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Showing posts from October, 2009

Star Trek Homeschooling.

When I first began homeschooling my little Elf, I thought that "homeschooling" was really all about teaching the kid to read and write. He may even learn to balance a checkbook eventually and fill out job applications and that sort of thing. I had no idea that I was doing it all wrong.

You see, I wasn't Thomas Jefferson homeschooling. Homeschooling on the Trivium. Classical homeschooling. Charlotte Mason homeschooling. Enki homeschooling. Anything you could imagine out there from "public schooling at home" - schooling to UNschooling. You need a special name to fit in here, folks.

And I'm just not fitting in anywhere here... so just for fun, I'm going to make up "Star Trek Homeschooling." Read along and decide which character suits you! We Star Trek Homeschoolers can't be a monolithic sort of group, you know. That's why it's called the Federation of Star Trek Homeschoolers when we get together for conventions each year. No…

Handwriting.

It's very difficult for Emperor. This is his neatest work... readable, but not without a little effort. We've gone through the writing in shaving cream, workbook exercises, etc. and I'm sure he's improved over the years, but I still can't say that it isn't a problem. One of the difficulties in comparing his writing this year to years past is the fact that one must do MORE writing as one ages. It's one thing to turn in a single page, perfect, with nothing but B's on it. Quite another to write, flowing, legibly, one letter into the next while maintaining a train of thought on paper. Emperor turned eight in August, and would have been in second grade this year were he in public school.

Waiting...

So, I'm waiting for an appointment with all the kids except Patrick. This is one of those semi-governmental places that I wish I didn't have to visit... but nearly free is nearly free, and you know how that goes. I've discovered there are actually some good things about these places. A few, at least.

First off, the "clients" there are rarely snotty to you. I know, I know, when I hear the word "client," I think about prostitution just like you do. That, or some awful lawyer defending a criminal... but the lawyer can't say "criminal" about the guy he's defending... so he calls him a "client." I think it's a code word or something. But that's what they call you when you're a patient at these places. Somehow when you are a client instead of a patient, that lends class and dignity and stuff. Empowers you, even. All that without their having to spend any money or be nice or anything!

Maybe someday soon, teens will use the…

Just a Rant.

I don't watch tv or follow the reality shows, but even I know who "Balloon Boy" is because I have facebook and an AOL welcome screen. No offense to the avid followers of the Balloon family, but I was tired of hearing about it when I first heard it. I'm thinking that for a great reality show, we need to follow the lives of several lower middle-class families that have genuine need, but don't qualify for state help. Watch them beg for services. Hear the evil and snippy tone of the people they must call on a daily basis. Figure out how much time is spent advocating and getting nothing. Oh! Also relay to the viewers how just thinking about how one has to call, making calls and waiting for calls is almost as stressful as the sickness itself.

Watch them go without needed care on a regular basis. Then watch them pay their taxes so that the "less fortunate" get a better, more comprehensive coverage for free. Watch them jump through a bunch of hoops and…

Taking a Picture Because it Lasts Longer.

A new week starts in our Happy Elf Homeschool tomorrow! We'd better snap a photo while all our books and materials are so well-organized. God bless you this week. :]

Fall Room-Cleaning.

As you can see from the top picture, the beds are pushed 1-2-3 near each other so one can barely navigate. D is uncomfortable with bunk beds because of the possibilities of falls and injuries. Someday, I hope to get captain's style beds for the children so that at least we don't have to have three beds AND dressers in the room. While I had the blankets and sheets out for a washing, I did a good dusting and moved some furniture back and forth to see what I'd find. If you're brave, embiggen the pictures for a good look at these dust monsters. They can't rightly be called "bunnies" any more. This is one of those things that I used to "get around to" literally every three weeks to monthly when I had two children, but now that I have six? I'm lucky to get 'round to this sort of thing every six months. Ok, the sheets get washed more frequently than that, but the room sure doesn't get cleaned nearly so well or so often. I have off…

Indian Arrowhead?

Elf and Emperor found this in our rock garden this summer. They like to imagine that it is a real Indian arrowhead. Um, it's made out of chert. You know, like every other rock around here? And it looks nothing like the nice big, black arrowheads made of volcanic rock (ok, that you can't find for a few hundred miles) that are finely-made and stuck on the end of decorative sticks that we see in the movies. Yikes! Just looked up "chert" so I could show my readers what other examples of chert might look like... and came across this... maybe it is a real arrowhead after all. I could not imagine selling it.

Fixing Short-Short-Shorts.

They make shorts too stinkin' short for little girls. If I left this as-is, Rose's diaper would hang out the back end if she wore it in public next summer. Then again, I couldn't pass up paying 20 cents for the shorts... I took an old piece of a skirt that is too small for me and attached it to the bottom of the shorts. I had cut off the "legs" first, but I think next time, I'll just flip the shorts around and sew through the open waistline so that there is a modesty cover under the skirt. :]

Family.

You gotta love 'em, but you don't have to love them in the same room. The Mom With Brownies wrote a poignant piece about accepting others and protecting yourself, even as others do not accept you as you are:

"Just because we WANT them to like us, does not mean that they will like us. We can beat our head against the wall trying to fit our heart into a square hole but it will never fit if we are only being tolerated! If we can understand that this is normal, we can then shed the 'what ifs.' We will have found the Holy Grail of peace. There comes a time when we mature enough to know who wants us around and who does not. When that time comes, we need to make the hard decision to walk away and give them their desire... Let us let go. Let us live our life. Let us let them live theirs and stop wasting the minutes we have on this earth. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. We do not have to have them over for tea or even have them in our lives at all. We have t…

Back in MY Day...

They used a longer paddle to swack me back in the day than they do on these young hoods today! And they did it in front of the whole class because that's an effective deterrent! Yuk, yuk. That's really funny. And it learned me good, too. So that's what we should do to these ruffians in Mississippi schools. Just swack 'em good. Happened to tens of thousands of kids in the state last year alone!

(I'm sure Mississippi will score very well on all standardized tests next year, because they done knocked some sense into these young'uns. You just wait and see if I'm not right.)

See, because the alternative to swacking them takes too much time out of our school day, and when we send kids HOME for Mom and Dad to deal with, we don't get state funding for those hours. That's more important than whether the kid learns anything or is treated with respect. We're busy. We don't want to take a little extra time and go over what the problem is and may…

Woodjie at the Pumpkin Patch

I took Elf and Emperor to the pumpkin patch as well, but we haven't had any Woodjie pictures in a while. Woodjie was a pretty good little kid, considering he got very overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds at the farm. He was frightened of the animals. He was positively terrified of the tractor ride. But he just loved the kiddie playground. Most of the rides are fun, inventive things like rocking lambs made of wood, animal swings made from tires, a barrel and hula-hoop rodeo game, and a real bitty Fort Liberty stockade. Yes, I kept Woodjie on the monkey leash but mostly I try to hold his hand when we go places.

Good Reporting?

"Paul scoffs three family-sized takeaways a night and wolfs down Sunday roasts like snacks."

The article from which I took this quote is about a fellow who is so overweight that he needs very expensive help. Doctors have scheduled a stomach-reducing surgery in the hopes that Paul will eat less and therefore prevent an obesity-related death.

Now, I'm not sure that that will work. I've heard of people who can train themselves to get around the effects of the stomach-stapling surgery and I've also heard of severe complications. Then again, at nearly 1,000 pounds, the guy is probably just desperate for some help.

Imagine being that desperate for help. Imagine how tough that would be to go over and over and over your medical history with these medical folks every time you tried to make an appointment. Imagine the calls you'd have to make. Explain over and over again how you don't fit through the door. How, sorry, but no way you can make this appointment 15…

What's the Plan?

Since April, I've been working with the slow-as-molasses Regional Center to develop a plan for Elf. It is similar to an IEP, but funded through a semi-governmental agency that sorta gives funding and then you scrap around and hope to magically find a provider that accepts the funding...

Meh. It's something, anyway. Of course, now that our plan has finally gotten finished (do you know how much pestering it took? Well, just imagine), now we are on the waiting list, which is about two years long. Ughhhh.

But Elf has been involved in this process. I want Elf to have a real LIFE outside home after I drop dead or he grows up. Not to be morbid, but I think it needs to be a consideration of every special needs kid's parents. "Regular," standard-issue kids can be pawned off to the nearest relative and aside from the regular, standard-issue "boo-hoo, my mom died in a fiery wreck" sort of problems to work through, the kid grows up ok. S/he gets a job and mo…

It's a Major Award!

You bet, when it's given by a loving friend. I appreciate all of them, even if I don't blog every one. Things have been so nutty around here... maybe you've noticed the shorter posts. In any event, my buddy Bonnie has awarded me the Gorgeous Blogger Award. I'm going to tell you six things about myself and then award this to six other gorgeous bloggers. Ready?

1. I'm really a 53-year-old liberal man. I write this blog as a sort of alter ego. I also like to stretch the truth quite a bit on occasion, and this is one of those times.
But you never know about people! When you're online, you could really be talking to just about anyone. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to get to know someone. One thing I have discovered on this blogging journey is that my blog friends "get" it when my family does not. Do you know how often I've been emailed by people going through the same things that I am? No, I won't out anyone. Ever. But I will say that it's sa…

Spongedad?

Spongebob is getting married to Sandy the Squirrel! It will be fun to watch how nicely Spongebob straps his kids into their carseats and gets a higher-paying job so that he can support his family.

Or maybe they'll be less traditional and Spongebob will stay home to homeschool the children on "how to drive a boat" while Sandy goes into the workaday world. "Hope he gets a prenup," one commenter quipped. "Someone stole half of my pineapple once and it wasn't a good feeling."

Spelling Discouragement.

Elf has a little trouble spelling. He'll study and study and study and study. Oh MY will he study.

He's finally, after three years of homeschooling, gotten to the point where he no longer spells "dozz" for "does." Now it's "dose." Arg. Ok! But it's progress.

It isn't the spelling list. There is no magical curriculum that is going to make it easy for the Elf. I think he's an awesome reader, and he does well in math, but I'm just going to do the best I can with him in spelling and call it good. I think there is only so much the best spelling teacher can do with certain students. I love the kid... but there it is.

One of the spelling words this week was the name of a book in the Bible. It also happened to be Elf's name. "Whew!" I thought. "Finally, some easy points for Elf on the test!" But he got it wrong. And then, after more studying, writing the words out, blah blah blah, he got it wrong on the retest. Dou…

The *Love* Poem.

A friend once described me as being "uppity and sarcastic," probably because she has never met Patrick.

Ohhhh, my, Patrick is worse than all those arrogant professors you had in college on a bad day when they're desperate to impress a colleague with their mean wit. He can absolutely floor you with his answers, and he doesn't even need the little tweed coat with the leather patches on the elbows or little reading glasses perched on his nose to make you feel inferior. If I wanted someone to, say, write something that would be sure to alienate a potential girlfriend, I'd ask Patrick to write it for me.

Patrick might be writing love poems for a friend to pass off as his own, he told me when he arrived home from school. And he might be getting paid to do it. (Patrick? LOVE poem? *snort inwardly here*)

"How much are you getting paid, Patrick?"

Well, I'm not saying I AM doing this for money, he said. I just said I miiiight be. (Ok, so he's being a s…

Here's a Sunday Funny For You...

Our pastor likes to start his sermon with a "funny." Here's a good 'un: A young man is on his way to church with two quarters. He plans to buy ice cream with one and put the other one into the offering plate. As he's strolling along, he's flipping the quarter into the air, singing a little song and thinking about buying ice cream. But as he nears the shop, he stumbles and the quarter he was playing with goes down into a grate and is irretrievable. The boy thinks about what to do. Finally, he pulls the other quarter out of his pocket and says, "Sorry, God. This quarter is for ice cream."

"HEEE HEEE HEEE HEEEEEE!" Elf thought this joke was very, very good. I don't know that he remembered anything of the preaching. I could hear him stifle little giggles all through the service. All that week, I'd occasionally hear him snorting and giggling and saying, "Sorry, God. This quarter is for ice cream!"

I don't think…

All About Girlie

At last count, Rose can say 33 words. They include words like "sniff," as in, "sniff my feet so I can laugh at you." Or "ball," as in, "I am not happy with the food that is served. I want the cheese balls I see on the counter." The cutest word? "Nigh-nigh," as in, "I feel that it would be best for you to tuck me in to bed before I get out of control here." This has to be the world's only kid who consistently tells you when it's bedtime. When she gets up to her room? "Doll. Nigh-nigh. Shhh." Well, ok, then. Good night.

Itsy Update.

Here's what we're up to in the Happy Elf Homeschool:

Maths:

We're finishing up Singapore Maths Workbook 4B this week. We'll finish the textbook next week. Then we'll doodle around for a bit. We'll "review" for a week or so, too, and I'll see if I can't trip the children up here and there and find some weak spots. Word problems. Yeah. They'll hate it, but it will build character. I might print off some other state tests and see if they do well on those. Every now and then, the way in which the question is asked just throws them off.

Or better still, maybe I ought to just drill 'em for the SAT now so that in about six years they'll be really, really ready. My, I've seen other families do that even at this young age. You can succeed like that, you know... but I'm not sure it would teach math very well. Hopefully you know what I mean. Not that the SAT isn't really a good math test, but if that's all you're …

The Sad Story of Homeschooling.

I've had several public school folks from this and other websites asking unbiased questions in their websearches. They don't stay long, presumably because my website didn't give the REAL story.

Do you want the real story? Here it is!

An AOL search of the "sad story of homeschooling" reveals that children are forced into public schools in divorce cases. Ok, that's a sad story. My blog *somehow* came next.

Next up? A post that links to a news story that pretty plainly states that "homeschooling" families are a bit wacko and are trying to hide stuff. "The school bus never stopped at the secluded trailer on Hickory Crossroads in rural North Carolina," it forbodingly opines, "because for five years Nissa and Kent Warren home schooled their children."

Are you hearing the doom-y music in the background? Um... they found squalid living conditions and some dead kids... must be the homeschooling. Nothing to do with wacky parents who were known…

Pay Cash = Pay Less?

This whole idea bothers me. Some of these retailers need to put on their big-girl panties and deal with life as it is. Don't like the credit card companies skimping on you? Don't accept the credit card as a form of payment.

A good plenty of businesses will tell you "NO CHECKS" in nice bold print by the register. They've been burned a good plenty of times by unscrupulous customers and/or people who have no idea their account has been overdrawn somehow. At least with a credit card, it either goes through and is approved or it isn't. There is no grey area there. You don't have to chase after your customer for payment and listen to the "I had no idea the gas company got my check yesterday instead of next week and would cash it right away!" stories.

(Which might actually be true in this era of electronic check cashing. Another post, but that makes me nervous how a business can literally ruin you by resubmitting a check 48000 times. I get the idea that …

Nooo! It's MINE! *I* Want to Wear it to Church!

Apparently this latest creation of D's makes the wearer look like "Bowser," and is very cool. This bracelet would also be ideal as homeschoolwear, except for the fact that Mom said "no." And Dad said to put it back on his leatherworking table and leave Dad's things alone, please.

*New* Holi-day.

"There's nothing wrong with God that a dose of reality won't cure," so maybe you'd like to celebrate Blasphemy Day with some friends? I'm thinking that you'll have plenty of time to do that in Hell if you don't repent purdy soon. Just using a little freedom of speech there, friend. While I still can.

I think it coincides with "National Be Offensive For Fun Day" as well as "People Who Are Too Chicken To Pull This Crap in Saudi Arabia Because Christians Are Really Pretty Tolerant But We Don't Want to Admit it Because it Makes Us Look Big And Bad to Fight the 'Power' Day."

It's a pretty busy day, I think.