Saturday Morning Thoughts.

Good morning,

I’m sitting here munching stale gluten free chex oatmeal for breakfast because my doctor says my cholesterol is high and so…oatmeal.

Because… FIBER

I decided today is the day i get back to my blog and why not while I choke this stuff down?

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yummy.

It would be better if it weren’t over a year old.

Homeschool year 2015-2016 is DONE.

Paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered.

Finito.

I have a month to our summer school session to rest on my laurels.  (love that saying, but i imagine my niece with that name being sat on and thats no good)

Except actually I don’t because I have more school planning, our wedding to put together, kids to manage and that green stuff to try to earn.

Weddings are much more complicated than they should be.  So far we have clothing,  flowers, wedding party people, musicians, photographer, cake and catering sorted.

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This leaves us with figuring out the ceremony, vows, what the musicians will actually play,  getting rings, printing programs, determining schedule day of, finishing booking hair and makeup, settling on what shots the photog (friend of the groom) will take, and countless endless other considerations most of which have fallen to me.  Mostly, to just me. It all involves talking to people, many of them strangers.

phone

If I had a time machine I would travel back in time to 8 months ago and whisper to my sleeping self “justice of the peaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace. thats what you waaaaant”

(no I would not warn a conscious me, because I know me,  I would have stolen the time machine from me and would still be sorting out the headache of endless paradox)

I’m happy and grateful that both Kevin (fiance guy i keep mentioning) and I will have family and friends to share the day with. It’s just…

sigh.

Anyway, my poor blog has just sat.

Drat.

I’ve been thinking about the blog, and what direction I should take it.

I question what the point of this blog actually is,

To reach people? – only a handful of people read it. I just don’t have the traffic save for some extremely popular autism posts.

To develop my writing skills?  eerrr well, thats been sucking lately huh?

and what it is actually about

autism? homeschooling? nature? randomness?

People come here for my autism tagged posts but my subscribers are mostly home-schoolers.  I’m preaching to the choir concerning home learning and I don’t think any of my ideas concerning autism acceptance are new or all that groundbreaking.

Is it an autism parenting blog?

I hesitate to describe our lives in too much detail because bloggers (no matter how positively) who focus on their children or loved ones autism or other various struggles, leave me with a bad taste. There are some well known bloggers out there that are all about neurodiversity, acceptance, positivity, etc, who I feel put WAY to much information on the web that is a disservice to their child. Often the children do have a say concerning it, but I question if they fully realize what they are consenting to. It is a difficult line.

This is why it is rare for me to relate a personal anecdote and why I will never blog about a tantrum or private conversation, or even specific incident concerning them.

 

so yeah, I dunno.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dust Bunny and Penny Dragon War

It’s finally well above freezing so the cats are shedding.
Bee was holding our cat Quazi this morning and when put down, a cloud of hair followed.
This hair, combined with my hair and the kid’s hair and Kevin’s (fiancee guy i keep mentioning) hair plus dust and what not that seven people contribute to,
make some fearfully large dust-bunnies.

While sweeping up the floor this afternoon I kept having to dodge children who seemed set in trouncing through my dust piles.
“Watch it, these dust bunnies are dangerous. One false move, and you’re a goner.”
Bee: “What do they do?”
“I’ve seen it with me own eyes. One minute a kid’ll be walking along, next minute they’ll be dragged under the sofa, never to be seen again.”
Tessa: “moooooooom. no they do not!”
Me: Oh aye they do. It’s a dreadful sight. (for some reason,  i switched to pirate voice)
Tessa: its not April fools yet is it?
“No.”
“I’m going to step in it and prove you’re just being silly.”
“Ack! No!!  I’m joking I’m joking!!!!”
After she steps away, “Maybe.”
Aidan suggested that the dust bunnies and the penny dragons were bitter enemies.
“Oh yes, they’ve been at war for years.”
“But,” Lily says, “they breath fire! the dust bunnies would be toast!”
“True, but they’re fiercer than you think, they have STEALTH and nasty big pointy teeth!”

Aidan says “That sounds kind of Holy Grail.”

“You’ve seen Holy Grail????”  (how did i not know this?)

“Yep. ” He then yells:”WATCH OUT THEY”VE TAKEN THE LOVE SEAT!!!” (we dont have a love seat)

Later he said, “we need this in a story.”

So here it is. I think it would make a delightful if somewhat dark children’s book.

 

Robert De Niro, Wakefield, and the autism conversation

Morning,

I hope that all of my Christian readers are enjoying their Easter holiday.

De Niro and the facts behind the Wakefield Drama

By now most if not all in the autism community have heard about Robert De Niro’s thwarted plan to screen and therefore give some credibility to Andrew Wakefield’s “documentary” VAXXED. He defended his initial decision saying:

“Grace and I have a child with autism,” he wrote, referring to his wife, Grace Hightower De Niro, “and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening VAXXED.”

Not long after this statement he screened the film with festival organizers and “scientists”and then pulled the film stating:

“We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”

I’m glad he took a second look and had a second thought.

A Matter of Opinion

What irks me most about De Niro’s statement is that he thought having an autistic kid factored into the rightness or his decision. I’m quite certain the matter is a personal one to him,

BUT

Robert De Niro could have fifteen autistic kids and the diagnoses himself and it doesn’t make the previous decision any less irresponsible.

I think that giving validity to a disproved theory and the conspiracy theories it generates is dangerous and does not contribute to any discussion that benefits persons on the spectrum nor the public as a whole.

Yet I don’t want people  take my opinion as gospel because we happen to have diagnoses and so our own experiences with the condition.

The facts speak to the reality of and fallout from Wakefield’s “work.”

The facts of the circumstances, the scientifically proven (or disproved as the case may be) information is always  better than the anecdote, opinion, or other individual experience regardless of who is sharing it.

At time perspectives can help us understand ourselves, other parents, and our children better but they don’t beat facts.

Should we still be having This conversation?

As for the  “conversation” De Niro wants to have,  it’s been sidetracked by Wakefield’s nonsense and endless cause/cure theories far too long.

Let’s look at some more facts:

Can we have a conversation about any of that?

Better yet

CAN WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

How about shifting from focusing on cause and cure to SUPPORT of  the 68 million (CDC) people on this planet diagnosed with autism?

April is autism charity “awareness” money beg month.

Money that is spent primarily in research with little going to actual support.

Can we try for something better?

action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light (Elementary Unit Study)

Our last new science unit for the year was on light.

Introducing concepts/vocabulary:

  • reflect
  • refract
  • magnify
  • absorb
  • translucent
  • transparent
  • opaque
  • visible spectrum

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Board Activities:

  • Discussing concepts
  • Brainstorming examples

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Items the basket:

  • flashlight
  • mirror
  • prism
  • opaque, transparent, and translucent cups
  • fiber optic fiber
  • rainbow glasses
  • magnifying glasses

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Books:

  • KidHaven Science Series: Light
  • Light: Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows by Natalie Rosinsky

Science Videos:

  • Physical Science for Kids: All About Light
  • Bill Nye the Science guy: Light and Color
  • The Magic School Bus: Gets a Bright Idea, Makes a Rainbow

Art/Social Studies tie in

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Michael Savage, Autism, Donald Trump and the truth

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, this “news” though it started circulating months ago,  has crept out from the crevices behind the toilet to horrify people anew:

“Donald Trump plans to appoint a radio host who has spoken poorly of autistic children as NIH director.”

Seriously? When I heard it I was horrified.

So I researched it.

It’s problematic if not outright false.

Let’s look at the facts of the matter.

Fact one:

Michael Savage is a conservative right wing radio show host.

Michael Savage it also an asshat.

He has in fact said that autism
“is an over diagnosed medical condition. In my readings, there is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism.” As well as that  “99 percent of the cases” of autism were a result of lax parenting. He told his audience: “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life.'” Among the other admonitions he felt children with autism should be hearing, he said, were: “‘Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.'”

Fact two:

Donald Trump is an asshat.

We could get into why but ya know, the evidence as to why is overwhelming, and those who can’t see it, wont be swayed by me.

In regards to autism he has implied a link between vaccination and autism though those theories have been disproved.

Fact three:

Michael Savage when interviewing Trump expressed interest in becoming head of the NIH. (National Institute of Health)

Fact four:

There is no evidence that either one was being in the least bit serious and NO official statement to that effect has been made.

None.

Want to know more?

Here is the Snopes page concerning it.

 

 

Putting it all Together – Home schooling High school

End of the year paperwork takes up much of my spring free time.

This year, there’s a new twist.

I’ve been an on and off again home educator for a total of twelve years now. I’ve dabbled in classical education, Charlotte Mason curriculum, tried structured school like and relaxed and used canned curriculum and designed my own. I have taught gifted kids and those with significant learning challenged.

Been there, done that.

Except for one thing,

high school

I’ve never home-schooled a year of high school.

Until now.

Now I have a young teenager wrapping up ninth grade.

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Going about taking all the stuff we’ve done this year and organizing it all into to some semblance of something transcript-y looking that I can turn in to the umbrella school has been more difficult that I expected. It’s easier for traditional studies like English. Here is a rough of the course description for his composition studies:

English Composition

Text: Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students (this is a book for a one semester college course that I stretched out to make more 9th grade friendly)
Sharon Crowley, Debra Hawhee 427 pages (projected to complete entire book)
Credit – 1
Topics:
Ancient Rhetorics: Their Difference and the Differences They Make
Kairos and Rhetorical Situations, Stasis Theory, Asking the Right Questions
Common Topics and Common Places, Logical, Ethical, Pathetic and Extrinsic Proofs Arrangement of Argument
Style: Compositions and Ornament, Memory and Delivery

Assignments:
Weekly Reading Assignments (no points) As Chapters are lengthy and technical, we finished approximately one chapter per month.
End of Chapter Writing Assignments worth 10 points per -140 points total
1. Define and list examples of three types of persuasive argument – 10/10
2. Write a comparison between a book and its movie -10/10
3. Write a “Chreia” for a line from a favorite poem or song 10/10
4. Write a second Chreia describing a famous landmark 10/10
5. Defend and then refute an argument concerning an issue in the news (gun control) 9/10
6. Following Alphonius’s instructions, compose a common place against someone who commits acts of terrorism – 10/10
7. “Elvis has left the Building” is part of a long enthymatic argument whose other premises are never stated, can you explain them? 8/10
8. Write a rhetorical comparison of two candidates for President of the United States, who do you think is more qualified? 7/10
9. Compose three “sketches” describing three landmarks or historically significant objects 10/10
10. Using the shooting that occurred during the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Sanctuary, test the reliability of the eyewitness accounts using criteria discussed in Chapter 8. 8/10
11. Examine two speeches of famous rhetors or writers. Find examples of insinuations, narratives partitions, and peroration. 10/10
12. Using a passage of your writing, re-write some sentences using examples of figure of speech discussed in chapter 10.  10/10
13. Using a lengthy passage from a favorite author, write a new piece imitating the style and structure /10 (not yet completed)
14. Paraphrase a stanza from the poem “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” converting it into prose. /10 (not yet completed)

Schedule: one hour 4 times a week (He’ll have put in 160 hours between June 2015 and April 2016)

That,

I can work with.

On the other hand, combining all of our hiking activities we’ve had since start of school year into a 1/2 credit of P.E. is trickier. I’m adding time spent for Nature Quest, will be listing all the parks visited and trails completed, as well as designing some projects to cap the year off with.

Thankfully, there are quite a few resources available for figuring it out.

One I’m finding invaluable is Let’s Homeschool Highschool.com

(I am not associated with the site in any way other than being a fan)

When it’s all put together , I’ll share it with you…

 

 

 

 

Just Walkin the Dog – Baltimore Street Harassment

I’m typically a point A to point B person. I don’t go walking in the city unless I have somewhere to go and then its either not a long walk, or I typically have someone with me.  I never was out walking just to walk.

I am now.

We have a dog and she needs walked about three times a day.

I have discovered that any day its above 40 degrees and we’re not out obscenely early I can look forward to being harassed for merely being a woman on the street.  I thought I had seen my prime for this sort of thing but noooooooooooo.

Apparently groggy, makeup-less overweight forty year olds can be targets.

Tits and ass are apparently all I need to possess to be hollered, whistled and shouted at with gems such as:

“Hey Baby, why don’t you smile? Aint you got a man?”

(not that pretty/thin women invite or deserve that either)

It’s usually a drive-by but this morning the guy was walking behind me.

I ended up letting him pass, crossing the street, and walking back home.

The dog shit on the kitchen floor.

You know what I hate?

That I either need to put up with it, take Kevin (fiance person I keep mentioning) or have him do it by himself.

I shouldn’t need to take protection, go out at 6am, or not go at all.

I shouldn’t.

I do.

GROWL.

 

 

 

 

More hands on geometry – lines and angles (K-3)

Yesterday we had our annual gumdrop platonic solid activity.

Today we used KNEX to model points, lines, rays, line segments, acute angles, right angle, and obtuse angles.

Part one of the work is to create the items on the cards.

knex pieces reprensenting point, line, line segment, ray, acute angle, obtuse angle, right angle

point, line, line segment, ray, acute angle, obtuse angle, right angle

Part two is to place the obtuse and acute angles where they “fit” in relation to the right angle.

obtuse, right, and acute angles, modeled with knex aligned according to size.

comparing the angles

These could be made with gumdrops and toothpicks as well, but I wanted a work task for our shelves that wouldn’t be eaten in a day. If you don’t have knex handy,  toothpicks and clay should work just as well.

structured geometry task in a red plastic tray

already on the shelf for independent work time