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Showing posts from October, 2011

Cyberschools: the 800-Pound Gorilla of School Choice!



"Cyberschools are the 800-pound gorilla of the choice movement, although vouchers and charter schools get a lot more attention." 

The National Education Policy Center claims that online education should be regulated - heavily - and has even offered "model legislation" for states to use in reining in perceived problems.  

The report outlines what I feel to be some legitimate problems with cyberschools using state funds.  Boodles of tax money - to the tune of 70% of a standard public school education - should not go toward businesses that throw recordings out in place of instruction, give little-to-no teacher interaction, and provide few safeguards to ensure the students have mastered the material.  That's robbery.  Many taxpayers also don't want to see teaching farmed out to some call center in India, as has apparently happened in the past.

But overall, the report is somewhere between incomplete and shoddy.  It offers no distinction be…

Crazy Comment Monday!

    "I think that, as a subject, there is this something that only an older generation has and the young people do not possess. It is because they lived that much more. We should respect them and learn from them," says Gaichi Kono.  I mean, you could learn sooo much from the old man who has been cast in the film he directed.  It's called "Forbidden Elder Care."

Yyeah.  Scrub that.

Apparently, the old-fashioned bad girl at school theme isn't interesting in porno land any more and there is an entire "old man" collection of films.  And the market for them is described as "bullish."  Ew.  It's all in Japanese, though, so I don't know how well it translates.

Nevermind.

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In other news, have you ever felt like committing suicide by jumping into a large body of water and letting bunches of worms crawl out of you?  Just asking.

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And now for an "Overheard at My House" part of the post.  That's right, crazy stuff t…

Does This Guy Deserve a Punch?

At first, I thought that the guy was out of hand for punching the obnoxious dude in the local Target.  But my husband made me think about it from a different perspective:  these people were obviously disabled, minding their own business, and some guy comes around and farts in the lady's face not once but twice without provocation of any kind.  And they're running around videoing it and thinking it's funny.  The husband comes out swinging and nearly got arrested for battery.  But what if he did nothing?  What if they just sat there and dealt with the unpleasantness?  Bet you they would be up for more and more "farting" in the face and all kinds of nasty treatment.  If they called the police or store security, think anyone would do anything about it?  Of course they wouldn't!  So, these folks had a choice: be victims, and get ready for more bullying, or slug the dude and hope ya don't go to jail.  I don't know.  This video is obviously up for everyone&…

The Spoon

A dear friend in New Zealand sent us a decorative wooden spoon.  It's handpainted with a native flower and a city name.  I can't really use it; it looks like it is for show.

I thought about it for a fair while.  I was a bit reluctant to put it up and Emperor asked why.  Well, I've read far too many blogs and the like where the parents beat their kids with wooden spoons and then hang the spoons up as a reminder to the children that the next whoopin' is conveniently reachable by Mom 'n Dad.  So that's why.

"Are you SERIOUS?" he asked. (Is his voice starting to change? Because it just cracked.)  "People hit their kids with spoons?  And then put them on the wall?  Like, which people and what are their names?"

Well, I never said the world was normal.  Sigh. But I wound up hanging up the spoon.  I mean, it's a cute souvenir.  I shouldn't be afraid that random people are going to think I am beating my children with decorative objects just …

A Random Post

1.  We need to start a "Keep CHRIST in HALLOWEEN" campaign.  I want people to contribute to my Christian organization and get all OUTRAGED that there are no Christian Halloween symbols at the local FoodMart. It is just not right that corporate America has decided that Wiccans with really bad skin get to represent this holiday.  We need to take back the land, people.  Bumper stickers are $10 each.  We don't have enough time to organize a really great call-in and boycott campaign, but next year, look out.  I'm already seeing the "Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas" business on my friends' facebook walls.  I'm not sure if I should be entertained or join in the um, fun by reposting...  I was gonna go for "Keep THANKFULNESS in THANKSGIVING," but that didn't go well with a list of demands, so...

2.  Went out today with a friend, who REALLLLY needs to update her blog because if I told her stories, no way you would believe me.  They are that cray-zee.  …

Another Perspective.

Every now and then, it's helpful to have another opinion.  And sometimes you learn things you otherwise never would have known.

I've recently asked for special services testing for Emperor.  Mostly, I did this because I'm not getting any sort of a straight answer on "how to transfer an odd child into public school eventually, preferrably in a way that is not traumatic for everyone."  The school wants to quantify how odd, exactly, the child is and whether he "qualifies for services."  Hopefully they don't come back with a recommendation along the lines of, "Just send him to fifth grade next year and see what happens."

Sigh.  Welp, maybe he will qualify for bunches of stuff and maybe he won't.  When I get 'round to being up and mobile, I'll bring him in for a zillion tests and then we'll see what the school district has to say about my kid.  I don't feel particularly threatened by the process as 1. I started the process m…

It Must Be the Drugs.

So like, I'm on stuff but I still have my brains about me.  I think. 

I'm reading the news and in the news is a story, supposedly a very shocking one, about this lady who drank two 2-liters of Diet Coke each day.  Then she quit and it was a very big deal because of the health benefits of not drinking two 2-liters.  Is this news??  Because my husband can drink, like, four of those in a normal day.  Unless he is really thirsty; then it is more.  I suppose next up there will be a story about a lady who eats a bag of chips for a snack.  We will compare this nutritionally to the traditional candy bar snack.

Maybe the drugs are catching up with me that I don't think these are very exciting news stories.  I am just sort of mellow.

Just for the record, today my diet has been two doses of Miralax (hasn't worked yet, TMI, since last Thursday, but having gut surgery will do that to you), a bowl of grapes (also hasn't worked), two rolls with butter, a bowl of soup and a bowl …

The Flowers

The scene:  I find a box by my front door when I return from running errands.  It's from a flower shop.

"It's not yours, Mom," Emperor assures me.  "Nobody sends you flowers."  Ah, but my name is on the box.  Inside the house it goes.

Emperor trails me as I set it on the counter and peek all over the box for a return address.  Nope.  Just the flower company.  Bummer.  I get a knife out to open the box.

"MOM!" Emperor yelps.  "It's not yours.  These are someone else's flowers.  You should put them back where you found them.  Or maybe give them to one of the neighbours.  It's probably theirs..."

But... my name is on the box.  So I open it.  Emperor cringes.  I look in the packaging for a card.  I look in the vase.  I peel the flowers out of the box to look for a card -

"Just put them back!  I don't think these are your flowers.  You shouldn't open them!"

*crinkle crinkle*

And I cut the stems according to pac…

Greetings From the Archive!

Mommy's Woodjie Pumpkin goofing off for the camera. :)

Weight Loss Wednesday!

I've not been doing well and scared to death to eat.  So six of these pounds?  I lost them just in the last week.  Thought I'd post this now because I don't mean to gain any of them back and *somehow* magically I won't if I post it here, right?

Ok.  Seeing the surgeon again tomorrow.  I am most unwell; hopefully we can get me in and out of the hospital soon.  There is certainly no way I will be able to wait until mid-November, though at this rate I'd be looking realllly good if I tried.  :)

Not OK Here.

In the process of painting that kitchen, somehow I popped a hernia!  I had one before, had terrible time with surgery to tuck it in, and now it's back and worse than ever.  Nationals are off for Emperor, and for Elf, who had just received a scholarship to go with us.  We did have some sweet friends offer to take them, but D feels they are just not ready to travel that distance without us.  They've never been away from us for even overnight yet, so I guess that makes sense.

Still, I am devastated for them.  And pretty worried for myself, as the repair is going to have to be extensive (large area) and I don't do well with this whole process to begin with.  I'm hoping to hold out for surgery in mid-November, but this is looking less and less likely as the weekend goes on.

Just pray for our family, would you please?  D is going to have to do everything and be in charge of everyone for a good long while when I get 'round to having the surgery.  All doctor appointments f…

The NEW Kitchen!

 
 My house was built in 1964 and has almost all the original windows still.  I got tired of looking at bugs and cobwebs on the kitchen sink window and replaced it.  I couldn't clean it properly as the window didn't open well and I sure couldn't clean it from the outside as it is very high above the ground.  This should be much easier; the windows tilt in and have real working latches!  You can't let an event like that just go without fixing up other things nearby.  Do you like the colour of my NEW kitchen? I chose it to go with my Polish pottery.  Technically, yellow would be the best colour but it would look absolutely hideous with my black appliances and wouldn't "transition" from the stone brown in the next room very well.  So there you go.  No more squinting and bobbing my head about to see what is going on in the back yard.  It's so bright and airy, and I will enjoy looking out my window when winter comes... there is nothing like being able …

I Eat a Two Oh-eos!

"I make it a poop!  I two cookies!  Yayy!"  WOWW, I think Woodjie has finally figured this potty thing out.  We are almost done with day three of zero accidents.  Yayy!  Do you know what a big thing this is milestone-wise for Woodjie?  I'm so proud of him, and relieved as well.  I was concerned we would start elementary school with pull-ups.  Still have a way to go before we can count the hurdle finally crossed, however.  He has yet to do what he needs to do at preschool or on shopping trips, etc.  But wow.  This means we can finally switch to underwear.  Today's selection is Thomas the Tank Engine.  :)

Assorted Stuff Post

What do you think about Lily, the "poverty-stricken" Muppet?  Should 4- and 5-year-old kids hear about "food insecurity" and the evils of the multinational corporation?  Help Elmo get out to the protest? (Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Occupy Wall Streeeeet?)

I say we have a super-rich kid on Sesame Street as well.  He doesn't talk to the other kids on Sesame Street very often; he goes to the private school with the rich kids on the next block.  The neighbourhood is changing because families like his are buying buildings and renovating them and not only that, they get to do so without paying taxes on their property for 20-odd years.  It's called "TIF."  Can you say that, boys and girls?

Some of the stores are leaving because Wal-Mart is now a mile away. In our latest episode, Grover does some SUPERRR-browsing at amazon.com and realizes he does NOT need to pay $45 at the local Mom-n-Pop when he can get the same item for $35 plus free shi…

The New Clothes

Elf took some special pains to be presentable in this picture.  He put on an extra swoop of deodorant and has done his hair himself.  I am not allowed to touch his hair or even get close to him until the picture is taken, he tells me.  Emperor will let me hug him, and he didn't bother to comb his hair (he has to be reminded, and I forgot).  The picture, he says, is all about the shirt so the rest of that stuff doesn't matter.

The Emperor's New Clothes!

Well, here's the "before" picture.  Emperor kept getting snapped at about his "froggies" showing.  BUT Emperor said that no matter HOW TIGHT he makes his belt, his pants don't stay on!  He's having a lot of trouble with this!!  Well.  It could be because 1. the belt is not in the belt loops, 2. the button is broken, and... 3. the zipper is broken.  To complete this ratty picture?  There are gaping holes in the knees that have been patched with old denim jean pockets.  BUT! Now Emperor has some new clothes.  My chess mom friend Laurie has given me three bags full of really niiice clothes.  I was really happy but Emperor?  I wish you could have seen that little kid dance and ask several times whether the clothes were "for absolutely free."  Next time the kid shows up at the club he will be looking "gangsta."  (That is, I suppose, what young people say when they mean "snazzy.")  

Crazy Comment Monday!

"We need more teachers willing to take risks, take chances and think out of the box. Too many are fearful of making waves or losing their jobs so they simply go through the motions and don't make any waves, graduating kids that should be held back..."

Sounds like a normal comment, doesn't it? Well, it does until you read the article it references. A teacher makes kids put cotton balls with vinegar on 'em in their mouths and chew them as punishment.

"I remember teachers making kids stick gum on their noses. Humiliatio­n was a good disciplina­ry tool back then," quips another commenter.

Blazen52 writes:

"Personally­, I applaud her for her work and creativity­. Vinegar would only cause discomfort and not any serious bodily harm as long as they were not allergic. People need to understand that there is little you can do to get through to these students that require special attention, and sometimes you need to resort to alternativ­e means of punishment to s…

The Mystery Soccer Score

We're playing soccer.

"Suppose, during the game, that no one can see if the ball goes into the net on a shot on goal; only the official scorer can see this but the result is not reported during the game. Finally, imagine if the only feedback players and coaches get from the game is delivered four weeks later as a final score. Who would improve under such a system? Who would meet soccer Standards other than gifted players under such a system? Yet this is how assessment works in school: there is little correlation between local grading and state standards and tests, feedback from standards-based tests comes too late to use for improvement, and there is too little detail in the feedback."

Ok, I like this idea of returning the tests to the children and showing them which answers they got wrong... maybe having the teacher take a class period to discuss why most kids got problem three incorrect. But I have a real problem with where the blogger *seems* to be heading: toward the…

Do What Ya Gotta Do.

I don't know what to say lately.  I feel like I'm not 23 any more and I don't have the energy for deep cleaning too very often.  I don't have the energy for blog controversy, either.  I even started a new blog about homeschooling Emperor that is entirely controversy-free.  It's just about... homeschooling Emperor.  That's all.

Take a wild guess at the blog URL and see you there if you find it.

Anyway.  Lately I've been digging into the children's bags of hand-me-downs and getting ready for the change of seasons.  I took a picture to share with you.

Here's a little peek into what "large family living" is really like.  Mom rips the doors off the ol' closet and sets up a shelf like this from which the children select all their clothes.  Elf and Emperor share this shelf and their underwear and socks are in the milk bin.

Some of the things that I think will fit toward the END of winter season are stored in a tall dresser nearby.  I simply …