Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bert was here over the weekend. It was wonderful to have him here but also weird. When you're apart for a while, you get used to it, and having that other person back again is a little odd. We tried to be kind but also got on each other's nerves.

We had a good weekend; Bert did some badly needed plumbing. I'm SO grateful he knows how to do that.

He left yesterday afternoon and will be gone for another two weeks. When he comes back, the children will have finished school. We will pack and the next day leave on our house hunting trip to Tennessee. I do so hope and pray that our house will sell before then! That's not likely in this housing climate...but I pray the Lord will bless us!

Then we go to California for five weeks. When Bert's department is transferred to Tennessee, we'll move to Nashville and stay in an apartment there for another five weeks until the house is (hopefully!!!!) ready to move in to. Then we'll move in.

All in all it will be 10 weeks in a two-bedroom apartment. We'll all either come to a deeper level of love for each other, or we're going to kill each other, not sure which.

It's all happening. I can't believe we have only two more weeks in Michigan. We've been trying to get out of the winters here for 15 years....and through the blessings of the Lord we've finally managed it. We're so grateful!

I do hope we will be able to find a house that's meant just for us in TN. =)

A little bit of humour.... =)

I found this on the byu website. Very funny. =)

HOMESCHOOL BENEFITS?

When my wife and I mention to our well-intentioned friends that we are strongly considering home schooling our children, we are without fail asked, “But what about socialization?” Fortunately, we found a proven method by which our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie, and take his lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the “in” crowd, taking special care to poke fun of any physical abnormalities.

Fridays will be “Fad and Peer Pressure Day,” in which we will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car—all while dyeing our hair the same color and ripping our jeans.

However, every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hallways and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality. If our kids attempt to use the bathroom without permission, we will punish them immediately; and have asked them to hold us to a similar standard by reporting us to the authorities in the event we mention God or try to bring up morals and values.

And just think—all these benefits without a dime of taxpayers’ money!

Alan Brymer
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Beginning the Journey

I have ordered the books we'll use. It's a good start for the first year. I imagine things will change quite a bit by next year; this first year we will be getting our feet wet, getting to know one-another, sorting out learning styles. Maybe the curriculum we've started with will work, maybe it won't. But it's a good beginning, I think.

Scripture study: Book of Mormon Discovery
Math: Abeka because Ben did Saxon at CCA and hated it.
Lang Arts: Sonlight
History/Geog: Sonlight
Science: Sonlight
Art: How Great Thou Art
Music: Guitar lessons once we move to Nashville; biographies on various composers and listening to their music.
Typing: the programme I bought doesn't work, darnitalltoheck, on our computer, thus I need a different one
Handwriting: I bought a generic cursive book each for Ben and I from Amazon as we're in desperate need of help and it's the closest to what he's been practicing in school.


I'm excited about Sonlight - the Science I've chosen is on anatomy and looks like tons of fun. I hope the Abeka math works out ok.

I've also ordered A2 (Accelerated Achievement) as a supplement and will probably use that for Andrew. I think I will transition into a Thomas Jefferson Education approach, but kind of eclectic and mixed with a sort of Well-Trained Mind approach. Although both are Classical, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum with WTM being extremely structured and TJEd being almost unschooling. I think a happy medium between those two will suit our family very well.

We'll see! It's an experiment and an adventure. =) Maybe it will work out, maybe it won't. I do so hope it does. I'm looking forward to getting to know my son again. I do so wish I could do this with Emily too.

The evils of a Public School "education"....just what are those people teaching anyway?

I just had a sudden appalling memory.

A few years ago I was studying education at Schoolcraft college. For one class I had to do a practicum; I worked with first graders at Miller Elementary on Hanford Road in Canton.

At one point it was deemed necessary that I spend some time with the "special education" teacher to help those children that were "slow" in reading. It was one of the most terrifying and appalling experiences of my life - and I was an adult who was simply observing, not the poor child who was the focus of attention!

I couldn't understand when the sweet young first grader first came into the room why she seemed nervous. This was a one-on-one session with a woman who looked very nice - so why was the child shaking? I soon learned.

This poor child was barked at, treated with scorn, made to feel inadequate, dumb, idiotic. I wanted to take this "special ed" teacher and shake her. I was truly appalled. I wanted to bawl my eyes out right there. I wanted to take that poor little girl and hold her and tell her that she WAS smart, it was the TEACHER who was awful. I wanted to tell her everything was ok. I tried to be as encouraging as I possible could in my role as "observer", smiling at her and nodding my head and telling her she had done well any time I could get a word in edgewise. It's no wonder the poor girl didn't learn much that session. She was shaking too much and terrified to answer because if she got it wrong she was tutted and huffed at and barked at and made to feel stupid.

I only stayed for that one student. I couldn't handle seeing this woman destroy another child. I wanted to get OUT of that room. I didn't want anything to do with that woman. My heart was wrenched for those poor children who are FORCED to go in there and experience that day after day, who are told by this adult's attitude, actions and words day after day that they are stupid and slow and that there is something wrong with them.

The parents must not know. What parent would willingly submit to their child being abused and tortured like that?

I felt like breaking down in tears of anger to that woman and the system that treats children this way. I felt like sobbing tears of compassion for those poor children. My heart still aches for them, and I'm still angry.

In this same practicum I worked with a first grade teacher who would insult the children to me when the children could hear. They were doing "quiet work" and right there in the middle of the room she would say something derogatory about them and their work. "I can't believe they haven't got it already. You'd think by this age they'd be able to do it." All said in a disgusted tone.

When the children in the classroom would come to the teacher with a question I noticed they would hold something - usually paper - in front of them as a kind of shield. They would approach nervously and as they asked would start backing up. With good reason. She normally barked something at them "You should have been listening! Go ask the children in your group." and the child would nod, try to smile, and walk as fast as they could back to their desk, as confused as they were before.

As I remember this my stomach churns with anger. I remember the experiences my children have gone through - teachers yelling at them, banging hands on their desk hard right in front of my child's nose...then denying it later in the face of overwhelming evidence. My son being made to feel like he's bad because he was finished with his work and so helped another student....and was told off for talking. Obviously he was meant to sit in his chair and stare into space, doing nothing? It only took a few weeks of this before that sweet boy, so excited about education, to quit caring. And he has continued not caring until today.

My daughter once said "I feel like a tiny pebble in a great big machine."

No more. I've had enough. Ben and Andrew will be homeschooled starting in August. Emily, being 15, is fully entrenched in the public school system and can't imagine life without the social interaction....which confuses me because I thought school was a place to be educated. I don't know why I thought that considering all the experiences I mentioned above.

I don't know why I suddenly remembered my experiences in my practicum today, but it has cemented in my mind and heart what I thought before; homeschool is the way to go. I thank God for the freedom in this land that acknowledges that parents have the right to raise their children and educate them as they feel is right. I am so thankful that I do not have to send my children to a place where I know they will have the love of learning destroyed, and where they will be abused by the state.

I know there are good teachers out there - the teacher Ben has at the moment is one of the best I've ever come across, she's incredible - but they are few and far between. Goodbye to all of them. I wish them well as our family begins our new adventure; recovering the love of learning! =)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Well, we finally finished sorting out the house, thank goodness. It was 2 1/2 weeks of insanity, but finally we finished it. We chose Mary Ferraza to list our house (Nissan insisted that we talk to two realtors. The other one, Juanita Mallman, was really good as well, but Mary lives in this sub and we are acquainted with her).

Bert left the day after we listed the house. We've survived nine days without him. It's been ok, thus far, though we're looking forward to him coming back home next weekend. It's not been as bad as I expected, really. =)

The showings started on Wednesday. It was the realtor showings weds, then we had two on Thurs, two on Fri and three on Sat. None on Sunday, thank goodness. We had one today. For this market, that's a good amount of interest; probably because we have the house listed at a ridiculously low price. No offers though. *sigh*. =(

Hope we get one soon. School is out in three weeks. Bert comes home again that weekend and we pack then leave on our house hunting trip in Tennessee. Hope we find a good house at a low price!

Lots more happening, but Ben wants to play on the computer with Adam Klemz...so I'm off.