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Posts posted by WinsomeCreek

  1. FWIW, it is clear from your posts that you are a great, committed homeschool mom, whose kids are so lucky to have her! Marriage is nothing compared to the navigating you are doing with your many kids of different ages. 


    If I may offer one thing: velcro is your friend. (up high, on the wall, and on markers)

    • Like 6
  2. Now that I am going through Singapore math with yet another kid, I am again reminded of how much I love the focus on understanding the math picture enough to manipulate numbers. Its great that your kid knows so many math facts! That makes everything easier moving forward. This is a good time to work on concepts, distributive and commutative laws, move the numbers around a lot. I never used CLE, so I can't speak to how it teaches concepts.

    • Like 3
  3. Hi Skimomma- Hummingbird in NM is not close, but is in the more affordable range. If your kid has a suzuki instructor then look at the Institutes. https://suzukiassociation.org/events/institutes/We offer housing (free) for people doing the specialty camps near us, which saves about $400, but the camps are already around that much or more for a week and in WA state.  It is worth asking if locals volunteer to house participants and/or their families wherever you look. This is not generally advertised. Also search nearby Universities and music schools for chamber music camps. I don't know what is in your area (other than Interlochen).


  4. I hear you. I never learned to cook. In fact, my mom was such an awful cook that we ate out at least 3x/week, though it seems like it was almost every night. I have two cooking bibles; The New York Times cookbook and the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I use online recipes frequently. There are videos and tips all over the place. Your dd is old enough that you can give her quality cookbooks, let her pick some recipes, get the ingredients for her and let her loose, but it sounds like thats not something she'd like. What about basing your meal on learning a new technique? The two of you could decide to learn how to do something specific, pick the food to try it on, and come away feeling a concrete sense of accomplishment.


    Locally the PCC has cooking classes, the community colleges and city have cooking classes. Maybe the two of you could find some in your area and take classes together? I put my kids into YMCA and school cooking classes in the past. 


    [At this point I do have some basics down btw.  ;)] 

    • Like 1
  5. Until recently, nothing. I cut everyone's hair, including dh. I tried salons over the years, but was never satisfied with how the kids were done. Last month I found a stylist who does a great job! Two of the boys are picky about looks and want specific styles. New budget will be ~$270/year, with extra for more frequent visits for the kid who is growing his hair long (it's at that awkward stage now). 

  6. On the bright side, my two tween previously mostly homeschool boys are in public middle school and having a great time. My oldest is dyslexic, but does not need services because even though he still sometimes leaves out letters (in his own name even!) or repeats words halfway through and will never get 100% on a math test where he knows the material inside-out. He has a host of compensations he developed as a homeschooler. Our district does not recognize dyslexia as a learning disability. FWIW this ds has writing that is embarrassing. 6 yo scribble sounds about right. I'm so grateful that his brother with the beautiful, elegant cursive is at the same school. The teachers do not seem to care about his handwriting quality at all. I get the impression they see plenty of scribble. The teachers he has have all focused on content. So that is good.


    On the downside, you may have to be assertive, aggressive and persistent in getting an IEP and then in getting it followed. Bring in proof of diagnosis and people listen. We are pulling our LD kid due to bullying problems, and haven't even had the team meeting to address the learning issues yet, but in truth the school as we experienced it was a placeholder. If it is for your sake then its absolutely worth trying. One thing- ps has been far more expensive and time consuming than I imagined. Look into the schedules if you have more than one kid going to school. You might find you spend all of your time driving.


  7. Actually using the brain, as opposed to passive work, burns a lot of calories. I used to get super hungry after doing tasks requiring intense brainwork. If the basics of food, sleep, stress etc, have been covered then it could just be a sign of brain workout. That's a good thing. I would still be watching closely for any medical issues though. I have one child who gets exhausted easily a few days before he gets sick.

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  8. Hearing what others have gone through has given me strength and conviction in this process to insist that this is wrong. I am relieved that I didn't go in more aggressively though. I know more of the background on the other child now. It is so tragic and heart wrenching. I obviously cannot share the information, but I completely see why he is being protected. He needs the school and the adults more than we do. Much more. I don't see the situation changing for ds unless I get deeply involved at school and help the other child at the same time. A couple of years ago I would have done that. I don't have it in me at this time. Ds wouldn't understand either. I don't know, maybe he would. Throughout all of this the teacher and principal have not said much. I still don't have much of a rapport with either or sense of either of their roles. With what I know now I'm guessing they do work daily with the family. I imagine they're both in a tough spot. The bully is probably still going to be hurting other kids, but only because he needs so, so much.


    Monday will be our first day homeschooling again! Yesterday - the day after the weird cupcakes for the birthday that wasn't his birthday- the other child was absent. Ds was so relaxed and happy that the contrast to his demeanor of the rest of the days was stark. With time and support the other boy may get the help he needs and the problems could go away. Ds may return to school next semester if that happens. For now he said he is happy to homeschool because "I get to learn something and be safe." In truth, the school isn't really set up for 2e kids. He's completely bored at school, not learning much that is new, but also not able to stay on task to finish work or score above proficient on his homework. 


    Dh is on board and supportive. He can be old skool at times, but despite his initial objections, talking revealed that his true concerns were for my health and welfare. Ds is high energy all the time! I will have to work hard to make sure he has activities and stimulation. 


    After a decade on WTM forums, I thought this was my going away year. But I'm back.  :001_cool:  (not that anyone would notice a 300something post count old timer-mostly lurker gone) I have no idea what to use or how I will teach this guy.


    I decided to be an outspoken advocate for having leaving school as an option. I can't believe how many people, psychologists included, are trapped in a mindset of sticking it out. Our psychologist worked with ds on problem solving, but she kept trying to lead to a solution of avoidance. She finally asked ds point blank if he would rather just give the bully his way and be safe, which was her solution to the problem, or get hit. Ds said quietly that he'd rather get hit. The psychologist was taken aback, but I stepped in and backed up ds. If his personal integrity is why he was hit then I'd rather he keeps his integrity than stay at school. She even tried to get us to promise to stay at school for a month and have ds find other places to play, avoiding the kid (not exactly easy due to the particular group dynamics). I agreed to 2 weeks under pressure. Maybe we'll drop the psychologist and have the money to spend on school materials instead.  :001_tt2:


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  9. The good news of the day is both a mom brag and some homeschool righteousness. Shortly after dh and I agreed that we will pull ds to homeschool in a week if the meeting doesn't produce results, my middle schoolers came home with some school scores. One ds rocked his first AP Calculus test and the other showed dh that he only scored 12.9+ (out of 13) on his star reading test. I shrugged and dh told me I did a pretty good job homeschooling. 


    The other boys are doing great and the school district, teachers, everyone has been flexible and fantastic where they are concerned. It gives me some hope that if we need to go to a higher level in the district, we will be listened to. I do want to assume good will on the part of the principal and teacher. Ds getting hit again is just utterly, absolutely unacceptable.



    • Like 11
  10. I learned that a zero tolerance policy for bullying is most often, in practice, a zero tolerance policy for bullied children. IME, it's really quite common for the hammer to fall down on the child who has been bullied when they even slightly stand up for themselves.


    My son was hit, threatened and belittled all year. Documentation, meetings...nothing happened to the aggressive child and the small group of children who formed his posse. Finally, towards the end of the year my son grabs the boy by his sweatshirt hood and screams bloody murder. No injuries. By all accounts this is then first time my son did anything but run away and hide after trying to get help that never came from the playground "monitors". We get told he is suspended, that CPS will be called because he physically harmed another child and we need to meet with them to make a safety plan. Well. The district's OWN LAWYER reviewed the case that night and told the principal they couldn't suspend my son or call CPS because the records showed that he'd been antagonized for quite some time and there were no injuries. The principal called me late that night or early the next morning to say my son was welcome back in school. Then it tumbles out that my son was missing for the better part of a day and they didn't call me, the district or the police. It turned out he'd been hiding all day, safe but they had no way of knowing that. I was livid. Thanks but no thanks people. We didn't go back. Over the summer the principal "resigned to spend more time with her family". We were not the only ones with a similar tale to tell but we sure the heck were made to feel we were and that our son was the only child in this situation. That summer I ran into so many families who were withdrawing from that school. This was the "good school" in the gifted program in a well off neighborhood. We went out of our way to put him there. A very disheartening experience and it was the last straw for us and FT public education.


    I keep coming back to your post, Katie. It is bothering me so much that your boy went through what he did and the school took things to such extremes in their defense of their own mistakes.


    How on earth could they call CPS on YOU after losing your child without notifying you? How could they threaten your child for a single incident after a year of your own being a victim? That is so disturbing. I'm really glad he's doing well now.

  11. In the future, he should be taught to immediately respond in kind to bullying. Bullying stops once you teach him not to tolerate it.


    Thanks for responding, but we have spent months working on measured responses with ds. This situation is unfortunate and has really set us back, as well as lost us some credibility. In the past ds would have struck back without hesitation despite the enormous size difference of the kids. We were so proud of him for the way he handled things and did not look at this as a bullying situation until it became painfully obvious and ds was truly hurt.

  12. I think I would be demanding a meeting with everyone...the teacher, the principal, the other parents, the school counselor, the school officer if they have one, even the superintendent of the district. I'm not sure it would be wise to meet everyone at once, as they're all going to be defensive, and I wouldn't want to start out outnumbered, but I think I would gradually escalate it with each instance. First a meeting with the teacher and principal asking what they are doing any different than last week to improve the situation, and perhaps the counselor at that time as well, to discuss the implications of ongoing bullying.  Then, when nothing happens despite "oh, we're talking to the parents, blah, blah, blah," I'd ask for a meeting that brings in both the parents and the school officer, to make sure they are clear on what's been going on and how this has escalated to where law enforcement may be necessary if the school cannot take action.  Maybe before that, I might have a meeting with the superintendent and principal to basically reiterate the school change request and tattle that the principal isn't handling things, but that would short-circuit being able to impress upon the parents what's going on.  If there is a school discipline policy that's being ignored, I'd trot that out as well in a discussion with the superintendent present.  If you aren't sure whether the school officer will be on your side, that could be a private meeting first regarding the general situation and your options, before requesting that he meet with you and the principal and parents.  And same goes for enlisting the counselor on your side...that could be a private meeting first to make sure she hears your side and concerns, before pulling her into a group meeting to discuss more formally what is or isn't being done.


    It is not your job to be there for recess every day to ensure your child's safety.  I would absolutely do the same thing, and in fact I did a lot of intervening like that to pick up the district's slack before we pulled our child out of school, but I would make it clear that this is an unacceptable solution, a dereliction of their duties.  I'd probably also find time to coolly mention to the other parents that your son is beginning self-defense martial arts classes to help provide a mechanism for defending himself that will not get him in equal trouble, as he has been thus far told to not fight back, which has been a losing strategy thus far. Because if they aren't doing squat to teach their child to knock it off, they probably subscribe to the school of thought that your kid is a wimp and deserves it if he won't stand up for himself...so yeah, I would mention the martial arts classes with a hint of threat coupled with a heavy dose of "but we are doing our best to make sure that we comply with all rules ourselves."  Again, this is not an acceptable solution when the perpetrator is not being punished, removed, or otherwise prevented from continuing in his behavior.  Even if your child is granted a school change, there will always be another kid to pick on.  So, what are they going to do about that to make sure this kid doesn't grow up to be the kid who gets suspended in high school for fighting as a teen and arrested for assault in his twenties when he's already getting away with punching other children on a regular basis as an 8yo???  I like the idea of suggesting that he needs a behavioral evaluation and plan, including a behavioral aide to monitor and assist in his compliance, if this is going to be his baseline level of aggression despite having been addressed verbally so many times in a single quarter.


    I appreciate that you took the time and thought to say all of this. We do have a full team meeting scheduled for next week. It was initially to accommodate ds, who is 2e, but it presents an opportunity with major players in the room to hash through what is actually happening at this school. Dh had an astute observation, that it is actually likely that the main frustrations occur in the classroom and the retribution is at the playground. However, if the bully kid is developmentally delayed it may be far simpler and he might just be struggling to function. Obviously this doesn't help ds' situation and the school can't tell us anything about the other kid (which is the way it should be). But with this in mind and the staff in the know we may be able to look at alternative approaches.

    • Like 1
  13. This is getting a little more complicated. 

    -The kid celebrated his birthday with cupcakes in class today, turning 9 (this is 2nd grade). Ds tells me his birthday is on the birthday chart as falling late winter. Weird. 

    -Kids wrote responses of what they like about the STAR student. One of the girls in ds' class wrote at the end of hers (in response to bully kid's STAR poster)  "ps stop bullying me" before the teacher made her erase it, saying it wasn't nice. Bonus points to those of you who knew ds wouldn't be the only victim.

    -Kids all have classroom jobs. Ds tells me he has a job to keep him separated from the other kid. Ds is the trash kid.

    -Principal tells us she has people from other countries trying to get into her school, then says that the class ds is in is the best.


    I'm leaning toward feeling that the other kid is probably under legal protections, possibly parental influence, that leads the school staff to be protecting him instead of ds. However, if this kid has serious delays then he may not have an understanding of how significantly he is hurting our kid. Ds did as we asked and yesterday he said to the kid during a quiet moment that he liked playing, but that he didn't want to be hit. He said how much it hurt him and told the kid he wouldn't play if he was hit. The other kid just walked away. Then at pickup ds said loudly, "Today was a good day. ____ didn't hit me!"


    I think the birthday thing is beyond weird, unless they are trying to send a message, that cannot be explicitly told, regarding the degree of delays they are working with. 


    Ugh. And while I typed that the littlest one poured out the bowl of pasta I heated for my older kid. He is covered in marinara, as is the chair and floor. He's so stinkin' cute that I can't get mad, but I sure feel defeated at the moment.


  14. I know people say this, but I think they often do not realize that it is not BECAUSE of the experience that they came out well, but IN SPITE OF it. Just like having crappy parents, or any number of childhood experiences. It definitely makes you a different person. I am just not convinced that it is formative in a positive way. I would argue that the strong person would have been EVEN BETTER had they not had to endure rounds of crap. Just my two cents:-)


    I cannot like this enough. I believe it with all my heart.

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  15. As to how livid, I'm pretty sure cartoon book steam was coming out of my ears at that point.


    And yes, he has recovered. He's a 7th grader and doing really well now. What was so insidious was how much the bullying was not only not addressed by the school but the degree to which the teacher, principal and staff actually participated in the bullying dynamic. Children who bully also often pick their primary targets based on who the teacher doesn't like or is frustrated with and then when the child who is being bullied goes for help, they find no one is willing to protect them. It was not an easy road and the whole experience delayed his accurate diagnosis (ASD) by as much as a year as the school related anxiety became the dominant issue that year and in some ways masked what was really going on with him.

     Its great that he recovered. I shudder at the thought of lessons taught by adults in a system that participates in the dynamic. We've been set back in our progress but fortunately have a diagnosis. I can't even imagine how much more complicated this could be at the end of a year and traumatic events like your ds experienced.


    There's a dynamic at play that Im not sure I would have been able to see without being in it. There is cut and dry shaming, pressure to accept this as normal and part of the process. Oh yes, there's lip service claiming to address things. Its a no win situation, If ds isn't hurt or traumatized such that hospital or police are involved, then the attitude is that it isn't that bad. If I pull him out before we get to that point then I am reactionary or...? It smacks of a DV situation, just in case people wonder how parents go through situations like these for months or years.

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  16. This was exactly our experience--the "talented & gifted" school by admission only with a 1.5 hour bus ride, all so that my son could be mercilessly bullied (glasses broken WHILE he was wearing them, pants pulled down on the bus) with zero support from the administration when we complained.  In fact, all they could offer was to say that somehow he should "get tougher," which, at age nine with two parents barely above five feet tall, was not happening any time soon.

     It helps to hear this. We chose this school because it was supposed to be very good. In many ways it is. But violence is a pretty big negative.

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  17. It makes me angry too. I am so sorry for what you endured. Spouses, friends, children all live with the damage done to a single soul. Those scars don't completely heal. In addition to sharing the articles with Dh I emphasized the kind of man ds will become if he carries those scars. The data showing that bully-victims fare the worst was extremely helpful. Ds is the kind that would go that route.


    Dh observed two recesses and told me that the other kid is not very nice. There is a child with facial tics in ds' class. Dh said bully kid was making fun of him for it. The other kids were all fine, the only mocking was from that one child. So I don't think removing ds is going to solve the bully problem at that school.


    In the midst of this though, it's surreal how there's this acceptance of what a young child should go through that would be totally unacceptable for adults. :blink:

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  18. To the person mentioning the star student: I understand and ds understands. It was scheduled. From a 7 yo's perspective who was hit by the kid last school day, it feels monumentally unfair. I would have expected a postponement because a repeat assault should have resulted in at least a suspension for a day. Even that would have made ds feel that adults were considering his well being. In the 2nd grade world it empowered the bully.



    • Like 7
  19. A heartfelt thanks to all of you for contributing thoughts and ideas. I have a hard time seeing that any 7 or 8 year old needs the police called on them, but I get that it is to make a statement to the school and parents, hopefully to spur action. It seems obvious that young kids need the right guidance. The recess monitors have been told repeatedly. The pattern is to tell the other kid not to hit and send him back out to play. The principal tells us she has been working on this daily and with the other parents extensively. I have no reason to doubt that. Still, there have been no repercussions or specifics.


    Ds refused to switch classes. He says the other kid already calls him a tattle tale. Ds insists that if he switches classrooms he would have it worse at recess. Same for forcing the other kid to switch. Amazingly, the kids actually all play well at recess aside from this boy targeting ds. Dh and I both watched. If the kid would just stop.... The thing is, the other kid is so much bigger than ds that he has hurt him pretty badly twice now; the punch to the stomach and the one to his kidney.


    Dh and I fought, then negotiated, and finally came to agreement. We requested a school change. The principal was understanding and immediately offered to help out, along with expressing regrets at losing ds. 

    • Like 16
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