Sunday, May 31, 2009

She Won't be Forced.

Announcements are offered over the PA system at the highschool after the Pledge of Allegience, every day. I immediately jumped to my feet and put my hand over my heart. As did Jon. As did Danny. As did James, the student that has Asperger's. Not one other student out of the 30+ classmates. Not the teacher, either. James know the routine. "Why don't you stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?", James asks Ashley.

"Why? Because I've been forced to my entire life and I won't be forced to ever again."

The Pledge of Allegiance
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands,one Nation under God,indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I am the Flag
by Ruth Apperson Rous
I am the flag of the United States of America.
I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
I am as old as my nation.
I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
I voice Abraham Lincoln's philosophy: "A government of the people, by the people,for the people."
I stand guard over my nation's schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
I have my own law—Public Law 829, "The Flag Code" - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.
Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.

Monday, May 25, 2009

State of Education Part 3

"The widely accepted theory on how the world evolved is based on the Big Bang model, the universe expanded from an extremely dense and hot state and continues to expand today. A common analogy explains that space itself is expanding, carrying galaxies with it.... Jenna raises her hand, "What if you believe in Creationism rather than evolution?", she asks.
"What about Jesus?", calls out Jose.
"This is NOT a religion class, it is a Science class", says the teacher. "I will NOT answer any questions unless they are about Science." "....the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating...."
Oh ,how I wanted to raise my hand and ask for an only FAIR discussion which would include both sides. Only 1 side is allowed and it is "the most widely accepted theory...".
But I am not a student and I may not particpate in this lesson. I work with my student, James, who has Asperger's and make sure he takes good notes on the Science lesson.

Friday, May 22, 2009

State of Education Part 2

In the Exceptional Student Services Department in the school I work at, students come in for help completing their assignments. One of the kids is very, very quiet. With heavy lidded eyes he looks like he is about to fall asleep after eating an enormous Thanksgiving dinner. "You are so quiet, Lon" says one of the teachers. "Don't you ever say anything". "How about if you just say 's***' once in awhile so we know you are alive"?


Finally Mama flew off the nest and there they are; 2 identical eggs. We can't wait to meet the twins!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Kid with Aspergers Loves Routine

The student that I work with is a pretty cool kid. I have enjoyed being with him and figuring him out. James(name changed to honor privacy) has Aspergers and one of his characteristics is his desire for routine. James packs his own lunch every single day. He has 1- PBJ sandwich, 1 granola bar, 1 apple and 1 Capri Sun. It has not been anything but those items for the 5 months I have been working with him. James is a big kid and could easily put away double what he brings but he never brings more. I bring extra chips, mandarin oranges, yogurt, Hot Pockets or whatever I have, which he always accepts and eats. But, he never packs anything different or extra in his lunch box. I think changing anything about his lunch would really throw him off balance. We often get out of the class before lunch a few minutes early. James does not take one bite until the the bell rings. That is just the way he does things.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Standardized Testing

Home schooling families are in the thick of standardized testing right now. In Colorado, home schoolers must take a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test or the IOWA, every other year beginning in grade 3. Coloradans may opt for their children to be evaluated as an alternative to testing. FACE has offered these services since 1996 and has supplied testing services to families all over the US, Canada, and Asia. Most use the CAT as it is slick and easy and less expensive to do at home. The IOWA has the added requirement of the necessity of the test administrator having a 4 year degree or Teacher's license. Both tests use the multiple choice-fill in the oval format. Some of the subjects covered are: Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Sources of Information; such as reading maps and using encyclopedias.
I've seen first time tester-moms get nerved out with worry over how their children will perform on these tests. One year, I felt that I had really blown it with my children as we didn't get done nearly close to what I'd hoped for the year. As it turned out they did quite well in spite of my fears.
Some families like to test their children each year, not just odd years, to see how the children are coming a long. Typically there are no surprises. You already know that your child is a math whiz and tends to have more trouble picturing spelling words. Perhaps you use the results a part of a decision to switch to another curriculum that may work better for your child's learning style.
NEXT: Cognitive Skills Tests
OK, I believe it is a Mourning Dove. The kids and I did a search of birds in Colorado and we went nearly to the end of possibilities before we found "our bird". There is a "couple". The daddy sits on the nest all day from about 8:30 AM til 4:30 PM and then "Mama" takes over for the afternoon and evening. If I catch them off the nest I will try to take a picture. There should be 2 white eggs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

An Extra Gift

Monica, Lilly and I just returned from running a bunch of errands. While turning the key to unlock the front door, we felt the urge to look back at the hanging flower baskets on the front porch. See who was looking back at us! What delight this creature gave us, that it should makes it's nest in my Mother's Day basket barely a week old. My 6 inch taller than me son, Adrian, climbed up on the arms of the rickety wicker chair , held the camera above his head and pointed the camera towards the direction of the bird and snapped a few. If this was a robin, I would know it. I can't pick out many birds; the kids think it looks like a dove. Can you help us identify it?

State of Education

Being home; caring for and nurturing my family is my bliss.
In January, it was beyond a matter of choice that I needed to supplement our family's income. I managed to be hired as a one-on-one with a boy that has Aspergers Syndrome at the high school. Aspergers is a high functioning form of autism. My main task is making sure he doesn't stare at or touch girls. He is right on target hormonally for a high school boy. Since I go class to class with him, I get a good education on the state of education in a public high school. Since it is the end of the year, it is as if the teachers have cabin fever as bad as the students. The first three periods, there was absolutely nothing planned. The students just killed time in class until the bell rang. Three solid hours of NOTHING. Not a good plan for any student but especially my student who needs to be engaged in a lesson or things can go poorly as fast as a college age snowboarder at Keystone. Oh, these kids. Do their parents know how their time is spent? Maybe. Do they care? Hopefully. Time flies by so quickly. Time is so short with our children and high schoolers are finishing up their childhood getting their minds filled up with all kinds of teacher/administrator/peer /worldly ideas and views.
Since when is funny for the math teacher to point out a cute girl's Abercrombie & Fitch shirt by calling it Abercrombie & Bitch? Since when is it ok for a teacher to tell a boy the just vocalized the "F" word to "shut the hell up; you can't say the "F" word in the classroom?" Could the teachers in my department see in my face how horrified I was to hear them tell the newly sexually active girl that she doesn't have to tell her mother; just take the bus south to the Target store and Planned Parenthood is right there. "You need to be responsible".
I had not been in public schools in many years.
Our hearts hurt when our children do something to disappoint us. We can remind them the we love them and God has a plan for their lives . We can share the Biblical truth and our faith bears witness. Home schoolers be encouraged that you are giving your children the best possible education and values in your Christ and love-filled home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Painting the Table

Here is the bench that I will paint next. The girls are back from the store with everything BUT black spray paint. I guess this post should have been titled : " Preparing the table for painting ." Stay tuned. The weather is suppose to be in the 80's all week, so I expect to get it done.

I'm using the really course sand paper that I have on hand. Wish I had an electric sander; I bet I would feel so powerful. The texture of this sand paper creeped me out so I put on some garden gloves;much better.

Upside down table that I am going to paint. I really am! I asked 2 of my girls; Monica, 20 and Lilly, 13, whether I should paint it black, red or white, because I could go either way. They said "black!", in perfect harmony. They are on their way to buy black spray paint while I sand off the loose paint.

Blog Cat

Doesn't a Blog need a cat? This is Emmett, a rescue cat that joined our family in February. He is probably 3 years old and is handsome indeed! He is gray-blue with with key-lime eyes. Since we have 3 dogs, we anticipated the need to ease him in gently. No need! He planted himself into the middle of our lives and firmly let the dogs know that , like-it-or-now, he is here. The dogs could make it easy or hard; their choice. Now he cuddles with Homer the big black Lab,who is scared to tell him that is really is not ok.