I've got the outline for the affidavit. I've got the special ed teacher ready to sign off on the curriculum for the little one because she needs speech therapy. I've got the goals outlined. We're meeting a group of homeschoolers this coming Friday in our area.
I've decided against a co-op. I need more of a supportive network type thing for a homeschoolers group. The families that we're going to meet know awesome evaluators. Some are using Seton curriculum, some are more eclectic. It sounds like a good mix to me.
I've got the placement testing lined up for this week. We got the shelving up to hold all of the curriculum materials. The girls each have a laptop. We're thinking of all of the cool stuff that we can get involved with now.
Right now is crazy with swim team practices and meets, tennis lessons, basketball. The older daughter just went through training to teach swimming to little kids - she will be great. Plus, it's a nice little summer job - she gets a free pool pass, a t-shirt, a little money and a lot of good experience!
God bless all those who died in service to our country. God bless all veterans, and all those who presently serve. You are the absolute BEST.
We have a brand, spanking new stars and stripes flying. On the other column, we now sport a Gadsden flag. They both fly every day at our house. I feel lucky that in our little town, most houses fly the flag.
Facebook took down the Everybody Draw Mohammed page just a few minutes ago. It had about 90,000 fans. (**Note - the Facebook page is once again available - with more than 100,000 fans**)(**Another note - Facebook page is gone again!!**) A lot of them were moslems threatening to kill people who would dare draw a picture of mohammed. Which - as we all know by now - is their prophet. I will be adding links to this posting of other bloggers who put cartoons up of 'mo'.
Free speech can be offensive. Being offended is no reason to kill another person. You would think that in the United States of America everyone understood that.
Although they were joking at the polling place yesterday that they wouldn't put it past Specter to switch to independent just so he can run again.
Toomey won on the Republican side. It will be interesting between Toomey and Sestak. I think Toomey will blow Sestak away. Time will tell.
The gigantic news is that Rand Paul rode to victory in Kentucky on the back of the Tea Party movement. The odds were WAY against him, with experts predicting that he had less than 10% chance of winning against Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson. They underestimated the Tea Party movement.
PA-12 is not good news in my opinion. The seat formerly held by Murtha has gone to one of Murtha's former aides. Not sure what the hell is happening over there - but something is seriously WRONG with those people! Republican Tim Burns lost by a surprisingly large margin. Mark Critz takes the seat. The voters adored Murtha in that area and, from what I've read, believed that they lived off of his earmarks. This goes against all libertarian thought. They perceive themselves as dependent upon the government? Hmmmm. Wonder if Critz will be able to deliver the goods.
In Arkansas, Jim Boozman (R) won without the need for a runoff. Polls show him handily beating whoever wins the runoff on the Dem side. Arkansas voters don't like Obama very much - I think around 35% approval rating there. So Boozman looks like he's in good shape. Boozman voted for TARP - so he's going to have some 'splainin to do.
Oregon, anyone? Not much news out there for the Oregon primary. Apparently it's a big yawn.
Here I gather my thoughts together on the many reasons for the decision to go back to homeschooling.
1. Sibling rivalry has increased since school.
* They used to get along famously. In every single homeschooling family that I know, the relationships that the siblings enjoy is markedly different than those of 'regular' schooling families. It will actually blow your mind. Get to know a homeschooling family - you are likely to be amazed! We don't expect perfection in our relationships and of course people living together will clash occasionally and we are no exception. That intense sibling rivalry stuff? Doesn't need to be there.
2. Unhealthy attitudes in kids since school.
* Listen - I know all about adolescence and how kids go through those mental changes. This is different. It seems that most parents take for granted that they will eventually become the equivalent of a mere acquaintance to their kids as they grow up. Well. It doesn't have to be that way, and it shouldn't be that way. I'm all for respecting individuality - I'm what could be called unconventional in many ways. But our family is that - a family - and it IS more important than a lot of people seem to think.
3. Academic standards are crap. We have a lot of making up to do.
* I don't know what to say. I'm horrified. From the 3rd grade class last year not even able to finish the math curriculum by the end of the year, to the rushing through the Civil War, to the almost complete SKIPPING of science for both. It's a disgrace. (We finished the math curriculum over the summer at home..)
4. Inability of school to adapt to kids' individual levels of abilities.
* The little one didn't get into the advanced math because there 'wasn't enough room'. The big one is 97th percentile on the ACT for literature/writing, yet stuck doing 8th grade work. Third year for the oldest in Pre Algebra. Terrible in every way.
5. Favoritism in school is a big problem.
* This was really gross. Just gross. Not much left to say, except that we were lucky enough to get the kids involved in other stuff (when we could find a spare moment..) where they were atleast recognized and given the opportunity to participate in activities without being forced to sit on the sidelines while the less talented, more favored kid got all the good stuff. This didn't just happen to my kids - it happened to any kid who was new to the school, or just wasn't liked by certain teachers. Sick. Out in the REAL WORLD, participating in community activities, we never had a problem with this.
6. Unhinged teacher.
* Finally went to the principal about this. Scary whacky. Don't know what's going on there, but it's obviously a personal problem and the kids in that particular class are suffering for it. Not only that, but the kids are essentially held hostage - not in any position to confront the situation themselves. For one, they're kids. For two, in the hierarachy the kids are bottom of the totem pole and therefore have no say. It has been up to me and other parents to attempt to confront this situation and quite frankly - I'm just waiting until it's over and we're out of there. Although we had a meeting with the assistant principal and we have a meeting with the head principal this coming week. At home, they have no problem speaking up - or going to another authority if they don't like what's going on. They may still have to do those chores they don't like, or have to finish schoolwork before TV, but they will be heard!
7. Large, no HUGE, blocks of wasted time.
* Dang. I don't think there is a fix for this in a school/classroom type of setting. Another reason that the model just doesn't work well.
8. Emphasis and importance placed on silly things.
* Points off for not having the red line perfectly straight in the composition book. Points on for being able to do 50 equations in 30 seconds. Doesn't even matter in my book. (Is the writing legible and formatted in a way that makes sense? Are the answers to the equations accurate - even if it might take a minute? That's what is important to me...) Also, the kids got crap for the fact that we don't go to Mass every Sunday. They go to Mass every single frigging Friday, but NO. That's not enough. The teachers took it upon themselves to give my kids crap for the fact that I don't make it to Mass as often as they like. We dealt with this by telling the kids to inform their teachers that they need to call me if it ever comes up again. They did, the teachers didn't call, end of B.S.
9. Arbitrary scoring of work in several cases.
* One day it's okay. Another day it's not. One teacher it's okay. Another it's not. I guess there is something to be said for finding out what people want and giving it to them. But the larger, more important issue is to find the standard and keep it consistent. This arbitrary stuff just confuses people and leads to either apathy or defiance and that is not constructive.
10. Inability to be involved in community, or to partake in otherwise enriching activities, due to time constraints.
* Would much rather get the schoolwork done, and have time to get out there in the world. There is a lot to learn out there, a lot of important stuff to learn. I didn't learn the important stuff until I was free from the educational institutions.
11. Lack of direction in many areas with my older daughter.
* Possibly comes under unhinged teacher category. When help was requested, she was turned away. This is what I paid thousands of dollars a year for? I don't think so.
12. Unnatural hours, resulting in lack of sleep for everyone.
* Face it - this just blows. Not only is it full of wasted time, but for us that early morning crap just didn't work. Not enough sleep. Did you know that studies have shown that most of us are sleep deprived? There's a whole 24 hour a day, 7 day a week world out there.
Being in school this last two years has not helped them in many, many ways. I will concede that it was probably time well spent in that we ALL now "know,know" that educating the kids at home is absolutely the right thing to do for us.
It did create an avenue for the younger daughter to get involved in basketball. (Which I now find out that she doesn't even need to be in school to have participated, anyway..) Both girls also were able to learn new musical instruments, although I have been paying separately for the lessons.
One area that I have been struggling with in my anticipation of homeschooling is getting them into some sort of musical instrument group program. The Archdiocese does not allow homeschoolers to take part in the school's programs, and I really have no desire to send them to the local public school for that. There are a couple of other options that I am pursuing right now. One involves traveling to Delaware - and I'll do it if the other doesn't pan out.
We will also be responsible for paying for the younger daughter's speech therapy. This is fine, as she is almost where she needs to be. The only PITA about it is documenting that properly in my affidavit for the superintendent. It's a small PITA, though.
I am counting the days until school is over, and we can get back to doing it right.
Skye at Midnightbluesays represented at the TEA Party in Philly on Saturday, 4/17/2010. (My little brother Rich's birthday - Happy Birthday Rich!) It looked like a chilly, damp day - but our intrepid citizens who refuse to stand by silently made it out. Thanks you guys. See the full report at Skye's blog.
Philadelphia Tax Day 2010 *Updated with links and pics*
Just got home from Philly. Beautiful day in Love Park. Not a huge turnout, but I think that most are planning on going to Philly this Saturday for the big protest. There were a few hundred people there - quite an 'angry mob' if you ask me! ;-)
I will have pics and video up later. Have to pick the kids up from track and choir and then they can show me how to upload video to 'the YouTube' on 'the Google'. :-P
Some prime observations overheard of passersby:
"They're crazy. Who would ever think that you could trust rich people to take care of poor people?"
Can I just say - Jerk Off?! I really wanted to slap that guy upside of his head. Swear to God. It's NOT ABOUT RICH PEOPLE 'TAKING CARE' OF POOR PEOPLE!! It's about providing the opportunity for anyone willing to work to rise to any level of economic prosperity that they WANT. It's about recognizing that we are entitled to what we WORK FOR! It's about NOT RAPING ME every time I put in an honest hour of work.
Not only that - but does this dickhead even understand that Americans give to charity far and above ANY OTHER NATION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH? We DO take care of people who need help. Every goddamn day we take care of people who need help. Does he understand how much Bill Gates gives to charity - how much Rush Limbaugh gives to charity? Not to mention providing JOBS for people who are willing to work and take care of themselves and their families?
"This is a disgrace and disgusting! Coming out here with flags and yelling and making all this noise!"
This one we actually talked to. This young man was out of work. We shared that our husbands were out of work, too. My husband just lost his job about 2 weeks ago. We just told him that we are Americans and it is every American's right to speak up, to stand in public and say what we think. I told him - we don't have to agree all the time. But we can stand up and say what we think in America. I also told him that higher taxes will not create jobs and, in fact, will kill jobs.
One last thing overheard:
"F@#king RACISTS! You're nothing but a bunch of f#@^king RACISTS!"
Everyone just ignored him. He looked like a frigging lunatic. Eventually the speaker and the crowd just drowned him out and he went away.. I should have videotaped him, but I wanted to hear what the speaker was saying.
*Update with pics and links*
My video came out TOTALLY suckish! It looks great on the camera, and has sound - but on YouTube it looks horrible and has no sound! So - here is a link to a video from the local Philly news:
There is a woman on the video who talks about being scared - where else is there to go in the entire world? Girl - I'm am right there with you. Costa Rica's no good anymore...or so I've heard. I'm thinking Honduras. They have a legislature, a judiciary and a military in place NOT afraid to defend and protect their constitution! I got nothin' else. It's either that or continue to fight here for America. I don't think that the battle is lost just yet. We are getting close, though.
Without further ado, I present my lot of photos:
We start the day in beautiful Lancaster County.
(We had a TOTALLY cool shot of driving into the belly of the beast from the Vine Street Expressway - but *poof* - it's gone. I don't know where..)
Here we go into LOVE park - where a statue of most obnoxious, yet beloved, Philly Phanatic greets any innocent person who happens to walk by:
Here we are! Troll and Grizzly - I shall heretofore and henceforth for the remainder of the posting refer to myself as 'The Hunchback of Lancaster County'. Damn! I look like crap in these pics. I look even worse next to aLa - of which pic will be put forth presently for your scorn and ridicule!!
Yes - that LOVE sculpture is considered art. I know. I know. Only a good communist could think such a thing.
Here is a pic of the Liberty In America bus. We signed it. Yep. That's me right there siging 'Grizzly Mama' with my sweaty and shaking hand. If you see the bus - sign it and look for me. I'm right by 'We the People'. It's in red. Of COURSE!
And here it is! What we've all been waiting for! A picture of the lovely aLa and the Hunchback of Lancaster County! ;-)
Here is the sunny person manning the Tea Party Patriot's table. I neglected to get her name, but did get permission to post her pic on my blog. Watch out Pelosi - We're SUCH A SCARY AND ANGRY MOB!!!
There were no infiltrators. The only opportunity to use my specially made sign was with this young man wearing a 'communist' t-shirt. Nobody accosted him, everyone ignored him except for me and Troll! He looked like he was pretty pleased that we were taking a picture of him. He might have been, oh, 15 years old?? Young and stupid - what can you say? Atleast he has the excuse of being too young to know any damn better!
Jamal Greene, amongst others, was speaking today. Here is the speech that he made - he hits the nail right on the HEAD, baby! LISTEN TO HIM!
Still think we're RACIST? Check this out and then shut your mouth! Our tent is big - we don't CARE what color you are, what your economic status is, we only care that you love America and will fight for our freedoms! Freedoms that many don't understand or take for granted. People died for those freedoms and it is our duty to stand up and hand the recognition of those freedoms intact to the next generation. Our fathers and mothers did that for us!
Oh! Old Grizzly Mama is tired now. Thanks for visiting!
Troll and Grizzly will be on the scene. We'll have our cameras, a sign, a flag and our voices.
Our representatives make an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. LoBiondo DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE!!! The young man in the 'Don't Tread on Me' t-shirt has something to say and we all need to listen. *UPDATE* The guy in the 'Don't Tread on Me' shirt is a 'truther'. *sigh* Oh well - I was almost in love until I saw that. He still gets props for knowing the Constitution and for calling LoBiondo out as far as I'm concerned. *End of UPDATE*
Did you get a load of the old guy at the end? He made a snarky remark about needing monitors. WHY?! You old fart! WHY would you need monitors? To shut us up?! It isn't going to happen.
*UPDATE 2 - 4/14/10*
Starting in on our signs and the cams are charging.
Robert Stacy McCain and his trusty sidekick Smitty have updates, updates, UPDATES!! The Rally in Washington DC is going strong, and so are the dirty dealings in Congress. It's NASTY, folks. I have seen at least one person begging for no violence. Why? Who is threatening violence? I tried to warn my representatives that they should only push us so far. I don't advocate violence, but I don't think that our Congressional majority leadership understand just how fed up we are. I would wager that the only violence we will see today will be from the anti-war 'peace' protesters. (They're always the most violent at these little shindigs.)
Robert and his trusty sidekick Smitty have a link to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's article at First Things. I seem to recall that some of the readers at A Tangled Web had attempted to portray the Catholic Church as advocating for Obamacare - even if it included language in support of federal tax dollars being used for abortions, and also no provision for doctors who would conscientiously object to performing abortions. Well - worse than no provision. I'm sure that somewhere along the way I had read language that would require them to perform abortions - - - or else! (We won't know for certain what version we're going to end up with until after Pelosi/Reid slam it through, will we?)
Here is an interesting tidbit from Archbishop Chaput's essay entitled 'The Captivity of 'Catholic' Witness'
On March 18, the advocacy group Catholics United, which worried so earnestly about Republican faith partisans controlling Catholic thought in the last election, rolled out an attack-ad campaign against Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak in his home state. Why? Because Stupak insists—along with the U.S. bishops and every major national prolife group—that the Senate version of the reform bill now being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House fails to exclude abortion and its public funding from the legislation.
On the same day, writer E.J. Dionne lamented the nation’s “viciously politicized battle over health care” in his syndicated column. Then he showed how it got that ugly by savaging the bishops for their alleged defection “from a cause they have championed for decades” and discarding “the flag of social justice . . . under increasing right-wing influence.” He claimed that the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Francis George, had distorted the views of the Catholic Health Association, which voiced support of the legislation last week.
Dionne’s column came just days after Network, a Catholic “social justice” lobby founded by women religious, also broke ranks with the bishops and endorsed the fatally flawed Senate version of health-care reform.
...the captivity of some Catholics to the agenda of current congressional leaders and the White House proves that faith partisans are not a monopoly of the political right, and that some Catholics have an almost frantic unwillingness to see the abortion issue for what it is—a foundational matter of social justice and human rights. It can’t be avoided in developing our public policies without debasing the whole nature of Christian social teaching. No rights are safe when the right to life is not.
Oh - there's more in that article of Archbishop Chaput's. Lots more. And if you've been one of the ones yelping about how Catholics are for this legislation - even with the abortion provisions - then you really must read it all. The Archbishop will show you exactly where you can stuff that crap.
Enjoy watching the sparks fly - RS McCain won't disappoint.
The CBO Score, As Reported by Steny Hoyer [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan responds to an NRO query about the news this morning: “The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that there is currently no official cost estimate. Yet House Democrats are touting to the press — and spinning for partisan gain — numbers that have not been released and are impossible to confirm. Rep. James Clyburn stated he was 'giddy' about these unsubstantiated numbers. This is the latest outrageous exploitation by the Majority — in this case abusing the confidentiality of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — to pass their massive health care overhaul at any cost.”
This CBO reporting this morning really is remarkable to me — the news is simply what Steny Hoyer says it is. **
Did you see the story about Walgreens refusing new Medicaid patients? Because the government reimburses at a ridiculously low estimate of drug cost, it is impossible to stay in business and continue to invite new Medicaid patients. Refusing to pay the cost of the service does not lower the cost of that service.
I have heard whisperings of a rally this Saturday to KILL THE BILL. Could it be true that our representatives will refuse to listen to us? Their phone lines are jammed for the last 4 days with people calling in to voice their opinion that this bill SHOULD NOT PASS!
I have also heard whisperings of several states considering what they can do to protect their citizens from being subjected to this latest abuse IF the bill actually passes.
Things are hetting up. It could get nasty - and nobody wants it to get nasty.
I'm out on the porch, enjoying the 65 degree weather and bright sunshine. Trying to kick that Vitamin D production into high gear. Hard to believe that a month ago we were up to our rear ends in snow. It's all gone, now. Nothing but grass, budding trees and geese flying back north.
Have a great Saint Patrick's day, and don't forget to wear the green!
Obama is really quite determined to shove this legislation through. He, Reid and Pelosi WANT THIS BAD!! They simply don't care what you want. They KNOW that millions of Americans don't want it. They don't care. They KNOW that they can't get this bill in its current form passed with bipartisan support. They don't care.
The checks and balances built in to our government are a bit of a pain to them. So inconvenient. Consent of the governed - what is that? The democrat majority in Congress might want to consult with the father of our constitution, James Madison. They might want to stop for a moment and answer this question that Madison posed to Thomas Jefferson - when "a majority... united by a common interest or a passion cannot be constrained from oppressing the minority, what remedy can be found...?"
What remedy then?
It's time to stand up, like, right now. If you oppose this takeover of the healthcare system in the United States of America then stand up now. There are more constructive ways of confronting and fixing the problems in our current system. Government administration of healthcare will be a disaster. Just as Social Security is a disaster, Medicare and Medicaid are a disaster. The NHS in the UK is a disaster - bankrupt and citizens traveling to Eastern European countries just to see a dentist. Canadian government healthcare is a disgrace that is also bankrupting the country and finds Canadian citizens crossing the border to America to avail themselves of lifesaving and timely care.
One thing you can do is fax a minimum of 15 key lawmakers via Grassfire Nation. Fifteen bucks will get your personalized fax sent(or hand delivered). Grassfire also provides contact information for your representatives and they urge you to call, which won't cost you a penny.
From Grassfire's website:
Capitol Hill Switchboards "Lighting Up" in Support for ObamaCare. Grassfire Urges Team to Turn the Tide Against This Latest Effort!
Radical leftist and progressive groups are coming to the aid of ObamaCare deluging Capitol Hill in a flurry of phone calls urging lawmakers to support the reconciliation process and a vote as soon as the end of March! Grassfire Nation has countered urging the more than 1 million grassroots members who oppose this legislation to FAX and PHONE Congress NOW demanding Congress "Cease and Desist" efforts to pass ObamaCare. Click below to schedule your faxes for fast delivery. Schedule your personalized faxes to Congress now
My oldest daughter received the Sacrament of Confirmation yesterday. This is a pretty big deal. All of the sacraments are a big deal, really. They are important rites of passage. The sacrament of Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation - closely tied to the sacrament of Baptism and to the Eucharist as well. Confirmation means all that Baptism means. As the Bishop explained to the Confirmands, in Confirmation the Holy Spirit comes to you in a new way. In Confirmation, one is anointed with oil. In addition the Bishop lays his hands upon their heads - each individually - and names them. In all of my growing up, everyone I know who was Catholic picked a Confirmation name. This is studied in the months leading up to the reception of the sacrament. The name picked is a Saint's name. Someone whose life you can relate to, or who overcame hardships in a way that has meaning for you. You draw inspiration from the Saint that you pick.
"All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their Helper and Guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence."
This enumerates the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgement, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Wonder and Awe.
Most of the time the minister of Confirmation is the Bishop, as it was for us this year. The Bishop can delegate these duties to the priests of the parish, and for most sacraments the priest will minister. For Confirmation, it's the Bishop. The Bishop - from what I understand - is the only one who can consecrate the oils as well. Apparently this is done on Holy Thursday every year in a special mass called the Chrism Mass. There are three types of holy oil. The oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism. The oil of catechumens is used for adult catechumens and infants, the second for anointing the sick, and the sacred oil of chrism is used for Baptism, Confirmation, the ordination of priests and for consecrating the altar.
Not only is Holy Chrism involved - but there was plenty of incense to go around. I'm a sucker for oil and incense. I can't get enough of them. The symbolism is deep.
Oil is a symbol of strength, healing and agility. I personally feel that it has a strong protective property as well. The word 'Christ' means 'anointed one'. When we are the recipients of the holy oils, we are anointed as well. This again - as so often I have observed - ties us symbolically to a community. To be a part of something bigger is important to humans.
The smoke of incense ascends like our prayers. It helps us to focus on the invisible realities. For me, it also carries suggestion of purification.
My ties to the Catholic Church seem to be inseverable. The Church remains the same. My arguments with it continue to challenge. I am not perfect, but the meaning that I am able to extract from my sometimes tumultuous inner struggle with the Church keeps me tied to it.
God bless my little girls, who are growing into beautiful young ladies.
Conservative leaders released a statement of conservative principles. The left seems to be doing its best to pooh-pooh it. I think it's a good statement, and I think that it's one that conservatives/libertarians can all agree with. Will the tea party movement rally behind it? Will the Republican leadership take it seriously? Will it make any difference at all?