Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I was talking to him about the benefits of homeschooling and how it has worked for us. I told him all of the reasons I chose homeschooling, plus some of the unexpected benefits that we have found.
Every single thing I said, he answered, "That is the same thing we are dealing with!"
He asked for me to send him all of the info I could to him. They might be homeschooling next year.
Yet one more child not in public school. I am so excited! :D
One of the benefits I really appreciate during times like these is the flexibility of our schedule. If we need to take a few days off and deal with an emergency or a death in the family, we can do so. As long as the kids get 180 days of schooling in per academic year, we are fine. (Check with your state homeschool associations - different states have different guidelines.)
So, if I want to have the traditional 3 months off in the summer, I can do that.
If I want to have school all year, I can do that.
I am planning on taking off 3 weeks for Christmas. We'll start back around the second week of January.
Some families I know work for 3 weeks and then take a week off. It is a nice, relaxing way to break up the school year.
Yet another benefit of homeschooling that not many people think of. :o)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Here is a typical conversation with my daughter, who is 9. We were driving in the car and she found a catalog for homeschooling materials and saw a book in it about landslides.
HER: "What's a landslide?"
ME: blah blah blah blah (detailed explanation about landslides) ...."and they pretty much destroy everything in their path"
HER: "Really? It destroys EVERYTHING???"
ME: "Well, yes, it does, if it's large enough."
HER: "Like houses, trees, cars??"
ME: "Yes, everything."
HER: "So if I was wearing this shoe, and I was in a landslide, it would destroy my shoe?"
ME: *my left eye is starting to twitch* "YES, it would."
HER: "What about cats? Would it destroy cats?"
ME: *twitch* "YES! It would!"
HER: "So what if I was standing ON the house, WITH a cat, WEARING my shoe. Would it destroy us all?"
At this point, the conversation went downhill.
Yes, I love homeschooling, but conversations like this are why I have grey hairs.....
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The following is taken from the Mid- Valley Women's Crisis Service. (www.mvwcs.com/redflag.html)
Before an abuser starts physically assaulting his victim, he typically demonstrates his abusive tactics through certain behaviors. The following are five major warning signs and some common examples:
Abusers can be very charming. In the beginning, they may seem to be Prince Charming or a Knight in Shining Armor. He can be very engaging, thoughtful, considerate and charismatic. He may use that charm to gain very personal information about her. He will use that information later to his advantage.
For example; he will ask if she has ever been abused by anyone. If she says, "yes", he will act outraged that anyone could treat a woman that way. Then when he becomes abusive, he will tell her no one will believe her because she said that before and it must be her fault or two people would not have hit her.
Another example; he may find out she experimented with drugs in her past. He will then threaten that if she tells anyone about the abuse he will report her as a drug abuser and she will lose her children. The threat to take away her children is one of the most common threats abusers use to maintain power and control over their victims.
Abusers isolate their victims geographically and socially. Geographic isolation includes moving the victim from her friends, family and support system (often hundreds of miles); moving frequently in the same area and/or relocating to a rural area.
Social isolation usually begins with wanting the woman to spend time with him and not her family, friends or co-workers. He will then slowly isolate her from any person who is a support to her. He dictates whom she can talk to; he tells her she cannot have contact with her friends or family.
Jealousy is a tool abusers use to control the victim. He constantly accuses her of having affairs. If she goes to the grocery store, he accuses her of having an affair with the grocery clerk. If she goes to the bank, he accuses her of having an affair with the bank teller. Abusers routinely call their victims whores or sluts.
The goal of emotional abuse is to destroy the victim's self-esteem. He blames her for his violence, puts her down, calls her names and makes threats against her. Over time, she no longer believes she deserves to be treated with respect and she blames herself for his violence.
For some survivors of domestic violence, the emotional abuse may be more difficult to heal from than the physical abuse.
Abusers are very controlled and very controlling people. In time, the abuser will control every aspect of the victim's life: where she goes, how she wears her hair, what clothes she wears, whom she talks to. He will control the money and access to money. Abusers are also very controlled people. While they appear to go into a rage or be out of control we know they are very much in control of their behavior.
The following are the reasons we know his behaviors are not about anger and rage:
**He does not batter other individuals - the boss who does not give him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person he says he loves.
**If you ask an abused woman, "can he stop when the phone rings or the police come to the door?" She will say "yes". Most often when the police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who may look hysterical. If he were truly "out of control" he would not be able to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
**The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were "out of control" or "in a rage" he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches land.
Moms, Dads, talk to your girls. Let them know this list. Have them memorize it, if need be.
You might save a life.
I don't say this to imply that teachers are evil, hateful people that are sacrificing live chickens at recess. Not at all. But I have certain beliefs that I feel are crucial to the success of my children in life, and I don't want to have someone else undermine that.
Let's take sex ed as an example.
I think that there is not a thing wrong with sex, when it happens between two married people. (Married to each other, not to different people, by the way. You have to clarify this nowadays.) Quite frankly, it's fun and enjoyable.
I want my kids to learn that it is fun and enjoyable when it happens with their spouse. I also want them to know that besides all of the other complications of sex outside of marriage (pregnancy, STD's, etc.), sex without the benefit of marriage is just plain wrong. Period.
In school, kids are taught about sex and told how to have "safer sex." (Notice that they don't call it "safe" sex anymore - it's "safer" sex. Like having only one bullet in a gun aimed at your head instead of six.) Abstinence is not considered a "reasonable" approach. (As if kids are such wild animals they cannot control themselves and will rip their clothes off at a moment's notice. Poor things.) So, by that reasoning, we must teach kids about birth control because they simply cannot be expected to not have sex.
Of course they can be expected to not have sex. If they are too immature to be "in control," then it is my job as a parent to help them and guide them until they are old enough. Not to acknowledge that they are unable to control themselves, so here is a condom. (They are too immature to control themselves, but they are going to stop and put on a condom??? Am I the only one who thinks there is a flaw in this logic??)
I look at it this way: if my teens/kids are taught from a young age (by me) what to expect from their social life, then it won't be an issue until they are older.
My kids know they will not be walking out of here on a date until they are 18 years of age. period. End of discussion. And have a high school diploma.
Until they are 18, they can go on group activities, have friends over for "family" dates, etc., but they will not be on a solo date until they have become 18 and have a high school diploma.
They will be told how the best way to get to know someone is to be in a group setting and see how he/she interacts with others in the group/family, not just how he/she treats you.
How else this protects my kids:
- Abusers/Potential abusers often isolate their victims. Keeping the kids in a group dynamic prevents this isolation and, thus, protects from abuse. (My kids, especially my girls, know the warning signs of an abuser.)
- It's really hard for Mr. Charming to sweet-talk the pants off of my daughters with Mom and Dad 3 feet away.
- It expands their social circle. Often teens that date spend all of their time with the one person they date. If that relationship fails, it can be devastating because the teen has no other friends! (Or, the teen stopped socializing with friends to be with the boyfriend/girlfriend and now is too embarrassed to call and try to get together with the friends now that the relationship is over.)
- It helps keep family ties strong. It's hard to be secretive when you spend a lot of time together. I have a 14, 11, 9 and 3 year old. They all chatter up a storm with me about all kinds of stuff, and I hope they always do.
- It helps them get a "feel" for people so that when they are old enough to date, they will be able to spot the "warning flags" more easily. It's one thing to be told about "red flags". It's another thing to have them pointed out.
I have nothing against dating. I have done my fair share. I just think it is wrong for you to put a teen in a situation that they are too young for. (Not just from a sex standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint.) Then tell them it's okay to have sex, and here's how you can reduce (not eliminate) the chances of pregnancy, STD's etc.
Now for my theory about why schools don't promote abstinence-only programs.
I feel that there are many reasons, but one that stands out (for me) is that teens that have sex will inevitably lead to pregnancy, and many of those pregnancies will lead to abortion, which is a big business. They will also "need" birth control - more big business. There are also school counselors and nurses and many other positions that are needed for the social issues that arise with sexually active teens. Cynical? Yes. But that's my theory. Follow the money.
And I don't want my kids to be a part of that agenda.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
If you have a freezer (a big one) this is a great way to reduce your cooking time, and help your budget.
Basically, you cook all of your meals for the month in one day. Then you freeze them so you have quick meals for the rest of the month.
Another variation is to not necessarily cook everything, but divide up meats, veggies, etc. into meals and freeze them so you can pop them in the oven or slow cooker and not have to worry about deciding what to do for dinner or worry about preparing dinner. Simple and no-fuss. :o)
I don't have a website to give out, but if you Google "Once a month cooking" you should be able to find lots of them. :o)
Monday, October 1, 2007
My views on public schools are pretty obvious (read my previous posts), so I will focus on private schools and homeschooling.
I believe private schools are a viable option for education. I think homeschooling is better (which I will explain later), but private schools are a far cry above public schools.
I think private schools do a better job for several reasons:
- They can pick and choose whom they admit - public schools can't.
- They can (and do) remove kids that are disruptive.
- They deal with kids who are disciplinary problems quickly and swiftly.
- They have more contact (in my experience) with parents.
- The curriculum is more challenging.
- They enforce a code of conduct based on Biblical Laws.
They do a better job with less money per student (on average) than public schools. Teachers at public schools tend to make more money than those in private schools. The teachers I know at private schools don't do it for the money - they do it for other reasons: many do it so that their kids can get a reduced tuition rate. AND it is worth the pay cut to be able to teach in a better environment.
Now, why do I think homeschooling is better than private school? A few reasons:
- I am not really keen on the whole "group mentality" thing.
- Time is spent with family, not at school.
The stories I hear from these kids are always very candid. I guess they feel safe with me. I dunno. I always ask them about their week, and I never know what I will get as a response.
The crap these kids deal with on an everyday basis hurts me. They are bullied, taunted, ridiculed and (occassionally) assaulted on an almost daily basis in school. When I ask if they have told an adult, the answer is usually
- "Yes, but nothing happened."
- "Yes, but it got worse when [the offender] found out, so I stopped saying anything."
- "Yes, but there is nothing the teacher/Mom/Dad/etc. can do."
People, I know from experience that it practically takes an Act of Congress to get a kid removed from school for bullying, etc. In the interim, most of the measures taken (if any) seem like they are punishing the victim, not the offender.
Take this for example: A parent went to a school to complain about her son being physically assaulted by another student. The action taken? The victim was removed from the classroom, not the offender. So, in the eyes of the offender, nothing happened. Yeah. Way to show the offender that his behavior was not acceptable.
Why not remove the offender? Why not isolate the offender? Instead, the victim is basically taken into protective custody.
So back to the kids in my class.
These kids know how The System works. it's sad. They know that they will not be protected, that The System is geared to protect the offender. (We can't trample on Little Johnny's rights, now can we? Just because he terrorizes other kids, well, that's not the issue, now is it?)
Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
The System needs to change. Until it does, my kids are staying away from public schools.