Tag Archives: homeschool

4 Months of Public School & That’s All We Could Take.

4 Months of Public School & That’s All We Could Take.

gabe_biologyWe spent a lot of our summer testing & stressing for  public school. They asked, so I thought well my boys are doing SOOOO WELL. They can do this. I mean millions of other children survive public school.  Of course I feared it.  I figured, what the hell. If it doesn’t work. I will pull them out. I wanted them to do more then just well. I wanted them to love it. I didn’t want to be right. I prayed like hell that I would be wrong.  Yeh… that didn’t happen.

It started with bullying. I knew that would happen.  If you have read my awful parenting advice, I have taught my kids to fight back  and to take a stand.  So when Gabe was getting picked on. His response was. “Mom, I think the boy has Aspergers too. He is different once he takes his meds. I think he just doesn’t know how to make friends.”  Sooooo sweet right? I’m a special needs mom… it hit me, I can’t be angry at a kid who doesn’t get it. I mean Gabriel is down right terrible when he has a meltdown. Ok.. so I cool down. I did go to school. I did start crying. Not because someone hurt Gabe, but because I feared that Gabriel wasn’t going to be able to keep it together. He’s worked so hard with all his therapy to have a  some 4th grader make him unravel.  And you know what happened? Gabe did.  By December I was seeing that side of Gabe I hadn’t seen in a long time. I mean yeh I’d see this behavior  but it wasn’t daily.. maybe once a month and now we were dealing with this daily.He was spitting in my face, biting , punching ,  and kicking me , punching the dogs, tormenting his brother, head bunting us.  Gabe’s no longer a toddler. He can not wale on the world like this. That is no place I want for my child.   Of course Gabe eventually punched the boy or laughing at him. Gabe got in trouble, and when I asked the principle if he knew this was the same kids that picking. Of course he knew nothing of it, despite just weeks before I was in his office crying my eyes out about my concerns for Gabe.

I don’t blame the bullying…. It was just one example of assorted problems. We had issues with teacher assistants and how they spoke to Gabe that set him off at home. Now add in ALL the sensory issues like the loud cafeteria, buzzing lights, or expressions & indiums  that he doesn’t understand and no one taking the time to explain them.  His world soon became a rather confusing one. Then he found himself for getting in trouble for making connections that no one saw. Very Aspie thing to do.  For example they would work on Volcanos and he wanted to talk about Pompae.  Or they would talk about math and he wanted to talk about the function black holes.  As a teacher, he is being disruptive, I kind of get it. But I don’t really. One would think, a teacher would think, “Dang I’m glad he made that connection.”  So because he wasn’t making the organized line of connections that was planned out on the worksheet he found himself making a lot of mistakes. His answered weren’t wrong per-say.. but they weren’t the ones they wanted him to know. He would come home crying that he was stupid because he didn’t understand “this” or “that” or  crazy, dumb, lazy, or retarded.

As for Zeke this was more upsetting. It’s odd. Zeke tends to be more classically “Autistic” but functionally he does better then Gabe.  Gabe is the gregarious one were Zeke is the one that retreats. Well for Zeke it started with much upset because we were “changing.”  After meeting his teacher he was excited. Zeke soon started having issues with muscle spasm. This is not new. We’ve been dealing with this at home for years. We’ve been testing him, but we have no idea the cause of it yet.   Zeke was having spasms in gym, he didn’t participate  and  he got in trouble. He got in trouble for sitting on the grass, and he didn’t understand. He got in trouble for spinning, this is one he stems. On and on.. Zeke was getting trouble for basic Aspie stuff. To which they all knew. I had given them plenty of information on the boys. It was very upsetting. Well every morning was a little harder. Zeke started not eating at school then not at home. Then throwing up in the morning. At first I thought he was sick. But after a few days I realized. Holy Shit!  It’s anxiety.  Zeke stopped looking at us as often, he wasn’t talking to us but rather lots and lots of screaming.   There was bullying. But like Gabe that isn’t the whole problem. Zeke is back to not eating in general so weight loss has been an concern.

As their  mom, I wanted to go She-Haulk and turned the school inside out for upsetting and in my eyes hurting my boys.  How dare they squash on any of their  light? It’s not that they were upset, it was my boys were regressing.  This is something I just can not allow to happen on my watch.  Between raising their medication twice in 2months after years of not touching, IEPs meeting that I felt weren’t meeting their sensory needs, impatient teacher aides, and the bullying. I am just not patient enough to allow my children to a part of that system and that culture.   Honestly, I just don’t agree with the system.

I tend to believe, that one of the greatest sin, is the sin of omission.  Just because you are not doing the wrong thing, doesn’t mean you are doing the right thing either.    If it was one child, I’d be a little more patient. The problems my boys had, had nothing to do with them or the fact that they have Aspergers. They weren’t singled out. If anything, they thought they were doing their best. I knew this in my gut 4yrs ago that public school wasn’t for my kids.  Today I am convinced, that what my children felt and went through is only a symptom on a systematic problem.  I am not sure if the break down comes  from: the ideology that testing is the means of educations, or that the environment is not a calm as it could be, or that the teaches are out numbered. .  But I do know… it’s not natural. Kids aren’t encourage to really explore their interests and a meaningful way.  One because the sheer volume of students to teacher ratio. And two,  to allow a child to question any subjection throughly, you have to let go of structure. You have to let their mind flow and question and let them find the answer as the arise.  It takes longer but there is a wholesome understanding rather then facts-based so that you pass your next test.

Over Christmas Break. I pulled the boys out. The first week was rough, I had surgery and was in the hospital for 3 days. I am still on the mend. However, it’s been so calm. My boys are returning to my sweet boys again. Yes they are hyper little monkey-boys that they are. The fighting has waned. Every day Gabe is coping a little bit better and is a little bit more helpful. Zeke is eating more and looking at us more and more.  How I missed THIS.  I’ve missed my happy aspie children.

Today, I started putting together the boys binders. This is a child who has seen a lot therapy. Gabe looks at me and says as we organize his stuff. “Now mom, can you make me a visual chart so I can check off the work I do each day. I know I I have work to do every day. And I know you will want me to work on my own. But it’s confusing without charts to keep me on track”

 

 

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Our first few days of un-schooling-homeschooling

Our first few days of un-schooling-homeschooling

Isn’t it funny how we buy into labels? Even amongst homeschoolers who are traditionally non-traditional or who are traditionally very traditional.  Many many conversations amongst the moms are of what type of homeschooler you are and what you use, etc etc.  Honestly, I don’t get it.  I wouldn’t say we un-schoolers because amongst traditionalist it implies we don’t school at all. But amongst un-schoolers we do a lot. So I have no idea where our loyalties lye. But it really doesn’t matter does it? For us, the boys are hands on learners.

My theory is this. Learning is a free experience, so should education. So if I can make educating my kids a free as possible; then I have met my personal goal.  Because learning is an experience, hence I am kinda anti-work books. I  am of the mind that learning is holistic endeavor.  Kinda hippy-dippy-ish of me, I  know.  I see it, as the whole body learning and adapting, not just the brain. It’s not just about much how you can remember. Its how you can take in new information, processes it , change it,  problem solve, and  think out side of the box that determines intelligences.  My goal is to teach emotional intelligence, self awareness and how to cleverly problem solve.   I can’t see how this is only done sitting at a desk and with just books & scores of testing. Granted books have their places, but I think tests are arbitrary at best.  I just don’t believe it to be, the  be all end all to education. It just doesn’t compute to me.  My kids have become absolute sponges. Teaching them has become effortless. And frankly, that’s exactly what I want. I want them to learn to be self taught, where every day is an opportunity to learn.

The first few days are always the toughest shift from: summer-fun-in-the -sun, to lets-get-our-school-work-done-so-we-can-fun.This year will be our 3rd year of homeschooling and so far so good. Granted we’re not up to 4hrs for schooling a day, but at least we are doing work with little to no fussing and they are pretty excited about it. Honestly I think they’ve missed all their projects, museums, & friends

I was pretty amused by Zeke today. I’ve never really given the boys a history lesson, aside from going to museums. Well today we were learning about the Indus Valley, their way of life, and some of their symbols.  Zeke  says, “Hey mom, why did they have a swastikas?”  Oh my what a wonderful question that was.   We were talking about Hitler and his beliefs of the Aryan race, to Plato, Atlantis  back to Indus Valley,   the Concentration Camps, Buddha, Gandhi, the corruption of man, and the ideals of perfections.  This is the beauty of homeschooling!  We are able to have these discussions, and that they themselves can make these connections without me.

We became time travels at our dining room tables. Me thinks this will be a great reason to watch Dr. Who, build our own TARDIS, and make some kinda of huge project for each different civilization in time  we visit……. oh my gears are turnings!  But for today, we made clay beads.  They have to dry first. But when we paint them and string them together I’ll post pictures

 

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Summer time with our crazy family

Summer time with our crazy family

Summer time has barely begun, and we’ve already welcomed the birth of my baby nephew, Luke Anthony Jr, camping, gardening, pool parties, a visit to the art museum, cousins stay for nearly a week, beach days galore, base ball games, and wonderful dinners with the extended family.  The week before last, we went camping with the McDonalds, and strawberry picking. This week we spent it hanging out with our dear friends, the Valentines, and the Masiak’s (my brother’s hoard), my in laws & a few of my mother in law’s siblings. And I believe in another week, my sister with her 6 will be in town from Alabama, and then we have a trip to Minnesota to see my father in law’s family.   No plans for July just yet. But hopefully it will be full of fun in the sun.

I can’t say which has been the most fun this month.  All of it has been wonderful, especially my new baby nephew. And I damn near had a panic attack at the baseball game. Big loud crowds make me nervous, but having my kids there was almost too much. Luckily enough, we had  10 other adults to help me keep my boys near by. I swear they are like herding cats. Surprisingly enough they did better then I thought they would and way better then I did. But, I got to admit, I got a chuckle at the kids giggling and pointing at the at all the art work. Never mind the beautiful paintings and amazing statues, what matter most was there was just so much penis everywhere.

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Bad advice to bullying

Bad advice to bullying


**Readers beware: I am quite sarcastic, less then perfect, foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, and very rarely politically correct. **

One of the issues we’ve had with the boys is, hitting. We have a very strict “NO HITTING” rule. Realistically…. they fight everyday at some point in time. Gabe is the morning fighter and Zeke is the evening fighter. Thankfully we have nice afternoons.  Earlier this year Gabe had hurt two homeschoolers because he thought they were hitting him, but they were just playing tag with him. Sure that sounds sorta suspicious, but I was watching the other kids as well. One was a little boy that he had hurt his hand, and the other was a little girl that he had socked in the eye. *shakes head* I know I know.    The poor things didn’t know what was coming, and I was too far away to react to Gabe. So Gabe got a lecture about hitting, and NOT to hit girls under any circumstance. (I soon took that back)  He felt so bad for such a long time, he didn’t want me to tell his dad or anyone else what he had done.[CUT-TAG="More Here..."]

It was bullying that led us to homeschool.  Gabe was in kindergarten, and Zeke in pre-k. They were being tormented on the bus by 5th graders. They would tie things to their bellies so tight they couldn’t walk, shoving the boys on the bus, and one day Gabe came home with a busted lip. When I went to the school, they pretty much said Gabe was lying because they didn’t see it. When Gabe told them who it was, the boy wasn’t suspended and I couldn’t have a meeting with the kids parents.  I am not the most graceful of mothers. Let’s just say that day wasn’t my better moments. You know I get kids picking on each other and I get that kids  fight. What bothers me is that it was  5th grader who was tormenting a 5yr old & a 4yr old. And the school was more worried that I would know the identity of this kid then solving the problem. It made me utterly sick.   Poor little shit-head might get his feelings hurt if he has to have a meeting with the parents. When I was a kid, you better believe our parents were brought in.  There was no hiding behind anti-bulling codes. Parents, teachers, staff, and student a like had to sit down and solve their problems, not sweep it under a rug, like nothing happened.

I know the whole anti-bullying mantra is to go get an adult, ignore them, be nice to them.. blah bah blah. Sure that may help in  the moment.  Bullying rarely stops because you told an adult, and in a lot of times, it makes the bullying worse. And very rarely does being nice help.   What it comes down to, is people will get away with what they can.  This applies to everyone and in almost every situation. You can see this in government, at work, in the home, and in children. In an way it’s pretty instinctual. And I would bet dollars to doughnuts, that the parent’s of these bullies, aren’t even aware of their kids behavior.   I am pretty sure, most of them would be rather upset by it.

One of the big issues we face today in regards to parenting; is a fear that if we correct a child that is not our own, then we’ll upset their parents, or we are seen as overstepping our social boundaries. That mindset, is rubbish! Frankly, that is what we need more of.  In away we are teaching our children apathy. There is nothing worse then an apathetic society. We are teaching our kids to take the abuse, pretend like no one notices,  if we all stay quite it will all go away, and we teaching that bad behavior is quite alright, no one is going to do anything anyways.

So long as your not being cruel to my kid. I expect the adults in their lives or even out in public to say something to them if they are being awful.  I remember I was correcting the boys in the store, I was obviously flustered. An elderly lady told my boys that they were upsetting me, and that they should listen to their mother.  They were pretty embarrassed and stopped.  It was a good teaching moment and a good moment to insight good amount paranoia. Fear of what other see and think has it’s place. So I told them. “See, I am not the only one who is watching you. You’ve upset a lot of people here.”

That being said, I gave my boys some pretty mean advice the other week… well it was rather shitty of me to say what I had  said. One of my less perfect moments, one I will not apologize for either.

It started off with this little girl, who is about 12, at my mother’s apartment complex who they often played with. I suspect she had been picking on them awhile, and things were slowly escalating. She called Gabe a littler f@*&ker one afternoon. He came and told me. I went outside and corrected her.  I told her she was not to use that language in front of my kids and she was not to call either of them any names. She turned beet red. I made the boys pick up their toys, and told them that they are not allowed to play with mean kids.  So of course things escalated. A few days later Zeke was playing outside and she shoved him face first in the mud and thought it was a good time to taunt and laugh at him. I was livid! Of course, I  went outside to find her, but she was gone. It’s a good thing because I probably would’ve grabbed her by her ear and took her to her mother.   I asked Zeke if he was ok. He said it made him cry, but he loved girls so it was ok.   I told my boys, that no matter if it is a girl, a boy or an adult. If ANYONE is to hurt them like that again they should: punch them like they’ve punched each other,  kick their legs like they have kicked each other, bite like they have bitten mommy, spit in their faces like they have spit mommy’s, and pull their hair like they had pulled eachothers.   Two things will happen when you fight back and defend yourself. You will either get into another fight or you will standing your ground and the bullying stops.

I am rather anti-fighting, anti-violence, most of the time. Most being the opportune word. If we could live in a a world of nothing but rainbows, dancing fairies, and unicorns, I would.  But we don’t.   I don’t want my kids to believe that it’s ok to treat people like shit, just because you can.  That means,  they not only have to do right by others  and they have to do  right by themselves.  Defending the weak and defending themselves.  Learning to when to fight and when to lay down your arms.  Speaking up for someone else when they have no voice to speak and for themselves.   It’s a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson none the less.

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Jr. Robotics with The Air and Space Museum

Jr. Robotics with The Air and Space Museum

If you are local to the Hampton Roads area and your kids have a love for robotics. You just might want to check out the Air & Space Museum located in Hampton, Va. They are going to have their first meeting for competitive robotics this Wednesday, January 25th at 5:00 pm.  You can bet dollars to donuts that the boys are going to want to do this. Hope to see you there.

 

The Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) is seeking students who would like to join our stem investigations (challenge groups). We have openings in our SEAPERCH, JrFLL, FLL and VEX robotic teams. These are competition teams that demand participation and dedication from the kids and the parents. If you are interested in participating (or just to get more information), we are having an informational meeting on Wednesday, January 25th at 5:00 pm.

VEX robotics – for middle school students; Is a type of Erector Set building system
FLL (FIRST Lego League) -  uses MINDSTORM robotics (for upper elementary age).
JrFLL – uses MINDSTORM robotics research and other opportunities to educate young students in robots.
SEAPERCH – an underwater ROV for middle school to high school students.

Please let us know if you are interested in attending this meeting.

Thanks,
Swee

******************************

Swee Hart
Education Program Analyst
Virginia Air & Space Center
600 Settlers Landing Road
Hampton, VA  23669

Telephone:  (757) 727-0900  x 759
FAX:          (757) 727-0898
http://www.vasc.org

 

 

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Budding Polar Bear members.

Budding Polar Bear members.

What would any homeschooler do if you lived by the beach, and it has been 50 degrees and all of sudden it was 80degress for the day? The beach of course!  Well, I got to admit, we were the only ones out there besides a couple of men fishing. It was pretty pleasant. The boys swimming and chasing Winston.  Ok, about that swimming. I told them it was way too cold for it. They of course got ahead of me while I was walking the dog. Before I could yell don’tgointothatwater!! They had stripped themselves down and jumped in.

I think I have budding polar bear members, wouldn’t you agree.  Lucky enough we did have towels on us. But believe it or not, we were there for two hours before they were ready to go.  Honestly, I am glad we went, I think that was the last hoorrah before winter really sets in.

It is so nice to have freedom with my kids. To hell with it all.. you should be running your life, not your life running you. In this case running from a dog,in your undies, in the middle of November.

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NASA-Homeschool Appreciation Day

NASA-Homeschool Appreciation Day

Mark your calenders homeschoolers. Nasa is having a Homeschool Appreciation Day on Oct. 20th. Just $1 for admissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August & September were very vary

August & September were very vary

We have been having a rough time with the boys as of late. Truthfully, it’s why I haven’t been blogging. It’s been really over whelming for me. It started maybe a week or so before Zeke’s birthday.  And they are just now getting back on track.  I know we are at the end of September, but August & September were very vary months.

Honestly, I haven’t seen them this bad, for long time.. meaning all day everyday  in about a year.  Sure they have their melt downs every day. But they only last for about an hour or so. I’m pretty accustomed to it.

I haven’t been at my wits end with the boys in some time. I felt so bad. I had call Ian to come home from work to help me. They biting each other the dogs, drop kicking each other in the stomach and face.. That was the worst of it.  The screaming, spinning, and spitting, oh my!. I felt like my monkeys turned into monsters. I’m not going to lie, I just wanted to walk away.  It’s a pretty horrible feeling to have towards your kids.

And you know, we worked on their OT, ST, VT every day, more rewards on their chart, played with fidget toys. And none of my tricks works.  I guess it’s like that sometimes.  As my dad would always say, “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.”

I think it was just too long a month for them, and they got into gluten. It was Zeke’s 6th birthday (I haven’t blogged about that yet), my birthday, my nephew’s b-day, and a hurricane hit VA so we left out of town, and a new room mate. It was really too much for them.  They really got over loaded plus the gluten they had the weekend we left during the hurricane… It’s not surprising that I had gremlins  for a while.

They have been calming down mostly. They just started some co-ops. And Zeke isn’t doing as well as I had hoped. Gabe is heaven. As much as he says he love’s it. He is shutting down in his classes. He’s been stemming a lot. Mostly spitting, walking around, and talking & interrupting the class about his games.  What bothers me most  is his eye contact. It’s been pretty shotty lately. I am hoping that it is the remanence of the commotion from August and not some other signs.

 

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Examples of NOI for Va

Examples of NOI for Va

One of the questions I get a lot, in regards to “how to homeschool,” is the about the NOI, notice of intent. I decided to post our  NOI. This is just an example. Feel free to cut & paste. You can add or take away as much as you like. This is the letter I used for my boys this year.   Here are some other great resources and examples for filing your NOI in VA.

I suggest, that you  send it certified mail when you send it in. In case, you may have to dispute whether or not you sent it. You will have proof that someone has signed for it

I know that some people say write as little as possible on your NOI. But I only have a GED, so I have to use Option iv. I have prove that I am capable.  Also, Va beach tends to be a little more strict. So, I rather give too much information then not enough. Now, you don’t have to use this at all. This is just an example of how an NOI can look like.

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Options:

The Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1) provides for four options under which parents can homeschool:

 

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Blog Hoppin Thursdays

Blog Hoppin Thursdays

It’s that time again.

I noticed a lot of blogs, they only keep your link up for a week. How about this. Once we exchange comments, I will add you to “Link Library.” I have been slowly creating my directory of sites I really enjoy. Once, I add you, you will stay there forever. This is also great opportunity to get your blog seen by other bloggers.

Rules to Blog Hopping Thursdays with Poly Hobby Mommy:

Leave a comment on the blog entire of your choice.

Leave your Title, Url or any other info may wish to pass on. So we may check out out, and I can add you to my directory.

Fallow another blog & leave a comment. Let them know that you found your way by way of PHM (Poly Hobby Mommy)

Mark your Calender for next week. See you soon!

Show some lovin. Grab a button & pass on my free directory.

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