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Showing posts from October, 2012

What Does It Mean?

Rose is doing preschool worksheets at home sometimes.  On this page, she's supposed to circle the thing that is "last."  Emperor is absolutely perplexed by this.  Why are there piles of leaves floating over the ducks' heads?  And why is the grass white?  And how should I know which one is last?  You can't tell these things.  Yes.  Rose can.  I never taught her this skill; she just knows which one is last.  She can also pass the "which one is different" test.  Poor Emperor cannot.  He will vociferously argue how all the things pictured could be grouped together, or separately, or it really isn't right to say that the smaller triangle doesn't belong because it certainly appears congruent to the others and ... the world is a genuinely confusing place for him sometimes.  :/

Patrick looked at this page and started laughing his head off at one of the pictures.  "It looks like these people are (disgusting activity)!"  Oh my.  It's a pres…

A Presidential Post

*  I'm really, really tired of political posts.  This isn't really political.  It's more along the lines of... is this really an advertisement FOR Barack Obama?  This is supposed to help millions of people think of him as being a professional who takes the responsibility of being a spokesman for our great Nation with the awesome seriousness it deserves.  I guess.  I cannot imagine showing this to my adult son and my 17-year-old.  I'm actually an undecided voter in many of the races this year but this disgusts me.

Who Cares About Middle School?

I've read a lot on early literacy and elementary-level skills.  And there's a fair bit out there about high school standards and curriculum.  Middle school, though?  Not much.  It's almost as though we want to pretend these kids don't really exist, or worse, pretend as though their academic and behavioural concerns rightly belong in the "high school" box.

Emperor will be my first middle-school level homeschooler if he remains with me next year.  I'm finding his writing is not what it could be.  But he does well with an organized, structured report on a given topic.  How do we get his writing to evolve from the simple paragraph to the several-page long college essay complete with thesis statement and footnotes?  There is a middle stage there somewhere.

In reading, he isn't using the baby readers, but hasn't quite progressed naturally to the full-length novel without much effort and help.  Yet.

I'm finding also that many of his interests (and t…

Where Are the Homeschoolers?

Homeschoolers are "The Last Radicals."  I had no idea homeschooling was even "radical!"

I'm thinking about 15% of all families try it at some point around here.  Yes, somewhere between a tenth and a fifth.  The school district stats of an 88% "capture rate" for the public schools bears this out.  That means 12% of all potential public schoolers in our district are NOT enrolled at any one given time.  The nearby private Catholic school simply cannot account for even 1% of this number, as it enrolls children from a large area and only goes to the eighth grade.

That means about 10% of us are homeschoolers, but people are not required to register here, so of course that's quite a rough guess.  I say 15% of children homeschool "at some point" because often what happens is, families will homeschool until their child is a certain age and then enroll him.  That's what we did with Elf.  He went to school for the very last couple of weeks in …

Too Familiar

A young man with autism is overwhelmed in the classroom.  He hides under the desk to try to regroup his thoughts/take a sensory break.  He might be weird, but he is not hurting anyone and given a little time, he'll crawl out and be ready to do his next activity.

But that is not good enough.  The teacher demands all children are seated, face-forward and ready to do the next thing NOW.  So the para drags the kid when he refuses to get out that very instant.  He is left with rug burns and the family and school now likely have an adversarial relationship.


It's a story that is all too familiar to me and other parents like me who have autistic children.  In our case, Elf never got rug burns, but he was locked in a closet by staff for his "bad choices."  My husband and I got into a great deal of conflict over whether Elf could homeschool.  I had a great deal of conflict with the school, made worse by the fact that I could not just tell the staff that I was taking my…


Rose Update!

Rose is pretty.  She has a new necklace.  She likes to write and can write her name.  She can comb her hair.  She plays Star Wars and Chinese Checkers with Patrick.  She likes to look out the window.  Her favourite foods are donuts and Biscoff spread.  She helped me write this post.  :)

Flower, Leaf, Tree, Cloud

A Math Teacher Discusses the New Math

(I copy-pasted this comment from The Atlantic article on New Math.  How mathematics is taught in school is a very important issue and I think one ignored by most people in the general public.  FYI, our school district uses a horrible "new math" program but as it is taught with emphasis on knowing the algorithm as well as the memorization of addition/multiplication tables and the like, our district test scores are deceptively high.  My take-away from the article and comments is that it is best to master the lower-level maths completely before moving on to fulfill some graduation requirement list.) 

I've been a classroom teacher for 15 years and spent the 7 years ahead of that working in a Math Tutorial Lab in a state university, helping undergraduates as they struggled with math. I saw big time calculator dependence and continue to see that phenomenon in our high school students. I recently invited four faculty from our university to speak to our secondary (junior…

The Case of the Disappearing Sophomores

The "point" of this article could be just about anything.

One young lady was told that she was not to return to school as a sophomore. She's not likely to do well on the important test sophomores take in Texas.  Okayyy.  So then make her return to school as a freshman, get caught up, and totally ace the tests you need to take as a sophomore, right?  I mean, that is what MY parents would make me do.  Instead, no.  The mom "protested" this placement and now blames the school for her daughter's rotten choices in life.

Somehow having to retake a year in high school led to the kid dropping out, never getting a GED, becoming a welfare moocher and popping out three kids before the age of 21.

Riiiiiiight.  Please tell me these people are too lazy to vote as well.

Now the superintendent is under federal investigation and this school district's troubles are being called "by far the worst education scandal in the country" because he allegedly rigged w…

Happy National Chess Day!

Greetings from West Des Moines, Iowa!  Emperor is at the hotel room right now taking a whirlpool bath and celebrating his victories.  He won first in the morning rounds and second in the afternoon rounds at the West Des Moines Youth tournament today.  He won all of his games except for the last in which he drew.  I have a new respect for Emperor as I entered the Parents and Friends tournament and lost. every. game.   I just don't have that long-range concentration and thinking ahead and dealing with spectators thing that Emperor has honed.  Imagine hanging onto board one all. day. long. and having people watch your every move from 9 am to 4 pm.  Ok, I can imagine it a bit better now and know it is beyond me.

Emperor With Grandmaster Akobian

PETA Fights Cruelty to Pokemon!

Having solved the problems of all real, living animals around the globe, PETA now fights cruelty to entirely made-up animals such as Pokemon.

Pokemon aren't even virtual real animals.  No pretend dog or cat is fighting in Pokemon.  The animals, and the entire world of Pokemon, has nothing whatsoever to do with the real animal kingdom.  Real animals in our world do not evolve into entirely DIFFERENT species of animals after they gain points in a fight, and most of them do not have long nonsensical conversations that only Pokemon trainers can understand.  (The Meow Mix cat might be an exception on that last part because it's telling us to BUY MEOW MIX NOW, but I'm thinking the ad mighta been rigged a little.) 

PETA has now come out with a disturbing "Black and Blue" parody of Pokemon's "Black and White" release.  There are real animals that could use some real help from these people, and this is what they spend their time/money on.

Tattoo - It - Yourself!

A good tattoo can be very expensive.  Why spend that money on a professional when you can order your own "tattoo kit" from several different online retailers, including Amazon?  Just doodle away!  So cheap!

Could you imagine tattooing yourself and all your friends in the comfort of your very own home?  Right at the kitchen table? What could possibly go wrong?  I wonder who on earth thought marketing equipment like this to just anybody was a good idea... but apparently this is the new thing to do...

A simple google search reveals that already we have some... consequences from this sort of marketing.  One woman passed out drunk during her session, and so did her tattoo "artist."  This story ends up with a gas can, a house fire, and 20 years in the pokey...  Oh.  And a very bad tattoo.

Maybe you're not the drinking, carousing and housefire-setting type.  Maybe you just want a little income on the side by having a "tattoo party."  I think I am busy that n…

Should Black People Be Allowed to Give Weird Names to Their Children?

"If you don’t want to give your child an Anglo name, then don’t. There are literally thousands of cultures to look at for inspiration. There is NO excuse for branding your child with illiterate gibberish. It’s not cute, it’s not creative, it’s a disgrace. No other people in the entire WORLD do this like black people do. Just because the names sound foreign to our ears doesn’t mean they’re on the same level with Da’quavious, so don’t even try it. You sound ignorant as hell."  - truth hurts in the comment section of this article.


And the really weird thing is, it's a "black" publication saying people have gone too far, that getting too weird means your kid has a "ghetto" name.  One of the commenters even said that parents should NOT be allowed to name their children anything so outrageous as the names featured. 

What I hear from people overseas (and especially under governments run under Islamic principles) is that you can NOT just name you…

New Blog!

Emperor now writes at the Homeschooling Emperor blog.  He's revamped the place and he also has a facebook page for you to visit and "like."  Be looking for new posts about three times a month.  He doesn't talk nearly so much as I do and he also would like to confine his writing to more factual pieces rather than writing stories.  His latest blog post is on nuclear power and he offers a unique solution to our energy crisis.

Firefighting Woodjie

* ***** Guess who visited Woodjie's school today?  Woodjie wants to tell you about how he is going to be a firefighter.  He also got "all mileys" today in school.  He's actually had several days running of all smileys.  Yay!  Can you tell that he is starting to put words together and come up with unique sentences that convey ideas?  Yep.  It has taken him a bit longer than the average bear, but he is making a ton of progress.