Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2013

Cash Prize Chess Tournament!


Bullying Anniversary

It's been a year since we saw her, taunted and crying, on youtube.  Now New York bus monitor Karen Klein has retired and, with the money that poured in from sympathetic viewers, begun her own anti-bullying foundation.  Here's a follow-up article about her life and efforts.

I wish her well.  The original video is hard to watch.  I felt the students felt more and more emboldened as there were no consequences for the first bit of teasing... and they plunged further and further into cruelty.  I wonder what the students in the video are up to now; the article doesn't say.

We Made Cookies This Weekend!

The Social Story

Emperor's always been a little strange.  So, I'm trying to chat with him every now and then about "going to school" because we're planning to send him half-days next school year. 

Sadly, the fact that Emperor will be going into sixth grade means we had to have the "drug" talk.  What should you do if you see people using near you? 

"I'd just go up to him and act all gangsta and cool about it and go, 'Hey, Bub, I see you are smoking merry-wana.  Can I have your name, please?' And then I will tell a teacher his name."

Ohhh boy.  So now?  We've also chatted about "just stay away from those people."  Hopefully if it ever comes up, he'll remember our little talk.

He's just so cute and sweet, but sometimes I worry about whether we are doing the right thing in sending him.  D has expressed concern that "he's gonna get his ass kicked."  I'm concerned that Emperor will get lost or take the wrong bus or…

Sesame Street: Dads in Prison

"P is for Prison," quips Info Wars.  Sesame Street now has a character whose dad is in jail.  Do YOU want your three-year-old learning about gang-banging baby daddies and the word "incarceration?"

I was all ready to slam this as an obvious normalisation of thuggery until I perused the videos at the PBS website.  Sure, they're a little syrupy and gloss over the "adult rules" the parents broke to get stuck in the pokey entirely.  But the clips deal with helping preschoolers sort out their feelings, and are not meant to be taken as treatises on the faulty self-actualisation of today's American parent.

To my understanding, these videos are not meant for the regular Sesame Street audience.  And if that's the case, I don't see why people shouldn't be applauding their efforts to help these little children and their families.  Children can't help what their parents have done, and kids with that kind of heartache deserve all the help we can…

Social Studies Curriculum

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because it's easier to get criticism from a computer than a person.  Imagine your spell-checker grew a brain and pointed out problem areas in your writing.  That's Grammarly. 

Nothing can replace a trained copy editor, but if I were learning the language or had trouble writing, it's definitely something I'd spend the money on for our homeschool.   Take a look at the comments after a news story sometime.  Spell a word wrong, and people focus on that instead of  the perfectly reasoned argument you just wrote.  Unfortunate but true.

So here's what we're using for social studies next school year: Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Volume 3:  Early Modern Times.  Emperor has already done Volumes 1 and 2.  The first volume begins in ancient times and is written more simply.  Each volume becomes more detailed and is written for a more advanced student.  Emperor will be a sixth grader next year, and I think this is w…