ellyssian: (Default)
Late last week, I received some good news about Rachel from her instructional supervisor...

She did phenomenally well in the Pre-Algebra DORA/DOMA tests... "unbelievable" results, to quote her IS. We just checked the results, and the DOMA (the math one) was 100% correct.

Her reading is on the 10.5 grade level (she is in the 8th grade because we homeschooled her a year earlier than policy wanted, so most kids "her age" are in 7th grade).

Her IS said she's working on the IEP/Gifted level.
ellyssian: (penguin)
Guess what Rachel was researching today...

=)

ellyssian: (Default)
  • September
    • READING:
    • 6-12 Amadeus (1756-1791)
      • Movie vs. Book
      • Fact vs. Fiction
      • Lessons Learned
      • Current Events: 1756-1768
        • Music
        • Technology
        • Art
        • Cooking
        • Americas
        • Europe
        • France
        • Spain
        • Hapsburg Empire
        • Russian Empire
        • Ottoman Empire
    • FRENCH REVOLUTION
    • 13-19 Time Bandits
      • History vs. Mythology
      • Fact vs. Fiction
      • Lessons Learned
    • 20-26 Napoleon (1769-1821)
      • Napoleon
      • Lessons Learned
      • Current Events: 1769-1788
        • Music
        • Technology
        • Art
        • Cooking
        • Americas
        • Europe
        • France
        • Spain
        • Hapsburg Empire
        • Russian Empire
        • Ottoman Empire
    • 27-3 A Tale of Two Cities (1789-1799)
      • Movie vs. Book
      • Fact vs. Fiction
      • Lessons Learned
      • Current Events: 1789-1793
        • Music
        • Technology
        • Art
        • Cooking
        • Americas
        • Europe
        • France
        • Spain
        • Hapsburg Empire
        • Russian Empire
        • Ottoman Empire

Brandonisms

Sep. 5th, 2009 12:48 pm
ellyssian: (Me n' the B)
That Mr. B, he's one schmott guy.

Sitting there, eating breakfast, he turned to me and said "My birthday is in six days."

Apparently, he's been doing this for a few days now, correctly subtracting one each day to get to the right number.

Only thing is, he hasn't formerly been taught any addition or subtraction. He just started kindergarten a few weeks ago, and is still on some of the basic introductory math type stuff.

And to think, the school district decided that since he wasn't five on the first day of September, he would be forced to start kindergarten next year.*

Yep, he's one schmott guy. All he needs is a hat.




* We had this problem, slightly more legitimately so, with Rachel's late December birthday and a more typical cutoff date of late October/early November, and that was what started us in on homeschooling in the first place. Rachel is now in seventh grade and hasn't had any problems advancing beyond what other kids a year older than her can do.
ellyssian: (Default)
Just in case anyone wants to play along, here's the work for the first month:

  • August
    • READING:
    • 23-29 The Man in the Iron Mask (d. 1703)
      • Movie vs. Book
      • Fact vs. Fiction
      • Lessons Learned
      • Current Events: 1625-1724
        • Music
        • Technology
        • Art
        • Cooking
        • Americas
        • Europe
        • France
        • Spain
        • Hapsburg Empire
        • Tsardom of Russia
        • Russian Empire
        • Ottoman Empire
    • 30-5 The Mission (1750s)
      • Fact vs. Fiction
      • Lessons Learned
      • Current Events: 1725-1755
        • Music
        • Technology
        • Art
        • Cooking
        • Americas
        • Europe
        • France
        • Spain
        • Hapsburg Empire
        • Russian Empire
        • Ottoman Empire
ellyssian: (Default)
Rachel is done with 6th grade ~ the evaluator was by and everything was great, so now they just have to drop off her portfolio at the school district.

[profile] aequitaslevitas finished off his 11th grade year today as well, with his last virtual class, and his Latin final. He doesn't get all that much of a break ~ I think he's taking some more college courses over the summer...

Mr. B is reading through his flashcards, so he's all primed and ready for kindergarten next year, and Rachel's about to assist him with getting his chameleon suit because it's a really hard part that he can't do so good (says Mr. B, in reference to Spy Island on Poptropica).
ellyssian: (Default)
Beautiful misty morning here in northeastern PA. Haze across the forest, about 50-100 songbirds singing*, nice, quiet sleepy day, Mr. B hollering HAL YAY YOU YA on the other side of the door...

The newish green that forms a semi-circle around me, balanced by the faux-stone wall of the house a foot to my right, seems to play with you: is it really hazy, or do the leaves just smear the colors like an oil painting?

Speaking of magical woodland type stuff, you know, in the movie Legend, during the opening credits, there's all that fluff and stuff floating around, giving the forest that enchanted feeling?

Those were our working conditions earlier this week. I'm not sure what the tree was ~ I didn't ID it, although with the proliferation of seeds, I wouldn't it be surprised if it was the evil Tree-O-HeckHeaven ~ but it was definitely related to the dandelion. For two days straight, the air was filled with floating fluffballs. Sometimes it was as sparse as those opening credits(!!!!). Once in a while, it stopped for a few moments. Here and there, it was so thick, that we joked we'd be competing with the guy with a fir tree in his lung... you couldn't take a breath without inhaling a few of the things.

Today will be Rachel's last day of school. We're going on a field trip to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center for a talk by Pat Sutton on Backyard Habitat For Birds and Butterflies (For those in the area who might be able to join us it's at 1:00 p.m.-- Special program by naturalist Pat Sutton from Cape May, New Jersey; with lots of tips on how to attract birds and butterflies to your garden).


* Estimated. I lost count at 25 different types of calls. Sounds kind of like I'm in an aviary, which is good.
ellyssian: (Default)
The posts today will be Legion.

I thought about writing them all out and spreading them across a few or a dozen days, but hey, maybe I'll just flood the market.

Food will, of course, take up most of them. Some measure of all, really. Even the two posts on architecture and home design (from the How to Tell if ... are from Another Planet series... see the other episodes here and here) will be related to food preparation. There will also be six recipes: three main dishes, one sauce, one component, and one overall Plan for the entire meal.

I've mentioned before that I get into things in waves. I can be really intensely focused for a while, and then I'll move on to other things. Obviously, the food wave is cresting now. Thursday had the recipe for sweet lemon cod and winey 'zo 'n 'zo. Saturday had the Valentine's Feast that will generate all the food posts mentioned above, and was previewed here and had results depicted here. Yesterday, there were egg rolls which also works fairly well as a stir fry recipe ~ thought I had posted a stir fry one before, but if I did, I failed to tag it with either food or recipes.

There's likely to be more food recipes ahead in the near future. Maybe. I have some hamburger, and I'm likely to try something different for making burgers, so maybe something on that at the end of the week. Everything else for the next week or so will involve less of the recipe and more of the open-package-and-heat variety, unfortunately. Although I've seen some newspaper articles claim that healthy, fresh foods are cheaper than the pre-processed crap out there, Deb goes into conniptions when I get into a cooking phase because I like to work with ingredients instead of heat-n-serve stuff, and, apparently, her issue with this doesn't involve taste or health, rather money, of which we have, well, none.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas drove to college today. All by his own self. Next step will be him getting a job ~ beyond the part time work with me* ~ so he can pay for gas.

~ ~ ~

* He's very restricted on what times he can work; even if he doesn't have high school classes or college classes, his working permit is based on the school district we live in, not that he attends... so no work while they are in school, even if he is not. Which pretty much limits any landscaping help to the summer vacation ~ can't exactly do that sort of thing in the night time, or, even, schedule it to start late enough in the day to take him along. I suppose now that he's driving, he'll be able to come out in the afternoon for a few hours a day... hadn't thought of that until typing it... but that may work, although it means two vehicles going to the site... =)
ellyssian: (Default)
In no particular order:

Justin has his driver's permit. I took him over to the parking lots - and roads - at Beltzville. We went over everything I could think of - pulling into and out of parking spaces, going forward and backward in line, parallel parking, three point turns, and so on.

Rachel got her purple belt. She also assisted at a birthday party, and, after witnessing how none of the kids in gym could stretch properly, she wrote a letter to her sensei and to her gym teacher, and the end result of her efforts will be that the karate school will be spending a whole day at the middle school assisting the gym teacher.

Mr. B is not hitting his brother, he's whacking him.

Justin received a final grade of 90 in his first college level course.

Rachel played several concerts with the middle school band and went on a trip to an amusement park. Her band received a gold medal - only the second out of eleven years - in a performance for the high school professors.

Deb, Justin, and Rachel will be going down to Philly to volunteer at the Race for the Cure tomorrow.

July 12th, 3-5, I'll be giving a talk on native plants and natural landscaping at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem.

That'd be the end of the good news section. In the quite-possibly-not-so-good-news section, Deb's sister Pat - who a number of you have met at the cookouts - will be undergoing an operation to get a biopsy of... something in her brain. They don't know What, yet. And the entire board of the hospital is being brought in to figure out exactly What. Good thoughts would be welcome.
ellyssian: (Default)
'229' rumors keep most Bethlehem high school students home

A co-worker's wife teaches in the Bethlehem SD, and none of her students showed up today.
ellyssian: (Default)
Yeah.

Supposedly that's what today is.

Apparently, some kids are trying to spread the word and organize a rebellion against (at least) Lehighton Area School District.

How do I know?

The Superintendent sent home a letter to parents telling them the school district would be working with the police department and that our children would not be put in jeopardy.

Except.

They sent the letter home.

With the children.

So now all the kids know.

Way to get the word out!
ellyssian: (Default)
Just got off the phone with the state contact for Project 720 and received some clarifications:

1) Some exclusions are based on the definitions of "school entity" within the scope of the various legislation. If cyber charter schools are not defined as a school entity for a particular piece of legislation, then it does not apply to them.

Some of the legislation I looked at the other night does include charter schools and cyber charter schools as school entities. Apparently, this is not the case with Project 720.

2) Dual Enrollment is a statutory program; it is not the same as Project 720.

3) Project 720 is a collection of high school initiatives. It is an administration initiative.

4) Brick & mortar charter school students are not explicitly included in the definition of "school entity" that is impacting us here, however, because they can take advantage of the public school busing of the district of residence of the student, they apparently can still get into the dual enrollment situation.

So.

In summary, a lot more information, and a lot for me to look up and research. It seems to me the job to do would be to find these places where cyber charter schools are not considered school entities and get that changed.

There is some feeling that perhaps this decision came not so much from a sudden change in the PDE for ordering them to stop, but rather from the attorneys of the cyber school advising them to stop.

There was no clear cut answer on why cyber schools were excluded - just information that, in fact, they are technically excluded.

Curious...

Feb. 19th, 2008 10:25 pm
ellyssian: (Default)
The PDE decision re: Project 720 and cyber schools doesn't appear to be something decided in the legislature.

Basically, if anything in December made a change in the laws relating to cyber schools it would be this and it 1) doesn't mention Project 720 by name; 2) appears to reinforce that a cyber school is, in fact, a charter school, insofar as the laws pertaining to disabilities and education apply.

Which would seem to imply that cyber schools aren't being excluded, but rather explicitly included.

Which means nothing, because I'm not sure how much of any decisions by the PDE would be reflected here - I would expect 100%, because that seems like something beyond day-to-day business; it's a decision, and it needs to be decided and recorded. But, hey, my familiarity is more with the data documents, not the raw legislative bulletins. Or worse. =)

Still, we'll see what I hear back from the PDE folks...
ellyssian: (Default)
All schools in PA with the sole exception of the 7 (ETA: 11?) cyber charter schools are, as of a decision made in December 2007 and as of an effective date of February 4, 2008, no longer able to access the program 720 grant funds to reimburse them for dual-enrollment in high school and college. Brick & mortar public schools, private schools, charter schools, and homeschool students are eligible for these funds.

The PDE has explicitly excluded cyber schools from this list.

The PDE are the ones who need to explain why they did this - lawyers and so forth prevent the school from explaining any of this rationale, as it's not theirs.

The PDE does not have any information regarding this decision on their website.

Although we have been asked to hold off until a March meeting of school staff with PDE staff to see if the limited program they're offering can be made available, I don't think I'll be waiting.

I'm not sure they can explain this successfully any other way than: "We don't like cyber schools, and we'll screw their students out of benefits other children state wide have access to." Really. There's no reason to treat these kids any differently than any one else - the only difference between them and any other charter school is they can draw students statewide, where brick & mortar schools work within a single district - or perhaps limited number of districts?

I will, however, give them the opportunity to explain themselves, and I will also be asking various media type folks to look into this in more detail and find out why the state is doing this, and why they aren't talking about it publicly.


Project 720 Program Guidelines 2007/2008 - no mention of cyber schools

June 2005 - Gov. Rendell touts Project 720

Project 720 website
ellyssian: (Default)
For those of you wondering about the college career of [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas as regards to the CHAMPS program - which the PDE ordered his school to stop - wonder no more!

Tonight, Deb and I will be attending a meeting to find out exactly what's going on, or, more to the point, who's at fault. I'll be getting names and then talking to those folks.

Points I will be getting out of them include, but are not limited to, finding out exactly how they intend to provide funding directly so the program can continue, and, if the answer is "none" a polite request that they preface the "Education" in their organization's title with "Un-" or, perhaps, with the more concise "Political Manipulations for Personal Profit and Not", which would be far closer to truth in advertising.

There is a program called PA720 (or something similar) that many districts in the state offer, which provides for dual enrollment in high school and college. The existence of this program, and others like it, are why I feel the closing of the CHAMPS program is due to personal political vendetta, and not anything more substantial, regardless of the excuses used - however, my position on this is likely to be modified by what I find out tonight.

Anywho. PA720watchamacallit is only operated by one district in my county, and it's not the district Justin goes to. Deb called the local principal who has said they do offer a similar program, however: 1) it is carried out at the high school by high school teachers qualified to teach college level courses; 2) we're not sure Justin would be able to attend.

With CHAMPS, Justin could have taken courses at home, via computer, as he does his high school courses, but part of the attraction of this was to get him involved in a college level class, in person. We're not sure if the local program, provided Justin can attend, will deliver anything other than a high school class with college credits attached. Better than nothing, but not as desirable as the real deal.

If all else fails, we will attempt to have Justin continue along with at least a class a semester. He has, after all, been accepted into the college already, and that shouldn't be squandered.

Of course, getting the PDE, cyber school, or local district to pay for it will be the challenge. The local district certainly doesn't seem to mind taking my money, and that of the other taxpayers. They also accept federal money for Justin, even though they provide absolutely no services for him - the cyber schools only get a portion of that allotment.

And that's what the whole political battle seems to be about. The school districts (not ours in particular, maybe, but one or more across the state) want *all* of the funding for those kids.
ellyssian: (Default)
In an effort to comply with federal mandates and ensure Every Child Is Dumb As A Post, the state of Pennsylvania has threatened to revoke the charter/licensing/whateverthehellitisthatallowsthemtonotteach for Justin's school if they continue the CHAMPS (college ed concurrent with high school ed) program.

Wouldn't want to educate our kids, now would we?

Justin will be able to continue out this semester because it's paid for, but that's it for further education.

Maybe if we weren't paying so much for the education he's not getting, we could afford to send him there on our own, but the annual school taxes are already more than a month's salary.

I don't think I'd mind the high price if there was actually an education attached to it.
ellyssian: (Default)
So last night was "Meet the Teachers" night at Rachel's middle school.

Deb and I have decided at least two, maybe three, of the teachers look to be young enough to date our son.

I think she's in a bit of shock about that.
ellyssian: (Default)
Woke Rachel up at 5:30am so she could eat breakfast and catch the bus for her first day of middle school. She's no longer on the little kids bus (grades K-4); now she's on the big kids one (grades 5-12).

Justin has a meet the teachers/test the technology day, and he'll start some of his classes. They've actually had those classes up for a week, but the virtual classes don't start until
ellyssian: (Default)
We're moving Justin's school computer up into his room, and Deb called the cable company as they had said explicitly that more than one computer could not share the connection. They advised her to save the money on a second modem and get a router.

So.

Because of the distance, we need a wireless router. Any ideas on specific makes/models, as well as devices to allow both Mac OSX and Winblows PCs to do their part and connect to the wireless? And keep the whole thing secure from any bear, deer, or squirrels that might want to hack into it.

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ellyssian: (Default)
Everett

July 2014

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