31 December 2013

My Parents React to the New Justin Bieber "Believe" Movie

**************** **************** *** The parents are actually friends of one of my friends, and that's how I came to watch this video. It. is. hilarious. I promise.

Pet Hospice?


People have a lot of money to spend. That was my first reaction to the idea.

But after reading an article about the subject, I figured if the families are going to be spending thousands on chemotherapy and other treatments anyway, might as well let the vet have a nice few visits, get the animal relaxed and comfortable, and the "final" visit will allow the animal to die peacefully in his own home.  Makes sense.

Not the spending thousands on doggie chemo, but maybe a more streamlined version of the hospice program, would be a more reasonable middle-class option.  A couple of visits, a really great steak dinner for the pup, and a loving good-bye. 

When our cat died, it was absolutely horrible watching her suffer for days.  We just didn't want to take her out for that stressful car ride, plunk her on that cold table and have the doc shoot her up, you know?

Right now, we're done having pets.  Emperor is allergic to dogs.  Woodjie is allergic to cats.  And I?  Am allergic to both.  I'm thinking that means it's not gonna happen.  Maybe a pet rock later.

30 December 2013

Guidelines for My Children While They Endure the New Common Core Curriculum

A Guest Post by Gwendolynn Britt, copied from the facebook Common Crud group with permission.

- Math is a LAW, it is not subjective. If the final answer is wrong, then it’s wrong. It doesn't matter if everyone feels good about the steps you took to get to that wrong answer.

…By the way, ‘Mental Math’ is done in your head. Don’t write out your steps, I don’t care what the assignment says, I’ll deal with the teacher if need be.

- Once you've learned cursive, you will continue to write in cursive, regardless of your teacher’s instructions.

- You will only take tests that measure your skills so that the teacher may review your progress. That’s it! You will not waste time on tests that are meant to measure others.

- If you see the word ‘Citizen’, you are being manipulated.

- There is no such thing as global warming or climate change, it has been dis-proven. Any references to these are attempts to manipulate your behavior.

- Do not allow anyone to take ANYTHING from your body, finger prints, hand scans, eye scans, saliva…and anything else I didn't think of.

- The Constitution is the supreme law of the land (not the United Declaration of Human Rights). It’s not there to feel good or to ensure fair results. It is there, in part, to make sure no one takes away your God given rights (or natural rights of man).

- Do not reveal personal information about our family, it’s nobody’s business. This includes things like our political affiliation, whether or not we possess firearms, our religion and so on.

- If you see anything that you think is strange, wrong or inappropriate, bring it to my attention immediately.

28 December 2013

Oldies = 1980's Music

I've found that my older teens enjoy these "oldies" and have discovered them on their own.  Sometimes I'll hear Patrick humming a tune and get an eerie feeling.  That song is almost 30 years old! 

Now, the music we used to listen to is called "Oldies."  Which must make my own parents feel terribly, terribly old.  

I came across this article today, which seems to indicate that children have some sort of instinctive memory of the music their parents, or even grandparents, listened to years ago.

I don't know that I buy this stuff, although when I was in college we were taught that each of us has within us a collective unconscious.  We understand archetypes via the lens of our culture and more than that, through a psychic memory that's been passed down somehow (hopefully I'm relating that accurately).

Does that explain why my parents were never keen on Elvis, I positively hate his music, and none of my children have picked up on his tunes?  Or is it simply that there is a "good taste" gene out there, undiscovered?

24 December 2013

Happy Christmas to You!

                                                                                          I'm leaving you with a short video of Woodjie and Rose working with Hot Dots.  I bought these at an educational supply store and on Amazon.  :)

22 December 2013

We're Iced In! So I'm Blogging.

Early Christmas presents
Someone stole Emperor's stuffed turtle at school and he was devastated.  Just when you think the worst of humanity, someone comes along and does something sweet.  The school librarian crocheted this little finger puppet stuffed turtle just for Emperor. 
Woodjie is learning to enjoy eating new foods!  He made this pizza and even (inexplicably) tried pork chops and liked them!
Rose has always wanted to go to Africa.  She says that it is the most beautiful place in the world and she wants to see it.  This Dover sticker book of an African village will have to do for now.   She was thrilled.  She loves it so much, she even got all her glitter pony stickers and stuck them in the African village, too.

20 December 2013

Hokey Military Family Reunions Damaging?

They're so cute, aren't they?  Poor kid is totally not expecting to see his Dad and suddenly, there he is!  He's a football player for the other team!  I'm sorry, but I just can't imagine the psychological damage it does to someone to have surprises like this popped on them.  Why?  Because I think that when someone is away at war, that it requires a special sort of fortitude from the family.  You just try not to think on "what is happening to Dad" as you go about your day to day, although obviously you do miss him.

It just seems so jarring, seeing these reunions.  I suppose I have nothing in theory against them, and they'd actually be much more fun to watch if I knew the war was over and Daddy was coming home for good.  If he goes away again, wouldn't this poor child (and some much younger I won't link to) always wonder if Dad can surprise them, where is he really, he could be anywhere. 

I dunno.  I think it sets kids up for trust issues down the line. I also think it hurts other families who miss their family member, especially at times like Christmas. It builds up a vague "maybe dad will surprise me, too!" expectation. Oh well, that's just my opinion.

17 December 2013

"Worst Ever" Homeschool Law Proposed in Ohio

It's always sad when a kid dies, but Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro (D) wasted no time putting that to good political use.  She's sponsored legislation that ensures that every potential homeschooling family will be subject to intense and likely unconstitutional state scrutiny.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, I'm posting a link to the actual text of the proposed legislation.  Within five days of a parent expressing a wish to withdraw a public school child to homeschool, social services is to arrive to interview every family member.  Separately.

 Homeschool Legal Defense Association calls this the "worst-ever homeschool law"and guess what?  It gets worse.

Social services may "recommend" that you be allowed to homeschool your own child, but if they don't, you'll be required to submit to the state's intervention services.  These can include classes on how to budget your money (!?), behavioural counselling sessions, and lessons on homeschooling.

And if you're recommended for the special "intervention" classes, they get to decide when you're finished. Furthermore, the superintendent has wide latitude to impose additional criteria on any homeschool family in his jurisdiction.  Just because.  Go read the proposed bill's text if you don't believe me.

In any event, the state will retain all your information in a handy-dandy little database. 

I don't think this bill is even about protecting children from abuse, do you? 

Edited to add this update from the "Teddy's Law" facebook page:  I will be posting a statement from senator Capri Cafaro on our withdrawing senate bill 248. I am sorry everything has become this way. We will continue our fight against child abuse. At this time Teddy's Law is done responding to questions and comments. And anyone who supports Teddy's Law I would urge the same.

I would like to apologize to Teddy for all of this. Our vision was to protect children from abuse and carry on his memory. This was about him and was never intended to be political.

Thanks for your understanding.

Shawn Tedesco and the Teddy Law Team

Homeschooling With Kindle Fire

What I forgot to add is that the Kindle comes already rigged up with your Amazon account on it. Learn the parental controls first thing! I found my Kindle was set up according to my computer preferences, which means "one-click" ordering. Eeep! So I have mine set up so that I have to type my password in to buy anything (even buying "free" things requires a password). That makes me more confident in allowing the younger children to be over an arm's length away while they're watching Moby and Annie during school time. Hopefully the video is helpful.

15 December 2013

Christmas Cookies

Wearing jammies and making cookies!  Rose and Woodjie got to put the ingredients in and crack the eggs.  Mom helped to stir a bit.  Rolling is the best part!
Cutting cookies and adding decorations is pretty nifty, too!
Woodjie had to watch everything bake.  Woodjie thinks it smells so "alicious."  Rose says it smells so good, the cookies can even smell themselves baking.

13 December 2013

Mandela Funeral Interpreter Revelation of the Day

He's a fake.

He had a mental health breakdown during this very stressful interpreting job.

He asks forgiveness, but states this was his calling and he "saw angels" during the funeral.

He's been charged with rape and attempted murder.

Future revelations may include that he has amnesia. 

And he's really a doctor who ran away from his practice because he couldn't stand the sight of blood.

No, wait.  He's actually a famous naval officer, and his girlfriends-in-every-port were issuing paternity suits.  He thought, "I'll escape by becoming an interpreter for the deaf.  No-one will find me that way!"

Somebody recruit this guy to star in a soap opera!  

Does anyone remember TV from the years before closed captioning?  Often there would be a little oval picture of a deaf interpreter in the corner doing her stuff.  Nobody really paid her much mind.  THIS guy is a gold mine.

I think he needs to come to the US and meet the Kardashians.  I'm not sure who they all are yet, but between them and Miley Cyrus, this vacation should be enough to fuel the tabloids for another year.

11 December 2013

New Foods at Home

Woodjie tested positive for milk and egg allergies when he was about 2.  Since then, we've done milk and egg free faithfully.  I asked the doctor today at his checkup if he'd do another blood test and he told me to just go feed him whatever and see what happens.  He's not that allergic that he would die if he reacts.  But if he gets a rash or runny poo, guess that's it for that.

I took him out for Pizza Hut today!  Ohhhh he was so excited!  When the food finally arrived, he thought it was the best food ever, because he was gnawing on the crusts.  He got to the cheesy part.  The food is pretty foreign to him and "gooey."  He didn't want to eat it.  It's not right.  I encouraged him a bit and he at least ate a fair bit of his personal pan pizza.

Tonight, I gave him a glass of milk!  "Eeew it yuck!" he told me.  More encouragement.  Bribes even. 

Woodjie LOVES potato bread toast with peanut butter.  So for dinner, I gave him regular bread with butter and cinnamon sugar!  "Ughhhh.  I no like at.  Is bad."

Sigh.  So the kid is used to eating potato bread and thinks butter is a strange food.  He smeared the butter all around everywhere, tentatively licked his finger again, and wrinkled his entire face.  "NO want dat. You eat it." 

Well, we'll see how the next couple of days go with the milk.  Next up:  eggs. 

Carnival of Homeschooling!

The Carnival of Homeschooling theme this week is about books and holiday reading.  :)

10 December 2013

A Doggy Doo Christmas

Remember back in the day, children had real dogs and had to clean up their messes?  Not anymore.  Now, children can have the experience of cleaning up Doggie Doo right in their living rooms with their friends as a social activity.  It's apparently actually a popular game, and available in several stores.  Happy shopping!

07 December 2013

Just Take Your Change and Say, "Thanks!"

I've seen this on several websites today, but originally it was posted to reddit.  Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Have a good Kwanzaa!

05 December 2013

Does Common Core Violate Your Child's IEP?

If your child needs an IEP (Individualized Education Program) to do well in school, wouldn't that mean that some Common Core materials would not be appropriate?  Why would any child need an IEP if everything the school did for every other child was working just fine for this one?

The mathematics curriculum now circulating in schools across the country are generally becoming more wordy and difficult for disabled children to understand.  Word problems that end with questions like, "Is this fair?  Why or why not?" or asks children to write a few sentences explaining how they got their answer really just set these children up for failure and worse, hatred of school and learning.

In my opinion, mathematics and language arts are two different subjects.  I know subjects can overlap, but really, questions that begin with, "Draw a number problem..." don't inspire numeracy. 

It isn't just some nutty mom from Missouri talking here.  There are several facebook groups and other forums in which mathemeticans and child development experts discuss the folly of Common Core Standards.  Katherine Beals, PhD, is only one of the many experts and education advocates speaking out against Common Core standards being applied to disabled children.  You can read one of her posts on the issue here.

If it is true that some Common Core materials are detrimental to the education of children with IEPs, that would mean that the federal government, states and local school districts are effectively denying these children a Free and Appropriate Public Education, or FAPE. 

Here's one mom who isn't gonna take it any more.  Big props going out to Julie Mauck of Florida today for standing up for her child. 

04 December 2013

Homeschooling Woodjie

Rose and Woodjie begin their day by moving their magnets over and going over today's date with me.  Woodjie has been counting down the days until his birthday and can tell you that tomorrow, he will get a present! 

Woodjie struggles with penmanship.  I gave him a lot of hugs after it was over and told him that the 45-minute cryfest over this was. not. worth. it.  It might have worked in public school, but Mommy has all day and I can assure you that you cannot escape good work by pitching a tantrum.  All told, this worksheet took an hour. 


We're learning our o'clocks!  We've made our own clock and are moving the hour hand with a stick.  Believe it or not, this is the sort of thing that actually works with Woodjie.  After spending a few minutes with this, he can tell time to the hour.  And he loves to practice this with you.

Recently we took a field trip to a local business (read: we ate lunch) and would you believe they were going to throw this away?  Woodjie has a new LEGO bucket.  It's huge.  Woodjie says he needs more LEGOs and they will all fit inside.

"I heppa you!"  I kept trying to tell him I had a lot of work to do, and he kept insisting that he was going to help.  I was figuring that here's a job the kid can do, and I can retouch it later.  He did it well enough without any help, so I was impressed.

I made a mega Cyber Monday purchase.  It *just* arrived.  I bought a BrainPop subscription as well.  Every day, Woodjie and Rose can watch a short educational and do the "easy" quiz that comes with it. 

03 December 2013

Homeschooling an Autistic Child: Why?

It became apparent that the school was allowing Woodjie to get super-frustrated so that he'd act out.  They'd document everything to use against him later.  I have charts and charts and longwinded sheets on "the things your kid did today" from teachers.  They couldn't wait to get rid of him.  He was the kid no one wanted to deal with.  In fact, we're saving them so. much. money. by doing everything ourselves that they rightfully should be sending us a stipend. 

It's early in the game, so I'm still working on trying not to be bitter.  Can you tell?

I feel more than a little betrayed by the way that school district treated my child and our family.  They refused to allow our specialists in, but insisted on using their "autism specialist," who concocted a plan that actually made things about ten times worse. By not adequately supporting him with staff, the teachers and aides had a nightmare on their hands and I became the unappreciative parent who didn't understand what the teachers were going through. 

My child is six years old and he is a public school push-out.

We really gave that school district every chance it should have and then some because Woodjie does have some problem behaviours and he does elope.  Couple that with the fact that after my third hernia surgery, the surgeon warned me that I can no longer lift over 20 pounds if I want my intestines to remain inside my body, and you can easily see where we'd have some reluctance with this whole homeschool thing.

Yep.  I've homeschooled two autistic children for several years and I was still reluctant to take this little guy on.  But it was time. 

Right now, our "why" is, "Because we feel we have to."  I wish we didn't feel that way.  But we do.  Instead of spending money and time fighting a system and administrators that don't care about my child anyway, we're going to find something that works. 

01 December 2013

Police Force Black Man to Act Like Chimp

Five cops from metro Detroit face consequences for making a poor disabled black man act like a chimp and posting the video around for their amusement.  Each of these officers will keep their jobs, not have to do patrol duty because they get cushy "sensitivity training," and they could be suspended without pay for as little as one day.

“The real issue here is, we all make mistakes,” the City Manager was quoted recently in an article. “We learn from those mistakes and move forward.”

Translation:  everybody shut up.  This man's life is pretty worthless.  So what if he was humiliated racially and taken advantage of because of his disability?  Those officers need to keep their jobs because they are more important than the citizens who pay their wages.

To make matters worse, the media picked up on this little frenzy and ALSO distributed the video of the victim being forced to act like a chimp.  Egad. 

I am so. so. disgusted.  I will bet you the video is all over youtube by now.

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...