Club. I used to do the Sam's Club run and I'll tell you it is VERY hard to push that full cart way out to the car (on the way out, the parking lot tips uphill AND is bumpy and crowded with cars zooming about). Now I go to the local grocery store for things like eggs, produce and medication. I go to the bread store for bread, and D usually goes to Wal-Mart for pop and the frozen meals he takes to work. We've figured out what things are cheapest where and yes, it takes up a lot of time to make those rounds each week. We probably save quite a bit, even considering gas prices. The food has been going up in price just like the gas prices, have you noticed?
In any event, I'd appreciate prayers for me these last few weeks. I'm sure my family puts up with a lot of grouchiness on my part. Please, no advice about how I'm an ungrateful slob and I need to just fake it 'till I make it kind of thing. I'm trying to be really honest here, about trying and failing. Still trying though. With God's help, we'll deliver a healthy baby in the next month. It might even be a girl!
09 January 2008
Elf tells me he didn't really think about what he was saying while he recited; he just knows it. He can tell you all about what the verse means when he isn't so nervous. What do you think of Emperor's recitation below? Isn't he cute? Usually he is actually MORE squirmy than that though. Frequently when he writes, you're not sure if he is playing Twister or just being goofy. Neither... he's just being Emperor. Elf is much more sedate.
Parents race to escape Germany before the state takes custody of their children for the crime of homeschooling them. I know we've had "discussions" on the board with social workers and other visitors who seem to feel that due process and REAL CHARGES are unnecessary before "investigating," nosing around or stealing children. Let me tell you that this is exactly where it's going to lead, even here in America, if we don't stand up to such bullies.
My child, my right to decide. How difficult is that for people to see?
You don't have to like it. I might not like your teaching evolutionary theory as gospel, or your Buddhist beliefs, or your gay agenda when you tell YOUR child what the world is all about. But it's none of my business, or that of the court, to intervene. And I don't think state-mandated tests are fair "to check progress." How would YOU like for me to mandate your child take a test to see how well he can read the Book of Revelation or the Ten Commandments? How about for tenth-grade science, we make sure he understands the concept the seven days of creation, and what happened on each day? This is the sort of thing that happens when the "majority" opinion dictates what our children hear each day. You might not like that I am not preparing my children for a "multicultural" world with diverse opinions on many issues, and that we (gasp!) don't mention Martin Luther King Jr. at all in our studies. Too bad!
I think despite our opinions on what is taught to homeschoolers and how it's done, we should be very supportive of these families in Germany. I'm glad to be a dues-paying member of the HSLDA knowing that my money is spent defending homeschoolers around the world.
08 January 2008
A neighbour and some nosy social workers get together with a court, and before you know it, they're battering down the front door of a law-abiding citizen and stealing his son. Found this item on Alasandra's blog (http://alasandra2003.blogspot.com/).
They were "concerned" that the child wasn't getting proper medical care after a fall, despite the fact that the father was a paramedic in Vietnam. Now, if it's YOUR kid, go ahead and make your own mistakes with him, medical and otherwise. That's what parenthood is about. I mean, once I let Patrick eat allll the popcorn he wanted at the movies. I learned from that, you know. Or the time I told my older boys that they could stay up as LATE as they wanted playing video games when they had a friend overnight, so long as they were quiet. Well, they were still quiet that morning when I came downstairs...
What happens when we make decisions for others in their parenting and lifestyle choices?? I mean, I'm kinda concerned that *you* aren't spending your money wisely... too bad I can't get a court order to take it from you. Oh, and I don't like how your kid plays with Barbies because it's too objectifying to women. (Plus, Barbie has pretty low morals, what with her boob job and cosmetic surgery, and skimpy clothing!) I think I should complain to the court about your child's mistreatment and they can take her away. Your child, that is. You can keep the Barbie in a plain brown wrapper, please.
I'm sorry, but this is too scary. I hope at least the state paid for the doctor bills for the examination they forced on the child, for the door they destroyed, and for therapy for the boy over the next five years after being ripped from his family so cruelly.
As far as I know, things are pretty much as usual for Patrick. I occasionally get grades sent home by e-mail, and thankfully I almost never get discipline calls on the child. I think the last big problem that we have had was that Patrick wanted to know the entire layout of the school, so he kept nosing in places like janitor's closets and making the staff nervous. The kid just wants to see if there really are any secret passages and what-not. I think the whole school is laid out so weeeeird that it's not implausible. It was actually the scene of an entire Stephen King movie in real life, it's so eerie. Really.
But I guess since Columbine, God forbid children snoop in broom closets. They must be hiding bombs!! I sided with the principal on this, though, because Patrick really does need to be minding his own business and just going to class. They also keep power tools and chemicals in closets that we don't want him touching. The poor principal was about ready to keep Patrick after school if it happened again and show him EVERY ROOM personally so he could get it out of his head, but thankfully Patrick stopped being nosy. But anyway...
G has an EXCELLENT case manager for his IEP this year in seventh grade. Did I tell you he had an excellent one last year, too? I thought life would be awful after elementary school but I've found just the opposite for G. The staff is MORE friendly and MORE concerned for G than they ever were in elementary school. They understand more about his autism and how that affects his studies, or at least they seem ready to learn. There are a few exceptions where teachers and staff get upset about this or that and decide to call me. I have to refer them back to the case manager. Ordinarily it is the parent's place to discipline and set order when a student has a problem in a class. However, if an autistic child is having trouble in school, the person that can help give good pointers or make resources available to the teacher and child is the IEP CASE MANAGER.
No amount of getting upset at the mom is going to solve the child's behaviour in class if it is *primarily* the result of autism. Mom has no clue what the triggers are or how to "amend" or "modify" things at school so that it works for everyone. GO TALK TO THE CASE MANAGER BEFORE YOU CALL THE MOM. Please. It's not me shirking responsibility for my child; it's my trying valiantly to avoid the he-said-she-said thing between teachers, staff, administration and parents. Anything you have to say, talk to the case worker. She is there to coordinate everything and make things run as smoothly as possible. She knows her stuff. Please use her! And, teachers, please take no offense when I call HER instead of YOU when my son has a problem in your class. It's not about you. It's about me advocating for my son with her and SHE will do something that will make YOUR job easier. Really. That's all it is; I'm not trying to get you in trouble or gossip.
I received a call from the case manager yesterday about some modifications we'll put into G's day. I was so excited that these were things I kept yapping about when the child was in fifth grade, but nobody listened to me. Did she look through a file and see me quoted somewhere?? Apparently she got this idea on her own *and,* when she spoke with me, used the same wording I did when I was trying to advocate for my son way-back-when.
I did, however, contact HSLDA about possibly homeschooling G at a later date. Right now, things are working out well (not perfectly, but well). The case manager is on top of things and really trying to get G to do his work in class. However, I'm sure that things might change next year when he moves on to Junior High. I hope not, though, because I would like him to get speech therapy, OT, social skills and all the "good stuff" that would help him if it's possible. I can't imagine running around to all those appointments AND paying for them, but I do need to keep my options open depending on how things go next year.
I'm too busy throwing up at the thought that I've been eating human hair for years. A common ingredient in PIZZA! Iw.
07 January 2008
The smaller children and I went to the fire station to get our car seats switched around. I wanted the tiny baby clip-in seat to be reinstalled, but I couldn't get the other car seat out! The last time the firefighter put in the car seat, you know he did a good job if that thing won't budge despite all my tugging and wriggling.
Now we have our car seats in the right places, and he even fixed the seat that broke while we were there! One of our back seats suddenly reclines on occasion. What a pain, but you can't get more convenient timing than this!!
I can't tell you how GOOD our timing was today. As we were finishing up, a woman with SEXTUPLETS drove in after me and told the firefighter he might be a bit busy with the car seats for a while...
(No, I'm not kidding!)
06 January 2008
Angry Rottweiler pictured. Groups in Maine astounded at the "hate crime" committed by leaving this poster near a Somali-owned store. Attorney General's office and police department investigating this travesty. How dare they post such a thing??
Do you remember the movie "Stand and Deliver?" It was about a fellow who left the business world to become a calculus teacher in an inner-city school. This article details the REAL story behind Jaime Escalante's success with the students in taking AP Calculus tests. It really took a decade, and not a year as implied in the movie, to build a student body ready to take such demanding coursework.
The movie seems to indicate that you can move from basic math to calculus in a few months, but the article shows how Escalante needed the "feeder schools" to do a better job preparing students. Even an amazing teacher can't perform math miracles, after all. I can tell you from personal experience that having a crappy teacher for even ONE YEAR can really have effects, even years down the road. Imagine a whole system of poor preparation. It sounds like the *real story* is how Escalante advocated for higher standards in the lower grades, but perhaps I'm reading too much into the article.
The movie also doesn't tell you that the success of the program made it fail. It attracted the jealousy of other teachers and the ire of union officials. The new principal was unsupportive, and the program collapsed after Escalante's departure.
Inner-city kids are not stupid or lazy or unmotivated, if they're given a real chance. But the laws of supply and demand seem to work against them, particularly given the way schools are a "monopoly" funded by tax dollars. Quote:
Gradillas has an explanation for the decline of A.P. calculus at Garfield: Escalante and Villavicencio were not allowed to run the program they had created on their own terms. In his phrase, the teachers no longer "owned" their program. He's speaking metaphorically, but there's something to be said for taking him literally.
In the real world, those who provide a service can usually find a way to get it to those who want it, even if their current employer disapproves. If someone feels that he can build a better mousetrap than his employer wants to make, he can find a way to make it, market it, and perhaps put his former boss out of business. Public school teachers lack that option.
There are very few ways to compete for education dollars without being part of the government school system. If that system is inflexible, sooner or later even excellent programs will run into obstacles.
How sad that the teachers and "powers that be" couldn't get along and find a solution that worked for the STUDENTS.
05 January 2008
Harry (http://garbanzotoons.blogspot.com/) was kind enough to give me some reasons he finds the Everyday Math Curriculum we are currently using to be lacking. It really helped me as a teacher to know that mostly, my instincts about "how to teach this stuff" were pretty well on the money. And my instinct has been to just teach it as I have been taught. This way I understand what my children are doing with the math and can genuinely help them. I also found the EM method of finding about 20 billion ways to do each problem confusing. They expect little children to think of their OWN ways to solve the problem. I thought perhaps we were a mentally deficient family because none of children jumped up and exclaimed, "Egad! I have just employed an algorithm of my own invention! Observe."
This link gives a review as to why the mathematics program we're employing in our homeschool is considered deficient. The mathematically correct website will REALLY give you some concrete comparisons between curriculum currently used by many schools. Interestingly, Saxon Math and Singapore math are also mentioned.
The reviewers don't review how easy a curriculum is to teach, however. They also don't tell you that in the Everyday Mathematics program, you receive two teacher manuals and a supplement manual on testing, a Masters file you can xerox from, and student journals are included EACH YEAR in the program. This makes for amazing amounts of preparation and confusion if you want to teach it right. You teach from the manual, but they tell you to look at this in this book and that in that book and then hand this out to the students and blah blah blah...
I'm too lazy.
We just work through the worksheets, some of the "Master's sheets," and the assesments. If I don't understand something, I go back to the teacher's manual or better yet, I ask Patrick to explain it for me. He's not only mathematically inclined, but he has been through this program before and is now taking algebra in eighth grade.
I was very glad that Harry wrote because I thought I had been teaching the program rather badly. Most of the "games" require manipulatives I don't have, or several students. They're *supposed* to be very important. I skip most of those, although the game with the pretend money where students buy things we've found to be instructive. I also spend time on flash cards because I am old-fashioned, although it is not specifically recommended in the program.
I find myself spending quite a bit of time on some of the concepts. I had very nearly been driven crazy by the idea that my children must know how to convert fractions in second grade. At least it seems as though the students were expected to do this in some of the worksheets. Back to the teacher's manual... they are doing this for INTRODUCTION! Ughhh. At least when I look at their chart listing of skills that should be at "beginning, developing, or secure" levels, I know not to panic when my children can't seem to master "beginning" concepts.
The teacher's manual is also unhelpful in evaluating a child's progress. When is a child failing? There is NO GUIDELINE. One would almost wonder if the kid warmed a seat for a year, does he go on to class next year?? I have taken the arbitrary but reachable goal of having the children pass assessments with at least 80 percent. The Lifepacs we use for science seem to indicate that that is their minimum passing grade. Obviously if my children don't seem to understand a basic concept, we stop and review as well. But I think 80 percent would at least demonstrate a basic mastery.
In any event, this website is an excellent help to me in reviewing the curriculum. When I am able to purchase my own, I'll have some very good, concrete reviews to look at rather than just a couple testimonials from parents who say a program "worked for them."
Any reader who has stuck with my droning for *this long* will probably also enjoy the various histories of math-teaching in schools the website features. It's written in more scholarly tones, but informative.
A funeral home wants to rent space across from the old people's home. Could be worse. They could have put it next to a hospital instead. Or a McDonald's. Seriously, usually I see them located next to CHURCHES. You make of that what you will.
In real life, it's interesting how fast and low-key these funeral operators really are. We had our neighbour across the street die a few years back, and the fellows came out in a van and picked him up so quickly and quietly you would hardly know what happened. It's not like you see on TV with the ambulances and crying people out on the sidewalk. They're almost like bats... they sneak in quietly, take the body and drive away like it's just a usual thing to have a corpse in the back seat. If you weren't LOOKING FOR them, you wouldn't notice they were there. I think they take Ninja classes or something, and that's why they dress all in black and are so quiet.
04 January 2008
Students are required to sign contracts stating that they must submit to breathalyzer tests if they want to go to "school social events" such as dances. It's a shame that there are some drunken teens out there, but really... the attitude some of the parents have that if the children have nothing to "hide," that there can't be a problem with testing is CHILLING.
I mean, I have nothing to "hide," but I don't want the cops searching through my house. Thanks!
I have nothing to "hide" in my financial dealings, but I don't want YOU seeing my bank statement!
Now, obviously, if a kid shows up at a football game rip-roaring drunk, it's time to call the parents and tell them that they can either miss the rest of the year's social events, or take the test to prove that their obnoxious behaviour is just the result of poor upbringing rather than alcohol. But it would have to be an extreme case for the administration to get involved ideally, wouldn't you think?? You know, the singing, swaying, falling down and barfing on the principal's shoes might be an indicator.
I read that in some public schools, there are now cameras that feed right into the police department! Wow. Now, I'm ok with cameras in the HALLWAYS, entrances and cafeteria at public schools, but I think a live feed to the local PD and a zoom-lens in the restroom is one step too many. And I'm only OK with those cameras I mentioned because they're placed in an obvious way and all the students know they're there. And only because there have been "unfortunate incidents" with intruders.
(An aside: I'd rather the schools quit pretending that they're safe, though. What is the point of the zillion-dollar entrance system, when 'round the back of the school, you've set up trailers for students to attend class and the back door is propped open?? I ask you to consider that one under the file of, "your tax dollars at work.")
I think the balance between having a safe school and protecting the children, and violating their rights as HUMAN BEINGS has been toppled when one hears stories like these. I can't imagine where the teachers would want to work in such an environment either.
03 January 2008
Cell phones make you more likely to slow down on the highway. Given what *I've* seen on the highway in terms of SPEED, you'd think talking on the phone would be a GOOD thing. It gets me scared when people have to dial and swerve at the same time, though.
To quote the article, a psychologist on the research team states that cell phones are certainly a cause of congestion during rush hour. "That S.O.B. on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late."
I think the... person on the cell phone should hang up and drive unless there's some extreme emergency. But I think that because of what I've seen on the roads and the studies out (that seem to agree with what I've seen) stating that the cell users are less aware of their surroundings and sometimes make what are called "poor choices."
But driving slower? Please do, by all means. Everybody acts like a crazy lunatic on the roads, and people like me who insist on going five miles UNDER the speed limit look like the bad guys. They even have reports out about tickets issued for going under the limit... that it's a danger to others!!
Um, if everyone went under the limit like they were SUPPOSED TO, it wouldn't be a problem. Duuuuhh. That's why it's called a speed LIMIT, people, and you're not supposed to go faster than the limit. You know... up to and including, but not over? Maybe we Americans need better math or something so that we understand what a LIMIT is. Or just change the limit and quit pretending that we have sane drivers for crying out loud!