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If you think this is about YOU, maybe you should go reconcile with your parent and work to get back your kids instead of continuing to be a jerk. If you think I am you, or similar to you, welcome! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mixed Bag- Call It Distance Learning & Not Another One

What would you like first, the good news or not-so-good?

I'm going with not-so-good first. I discovered I am going to be a grandmother again. No, I do not have any married children. No, I am not exploring this further. I am disgusted at my alleged adult child's behavior. I think this baby should be in a married, two-parent home, not being touted as a replacement for the children I adopted. Until and unless I find that my new grandchild and his/ her parent require the basics any Christian must deliver (food, clothing, shelter and the Good News), I can't do anything else without saying that "something not nice." So I will say nothing further. I am making my line in the sand. I know a grandparent or two who has had to do the same thing.

Now that that's off my heart-

It occured to me sometime back that my youngest was not getting the education she needs. Her school was wonderful. Her teacher was top-notch, a veteran of classroom and administration. The student-to-teacher ratio was small, 15:1. The classroom itself was brand, spanking new. Even getting special assignments with more challenge to them, she would come home bored. She actually told me once she could easily succeed in changing the subject in the classroom with a few words, but would be caught about five minutes after the fact. Her standardized test scores are all in the 95-99th percentile. Her report cards are pefect except for conduct, which is almost perfect, but not quite. Those little distractions of the teacher take their toll.

The Mister is a professor, and knows some other professor types who deal in gifted and talented kids. He pointed me to the local university, which has a G&T program during the school year as well as the summer months. OK then!

The Baby's teacher was happy to supply letters of reference for both Baby and her elder sister, Belle. We figured as long as we were checking Baby, we might as well check Belle. We showed up for something called a Torrence Test, which is supposed to measure creativity. Somewhere in the mix of summer swims and trips, we also managed an academic elvaluation through another school.

The basic results are in. Both girls have a good foundation so far. Belle has excellent math skills, good writing habits, but a bit of trouble organizing when she writes. Her mapping and reference skills are off the charts. The Baby was compared to children in her present grade as well as in the grade ahead, and compared very favorably; in fact, she did extremely well. Both girls have better than average age-appropriate manners and behaviors. Both know how to introduce themselves to other children and have no known social awkwardness.

We will be moving next month to another area. We know very little about the schools, Catholic or public. The Mister is not in favor of any public school, period. The Catholic schools have room for one girl at the non-parishioner rate, but not the other. This resulted from The Mister not paying attention when we chose one location, and then deciding he did not like it after all, for a variety of reasons.

Not to worry. The girls will be distance learning, starting next week. We have found a distance learning school that will give them social connections, has a grading service, certificates of completion, and opportunities for other educational experiences in our new area. We will also be utlizing the services of four colleges who have need of elementary school children in various programs. One college even provides sweatshirts with a logo to be worn over white polos and navy trousers.

Baby will be moved a grade ahead of where she would have been, with slightly different books and methods to adapt better to her younger age. Belle will be assigned the grade should have had, but with a grade higher math program.

Home schooling? Perhaps. Better to call it "Distance Learning" as well as remember because of the four colleges, our chances of being "home" during the day are slim-to-none.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The $613 Vacation #2- Fun Center

It seems every community of 2,000 in Illinois has some sort of for-profit center where, for a price, families can engage in various amusements. Our community is no exception; in fact, there are three within a 5-mile radius.

For purposes of convenience as well as tasty vittles, we chose Luigi's. The other two centers offer such amusements as roller skating, bowling, and go-carts. The Mister and I were simply not in the mood to participate in any physical activity that day.

The kids, however, enjoyed arcade games of a wide stripe. Luigi's offers a varied assortment, from Whack-A-Mole to Skeeball. We were able to offer the children the opportunity to place many tokens on their machine keys, over $25 each. This was unprecedented in our family! We have been bribed up to $10, but never $25 each. That's a lot of arcade and video games, 100 attempts.

Frankly, my husband and I went to Luigi's to eat pizza and drink beer in the afternoon. We split a pitcher of MGD. We haven't drunk beer in years, and we haven't drunk anything remotely alcoholic in the afternoon in decades. We were only observed by counselors from the local park district, no doubt jealous that we could imbibe while their duties to their 50 or so charges left them without such an alternative.

Total cost for our weekday afternoon of relaxation: $132.