The Giant Spider and the Blue-Tailed Skink

13 04 2009

Things I have boldly vanquished in the past 24 hours . . .or shall we say at least survived, along with some nasty weather (tornado warnings traveling with biblical floods and hail.)

We all have our dragons to slay. 😀

skink-from-florida-caverns

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15 responses

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

Cutest dragon *ever!*

17 04 2009
JJ

Oh that’s right, I forgot. You have BOYS! 😉

17 04 2009
JJ

I didn’t slay him of course.

Just helped him out of my house, when he didn’t want or know he needed my help. Which is why it took over an hour and was traumatic for both of us. . .but we’re both physically fine and much relieved the mission was successful!

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

I’m glad the cutie lizard made it out ok!!

One thing I miss about living in Florida are those cute little lizards. :] Fire ants and winter oldsters from New York driving blind and nearly hitting kids… not so much.

17 04 2009
JJ

Did you ever hear the one about what the Florida flag is?

A steering wheel with knuckles and a hat . . .
😀

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

LOL! I think it’s way safer to drive in late spring after at least most of ’em go home. :]

Now that I realize you are in Florida, no wonder you homeschool! Public school was divided by counties if I remember right. We used to live in Hillsborough. Ugh… I lived out in “Pebble Creek” near the Pasco County line, and would hear of riots in Pasco schools.

Don’t you have to test there? Do you agree with testing? I’m not sure what I think about it, you know… having disabled kids makes me leery of “testing” and having the schools pretty much own those children. Woodjie is non-verbal, you know, and I doubt highly I could make that adequate yearly progress thing magically happen, short of that miracle. Must put “miracle” in the IEP if he goes to public school. :]

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

ok, that was a bit off-topic of me…

17 04 2009
JJ

Not off-topic at all — we were speaking of dragons to slay, right? 😉

Nope, no testing is legally required here for home education and I’m no fan of standardized testing, at least not of the way it’s been used to turn real education into standardized schooling.

I do think for individual kids testing CAN be helpful for the right reasons, the way you might get a blood work-up to see what’s going on with your health or the way I got a scoliosis exam for Young Son once, as a sort of diagnostic tool rather than for judging and sorting high-stakes consequences kind of social control tool.

Favorite Daughter was never school-tested or SAT-tested, except I chose to hire a private psychologist to give her an IQ test when she was three or four, for my own ideas working with her at home. I was freshly home from my public education career, still pretty school-minded then. But I didn’t care about the “score” as much as I wanted to see her different aptitudes in perspective, relative to each other. Turned out I didn’t need it, it was EXACTLY what I would have predicted just from knowing her.

If you want some (amusing) idea of what kind of unschooled student we raised without testing, until at age 16 she reached a multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank test-minded history professor in college, here’s what Favorite Daughter wrote about that. 😀

The Meaning of Flunkey

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

Oh, my. There is NO WAY the hospital mixed up your kid. She’s a little you! Awww…

I’m glad you were able to get by without testing. I really *do* get that there are some folks that won’t teach their kids, but I’d get so icked trying to think of ways to fit someone else’s standards if we had to do testing.

Though I have to say I’m still pretty school-minded in some ways in that I have more of a lineal approach to learning rather than the unschooling eclectic/ what I feel like doing today thing. I just CAN NOT see myself doing that sort of teaching. Or, not teaching. Well… whatever it’s called. :]

17 04 2009
JJ

Mrs C, were you reading here when Favorite Daughter discovered she had a math coding disorder that prevents her doing even simple arithmetic when it has several steps, despite her brilliance and honor student status in all other academics? Our postings about that might be really good for you to see as resources, along with everything else you are considering for Woodjie?

School would have RUINED her. She would have been kept back in horrible remedial classes she could never advance out of, because you can’t overcome a coding disorder by banging your head against the wall. And by now she would hate learning and teachers and education, and she would think she was stupid. (Instead she plans to get her Ph.D. as soon as possible and be a poet and English professor.)

Well, that explains a lot

Here’s something she wrote before the discovery:
Head Cleaning Day again

17 04 2009
Mrs. C

Oh, I laughed my head off through the second post about poor Juan stocking sweaters… but the first, I just can’t imagine how hard that must have been to deal with. Sure, she jokes about it… but still.

I blame my math unintelligence on the fact that we moved frequently when I was a child and skipped several key teachings. So now, I am going through fourth-grade math with my younger children and learning some things I did NOT know before, but yet I can do some of the things further in the book… hmm.

FWIW I am almost certain that Woodjie is autistic. First off, the two autistic brothers thing makes it likely. And second, the symptoms are not good here. I am not sure what I will do in a few years when it’s time for “formal” instruction, though the public special needs preschool is great… the elementary here is closet-locking. And the process coordinator? I remember her locking “Elf” in the closet. Remember it. Don’t even want to meet her again for an IEP meeting.

Ah… well… several years away. But on my mind sometimes anyway. :]

17 04 2009
JJ

I’m gonna guess from your years of experience with autism, you’re already familiar with the work of Dr. Temple Grandin, but just in case — I think she is AWESOME.

Here’s her latest interview on NPR, but there are earlier ones more on point about humans, I think.

The story with FavD goes on, that she got two full days of testing (expensive but worth it) and indeed the report was accepted by the college as documenting classic math coding disorders, so she aced two science courses the next term as official substitute for the two required math courses. Problem solved!

(Not that it helps poor Juan with his sweaters but SHE isn’t sweating it any more. . .)

17 04 2009
JJ

One final thing, if you aren’t bored with FavD’s blogging yet. Her longtime boyfriend “Calvin” was put in special ed classes in middle school here in Florida, and things went downhill fast:

Through a series of murky circumstances that I characterize as the tragic misunderstanding typical of our school system and which he prefers not to talk about, he wound up in remedial classes which were little more than child warehouses. . .

18 04 2009
Mrs. C

One thing about Grandin I found interesting was her recollections of childhood. She is obviously for autistic rights, but strongly pro-therapy. She said something to the effect that she was made to work/play and interact for three good hours a day. Have actually used that as a guideline in working with Woodjie. Three hours is actually a LOT when you consider how much time is spent just eating or letting him play what he wants, naptime, etc.

I read about Calvin and what it made me think of were those children who could never get out. No matter what. :[

19 04 2009
JJ

Something else you might like in today’s NYT, “Natural Happiness”:

Many studies show that even a limited dose of nature, like a chance to look at the outside world through a window, is good for your health. Hospitalized patients heal more quickly; prisoners get sick less often.

Being in the wild re­duces stress; spending time with a pet enhances the lives of everyone from autistic children to Alzheimer’s patients.

The author Richard Louv argues that modern children suffer from “nature-deficit disorder” because they have been shut out from the physical and psychic benefits of unstructured physical contact with the natural world.

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