29 May 2015

Teachers, When Do You Wear YOUR Klansmen Hood?

Staff training at Bruce Vento Elementary school required teachers to think for 3 -4 minutes about all those times they acted like total Klansmen because of their white privilege. 

This sort of crap is exactly why I'm against mandatory so-called "sensitivity training."  It isn't sensitive to where the dominant group is coming from, and there is no genuine exchange of ideas or soul-searching. 

 Look.  There are some people who need to think about the perspectives of people from other ethnicities and socio-economic groups.  But exercises like this will not accomplish that goal. They'll entrench exactly the sort of attitudes and behaviour you wish to avoid.  Calling someone a racist puts them on the defensive instead of helping them to be open to learning something new.

Start by assuming that almost always, people want to be fair.  They want to be kind.  There are a few goose-stepping Nazi types in education - don't get me wrong - but most people who become teachers don't do it for the glamour and the high salaries, ok?  And in today's time, they certainly don't do it for the prestige.

They have a hard job.  Most of them want to be fair to everyone.  Show the teachers great ways to help black students, show them some of the realities their students face, perhaps have some former students talk of what they struggled with when they attended the school.  Given some of the constraints on teacher time and budget, what are some ideas they can use to make the classroom a friendly place for everyone?

And I know this is a crazy and very novel idea, but how about you ask the teachers what they feel they need training in to better serve their students?  That would probably be a better use of taxpayer money.  (Don't bring donuts.)

28 May 2015

Thought of the Day


Woodjie's "what I'd do if I got $100" essay.
"People just need to reassess their priorities. Buying cheaper cuts of meat and slow cooking a casserole isn't as much fun as eating out, and washing the dishes isn't as much fun as seeing them whisked away by a waiter, but it can be done and there is no shame in it."  - River, on frugal living.  She's worth a visit.

27 May 2015

Princess Joy Sticker and Activity Book Review

The Princess Joy Sticker and Activity Book is short, colourful and glossy.  This little story workbook is for girls ages four through eight.  It's from Zondervan's Princess Parables series and oh, my, is it ever cute.  It's well worth the $3.99 list price. 

Rose is happily working on the activities as I type this.  She insisted on reading the entire thing right away, and I can already tell the activities are right at her level or perhaps a fair bit on the easy side.  (But then again, she's seven, toward the upper limit of the target audience.)  Between Omar Aranda's perfectly pretty illustrations and the very girlish style of the book, your little princess will enjoy it as well.

Rightfully it oughtn't be called a book, however.  It's a short, glossy workbook with a bit of a storyline and activities.  It has a Christian "birthday party" theme.

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.”

24 May 2015

23 May 2015

Busy Week.

Goofy hospital photo, playing video games.
Woodjie passed out and clonked his head after becoming upset and worried.  Had a CT scan, blood work, an IV and various chicken dances and stuff I forgot.  But his EKG didn't look right and he was rushed to Children's Mercy Hospital by ambulance.  Doc there disagreed that it looked bad.  Observation and fluids overnight.  Lots of alarms and monitoring.  We were sent home with the idea that this is probably dehydration and anxiety, but we might never know.  He still has to see a pediatric cardiologist and his regular doctor and some other people.  Poor kiddo.  At least he's home now.

Just a Facebook Comment About the Duggars

What we've been told so far is disgusting. And I don't agree with the "just forgive" or "it's not a big deal" people out there. I think the most disgusting part, really, is the statute of limitations. There shouldn't be one. 

But I'm not sure what the parents should have done, however, and what help is out there for people with these sorts of problems. Or what help is out there for child molesters and so on. Everyone doesn't want them in their neighbourhood, but they live somewhere. What does work? I mean scientifically and nevermind the Duggars for a sec. 

I find the Duggars mildly entertaining and interesting, but people put far too much stock in what this or that Christian says or believes instead of looking to the Scriptures themselves. Happened in Paul's day and is certainly happening now, this Christian celebrity. Was Paul crucified for you?

18 May 2015

Explain Why 3 + 8 = 11

Why do our children have to prove they understand math by explaining it when they are unable to explain their Language Arts. If I asked my son to explain why he put a comma in a sentence, he would not even know the vocabulary to explain why.

Sentence: I went to school, and I took a test.

Explanation: When two independent clauses are connected with a coordinating conjunction, one needs to place a comma after the first independent clause and before the coordinating conjunction.

Does he know English if he can't explain it?

-- written by an activist mom on an education-related facebook page.  Used with her permission.

17 May 2015

May in Missouri

A spring storm that swept across Missouri churned up at least one tornado and is causing flooding along several rivers....
Posted by KCTV5 News on Sunday, May 17, 2015
My note:  Apparently a tornado also ripped through Orrick... again.  That's very close to where my son G lives (he's fine).  The top photo is of damage in Sibley, Missouri, last night.  Notice how the entire roof is gone, but somehow the china cups are untouched.  Other than having to wake the children in the middle of the night and cower in the basement for a little bit, we're remarkably unaffected.  We're in Clay County.

Iron Fish: The Lucky Way to Prevent Anemia.

BBC News also has a nice writeup about the efforts in Cambodia here.

16 May 2015

Public Schools Forcing Conversion to Christianity

 Valyntyne Hale (yeesh, what a name) and her dad like to worship the Devil and stuff.  Whatever.  Their life.  But her middle school won't let her wear dog collars and skirts so short, everyone can see her hoochie.

“The school is bound and determined to use any means necessary to try to convert her to Christianity,”  her dad whined recently.  The school made her change her skirt (and possibly remove her bondagewear - the article didn't mention).

Funny thing, that.  I think by this standard of measurement, most schools all over the world are now Christian schools.  The missionaries can all come home now.

Using Pens and Paper to Teach is UNFAIR. Stop It.

We understand all you old teachers find technology "terrifying," but really.  Since these kids text in their off-hours, you need to communicate with them in a way that they understand. So txt ur lessn 2 the kds frm now on thx.

The Microsoft Corporation

PS In other news, did you know schools can sell your kid's personal information - including learning or medical disabilities and contact information - to the highest bidder in the event of a sale?  Yeah.  You might want to rethink that internet charter school as a homeschooling alternative.

15 May 2015

The Day is Waiting - Book Review

Where will you go on a free day?

The Day is Waiting by Don Freeman and his wife Linda Zuckerman gives several possibilities.  It is exactly the sort of book you should give at a baby shower.  Read this book to babies and toddlers before bedtime.  It's very soothing. Freeman's illustrations are happy but placid.  I'd recommend this book for younger children, although my eight-year-old is pleased with the book as he could read it himself.

It's actually part of the collection of artwork that Freeman left behind when he died in 1978.  Text was added later to create a simple poem and storyline - in this case, a voyage to faraway places.  It's a hardcover book and about that standard 8 x 10 size, so unlike a softcover book, it will sit nicely on the shelf and take a bit of a beating by small children.

 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.”

13 May 2015

Public Boarding Schools: A Great Idea!

Because our government did such a great job helping those Indians out in the past, taking them away from their bad family environments.  They decimated their entire culture and family structure for the good of the children.   You know, to civilize them and all.  Let's try that one again, except with American children who need "a safe environment" (read: almost exclusively black and poor children).

12 May 2015

Dropout Prevention Technique: Make School Like Homeschool!

Or Starbucks.  Or something cool.  Which school is not. 

Yep.  Soon Wake County, North Carolina, school officials will be recruiting dropouts to attend their new groovy academy.  Apparently, schools reason dropouts are much more likely to come back if they have a decent place to learn and are able to do so at their own pace, and their autonomy is respected.  They're only employing this strategy with the "at-risk" students presently, however, because the children who go to school faithfully every weekday whether they like it or not?  Who cares about them?  Pack 'em deep and teach 'em cheap.

Reaction to the plan ranges from citizen outrage that "wellfare benefits" for families who have a dropout haven't been cut, to a teacher whingeing that her students would also like to learn on couches and in cool cafes, and why doesn't she have any textbooks?

Unrelated photo of teen doodles on the back of a CLUE paper.  So my story has a picture.

08 May 2015

Should You Live in Shame if You're Fat?

You don't know her story. My story? Is that I gained 15 pounds this week without changing my eating habits. And inexplicably lost ten. And I expect to lose five more soon for no reason. Life with a bad thyroid - I can't even "eat less and exercise more" and have it work. The point being, NONE of us need people judging us for our size. Including doctors, thanks.  Edit: my post had a picture from Shark Fitness unapologetically body-shaming another person publicly.  The posts have since been removed and he's backtracking so quickly he's about to lose his balance.  Yay.

Both of the men below are uncomfortable and feeling some pain. One elects to feel that way a few hours a week...the...
Posted by Shark Fitness Training on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

07 May 2015

Mom Will Think This is Good Writing, Right?

First Form Latin by Memoria Press

Emperor is using First Form Latin by Memoria Press.  We've used the Memoria Press line of Latin materials for about three years now.  Emperor is almost halfway through with this high school level course, and the curriculum, along with some basic study on Roman culture and religion, helped him to score well on the National Latin Exam

It's definitely thorough, and at times you'll want to just pull your hair out.  Sentence diagramming is "fun" enough in English, thankyouverymuch, but this curriculum demands you play that little game in Latin as well.  There's no way your child can emerge from this program without a clear understanding of all the parts of speech and the mechanics of sentence-writing in both languages.

First Form Latin is available in a complete set, which includes a DVD lesson set, flash cards, teachers' manual, answer key and workbook.  Heads up:  you'll find it for less on the Rainbow Resource or CBD website than from the publisher.  If possible, I'd strongly suggest a year the Latina Christiana or some other introductory course before delving into the First Form.

04 May 2015

Handcuffing Children at School

If parents handcuffed their 5-year-old for throwing a tantrum, it would be called child abuse. How is this OK if police...
Posted by Practical Homeschooling on Monday, May 4, 2015

My note: It really sounds as though this child needs school-at-home via the internet, or an alternative placement.  For them to allow the situation to escalate so shows that they have lost control.   The problem with the he-said she-said in incidents like this is that often, the teachers are goading the children, or do not know how to deal with meltdowns before they escalate, or the child is placed in the cheapest environment possible and the teacher is overwhelmed but well-meaning.  You just can't tell from an article in the news.

02 May 2015

Homeschool Organization

I just bought these binders for Woodjie and Rose.  I can pop the day's worksheets into their folders.  The children decided where they wanted their tabs, and Rose has already decorated her binder.  It seems every year we have to come up with some new system.  This will keep five subjects organized - the others are either not workbook-related or are the subjects in which we use LIFEPACs.

Case for Grace for Kids by Lee Strobel

Don't let the easy-to-read text fool you.  This isn't a book just for kids.  This is a powerful work you won't be able to put down.  It will affect you. 

You might remember Lee Strobel as the author of the Case for Christ.  The Case for Grace for Kids book is not written in the same logical, step-by-step manner.  It's a more emotional work that will appeal especially to your eight- to fifteen-year-old.  God's grace changes lives and gives even children the power to do what's right and to live better lives. 

It's 167 pages, but it won't take long to get through as it's written at a third-grade reading level.  I found myself spending longer than I meant to in one sitting with this book.  My favourite story is the one about Stephanie and the story of what happened after her mother abandoned her.  I don't usually snuffle through stories in kids' books, but this one made me cry!

I'd recommend this book especially for preteens.  Although the publisher recommends children 8-12 as the book's primary audience, I think it really gets into the whole concept of  "relationship with God and others" at a level that only preteens and teens can understand and appreciate.

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.”

BJU 2 Bible Curriculum: A Servant's Heart

The BJU Bible Curriculum is pretty densely-packed stuff considering the grade level.  We have the Third Edition because that's what Emperor and Elf used when they were little.  I just bought new workbooks to go with it several years ago.  I've taken a look at the fourth edition, and aside from a few minor changes, it's the same quality program.  Here are some sample pages if you're interested.

What I like about the curriculum is that every effort is made to be as detailed as possible for young people.  Even second-graders can learn some of the books and the order in which they go in the Bible.  As we go through this curriculum, Rose and Woodjie will learn a bit about how to look up verses.  They just got their very own Bibles and are excited about this class. 

Because it's intensely language-based and Woodjie is autistic, it might take us more than a year to get through.  We'll see how it goes.  I am hoping he can read the book that goes with the curriculum and go through the worksheets that review it.

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...