29 January 2011
28 January 2011
27 January 2011
Emperor thought that the "lady" in the song symbolized old church, trying to buy the stairway to heaven. (I think he means the Catholic sale of indulgences.) He is not sure about the middle verses. He thinks the "rock" at the end of the song symbolizes Jesus and the True Church, which does not "roll."
The "west" described in the song is, of course, indicative of the decline of society. All the cultures (like the Elves in Lord of the Rings) go west at the end of their age. Just as we Americans went west and just look at us now.
Ok. Thank youuu, Emperor. Now for Elf. What, Elf, did you think about this song?
"Well," he wanted to know, "what exactly did EMPEROR have to say about it? Let me know that and then? I will tell you my answer." Nope. Tell you what he said after you tell me YOUR interpretation.
Elf sat quietly and did that Vulcan "pensive" pose before singing, "Oooh, it makes me wonder..." and that he has really absolutely no idea. The song was in English but it made no sense to him.
I'm not sure I can explain all this rock music, either, but if Elf is going to school next year, he probably ought to have heard a few songs through first so that there isn't too much culture shock. The only other rock song they know is "Oops, I did it again. I pooped on the floor and I peed in my pants." And... just that part of the song. Did I mention that I pulled them out of school in kindergarten and first grade respectively? Wonder what the kids listen to now.
26 January 2011
For my part, I KNOW I will never be able to give my children the education I was privileged enough to have in places like this growing up. Sorry! We get "booming and overcrowded Kansas City suburb" instead. That's the best district Mom and Dad can afford right now. Life isn't fair, and my children won't get a free ride all four years through college, either. And no, Mom and Dad are not refinancing their home or sacrificing their retirement to put them through. We love our kids, but we're also looking at the fact that Woodjie is going to probably need us as long as we're around, and he might just need the other children to look in on him after we're gone.
Did I mention that life is not fair? It genuinely sucks sometimes.
But my point. It's not right to falsify documents and say you're living somewhere you're not so that your children can go to the nice school instead of the one in the crappy district YOU decided to live in. I mean, I'd like to live in a nicer place, too, but nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to live *here.* They didn't do that to you, either, lady.
So either move in with your dad who lives in that district BEFORE filing papers, do private or home-school, or deal with the fact that YOU chose a crummy place to raise a family. But lying on the enrollment forms and then whining that it isn't fair there are criminal charges against you is flat-out wrong. And I hope the district is able to recover every last penny from your sorry self.
And you wanted to be a teacher?? What is up with that?
25 January 2011
23 January 2011
We've just finished reading Lord of the Rings. It took Elf about seven months, but we got through the trilogy in our nightly readings. Elf and Emperor are now memorizing the movie's famous speech of Aragorn before the Black Gate, embedded above. Too bad I don't know any Elvish, or perhaps the children would get some actual foreign language instruction. Only imagine the scholarships they could get with that talent. :)
21 January 2011
I wake up Elf and Emperor at 5:30 in the morning. They sleep in the same room with Woodjie, so they are not presently learning to use an alarm clock on their own. I come in and whisper at them and they go downstairs for breakfast. I usually take the blankets from their beds in the winter when they leave the room. They are cracking at the math by about 6 am, wrapped in their blankets and snuzzly.
Math must be first or it never gets done. Patrick and G do a semi-reasonable job at being *quiet* in the morning, considering they are teenage boys. They leave the house around 6:40 after lots of shushing from me and "you should have thought of that last night when you were arranging the things you needed for this morning"s.
Somewhere around 8 or 8:15, a little fluffy-headed blonde person shuffles out yelling, "Morning! Morning! Ah morning, Mommy!" and I help him do the potty thing and we get Rose up and dressed. I bring them downstairs to the table and spray Rose's hair with detangling spray and put it up.
Little children are eating breakfast in the kitchen in my line of vision and I am next to Elf at the dining room table, nagging him to get his math done and/or helping him with problems he is having. Emperor does his math by watching a computer lesson and writing all the answers to the workbook in a notebook (so I can use the workbook for someone else later). Then we check the answers. He needs help every now and then to go over a problem, but most of the time he is pretty much completely independent.
Then it's two chapters, silent reading, in the Little House series. Somewhere in there, Woodjie and Rose are done with breakfast and wandering about the living/dining area playing with their large house and people. After a while, I bring them downstairs and set up some toys and the TV.
Then I teach English or science or history while Steve finds all three pawprints. I do some lesson that needs supervision or direct teaching, something they couldn't have otherwise done independently. When I'm done with that, I'll be available, but concentrating on littles and the things they want to do. There is also usually another lesson or two in another subject that I have determined they can do independently that day. I just look ahead a little and figure it out.
Today our English lesson was about "Linking Verbs With Predicate Adjectives" and how to diagram sentences with them. Then I set the children off to do some writing on their own. Writing is a *weak* spot. I am working very hard on the spelling and grammar and the reading, hoping that will magically translate into superb writing. It hasn't so far. Elf and Emperor have some very cute ideas and have made new blog entries today about themselves. I helped Elf with spelling and combined a couple of sentences with Emperor, but what you read on the blog is about the level they are. NOT SURE how to improve it except for practice, practice and more practice.
Lunchtime. Bagels, peanut butter and squeezy jelly. It was a half-day today for Elf and Emperor work-wise today. But about a day each week (sometimes more, sometimes less) is a half day because I have appointments that cannot be rescheduled or avoided. Today, it was time to do Rose's IEP.
It was a mortifying experience.
I do NOT know how to get everyone together, to shape them up and make them act nicely. I reminded my children not to YELL about ten times (I am under-exaggerating). Then I was juuuuust making small talk and telling the process coordinator that I was amazed to see her TURN HER BACK on her four-year-old when I met her at her son's TaeKwonDo practice (Patrick and G were in the following class). I mean, even my older children would be out the door if I ever tried -
OH, guess where he was? You know those new school security systems? How they don't let just any old person in? Well, he decided he would run out front and let everyone who showed up in. He can tell who is bad and who is not. He only let the good people in. Oyyy. Calmed that situation down and noticed that Rose smelled like overcooked broccoli and onions. *sniff* Yep. Took her into another classroom to change her. Left Elf and Emperor with the poor process coordinator. They probably think I'm a total loooooser by now because by the time I got back, Elf and Emperor apparently had told everyone about Greek mythology, family dynamics and ohhhh about 500 other things. They had sketch pads and pens (provided by staff who were prolly just trying to shut them up) and were drawing embarrassing scenes at our house, complete with children shouting at the table and being disciplined.
Later I got distracted - you know, trying to DO the stinkin' IEP already - and then figured out that Emperor had nosed in the nearby drawers, gotten a paper clip and was trying to pick the locks on the cabinets. Corrected the guy again... and while I was talking to him - WHILE I WAS SPEAKING AND LOOKING RIGHT AT HIM, he was digging in the trash and claiming to be hungry.
Yes. He was. I hate going to meetings.
19 January 2011
I know. Every time I get a new batch of bath salts, I think, "I can't wait to get into the tub and snort these." Really. WHO on earth thinks of this stuff? Selling bath salts in little druggy zipper packets. I'd say, "Now I've seen everything," but I have a feeling I haven't. Missouri legislators, the article tells us, are seeking a general ban on these "artificial stimulants."
I don't get it. If they're marketed as bath salts, wouldn't you think the government should be restricted to seeing if, say, they caused horrible rashes if you used them in the tub? I have several children with eczema, and they need to use baby and kids' shampoo. YES, I have a kid who is ten who smells like a ten-month-old. Better than smelling like stinky foot.
But really. We need to legislate against bath salts? Apparently it's so bad that in Louisiana, over half the psychiatric patients of a given hospital were admitted after taking these salts, so it must be some serious stuff. I don't know that we can legislate against every stupid thing people are determined to do, but I SURE don't want more people dying, either. Here's hoping for wisdom and awareness on this problem.
I'll even be ok if you tell me it's an elaborate joke; I just hate hearing about people dying and getting sick over stupid stuff like this.
In other news, I checked my inbox for more questions from my readers. Someone emailed me with information on miracle cures for autism. Doggone nice of them; I can't wait to spend my life savings on dolphins (?).
18 January 2011
17 January 2011
So in answer to your question on poop, Lisa, I have no idea. NO idea. With some of my older autistic children, who were able to speak and understand language, I gave them a little taste of vinegar I dabbed my finger in when they pooped their pants and TWO chocolates when it went on the potty. But you need to have that little success to "build on." How to do that? Well, you know the signs before the kid poops and pop him on the toilet reallly fast. But what am I saying? We've never had it happen for Woodjie. Or Rose, just yet, but I'm not worried about her in that area *yet.* I can't see myself punishing a child I don't think fully understands yet... and that would be Woodjie, big boy that he is. That would be mean to punish someone who doesn't understand.
Wilma and Blondee, I have to tell you that I do NOT have meal plans. Things are terribly chaotic at the house. They are super-adrenaline chaotic on many days. I am on dog paddling and keeping my nose above water mode. So, each week, D will come home from work via Sam's Club and buy mega popcorn chicken, mega pizza rolls, mega Pop Tarts and whatever else is on the "list." We sort of cycle between the same six or seven meals and when we run out of something, we buy more.
Eating almost nothing but bulk foods keeps expenses down a LOT. And did you know that Oreos are milk-free? So is Hunt's Lemon Pudding. Don't let the pictures of milk on the packaging fool you! Thankfully, Emperor and Woodjie are not deathly allergic to milk and eggs. If I make a mistake and they eat "trace amounts," it's ok. I just try to avoid doing that with most things.
Deb... on the glasses... they stay nice and unbroken if they are unworn. G needs glasses, but refuses to wear them. So do Elf and Emperor. I don't know how I'm going to get them to wear them for school later. And not to mention, a good deal of the reason WHY Emperor and Elf refuse to wear glasses is that Woodjie breaks them for fun, and then Emperor and Elf get into trouble for getting too close or whatever. It isn't always their fault because sometimes Woodjie sneaks up behind. I just see big dollar signs leaving the house whenever it happens. There are so many things I wish I could fix. SO so many dysfunctional things. This is a tiny one. Not enough energy to teach the kid to quit busting stuff. I can tell he plans it for times I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT go and get him into trouble. He just knows.
Tracy, my husband and I met in college. I'm not sure who introduced us, but we had many of the same friends and lived in the same dorm building freshman year. Here's a post with our pic!
OK, that's all I have in the public comment section. Have some doozies in the email... I think I'm gonna wait on those...
16 January 2011
We eat sugar cereal for breakfast. Woodjie will ask for "mah-yeh-yoes?" and that means I will have to get the marshmallow cereal. Sometimes I will get "oot-oots," otherwise known as Fruit Loops. Sometimes I even have "ah-tarts"available, but once I give out Pop-Tarts, some little kid will ask for them at every single meal. And I think the sugar cereal is sooo much more healthy because I can sprinkle Cheerios and dried corn in. (Really. Being real here, ok? I warned you.)
Having several autistic children about, and a couple children with food allergies to boot, makes it veryyy difficult to have anything approaching a normal diet. I used to make casseroles and real bread and mac-n-cheese the same as the next mom back in the day. BUT... those days are over. For a good while, Elf simply wouldn't eat if the food wasn't what he wanted. We're not talking a little brattiness here... we're talking a ten-pound loss on a five-year-old. So yes, I will serve peanut butter sandwiches if that keeps my children from literally starving themselves over time. You just don't know what I'm talking about if you don't have children like this. (Note plural noun in previous sentence. It's HARD.)
G has an affinity for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He is obsessed with squeezable jelly. Have you ever seen a 6ft 3 fellow try to fly? Well, that's sort of what he looks like; he gets so excited about squeezable jelly. Grape. He squeezes it and puts the top bread on himself. I keep refilling the sqeezy-jar constantly with new jelly.We go through about 6 to 8 loaves of bread a week, which is reallllly a lot, considering two of my children are allergic to the milk in the bread and can't eat it.
Not to mention that Rose... well, I haven't really blogged about this. Rose is getting special help because she has a weakness on her left side. She has trouble swallowing and eating certain foods. Part of it is "sensory" (sorry I haven't felt up to blogging this but, some providers are noticing "eye contact" and "language issues;" maybe I will cry later because I know what that means) and part of it is that she needs to know where the food is in her mouth so she can swallow it well.She can eat mushy things like applesauce that can be swallowed without chewing, or semicrispy things like dry cereal, but NOT peanut butter sandwiches that are sticky and hard to move about the mouth or things that are TOO hard muscle-wise to chew up like raw carrots.
So... she's interesting. How much is sensory stuff and how much her weakness, even her speech therapist cannot tell. You must cut everything to look like a french fry and feed her crackers and/or cereal and pop tarts... or she will not eat. Things cannot be warm. Or cold. All must be at room temperature. Come to think of it, I think I *will* cry later. Typing this out was hard. We've been asked to go to the hospital and do a "motility" study (or "swallow" study) but I think we'll skip it. It sounds expensive and and besides, it's something I can't take five other children to do. Could you imagine Woodjie even TRYING to sit still and quiet near the equipment? Easier to keep feeding Rose crackers... I sort of live day to day. I do the best I can.
Lunches are usually peanut butter sandwiches for Elf and Emperor, and cereal and a sandwich for Woodjie. Rose gets cereal and a piece of bread, crackers and milk. I try to give apple slices or another fruit at some point during the day. Almost all the children have a severe aversion to vegetables. If they're forced to eat them (or are overly coerced; I sure don't stuff it down their throats!) some of them have vomited in the past... they just can't do it. I can get away with some of the expensive "Just Corn" stuff on occasion. It's a godsend.
Frequently dinner is microwaved soft pretzels for smaller children, and chicken or pizza rolls for older children. Woodjie's bus usually arrives close to 5:15 in the afternoon, so by the time he's bathed and able to come downstairs, it's really too late to heat up the oven and cook something. Not to mention, he's screaming "Eat-a-EAT!" through the whole bathing process. He just can't wait well. The pretzels must be broken in tiny pieces for Rose, but Woodjie is learning to take bites of his food. I will often put a side of cashews or other interesting food on the side.We go through a lot of milk and soy milk, and eat almost only prepared/microwavable foods.
Our budget is something along the lines of $250 a week at Sam's Club. Mind you, this includes our diapers and the food D and I eat as well. We also spend about $70 a week at Wal-Mart as well. This includes our cleaning supplies, shampoo and an occasional pack of socks, that sort of thing. D also drinks about three or four 2-liters of pop each day. It adds up.On weekends, we try to make better foods. D can cook those big hamburgers with all the fixings, and I've made tater tots. D was saying that the children would not want to have tater tots at lunch AND dinner today, but they all got eaten. I let all of Rose's tater tots cool off in a bowl before I served them, and everyone else got theirs served warm. Elf (who hates potatoes) ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think at every meal, someone is eating sandwiches.
Ok, so now you know. :)
You know you want to ask me something. And I'm drawing a blank on ideas this week, so you'll be helping me out. Thanks! :)
15 January 2011
13 January 2011
Really? Where is the author getting this stuff?? They haven't read Dick and Jane in public schools in... 40 years or so. And by the by, Dick and Jane are NOT racist. They just happen to live in the suburbs. What's wrong with their being white and suburban?
Not to say there mightn't ever, ever, ever be some hidden racism somewhere in the selection of children's literature. Or that overt racism in schools wouldn't be an EXCELLENT reason to homeschool your black child. We can probably all think of examples we wish we had never seen in school from our own childhoods. I know I sure can!! So go for it if that's what you want to do.
But um, no, to answer the commenters, I don't think most white people who take a job teaching in the inner city "don't care" or that the white man "thinks he is GOD." I live with a few white men, and they can be pretty self-important people, but not *quite* that deluded.
And... black people are SHAFTING the public schools when they make a CHOICE for their children? Um, isn't that what the whole civil rights thing-o was about? Being able to live equally free? You know... to make choices? This article is just all over the place. I'm confused!
And the picture is of a child in SCHOOL. What is the child pondering? My guess is, "Hmmm... I am trying to make sense of this article. Is it FOR or AGAINST homeschooling? And what does the author want me to believe after reading it?"
That, I think, should give us enough time for testing and maybe my helping to patch up the inevitable gaps we're going to find in Elf's schoolwork. We all have them, and I'm not following their curriculum, so there you go. I'm sure the school peeps will figure out that he can read and understand almost anything but has trouble spelling. Will that mean they don't think he's sixth grade material next year? Or will they want to hold him back? He can do simple sentence diagrams and tell you the difference between "let" and "leave." Please tell me that counts for something!
We had such an awful experience in the elementary school that that would mean he'd likely have another year at home if they wanted him to repeat fifth grade at the building where he was treated badly. Yep, I'm a picky parent, and if I don't at least get my way on the IMPORTANT things, well... I'm just gonna take my kid and go home.
There will be innumerable smaller things, unjust things, unfair things, that I'm going to have to learn to just deal with when Elf goes through them. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for that. Reminding myself that in this district, the people in the middle school were not mean to my older children.
Did I like or agree with everything they did? Um, no. They didn't do anything horrid, though. But it's been almost four years since my children have gone to this middle school. I hope things have not changed too much, or if they have, that they have all magically changed for the better.
In this era of reduced funding, maybe I am just fooling myself. But I sort of have to to get by. Elf is my very heart, but he needs to learn to have as regular a life as possible. And that's going to mean dealing with at least some unfairness.
I'm not really looking forward to it. D says it will be less work as I will have one fewer homeschooler, but this is not true. I will still be teaching all the same lessons AND juggling yet another school/bus schedule. I'm freaking out just thinking of the bus ride, let alone how the rest of the day is gonna go.
Here all I have done is email someone, and I'm already frazzled. :(
11 January 2011
It's also that time of year where I have to hear the "Can I go play outside in the snow?" question from little boys who have awful barking coughs and/or "forget" to come inside when their extremities turn bright red or blotchy white and go numb. You know... those little boys who track mucky snow through the whole house and then need a bath/shower and I get to do five more loads of washing. D tells me I was a kid, too, and I need to lay off 'em. He's probably right, but I didn't sweep up my snow trompings when I was a kid, either. The cleaning fairy I had took care of all those things. I wonder whatever happened to her, because she didn't seem to follow me to college. I could REALLY use a cleaning fairy now.
D has been home from work as well; it was that icy outside. He is able to do at least some of his work from home when the situation warrants. From what I have seen, his work entails lining up gibberish into columns, sending instant messages with cartoon characters poking each other in the eye, chatting with people on the phone, and making general announcements to the family when he is about to go to the restroom. I tried to chat with him a few times about needing bread from the store, but he was "at work" then. I wasn't supposed to bug him. Busy.
G insisted on cleaning the cars with the broom and shovelling the driveway. It was way too cold for him to be outside for long. He had to come in several times when he started to get too frozen. It took well over an hour, but he got it done. I kept telling him he really shouldn't. That Dad already said I wasn't going to be allowed to pay him. No, he insisted. But I did buy him a bag of chips at the Stuff Mart (tm) after I was able to get out of the drive. And some shampoo. He was pretty happy.
But I think everyone is starting to drive one another nuts. I know that other homeschooling families live with one another just fine, but everyone else's schedule is just off and it has a big effect on every member of the family. We've packed the lunches for tomorrow because I can't imagine a third snow day in a row. :)
08 January 2011
07 January 2011
In other news, did you know it's a horrible thing to sell Happy Meals? Yummy, yummy death. McDonald's is pimping out the trans fat to little kids, guys. They only pretend to offer a remotely "possible" healthy option. You know you won't buy it, and it's McDonald's fault! You hear me? THEIR fault you order the belly-bustin' burger, shake and three orders of fries. Because you're hungry.
And get this. Some Mommy is suing McD's because her li'l angel can't be told NO when he asks for a Happy Meal. Not only that, but it's a big waste of bad food when the kid plays with the toy and won't eat his meal. Waah, waaah, waah. Free advice: quit going to McDonald's, then. Or start donating the toys. Many public schools are in desperate need of Happy Meal toys and other fun, small rewards to give children in the prize box. Ask a preschool or elementary teacher if she'd like your toys. They will get good homes. But how much of a whiner are you if 1. you can afford the Happy Meal on a regular basis, and 2. you can afford a lawyer to bring a suit like this?
I know, I know. You're going, Happy Elf Mom, what have you been smoking? And did you go to college to learn how to grow it? And if you got the munchies while studying, did your university offer fat empowerment classes? They're apparently mainstream now. The big problem I have with that article? Is that most people with a "weight problem" don't just have an extra 15 pounds. Only an anorexic twig could even write such an insulting thing. Arg.
Aaand finally... can you pick a day to learn nothing? While you are being educated at home... or rather... not being educated, but fulfilling your educational requirements by teaching yourself... you know... nothing. Somehow. What would the parents of participating children log their hours under? A "Nothing" elective?
Well, one worry off my list. The children can tell time IF THEY ARE WEARING THEIR GLASSES. I don't know why I didn't think of that solution sooner. They can also tell you their addresses, if you sit down and explain what an "address" is and give the example of 253 Main St. Every time. They still don't have their phone number down, however. BUT they know their last name, yayy for me. Emperor says it is not HIS phone number... so why should he know it... sigh.
The boys are pretty good at telling me the various parts of speech and drawing sentence diagrams, and somewhat good at making outlines. But their writing isn't at the level I'd like it to be. Perhaps I'm overly picky, but I'd think that a few paragraphs shouldn't be too difficult to write. It's like pulling teeth to get them to write even a few sentences. And I do try to make it fun, to help them post things to their blogs, and to have them read their work aloud.
One difficulty I have teaching my children in general is that I have no outside folks giving honest feedback. Thankfully standardized testing is not required for homeschoolers (and my children have never been tested MAP-wise), because that's not the "feedback" I'm looking for so much. More... are my children improving in their writing craft? Perhaps it's just me, but I don't see any improvement. I was an English major in college, and I can read the teachers' manuals. I'm just not sure how to foster improvement in writing specifically, how to target those writing assignments to be helpful. I can assign writing. I can help children revise papers. I know what I am doing. But how to convey that one ought write more than a few sentences at a time, or a sense of order in writing is difficult.
And Spelling! We're using this. We set aside the stuff I already have (for now) and are using the free website. Elf is very, very far behind in Spelling. About a second grade level. But he can read a good plenty.
We spend about two hours daily on math. We're doing MathTacular 4. Elf and Emperor take turns using the workbook and we watch the DVD together. Elf, because he is going to public school next year, is doing the Everyday Mathematics fifth grade curriculum. If I teach him nothing else except to write the FORMULA each and every time he solves a problem, I will be pleased enough. Frequently I find he can do the math work, but mixes up his formulae and/or gets confused because of the word problems.
Emperor is buzzing along in his pre-algebra work, but he does poorly when questions are not worded just-so. He knows the math. "Reducing" a fraction doesn't mean to render it in its "mixed form," however. He has trouble "rounding to the nearest hundredth" and the like. He can do the math part. It just bothers him to be less accurate. I'm telling him it's absolutely an accurate answer to the QUESTION, however. I am not sure if he buys it or not.
Wrapping up our Ancient Greece unit soon. They've enjoyed learning about some of the mythology especially. Persephone has been played by a stuffed Pikachu in their playtime on more than one occasion.
Oh, my goodness are these children reading! They're working on the Little House series during their read-alone time. There have been many Great Illustrated Classic stories Emperor has read to us. Still working on the Lord of the Rings - and have been since June - but it is a longer and more involved book and only Elf is reading it aloud. I've told him my goal is to have LOTR done by the end of January, but early February may be a more attainable goal.
We've finished a unit on planets and are reading books from the library on all kinds of things! The children choose the books and I give them a bit of time to read and tell me about what they discover. We're finished with all the curriculum we purchased for the year, so why not?
Unless I should buy something so I can say that I'm working on something structured... but I do have my eye on some snap circuits because um, they'd be so educational. :)
05 January 2011
04 January 2011
Let an article about socialization and homeschooling come out, and you'd have thought 900 pounds of fresh beef were being plunked into the middle of a school of starving piranhas the way angry homeschoolers all swarm about to comment.
How about an article by a public schoolteacher, concern trolling (well, on his/her own blog) about how homeschoolers don't see enough "diversity," and watch the homeschoolers come jumping in. They are "proud to live in a multiracial and multicultural area" and think "diversity" enriches their lives. Some of their CHILDREN's best friends are black, you know...
I could just barf. It would sicken me if you chose to be my child's friend because he happened to be autistic. Please don't do that to our children.
And friends, we also don't win any arguments with anyone who is actually LISTENING when the speaker is criticising religious homeschooling... and bunches of homeschooling commenters talk about how annoying those Christians are. Thankfully we're not Christian! Nope! Not like *them!*
I also don't see why some of my fellow homeschoolers blog frantic posts about the idea of others inviting journalists and the like into their homeschooling day. Let them. It doesn't mean YOU have to. I think part of the reason that the wackadoodle stereotypes thrive is that 1. some of us are actually a bit strange (but then, there are a good plenty strange people out there who were educated in public and private school... but I don't see journalists bothering to cover them because everyone knows about them and they don't sell copy); and 2. we don't talk to journalists and others, so they do something called "extrapolating data," which is a fancy name for making stuff up and guessing when you don't know the answer; and 3. even when you do invite a journalist over, the bias in the editing process can make things interesting. I also find it odd that articles on homeschooling seem to require some educational expert who comes at things from a public school perspective... but this "balance" never ever happens on a story about a public school event or statistic.
I'm not inviting a journalist over, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad/good thing. I just don't see the need to worry about the image so much.
I guess I'm wondering why we let it matter, why we must defend ourselves to the point that we must look *good.* Really. Am I wrong on this? I live in Missouri and maybe I'm just not feeling that pressure as some of you do in other areas of the world to look *good.* Mind you, I don't want to appear totally incompetent, either. I've been the piranha myself on more than one occasion. :)
02 January 2011
Math as a social activity?
I'm a bit jealous. I admit it. Not saying I would trade my kids in for the world, but I'm jealous that this guy seems to have it easy. I'm letting a five-minute video totally sap my confidence.
But I don't know how to teach Elf not to cry and freak out over not getting the right pencil in the morning. How to teach Emperor not to constantly call out the answers to the math problems or just plain old chat, chat, chat WHILE working?
How can the children learn that bird squawk noises and the same three lines from the last Star Trek episode, repeated over and over to one another, is NOT something other children do?
These other children, bet you, can cross the street safely. Know not to tell strangers about the noble gases and the personality of Argon. Or the fact that there was a big fight in our house about grape jelly the other day and other details.
I'd be afraid of some of these strangers coming to my house to rob it were it not for the fact that my children STILL don't know their addresses and phone numbers, and they've lived here all their lives! AND they've forgotten how to tell time and tie shoes. I know, I know and I KNOW I spent a lot of time teaching them this.
But still, they know about five lines from every episode of Star Trek that they have watched, and they repeat it over and over to one another. I'm not complaining... exactly... so much as expressing my sadness and frustration that here I have been teaching these children diligently and thoughtfully - for years!- and Elf will show up in public school next year not knowing his address or how to figure out if someone is actually friendly or just being mean and pretending.
Elf is only just now starting to get the idea that he did NOT come from the Keebler factory. And some of those other children will be dating. He's a little more than a little socially behind, and doggone it, he's a cute little Elf. But they will eat him alive. G is begging us not to send him because they will "mess him up." So sad...
Ok. I'm just disappointed in myself, I guess. I don't know how I could have done much better in the overall picture (yep, everyone has spots they KNOW could have been better!). And my class is not like this guy's on the video. This film was shot during his first month of teaching these children... and look how they sit and pay attention. I've been working sooo hard on "sit and pay attention" that it isn't funny. For years, working... this is not funny.
I am left with the feeling that I don't have much time left with Elf at home, and no way he's ready to go to school next year, but D wants him to go. By the time he goes, he will have been home almost five years. D has been patient with me doing things my way, and he says it's just time next school year.
We've signed him up for social skills classes, and hope that helps. Chess league. Not having any family or community support really stinks at a time like this. :(
01 January 2011
Video from the same people who brought you 16 and Pregnant. On the phone, a clinician lets us know that there are medications that can be taken to expel the pregnancy, or one can go with the "gentle extraction" route.
Other highlights: These parents are extremely bright. They already have a baby and continue to be sexually active. They don't want another baby, but they don't bother to make it for their birth control shot, either. Sooo, they make a decision together based on what's best for "everyone," notably not including the unborn child's interest in the process. Brilliant. I mean, I know the teen mind doesn't always work well under the influence of hormones, but where were all the friends? Family? Other people telling them what they are about to do is murder?
We get to see video footage of brand-new baby clothes, new baby bouncers, some sort of new cell blackberry thing, new baby toys and the like as background while the mother chats about how she doesn't want her child to grow up without the things she *needs* to live. Adoption? Bah, she would LOVE this baby too much to give it up. Better just to surgically slice n dice the kid to bits and not get too attached in the first place.
After the abortion, the young lady's fella takes her out so they can talk. Frequently during these shows, they're able to plunk down money to eat at restaurants while they complain about being poor. Later they have some sort of birthday party for their daughter. The barely toddling baby is offered several outfit choices - still on their store hangers - to wear. She's given a bakery-made cake. There are probably several gold bars in the trunk of the car they're driving as well, but we don't get to see that part.
What we DO get to hear, however, later from another forum participant, is that it costs about $750 for "the procedure." She had to give up her prom ticket for it. Waah.
Ohh, well. Who are we to interfere in the parenting decisions of others? My decision to terminate WAS a parenting decision, one of the young ladies claims toward the end of the video. Put THAT one in your pipe and smoke it, HSLDA. Another said that she was able to skirt a parental notification law by strolling into court, but it got her mad that some judge would have to decide whether she could make her own decisions on this. As a mom, it pees me off royally that some judge can decide whether I'd even know that my CHILD was pregnant. Or was undergoing a SURGICAL procedure without my permission. A surgical procedure. Just nevermind the baby a second... is this somewhere we really want to go? Surgical procedures without parental consent?
I'm being snarky in this post, and probably way too judgmental. Maybe I am just masking the horror, the stomach-sinking horror, I felt watching this go on. Could you imagine being this big sister, and finding out years down the road that Mom and Dad killed your sibling so that you could have a "better" life?
Yes, I'm just horrified. Just horrified at the way this is presented as a normal and respectable choice. It's called a horrendous mistake. Yes, I've used "horror" and "horrendous" far too many times; and yes, we can love people despite their mistakes. God forgives mistakes. But God (to my knowledge; I'm not claiming to be His agent) doesn't set up talk shows where people can talk about teens and rights and sex in the same sentence, however.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you think these young ladies should be commended for their choice. If that's the case, pop on over here and share your message of love. Positive comments only, because these ladies are heroes or something. "We need to make sure these brave young women feel our unconditional love and our support." Unconditional. Can you do that? I can't.
I wish them healing and understanding and all the help they need, but I just can't do that.