Monday, July 5, 2010

Virtual Success!

The decision to home school was a decision I never thought I would make.Until last summer, I always thought it was beyond my abilities. While trying to find readiness material for my 4 year old, so he could enter kindergarten on the right foot. I ran across a website for a virtual public school and before I realized what it was I registered to the site. I remember being a little irritated when I realized it was not what I thought it was. After summing up what the site was about, Public Virtual Education, I showed it to my fourth grade son, the entire time thinking; no way would I ever take on that kind of responsibility. I dismissed the concept as novel at best.

The start of school year 2008-2009 had begun and I had one son starting Kindergarten and another going into 5th grade. My older boy Brice had been struggling since 3rd grade and insisted on testing me in new an unusual ways. He would leave his books at school so we would be unable to do his home work. He would tell me he had no home work when in fact he did. He would hide his bad grades and he even received a 1% on an open book test, ARGGH! I tried grounding him, we had numerous teacher conferences and he even had summer school, all to no avail. The ironic thing was that he always passed his standardized tests, albeit by the very thin skin of his teeth.

That March, I received an Email in my in box from the virtual school, (Georgia Cyber Academy) stating they were registering for the 2009-2010 school year and that they had so many families that wanted to register, that they would need to do a lottery. I registered Brice on a whim thinking to my self that if he got a spot, it would be a sign from God to try it. I gave no more thought to the idea for rest of the school year.

Again, Brice barely passed his standardized test and was promoted to 6th grade. My husband I and did let him go and spend the summer in IL with his biological Mom and his paternal Grandparents. I could have technically sent him to summer school but I needed to catch my breath as badly as he did. A few weeks into the summer I received the congratulatory Email, informing me that Brice had won a spot at GCA. I was excited and terrified  at the same time. I then spent several hours researching the school to see what it had to offer. I immediately became aware that I would be his learning coach and would need to be very involved. I was ready for the commitment, anything that would help Brice succeed.

There were several things that stood out about the school .1  Excellent curriculum.  2. Was the fact that since it was considered a charter school it was free and all the books and aids and teacher guides were included. We even qualified for a computer and printer. 4. and 5.  Was GCA’s mastery based program and its flexible schedule. 6. The teaching sessions are given via the computer by fully accredited teachers. Last, was the real clincher, individual pace; we could go as fast or as slow as we needed to, with numerous chances for remediation. I knew Brice and I could do well with this kind of structure. I made a pro/con list, the biggest con being Brice’s socialization, but the school did offer and encouraged many chances for socializing with trips and gatherings through out the year. I was sold!

I went to my husband armed with all my rebuttals and ready to argue. To my surprise my husband was very supportive of the idea. However, the decision was ultimately Brice’s. I called him at his Grandparents house to discuss it with him.  He gave the idea consideration and once he realized he did not have to get up before 8 am he was convinced.

It was in no way an easy transition, we struggled, argued, our patience with each other was tested often. The results speak for them selves though. Brice’s first semester grades he received four A’s and a B. He brought up his standardized scores up from squeaking by to nearly exceeding grade level in almost every subject. The cherry on the cake was the fact that Brice had 168+ gains in math and 300+ gains in reading and finished the year with straight A’s. Our families experience in virtual education was a success and next year my youngest son will join the trenches. I for one can’t wait for another challenging year of real and "virtual" success!

 Link to GCA

School 2.0: Kids Go Online to Learn


The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother's first to guide the stream lets,
From them souls unresting grow--
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love imperiled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky--
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is The hand that rules the world

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Water is the New Oil

OGALLALA AQUIFER                   
Ninety-five percent of the United States' fresh water is underground. As farmers in the Texan High Plains pump groundwater faster than rain replenishes it, the water tables are dropping. North America's largest aquifer, the Ogallala, is being depleted at a rate of 12 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year. Total depletion to date amounts to some 325 bcm, a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. The Ogallala stretches from Texas to South Dakota, and waters one fifth of US irrigated land. Many farmers in the High Plains are now turning away from irrigated agriculture, as they become aware of the hazards of over pumping,  and realize water is not in endless supply.

I started doing research on water shortages because of what I've recently learned about hydraulic fracking. I was thinking that I would find evidence of contamination to the Ogallala Aquifer caused by fracking. Although I have not yet found any links between fracking an Ogallala Aquifer, what I did find seems too ludicrous to be true.

Apparently a company called (W.C.S) Waste Control Specialists, operate a 1,338-acre radioactive waste dump that happens to sit right on top of Ogallala Aquifer. I found an excellent article with so much information, I found it hard to abridge, so here’s a direct link.  Click the Link below!

How Does Your Water Glow? -- In These Times

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Monsters Under Our Beds

We always tell our children that there are no such things as monsters. We tell them not to be afraid of the dark and that terrifying flesh eating creatures are just the stuff of an over active imagination. We say, "don’t worry little boy or girl it’s not real."

So what should tell our children about horrible oil spills that decimate wild life and lively hoods? As parents do we shield them for the horrific truth of the legacy that will be left to them? What do we tell them about wars, in which soldiers kill innocent woman and children? How do we explain the real reason for these wars?

Do we reveal to the next generation that foreign banks, mainstream media, and corporations like Halliburton all work together to keep us in misinformed, spend our money and ultimately control our politicians?

So when we tell our children not to be afraid of the monsters in the dark, isn't it also our responsibility to arm them with the truth about the real monsters that exist. The monsters like Halliburton and others who cloak them selves with falsehoods in broad daylight.

I think we need to break the chain of disinformation. We need to educate our children on the real villains. Prepare them for the truth, which in my opinion, is more frightening and insidious than any monsters under our beds.


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    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Fracking You: Dick Cheney Style

    Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the procedure the energy industry and drilling companies use to blast through underground rock to uncover natural gas, oil and ground water wells. It has been used commercially since 1949. Each well requires a pressurized injection of nearly 600 chemicals, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins. These hazardous chemicals are finding their way into drinking water. One month before the gulf oil rig explosion, an independent publication, published a draft to exempt chemical disclosure rules pending Senate energy and climate legislation . BP America was the creator of this draft. Similarly, back in 2005 Vice President Dick Cheney along with the energy industry and drilling companies such as former employer Halliburton Corp., efficaciously pressured congress to exempt fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air ACT and other environmental laws.

    Tomorrow HBO is airing a documentary by Josh Fox, called Gasland.  It is a documentary that traces hydraulic fracturing across 34 states from California to Louisiana to Pennsylvania.This award winning piece, shows dozens of interviews with residents suffering from neurological damage after their water was contaminated. In some cases, it shows residents in rural Colorado lighting their lighters near kitchen faucets and watching their drinking water burst into flames as high as 3 feet. A myriad of these residents said they were compelled by drilling companies into signing nondisclosure agreements in exchange for measly settlements.

    Now gas companies are trying to secure drilling rights to the Marcellus Shale Fields This massive field sits below New York and Pennsylvania and is located beneath the last unfiltered watershed in the U.S. It supplies water to tens of millions of residents In New York and Philadelphia.

    So while we as a country are being distracted by the gulf oil disaster, BP and others are trying to slink their way into bypassing essential safety regulations, because what we don't know cant hurt them. So thank you Josh Fox for bringing awareness to the masses, because information is power and we will not let corporations get away with crap like this anymore!
    Written by, Maureen Hill

    Gasland airs on HBO June, 21st,24th,26th,30th,and July, 5th


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    Wednesday, June 16, 2010


    I’m embarrassed to admit this but, until a few days ago I had never heard about or understood what a drop house was. As watched an interview with the Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer, she explained what a lot of people are not talking about. That is the prevalence of crime associated with the large illegal immigrant population that Arizona and other cities across the US have. During the interview they showed a video of a suburban home with all the windows boarded up. Upon which, they explained that these so called "drop houses" are where human smugglers keep illegals that paid money to be brought into America. Once there the men and woman held are extorted for more money. If they cannot pay they are held hostage until their families back home can pay the ransom.

    During their captivity, the men are often sodomized, beat, electrocuted and even have fingers cut off, which are then sent as proof to their families that these savages are serious. The woman and children are not spared from the abuse, they are also repeatedly raped day after day, by the "Coyotes". There are even more atrocities being committed on the way to these drop houses. Rape trees are scattered along the Sonoran desert. These trees are what the traffickers create with the undergarments of the woman they have raped along the trail to America. After they rape this woman, they hang their bras and panties on trees as mementos or as a sign of their conquests. "Minuteman" or border patrol volunteers often see these trees during their weekly patrols. Since the Sonoran desert sprawls 120,000 square miles in southwestern Arizona, southeastern California, most of Baja California and the western half of the state of Sonora Mexico, they have know way of knowing, just how many there are.

    These Drop houses are not just stops for illegals on their way to a new life. They are actually centers for criminal activities that directly threaten neighborhoods in every city that has illegals coming in from Mexico. If our Government refuses to enforce federal laws, (which in fact Arizona bill SB1070 mirrors) and protect our borders, states have no choice but to implement stricter immigration laws, not only for they safety of American citizens but also for the misguided illegals that will that pay anything for a chance at the American dream.

    Written by, Maureen Hill

    SB 1070
    Click Here

    (The following video is graphic not for the young or squeamish.)

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    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Gun Control is not Crime Control!

    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."
    ~Sigmund Freud~

    Enough said.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Collateral Damage

    The truth shall set you free or so I was told. I wanted to start this blog with a question about war. What do most people consider acceptable during war? I recently posted a link on a social website to an article about 22-year-old SPC Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst with the US Army. The article stated that he had been arrested by federal agents because he had allegedly leaked the "Collateral Murder" Wikileaks video. The controversial video, was released in April 2010, and shows a 2007 Apache helicopter attack that left several noncombatants dead, including two Reuters employees and three civilians.

    I was very surprised at the comments this post received. One person said "God bless the gunship pilot" and another person said "Manning should be charged as a traitor and shot." Furthermore someone quipped "this guy should be hanged... we have no business knowing this stuff." It pains and angers me to hear people say "hang the messenger" when what is clearly the most important thing is the message. The fact that anyone can hunt innocent people down like dogs is at best atrocious. The last comment stated,"I don't care how many are wiped out in the middle east. I have a spec ops friend on his third tour who said there are no innocents. Those that stand quietly by are just as guilty as any." In my opinion, these statements reach a level of hypocrisy that makes me want to scream!

    I'd like to give mainstream media a round of applause. Together with the war on terror they have succeeded in dehumanizing the Iraqi people. They are people just like you and me. The fact that Bradely Manning thought the American people had a right to know what terrible acts were being committed in their name, is not a act of treason but an act of bravery. He just could not stand by in good conscience without disseminating the information. He was quoted saying that the networks he hacked contained "incredible things, awful things ... that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC."

    We the people right? We are in this together right? Essentially what we are saying to our service men and woman is do what you're told without question. But make sure you keep it to yourself soldier. What we don't know won't hurt us. But I say, what we don't know does hurt us.

    More and more soldiers are returning home with the truth but sadly it's truth that no one wants to hear or can't bare. Eighteen soldiers commit suicide everyday because they can not live with what they have seen or perhaps even done. If they speak out they are traitors. How can we as a nation let this happen to our soldiers. I guess the only that will change popular opinion is when we experience first hand what it feels like to be a targeted innocent civilian or an American soldier, and when we like they, ultimately end up being just, collateral damage.