31 July 2009
Crazy Mom is talking about Civil War history and children have asked what grows in the South besides cotton.
"Peanuts GROW? I thought they were made from ingredients!" Emperor says, bewildered. Which ingredients? "I don't know; I've never made them before! How was I supposed to know!??"
And do witches really use it? And where does it grow?
Mom, even on her worst days, can be assured she's not that bad. Elf insisted we look up the "workhouse" after hearing about it in our reading Oliver Twist (the abridged version. With pics).
The History of the Cheez-it.
I wouldn't have believed that there was an article write-up, let alone that people had entire discussion forums on this until I looked it up.
The Wall-nut and the All-Nut.
And is there a difference between the two?
30 July 2009
29 July 2009
Do you think fat people voted in Mississippi for their state legislators? Hm. And yet, suppose an obese person finds himself unable to use his kitchen due to housefire or travelling. (If he's not *too* fat, he can actually leave his house sometimes without fire department assistance. Wow!)
Restaurants would leave him out hungry under this proposed bill, because you know what? Fat people don't deserve to eat, even if they have money to pay for their own food. Hopefully most of my readers can do a liiiittle commonsense thinking and figure out that even if a person is 450 pounds, he's still going to starve after a while if he can't eat. He'll just die still obese. It isn't like you can convert the extra 300 pounds into ready energy as you need it; sorry. Thankfully, there was a great outcry and the bill was not enacted into law. And I suppose you could buy a ready-made sandwich at the grocery store, but only if the law isn't expanded later. (Get it? Expanded! I'm a genius here.)
And how many votes do you think those kids in public schools get? "Should Schools Use Restraints on Children?" indeed. That that's even a question up for exploration by a major publication bespeaks the fact that we have not passed the medieval ages in how we view the disabled among us. (Newsflash: Did you know that constantly locking up a kid or restraining him on a regular basis actually makes the behaviour you're trying to prevent WORSE? But it gives you a sense of power if you're that kid's public school teacher to see ol' Joey get his face flattened for overturning that table and mouthing off, doesn't it?)
Prisoners are treated with more respect and dignity than kids in public schools are sometimes. In some states, you can wallop, strap down, lock up and "restrain" children at will and don't even need parental permission. You know, states like mine? And do you think *I* didn't vote last year? Do you think that if every autistic person somehow got together that they could overrule the "majority" and their sense of privilege?
"WE" are the government, indeed. More like "WE" the majority, hate and despise autistic kids and want them dead. Who cares about kids like Elf, or anybody else without a voice in government. Not "US." Nope.
See, right now, it's the rich and the people that cost us a lot of money that we don't specially like. Let's just tax the rich more, because you know what? I deserve healthcare and I don't feel like I'm getting my fair share. And those old people at the end of their lives are a little out of it and don't usually vote anyway. And they're expensive, useless people of no good to society anyway. They'd hold up the GAO figures, so... well, it isn't rationing. It's just not a "provided service" to help these people too much toward the end of their lives.
We, the government, indeed.
It's "We the People" of the United States who, through our representatives, established the Constitution. Guess what? I'd like to mention here just in passing that Jesus did not die for the Constitution and the American flag. These are not sacred emblems. No, they're not "nothing," either, mind you... but if they are indeed living documents, I must alter my belief in evolution forthwith. The Constitution, federal and state law can indeed evolve into a monster.
I don't want that to happen.
Maybe this is all semantics. So, I'll ask you. Do YOU think that "we are the government?"
28 July 2009
What are they talking about? It looks, from the title and pictures, that the entire video is some sort of dance about bastard children, and not only that, there is a question of who fathered about 100 of 'em. (?!) Every now and then, I hear an English word like "no" or "I" or "whatever," but literally, the entire film is gibberish to me. I have a BA in English from a respected university. I was a journalist. I can write. But I can't understand the video!! Is it just me? Can you understand what they are talking about? Am I supposed to understand it? Is it social commentary? A joke? It bothers me that I don't get it. This must be sort of maybe a little of what people with language disorders feel like.
27 July 2009
Dear local teens, God has not appointed you to be the Fat Awareness Fairies. Usually I don't speak on God's behalf, but I'm pretty assured that this is the case because fairies aren't biblical. So quit it.
Dear God, please bless these snarky teens with lots of good food and very thin friends. Help them learn about accepting "constructive criticism" on an hourly basis. May their husbands be ever-helpful and a constant source of advice on weight loss. May their children's friends verbally notice how amply You have blessed them, and let it be a testimony to the biblical idea that the bird gets caught in its own net. Amen.
Ahhhh. That "praying for your enemies" thing is a good idea sometimes.
Still, I like the old-fashioned "God, smite 'em" prayers a bit better, but this will have to do for now. Some aspects of New Testament living kinda stink, because you have to bless your enemies during prayer no matter how you feel for God to hear it or something. (It's a biblical mandate, or something.) And that's pretty hard to do sometimes, but I think I'm starting to get good at it. Well, my good deed is done for the day.
So, while I was at Hy-Vee (thankfully BEFORE heading down the ice cream aisle?), I bought about six pounds of grapes and some sandwich meat and bread. I've gained back 20 pounds of the 50 I had lost. My BMI is something close to 100, so something needs to be done. The only thing is, I can't seem to "eat less" or "exercise more."
There has to be a solution there somewhere. Perhaps if I ate more "good" foods, I wouldn't have to exercise. Isn't it strange that "good" foods taste crummy? Well, unless you pour half a bottle of salad dressing and a side of bacon on top of your lettuce, it just isn't very appetizing. Carrots? Well, my teeth are crummy. I can only eat them boiled. You can't have carrots boiled without lots of butter on them! It's unnatural.
While I was at the grocery store, I also picked up this bottle of salad dressing. "New Delicious Taste!" it proclaimed. That's good, because I'm so, so tired of the "Old Nasty Taste!" most salad dressings have. We'll see if there is truth in advertizing later. God bless ya! Just not as richly as I prayed for these teens, ok? :]
26 July 2009
25 July 2009
It's an invaluable resource!
Really. Don't let time go by and wait until your child is NINE before you worry about how he's doing on tests. They have a DIFFERENT book for that. This book is marketed for your seven-year-old. He needs it, too. We'd say you can never start too early, but we all know that children don't start these high-stakes testing situations until they're older and able to handle it.
In fairness, I have to tell you that back in the day when Patrick and G were younger, the pressure wasn't so awful to do well. That's because redistricting hadn't happened yet, and our "low socioeconomic area" included a nearly abandoned trailer park. Go us!
But my friend who had children at the school three miles away with a large "free and reduced lunch" population told me a different story. The children were all gathered for a pep rally. These tests are important. They mean money. Do well, and you'll see a new playground. Do poorly, and it's extra homework, no new playground, indoor recess and an all-around bad year next year.
When your kid is eight years old, that has an effect, doesn't it? But now that Patrick and G are older, the methods are a little more sophisticated at the junior high and high school. Show up on time and work on the test that day and that's one ticket into the bin. Testing happens for about a week, and every day some lucky test taker gets his or her name pulled for FABULOUS PRIZES! And a grand prize drawing is held at the end of test season. You won't want to miss this, folks.
I understand there needs to be "accountability" for schools. I think that ought to mean that the general public should get to help actually pick the curriculum and hire the staff. Wouldn't that be awesome? I know the first three teachers that would be gone, too, have a lot of seniority and have eaten a lot of sour lemons in their lives. Their butts would hit the pavement so fast, I'd be afraid of them breaking a hip.
Then I'd hire the young music teacher who was SO beloved of his students for a real position instead of getting rid of him due to "budget cuts." People who don't know their crap or who aren't professional or reasonably nice would also get the boot.
Then again, that's just me imagining things. Probably what would really happen if parents got to boot the teachers and hire "good" ones is that, the three really involved parents would cut every "mean" teacher that didn't give Tiffani an A in Science and called her out on her gossiping in class. I mean, this is the same district whose voters chose one of its school board members on the stupid weekly "mommy" column she wrote for the paper. One memorable column? How she thinks she has ADHD because she started cleaning the carpet after making a grocery list.
Maybe better drop that idea.
24 July 2009
Well, I wonder if she truly has a language problem, or if it's just the fact that her closest friend does not speak and autism is catching. Seriously, though, she has learned that waving her hands around is an appropriate means of expressing appreciation and excitement... which... it is, but I think it would be nice if she were to use more neurotypical means of doing so if that's what she is. And I wonder what we can do about it.
I have contacted First Steps and hopefully within the next month they can do an evaluation, give me one of those all purpose handouts about "kids learn language from hearing it" and then leave. *sob* You know, Woodjie said a few words and then stopped as well. He still does not speak very often at all. Even then, you have to get his attention and model the word first almost always. It makes me sad.
23 July 2009
What is the opposite of "shorten?" Emperor says it's "grown." It couldn't be "lengthen" as MOM suggested because, Mom, don't you know that "length" is just telling us how LONG something is? It's measuring something when you do that!
Silly Mom. I wonder when we're going to grow out of this phase. Emperor thought "thinked" was the past tense of "think," too. Thankfully, Elf corrected him by telling him nooo, it's "thunk." Emperor got his paper out to transcribe this bit of information.
Arg! No, stop that... Though in the old days, they'd have said something like, "thinkdid-ed-did." Really. I should be glad for small improvements.
Or we're talking about classifying plants. The teacher's book instructs me to chat with the children about classifying books as an example. So. "Where would you find a book about history?" is supposed to lead us into how scientists classify plants by shape, colour, stems or lack thereof, etc. because we'll talk about how all the history books go together, the science books go together...
Our world is an ordered place.
Instead, I get a small Elf telling me that George Westinghouse used science to change history, and he thinks the science and history books ought be together. That really, when you think about it, in his opinion there is no difference between science and history.
Well, I suppose you could have... well... you're ruining my analogy, kid. Scientists just like to group stuff, ok? Like... they like to group stuff in terms of PLANTS or ANIMALS. And they put living stuff into one of those two groups.
"But there's a third group!" interjects Elf. "People!"
"Nope. You're an animal. Now ---"
"I am NOT AN ANIMAL!" Elf folds his arms. "I object to that. People are not animals. They should not be treated like animals!"
(Oh, boy... Yep, Elf went on and on here for a bit. Those scientists are ungodly for even *thinking* of classifying him as anything but a person in his own special group, etc. etc. My, but he had a few things to say, but concluded with...)
"I want to find this scientist that says that and hit him on the head with a baseball bat!"
Linnaeus? Yeah. Good luck with that. But is that a nice Christian way to act? Especially if the Christian in question is really, really short and tiny and has trouble lifting the bat in the first place?
"Um... I guess not. Nevermind."
And so ends our science lesson for today. Next up is history, in which we learn that it's ok to solve our "some states are seceding from the Union" problem with lots of violence and bloodshed. It looks like things are going to go pretty badly for the South in this fight. We've looked at the "who has the factories, people and railroads graph" and kinda predicted that probably the North is going to win. Emperor says that he just KNOWS the North is going to win, because G mentioned it once and he heard it at the Jesse James Museum.
"Then do the Romans happen, Mom? What year was that?"
"The 'hatch-and-match' service allows couples to baptise their children after the wedding ceremony."
I know all y'all living in unrepentant sin have just been out there going, if only baptism weren't so stinkin' EXPENSIVE. I mean, you have to find a willing believer and a puddle of water! MAN. The breathing fees are already killing my budget, and now this.
"Parents can even get baptised themselves," the article continues. "The aim is to encourage cohabiting parents to marry as the Church tries to become more relevant to the way people live their lives, but critics said that it appeared to sanction having children out of wedlock."
Hm. Let's parse that puppy. "Cohabiting parents" are going to be people who either don't believe the church's teaching on marriage before sex, or they're people who don't want to go to church for some other reason. Sometimes the reason might be as simple as, "I don't want some preacher telling me what to do, and I don't feel like I should have to fork over ten percent of my earnings and sit through boring services every Sunday about how sinful I am and ways I can improve. Thanks anyway, but I think I'll mow my lawn on Sundays instead."
I'm thinking the second part is laughable beyond belief. Helping someone get married after premarital sex?? That would be like doling out forgiveness for sins as though Jesus died for repentant people or something crazy like that. Let's just forget that thing about helping people get restored, cleaned up and plugged into the local church, this line of thinking goes. Let's just sew up some gorgeous A's and have these appliqued upon every adulterous church member's shirt. Then let's gossip about that family with all the bastard kids.
The outside world will see how loving we are and come flocking over, BEGGING the church... can they please be members, too? Please? We want some of that in our lives, too.
Ok, ok. I'm not saying sin is fine and we shouldn't judge for ourselves what is right. Or if our kids ask why Mr. and Mrs. Almost Perfect have five children when they got married last year, we can't tell them that the Perfects aren't quite perfect. Nicely. ("Mrs. Perfect made some mistakes when she was younger, but she is following God now." The end. And yes, "mistake" is a good word here in my opinion, though saying she is "punished" with a baby would not be appropriate!)
The point being, these children are already here, and you have a choice to TRY to restore people and teach them the right way, or to get all judgmental and ensure that their kids remember how you acted.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh. I can't say that it's *wrong* to offer the two-for-one special. My own church gives out mugs to visitors or flowers on Mother's Day, that sort of thing. I can't say these are things *I* would do if I were in charge, but then again, I'm glad I'm not! Thanks be to God!! I'm actually very glad that I don't have to worry about church attendance, offering amounts, church "discipline," and assorted he said/ she said stuff. *whew* I'll leave that drama to other people. Most happily. Go ahead and hand out the mugs!
Yes, maybe I am being a little harsh. Maybe this church group was fasting and praying, crying out to God... and God told them about this program that would save souls AND be easy on the budget! Order now!
22 July 2009
Barbara Boxer says that the head of the NAACP would be "proud" to testify before her. Just as he would be "proud" of Alford being allowed to testify before her greatness. Alford calls her up on it and says that she's being condescending to him. Um, no kidding. Just look at the TONE this woman uses with him. Tell you what. I can disagree with you, but if you were to call me in to testify before you and tell me some other Irish-American group would be all "proud" that I was allowed to talk before you, I'd say something similar to what Alford says here. "I don't like it," he tells her. "It's racial. I don't like it. I take offense to it. As an African-American, and a veteran of this country, I take offense to it!" Yep. How about we talk about the merits (or lack thereof) of Alford's arguments instead of chatting about how proud he should be because she graciously allowed a black man in her presence? Offensive! Hat tip: Darren.
21 July 2009
In a follow-up article, Williamson stated that some of what she said was "lost in translation." (Did she not mean what she said the first time? Did she speak in German and someone thought she meant something else?)
“I have excellent home schools in this county,” she continued. (Oh! Great accomplishment for HER, eh?) “Some of these people submit me things without me even having to ask for them. For those people, and everyone doing what they’re supposed to be doing, they’re not going to have to worry about me at all.”
The "excellent" homeschools in the county send her ... she doesn't say what. Fan letters? Daily schedules? Weekly family menus? What? I mean, "for those people" who are doing "what they're supposed to be doing," there are no worries, mate.
What does she think people are "supposed" to be doing? And what do you "suppose" home educators in that county ought to do in response?
In other news, I think it "interesting" that the official school person is contrasted with the "the Ten Commandments need to be taught in school" homeschool type. I think the reason a person homeschools either has zero to do with, or SHOULD have zero to do with, why this lady thinks she's empowered to go beyond the confines of the law to investigate homeschools. Why did the reporter include that quote?
UPDATE: WT??? This Williamson lady is even crazier than I thought. Now a doctor's note isn't good enough to miss school. Now she thinks it's her purview to tell the doctors how to conduct business. When are we going to stop these people??
"What's infer?" Elf asks.
"It's when you have something in FUR, Elf," Emperor says disdainfully to that little guy who obviously doesn't know anything. (He even rolled his eyes.)
I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to play video games until the glasses are in, either, in that case... No, Emperor tells me, he just can't play the "bad" video games... you know, the ones you can't win. (I guess it's a good thing Mom forbids the "bad" kind here at home, eh?)
Ah, well. Things are going more smoothly this week so far. Not so long ago, I had to deal with a very crabby, angry Elf who insisted that he does NOT need to use a zero after a decimal to hold place value. Um, .5 and .05, in my hard-and-fast rule-following world, are two different things. Elf said they were NOT, either, any such thing.
O, kayyy... But you keep getting the wrong answer. Maybe because you didn't put a zero here...
"I HATE ZEROES! And I wished the zero had never been invented and I wouldn't have to do this MAAAAATH!" Elf screams and hides his face.
"Drat those Arabs for doing this to you, Elfie! I can't BELIEVE those people!" I tell him sympathetically. "Tell you what. You be a Roman and do all this stuff in Roman numerals, and as long you get the right answers, I *promise* you, you will never have to use the zeroes in your maths."
*sniff* Ok, he says. I'm trying not to laugh, because he takes this entirely too seriously.
Now, Elf likes to tell people how important zeroes are when you're dealing with decimals. He's not sure how the Romans did the decimal thing, but zeroes make it way easier for us today. Apologies to the Arabs are in order, because zero is kinda nifty, isn't it? Well, he thinks so now. I guess that was worth a little extra time, some trial and error for him to learn for himself. :]
20 July 2009
Obama's disappoints gay activists
Obama proclaims gay pride week
(I got these in the same week! Hmm)
PILLS FROM CANADIAN PHARMACY
pills for you
RE: your request
RE: best vacation tips
RE: (well, all kinds of things ... *delete, delete, delete*)
hot for you p9ssy webcam
Pelosi is at it again
(delete, but wonder if this is a "sex" email or a "politics" email)
America needs us to unite! Please help!
(all this time, I thought this was just a pro-family organization sending these emails out. I had no idea God had called it to save the entire nation! Or that *my* donation is going to make the difference in whether America survives! Ah, well. If America fails somehow and becomes a Chinese Muslim territory with bunches of gay Muslims promoting Rainbow Jihad on every streetcorner, don't look at "what our leaders did." Just remember that Mrs. C deleted that email without looking inside. Now it's just too late. Whoops. My bad.)
Most scary, I found emails in my inbox from my address that I DID NOT SEND. D says it's easy to manipulate the system to get it to do things like that. He is a mainframe programmer. I'm pretty sure he didn't rig the system to send me the "make her scream with plesure" email, or the "pill makes your p*nis gigantic" email that "I" sent to myself, along with the other assorted emails that are a little more boring in the title.
If you get one of these wiener emails, or emails about "plesure-able" sex, and it looks like it's from me? Sorry to disappoint you. You might want to delete that. You don't want your computer to get all virus-y.
They also have a LOT of trouble editing their own writing, so I am incorporating Language drills and Spectrum vocabulary. I can't blame it all on autism as Emperor has difficulty in this area as well. The exercises they tend to bomb on are questions like, "What do Milky Way, Snickers, Almond Joy and Baby Ruth have in common?" I got the answer, "They are all sneakers," written on the answer line, because I explained to a small Elf that Reeboks were sneakers earlier in the day when he had trouble with a different question.
I swear I feed these kids and they have shoes, I swear it! I'm thinking that they generalized the "strange names for things must be sneakers" message.
What I'm doing is presenting material that is truly somewhere between highly unlikely to be accomplished well and totally impossible to be accomplished at all. YET, I could tell you that a million other tiny people could complete these exercises without difficulty. Emperor was wearing a shirt with "GAP" on it and explained to someone who asked (I think, jokingly, looking for an, "Oh, you are so silly... it's a brand name!" response) that his shirt meant that there is a space somewhere LOL. Or maybe it's a homeschool thing, being brand name ignorant.
This year, at least, I'm going to focus on some of these areas of struggle in English. I believe in focusing and developing talents as well, but... well, I'm the mom here as well as the teacher and we're just going to keep working with this and see how it goes. If we run into a crying jag every morning I may have to change things a bit.
I also have found that Elf is getting attached to his previous curriculum. I don't know if other parents have seen this in their children, but Elf thinks that if Bob Jones has printed it, God has spoken it. And I'm not *quite* that dogmatic about it. (Wait a minute... maybe my children aren't brand-name ignorant after all!)
Emperor is ok with whatever we want to study, but the McGuffeys don't have the colourful pictures or pretty things in the workbooks, and that is a big deal to him. He loves clever drawings; they cheer his day. Perhaps I need to just draw in the margins or something, or pop the occasional sticker onto his work.
Funny how sometimes writing this out and trying to explain what you're doing gives you new ideas about things you should actually do...
19 July 2009
How on earth did Mrs. C get such an eclectic mix of odd books? Do you see the old public school readers at the bottom of the stack?
Yes, I got those for 50 cents each at the thrift store. The "Flags Unfurled" book, "Blue Dolphin" and "Miracle on Maple Hill" books were also 50 cents each. I figure if I hate them, or they turn out to be inappropriate for young minds, I can always put them back in the donation bin at the Goodwill Store in Gladstone. Friends, the Goodwill there is an awful, icky place that sells stained-up jeans for $5 each and smelly 1970's macaroni and macrame projects for $10. But the books? Go check out the books during the months of May and June when homeschoolers are done with their lessons. I've also found other ABeka textbooks and once, D found a series of Bob Jones teachers' manuals at the local VFW thrift store.
I have a few more stacks that I want to do for "school" somewhere. But this is my goal for the next year and a half or so, because I count reading the Bible as "reading" as well. Perhaps each boy might read two or three pages each day, in addition to their silent reading or their Bible reading. We also are reading the McGuffey Readers in English class.
I know, I'm odd. I build my reading curriculum around what other people discard, what's at the library, and a few odd things I order upon occasion.
18 July 2009
Are you in a "support group?" Having some trouble with that addiction or with codependency? Or are you trying to get support and understanding from others with autistic, bipolar or adopted children? Or do you have a medical condition like lupus? I've seen support groups for all these things and more. I've also seen support groups for...
Yes, homeschooling is unusual enough that you, friend, need a support group so that you can realize how normal you are. For an unusual person, anyway.
I was very interested in joining a homeschool support group when I first started to homeschool the little Elf. But there wasn't one to be found at the nearby mega-church. Not enough interest, I guess, and the group broke up because only three people would show up. Now that I've been at this a bit, I'm not so sure I'd WANT to join a homeschool support group.
I've heard the atheists, objectivists and other assorted non-religious folks say that when they start a group and leave the membership open, those obnoxious Christians take it over and tell everyone what to do. Jana writes that on the other end, she was "outed" as a non-Christian because of what some weirdos in Wisconsin did years ago in another group. And Kerrie writes about how she's just not Catholic enough if she does the sign of the cross with her left hand.
Spunky writes, "Cliques develop between the families; or politics and religion can often escalate tensions. Eventually, what started out as a support group often becomes stressful and a stumbling block. I have seen this happen way too often. So for better or worse that has kept me away from participating as well..."
"So I'm not sure what to think about support groups anymore. I know I enjoy them when I do go. Yet, I don't have the same commitment to them that I used to. Is this common as homeschoolers move from 'rookie' to 'veteran' status?"
I know more than one online forum has imploded as well, usually based on misunderstandings or a hard-line stance that leaves others at the edges feeling left out. Have you ever been a member of a group, and what was your experience like?
17 July 2009
But now, thanks to the folks at the BBC, I will never have to hear, "Mooooom! You never let us get another pet to keep us company!" That's right. Soon I will be introducing the boys to their new pet friends at the Adopt-a-Parasite Pet Shop. Thankfully this is the sort of pet they can't forget to feed or exercise regularly, so none of these snarky comments in my comment box about my not taking care of the 40,000 new pets we're getting soon.
Do you think I can count this for homeschool science hours? I'm thinking yeah.
16 July 2009
Ok, that's funny. Maybe it needs to happen some places, though.
Grant you, this blog post is really old, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. It makes sense, I guess, to make sure your pastor or worship leader won't jump ship and take your valuable paying members with him. You know, the ones with jobs who actually tithe.
Friends, since I earn zero wages and have nothing to tithe UPON because my husband doesn't go to church, that would NOT be me. I'd be one of those bad risks that would be discouraged from becoming a "client" of said business. Just imagine. Very little money coming in. An autistic kid in the youth group. One in the elementary school group. One in the nursery. I think we can be honest and state for the record that that's a liability. People like that suck up church resources and give very little, so you're net negative with families like mine. Thankfully no one has said that, but I'm sure if I've thought of it, that I can't be the only one. I have to wonder sometimes if our last church had been hinting for a while that we weren't wanted. I'm not sure. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but I also know from bitter past experience that I am slow to take "hints."
So in any event, I'd be the family that the "church" looking only at its bottom line would want to drop. The one *good* thing about that is that you know when people are kind to you, they probably really mean it. One dear mom of a child who has never spoken or walked has told me that true love, real love... you know you have that for a child who will never pay that back to you with a hug or kiss or smile. True love is pouring out when there's no hope of getting back.
But maybe your family is one the competing "church" up the road wants to cultivate as a new member. It's called "church pirates" when they do that.
The Assemblies of God pastor where I used to attend wasn't called a pirate, though. He was called the "trash collector" because he took in all the "trash" from the other churches around. I'll tell you, this church grew so fast you wouldn't believe it. Is it because these are people who were dis-satisfied with their current church and hopped on over? It wasn't all new salvations, you know. What does that say about the people who called our pastor that?
We had a lot of "white trash" attenders, it's true. Their children were some of THE most precious people on earth, and I learned so much from them. And Pastor Ed was absolutely right when he looked out upon the folks in the sanctuary and said, "One man's trash is another man's treasure. And I'm looking at a whole roomful of treasure right now."
The strange thing about the "church pirate" post (if you watch the video) is the pastor is lamenting the "lack of loyalty" to the church. Odd, but I am thinking that we should be glad people are going somewhere rather than watching TV on Sunday morning. Isn't it just like changing car brands, but still driving a car? I don't know.
I'm also thinking that what with my having all these kiddos with special needs, there are some times you have to change churches to have those needs met. We left one place (I think I detailed this) because G kept getting stuck in with the babies, we were considered not as Christian because we didn't homeschool, and the other kids his age got to be with the bigger children. Maybe that's petty. (And looking back, I'd say, yep, homeschooling is better than public school. But when your child is ALREADY behind, things like this are particularly hurtful. Mind you, Patrick could kick the homeschoolers' butts academically, but he wasn't the one excluded from the parties and the big-kid class.)
Did I hurt feelings when I left? Oh, I'm sure I did. My children missed their friends. I can't say I'm sorry for it, though. I look back and wish I had left earlier. I think it would have been easier on everyone.
If you're looking at "the church" as the body of Christ, should it matter if people go elsewhere to get their needs met? I notice when people are gone. I can't say that I'm very sad about it, though. Then again, this could be my outlook on everything and everybody. We moved around a LOT when I was a little kid. Eventually, you figure out that you'll be moving on soon anyway, and not to get too heavily invested in relationships. That's probably the Christian way to be, being pilgrims and all. Sure, have friends. Love one another. But don't get too comfortable thinking it's going to last. You are one fallout, one misunderstanding, one job change away from losing it all.
15 July 2009
I mean, how often have we heard impassioned pleas from this or that ministry on Christian radio to give? Surely we're not afraid of our $50 contribution getting spent entirely on crack and beer. Maybe the president of "Whatever" Christian Ministry might buy a bottle of beer on a Saturday when he's at the local sports bar eating a cheeseburger (horrors!), but the ministry's books are gone over regularly. There are actually independent auditing associations that do these things, and it means your money has a better chance of being used properly than when you toss a couple bucks into a bucket to "send a kid to camp."
Come on, you have *no idea* who these kids are, and you never thought camp was important, but you just felt dorky passing them by without giving something. It had nothing to do with how generous you were that day. Just saying. I've done that, too. Have you bought their candy bars when you were dieting? Or more likely, I've NOT given, walked by, and just felt badly about it. But I don't think I *should* feel badly if I honestly think it's not where I want my money going.
My point being, we're asked for money ALL THE TIME. It just isn't quite so directly. The "Whatever" Christian Ministry president is just not on the street corner going, "I really need two bucks from you, and five thousand other people, to make this ministry run one more day. Can you help?"
But you hear his plea anyway. You heard him on the radio and you knew he meant that this means YOU, too.
Of course, in a marriage, it's slightly more complicated. You want new kitchen windows and a playground set. You've been talking about them for years. Your husband wants to be able to pay all the bills, and have a little left over for savings "just in case" something bad happens. And you want to be generous. I like to give money to charity through organizations I trust, though when you give your year's giving all at once, you see you are really giving up your new windows and playground area so someone else has a warm bed to sleep in.
And that's ok. Everyone SHOULD have a warm bed to sleep in. Though come to think of it, our giving perhaps should not only be to those who are "deserving." The president of City Union Mission said it well, and I'm going to loosely quote him here. He said that Jesus commanded that we give to the poor, not that we evaluate which poor are deserving of a second or third chance. He commanded that we give to the poor.
I like that. But I also like that when we give to organizations like this, that there are intake people who make sure the money goes to the beds and the food and the dental care. I feel perhaps it's paternalistic of me to feel *I* know better than the charity recipient how to spend the money... but then again, if I'm giving the money for a meal and a bed, I want it spent on a meal and a bed.
Part of the reason I don't like government programs for the poor. Just hear my heart here. YES, I am selfish with my money sometimes. But I want the warm blanket money spent on warm blankets and not some political junket to Argentina. And when I "give" money to my government, I don't feel so assured that it's spent wisely. I can't just change charities the following year if I am unhappy with how things are done.
Ok. I have a cute, cute, cute little two-year-old autistic son. My goodness, you could put that little punkin on a poster and he'd probably generate some income for your fave autism charity. What kind of giving do you think 50-year-old autistics engender from the general public? Sorry, but they're just not cute any more. Guess people would rather give to homeless dogs and kittens and find the puppsie-wuppsies a home-sy wome-sy.
Sigh. Maybe I should have more faith in the human family than that. But I wonder what kind of world Woodjie will live in later.
13 July 2009
11 July 2009
"In my own political activity last election, one homeschool dad I know was involved in trying to get more interest from homeschooling fathers. I’m hoping this isn’t representative of homeschooling as a whole, but it surprised me how many fathers basically responded with 'Oh, yeah. She homeschools but that is really her thing.' They were tolerant, not supportive of the decision."
Well, I remember what things were like on the PTA when I was a member. It was almost completely run by women. Women did almost 100% of the grunt-work volunteering. Manning the popcorn booth. Selling PTA memberships, T-shirts, spiritwear, coordinating the fundraisers, the BoxTops for Education (ok, really it was for playground equipment)... you name it, women probably did the whole caboodle.
It seemed to me that the men who got involved on these committees did so to build their resumes later. Oh, sure, they're there for the kids, and public education is important and blah blah blah. Then before you know it, their names are up for city commission or school board positions next election with, "PTA President, Rich Land Donor Elementary School," or, "Chairman, Blue Ribbon Committee on Deceptive 'No Tax Increase' Bond Issue" on the election fliers.
Almost NEVER would you see a man selling raffle tickets at soccer practice with the kids. And I'd wonder why people would want any man like this to be the stupid PTA president in the first place when he's an arrogant blowhard who pushes for fundraising pep rallies during school time (it boosts sales when you do it that way, and we want a successful PTA fundraiser! It's for the kids!).
It's almost as if people are going, "Oooh! A *man!* And he's involved in education! Sexy! Let's vote for him!" (Ever see the "Jingle All The Way" movie? 'Nuff said... well, except to say these men did not get my vote, I assure you.)
In our homeschool, D wants to be sure the children are no more behind at home than they would have been in public school had they attended. He knows that every student is going to have "gaps" and areas of strength, and he doesn't want, say, for me to be teaching first-grade level math to a fourth-grader if said fourth-grader is capable of fourth-grade work. Within that guideline, I have a fair bit of leeway.
Mind you, I am also the "point person" for public school-related concerns, and consult D only when things get really "big." Kid has a discipline issue in public school? I deal with that almost exclusively. IEP meeting? Me. I also go to the parent-teacher conferences with the children. I'm pretty sure I'm a... less-favoured parent. Then again, I'm not running for office. :]
10 July 2009
Emperor reacts badly to the bite of the "chigger," or harvest mite. Perhaps you've seen them. They are very small little red dots, almost microscopic. A trip to the doctor to find out why he was itching so badly was the inspiration for this little production, written by Emperor. Elf narrated and did most of the artwork.
"Dogies" are young stray cattle without their moms. In the old West, large herds of cattle could be driven for months on the "trail" of open rangeland until they reached a railroad town or the market. Don't want a thousand head of cattle trampling your turnips? Better get a fence. These cows are going to Montana. Elf wants you to notice something different about him.
09 July 2009
08 July 2009
Here's a suggestion from Mister Teacher: Small tickets on a roll. I know I've seen them for sale at OfficeMax and likely you can find them in several other places. "I give them out for good behavior (or lack of bad behavior), and I have a drawing for goofy little prizes each week," he writes. "The pronouncement of, 'I’m looking for someone to earn a blue ticket' can change a disorganized group of misfits into a military-precision line of silence!"
Doggone it, but I probably might use that idea sometime. At present, we have a post-it note with 16 squares drawn for each child (tic-tac-toe style, four up, four across). Every day that the children have done a reasonably good job, they'll each get a star. I hate strict enforcement of behaviour expectations (that's the kind of thing that escalates situations for Elf, and drama isn't my thing), but if things are going badly, I will just say, "That's chance one," and go on. You get three chances. It's only on the fourth that I don't award a star. Even then I might give a "chance" back if I see great behaviour later. I want to motivate the good behaviour, but I also don't want things to get to the point where he says to himself, "Today's shot. Might as well act badly and have fun with this!"
I know my methods sure wouldn't work in a classroom with 26 other students. Sometimes I bend the rules to the point of being ridiculous. It just depends on what I feel each child is capable of *that* day.
I will also occasionally write Elf and Emperor's names down and some made-up word that they need to "earn" three of, such as "snoofleez" or "squampumpts" or "drogglins." After three of the item, they get a sticker to put on their workbooks. Usually we give each child a chance to earn something when things are dragging a little bit. Not that I'll tell them that.
You don't get the "zzuiits" out while things are going *too* well, but you don't want to wait too long for things to go downhill, either. It's more of an art than a science. Really? Each child winds up with about two stickers each day. Sometimes none. Sometimes three. But it isn't a competitive thing. Here's "Elf's turn" to earn a zingswat. Now it's "Emperor's turn" to answer the next question in our book and earn one.
I do know that whole books and blogs on classroom management are out there. I wish every child could learn with some of these teachers who want their children to succeed. They're always looking to improve themselves and investigate new ideas.
Others, well... Let's be honest here. More often than not, when a special-needs kid is getting blogged about... I wouldn't want to read about my child along those lines. I understand that these teachers just feel the need to vent, but my. This one has to be the worst of the lot, but I do wonder how many educators are out there who really feel this way and just don't blog about it.
07 July 2009
06 July 2009
I was *trying* to demonstrate how Woodjie ignores people when the TV comes on. But he had something else to say once he saw what was in my hand. I think he knows the camera means "someone else is watching you," because I have never seen him say this to me before.
05 July 2009
I've just got to tell you at this point that I love our children's Sunday School teachers. I'm telling you, they really *try* to help these fellows of mine integrate with everyone else. Every class time, they take small Elf aside and read a "social story" we made from an old Wal-Mart photo book. It is called "How to Act at Church" and details such expectations as "listen to the teacher," complete with Elf and Emperor's illustrations. Aww.
Elf is allowed to pick his own seat and I have (somehow) the distinct impression that they let a few things slide for my kids. As one *ahem* sweet little girl from the congregation remarked once, "Your kids are weird. Especially Elf." Thanks. We can't all be almost perfect like you are, lacking only lessons in "tact" and "kindness."
I was called back not too long after service started by a dear teacher who actually specializes in dealing with kids like this in public school (too bad they have such draconian behaviour strategies for these kids in our district... those are the children we truly "left behind"). I'm thinking she has missed her calling as a PR specialist. I mean, if she worked for the Obama people, Republicans would somehow be loving him within six months because she's a master of positive spin. Here's what she told me:
Elf is "having trouble selecting a seat."
Elf "seems to have difficulty following directions this morning."
"We" are having a "hard time getting Elf settled."
"Others" are becoming distracted.
She would like me to come back and "talk to him."
Ok, here I come. Elfie is furious. He scowls, stomps, AND eyerolls all the way to the vacant classroom across the hall. He does NOT want to be in church today. It isn't right. He shouldn't have to listen to... (redfaced, angry, crying gulp) THOSE people!
I shouldn't have to be here! I am only going to go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays! I REE... FUUUUUSE... to... to... gotochuch on... THURSDAY! GrrrRRRrrrRRRRR! (folding arms)
Lesson to Mom: When Elf asks if it is Wednesday night or Sunday morning on the way to church, do NOT sarcastically answer that it's Thursday, silly goose, and then proceed to drop him off thinking all is well. Don't do that again. Ever.
Sigh. So I have to explain the situation to him, that I was just pretending about it being Thursday, thinking that he would know that it is *so* obviously not. He is angry that I LIED to him.
He re... (*stomp*) FUUUUUUses to go to church. He shouldn't have to go. Can he go home? (Nope. Insert long boring explanation here, with lots of "Mom thinks that..." because... and...)
Can he stay with Mom? (Nope.) Why can't he stay with Mom? (Retell long, boring explanation. Now it's time to go back to class, ok?)
He'll be bad if you send him back to Children's Church, so you'd BETTER take him with you. (Sorry, Mom doesn't negotiate with terrorists. You're going back, or you're staying here until you're ready to go back.)
"Fine. I'll stay here the whole time, and then church will be over." *smug little smile*
I'm thinking that somehow this little guy didn't get his "Happy Elf Homeschool" star for being a good boy in church. What's your guess?
I'm doing such a great job of it, too, that my children are mindlessly obedient. They always eat daintily and discuss *nice* things at the table. Their dress and manners are impeccable. They've memorized the Westminster Catechism. Just the shorter version, I'm sorry to report. We're not overachievers, you know.
Don't believe me? Hm. Then whyyyyy is it when religious doctrine is taught to children, that it's often automatically assumed that one is unfairly indoctrinating a child? Brainwashing, even? If I can't get my kids to quit discussing farts at the dinner table, do you think that somehow I'm going to be able to turn out zealots for Jesus who believe exactly as I do? Come on, now.
I know there are cults out there that allegedly have perfect little kids who don't know what crayons are (um, and I doubt much of the media accounts on that, BTW), but I'm just one of those boring Pentecostals without the magical hairdo and symbolic dress.
It also doesn't follow that every religious order "grooms" its children. Maybe it comforts you a little to see that even atheists are being accused of that; I don't know. (Sick world. Can't we just assume the best about someone else until we're presented with clear evidence otherwise?)
Let's get down to it: any parent is going to try to influence his child as he feels best. I do understand some people need to feel all "concerned" about other people's children if they're in a religious home. After all, we've solved the problems of hunger, sexual abuse and homelessness that plenty of children *used* to go through, so we can turn our attention to other things. Like that Duggar lady who has "too many kids." She ought to have a license for stuff like that. Oh! And if she insists on breeding so much, she ought to at least put those kids into public school so they can learn about the "real world."
I need to stop reading the comments section on those AOL stories, don't I?
In our therapy times, we had only one "communication partner." It would be the therapist during Woodjie's designated times during the week, or I would "reinforce" the PECs he would use. He can now pick the item or activity he wants out of several choices and request it using the picture. His therapists and I have mixed pictures and their order on his book in an attempt to discern whether he understands what he is asking for. Sometimes, he'll pick up a picture, pause with that "wait a minute" look on his face, put the picture back, and get the picture of the thing he really wanted the most.
04 July 2009
It's summer. I'm a little lax on following our boxed science curriculum in the summer. I'm educating with fast food toys, free booklets and field trips until the weather cools. We can learn the difference between conduction and convection from a book later.
Usually kids' meal toys are crummy little movie or product tie-ins that wind up broken at the bottom of the toy bin within three weeks. But Sonic featured "bug" things through the month of June, and they got WAY more business from me than I usually give to drive-throughs because we wanted the toys.
The caterpillar book. The bug binoculars. The bug observatory. And best of all, a hand-held bug catcher. You know we had to use these for our homeschool. The boys went outside, caught bugs and drew them. They discovered that it's harder than it looks to catch a bug, let alone draw an insect as it's hopping mad and looking for a means of escape.
Our local nursery store is having a free butterfly event soon, so we'll review the caterpillar book and a few things from the library before going to that.
And the Toads and Frogs booklet? I got that free for living in Missouri (if you do, too, send an email requesting the "Toads and Frogs" booklet to email@example.com and include your mailing address). The booklet has full-colour pictures, an overview of each of the 26 species in Missouri, and maps on exactly where each frog type can be found in the state.
I also get the Missouri Conservationist magazine for free once a month as well. This is a full-colour glossy magazine with detailed articles about Missouri trees, introduced hostile species, wildlife, fishing tips, hunting pointers and the like. With my Toads and Frogs booklet, I got an "order form." Goody! The kids and I have selected several other publications that we hope to receive for free soon, as well.
02 July 2009
01 July 2009
This morning, Elf and Emperor were sharpening their pencils while I swept the kitchen. I found a silverfish and was halfway tempted just to pop it in the trash. Instead (since I'm mean), I called the boys over and poked it with a Cookie Crisp that was on the floor so that they could be entertained.
It wiggled like a fish!
The boys thought that was awesome. They each wanted a turn chasing the little silverfish around with the Cookie Crisp. The silverfish got tired of playing the game and acted all stiff and dead. You wouldn't think they'd know to do that, but this was a smart one.
So we left it alone for a minute. Then we poked it again and watched it wriggle in surprise!
I was just going to sweep the thing up and throw it out, but the boys had made a new friend. I had to give it a home by our tree after popping it into the dustpan. So, there is a clump of hair, a Cookie Crisp and a Captain Crunch bit, along with some assorted flour fluff, housedust and bread crumbs, near our tree this morning. (I guess it matches the broken tennis rackets, worn-out mens' shoes and kids' toys on the porch.)
The boys wanted to learn allll about silverfish, and insisted that "that counts as science." You'd be surprised at the strange things we learn this way. Did you know silverfish moult, and it's only after three moultings that they take on their silver-grey colour? Our silverfish was sort of a clear beige with a darker brown dot in the middle, so by this information, we could tell that it was not fully mature.
Oh, and they like to eat paste. In your books, your wallpaper, your cabinets. They like to eat hair in your shower and tub. They also live in COMPUTER KEYBOARDS (yes, that's just how I read that sentence!). Scientists postulate these things have been around for something like 300 million years. Well, we don't believe in evolution, but I wonder where they'd get that idea, I wondered aloud.
"From their butts," Elf tells Emperor in a whisper. Yeah, I never claimed I was raising *tolerant* kids, but at least he didn't use the word "asses." This time.
In History, we're learning about the events that led up to the Civil War. We talked about Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise. We discussed the balance of power between North and South and the cotton gin. Unfortunately, Emperor wanted to tell G alll about what he had learned. And G likes history.
G listened very patiently to the whole story and then said, "Do you want to know what happens next?"
NOOOOOOO!!!! Oh, Emperor is upset. You *do not* give away the plot to the story. It would just RUIN it. He wants to find out for himself when it comes up in the book!
"You mean about the Kansas-Nebraska Act? You don't know about that?"
Emperor is howling with his hands over his ears. I try to make G STOP this discussion of history. You'll ruin the surprise, G. Just quit it.
G shrugs his shoulders and laughs about it. "Well, OBVIOUSLY there isn't slavery anymore -"
(Emperor runs away) "DON'T TELL MEEEEE!!" And the kid's about in tears. G has been forbidden from speaking of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in Emperor's presence.
So he got Elf aside and told him allll about it. I'm thinking this isn't really how they teach history in public school. Mostly because they keep on with this idea that G is a student. :p