Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween costumes. Why do I wait until the last second?

Why is it that every year I wait until the last minute to work on their costumes?  They insist I make them their costumes (which I secretly love doing anyway), and I know well ahead of time what I need to make, but I always wait until the week of (or day of) to make them up!
Last night I was up into the wee hours of the morning crafting costumes for my boys.
Timmy has wanted to be Mario for about 6 months.  I did crochet his hat up about a month ago.  The overalls I whipped up today.  Voila!  All done!

Niko wanted to be Luigi at first.  I thought it was going to be great!  A Luigi and Mario walking down the road together!  It'd be perfect.   Then Niko saw the postcard I made with Timmy during our art class here at home and he insisted he HAD to be Frankenstein.  Ugh.  Really?  But everyone is Frankenstein!  No changing the boys mind, though, so I had to go with it.  I sewed up his jacket last night.  I made the head/hat  and the collar with the bolts sticking out of it last night as well. 

Adrian has said he wants to be a rocket ship since the ride home from trick-or-treating last year.  I was really dreading this one.  I really just couldn't figure out how to best make it.  I thought about poster board and then knew that wouldn't work because he would need to be getting in and out of the van and sitting in his car seat in the van while we went TOT'ing.  It had to be something soft, but I had to be able to make it look like the structure of a rocket ship. 
In the end I decided to just use fleece.  Made a porthole for his face to look out.  Made a cone out of plastic canvas and put that in the tip of the rocketship to sit on his head like a hat.  Stabilizing legs made of plastic canvas on the outside and red and yellow tulle coming out the bottom to signify flames.  It is NOT my best work.  Not by far.  I'm really not very pleased with it at all, but HE loves it.  And that is who I wanted to make happy.  So here is my little rocket ship!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Submitted the Letter Of Intent along with another letter

Today I went to the school at 1pm and submitted my letter of intent to home school.  The letter was dropped off at the superintendent's office exactly 10 days after I commenced home instruction.  I also gave the superintendent's secretary another letter letting them know that I had received a phone call from the elementary principal the day before, wherein she threatened me and my family with "educational neglect".  I was well within the time frame to submit my LOI and I considered her phone call harassment.  From there on out all communication regarding my son, Timothy, should be done in writing.  I printed out a copy of New York State's Homeschool regulations and highlighted the part that states that I have 14 days to get my letter of intent in. 

And, just because the school has had things mysteriously disappear before, when I left there I went to the post office and mailed copies of both letters certified mail with return receipt to them as well. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Harassment? Bullying? From the Principal?

The principal called me today.  She let me know that the superintendent's office has reported that I haven't come in to fill out the paperwork for Timmy to homeschool.
I told her I was aware of that and that I'd be in to get it done tomorrow.
She informed me that this was considered to be "educational neglect" at this point.
I was LIVID.
I told her that he's been out a week and that if that was pushed, that I would take Tim to the pediatrician and she would write a note stating that he was out of school because of the mental and physical abuse he suffered at school and that it was a needed break. I told her I could get a letter from both the pediatrician and the psychologist about it.
Honestly ... they are both so upset by this bullying. I know they would write it. Timmy is going to have to see a psychologist every week for who knows how long because they had him to the point where he was talking about wanting to die. At 6.

Her reply was "Hmm... well I don't know about that."

I get off the phone with her and am extremely upset to the point that I'm shaking and in tears.  I go and look up New York State's rules and regulations on homeschooling.  EVERYTHING I read states I have 2 weeks from the time I start homeschooling him to get a letter of intent to the school.  It has not been 2 weeks.  I'm well within the time frame I need to be in.  She is harassing me.

No wonder the administration of Chautauqua Lake Central School lets children get away with bullying.  The principal is bullying ME.  Threatening me with neglect, when the school is the one that allowed my child to be neglected and ABUSED on their bus.  This is NOT okay.

We will be contacting a lawyer to look into taking legal action against the school.  We had decided prior to this to just let it be.  We took Timmy away from the abuse and were protecting him by keeping him home and educating him here, but after this, I see no other recourse.  In order to protect my son and my family, we will have to seek legal action.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reviews of Chautauaqua Lake Central School

On October 21st, I went to Great Schools and made a review of Chautauqua Lake Central School.  I wrote an honest, but somewhat emotional review of the school.  (Can you blame me for being emotional?)  I went to the site again today, and another parent has written a review after mine.  It looks like their child is being bullied in school too.  It looks like they've tried to get the administration to help with it to no avail as well.  It looks like this school is making a habit of letting bullies off.  A habit of letting children hurt, humiliate and demean other children.  This is SO not acceptable! :(  I feel so bad for those other children and parents.  I wish I knew who they were so we could join together to get the administration of Chautauqua Lake Central School to take this seriously.
Why, after all that has been plastered all over the news about children committing suicide because of bullying, would they let this continue?  Why aren't they protecting our children?  I've had to remove my child from the school to protect him from bullies.
This makes me so upset. :(  It was bad enough when I thought that Timmy might be the only one that was getting bullied.  Now I see this is so much bigger than just one child. :(

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Workbooks we're using

Reading For Understanding Grades 1-2
Language Arts Activities Using Colorful Cut-Outs
Picture Learning - Reading, Writing, and Math - Grade 1
Connect With Words - Grade 1
Puzzles, Games, and Journaling - Preschool-1

The really cool thing is that none of these workbooks cost me over $4!  I was able to get them all at a super discounted price, so that is awesome! :)

Websites we've been using with great success:  **THE BEST!**  Costs $20 a month, and is soooo worth it! - Free!  Nice site with lots of info, but you have to set up a lot more of the info for your child on this than on T4L. - Great site for spelling words and more!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Artistic postcards

I have some acrylic paint paper, so I cut it up into quarters and Timmy and I each painted a picture.  They are the perfect size to use as postcards!  We'll be sending these cuties out this week to some other homeschoolers that are going to become our penpals! YAY! :)  I'm looking forward to him getting a penpal!  It will help with reading, writing, communication and art too! :)
Timmy's painting is a pumpkin totem pole.  The brown pumpkin on top is a girl one.  You can tell this by the hair and the earrings.  :)  

Harvest Hollow

We went to Harvest Hollow today!  It was fun and very educational!  They have a nice petting zoo there!  We were supposed to go with the Homeschool group yesterday, but Timmy was coughing awful and I didn't want to take him out in the cold.  So today it was!  Pumpkin bowling, petting zoo, tons of ride on toys, and tons of pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping records of everything

I don't trust the school.  Am I being paranoid to think they will try to screw with me?  Maybe.  I don't know.  I do know, though, that I'm keeping records of EVERYTHING that I do with Timmy to prove that he is getting a full education here at home.  Every worksheet he completes.  Every art piece he does.  Every field trip he goes on.  Every physical education thing I do with him.  I'm keeping records of everything so they cannot say I'm not doing my job.  After watching them twist things around and lie about things, I just have no trust anymore.
I've got folders for every subject.  I take pictures at every outing.  I want to make sure if anyone questions me, I can give them a huge pile of proof that he is happily and very well homeschooled.

Wordless Wednesday

Pollution ... it's a scary thing!

Timmy learned all about pollution today.  T4L had a chapter on it for him to work on this week.  He read through the whole chapter, and then after did some extra work on the side to go along with it.  He cleaned and smashed down all of our recyclables and we talked all about recycling and how it helps our earth.  I then had him do an art project on pollution.  He made one sheet that was a clean earth and it was "happy".  Then he made a earth with garbage, litter and pollution and labeled it "sad".  I also had him work on his printing skills by printing some of the key words in this chapter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Homeschooling Curriculum

I've done nothing but check out different curriculum for the entire week.  What can we afford?  What will work well for Timmy?  What will be up to NY's standards?  A friend of mine suggested and I'm so happy she did.  We "enrolled" Timmy in their first grade curriculum and it is so great.  It teaches language, language arts, science, math and social studies.  It is easy for my six year old to navigate and teaches him in a fun way.  I'm so glad that we have found this curriculum.  They teach, test and play games with him.  They keep track of his progress, what he has accomplished, and his attendance. 
I've supplemented the T4L curriculum with information from  They have tons of interactive stuff, worksheets to print out and more!  I've also purchased 4 different workbooks to use with him. 

I'm so glad I decided to take him out of school.  He is LOVING the learning he is doing at home.  I love to see that gleam in his eye!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm taking Timmy out of school. I have to.

I'm going to have to remove him from school and homeschool him.  The school will not protect him.  They are more interested in protecting their own asses. :(

I took the boys to school today and went in and asked if I could talk to the principal.  I really wanted to talk to her about what had been happening and how it was (NOT) being handled by the busing supervisor.

I started at the beginning.  Explaining how he had been bullied since pre-k.  I told her I had always followed the rules by going to the busing supervisor, except for the one time when I came to her.  I told her that it seemed like nothing was ever done about the bullying.
She informed me "You don't KNOW that.  How can you sit there and say that?  We don't tell you how we handle it because you have NO RIGHT to know.  Just know that we DO take care of things.  WHY are you just NOW coming to me about this?"
I told her that I HAD come to her back in Prek about it, but since nothing seemed to be done, I continued to go to the busing supervisor, especially since SHE (the principal) had told me to make sure I went through the proper chain of command in the future.  And honestly, I do feel like nothing was done to help Timmy in pre-k, except to traumatise him more.  A child had pulled his books out of his backpack and wrote "f-ck" on all of them.  Timmy had told me that B___ had done it.  When I talked to the principal I told her who Timmy said did it.  She asked B___ if he did it.  He said no.  SOOOoooooo... she went out the next morning and took Timmy off the bus and had in stand at the foot of the bus steps and as the kids got off the bus, she asked him "Is this the kid that did it?"  Timmy clammed up and didn't say anything, so she said that nothing could or would be done.  Do you blame Timmy for not outing the kid?  I mean ... really?  He was so upset about that whole thing!
Anyway, after her telling me I had no right to know what happened, I was even more upset in her office.  She called the busing supervisor while I was in there and Mary Ann told her that two children said that Timmy was the one calling people retard on the bus, and that HE was at fault in all of this.  WTF?!  Ya know, if my kid DID do it, I would discipline him, but come ON!  Niko came to me first and told me what happened on the bus, then Timmy was crying and telling me he wanted to die ... but he was the one being a bully?  I think not!

I informed her that if they couldn't protect him, that I'd have to pull him from school and homeschool him.  She let me know that they would NOT continue any of his therapy sessions (speech therapy, occupational therapy, social therapy) if I pulled him.  I told her I was under the impression that they HAD to.  She said no.

She said she would call me back by noon after looking into this further.

I walked out in tears.

She called me back an hour later and told me that she had looked up the regulations, and that they would have to provide services for him.

The assistant principal called me back an hour after that to tell me that she had pulled the videos from the bus from yesterday and that nothing happened on the bus.  They could not see nor hear anything on the bus.  So I asked how that could be since Mary Ann had told the principal that TIMMY was calling people retard on the bus.  She didn't know the answer to that.
She said that she had looked at the tapes of when CH had punched Timmy in the face as well and that Timmy and him were goofing around, so he wasn't bullied.  I told her that even if they WERE goofing around (and I did get on Timmy for that), that no one should punch him in the mouth hard enough for him to lose a tooth!  She agreed and told me that both Timmy and CH were talked to about it.
She said I'm not allowed to watch the videos due to confidentiality, but another school official could look at them for me and tell me what was on it.  Huh?  Like I'm really trusting of anyone at the school right now.
She said they could find Timmy a buddy on the bus and that buddy would sit with him to help look out for him ... but that was all they could do.
She also doesn't understand how he can be so depressed at home.  She sees him at school all the time and he is always happy THERE.

Yeah.  So screw them all.  They won't protect him.  I'm taking him out for his own protection.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just sickened. SICKENED!

Niko came to me today after school and told me "The kids were calling Timmy a bad name on the bus."
Me: "What did they call him?"
Niko: "They were going, Retard! Retard! Retard! Retard! to him.
Me: "Timmy .... were they saying that to you?"
Timmy starts crying and says "I guess I am a retard.  I just wanna die."
Me giving him tons of hugs.

I set the boys up to play with some legos, then call the bus garage immediately to tell her what happened.
Yes, I talked with Mary Ann again.  She is always so happy to hear from me.  Yeah right.  As soon as I said "Hello, this is Catrina Usher and I'm calling about another incident happening on the bus with Timmy", I get a loud sigh on the other end.  Yes, Mary Ann, I feel the SAME WAY about having to continue reporting instances of bullying to you, because you FAIL to protect my child!

So I tell her exactly what the boys told me.  She let me know she found it hard to believe that that happened on the bus.  She also said "I was under the impression that Timmy causing the issues on the bus after our last conversation."  WHAT?!?!  NO!  I told her that I understood that kids goof around and that if Timmy was horsing around on the bus I wanted to know, but that gave CH NO excuse to punch him in the mouth and make a tooth fall out!

She said she would look into and call me back in the morning.

I cannot handle this.  I cannot handle the fact that he keeps getting bullied and they do NOTHING about it.  I cannot handle that my 6 year old is saying he wants to die because of this abuse he is receiving on the bus.  I can't!

I called the pediatrician and let her know what had happened.  She was MAD!  I told her that I have been documenting the bullying so far this year, as she had instructed.  She wants me to get Timmy in to see a psychologist.  These bullies are causing psychological harm to my child as well as physical harm to him.  This is out of control.
OUT OF CONTROL!  I'm tired of it being shrugged off. :(  I'm tired of Timmy continuing to be hurt. :(  Just so tired of it. :(

Friday, October 8, 2010

A pretty one and an ugly one

Made my uncle an "ugly as sin" hat.  He likes ugly stuff like this. LOL  And he needed a new hat.
I then had to counter that by making a super sweet and pretty hat!