Friday, February 27, 2009


I love creativity!  I think when I was homeschooling the thing that pleased me most was not the good grades or the worksheets done right, but it was when my kids thought outside the box and created something unique.  I have three VERY creative kids.  Not bad considering that I am not always very creative.  I have a drive to create, but often don't know what form that will take (and quite truthfully although the drive is there, the time and gumption to follow through is not), but my kids, on the other hand draw, paint, write poetry, stories, class newspapers, comic strips, and 3-D art creations.  I asked my #2 if I could share a poem with you and he said that I enjoy!  One other note:  this is the child who didn't like to write until he went to school and had a teacher that really encouraged him in his writing.  He now has decided that he would like to one day write a book.

It was an early morning sunrise
The beautiful day was quite a surprise
But we ignored all that, we were having fun
"Come on let's go out for a run."
Out and about in the cold morning air
Around and around mere inches to spare
We were laughing and playing in the cold morning air
The parents shook heads saying "My! What a pair!"

Then whirling and spinning on the dew covered lawn
Mom called for breakfast and then we were gone
Into the house to eat a fine meal
Away from the hearts of iron and steel
But in a safe place with hearts filled with care
And beautiful flowers and bird songs in the air
Those days back in May
My! Oh my!  What a fine day! 

One other note:  this poem was accompanied by a dark, dreary (don't want to scare you, so I won't share it) poem.  He told me that he wrote the dark, scary poem while the girls were singing on the bus.  He says when they sing, they are actually screaming.....I guess he was fed up!  So, when I read them both, I saw the two very different parts to his personality, both of which I see frequently as he is a typical teenager.....AND, kind of funny to see his reaction to what was going on around him!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blogging about Teens

Ok, I write most of my blogs about the experiences that I go through with my children and I enjoy the "release" it gives me to blog the good and the bad.  However, having teenagers, it is hard to see how they will see this one day.  They often tell me with embarrassing situations, "Mom, please just don't put this on your blog."  So, I have to be careful about how much I reveal and be gentle with their feelings and how this will affect them.

On that note, one of my kids had what could only be termed a "VERY BAD DAY" this week.  He reacted poorly, the other individuals acted poorly and it all turned into a middle-school "train wreck".  We always hear that kids are resilient and they are.  I can attest to that.  I feel a little bruised.  I think if the truth be told, he feels a little bruised, too.  But, he made it through and we are still not sure of the consequences of what happened.  

The part that angered me and still does is that the teacher involved is still "hell-bent" on what is "fair" and thinking punitively about what happened.  I want, for this particular child, not what is "fair", but what is "right", what is "good", what will help him in the long run.  I feel that he made decisions with a immature brain and body riddled with hormones and the teacher was somewhat disrespected (but likely more embarrassed) and she wants to "wring it out" of him.  

On the other hand, I require respect and obedience and disrespect and disobedience can not be let go.  I do feel that after all we have gone through with the principal, he will do what is right.  I trust him and his judgement.  I wouldn't relish the thought of having to take the teacher's punishment.  I think she might be fair, but not do what is right.  

Bottom line, I have to make my child see all aspects of this situation.  He must understand how the teacher feels, why she did what she did, and that the consequences must be met head-on.  He must see that although he acted immaturely, he can and must do better next time.  This part is the most hard.  I just want to hug him and make him feel better, not tell him that he might be punished and how to not repeat an episode like this.   

But, alas, the episode is in the not too distant memory for both of us and although I feel bruised, I too will get over it and move on.  I think this is one more thing that makes me feel like I would NEVER (yes that is me yelling) want to repeat this year.  I might not feel like my child is ready for high school (too small, too nice) but he IS (yelling again) going to high school next year.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

High School Vs. Middle School

High school registration continues to be a stressful topic at our house.  And yes, I know this will just go away eventually and we won't have to think about it for another year.  

He made a couple choices that I wasn't sure about and one that I knew was incorrect.  He really wants to be in the Engineering Academy.  I am cool with that, but a prerequisite for acceptance is Algebra.  Because he had no standardized test scores before last year, he was not put into Pre-Algebra last year and therefore could not take Algebra last year.  I should have fought it, but not knowing the ramifications of this, I didn't know to fight it.  Unfortunately, the decisions about math  in middle school (and therefore) high school, are made in 5th grade.  My child was an "unknown" so he was put in the lower class.  

I think what my sisters says about high school vs. middle school is correct.  In middle school, you are still made to fit into the box.  In high school, you can define your OWN box.  In #2s case, this means getting to do things that will set him on the right education track to one day work for LEGO.  He has said this since he was about 10 years old or maybe even younger.  He has not wavered.  I want this for him.  I really do.  But, in this case, there is no going back.  Unfortunately, I think he might be stuck with entering the Academy in the 10th grade.  This will be a big disappointment for him, but I am sure he will weather it.  But, it means not getting to define his box until 10th grade,  not really getting to do what he would like until then, and not getting to be in this little group of people who will be like himself.  This saddens me, but there is not much we can do.  I have e-mailed some people who might know of an Algebra class to take during the summer that might transfer.  We are going to do all we can...and if the answer is "No", then it is "No".  I am confident that he will become who God wants him to be with or without Engineering in 9th grade.

Here are his other course selections:
Pre-Ap English 9
Pre-Ap Biology 9
History 9 (I thought he should have taken Pre-Ap in this one, too.)
Algebra 1
Latin 1
Theatre 1 (no band - I know he will probably do better in Theatre, but I would like for him to continue in band mainly because it gives the students a strong -and for the most part positive group to identify with - however, back to him "defining his own box")
Alternates:  1. Choir and 2. Art (I thought he should have put Art first, but he put Choir first).  This only makes a difference because when we register by computer, we don't put in alternates, so in this they go by what it on your course selection sheet.  Also, since he has down Engineering as one of his choices, he WILL get an alternate.  

I will be praying before we enter his courses online.  He will be fine.  God is in control, and hopefully he will let Him continue to be in control of his life.  Again, his choice!  My prayers are with him, though.....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Class Newspaper

My 4th grader came home Thursday night with his own version of a class newspaper.  The idea was his and he was all about finishing it and copying it to hand out Friday to his class.  He had a couple things that were not good for the class, so we edited them out and he added other stuff in.  I am the "box top" lady for my school, so I convinced him to write a "box top" ad for me.  So, he copied it and took it in with the knowledge that he would have to get his teacher's permission to hand it out.  One little girl threw him into a tizzy saying that she could do better and was going to do her own.  Hopefully he is not causing problems in his class, but his teacher will level with me and take care of it.  I was proud of him for his initiative and creativity!  He was so much about getting it done.  As you can see, his forte is comic strips.  He is all the time making these up.   Not sure if you can read it, but here it is:  

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gives Me Hope....

Today was the parent orientation for the high school's Freshman Center that #2 will go to next year.  Hubby went last night - was pretty overwhelmed, I couldn't go with him as someone needed to be home to oversee homework, supper, and bedtime (it was scheduled from 6-9 pm).  Since this is a significant period of time and darling husband didn't come away with any brilliant insights on course selection, I questioned whether I needed to go today or not.  However, to try to find out if #2 even needed to go there (after the struggles he has had this year with bullying, depression, stress), and to uphold the level of commitment that his dad had in going last night, I decided to go this morning.  The meeting was scheduled for 8-11, so I had to skip my ESL volunteering to go.  Long story short, I sat through the long talk with the big group of parents feeling very confused about what he should take:  regular, pre-AP, pre-IB, etc., etc., etc.....and not a little discouraged.  
After the introductory session,  all the parents go into the cafeteria to talk to the teachers and see what each class and academy (they have five different academies - Engineering, Law, Finance, Health Services, and Technology) had to offer.  Background - This school is one grade and is leading into a school with a combined attendance of about 2,400-2,600 students.  So, they offer a lot and it is very confusing.  (And just so you know, I graduated with about 98 other people.)  So as I went from table to table I was asking what I could and trying to get a feel for the expectations.  
When I finished talking to all I could, I happened upon one of the counselors that I knew had worked with my oldest when he went to this school last year.  I don't know her, but I went up, introduced myself as BK's mom.  She lit up and began to tell me how "He is a doll!" and "I love him."  Maybe I will blog more about his legacy later.  But, I believe in getting to the point and telling people what I need, so I began to ask her about bullying at the FC and how they handle it and if it gets better during high school, etc.  So, this counselor was the perfect one for me to talk to because she had been through that with her own child last year!!  It had affected him so greatly that he had to repeat his grade and was moved to a private school.  So, she definitely knew what I was talking about.  And, when I started telling her about how it had affected his motivation to do school and him wanting to give up, she had experienced this first hand.  In addition, she knew exactly what to do about it.  She had lots of ideas, such as him meeting with her after the student tour and her helping him in getting the right teachers who care and want to help kids,  those teachers who look out for their kids and will be like the "mama hen" for those kids who need it.  She also spoke of meeting with him during the summer and helping him to feel that he had an ally at the campus.  She spoke of connecting him with other kids who needed friends.  She will continue the one support that has worked for him this year (having a high school kid come  - a peer helper - to see him once a week).  Bottom line - she gave me HOPE!!!!  Hope that my child can do better next year than this year.  Hope that he can succeed and move on.  Hope that there will be someone looking out for him.  

I feel that this is a direct answer to prayer.  I have prayed for God's wisdom that He show us if we are to continue with him in public school and God has given me hope.  I thank God for this.  Also, God "dumped my mom out of her recliner" (her words) this morning at 5:00 or so and told her to tell us to read this scripture with him.  It is Isaiah 41: 11-13.  I want to weep as I think about how God is using these little things to speak His great and awesome love for us.  I tear up now, thinking of how He is reminding me that HE LOVES ME!  He loves me and He loves my child.  And He will be with him.  If you go on, verse 14 says, "Despised though you are, O Israel, don't be afraid for I will help you.  I am the Lord, your Redeemer.  I am the Holy One of Israel."  GREAT, AWESOME, WONDERFUL, LOVING GOD!!!!!

My Brilliant Son

This is a picture of a political cartoon that #2 drew for his Reading class.  They are studying "media".  The teacher used it as an example of how a political cartoon needs to be witty and enjoyable even for those that don't share your point of view.  But, she told him that he needed to do another one.  Not sure it because she is uncomfortable with him making this point?  

I tried to post the pictures in the order I wanted to post them, but you will see the balloon first and then the whole picture.  Please disregard the handwriting and grammar and see the brilliancy of the point he is trying to make.  

If you can't read it, here is what it says, "Somehow, I don't think this works the same way as the easy button."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

True Story - Not Sure Why I Want to Share This

On the way home from my parents recently, we stopped in a mid-sized town that we used to live in to go to the restroom.  The boys and I went in, each to our own destination.  As usual, the boys headed on out ahead of me to get into the warm comfy car, while I, taking a little bit longer, fiddled around buying a pack of gum or something to keep everyone happy for the next 3-4 hours.  I happened to get behind a young man (probably mid 20s or early 30s) in line.  He was buying a lot of magazines.  As I looked more closely at the stack, I notice that they were the variety that are covered in plastic.  He was dressed in shorts and short sleeves and has a tatoo on his upper arm that the girls behind the counter noticed and asked him what it meant.  It was a scripture reference that he promptly started to recite.  The verse was John 8:36.  Please look it up.  Obviously, he is not free, at least not yet.  Anyway, the bill for his addiction was more than $60.  As he left, I am surprised at the cost, but the ladies tell me that they cost about $10 a piece.  Of course, I am thinking, hoping, that he isn't taking food from his family to feed his addition.   And, of course, when he leaves, the girls burst into laughter at the irony of it.  I was deeply saddened as they begin to share of all the types of people buying these magazines.  They speak of a preacher, leaving his bus in the lot to come in and buy magazines of this variety.  I left praying for this young man, in bondage, not experiencing the freedom that God provides.  I was also shaken.  I have never seen someone buying such a stack of magazines of this sort before.  I know that porn is so much more of a problem than ever before because of the availability of it on the Internet, but it had never been in my line of vision before.  I feel older, somehow, just witnessing this.