I don't think the case for homeschooling is made very effectively in the video above from this website. For one thing, did you see the argument that somehow because a child may be in public education many more hours per week than in Sunday School, that the odds of the child becoming a strong Christian are absolutely terribly low? Last I checked, I serve a god who can do all things. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm going to send my kid to the local Wiccan private school (how many of those are there?), help him with his spell-casting homework and assume that he's going to do great things for God. I'm convinced that what is being taught in public education is not always the most godly and edifying, and since I have a few brain cells, I can figure that out without someone trying to scare me with images of Columbine and Nazi Germany. I think homeschooling is wonderful. I think you ought to try it if you're even remotely inclined. Tell your kids they'll never have to go to school again if it works out, if you can get X amount of work done per year and be a team. See what they think. But... I just can't see myself throwing up the ol' pic of Adolf Hitler saluting everybody in the background while I talk to you about that. But maybe I'm being too harsh. Your opinion?
31 December 2008
30 December 2008
Elf, meanwhile, is just amazed at the entire idea. I think I need to allow "outrage" or "horror" time during all social studies lessons with this child. The slave thing got him upset when he was littler, though it took a while to convince him that it wasn't something I made up. Even then, he thought perhaps just as HE needs someone to look after him, and HE needs to work... is that how it was? No, the slavemasters didn't exactly love and care for the slaves while they grew up or anything like that. And then... oh, I had to explain a little to him. It isn't fun to bust a kid's "the world is fair" bubble.
Recently, Elf cried about the babies that died on the Trail of Tears. He thought about it for quite some time before deciding that they should have fought back and WORSE, he was mad that the white people wanted the land so they could run plantations.
Now he is horrified by the idea that people would be entertained by watching people fighting to the death in the arena. This is probably because he doesn't watch television except for a few carefully-screened movies. Perhaps the most violent thing he has seen in the last few months was Tinky-Winky falling down or Noo-Noo spilling custard. (Woodjie is constantly watching Teletubbies, and we only have one disk. This is not a series I want a whole collection of... but... I might have to rethink that thought soon enough if this keeps up. "Uh ohhh... Naughty Noo noo.")
The boys did get a bit livened by the idea of what the Romans would think if all their Pokemon characters could go into the arena and which Pokemon would best fight a gladiator in full gear. I think they've decided on "Palkia" for the time being. My very favourite is Jigglypuff. He's so cute. Apparently the little Pokemon characters don't quite die... they "faint" and get captured. I find little Pokemon guys about near their playskool castle and little swords and shields left lying about. I think little one-square Legos and tiny swords are about the male equivalent of Barbie shoes. I think, to use their term, it's "super-effective" in tripping parents.
29 December 2008
28 December 2008
(All it takes is one misunderstanding, or someone withdrawing money from your account without permission, to rack up big dollars in overdraft charges at $35 to $50 each, depending on which checks you wrote where. And then good luck clearing that up. You know, that whole thing never made sense. You have no money in your account, so to penalize you, they're going to charge you more money that you don't have? Wouldn't it be better to pay a "bank deposit" kind of like an apartment deposit before you begin if this is the way it's going to be? Could you imagine your life's goal being to get to that ZERO on your bank statement? In the old days, you'd starve with some dignity or sell yourself into slavery or whatever other groovy options they had back then. You wouldn't have to show up at the food bank in your Mercades Benz and feel like an idiot that you bought one of those things because now you can't sell it for what you owe on it, might as well keep it while you eat that rice...)
Ok. So... has anyone else noticed that when you receive bills, you no longer have about a two-week period before it becomes due? Seems like by the time you GET the bill, you'd better have that checkbook and stamp ready or ELSE. I have the money in my account (by the grace of God), and I have a checkbook and some stamps, but gracious if I let my bill go for a week, I get hit with all kinds of charges. One month I charged $15 on a credit card. Then we got a $15 "finance" or late charge or something else that next month because it arrived there two days "late."
D says that I need to get my crap together. Well, he doesn't say that because he hates the word "crap," but he means that. He says if you owe the company money, they want their money RIGHT NOW. Fiiine. I wish I could pay a deposit or something and shut everybody up for a bit. I pay my bills every two weeks. I hate opening a bill and seeing a "due date" not ten days away. People go on vacation. People get sick. Life happens.
Do I need to say this again... I have the money. Paying back isn't the issue. I feel like these companies are trying to force me into online bill pay because it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of all this stuff.
Was I on top of all this stuff years before and just having six children throws me a little? And how can I blog but not get my bills done?
I think it's all those little bits of paper and then finding the stamp and stuff. They want the account number written on everything. There are confusing directions. Lots of little "sign here for this thing I'm trying to trick you into" boxes or "check here to give your life savings to us" and I have to read that carefully. Sometimes I even find myself doing strange things like writing "June 23, 1984" on checks. GAH! Then I have to void the check and start again. (1984???) I hate to think of how scatterbrained I am that this happens to me. But I hate to think of "online bill pay" and how companies could take advantage of my scatterbrainied-ness and make things worse than they already are.
And have you read your bills lately? Seems there is some sort of "city extortion tax" and whatnot on all of them. "County fees" or whatever. Ok. I just pay them whatever they ask, but I have a feeling that I'm getting gypped somewhere. :]
27 December 2008
26 December 2008
"I was at an appointment today and as I was sitting in the waiting area, I unfortunately got to observe a grandma with her grandchild. This grandma was probably around 45-50 and had her grandson sitting with her while mom was taking care of something. I saw her son reach over to push my daughter's play stroller. He was probably 2 years old. The grandma snatched him up, spanked him, and started calling him a "faggot". All for pushing a stroller. Then he started to cry and she kept calling him a sissy over and over. Then she said she was going to tell daddy what a sissy and faggot he was. Good grief! She just kept yelling, "shut up! Shut up! Shut up!"
You know, I never know what to say or do when stuff like that happens. Once, I was in a thrift store and an EXTREMELY naughty little boy was pulling racks down and upending displays.
Have you ever just thought to yourself, my goodness, that kid needs a good smack?
Well, just as I was thinking that, Grandma reached for a WIRE HANGER and thwacked that kid like you wouldn't believe several times on the backside. But heyyy, he behaved after that.
Times like Christmas you always wonder about those poor little kids and what the day is like for them. The kid I saw would be about 20 now. I hope that the child Virginia met has much love and hope at home with his parents, and that Grandma is a rare visitor. These little two-year-olds, you know, do actually grow up to become fathers. Stroller-pushing is an important skill that I value in my husband when we're walking and I'm faced with a large hill.
Well, and for that matter, I'd still love my kids even if they were the biggest "faggots" in the universe. GOOD GRIEF some people need a good smack. And it isn't the kid. I can't imagine myself ever waving a pink triangle flag or wearing a rainbow shirt at a rally, but wow. Those "faggots" (ugh, what a term!) are someone's brothers, children and fathers. They're people. BTW so are those stupid "fundies," too. I read on some atheist website about how they should all be nailed to their little Christmas trees during the yuletide season.
Ahhh. I'm feeling the tolerance.
So, I'm just imagining those parents on a bad day... When their kid pushes someone else's stroller. "You stupid fundie, I'm going to tell your dad what a stupid fundamentalist Christian pig you are... Shut up, shut up, shut up! Intolerant little bible-thumper!"
24 December 2008
23 December 2008
Ok, I'll tell you, Elf. It's a book about dirt! (I'm thinking I'll give him a silly answer, he'll figure out I'm joking, and that'll be the end of it, right!??)
OH BOY!!! Emperor, we're getting a book about DIRT!!!!
Emperor wants to know if it comes with dirt, like in a book and kit set.
Sigh. Um, no. I didn't really get you any books about dirt. I just got the dirt.
Emperor wants to know if it has worms in it he can play with.
Um, no. I didn't really get the dirt. I was going to just give you a shovel and you can get it yourself. (WHEN is he going to realize I'm kidding with him??!)
OH BOY!!! Elf says. Well, how are we going to dig in the dirt right now because it's snowy and cold...?
Um, I'm going to just lock you outside 'till spring. Then you can come back in after you get the dirt and worms and stuff. So of course then the children have to ask me what they're going to eat out there...?
I'm NOT TELLING you guys what you are getting for Christmas. It isn't dirt, it isn't worms, and it isn't even a book about dirt!!! You will find out on Christmas!
Elf is sort of disappointed, because he said he would have enjoyed a book about dirt. Now I have had to promise him that I will check out a book about dirt from the library next time I go. These children! I was trying to explain about all the latitude and longitude lines on the globe, and now we're stuck. Emperor really needs to know who made all that up and what they use it for and when the earth turns if the lines get messed up.
I'm so tempted to tell him that the lines get smudged in the ocean or that sometimes airplanes get tangled in them. But the dirt thing I guess was enough for one day.
22 December 2008
21 December 2008
I mean, if I'm typing, "Yay for Pugsly's graduation!" or some such thing that doesn't need a back-and-forth, I'll get 50 other people writing "GO Pugsly" and all their followups wind up in my inbox or whatever. Which, I guess is fine, except I might not know these other 50 friends and was just kinda saying yay for Pugsly and not really caring about the other 50 people's input on the matter, especially when you consider that I might get 300 emails a day at that rate.
This was a comment I wrote a long time ago, and because of the nature of what I'm discussing I'm not going to link. I just want to see what people who read *my* blog think about it.
The post was about bullying in public schools and how some kids get away with it. Oh, especially those nasty special-needs kids. And what kind of icky special needs do you have to deal with in your classroom...? oh, and how outrageous is this or that you had to deal with in your class. You know, kind of a public school teacher commisseration kind of thing. And some of those stories were really crummy. (As were some of the attitudes of the people living with the crummy situations.)
One was about a student who had a behaviour problem and everyone knew it. And the teacher was expected to just deal with it somehow and good luck. Oh, no aide for this lady, either. You have to feel for her. Meanwhile, Mom's calling in to the school and upset about little Prunella's problem with this or that and how the teacher could have handled it better.
Which, you know, maybe she could've. I wasn't there. Not that I'm going to say that because um, when was the last time I got upset with my own kids and didn't do things perfectly? Hm? And here of course, the administration backs up Prunella's mom, the teacher is supposed to be somehow perfect in her administration of justice with 35 kids in her class while trying to teach. It saves the district money that way, ya know. There's also that idea that you *only* need to keep your cool for, what? Ten hours a day or so? You can lose it on your own time at home with your own kids.
Anyway. The gist of the post was that bullying needs to stop! We need more anti-bullying programs and we need to kick the bullies into detention, etc... Which, you know, would really be *great* if you're the teacher. Then the special-needs kid or child with the behaviour disorder who was messing up not only your day but the 35 other kids in your class, is gone! Poof and no more problem!
But I just wrote FWIW that the bullies aren't always other students, and for that matter, kicking out "problem" children doesn't help the kid with the "problem"... what to do about that? And sometimes the bullies are teachers, and I wondered aloud what kind of programs are in place for that? It sure seems like every week there is a new program out dealing with bullying between students. One of the cornerstones of those seems to be making OTHER STUDENTS feel safe in reporting problems. I mean, we can talk about kids like they get three strikes and you're out... implementing programs and this and that, but I'm thinking that if you're talking about empowering kids to make changes in their classes that's a big area that isn't addressed AT ALL. The teachers. And how to report bullying teachers.
Well, I returned later to see what others had to say ... What do you think they said?
I got ignored.
Are you surprised?
But then I figured it was just shop talk between public ed teachers mostly so that's kewl too, I suppose. Though I've seen some retired teachers and private-school teachers looking like they were welcome enough. But I hope that unless someone's condescending and rude, that I would *welcome* comments from teachers and about anybody else and not get all cliquish if it were my blog. I mean, I run an unapologetically a mostly Christian homeschool blog, but door's open and coffee is on for anyone who wants to lounge around and be friendly kind of place.
(Snotty people, I'm not so nice with. If you don't like that, go get your own blog. And have a nice day, ok? God bless you in your search for a new bridge to hide under-- oh, I mean-- a new blog title.)
I went back and re-read my post to make SURE that I wasn't coming across as nasty or impolite. Looked in the sidebars to see if there were a "this blog is for teachers only" type of disclaimer. Ah well. Maybe it was just the message (some teachers aren't perfect and maybe a few are even abusive?? maybe??) that wasn't popular.
So. Maybe I should just ask people who read what the "solution" (or as close as you can get to one?) would be for bullying in public school. I'm also going to include teachers, administrators, and other staff such as bus drivers into the mix. Hey, it's my blog. This blog is for, um, for "people who can say nice things in the comment section, or at least disagree nicely."
There you go. I'm ready to hear it!
20 December 2008
Do you really believe all that stuff about God? I hope you care enough about people to tell them the truth when it's unpalatable. I hope you risk losing a friend and letting someone think you're crazy. You know... I fall short in this area a lot, but I hope not to be a "secret" Christian. I don't force the Jesus conversation every five minutes with friends who don't seem to be believers, but I hope other people I come into contact with can tell that at least I'm imagining really hard that Jesus is right here watching me. Hat tip: Holy Coast blog.
19 December 2008
I've got to say that gay advertising isn't the first thing I think of when I think of Campbell's Soup. I use it in all my tuna casseroles, and Elf would be doing the dance of celebration if we started boycotting the stuff. :]
18 December 2008
"... but the teacher had said 'no questions now.' The child raised his hand again and the teacher then sent him to the safe seat for 'being disruptive.' When he got sat down in the safe seat he asked if she would answer his question now. This got him sent straight to the “Buddy Room” where he was told to sit down and do his work, but he said he couldn’t do the work because he still had that question about it, whereupon he was sent to the “Recovery Room” (my note: read this as "closet") where he said he didn’t even know why he was there since he didn’t do anything (of course by this time he is indignant since all he had done was try to ask a legitimate question about his math lesson)."
(OK, this kid was transferred from another school and didn't realize that he needed to just shut up and show "respect" to get by. He had no clue and the escalation by this point probably has him more than a *little* angry, scared and traumatized!)
"So he got sent to the vice principal for being a wise guy. The principal ended up calling in the parents and sending the kid home. So in this case the poor kid gets put through the entire discipline system and the parents get called in just because the teacher wouldn’t answer his question and refused to simply ignore his raised hand until the appropriate time for questions."
Yeah, well, as long as the kid learned to show respect for the teacher, eh? At least that day, I suppose she reigned supreme. It's entirely possible the kid was sassy during math class, but does he need to get locked into a closet as a result?? One aspect of the BIST program that really bothers me is that they literally go through all the steps in reverse until your child can go back to class. So from the "recovery room" (closet), he'd go to the "Buddy room," which is another class, where your child would work on a "Think sheet" (coerced confession... sometimes your kid is guilty and sometimes he's not, but he WILL confess!). Then he will speak with and apologize to the teacher and talk about how things will "look next time." That is, how HE is responsible for the problem, takes ownership and responsibility, and makes positive changes the next time the problem comes up before it escalates.
Yeah. Sounds like a program you want for YOUR local public school, eh?
I came across this book while doing a little internet browsing on the "Trail of Tears." I checked it out of the library because the cover was so pretty, it seemed to be on my children's reading level, and it was a true storybook.
It doesn't seem to have won any major illustration or writing awards, and I'm not sure why. The pictures are just captivating. This little girl is drawn so beautifully. Priscilla is drawn with distinctly African slave features, even down to the rag on her head, but without looking like a caricature picture. The flowers through the book were cheerful and symbolic.
I think you'll love this book.
Even if you're all grown up, do check this one out sometime. She's born a slave and her "master" sold her mother. She was mistreated, but later bought by a Cherokee family and taken on the Trail of Tears. She comes across a white man she had met earlier when he had visited her "master." This man paid a large sum of money ($1,000 in gold!) to buy her freedom.
What's more, he ADOPTED her and loved her as his other children. I was very touched by this idea that her biological mother was still alive and probably wondering what happened to her baby. But that at the same time, through all her hard times, Priscilla understood that her mother would have wanted her to be happy and she embraced her new family. And grew flowers from the seeds of those her mother left.
Check out this book! I think I'll be reading it several times before I return it.
17 December 2008
16 December 2008
And I find it repugnant.
I might not be the brightest person on the planet, but I know a code word when I see it. If you were to tell me that "test scores vary widely according to socioeconomic status," this is what I'd really hear:
"Poor white trailer trash and black inner-city folks are worthless. They sure do crappy on tests! Especially if they're getting welfare; those lazy parents! It's part of their culture! Ick if you have to go *teach* those people..."
Go read a fair few education blogs written by anonymous teachers and see if I'm not right. Only thing worse than dealing with one of those poor kids is dealing with kids with (double ick) special needs kids.
It bothers me. Maybe I shouldn't "hear" that when I hear the words "socioeconomic status." If you use the term, you know that technically one can have a "socioeconomic status" of really, really rich. Maybe I should just hear the clucking "concern" behind the words "socioeconomic status," and how all differences can be alleviated by a federal program or whatever else is going to de-stupify the masses. Ok, I can't see this attitude as anything but class-ist.
Just keeping track of that stuff is plain old wrong, IMO. Just like keeping track of the different races and who's doing well where on those school test scores. (Note that nowhere do they want WHITE children to catch up with Asians in math... why isn't that seen as racist? Hm?) You can't tell me that when people hear that certain races don't perform as well as others on a test, that it doesn't translate into certain types of schoolchildren feeling a little disenfranchised... Not that I blame anyone for feeling that way. I'm in a lower socioeconomic bracket myself. Duh me ain't smart enough to be rich. AND I've also seen these same statistics on websites asking for donations to ensure "racial purity." Isn't that nice of them to include those for us all? Awwww... that just warms the heart.
Say "socioeconomic status" and I hear people separated into haves and have-nots. The soft bigotry of stupid expectations. Somehow, somebody in an office somewhere drew a dollar line in the sand. People on one side usually do well. People on the other side don't.
At least, that's what they tell us. Not that I'm paranoid that the unions and powerbrokers aren't above manipulating figures to suit their own political agendas. I mean, how many dollars a year do you figure Jesus's parents earned? He was kinda on the low end of the totem pole, but was somehow able to be like, really really smart. One of those "innate ability" things. I'm one of those people who think, generally speaking, that those with determination and innate ability get very far. Well, Jesus just didn't come to earth to retire rich, so you know I don't mean just money.
Have you ever heard of Frederick Douglass? This guy had to be one of the smartest people of his century. Born a slave. He wrote about how he learned to read... how determined he was to get an education for himself. Nowdays, kids like that are stuck in crummy schools and can't wait until they get out. I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I just think maybe labelling people and leaving them in tight little boxes is unhelpful.
I'm starting to think it's just another way of asking for more money, money that the parents who LOVE these children won't get to decide how to use. Meanwhile superintendents make lots of money and tell us to build more of these "state of the art" high-tech schools. Do the parents get direct input into the curriculum? I mean, bring curriculum samples to the tables and then have the parents VOTE at the end of the school year which will be used in September. And give real choices. I dare ya. I'm so sick of hearing about the stupid "show me standards" that I could barf. Teach the kids to read and write, do basic mathematics and not charge too much on the credit card. Just teach the last one and maybe we'd have a lot less heartache in the world.
What do you think? Maybe I'm just reading too much John Adams.
15 December 2008
I told the pastor's wife today that I'll work next Sunday in the nursery. I'm scheduled, so I'll show up. But don't put me down for January. You know, I started working once a month there and I thought that would help me advocate for Woodjie a bit... the things he needs to be ok there. I'm finding, though, that my other children need me at the same time.
Maybe I need to quit trying the whole thing. Maybe I am just a hypocrite. Maybe that's it.
You see, I try to be a Christian and act "Christian." Try to train my kids to do the same thing. Part of me thinks that if you are a Christian, you are necessarily a "hypocrite" because no way you're always doing those things you know are right... not being perfect and all. And while I would never want to have someone accept my sin or anybody else's, I'd want someone to accept me the way I am and where I am, trying to do better.
It's a strange concept. On the one hand, "the church" should look different than "the world." On the other, when we go to church as we are... imperfect and bumbling and doing stupid rotten things, repenting of them, and then doing the same stupid rotten thing again because duh I don't know why... we want to be loved and accepted. Then we get mad at other people because THEY're imperfect and not accepting us where we are. Well, what a cycle.
Now, you know that Emperor is a bit... bouncy. And that Elf is autistic. Emperor told me yesterday morning that he HATES church and doesn't want to go again. He started crying and told me every time he goes, he gets into trouble for something. And you know, on the one hand, he sure deserves it. I KNOW the kid. I know how annoying he can be. On the other, if he's in trouble every week he goes, how's that helping him associate "church" with love and acceptance? Ok, but then again, we shouldn't bend all the rules just so that Mama's precious snowflake gets his way (if you read FARK you know what I mean).
But here we are. He doesn't want to go. We arrived at church with the idea that he'd sit with me in "big church" and not go to "children's church." At the last minute, he told me he'd like to go with the other kids. He can behave!
Not five minutes later, I get called in. Emperor has destroyed an entire air hockey table by leaning on it. In the chaos and broken pieces everywhere, Pastor T wanted everyone to SIT DOWN so they'd be out of the way. Well, Elf tells him, you are *not* the boss of me, and when I got downstairs, Elf was parading in front of all the other children. Just to show how independent he was. Emperor was on the "safe seat" crying. Bleh. Elf proclaims before all that he has rights, and small people should have the same rights as big people, and he doesn't have to obey pastor T. (Um, yes, he does, unless Pastor T was asking the kid to murder somebody or something like that. Not likely to happen... don't you know church is not supposed to be that exciting?? LOL Bummer deal, being in New Testament times. But this hereby signifies the END of our reading the Constitution, at least for a while. Someone's getting ideas.)
I think the worst part is having to listen to the pastors try to explain things. I never know what to say. There is nothing to say that will make things better. They are trying to help Elf and Emperor be a part of the class. I am trying to find a balance between letting them go be like the other kids and having them never see other kids at all. This is the only place they see other kids their age.
And changing churches won't help. I'm learning something. The problem is us.
Crap, there I've confessed it. The problem is us. And no matter how hard we try or pray, it's never going to get better. Barring a miracle, my children will always be "weird." We will always be "that family." Bless them, but no one ever says anything nasty to us. I just feel that way right now. I can't imagine tales of Emperor busting an entire air hockey table will go untold to the lead pastor and every family who has a kid in Children's Church... well, that's about everybody. And everybody else will probably figure it out.
I don't know what the bill is going to be for this. D says Emperor is paying him back every last penny if it takes him years. I am thinking that if I could somehow guarantee that social services would never take my kids away for lack of social contact with others, we'd just stay home and forget it. The benefit vs. cost ratio to "talking with people outside your family" is just too great. (If you've seen the Godfather movie, you have witnessed this principle in action, if in a bit of an extreme way. You just never discuss family business outside the family. I have a pseudonym so I guess I can blog about it, though. I'm not understanding the Facebook people. Maybe they have nothing to hide?)
13 December 2008
When Rose is happy, she makes this sound. Do you think it is like a purring cat? Or more like a Star Trek tribble? She likes to talk when she is happy. Sometimes she will imitate clicking sounds or "dah-dah-dah, bah-bah-bah" kinds of things. She likes soft toys and Cheerios.
12 December 2008
11 December 2008
"GUARDS!!" yells the man. "GUARDS!!"
There are just some viewpoints you're not allowed to have in some places.
A blog I frequent had a rather interesting explosion of comments of late about the evils of homeschooling. You know, the usual "party line" about parents who teach their children "hate," or worse yet, creationism. I'm sure you *must* teach your children hate if you homeschool. I mean, that's number one on my list. I wake the kids up at 5:30 in the morning for the "Anti-Gay Hitler Pledge" (tm). This is soon followed by "Racist Bible Reading 101," in which I insert commentary on the sin of Caanan, relate it to slavery, or... well, something. Then it's followed by a rousing rendition of "Jesus loves the little children of the world... white and white and white and white, they are precious in His sight..." Then the kiddos are chained to my kitchen table and fed dog food on the floor while they pick lice off one another for the rest of the day.
Well, anyway. I hope that was silly enough for ya. I started to run out of creative ideas toward the end there.
But homeschoolers must have *something* to hide. Otherwise, why wouldn't you send your child into the local public school? Public schools are for the benefit of all children! You really do everyone a disservice if you pull your children out and educate them separately. You are not working for new America.
Hey, go ahead and keep your kids in public school if you like. I have a couple older ones at the junior high, myself. Free country. Whatever. But why can't I pull my children out without being accused of working against poor kids who depend on these schools? Or of being isolationist? Or anti-American?
Oh, that last one gets me. I kinda thought this was the land of the free and all that. But since I am not working for new America, "change," or whatever buzzword has come down the pike lately (and some of 'em are funny!), I must be pretty much running an abusive Christian Madrassa from my home. Yeah, that's it. And how are the poor little children going to be cared for if they can't be watched over by certified teachers every day?
I just think it's silly.
And of course I have an agenda with my children! You betcha. But... so do the public schools. That's the nature of education, you see. Oh, and while I'm on the subject, I have to tell you a story.
I was looking around on the internet for some stuff about pandas and China. I think next month or so we'll take a break and do pandas for science and China for social studies. It'll be fun. I have about 40 books (no exaggeration!) on reserve at the library. Worksheets galore from the internet! See what happens when I get pestered by a little Emperor to learn about pandas? And his really good reason for studying them? "Because they're so cute I need to find out more." Awww.
But back to topic. I was looking up some things to print out about China and came across a really neat study on the subject. I'm not going to do the whole thing. I'm free to eat the meat and leave the bones and all that. I have no plans to read aloud about how the whites in America are "racist" for believing that Chinese workers were taking their jobs. (Yes, there is racism. Do I need to label everyone who's afraid for his job as a "racist?" Huh? It has parallels to today, you know.) I'm going to do some of the "calligraphy" with magic marker, though. I enjoyed reading some of the background details.
I thought it was an interesting study, so I went to the school's web page to find out a little bit about their grade level standards. Do you know what the NUMBER ONE standard is when considering what to teach a child about music or art? Did you say "music has notes" or "colour wheel" or anything like that? Did you? Racist.
The number one goal for teaching music and art is that the child identifies "anti-bias and anti-discriminatory" behaviours. Yes. It is the number one goal, folks. Now, will those of you who think homeschoolers ought to be tested each year to see if kids meet a "state standard" please admit that sometimes, juuuust sometimes, the standards are a bit wacky? Just a little?
I mean, not that I want my kids cussing and using derogatory and bigoted language all the time. I'm just saying that it isn't my number one music class goal, ya know?
10 December 2008
09 December 2008
My husband pulled me aside while I was folding laundry. You know about what Patrick is doing at school, right? The "Secret Santa?" Um, no. But it looks like all the children have had their names exchanged in some sort of "Secret Santa" drawing. You're supposed to give small, inexpensive gifts to your secret pal all week. That's fine. Whatever.
But do you know what he's giving? he asks. And he told me. Now I kinda think Patrick has been taking the idea of "small, inexpensive gifts" to a new level.
You know, he has already started a business of picking up dropped pencils throughout the school and selling them for a dime each to forgetful students. He trash-can dives at the end of the last school day of the year and picks up about 500 notebooks halfway-used. Halfway broken binders, bent up and frazzled at the edges. Well, you get the idea. He's kind of the walking junk man at the school and people I suppose feel sorry for him and buy used pencils from the boy. He made somewhere between $20 and $25 all told through the course of the year by doing this, though.
Anyway... suffice to say Patrick is a little socially not-so-adept. He actually is on some YouTube video other kids shot of him, and the comments all over about how nerdy he is, how silly...
Poor guy, but at least it's not nekkid pics in the gym or anything. Not that that would be possible because the child will not let anyone see his legs. He wraps himself in a towel while undressing IN THE SHOWERS. OK, he's eccentric. I mean, *really* eccentric. No one can touch his plates or breathe near him eccentric.
But the "Secret Santa" gifts. Do you know what he's giving?
Specially selected halfway used pencils he's found on the floor all year. Broken erasers. AH! But the big present finale is coming up soon... Patrick has found some very worn bendy snowmen he received from his Secret Santa two years ago to give. Yes, he has. The wires are probably sticking out in a couple of places and the paint is very nearly gone on most of the edges.
Now he's hurt that I've taken him aside and criticised his gifts. Aargh. But the poor girl. And his "Secret Santa" has been giving him cheap gifts, but at least relevant. You know, seasonal snowman keychain kind of things.
D has begun work on a leather bracelet with Patrick to present to this girl later. I sure hope she likes it, and it makes up for um, his previous gift-giving efforts. Oh, boy, I hope they get this done on time.
Is something racist just because the person telling the joke is a racist? Or is it NOT racist because it's endorsed by a gen-u-ine member of that minority group?
I'd tend to think of the picture as being racist. Then again, I've been wrong *so* many times and need a friend to tell me, um, the chicken thing? That's racist. Maybe better not post that next time... And I appreciate that!
But I posted the last picture of the presidents to get some discussion going. It's a very touchy topic. How do you know if something's racist? Is it only when presented with some level of hate? Ridicule?
Recently, I was reading on the news where people are supposed to call in "gay" to work. Could you imagine the conversations that would ensue?
"Hi, Madge. It's Joey. I can't come to work today because I'm gaaaaaay."
"Um, Joey...? What does being gay have to do with selling shoes? Because I'm bisexual. Should I take just half a day off, and listen to show tunes only in the afternoon?"
OK, anyway. I think, despite my differences of opinion with members of the "gay community," that doggone it, they can sell shoes or whatever as well as anyone else. And you know what? I don't know any gay people to back this up, but I'm thinking the lisping and great decorating thing is probably a stereotype, too. Or maybe gay men don't go 'round having 18 kids and just have more time to blow dry their hair. Maybe all men like that, and just the gay guys have time for that. I dunno. Just guessing. All 94 of you gay guys who read my blog every day for the snarky homeschool humour feel free to comment. :p
But there have been times where I have needed some explanation on "why" things are offensive, or the symbols behind stuff. I think all of us are not above correction. But I also think passing around a pic of some dude in a sombrero as being "next in line" for the presidency might be pushing it a little. Am I allowed an opinion if I'm white?
I think a while back I posted a horrible rap video. It had black ladies writhing about in slinky outfits, all smeared up with makeup. Black men in chains and doing those jerky hand motions. BIG gold things all over their hands. Grills on the teeth. I wrote that surely, surely this must be some awful joke against the Obama campaign that the singers would be "votin' Obama way." But wow. I got comments informing me that no, people really mean that. Bad grammar and all.
So do we get the stereotype from people like that? I can't imagine that such gyrations are indicative of "the black experience." I have known black folks in college with *perfect* diction who do things like play lacrosse and drive BMWs. Well, sure, some of them were adopted into white families and didn't get along with the militant black folks on campus, but still. You *can't* play the stereotype game with anyone and expect to win. Everyone is different. :]
I guess I'm writing that I don't know when to get outraged. I know how upset a certain man I knew from Africa would get at Kwanzaa and black people dressing up as though they were from Africa. They are NOT FROM AFRICA, he would vehemently declare. They are AMERICANS, pretending to come from Africa.
Well, you go ahead and have that opinion, but I don't think I'd have been brave enough to march down to the "Black Culture House" on campus and proclaim it.
And as for the picture of the obviously Mexican guy "next in line" for the presidency? I just wrote Catherine that I'd vote for him if his politics are right. I suppose that's all that comes down to when I'm selecting a politician. What do you think?
08 December 2008
G and I made sugar-cookie candy canes by twirling red and regular dough together into a candy cane shape. Elf, Emperor and I made "Rudolph kisses" from chocolate kisses wrapped in dough and dipped into powdered sugar while still hot. They don't look like much, but I had to tell Elf that not even the elves at the Keebler factory could top those cookies! Especially when they're warm right out of the oven.
It's true that God looks at your heart, but it isn't true that you can't tell what's on the inside by looking on the outside. If what's on the inside is pure and godly, it's going to show on the outside. What's on the outside needs to reflect God and His holiness. His righteousness.
So don't be strumpeting about in the wrong things here, ladies. If you think you can cut your hair ONE INCH and see the Kingdom of God, you are sorely mistaken. If you think you can wear those tight shirts and pants and make it when I'm not looking, it won't happen. God raises a standard in the book of Leviticus that you're not supposed to be wearing men's apparel and you're sure not supposed to be inciting lust.
And the TV. Do you think you can go to heaven for ONE MINUTE when that thing is in your house? Get rid of the hellivision and quit compromising. You can't serve God and "the world."
I decided shortly after hearing that sermon that I just wasn't cut out to be a Christian. Well, not AS Christian as they are there, anyway. I guess I'm a "carnal" Christian. A rebellious Christian. In short, I'm an American first, I suppose, because I resist the leading of the Man of God. I'm independent. I mean, if the pastor is "anointed of God" and spoke truth from the pulpit... and here I'm not in agreement with him, I'm in rebellion and backslidden. I have not been "convicted by the Holy Ghost" that I need to wear dresses only. I have been stiffnecked and refused this "revelation" and not only that, I don't attend Wednesday, Tuesday and Sunday nights as well as the morning service that could last until 2 p.m. Yes, it's true. I mostly live "in the world." Therefore, I'm pretty worldly. The pants alone should tell you that! How discouraging.
You know, with thoughts like this, I'm thinking I might as well go fornicate, do drugs and um... go parachuting or something. Well, whatever. D doesn't attend church (I know, you're shocked) and in his words, "What? Is God going to send me to Hell TWICE or something?"
So might as well have fun.
But how discouraging. Could you imagine growing up in this church? You have to ask the pastor before you buy a car or date a girl or whatever. If you live like this long enough, it's NORMAL. Everyone outside this way of living is "of the world." They're worldly. It all starts with that pair of pants, lady. Do you know how long eternity is? Do you want to take that chance and stray "off the path?"
I guess I'm there. Even if I haven't been fornicating, done a bunch of drugs or gone parachuting, my very salvation is like, totally over because I'm not obedient to the Man of God and the church.
You know, it's very interesting...
Have you noticed that before people get saved, folks in this church want to tell you that salvation is a FREE GIFT and you don't have to do anything to earn it? You just do this ABC thing, or maybe say this prayer and get baptized, or whatever the formula may be in a particular denomination. They LOVE YOU! They're worried about you. Can they give you a ride to church next week? Would you like a free Bible study? Did you need some bread? Because Sarah has three extra loaves from her work at the bakery...
Then after a while...
Well, then after a while you start to realize something.
Salvation isn't really free. You'd better shape up if you want to continue being accepted by this "family." And do you think God is cool with that word you said last Tuesday? And we need volunteers for Sunday School. We should all be doing "God's work," and hang on while the pastor cracks open that book of Proverbs... or better yet, Revelation! ... and tell you about it.
That's a cult. I'm sorry to say it. It might be a Christianish cult, but it's a cult. In the book of Galatians, it's clearly outlined how to deal with a believer who is "caught in a sin."
(Outsiders? Non-believers? God's spirit has to convict 'em because they're spiritually blind. No amount of chatting about it is going to do any good unless God supernaturally uses that chat to DO SOMETHING in that person's life. Hm. Which I guess is possible, but I think honestly prayer accomplishes a bit more. Maybe I'm wrong. Not to say I don't chat with people anyway, but that's more because I like to chat. And share cookies.)
Galatians 6:1 doesn't tell people who are "spiritual" to preach at people and browbeat them into submission. It says to restore them gently while watching THEMSELVES so they're not tempted to fall into the same sin.
And you know what? I've seen preaching against sin in other churches, and I think the difference between this church and a True church is that the preaching is done in humility and with that idea of coming alongside others as an equal and not The Man of God with all the answers. The feeling you get when someone at least TRIES to care for you and understands that we're all in this together.
Another thing? I think that the people listening to the preaching need the same spirit toward the pastor and the people sitting in the next aisle. Which I'm not always good at but trying to cultivate. Ok, I'm crappy sometimes. Didya just hear me cuss?
This church I'm attending right now is very strange. Daja, you'd be happy to hear that the pastor thinks women should be preachers and evangelists just like men. He has some verses to back it up, too. Since he knows fluent Hebrew AND Greek, I can't really argue with him. I know I'll look stupid if I do.
Another strange thing is that, when you ask the pastor what you HAVE to do after your salvation prayer to stay saved, the answer is "nothing." That's it. I'm sure there are lots of good things we SHOULD do, but I've never had this pastor tell me which car to buy or what movies to see. I think if I did something obviously wrong and way "out there," I might receive some advice to be taken or left. And I do think there's a time to kick a member out if there is unrepentant, outright flagrant sin. But if it has happened at my church, I haven't seen it. No "disfellowshipping" someone from the pulpit here.
I haven't seen that nasty spirit in this place. I see problems. I see people who could do better, including myself. Sure, I see hypocrisy. Probably because I see people striving for a standard that is so perfect we're going to come up short. A lot.
The church at the beginning of the blog post? Well, suffice to say things didn't turn out so well for the pastor who preached these things. I wish him and his family the best after he repents of his own sin. I really do. But there have been many people hurt along the way. Many lives shattered. I think the people I feel the most for are the children who grew up there. Now that things have soured, and their ideas of "who God is" were so connected to that one church... well, God Himself has to heal those things. I'm praying that will happen and soon.
In the end I guess it doesn't matter much where you go to church. But there ARE many wolves in sheep's clothing out there. I hope this post doesn't sound overly critical. I hope it just speaks to someone else out there who needs encouragement that God and people who claim to speak FOR God are sometimes two very different things.
So are you wondering where God's eyes are? 1 Peter 3:12 says that God's looking on the righteous and listening to their prayers. May God bless you today. :]
07 December 2008
06 December 2008
--Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, page 1.
05 December 2008
According to the tests, my children are doing quite well. Mechanics such as subject, verb, and predicate are taught. Units also cover how to write a friendly letter and a report on an animal. A short poetry unit is included as well.
I'm not sure if the samples in the teachers' manual set the bar too high, or if my children are naturally not as gifted as they might be in the language arts. Perhaps it's the autism in the family that prompts my children to think that "rundidid" is a verb. We're beginning to get away from that idiosyncracy, however, to the ... well... at least less incorrect "runned." When we get to using "ran" consistently, I'll let you know.
This verb strangeness is reflected in the childrens' writing. And did we miss a unit somewhere in first grade about the proper use of the comma and quotation mark? As in:
John said, "I think Susan's writing is terrible."
My children forget the comma and quotation marks, and their writing will look like this:
John said I think Susan's writing is terrabul . Pette said backe that Ithink id's not so bade. Baikinman appeard and they foght.
YOINKS! Yes, I about pull my hair out by the roots daily. WHY did Baikinman suddenly appear? Everything involves fight scenes, treasure, adventure, and sudden resolution of conflict. Even short writing exercises are very difficult for the boys. But they've passed the fill-in-the-circle tests. They know which part of the letter is the heading, body, greeting, closing... They could tell you about verbs and predicates...
Well, the third grade curriculum is very similar to the second. There is less emphasis on alphabetizing as that is assumed to have been mostly learned in the second grade. The writing assignments seem to require a bit more thought and are more difficult.
04 December 2008
02 December 2008
And then there's this. Can we say "Merry Christmas" AND "Happy Hannukah" in stores without violating some sort of Christian oath? I'm thinking it would be nice to wish people a happy whatever they're celebrating.
Truth to tell, though... Kwanzaa just bugs me. ESPECIALLY the racist part of the holiday where black people are only supposed to buy stuff from black merchants. Another part of the holiday that bugs me is that it's all made up. If your ancestors are from Africa and you want to celebrate that, could you please look up a *real* African holiday from that *specific* place? Africa's a pretty big area. I mean, I don't celebrate any Finnish holidays, what with my ancestors being from Ireland and Scotland and all. Just saying. And silly person that I am, I'm not linking arms with every white person in the country to celebrate some overarching "glad my ancestors are from Europe" holiday at the end of December. I mean, multiculturalism is cool as long as the culture isn't made up. Pet peeve of mine. Just imagine if white people wanted to celebrate THEIR European heritage for a week and promote white businesses and white culture, and ... well, anyway. You get the idea. But it wouldn't kill me to wish you a nice holiday, even if I think the holiday is a bit wack.
If you celebrate Kwanzaa, I hope you have a HAPPY KWANZAA!! I really do. You know what? Christmas is kinda made up, too. Shhh. 'Sall right. We can get along on this. I'll celebrate my made-up holiday complete with a foot-tall tree, and you can wish me a Happy Hannukah, Ramadan, Christmas and whatever (go ahead and cover it all just in case I change my mind mid-season) and I'll wish all that back to you. You can think Christmas is kinda silly if you want. It's a free country (relatively speaking). Why are Christians so hepped up about defending Christmas in our country? I don't get it.
I think these businesses can say whatever they want, and we as Christians have the right to shop there or not. Naturally, if most people are at least nominally Christian, it might be nice to have a "Merry Christmas" banner near your "Happy Holiday" display. I guess I wonder if Jesus were ever that specific in His shopping at the corner market as to be offended and boycott if someone didn't wish Him a Happy Passover and Merry Yom Kippur. (Well... if He ever went shopping? Or just sent Judas out to do all the marketplace dirty work, leading to some sort of seething unhappiness that manifested itself later...?)
I keep hearing about how we're in a battle for our "culture" and whatnot on the radio and blogs. And yeah, replacing "Christmas holidays" with "winter break" in our schools is just plain silly. But I'm thinking the real problem is *people* leaving the Christian faith... and not a "culture" problem at all. Kind of a cart before the horse thing. I guess I'm almost relieved to hear someone say, "I'm a radical feminist and believe in abortion on demand." Hey, at least I know where she's coming from! I can start from there and find different things in common if we're going to be friends. Nobody pretending. I like that.
I guess I'd rather McDonald's just came right out and said, "HEY! This is why Ronald's been wearing the make-up all these years! He's here... he's queer... get used to it!" Then we Christians can quit stomping our feet and boycotting this and that. We'll just decide if the burgers are really worth where the money goes. It bothers me when companies do something outrageous, people protest, and then the company goes back to where it was before, at least on paper. HELLO, they TOLD YOU SOMETHING when they made the move in the first place... all they are doing by reversing themselves is either buying time from you or they're going to make these moves in smaller steps next time.
Are we wasting time being fooled on these things? Back and forth. Buy Ford. Don't buy Ford. Buy this family-friendly stuff. But don't see "that" movie. Good grief. I just have other stuff to do.
Do you think I'm overly jaded? Overly affected by the culture and that's why I don't care so much? Not sad enough about *obvious sin* that I would go ahead and EXPECT non-Christians to even have *obvious sin?* Due to the fact that, I'm reasoning, they're non-Christians and it isn't *obvious* to them that it's sin? Or even that there's this concept out there called sin? Be nice, but do tell me what you think. Oh! And God bless you.
01 December 2008
The boys are excellent readers, but don't seem to enjoy writing nearly so much. With writing, once we're past that first draft "slap your ideas down on paper" kind of stage, it becomes work. They see where sentences need to be added or deleted. Punctuation is still used and capitalization doesn't seem to go out of style with old Mom. She's such a stickler about it, too. I know we've learned how to put commas and quotation marks in when someone is speaking, but this has been long forgotten. Thankfully, I can use this forgetfulness as an opportunity for growth. (Yay.)
I'm finding it slow going, though. When I circle a mis-spelled word on the paper that has been a spelling word about ten weeks running, it's frustrating for all concerned. I am going to try for shorter writing assignments on most days and see if we can't get the children to blog a few of these occasionally.
The boys enjoy short worksheet-type reading assignments, and reading longer passages for fun. Some of their language and ideas can be rather inventive. Did you know that it's a scientific fact that when I call Emperor from another room, that he's "almost certainly" in trouble? Yes, it is. Emperor, I suppose, has tested this theory and found it to be true.