28 February 2016

PBS vs. BIST

The PBS method of school discipline is totally different than the BIST system, which our district uses. BIST, if you're using it exactly as designed, requires students to hop to it in obeying the teacher's commands within TWO SECONDS, Buster, or it's safe seat/ time out time.

"What?!!" says the kid with language processing/emotional control issues.

"Oh, disagreeing with me? Then you can go to the Buddy Room across the hall." And here the kid totally loses it and really DOES do something awful, and winds up getting locked into a "Recovery Room," or cement closet. Yep. It happens here, and more often than you'd like to think. My experience has been that teachers have no clue about giving a little warning about transitions, have little/no understanding of the motivations of disabled students, and generally think their balking is "manipulative."

But most neurotypical students are just able to keep it under check, give a hearty but unfelt "YES, Ma'am!" and pretend to obey... while the teacher is watching. Then they can snicker and goof off while she isn't. Meanwhile, the kid with social problems has caught on that it's playtime but can't quite switch gears when the teacher turns around...

I've read in several places about problems with PBS, most notably that it may lead to teachers calling in police rather than resolving issues at school (through closet locking and paddling, sorry, but that's the reality).  Overall, however, I think it's an improvement over BIST.

I also think discipline often depends on the teacher, but having a generally humane "model" to follow does make a difference in school culture.

27 February 2016

Ask Your Doctor if This Medicine is Right for You!

People are concerned about marketing of pharmaceuticals to consumers.  I'm not.  I'm worried about marketing to doctors.  Don't think for one hot second that getting free lunches, note pads, clocks, pens and other assorted vendor crap can't possibly influence even the best of doctors.  It does influence your behaviour.  I can't prove it scientifically, but it just does, ok?

Once I asked my doctor if some weird-sounding drug was "right for me" as the billboard in the exam room suggested.  Well, he doesn't know what that drug is... they just paid for the billboard with all the leaflets about diabetes, heart conditions, lyme disease and that sort of thing.

I think if he got a free lunch out of it, he'd've remembered what the drug is and does, and would've at least been able to tell me offhand if it were "right for me." 

Have you noticed that all the drugs with the niftiest ads are the most expensive?  Like nobody does a happy commercial about my $4 generic antibiotic. 

26 February 2016

Rose's Peanut Chat



Ok, so here's Rose's chat about peanuts.  She worked very hard on her presentation.  Hope you enjoy it!

Glimmer Girls: London Art Chase

This series rocks!  You will want to get this book for your 7 to 12-year-old daughter.  The Glimmer sisters go to London, have adventures about town, and solve a crime to boot!  Your girl can read about red phone booths, English Bobbies, Trafalgar Square, double-decker busses, black cabs and other places in London as the story unfolds.

Natalie Grant's books feature twins Maddie and Mia and their little sister, Lulu.  They have their squabbles and hard moments like any other family, but I love how their parents are kind and encouraging and the girls have an overall peaceful home life.  They seem to be genuinely valued and appreciated by their parents.  It's so rare to see normal families in recent literature for children.  It's a treat. 

Mind you, the Glimmer family has tons o'cash and a hired nanny.  They're able to see all sorts of sights around the world, eat at the best restaurants and all that sort of thing.  I don't know about you, but that's stuff I'm not planning to do next week or anything like that.  Actually, I think that's part of the appeal of these books for young children. Every child wants to read something just a little fantastic sometimes. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Woodjie's Spider Talk



We're done with most of our curriculum for the year, so we have some time for public speaking, games, and fun outings.  Hope you enjoy this silly video Woodjie prepared for you. 

25 February 2016

Officials Wave Wand and Declare That Nit Eggs Can't Possibly Hatch During an Eight-Hour School Day

Schools in Holden, Missouri, are now saying that you can come to school with nit eggs allll over your hair and it's cool with them.  That's "because the burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice."

Unnecessary absenteeism?  It's a shame the school will lose money if kids stay home, but it is NOT "absenteeism" when one refrains from getting others ill or lousy by staying home. Sheesh.

I'm sorry, but this is rather like inviting children over to your home when you know your kid is sick.  It's so stinkin' inconsiderate I don't know where to start.  The school district says they are going by new recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National School Association of Nurses.  If I used that reasoning and had all your kids over to my house when my kids had nit eggs in their hair?  I think you'd be pretty angry, especially if your kids caught lice as a result.

Not mentioned in the news story above is the fact that there is now some form of so-called "super-lice" that is resistant to treatment.  Know why?  I will bet you it's because of policies like this. 
 

24 February 2016

Candidate Supreme Promises Free Ponies for All Americans!



Vermin Supreme is the only candidate for president with a specific zombie preparedness program.  He's also promised on various occasions to use time travel to kill baby Hitler and defeat ISIS.  His free pony program will also stimulate the economy and create jobs... and useful manure.  He's actually on the ballot in New Hampshire, and yes, that's a boot on his head.

22 February 2016

Crawling Back.

Really, these last two weeks have been awful.

It all began when Patrick came home quite ill after spending a long, hard day touching everyone's food at the local shop where he works (I knowww).  You know it's bad when he gets home early and literally, literally spends the next two and a half days on the floor sleeping except for potty and food breaks.  It just wiped him out.

Then Woodjie turned a bit whiter than usual and complained of headache.  Next, Rose and I both came down with things at the same time.  Most of the time I'd be lying in bed, only getting up to serve such wonders as "cheese sandwich and water" or "Pop-Tart, choice of strawberry or brown sugar" before telling the children to stack their plates on the counter when they're done...and rolling back into bed.

Rose got bad enough that she had to see the doctor for dehydration and nausea meds.  She nearly had to go to hospital for dehydration.  I knew I should have brought her in earlier but juuust couldn't.

Then D caught it and missed two days of work.  But guess what?  Emperor and Elf never really got anything but a slight cough.  Doesn't bother them at all.

Weird, huh?

But oh!  My parenting is not what it could be.  Now the little kids are used to being able to play pretty much all day and use all the electronic devices while Mom rests.  I'm still only up to maybe quarter-days... not even half-days yet.  I sleep in forever and then when I get up I wander about forgetting things and wanting naps.  Thankfully I didn't have the vomit thing (I can't stand that!) but I sure did have headaches, achiness and tiredness and a bit of a fever. 

Elf thought I was really mean, not letting him visit our elderly neighbour last week.  Can you imagine my nerve?  He called her to express his outrage and apologize that his MOM wouldn't let him leave (you know that voice) and would you believe she didn't want him over either after she asked what on earth possessed me to forbid him?  Yeah.

Well, here's what I've been up to:  playing Trizzle.  That's about it.  Oh.  And catching up on laundry.

"Mentors" to Crack Down on Absenteeism

Let's spend lots of money on "mentors" for kids who aren't attending school regularly.  I mean, I wonder why one might not want to attend school in the slums on a regular basis.  Hmmm, let's spend millions of dollars trying to herd these students back into the classroom. 

It's a temporary program that will really only be in a child's life for a short time.  "Just like Mommy's boyfriends!" quips one of the comments.

The thing that bothers me about articles like this is that it doesn't tell me what parents can do to keep these little do-gooders out of their kid's lives.  My kid's school record is not some volunteer with three weeks of training's business, thanks.

Anyway, these folks will work their magic in a kid's life by meeting with him three times a week.  Three times a week!  Could you imagine interrupting your child's classroom experience three times every week?  Could you imagine your kid missing that much on top of the absenteeism that's already going on?  Even given that some of those hours may be during art or lunch periods, it seems an incredible waste of time.

Yeah, and we're spending actual tax dollars on this crap.

21 February 2016

Private Student Data to be Given to Businesses

As a result of a court case, private information including addresses and social security numbers of public school students will be handed over on April 1.

You can object if you like, but a California Education Department spokesman stated it's unclear whether objecting is going to do you any good.

What will these people do with your child's data once it's looked over?  No one really knows or has any sort of assurance for the public that there is no way possible their children will be the victim of identity theft.  Look at the article and see what they are not saying.  That says a lot more than what they do, which is a whole bunch of nothing.

Look.  I know there needs to be some oversight to ensure that kids are being taught and bla bla bla.  But some private companies?  No real assurance that the data won't get resold or identities stolen?

You know it's bad when the Democratic and Republican assemblymen are getting together pronto and working together to address... well, anything.

20 February 2016

Learning From Our Mistakes

A little bit of the aftermath.
Elf is 15 now, so when he wanted to make a "Lemon Something or Another" recipe?  I gave him the ingredients and left the kitchen.  I smelled something burning and together we figured out what happened.

The recipe called for a baking pan but Elf used a cookie sheet.  When he was shown what a baking pan really was, he said, "Oh!  That makes a lot more sense.  I'll do that next time!"

OK.

And... what's all this foil at the bottom of the cookie sheet?

The recipe called for "non-stick cooking spray," but Elf figured that a bit of butter on some foil was pretty much the same thing.  No?  "I'm learning so much here!"

How can anyone be mad at someone with such a teachable heart?

19 February 2016

Glimmer Girls Series: A Dolphin Wish

Animals are escaping their enclosures and the Glimmer girls are on the case!

A Dolphin Wish is part of a series by Natalie Grant about three sisters who solve mysteries.  Twins Mia and Maddie and six-year-old LuLu are sweet girls who care for one another and the world around them.  Even in the midst of their vacation and fun, they're concerned for others and the animals' well-being.

What I love about this book is the fact that the family is intact and healthy, and the parents actively guide their girls to make moral choices in keeping with what God would want.  The book won't give you the sinner's prayer to say at the end or club you on the head with 63 preachy Bible verses or anything like that, but this is definitely a book written with a Christian worldview in mind.  It's a good, wholesome book that would positively influence your daughter.

And your daughter will enjoy it.  Rose grabbed my copy as soon as I got it out of the box!  She's already through the first chapter and has written her name in purple Sharpie marker on the inside cover.  I'd say it's a nice series for girls from about 7 to 12.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

17 February 2016

Donald Trump's 2016 High School Elective Homeschooling Courses Now Available Online!




Debate 101  

Learn to win arguments by calling entire racial groups "rapists" and implying that your opponents have various mental health diagnoses.  Mock the disabled and the poor but still find you have a following because you speak your mind and nobody "owns" you. 

Debate 102 

This course covers three fail-safe techniques for handling a losing argument:

*  People are too stupid to see I'm right (the "Iowans are losers" method)
*  I think the opponent is not a real American/ is a secret Muslim diversion
*  Threaten to sue


 You could buy this "Make America Great Again" gear directly from Amazon.  Also available?  The "Life's a Bitch, Don't Vote for One" bumper sticker for all y'all highbrows out there.

 

Business and Accounting 101

Learn to hire the right people who will structure your businesses so they may fail colossally, but you never will.  Not to be confused with Ethics 101 (not offered at this time, sorry).

Public Relations and Marketing

Here's what's working this election cycle:  a lot of angry red-faced yelling about how you will rid the world of ISIS and keep all illegal immigrants out of a nation with over 12,000 km of land on its borders because you're gonna build a wall.  It's a really big wall.

Well.  Can you tell I'm getting a LOT of hits looking for "Donald Trump homeschool" lately?  Have to give the readers what they want, right?

Mercy Street Tintype

Isn't it cute?  Click this link if you'd like to make one! I think it's a nifty way to generate excitement for the new PBS series.  Aside from a sexual scene being a bit too explicit (no nudity but... well...) I haven't seen anything that would prevent my recommending the show.  I mean, it's Civil War stuff and set in a hospital to boot so there's gonna be blood and stuff obviously. 

16 February 2016

Students Allowed Only Common-Core Aligned "Credible" Sources for Papers

"Research is not true research when your children are told the only places they can look for the truth."


Honestly, I learnt a lot about what a "credible" source would be by making mistakes in my middle school years - and maybe even a few in high school - on my papers.  Certainly I think it's a good idea for teachers to offer a resource or suggest looking on a particular website to get started.

I'm trying not to pop my tinfoil hat on with this one, but you have to admit this is a bit weird:


My son came home last week so frustrated that the teacher was only allowing him to do research for a paper from a "...
Posted by Missouri Moms Against Common Core on Monday, February 15, 2016

11 February 2016

"That's retarded!" or "What a retard!" or "Are you retarded?"


"I was bullied today.  I was made fun of, and swore at."

-- a guest post by Bek.

This is my son’s worksheet from after an incident at school today. It wasn’t the first incident. Today, though, they surrounded him and joined in and taunted him. It started because one student called him a retard.

This is not ok.

I realize many people still use the “r-word” casually and I realize many people use it and think it is ok if they use it because it was considered acceptable when we were growing up. It is not acceptable now. Please consider what you are saying when you are calling a friend “retarded” or “a retard” or calling their behavior “retarded” as in “that’s so retarded” or “you are such a retard“. You are saying (even if this meaning is unintentional) that people with developmental, cognitive, and physical (people assume far too much about cognition based on just a glance) impairments and disabilities are less than you, are less than “normal”.

Our community has fought, and continues to fight, just to live as others live and to have the same rights as Joe or Jane Average. We all have dealt with adversity, even the youngest in our ranks.

Do not add to the vitriol and mistreatment by using that word.

If you use it now, please stop. If you use it by accident… That happens, but think about the child or adult you are really hurting, and vow to never use that word again (and share this message. Please.). If you hear a child, your child, a nephew, niece, neighbor, etc… use the “r-word“, tell them what I am telling you here. Tell them it hurts. If you are a teacher or school administrator or support staff, please consider spreading awareness that this word is inappropriate and too many students are still aiming it at other children, and not always in a casual way.

Some of those children, being called retards or asked, “are you retarded?” on the playground, in the halls, in the cafeteria are children who have been fighting hard their entire life just to have a seat at the table and in many schools, inclusion means that the table has kids with disabilities.

If you think it’s not a big deal, ask those kids and ask their parents how they feel about it. Ask an adult with disabilities. If you don’t know any you feel comfortable asking then please ask me. It is a big deal.

I was called that dreadful word, as a child with developmental delays, and my son has been called that word daily, at school.

My kid isn’t “normal” (which is a word we also don’t use in our home.). He’s better than that. His response to these lunchroom bullies is to explain to them why the r-word is not an acceptable word to use anymore. He is so much better, kinder, smarter than those nasty 8th grade boys. He would never call another child anything other than their first name, because he has been tormented and he knows that teasing and bullying is wrong. He is so much more mature than they are. He can’t fight back the way a developmentally average child would. So he explains. He tries to explain to these bigger kids why they are doing something wrong and mean. Which, of course, makes things worse, and magnifies his differences (which I see as such magnificent strengths) to these bullies. And the taunting increases. Where do you think these kids first heard the r-word? Probably at home, either from a parent or in a movie/on a tv show, and then they spread it around.

WE CAN STOP THIS.

Sticks and stones may break bones, but the reality is that words do so much damage, and until you have been at the receiving end of them, for a lifetime, it can be impossible to fathom the destruction they can cause.

Please share this and share this link: http://r-word.org/r-word-why-pledge.aspx#.Vr0azN-rTdQ

Please take the pledge and spread the message to family, friends, coworkers, classmates and ask them to move the message forward that the “r-word” is not acceptable in 2016.

Thank you.
xo,
Bek

Schools to Grade Parents Under New System

Sometimes, children enter school struggling with concepts such as writing letters and numbers, lining up, taking turns and so on.  Often this is due to developmental difference (late bloomer, anyone?) or simply not being exposed to a preschool environment which is a little more institutional than a home.  It doesn't mean the parents aren't involved, but apparently the school wants to take it that way.  A new proposed Mississippi law will allow schools to (somehow) grade parents for their involvement.

Undocumented, ungraded reading happens in our house.  Shh.

Maybe giving you a grade will "shock you into reality," so to speak.  The "reality," I suppose, being that when homework's assigned, it had better get done or you will get a bad grade which will be tracked by the state.  

It's outrageous, really, that schools would have the audacity to judge someone's parenting based on whether reading logs are completed and Mom shows up for the dopey Parent-Teacher conference when she knows how her child is doing anyway.

The thing is, guess who doesn't show up to those conferences?  Often, it's the mom with two jobs who can't possibly make it and still have time to feed her children dinner, or who can't afford a sitter.  Other moms know their child is doing horribly and really don't want to make a two-hour round trip in the cold, battling other parents in the parking lot and wait around just to be told how miserable things are (implication: bad parent).  We all know that real solutions aren't grappled with in these conferences anyway.  There really isn't a point to going, not in 2016 when we have skype and email.

I find it over-the-line, really, to grade parents.  It sets up an antagonistic relationship to boot.  If the end goal is to help parents to do some of the things the school would like to see happen, this is not the way to go about doing it.

06 February 2016

Learning Through Games.

The children want to play some of the fifth grade games on ABCya, but they don't know how to convert fractions to decimals yet.  So I've compiled a small guide that at least gets them through the first level or two before they get squashed.  Yay!

"Have I Died?"

Apparently cab drivers in Japan keep picking up passengers who later figure out they're dead and disappear.  Ever see the Sixth Sense movie?  They want to go to the area of the tsunami, get confused in the middle of the ride, ask weird questions and then vanish.

The only reason we know this is because a sociology student asked 100 cab drivers about whether anything strange happened after the tsunami and this theme kept recurring. 

05 February 2016

Everyone Has a Secret

Ella Rae and Carrigan are the impulsive ones, but Laine has always been the sweet one who wanted her friends "to get baptized once a week, run a soup kitchen, volunteer at the local day care, and neuter dogs on the kitchen table."  The trio have been besties in the little town of Bon Dieu Falls, Louisiana, ever since kindergarten.  They often fight each other's battles and always keep their secrets well-guarded.  In a little town like this, you can't be too careful! 

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale is about their changing friendship in the wake of an unexpected, life-changing crisis.  It's about how secrets can't always be secret forever.  It's about how no matter how much we wish to direct our own lives, God orders our steps, and sometimes He takes us places we don't want to go. 

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this set free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


04 February 2016

Parents Face Jail Time for Missing Paperwork Deadline

Up to 23 years in prison for a simple paperwork error! 

Look.  I understand paperwork is rilly rilly important.  The IRS rathermuch frowns on your not getting your crap in on time.  But they don't send you to jail for 23 years for being even several months late.  Crazy bureaucrats in Ohio, however, would like to jail homeschooling parents for their mistakes and even count their children as being "truant" for not being up-to-date on registry.


In my state, I have to keep a record of the stuff I'm doing and in 9.5 years of homeschooling, I haven't been checked up on even once.  If I lived in a state where paperwork was a must, you betya I would have my stuff in on time or even early.  I'm not excusing the lack of paperwork, mind you.  I'm simply saying that what could happen to these parents is nowhere near proportional to the "crime" that was committed.

What do they do to tenured teachers who forget to submit paperwork or keep good records?  Do they send them to jail for 23 years?  Do they lose their jobs or even lose any pay? 

 Drug dealers.  Say you have a whole buttload of drugs n' stuff in Ohio.  Maximum penalty is 10 years and $20,000.  There's a whole movement out there whining that drug penalties are way too strict because people are addicted and bla bla bla.

But yeah, throw the book at the mom who forgot or was plain ignorant, why don't you?

Ok, the people in Flint.  Is anyone in prison for poisoning a whole community? 

I'm not even saying there shouldn't be a penalty and all that.  I'm just saying that when someone tells you that the system is out to get homeschoolers, mayyybe that's not just paranoia talking sometimes. 

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...