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Showing posts from May, 2010

Old But Interesting

I was looking at tarvu.com for a while and I still don't get it. I'm not sure if the website is making fun of Mormons, Christians, Scientologists or just religion in general (non-Muslim, of course... fear of death and all). It sure seems to me that a lot of work went into this obviously fake website, complete with fake doctrine, prayers, testimonials, videos, etc. And speaking with an octopus? I don't get it. "It's so easy to join," but I'm not getting why anyone would want to do so.

Of course, I had to doodle around the internet to find out more. This is the part of the post where I warn my gentle readers that those with sensitive eyes might want to just hit that little X that's in the top right corner of your screen right now. This post isn't for you... sorry. Onward...

Typed in "religion parody" and didn't find tarvu. I found the flying spaghetti monster religion, to be sure, but that's old news. Even older but less well-publici…

School Bullying: A Tragic Cost of Forced Schooling and Autocratic School Governance

Now, you might expect a headline like that on some of the homeschoolio blogs. Maybe on some of the ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative websites. But this one? Was on Psychology Today. And written by an "evolutionary psychologist," of all things. Excerpt:

"Bullying occurs regularly when people who have no political power and are ruled in top-down fashion by others are required by law or economic necessity to remain in that setting. It occurs regularly, for example, in prisons. Those who are bullied can't escape, and they have no legislative or judicial power to confront the bullies. They may report bullying to the prison guards and warden, but the guards and warden may not know whom to believe and may have greater vested interest in hiding bullying than in publicizing it and dealing with it openly."

The solution? Give the students power so they feel all, like, empowered. Like that's gonna happen. I'm thinking it would be an interesting school atmo…

New Teen Craze!

Forget this earring thing G just did. That's nothing. He's nowhere near as fashionable as the teen WEREWOLVES wandering around schools in "packs." I guess in Missouri, we are behind the times fashion-wise, but I have yet to see children howling in large groups outside our local mall and wearing long furry tails. As explained in the video, everyone is part animal and we must find this part of ourselves and embrace it. Sort of Darwin meets occult spiritual practice meets third grade reasoning skills sort of philosophy. Does anyone else remember the cheesy Teen Wolf movies from the 80's? Car surfing is apparently not part of this culture, however.

Wearing the Rosary in School?

So this kid wore a rosary to school, and the principal wants us to know that violated an unwritten school rule. Young Jason Laguna "endangered the safety, health, morals or welfare of himself or others" by being a Jesus Freak, Catholic style in class. (Hat tip: nightfly)

I've got to be honest with you here: most of my family is Catholic, but I don't really "get" a lot of these traditions because I wasn't raised learning the catechism and attending mass. But see, if I were the principal of a school where people were starting to wear the Rosary, I'd have to get some basics down about it so I could see whether this is a central thing or just a religious trapping along the lines of virginity bracelets or purity rings are for some Protestants. (Their rights are hardly violated if you were to ask them to remove these things during school hours, I think.)

And it's pretty central if several popes say it is (from a cursory glance at the ol' wikip…

Parenting Teens

A friend did this last night. G came home with a different earring, a BIG "diamond" one. D was quite upset. I didn't like it but tend to put this sort of thing into the "things we don't fight about" box. D was very mad. He mowed the yard for about two hours. He had several discussions with G between clipping vines and mowing.
*
Wellllll... he's still really mad. He still really hates it. But he is going to bend on this when he saw how important it was to G. It is starting to look all bruisy and icky. It wasn't even a gold earring they used! I took him out and HE bought rubbing alcohol and a gold earring. Hope it doesn't get infected. But wow. I hope his taste doesn't run into mohawks or purple hair next. It wouldn't bother me *so* much, but poor D can't stand much more, bless him!
* Maybe I'm not too upset because I remember doing this once myself. KT and I were 15 once and liked to listen to Duran Duran in her basement with her ca…

Falling Behind

Now, I don't take much stock in grade levels. They're a nice guide or label when speaking with others about where a particular child is academically.

For instance, would it impress you if I were to tell you that Emperor is eight, but halfway through sixth grade Teaching Textbooks? Mind you, he has difficulty with basic "hello, and how are you" type of exchanges. Great difficulty. I think overall he's an average guy.

Or how about G? G is 15. He is in special classes. Oh, he is passing ninth grade in public school, but he cannot construct a coherent written paragraph. I don't fault the school. That's just the nature of his disability. He can speak with you just fine. Good eye contact. Stays on topic for the most part. I think overall he's an average guy, but gradewise? I have no clue what "grade level" I would say he's in were he homeschooled. He'd be working in the same classes as Emperor, and that would probably burn hi…

HEY ook... a dud-o-die!

Assorted Images

Elf flying plastic bags. Summer pumpkins growing. Emperor typing (before haircut; note Hello Kitty jammie pants). Hello Kitty in an armoured Tinkertoy tank. She kicks butt. Woodjie writing Z and telling us his letter sounds.

General Update Post.

I've ripped up many of the workbooks the boys have been using over the last school year and placed some of the sheets in a three-ring binder. Then I threaded a bit of thin wire through the holes and twisted the ends to make a little booklet for our year's portfolio. That, our writing journal (fancy name for 50-cent notebook with Spelling work and journal exercises) and my plan book are bundled together with yarn, tied with a bow and tucked away. If I ever need my 2009-10 papers, the necessary ones are all together in the basement. We're still working plenty hard, but I'm not saving these papers. Doing this process makes me wonder yet again whatever happened to the acquaintence who called not too long ago and sent me into panic mode about her homeschool. I still haven't heard from the child welfare people, so I will assume at this point everyone is safe, especially since it is so close to the end of the public school year and she was enrolling there for next year an…

On God and Laundry (Eclectic Post)

Patrick loves to bug his teachers, but they're not the only people he bothers. He likes to wait until we're alone, driving in a car or going places, and then act all goofy and silly with me.

"How do you know that God is the only god?" he asks me out of the blue. Well, because the Bible tells us so, that there are not other gods, or rather, that the "other gods" are just idols. I think. I'm trying to negotiate the parking lot and don't multitask very well.

Patrick doesn't even stop to think about that one. "How do you know that God didn't just defeat some Titan and BECOME God? Hmm?"

What? "Like Zeus," he nods and smiles as if he's in thought. "You know, Zeus and I have a personal relationship." He notes my expression, but he's enjoying himself. "No, really. He speaks to me. I mean, he doesn't speak AUDIBLY to me. Just... in spirit." Here he looks upward and holds his hand to his h…

The Haircut

Emperor wants to show you his new haircut and tell you how much he loves Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty is awesome. He thinks it's not fair that there aren't Hello Kitty bags and clothes made especially for boys. His mom bought him a green Hello Kitty jammie set at the thrift store, but Dad says he is not allowed to wear it in public. What he is wearing is the tye-dye shirt he made the other day. I will do a post on that later. :)

Letter to Grandparents of Asperger Children

It's a shame this letter is addressed only to grandparents, because it has a lot of useful information for people in general who are learning about autism in a family member or friend. The truths are pretty universally applicable, but the writer urges grandparents to consider that the parents know a few things about their own children and are already under a great deal of stress. They don't need any judgmental comments from you because they already get enough of that from everyone else, thank youuuuuu....

"Your son and daughter-in-law are now so used to defending their child that it comes as second nature. Give them some time. Once they are more certain of your support, they will be less sensitive.In the meantime, think carefully before you speak. Choose expressions that suggest sympathy and genuine curiosity, and avoid those that convey criticism... The most destructive things you can say are those that convey your lack of trust in their ability to parent, your disdain fo…

What is "Truancy?"

Muslims have every right to dictate what sort of dress is appropriate inside their mosque. And if you're asking to be a guest in a mosque, or if you want to go to a Mormon temple, or a Jewish synogogue, PLEASE do your homework and contact someone before showing up in your thong bikini. It might just be that the local house of worship has standards that are different from yours and mine.

It doesn't follow, of course, that you should HAVE to go listen to the local imam, does it?

Apparently, though, if you're a schoolkid in Great Britain, it's mandatory that you go learn some tolerance. It doesn't matter if you're Catholic and are refusing to give in to the demands of your CATHOLIC school; you'd better dress up in garb acceptable by MUSLIM standards, make the trip to the local mosque and be respectful or you're considered a truant.

A few things stand out in this article. It strikes me as odd that the family doesn't have a problem with going to the m…

Long-Haired Hippie Freak!

Emperor has been begging me to cut his hair for a long time. It is entirely too long because he can see his hair when he looks up! He twirls his bangs in his pencil. He curls the hair on the back of his head with his fingers. It's just too long. It's bothering him. I've been calling him my "long-haired hippie freak" in jest. I have another child whose hair is much longer and he's resisting the Fantastic Mom's special of the week. Emperor would really, really like a haircut. About 25 times a day, I have to hear about how his hair is too long. And it's bothering him. Finally, I told him that we would measure his hair and blog about it. It is about an inch and a half long at its longest point, I told him. "So does that mean you'll cut it now?" Emperor wants to know.

What is "Segregation?"

Define it for me. See, I tend to think of "segregation" in the classic sense as being along the lines of telling the black kids they must drink from a different water fountain and sit in another waiting room. In schooling, it means telling the black family in a white neighbourhood that their kid is going to be bussed across town so he doesn't get any uppity ideas.

But if we all live in the same neighbourhood, it stands to reason that we should be able to shop in the same grocery stores and send our kids to the same public schools.

If you're a parent, you're not going to want your kid sent across town to school if he's going to attend. You want the school up the street from your house. And the very thought that your child has to be bussed across town to make some school "racially diverse" sounds a bit... racist, doesn't it? Why are they even keeping track of what colour your kid is? That's just creepy. And why should your kid endure a 45-…

Going to the Doctor Part II

These don't look like "bug bites" to me any more. Now the rash feels hot. Patrick CANNOT get sick right now; his trip of a lifetime (over $3,000) is coming up soon. Hopefully this time the doctor arrives at some conclusive, non-contagious diagnosis. Well... I'll just settle for a diagnosis, but I'm hoping she's not contagious. She's had all her shots but polio, MMR, and chicken pox. Bummer, but I'm sure it's not the chicken pox.

Going to the Doctor...

Hope it's chicken pox! That would be awesome. But it doesn't look like it to me. Any guesses? It's up on Rose's tummy and arms, back and lower legs as well.

No Facebook for Tweenies?

I don't doubt that social network sites can help mean comments spread and that they can cause drama at school that no principal or counsellor wants to deal with. But I don't agree that problems are "caused" by the sites any more than I think that I'm fat because I purchase large clothes.

There is (as if you didn't know) a lack of self-control on some teens' part, and there's also the fact that Mom probably isn't reading all their posts. I don't usually go on my children's accounts with the express purpose of snooping, but I sure would if I were suspicious of anything. Don't like it? Well, you don't have to use the internet or facebook, then, young man. The end.

But what if I didn't police the accounts sometimes? Strong language warning ahead, folks... What if someone, say, (hypothetically of course!) were typing mean things like:

"im sorry that you had to get the FUCK in my bissness. and take up for some pussy ass bitch that…

Shoooooooes?

Rose is asking for help. She wants these tiny Build-a-Bear shoes on her feet. Mom won't help because she's mean and thinks they belong to the stuffed animals. Woodjie to the rescue! He really, really tried hard to fit these on her little feet. It almost worked for a minute there...

Paddling at the Workplace

Just because an idea is old doesn't mean it isn't a goodie. Paddling people who are disrespectful or belligerent during work hours should get 'em a swack, just like in the old days. Made-up person James Millington had a lot of trouble keeping order at the workplace until he got a wooden paddle and swacked his disrespectful employees hard enough to knock some sense into them. Then he recruited an old lady who was the victim of workplace violence to speak out in favour of his idea. He convinced her to think that if she were able to swack a few workers around with the paddle, that none of the workers would retaliate or act out negatively in other ways. "Workers these days," she says as her entire old body shakes feebly, "They just don't have the respect for authority they used to and t'aint that a shaame..." Millington himself is starting a website about what a great idea this is and how psychological theory (somehow) proves his point. He'…

Good Hair Day!

Elf combed his hair himself. It was neat! It looked fine! But Mom ruined it. Please note frownie "after" picture. It looked so much better before. Why is Mom so mean?? He thinks all the blog readers should take his side and tell Mom to stop it. Elf says, "Give me liberty or give me the combed hair. I revolt!" and, "Combed hair, no peace."

Odds and Ends

Public School Update

Patrick's English teacher sent the following letter to me last week (names changed, otherwise copy/paste):

Mrs. C,

This is to notify you that Patrick will be reading the book In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. As stated in the letter I sent home a month ago (please see attached), the substitute reading is of the same genre, Magical Realism, and has the same setting of Latin America. Please understand that Patrick will be working independently on this unit. I will prepare a booklet of materials for his study that correlates to the class’s activities. Any homework assignments and quizzes for Patrick will be of the same point value as the class. The objectives of the unit are the same, and the final in-class writing will be of the same nature and difficulty.

Mrs. English Teacher's Name

So... Patrick will receive a different assignment, but without input from others on what is really expected on the tests (you know that's often given in discussion…

Please Pray

Disclaimer: This is blogged with full permission of my friend, who has my web address and knows me in real life.

I have a friend at church who saw my homeschooling sweatshirt last year around Thanksgiving (yes, I am a slob and wear sweatshirts to church). She wanted to know how to go about homeschooling in Missouri and I gave her my website and my phone number and told her about the HSLDA website and its guidelines by state. I have chatted with her several times in church about the places she's been in life and what things are going on right now during "prayer request" time. She has some things going on that would make homeschooling difficult, but not impossible.

I don't really know her that well, but I do sincerely believe that she's doing the best she can for her children. She has moved to the area within the last six months and is trying to start her life over. She's in a neighbourhood where there aren't the best examples of childrearing going on. I have…

A Guest Post by Rose

Dear Faithful Readers,

My grandfather has brought it to my attention that there is some weird kid impersonating me. Don't be fooled. I'm in the top picture wearing my super-soft "Disney Princess" fleece shirt and she is wearing the wannabe "yodelling in Switzerland" getup in the lower picture with her Nana. Check out the cap and the embroidery on the jacket! Who put all that stuff on the poor kid and then photographed her? I mean, my parents love me so much that they would never allow an unflattering pic of me to be taken. And thankfully in these modern times, I have parents who would never post embarrassing photos of me pouting on the internet, either.


Homeschool Update

Hello! Here's an update from the Happy Elf Homeschool! The school year is almost over and I've promised the boys a vacation from school if they finish everything!

Bible

We're using BJU Press Bible Truths curriculum. We've completed about seven of the ten units. I would highly, highly, highly recommend this curriculum to anyone. But most especially I'd recommend it for those parents who are a little shaky on the background behind the Bible passages they want to study with their children, and for those who enjoy colourful maps, background on the characters in the Bible passages, and missionary stories as related reading. You could nix any literature program and focus on just this if you wished. Add in the recommended CD and you can sing some of the hymns that go with the character trait (for example, love or faithfulness) studied in the lessons.

It's very expensive. But I think this would be about the last thing to go if I had to pare down. It's that good. Natur…

Teaching English Well

The latest in the string of "hate-filled" stuff from the state of Arizona is this idea that people with very heavy accents probably shouldn't be teaching non-native speakers of English the language. It's racial discrimination, you know, if someone who can't pronounce English words "properly" or uses "incorrect" grammar can't have a job teaching these students how to string a good sentence together. Only a racist would suggest that children need to learn English from people who can speak it well.

And who's to say what constitutes proper language usage, anyway? We're hardly the French. Next thing you know, philosophises some intelligent navel-gazer in the comments of this article, we'll be weeding out New Yawkers or people with a Southern twang from the teaching pool. And what bigot decided that prounouncing "violet" as "biolet" or "think" as "tink" is wrong? And as to punctuation and spelli…

Blue's Clues

It's the latest craze for Woodjie. We have the old VHS versions from Patrick and G's toddlerhood. "Ah-goo! Ah-goo!" he screams when Steve needs to be alerted to clues. Steve got out his notebook and drew a pig. Woodjie drew this genetically modified version on his sister's doodle board. He has a new bedspread from his dad featuring "Boo" and "Iggy-Ock," or roughly translated, "Blue" and "Tickety-Tock." Wow. He doesn't speak understandably, often or necessarily relevantly to regular conversation, so I would still classify as nonverbal or low verbal. But he's going to be verbal someday. Maybe very soon.