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Showing posts from November, 2009

Riff-Raff Homeschooling.

A "home education facilitator" reminisces that homeschooling used to be something to be proud of before all the riff-raff joined up and wrecked everything. I mean, they're so uncommitted these days. It took REAL "I know I might lose my kids and/or get sucked into the legal system for years" - type commitment to homeschool, so way back when only a few really brave and determined families tried it.

"Today, homeschooling is almost commonplace," yawns Dianne Dachyshyn. "It seems that everyone knows someone who homeschools, and unfortunately, it also seems as if all of us know someone who has homeschooled poorly. Stories abound of that one, odd homeschooling family that someone knew from someplace." You know... the kids in the STORIES.

The real kids, though? I'm thinking the nice social worker might have other things to worry about besides whether Janie learns her times tables at nine instead of seven... but... I have also read the HSLDA…

Beware Samurai Bearing Gifts

Many thanks to Sue for directing us to this neat tutorial on YouTube on how to make samurai kabuto (war helmet). Click here to see the craaazy picture she posted that inspired us to ask for help in making our own! And yes, this counts toward our Social Studies hours, mmmkay?

Hoarders

I could *very* easily see us living this lifestyle to a lesser degree if I weren't prone to giving stuff away when we're all done with it. D likes to save Cool-Whip containers, pickle jars, peanut butter jars, empty pill jars and ... about everything you can think of because "we might need it" and it's "useful." I honest-to-goodness have found uses for about everything. Yes, we use ice cream buckets to separate toys, and we have bunches of them. It's helpful to organize our toys that way.

But now he's bringing recyclables home from work because it upsets him to see people just throw their lunch leftovers away. It's not being a good steward. Arg. We have a 60-gallon container we've stuck INTO the little recycling container the trash company gives us... and it's FULL each week. He collects hundreds of yogurt jars, each carefully washed, and expects me to find a good use for them. Ok. We use them to paint with ... but we don…

Updates.

Woodjie can say "No, thank youuu." Well, it sounds like, "No, ee-eu," which is clear enough. Want some of this malt vinegar Mom's eating? "No, ee-euuuuu." Diaper change time. "No, ee-eu." And tonight at 11:30 p.m., Woodjie woke up to tell me "No ee-eu ni-ni." (Sounds like a Hawaiian serenade, but hey, we'll take it!!!)

Elf was a bit exasperated with me tonight during book reading time because I can't say what I mean. I told Emperor that one of the villains in Pilgrim's Progress was killed, and that's just wrong of me. He was SLAIN. I got the word wrong. Another example of a word I frequently get wrong (he helpfully continued) was that I call a slough a "swamp." And I shouldn't do that.

Thanks, Elf. Next time I think someone is just "going around the world," I will be sure to say that they are "circumnavigating" instead, ok?

Emperor and Elf have been very busy colouring a n…

New Lunchbox for the Homeschooling Dad!

We've been looking in thrift stores about *forever* for a new lunchbox for D. We refuse to pay the $20 for a new one, but just hadn't seen any adequately-sized lunchboxes in good condition... until now. D wasn't sure if he should get it or not. I told him he should get this $1.98 bargain, because it not only holds his work lunches, it's also *blogworthy.* :P

Yowie!

This is the sort of thing that I'd be afraid of happening if I brought my older kids home. No... not to that degree (LOL!) but the jumping right into geometry before figuring out the parameters of "this is schooltime" and "this is the time to eat cereal" that my younger children have down pretty naturally. I would imagine it would take quite a bit of working through those boundaries even in the best of circumstances. Patrick says it bothers him that all of our schoolbooks have "because God said so" or the like as the correct answer frequently and feature stories about nice little children who get oranges if they behave and lose their schoolbooks if they do not. And objectively? Yep. He's right. Conversely, he says that on his papers at public school, he just needs to "write something crazy and liberal" if he wants a good grade. Mind you, he was surprised to receive a C on a paper comparing public school to the Nazi death camps re…

Teen Fun at the Mrs. C House

Whoever said that "life's a b*$$ and then you die" was wrong. The correct saying, my friends, is that "life is an autistic teenager and then you clean up the stupid pieces of the stuff he's breaking everywhere so no one cuts their feet open on the shards. Then you go and try to convince him that this is not ALL Mom and Dad's fault when HE was the one throwing it. And YES I mean to punish you even though it was your stuff that got broken! And JUST because Mom and/or Dad said something that made you angry, does NOT mean you have the right to act like a wompus-brain."

Well, ok. Maybe the first saying is a little more concise and universally applicable. Anyway... Thanksgiving (and for that matter, many days!) at our house look more like Stuart Smalley's descriptions of family life than normal everyday livin'. So say a prayer, would ya? G actually went to bed at 7:30 because causing a ruckus on a regular basis can get doggone exhausting. I&#…

Chatting with Woodjie

(His sweet little comments are in blue.)

Here we are, ready for breakfast. Woodjie is all strapped in to his booster seat and is about to make his breakfast choice. I'm holding up the Coco-Roo cereal, the "ball" kind.

Woodjie, want ball? ball?Or Fruit Loop.doo-oop.

BALL? BALL?

Or LOOP. DOOP.

BALL??? BALL???

LOOP?? LOOP!!

Which ONE? ONE! Which one? ONE! (BIG happy smile. Woodjie starts to flap his arms and stim.)

You want the loop, right? right?

The ball kind? Ind?

You want BOTH? BOTH?

Ok, there ya go! GO! Yay!

Assorted Education Post

... full of notes too small to be posted separately.

It's a Teacher!

Don't you just love all the little baby things at showers? Isn't it fun to plan gift ideas and see some of the silly games the hosts will come up with? I'm thinking giving a tiny prize to the random person with the "raisin" in her napkin diaper decoration is a whole lot more classy than the melted chocolate bar in the diaper/ taste it and guess what kind it is game. (Blech!)

Now here's a new and different idea. A shower for a new teacher! I'm thinking every new teacher should get one. Wouldn't it be fun if new teachers could register for supplies and other things they'll need as the year begins? Or that veteran teachers would be able to gift extra supplies and books they're no longer using? Well, it's a *fun* idea.

Homeschooling Older Children

Christine over at the Thinking Mother has an excellent post up about homeschooling older children. It sure seems that most of the h…

A Pokemon Christmas

We've already decorated the tree, and we're using some "Pokemon" themed art made with iron-together beads the boys have been making throughout the year. After Christmas, they will still want to hang these in their room or in the kitchen window.

Big Problem?

It doesn't sound like too much TV is the big problem some folks want to make it out to be in daycare centers.

Sure, Mom, you would PREFER the kid get personal, one-on-one attention from her caregiver, or at least be her favourite. You would PREFER that the caregiver make macaroni projects and play play-doh and mini trampoline all day with your child, except for that precisely scheduled nap between 12:40 and 2 p.m. Then it's time for a small cup of half-juice, half-water. We're concerned about sugars, you know.

Wake up.

Now. Pretend you're a low-income mom. You're spending $15 or so a day on daycare each day, maybe a bit more. You do NOT have the $290 weekly special super deluxe preschool fees (um, that's for the HALF-day program, ma'am?), so you'll send your kid to May's up the street. You deal with what you have. You know May leaves the TV on a bit too much. But she's cheap, reliable and she keeps your kid no problem. You have to work. …

????

"Parents of autistic children have persuaded the federal government and private foundations to increase funding for research that in theory will find the cause of what is actually a number of different conditions; the habit of diagnosing a child as belonging to an 'autistic spectrum' implies, incorrectly, a single cause for a condition that varies in severity. This is not a wise strategy, and applying it to other disorders sounds absurd... oncologists do not use the concept 'cancer spectrum' because they have learned that, for example, leukemia, tumors of the colon, and breast cancer are caused by different genes and life experiences. " Article.

Sorry... this article is maddening in that it seems to imply that if only these children lived long ago, their parents would have whooped 'em but good and they'd not have all these fake symptoms. I mean, it's suggested bipolar disorder is diagnosed in part because of parents feel guilty because of their l…

What We Do With Socks.

Woodjie hasn't worn socks unless he also will be putting shoes on for several months. Rose thinks it is hilarious that he prefers to put blocks into his socks. "Sock! Shooooooooe.... Sock! Sock!" she'd try to explain to him. Yes, he knows. He just wants to do things his way.

Lunch at the Happy Elf Homeschool

Mom got some trays at the thrift store. I have some children who are very happy that some foods are not touching other foods. Yeah. Woodjie had a bowl of leftover dry cereal and some pretzels and other non-milk-and-egg things. Elf says that the trays look like happy faces. :]

Wordless.

I posted a bit ago about how I rather dislike the whole Christmas season as a secular package. The whole purchasing season and the obligations, I felt, can detract from the message.

Woodjie is teaching me something different. He loves the Christmas lights, even if he doesn't understand the "message." He LOVES the Christmas lights. HE LOVES THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!! He's jumping up and down, waving his arms about and screaming happy about the Christmas lights. I've just got to hold him sometimes and bring him over by the tree to feel him just shake head-to-toe with glee. His little smile. His bright blue eyes.

Did you know he wakes up giving kisses? Did anyone ever know *extreme* joy before he demonstrated it?

You know, I don't worry too much about teaching doctrine to this one yet. Even "Jesus loves me, this I know" might not be getting through. He has a "pray" PEC and he has learned to be silent for just a moment while the blessing…

Dick Cheney in 2012!

HolyCoast blog has some funnies in this post with slogans for Dick Cheney in 2012.

“I shoot my friends in the face with a shotgun. What do you think I’ll do to America’s enemies?”
“I’m what the Mayans predicted.”
“The only time I’ll bow before a foreign leader is in preparation for an uppercut.”
“I already control everything; let’s just make it official.”
“If I’m busy being president, I won’t have time to eat your children’s souls.”
“Probably not going to win a Nobel Peace Prize.”
“You don’t inaugurate me; you unleash me.”

Check out Rick's blog for insights into politics and life.

In My Inbox: Merry Christmas, Ya NAZI!

AFA wrote me and a zillion other people an email quoting a Gap ad:

"Two, Four, Six, Eight, now's the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah."

"Did you notice it?" AFA President Tim Wildmon asks. "Gap compares Christmas to the pagan holiday called 'Solstice.' Solstice is celebrated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!" Enclosed was a button for supposedly outraged people like me to click to return a "survey" to the organization. In closing, I was told about how very important it was for me to forward this email to ALL my family and friends. Nevermind that most of 'em are secular liberals who would probably laugh before hitting the "delete" button.

Though I've got to …

Tinkle Time.

This is a serious issue! I'm not kidding.

Now, when you have a budget crisis and you close rest stops on the highway, you present motorists with a genuine problem. I have to admit it isn't a biggie if you close rest stops in the middle of a city. Just pull off to the nearest McDonald's, go potty, wash your hands with antibacterial soap, grumble that there are no towels, use the hair dryer thingies and maybe grab a soda and off ya go.

But in the boonies where exits can be 20 miles apart... and even then, there are difficulties finding a bathroom because the one store in town closes after midnight... well, it's just wrong to do. At least give folks a designated place to pull over and poop in their own cars. But if I'm not mistaken, there are laws against public nudity. Ladies wearing pants are NOT going to be able to pee without a blanket tied 'round their waist and even then... it can be most soggily unpleasant. And can you imagine stopping suddenly and ha…

Thrift Store Finds.

D and I have been leaving children alone with Patrick and just going to thrift stores for fun a couple times a week. It gives Patrick a little extra money and it gives us a chance to *leave.* Everybody wins! Well, except G. G has been forced to come along on these incredibly boring excusions because we're jerks and unfair. The plus is that he can play his DS in the van to his heart's content, or he can come in and look around while we spend "hours and hours" looking at stuff.

I really should bring my camera on one of these outings. You wouldn't believe the stuff they're selling... which means you wouldn't believe the stuff people used to have in their homes until recently... Would you dress a four-year-old in a shirt with the words, "In your dreams..." on it? I might've if it had cute bears sleeping near puffy clouds or something, and not thought about the innuendo. But the glamour chick pictured on the T, complete with cleavage, and the shi…

Who Speaks For Autistic People?

My mind goes round and round on this one. The medical professionals, who by and large are NOT disabled themselves, get to cobble together the DSM that spells out which problems are considered conditions and which are not. And it bothers me that it's starting to look as though Asperger's is going to be eliminated from the next edition.

Call me paranoid, but what if we just eliminated all the well-adjusted and verbal schizophrenics or dyslexics from their little DSM categories and left ONLY the ones who couldn't advocate for themselves or others? What kind of advocacy would the "real" disabled people be able to cobble together? You see where I'm going with this.

Now, I *totally* and completely get this idea that one person might not be "as disabled" as another. Or that maybe the person on the more functional end of the spectrum oughtn't qualify for aid when dollars are tight and we need to concentrate on those who are more severely affected. But the…

Japan

Please read Emperor and Elf's blogs about Japan. Don't forget to feed the comment nuts!

They were given a stack of children's books last week and just told to go learn about it. Sometimes I'm crazy like that. It's interesting sometimes the things they pick up. Notice that World War II is not mentioned. I went back and looked at the kids' books and... it really isn't covered AT ALL.

I'm going to have to clue them in about that, but it was a rather messy and horrible end to a war. And yet it had to end. I know it's a rather sorrowful subject, but I would *think* that it would at least bear a mentioning in a book about Japan. My children were left with the impression that there were still plenty of Samurai and they'd like to see one.

Sometimes.

Sometimes I don't think I'm raising my older sons with a sense of seriousness and urgency about cleaning... let alone about cleaning to my satisfaction.

NEW Math Books!

I bought the sixth-grade Teaching Textbooks for use in our homeschool. It's a lot of fun! I would recommend getting the grade HIGHER than what you're starting now if you'd like to try it out (better yet, peruse the website, look at the tables of contents, allow your child to take a practice test and draw your own conclusions as to what is best for your child!). It says sixth grade on the cover, but I wouldn't get too excited about that part as much of the first quarter appears to be review. Place value and long division are re-covered in these first lessons. We have begun Singapore Math for our fifth grade studies, but I am using these Teaching Textbooks for our lesson about once a week. It slows us down a little bit, but I also figure that it's fun and it can't hurt to review on a weekly basis, or go over previously learned material in a new and different way. I'd highly recommend getting this set, but I will warn you that it's a bit difficult to…

It's NOT Ok.

Woodjie goes to preschool soon, and it's going to be so special. Too bad it has to be in this district, and too bad for me that I'm heavily invested in this house and didn't know back when I was house-hunting what I know now...

I went to get testing results yesterday. To my mind, testing results and IEP drafting are separate things. But I got a "draft IEP" foisted on me during this meeting and was told I *MUST* sign it within ten days. Well... I have a problem with this.

Then there's the fact that these IEP goals look like they've been written for someone else. Maybe because they HAVE! Someone else's child's name is on some places in this IEP! OH... and guess what? Childname was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. That's nice to know, because Woodjie does not have a formal diagnosis!! ... hmm...

This is an obvious cut and paste job, and not only that, it's an obvious violation of privacy for that other family! I've google…

Dear Teen Facebook Users

Your friend's MOM has access to your friend's account. Occasionally she logs on AS your friend, because that's the deal in your friend's house. Your friend's MOM checks on what is on the computer and what your friend is up to. That means unbeknownst to you, she is looking at your profile pictures. She reads your statuses. She finds out what YOU are up to on a Saturday night, because she wants to know all about who her kids are hanging out with and "friending."

She learns so much about teen life she never would have known just from asking your friend. Because usually? Your friend comes home and how was school? Fine. Did you have a good day? Yes. What did you do? Stuff... like... usual stuff.

Just so you know? Y'all are so tame compared to me as a teen. And that's a good thing. If I found a "past me" type getting friended, my kid would totally lose facebook for a month. That, or I would tell my kid something like, "You n…

Saying Goodbye

Our fourth-grade Singapore math books and some of our ABeka readers went into the homeschool storage box a bit ago. As excited as the children were at the prospect of receiving NEW books, they were sad to see the old ones go. But Mom is a bit picky about the pricey curriculum stuff. It goes back into storage so we don't lose it. Many of the regular books we read (such as the Wizard of Oz and the like) are still on the children's shelves. I will pick those out for Woodjie and Rose as there is interest later. I keep praying that Woodjie will need to use one of the math books that is now tucked away.

Local News

A young woman from a nearby suburb is assaulted, kidnapped, and killed. This is a town where almost nothing big ever happens. It has a Wal-Mart, a couple used clothing stores, and a few restaurants. Farms and bitty houses. Green Acres meets inner city. It's a way out from Kansas City, so it draws people who can't afford a house in the nicer suburbs, but don't want to live in the city. If you could imagine Farmer Joe's grandkids without the farm to work on, living in a rural slum, this would be the town.

The schools are dreadful. There is a big drug problem out that way.

I know one family that moved there from my suburb because the land was cheap. She said since she's homeschooling, she doesn't have to worry about the crummy schools. And since she takes her children to a church near my suburb, she doesn't have to worry about her kids getting the wrong friends, either. I have to say I understand this thinking as, although I live in a modest middle-…

Why Are There No Pictures to This Post?

I usually start snipping near the head and work my way down to the tail. I don't know why, but I find things easier that way. The cat's fur is EXTREMELY overgrown. She's leaving furballs all over the house, and Patrick's bed is just covered with her fluffy hair. Just covered. And this cat has the long sort of hair that just sticks to everything. It can't just be brushed off; the blanket will have to be washed and dried, and I'll have to scoop hot fuzz out of the dryer later.

(Please... nobody pop on to my blog after googling "hot fuzz." Please.)

Mopsy's age must be somewhere between 16 and 17 years old. She walks with a hitch to her right back leg. The vet says it's arthritis in her hips, and to give her a baby asprin about once a week if we like. I'd rather not medicate her. Not because I'm concerned about the side effects of a medication so much. At nearly 17 human years of age, the object of the game at this point is to ma…

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent - Teacher conferences are mostly a waste of time. I think we all know that if the teacher has a genuine concern, likely her fingers aren't broken and she can pick up the phone. And most parents are able to send an email, make a phone call or schedule a meeting. What's the point of the parent-teacher conference?

I think it's to sell books at the book fair and give teachers an easy day off with pay later for this extra "work" they do that night, yapping with the parents about this or that. (Not a job I'd want, but hello? My husband is practically a slave and doesn't get paid "extra" for weekends or beeper duty. He doesn't suddenly get allergic and get a super comp day if he has to remain in the building for more than exactly 40 hours each week. But, see, that's because he isn't a member of a teachers' union. Somehow folks like him can't lobby, get great benefits and clean up to the tune of 40% of the state budge…

Kaleem Caire

"If our school systems are producing such small numbers of graduates, what is the purpose of K—12 education for black males? Why are we allowing our children to languish in schools and school systems that produce far more failures than successes?" asks Kaleem Caire in this post.

Well, I was intrigued by Caire's viewpoint. He seems to be very pro-public school AND pro-school choice. Which... doesn't quite go together for me. It just doesn't make sense that Caire could come out so scathingly against public education as it regards the black male, and yet discuss the public education system so nicely as a valid parental choice in other places on the web. I've dug around a bit and can't quite pin down his ideas here. He must be one of those "moderates" I've read about. Maybe those are the people who really get along with everyone and get things done.

The founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Caire has been quoted as stating…

Time for Art!

We studied Georges Seurat today in art class. Why? Because I had some "Color Explosion" paper from Crayola, and the website gives all kinds of craft ideas. You can look up craft ideas based on the season or, in our case, we had a really cool supply that we wanted new ideas on how to use.