Where’s The Beef!?

Or should I say “Where’s the blog?” I have really been starting to feel the guilt of a sadly neglected blog weighing down on me lately, and in my defense, since school started this year, for me it really just seems like a few days . . . so, I will give you all a recap of where my last few months have disappeared to.

1. A new school year, always means new teacher drama for me as my very active and gifted son, Zee, adjusts to a new school year and new teachers. Let me recap – Me: Zee, school is starting up again next week. Zee: complete and utter melt down, involving kicking, screaming, etc. Me: You have to go, I can’t leave you home alone, blah, blah, blah, and all kinds of other reasons that mean absolutely nothing to him, while in my heart I am wishing I could quit my job and homeschool him so he could have an education from someone who really appreciated his genius, even though it is trying at times, (like when he took the door handle and latch on the sliding glass door apart and reassembled it backwards when he was 3.)

Time lapse – school has started and I am once again getting daily notes and phone calls from the school. A new teacher who I had so much hope for at the back to school night, because she had rotating classroom assignments, which is always a good thing for Zee, because he is just one of those kids who needs a special job. But no, it seems those only apply to a certain part of the day. And the teacher insists that he must do worksheets and readers – the really mundane ones with two or three words to a page. He has been reading words since he was 2. He hates the readers and tears them up on the way home from school so I won’t make him read them. They send home 6 a week, each one to be read 3 times each. HELL. Not that he can’t, but he wont. He got a zero on his reading assessment, and was in the 95th percentile for comprehension. HOW does that happen? I can tell you, the but teacher is ‘puzzled.’  I call the teacher and tell them we will be opting out and reading Charlotte’s Web instead. It is a book he picked out on his own and has been reading a little at a time already, even though it is hard right now for any book to hold his attention for very long. More notes and phone calls – he is hiding under his desk, pretending to eat gravel on the playground at recess, not staying in his seat, chewing on paper, talking to himself at his desk (probably on some Calvinesque adventure) turning the lights on and off, not bringing his ‘stop and go’ slips back to school with my signature, etc., etc, etc.

Then they call me in for a meeting with the teacher. She informs me that he is not behind, but that she is worried that he might fall behind at some future point. It would be terribly unjust of me to not take him to the doctor and put him on meds because if he falls behind it could jeopardize his entire school career. Me: He is board. I am not going to have him medicated for being board. Teacher: No, he is not board, he just refuses to do his work. He needs to be on medication. It’s not fair for you to not medicate him! Me: Over my dead body will this kid be medicated. They bring in the school councilor who says that he has been observing him over the last week and that he was only on task for some percent of time. Me: did you send him back to his seat? Teacher: I can’t be sending him back to his seat all the time. Me: did you give him a special job like I suggested? (That really helped last year) No, they did not. can they give him more challenging material? No, the district requires this set of readers and this stack of worksheets for every second grader in the district. Me: Kids are not cookie cutter replicas of each other. This is not working and something has to change! They say that they know this but their hands are tied. The district dictates it. (Yeah, bs!) I tell them I don’t give a crap about what the district says, I will not medicate my son for the reasons they stated, and if they can’t find a way to fix it, they will just have to deal with it.

canning tomato sauce

I go home and dig up research and info on the law about a teacher suggesting medication in the great state of Utah and the law is on my side :) I print the legislation and research studies and other information. (The Australian.com: Kids on ADHD Drugs Do Poor at School) look into other schools for him. A week later I am called in again, this time to meet with the principal and a district special ed specialist. I am armed with my husband, a voice recorder, and all the papers I printed out. I was pretty sure that they were going to bully me into medicating. I had an “Acceptance of Responsibility” form ready for them to sign just in case they pushed it that far. It turns out that the district specialist didn’t know about the medication issue, and the principle was hoping to keep it that way. I didn’t give her the pleasure. At the same time, I didn’t end up needing the form – the specialist said he had observed Zee and agreed with me that he was board and didn’t need to be medicated. I let them know that there would be a legal issue if it was ever brought up again, and that was the end of that. Now the teacher is doing ‘interventions’ or more plainly, alternative learning activities instead of worksheets. But I am sure she wasn’t excited about having to do one more extra thing. Especially for the kid who asked her if she was going to shave her mustache. It was an honest question – really he didn’t mean to be rude! (but I did have a talk with him about tact and appropriate ways to ignore other peoples unsightly features.)  Now the drama has gone back under the surface, but I am pretty sure that next year it will resurface and rear its ugly head once more.

2.In the midst of all the teacher troubles, I am on a quest for real food real cheap, since we are also broke, and I refuse to resort to the use of artificial food-like substances to feed my family. I found a lot of good stuff in the classified ads, and all organic and locally grown! Woohoo! It felt pretty good to have something going right! I got 6 bushels of heirloom tomatoes, 24 sugar pie pumpkins, 200 lbs of potatoes, 30 lbs of onions, also organic, 2 huge banana squash, 7lbs shelled walnuts, 1 quart jar of no sugar pectin, a 25lb bag of brown short grain rice (the only thing not local) all for less than a regular grocery shopping trip. And I just scored a quarter of a grass fed beef for $1.50 a lb cut and wrapped! We will be set for groceries for a while :) Looks like I found the beef!

3. Canning, freezing and preserving all the food

4. And, I made a nice big batch of my Momma Nature’s No More Owies (or Owie Cream as my kids like to call it)

5. Not to mention work. Did I mention work?! :( I have one question – How did I survive?!

6. Up next, helping the kids with their homemade Christmas presents. I just helped my oldest daughter refinish her dresser so she could sell it so she could have money to buy her friends presents. It looks amazing!