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Showing posts from August, 2010

Back-to-School Night

I have two older children in public school and while I can't say I'm always happy with the teachers, I CAN tell you that I at least try to set aside my own attitude aside for a few hours and focus on what my older children need.  THEY are the ones who have decided to go to school, so it's my job to be supportive.  Teachers probably can't stand some of the children and their parents who are going to back-to-school night either, but since they're the PROFESSIONALS, I'm thinking they can behave themselves better than this:

“So you can see I am very qualified. So, do I know more than you do about the curriculum? Yes I do. Do I know more about [student] placement? Yes I do. Do I want your opinion? No I don’t.”

The article goes on to talk about how while perhaps this isn't the BEST way to greet parents (ya think?), that parents shouldn't ask specifically about how their child's allergies will be handled, or talk about the curriculum or... well, anything &…

Bearing Medical Burdens

Isn't it a beautiful thing when Christians bear one another's burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ?  One great way to do this is to join a medical expense "ministry."  You send in your monthly "sharing" obligation and PRESTO!  Your medical expenses are paid in return.

And never fear, you won't have to pay for anyone else's immoral lifestyle ever again.  Thankfully, in addition to not having to pay for anyone's abortions as you might expect, you also won't have to pay for mental illness. 

I know, I know.  "Why mental illness?" you're thinking.  "I could see abortion, because most Christians think that's murder.  But I thought that mental illness as we understand it today is the result of some sort of natural chemical imbalance in the brain."

Oh, no, no.  Mental illness, you see, is not a Christian thing to have.  Our pre-Copernican and extremely scientific minds have reasonably theorized that you must have a d…

God Stuff

I DO try to teach these little children a little theology.  I do.  I've just stopped going to church (long story) and imagine it's not going to get any easier.

Woodjie is almost four, and he can say a few words.  He can indicate that he sees a difference between Charizard and Charmelon, but he still doesn't have that God thing down yet.  He's come a long way, though.  Used to be a big struggle to get him to sit at the table.  Then to be silent for a minute during *tiny* prayers.  We solved that one with much, much training and PECS.  Now, I'm trying to get him to repeat, "Thank you" (Shee-shoo!) "Jesus" (E-dus!) "Amen." (Ay-nen.) before his meals.  He seems to be directing the prayer to a particular light bulb.  Ok.  Progress.

Elf and Emperor, though, have had a little chat here and there about what it means to be a Christian and the like.  They seem to take those Old Testament verses about talking of God when you're walking and si…

Mom's Mathy Girl

"Wa... two... fie... fee!"
Not quite, Rose. I take the markers out of the container and count slowly, putting them away. "One... two... three... four... five... six!" Now it's her turn. This child understands what is expected of her, and picks up a marker.

"Wa... feee... fouwa.. fie!" And she claps for herself.
Awww. Great job, Rose! Try putting more than ONE marker away, though, next time. Counting sorta goes that way.  See this one? That's "one." Then you add this one and it's "two." Rose holds out her hands and nods as if to say, yep. I've got it. Hand over the markers and watch how it's done.

She picks up the second marker I gave her and says, "Two!"   Yes... but... can you start with "one?" I put a marker away before THIS marker became "two."

"Ee-le-le-lowwww." Yes, it's YELLOW, but it's ONE. One yellow marker.

"Ah-ah-ahhhh," Rose says, Count-style. Getting o…

Quiet Afternoon

Elf and Emperor are learning to play Senet, an ancient Egyptian game, while Woodjie is away at preschool.  That's also when I have time to do strange things like eat lunch, organize my materials for the next day, and play with a strange little creature in my living room.  Isn't she cute?  She gets into some things and needs some reminders, but isn't constantly pinball-running, climbing, screeching and throwing stuff.  Yes... when Woodjie is out at preschool, the house is (relatively) quiet.  He goes for a few hours four times a week.  He comes home smelling sweaty and his shoes are full of playground sand, but he does look forward to seeing the "zus."

Thanks, Blondee!

Blondee and I have only "known" each other for a few weeks now, but already she has shared an award with me!  Isn't that cool?  Don't you love getting to know new friends?  I'm supposed to pass this on to other bloggers... but I'm really hoping something different will happen.  I'm hoping that I can convince some of my lurkers to de-lurk for just a sec, post this award on their blog and leave a comment inviting me to come by and say howdy.
Promise I won't act all normal at first, and later try to convert you to Wicca and talk about my "revirginization miracle" or anything like that.  (Yes... public high school acquaintance.  I was in the remedial English classes - public school teachers recognized my lack of ability - and was assigned the seat next to hers. It was... interesting.)
So annnnyway... here are the rules:  Copy the flower to your hard drive to re-award it in your own blog. Mrs. C adds:  if you're a guy and want to accept this aw…

News Roundup!

Rainbow Flag Academy is a top-scoring private school in Farleyville, California.  That's why Becca and Tracey Meekum sought to enroll their daughter, Bailey, for the fall session.

"We wanted a lower student-teacher ratio than Bailey would be getting in our local public school," said Becca, a homemaker and former public schoolteacher.  "We knew that the Rainbow Flag Academy would ensure that rigorous education we were looking for."

The Meekums filled out the application to the Academy, but failed to specify that they were Christians to the admissions board.  The Academy is a "pro-gay, pro-tolerance, extremely left-leaning liberal, liberal, liberal arts school," according to the school website.

The school accepted Bailey, and she was slated to begin next week.  But there was a mix-up. 

School officials claim that the Meekums were less than forthright on the application, which has spaces only for two fathers or two mothers under the "parent or guar…


NO, that's not me meditating... that's me not knowing what to say, sometimes.

Emperor is NINE, and yet he is still quite insistent that he will marry his sister someday.  It doesn't matter what Mom says about it.  He really loves her.  He thinks she's really, really cute.  Plus, she's already PROMISED to marry him!  No matter what the Bible says, you can't go back on a promise.

Guy, I think that God's going to overlook Rose's "promise" to marry you, especially since she has no idea what she is saying when she repeats words after you.  She just wanted your praise and attention; that's why she's vowing to be your wife, be your best friend forever, and why she lets you borrow her Hello Kitty items.  (She wants those back, by the way, even if she "promised" you could keep them.)

Yep, we have to discuss the Bible and its mandates on marriage.  So some ground rules.  Even if most everyone around you starts to say that boys can marr…

Test Results = Teacher Rating

Edited for clarity, my response on an educator blog after I was told that the LA Times is muddying the individual reputations of teachers, that it's unfair, and that if this "abuse" continues,  NO ONE would want to teach in public schools:

Ordinarily one takes a test for oneself, for a grade or to demonstrate mastery. But under NCLB entire DISTRICTS are penalized for students' poor performance on a test... but not individual teachers? The rationale being...?

I mean... I agree this destroys reputations. Standardized testing has already destroyed the reputations of entire school districts. It has destroyed the self-esteem of I don't know how many children who have done their best work and still received poor scores. How could teachers possibly escape the same pain these tests inflict?

But do I see teachers refusing to administer said tests? Um... no.

I'm really, really, really confused, Name. Because on a personal level, I think the tests should be pitched in…

Your Back-to-School Shopping List, Part II

Part I here.

I'm curious as to what you're spending on education stuff, if you'd like to share.  Would you like to see my list?

Clothes $0
I'm not counting these.  Really.  My middle boys are entirely on the hand-me-down system, except for a few items such as new sneakers here and there.  It is an absolute hoarder sty at my house, as I've saved every scrap of clothing from Patrick and G, the oldest two (16 and 15), for my middle children, Elf and Emperor (ages 10 and 9) .  Then I save Elf and Emperor's old stuff for my tiny boy Woodjie.  Big bags, tied up and thrown into an old playpen in the basement, and I dig for the sizes I want when seasons change based on the label I penned on masking tape when it went into storage.  Well, not too fashionable, but I'm sure this system has saved us gobs of money.  Did I mention we're working on paying down our mortgage whilst we dress our children in rags and they use thrift store walkmans?  Remember... the ones wit…

Your Back-to-School Shopping List, Part I

The National Retail Federation estimates that the average family spends just over $600 on back-to-school stuff.  I'm not entirely sure that this is accurate.  I feel it grossly underestimates the purchases of most families, especially if they have more than two children, and especially if these were purchases the families would have made anyway, but waited for "back-to-school time."   Certainly you'll buy that laptop during tax-free weekend when the stores are competing for your business as well.

If you homeschool year-round, you know exactly what I mean.  No sane person is going to buy the same notebook for $2.49 that she can get during the August sales for a nickel, or maybe even four cents with the free OfficeMax teacher card.  Was your purchase inspired by "back-to-school," or did you just do a little planning and/or "impulse buy" that whopping four-penny notebook? 

And really, there's no point buying a new T-shirt for the summer barbeque…

Reading Detective

Heeeeere's a handy-dandy copy of the Reading Detective for absolutely free from AHermitt.  You can enter her contest, too!  Just follow my link, follow her on Twitter or do a tweet or blog post and there you go.  Even if you decide not to enter the contest (thus enabling me to win lol), you should pop by, scroll around and find a comment to post on so you can say howdy. :)

Help Your Local Hormonal Man

Support the right of women to "GoTopless."  It really is good for the environment.  Think of all the extra water and detergent that won't have to be used in the laundering process of shirts and brasierres. 

It's natural. 

And it's sexy.  Not every woman should even think of wandering around with her old rumply, saggy raisins in full view of the world.  But robustly round and beautiful but oppressed young women ought to have equal rights with men to um... show whatever it is that God gave 'em. 

And most young men are so, sooo supportive.  Some "take pictures at first, but then they get used to seeing women's bodies and return to normal within an hour," one advocate reported.

An hour.  Do these reporters have editors who know what this um, implies?  And men being "supportive?"  And um... the trend started because of space aliens?

I know, I know.  You're saying, "Mrs. C.  You realllly are quoting some way-off source with all t…

Don't Answer The Phone During Dinner.

Your conversation with Dad was soooo boring, Mom.  You should have been chatting with me instead.

Value-Added Teachers

I want to say first off that I object to mandatory testing. And I CERTAINLY object to people being classified by their race and free-lunch status. Shame on George Bush for allowing that pidgeonholing crap to get into the federal NCLB standards... and shame on a lot of other people. People ought not "represent" their race or income status when they pull out a number 2 pencil. They are themselves, and who cares what the "trends" show? Soft bigotry of low expectations notwithstanding, teachers and parents (um, not the government) should track the individual student's progress.  Can we quit the constant race and class comparison thing?

But I do think the LA Times is to be commended for trying to tackle the issue of teacher effectiveness with some hard numbers and some fair dealing.  It's accessed public information on students' test scores and used "value-added" scoring to assess the teachers themselves.  I'd highly recommend you read the whol…

Guide to Dinner Manners

I wish I could record Patrick for just ten random minutes and play it back here so you can see what life is really like with this kid. 

About half the dinnertime conversation is my having to tell Emperor and Elf to quit giggling and remind Patrick - yet again! - that what he said was not appropriate. (Well, why?) and having to go into WHY it is not appropriate and arguing with him about the propriety of discussing this or that.  Then I'm never quite sure if his remarks are "smartie" remarks or, "Mom, I really don't get it..." types of questions.  He's just too deadpan.  And he's so, so smart that he can spin the sarcastic remark in such a way that you're never quite sure if he's serious about what's flying out of his mouth at any given moment.  Sometimes he genuinely has no clue.  It doesn't matter how smart he is; sometimes the guy doesn't see why you're so offended...  Or why saying *this* statement is just a joke but *THI…

Mrs. C's Pet Business.

If it weren't for a little reluctance about the whole "practicing witchcraft" thing, I'd be very tempted to go into a line of work like this. That's right: for $90 an hour, I could "channel" the spirit of your beloved departed puppy and through lots of hard, hard work that took me ohhhh... about 500 hours, I'd be able to locate your reincarnated dog at the local pet shelter for $50.
Nevermind that the reincarnated dog looks nothing like the dog you lost. They have similar personalities! They both wag their tails when they are happy and pant when they're hot. And somehow they both have the same quirks after you've owned them a while. I'm going to claim that any differences between the dogs can be attributed to the reincarnation process and the dispersal of psychic energy and the fact that your dog is now in a new body that may respond differently to his spirit.  (That was goood.  I might make up more stuff like that and print it on my broc…

Hair Bugs!

"Other cultures do not see lice as a problem, and don't understand why we've asked them to get rid of it. Some families have their own remedies from their countries, which never seem to work. Can you tell this battle has just exhausted us? We spend more time communicating to parents about lice than about their children's reading."

What would you say to this public school teacher?

Apparently, schools shouldn't be bothering with the "check for lice and send kids home" thing so much any more.  I guess that if your child is assigned a seat next to another kid with bugs and ickiness, it's just your tough.  Further, educators are celebrating this recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics because (yayy!) that means they can get back to their real job, which is teaching.

Um.  Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

Even in the old days when Patrick was in kindergarten,  the school would not tell you which kids had lice. I just happen…

Raising an Only Child

Good grief.  An entire how-to on not making your kid a spoiled tyrant.  But did you note there wasn't any question about "is it legal?" or "what about socialization?" as there would be with homeschoolers.  Homeschoolers, the stereotype goes, have around 18 children each, but we need to worry about their socialization.  But the only child's socialization can be taken care of by inviting two friends over every Friday night for a sleepover.  According to the story, anyway. 

Homeschoolers, I guess, need to have about seven co-ops for everything so they see other children exist besides the other kids at the compound and even then?  Welll, they're not being socialized with people of beliefs that are radically different from the parents', so it doesn't count.  But publicly-educated children can somehow NEVER be exposed to the different worldview of Christianity, lest they start foaming at the mouth and writhing on the floor and we all have to start sp…

Emperor is NINE.

Happy Birthday, Emperor!  Emperor has received some books, the replica One Ring on a chain (chain already broken... three hours into birthday time... siiiigh) and his choice of where to eat out.   I haven't bought him any toys because I think he has enough broken ones on hand to last him until Christmas.  Now Emperor is officially halfway grown up. :)


Two little boys are playing with their small stuffed animals.  They call this their "puppet show" time and do all kinds of crazy things.  One week, they pretended their ship was sinking and had the "puppets" do a song and dance complete with Rockette-style kicking titled "Beautiful S-O-S."  I'm sure any Coast Guard ship within radio range woulda realllly taken that call seriously.  This time, the theme seems to be bricklaying:

"Now, pick up those bricks and start running!!" 

(Why do I have to do that?) 

"Well, because we own you now, Joseph.  So get moving!" 

(Am I a slave or something?) 

"No.  We prefer the term 'servant.'  Now go move those bricks!" 

(I *am* getting paid for this, right, Potiphar?) 

"Sorry... no."

(But... wouldn't that make me a slave?)

"We prefer the term 'servant.'  Now get moving or I'll pop you on the head with my idol!"

(Oh, well... I can't do i…

More Special Than YOUR Kid.

(An article by a parent.  Summarized by Mrs. C for your consideration.)

"My daughter has Down's Syndrome, so she's more special than your dyslexic child.  I'm a self-proclaimed expert and I have declared that nine times out of ten, your kid's label is a sham.  He should go to a 'normal' school.  Oh, yeah, I know they've been evaluated by a doctor and all... but I know better.  And I know for a fact that the schools are colluding with the physicians so that the schools can get a lot of money.  I also make sure to use the word 'normal' many times in my article because I know how well that goes over in the disability community, being so knowledgeable and all.

You just nevermind that MY kid costs a lot of money to educate.  I'm upset that it costs a lot of money to send YOUR kid to a special school and give your child special help.  That means less cash for the people I'VE decided are truly disabled to get the help they need.

I've also,…


Woodjie woke up with a fever and a horrible cough.  He'd wet through everything.  I took him potty (he didn't go... sigh) and instead of wandering into the girl's room to get a Pull-Up and waking her, I wiped the kid down with a soapy washcloth and popped some toddler underwear on him.  Then I took him into my bed for warm blondie snuggles.  I'm ok with waking up at 5:30 or 6 if I have to, but not on a Saturday.  I would like to at least rest in the bed until 7 on the weekends.

Poor guy held me, but kept coughing and coughing.  Finally he looked at me, all concerned and pointed to his forehead.  "Ee urt!"  Aww... he has a headache, too.  He was so nice and soft and STILL, though, this morning.  No jumping down the stairs and yelling, "CHAR!" to tell me that he is the Pokemon Charmeleon.  No throwing stuff and screaming, "I choose YOU, Onix!"  Just snuggles.  I felt sorry for him, but I liked the snuggles. He even closed his eyes for a few …

Social Skills Practice

Poor ol' Emperor.  He got into big trouble at church on Wednesday and the pastor's wife had to bring him out of the children's area and in with the adults near the back.  When I got a chance to talk to him, he was very upset.  He was making noises, he said, but no one ever asked him to stop.  They just suddenly sent him out of the room and he doesn't know why they're so mad all of a sudden.

Hmm... Now...  I'm not going to call my autistic child a liar like some people just might.  Instead of assuming ill motive, I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt and do a little investigating if I can.  There are enough people -even well-meaning ones at that- who can totally misconstrue a situation.  (I wonder what the real truth is behind this post?  Another matter... but I wonder what the other family would blog. I didn't comment because the post struck me as one of those "I shouldn't have to give a 'free pass' to those autistic brats and the …

Happy Elf Homeschool Room

Maybe I should file this under "keeping it real." This is our school room in actual use. Ok... it isn't even really a school room. It's our living room. We're up first thing this morning, plotting model electrons into their little orbitals. They're really the popcorn kernels you see on the table. (Easier than it sounds.) Elf's math gets done on the little laptop on the table and Emperor's is done on the computer at the desk. This way, they each have their own grades in the computer's grade book. Can you see all the curriculum stuff in the shelf at the far end of the room? The Clementine box behind the chair near the fake plant on the desk contains markers, a small American flag, post-it notes, my bills and a timer. Frequently, Emperor can be found lounging on the floor with his AlphaSmart during writing assignment time.  Edited to add:  I've included this post in the Not Back to School blog hop.  Check it out!

Voting in Missouri

I voted yesterday in the primaries.

One of our neighbours convinced Patrick to stand outside the polling place and greet people yesterday for several hours, handing out fliers and trying to convince them that they NEEDED to vote YES on Proposition C. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, too. Patrick said that he was expecting a big debate with argumentative voters... or something. Most people just take the paper and nod at him on their way in, he told me.


When I went in to vote, I had to literally pass THREE OTHER POLLING STATIONS to get where I needed to be. This is all kinds of wrong, for them to redistrict me like that. They do that so that all the icky rich transients who live on the Kansas City side in the new McMansions can vote at the megachurch with the airconditioning and lush carpet. Eew. (**I** want to be an icky rich transient, but not having enough money, I'm going to sit here and eew at the icky rich transients and their granite countertops and nickel drawe…

Chemistry for Elementary Students

Imagine all the elements as the "kitchen cupboard of the universe." It starts out easy enough... but then there is MATH involved toward the end. Patrick's question was whether they made you calculate "moles" in this curriculum. Nope. But we will do valence numbers and Lewis dot diagrams, learn about the Periodic table and memorize the names of many elements. We'll play games, make models and do experiments. I'm going to be learning A LOT with the children this year. Edited to add: I've added this post to the Not Back to School Blog Hop. Check it out! :)