Thursday, December 31, 2009

More on faux persecution....

For the first post on this news story click here

a link to the news report is here

The italics refer to a comment made by someody who regarded the parents as "over sensitive", an assertion I don't believe is correct.

It's not like we atheists don't know that these people exist. Besides, most of them are essentially harmless if left alone.

I'd agree with that. However I think the issue that creates an objection is not the content that refers to their personal convictions per se but when there is an evident agenda of "conversion" underneath it.

In a client/service provider context where I am the client even I can manage not to want to bitch slap somebody and run screaming to their boss just because they mention in passing that their aura is a bit blue today and they are torn between a Bach flower remedy or some kind of MPEG homeopathic remedy via iTunes.

What will turn me purple faced with steamy ears is when it turns into a semi-monologue, that I have attempted to head off at the pass tactfully(ish), trying to convert me to the use of alt-med.

It's rude, it's dismissive, it's irritating, it's self obsessed. It's the attitude that is the issue.

In a medical setting when I am already feeling under par and want to be working on a solution for ME, which is what you are employed to help ME find, when I have already pointed out that I want an evidence based solution and have a great objection to alt-med, if you continue to try to push and persuade in favour of the alt-med thang you are oh so enamored with, I will complain and ask for another employee to assist me. Because in that setting I will have neither the time, patience or energy to fight past your need to convert me to your belief system before even starting to try to get what I need.

In some cases problems arise because many of those trying to convert are so caught up in the depth of their passion they don't realize that this is what they are doing. As far as they are concerned the only thing they were doing is trying to help. They don't get that their help was coloured "agenda of conversion". In others they are well aware of what they are doing, but overestimate their ability to shroud it and don't realize that their agenda is as undetectable as a particularly hot, smelly lump of gorgonzola placed in plain view, so they get all get defensive and denialist when called on it.

Likewise you are going to get people so averse to a specific belief system, or so in love with playing the part of an indignant complainer, that they can see an attempt to convert in the most casual off-the-cuff mention of a couple of words that hit their hot buttons like hammers and send them into world war three mode.

In the specific case referred to in the thread I think the linguistic choices point to a case of the former rather than the latter and we can afford to give the family the benefit of the doubt.

"It is like a black mark against my name and character when it comes to getting a reference for another job, just because I shared my testimony, as if I committed a criminal act. " "I simply wanted to encourage them to be open to prayer but if they did not want to then I would never force it down their throat."

Both the "hear my testimony" and "encourage them to be open to prayer" inadvertently reveal at least some degree of intent and desire, sub conscious or conscious, to convert. They are particularly underpinned as revelatory by the need to add a qualification that attempted to play down the level of persistance involved - "I would never force it down their throat".

Despite seeking to negate the complaint, the lady's own words support the parents' claim that she was behaving inappropriately. As in she had an agenda all of her own when she brought God to the table.

"hear my testimony" and "encourage them to be open to prayer" is not the same as saying "I'm a Christian and I believe in God so when I am sad or bad things happen, I pray. What works for you ? Is there anything I can do or help you do that will offer you the sort of comfort that I get from prayer ? How about we brainstorm some ideas and see if we can't find you something that works for you ? You tell me your ideas and I'll write them down" ...... because the agenda in the first is all about the speaker's interests whereas the the agenda in the second is all about the interests of the person being spoken too.

The fact that religion is mentioned in both of them is by the by.

Persecution or Me, myself and I as a priority ?

The debate bug bit me again, I caught the tail end of a discussion about the case of a teacher who claims her suspension was an act of religious persecution.

link to the story

It hit a chord with me as I struggled with the hows and whys of not hurling my weeping self on Alice's battered body the minute I am free from this germy cold and can go and see her.

Unlike many commnetators I don't think this is about religion, it is about having the ability to put the person you are there to help, and their needs, above your own.

I'm sure the lady found it hard to manage her upset feelings at seeing a young child suffering emotionally and physically from such a horrible illness. However the onus in not on the child or their family to provide an environment where the lady can try to make herself feel better or attempt to make the child feel better, by using a strategy that clashes with the family's definition of a positive/acceptable strategy or even causes more distress than it aimed to relieve.

That is the crux here, you have to be able to set aside yourself and your needs and make them very secondary to that of the person you are there to help. If you can't do that, can't even work out that different people have different needs and they may not jibe with your own, can't work out that you are not the priority despite being quite clearly told that you are making yourself the priority at the expense of the person you are trying to help, then quite rightly your ability to do the job needs to be questioned.

The context, be it religion, alternative medicine or a tendency to sit and weep about how sorry you are is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is does the employee understand "it's not all about ME"....or not.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The bestest xmas present....

I called the hospital because Alice's phone is out of order and I don't have her home phone number to call her mum.

She has been moved to a surgical ward, the lady on the phone wasn't permitted to give me any more info but she took pity (I went a bit wobbly voiced) and said that it was a good sign.

I am allowed to go and visit on Tuesday.

Fingers and toes all crossed for even better news when I get there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Damn snow and ice....

Dear Fate and Destiny,

Alice has been the most long standing student I have ever had. Five years and she has gone from shy and speaking monosyllabically to fluent to the point where a second language does not mask her intelligence, creativity, ideas and personality.

Five years I have spent time every week with a sweet girl who became a truly lovely, young woman and though if Son of Thor turns out half as well I'll be patting myself on the back for a job well done.

Five years and I went from polite, educationally orientated interest to warmth, affection and profound respect.

She is lying in a hospital bed, minus a spleen, her pelvis shattered and a myriad of other injuries, too unstable for a prognosis to be made. Her mother isn't allowed in to see her because she would be under the feet of the 24/7 medical team tying to get her to a place where they can help her.

I don't know the details of the accident, I do know that Alice was a clam and cautious driver. I also know that without her so many people will have such a huge hole in their lives that they may well never recover.

And she deserves to live, and live unscathed.

So let her.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Who emptied out the shops ?

I had the last big pressie to get today (I'll do the stocking fillers locally tommorow). I was dreading it, last Sat before Xmas, I thought it would be heaving in the shopping centre. Actually it was less crowded than it used to be when I swore off weekend shopping.

So I think the downturn is biting and biting hard. Or everybody in the region is more organised than me and finished their shopping weeks ago.

On a more cheerful note I managed to get all the Wii and DSi games and stuff that I know he'll be over the moon with.

My main concern is now that he is no longer really interested in the toys he used to like when he was smaller ...what do I fill the stocking with ?

So far i have thought of

1) Real torch (not half dead disney one)
2) Oil pastels
3) Art pad of nice paper
4) Some kind of fancy printing paper, like T shirt transfer kit or something
5) Crisp and choccy stuff he likes
6) can't think of anymore.

The big stuff has been easier than past years but the little stuff is proving challenging. And expensive when compared to cheapo plastic tat that used to do the trick.

Is it too soon to start giving underwear as a gift to a nine year old ?

Friday, December 18, 2009

An intervention...

to distract me long enough to break the web 2.0 obsession... stolen from another site because I am speaking in html instead of words at the moment so I need help with forming sentences...

1) Your Hair

Shoulder length, too fine, currently mid brown/reddish to hide my first grey hairs. Mostly worn up. It is not my crowing glory, it is annoyingly uncooperative. I have left the hairdressers happy ONCE in my entire life. I envy those with extensions but I am too lazy for anything so high maintenance.

2)Your favourite food

Puddings. Like the ones you remember from your English childhood, bread and butter, rice, upside down chocolate etc....

3)Your dream from last night

I found Whiskers in a knotted closed plastic bag under the sink, and then I remembered I put him there a week ago and forgot I had done it, I only did it to stop him getting under my feet and killing the xmas tree, I had to syringe milk into him to revive him. I felt so unbelievably guilty and ashamed. I would like to point out that I would NEVER put an animal in a plastic bag and forget about them so I have no idea why I dreamed I did but I still feel awful about the whole thing even some three hours after waking up.

4)Your favourite drink

Jasmine used to be Chianti but it got me pregnant so I daren't risk it anymore. I have a British incapacity to stop once I start.

5)What room are you in?

Living room. Untidy despite deep clean and perfect placement exercise yesterday. Whiskers, the Italian sock dropper and Son of Thor conspire against me.

6)What is your hobby?

Technology in education. I know. I am sad.
I love gardening too, just not very good at it.

7)What is your fear?

Cars. Hate being in them when they are moving. I blame seeing so many awful accidents with missing limbs and heads in Bangkok for so many years and the insane Italian drivers that cause carnage regularly. I am damn near phobic and drive the Italian Sock Dropper mad by squawking and gasping every ten seconds.

8)Where do you want to be in six years time?

I have an obsession to build my own passive house, but one that looks like a cascina, on land the includes a woods, still in this area. So there would be nice.

9)Where were you last night?

At home. In front of the computer playing with Glogster and "make your own educational games" apps.

10) Muffins?

I'll pass, can I have bread and butter pudding ?

11) Last thing you did

Cleaned two glass fronts of two fireplaces and lit them. Hauled lots of wood in. Fed the zoo. All at the same time.

12) What are you wearing?

Grey jogging bottoms, a fuchsia top covered by the Italian Sock Droppers cuddly fleece. Socks. No knickers yet. I'm still working up to fully dressed. Sick kid, so today is like sunday really.

13) Your TV in your house?

New huge flat screen thing that makes me feel sea sick when I am watching it cos as I told the males of the house, it is silly big.

14) Vehicle

Multipla, just relased from hospital for it's umpteenth new band thingie, plus once more new go roundy things for the band thing to go round on. Bloody dirt track clogs it up annually at least.

15) Your favourite store?

Ikea. I could move in there. Much to the disgust of antique restorer and dealer husband.

16) Your favourite colour?

A sort of Raspberry colour.

17) When was the last time you laughed?

Don't remember, MIL is in a secure psychiatric ward currently under the impression God mistook me for a virgin and I have just given birth to Jesus 2.0. Just before she gave birth to her dead baby (again) that was (In reality rather than just in her head) born well before the Italian Sock Dropper back in the late fifities. Things not so sunny at the moment. My husband is still grieving for his father and this is the icing on the cake.

18) When was the last time you cried?

This summer, buckets. Pilgrim related.

19) Your best friend

My husband, we just really get on well (when he isn't driving me insane) and I'd rather hang out with him than most other people, E my next door neighbour's daughter takes second place. She can relax with me because I don't compete in the ironing Olympics (hey the "ironing systems" are like Rolls Royce standard, ironing is a Big Deal) so we get on really well due to no feminine competition. I don't compete, cos I'd lose.

20) Favourite place to eat

At home, not a big eater outer, I get stressed in restaurants but I have no idea why. I think we can probably blame the car journey there and the anticipation of the car journey home with a lack of shopping to distract me in the interim.

Thursday, December 17, 2009





4 times table

3 times table

2 times table

1 times table

Go to the game, click here

Parts of Speech

Parts of speech, a drag and drop game, things have moved on since Hot Potatoes hit the web some ten years ago LOL.

Making Interactive Books

Great as a finished product, after the planning and drafting stages Son of Thor writes the whole thing out in cursive, I type it up and then he makes the book.

Very easy to use this particular app. There are many that allow for images and speech bubbles but they can take hours to do, for fast results this is my preference. He certainly gets very enthusiastic about building up a story over time if it looks like a "real" book that he is producing as opposed to just a few sheets of paper which smack too strongly to him of "just school work". Great for encouraging imagination and engagement with the process for my less than willing writer.

This is his story starter tranformed into a "real book", we are working on the next chapter this week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Web 2.0 I love you....

Lapbooks eat your heart out.

That is not an image below, it is fully clickable (:

I only made one of the interactive activities myself, this is a collection of resources, just s we could work out how to use the app. The next one we will be making a great deal of the content ourselves.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Son of Thor - The Reluctant Poem Learner

Imparare la poesia - interattivo

We had a tussle, I need to vdo him having learned a few poems by heart over the year to stop the school over egging the end of year exam. I suggested layered learning, to make it more fun and less hardgoing for him. He threw a tizzy and insisted on doing it in the traditional read/cover/repeat/check mode. Took all day. Much argy bargy. No fun. For anybody. We got there in the end, but next time we are doing it my way using the resultant vdos as "proof" to decide which method works best.

Taken from Colpo di Scena 4-5, page 18

Ascoltami Inverno by Giusy Quarenghi

Learning abut the body....

I can't get Son of Thor off this game...

The Body - put it together - Interactive Science Game

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Son of Thor found true love with PowerPoint.

He'll spend hours on it honing his ITC skills and developing his knowledge of his interest areas.

Trouble was that my server wouldn't let me upload because they are such mammoth sizes.Until we found ZoHoShow. I just uploaded his Planets slideshow, the first one he did, unfortunately as yet there are no transitional effects (much to a certain person's disappointment) but at least I can create a separate blog to showcase his work now.

Modern Sticky Back Plastic

Blue Peter eat your heart's one I prepared earlier....

Getting carried away now.....

try making your own here

Friday, December 11, 2009

MIL the Convict....

MIL has gone downhill. She is restrained and to all intents and purposes in solitary confinement. Relatives of the other patients in the unit have made written complaints so bad is her verbal (and walking stick) aggression.

Her psychiatrist has avoided lithium because she is a diabetic amputee, but at this point I don't think there is much choice other than to put her back on it. Trouble is the therapeutic dose of lithium is a hairs breadth from a toxic dose, so she will have to be sectioned and placed in the psychiatric unit in Milan for the next few weeks so they can adjust the dosage and monitor both her physical health and her mental state.

I don't blame the relatives or the the other patients for taking a stand, she really is hard going, I do wish however her physiatrist would stop playing with the meds, we had her stable, yes there are risks to her physical health but quality of life has to count for at least as much as length and right now she doesn't even know who she is. Plus she is dragging a doll around which she refers to her dead baby, she lost a child before my husband, he is named after the child who died, so I doubt she is living in some happy place in her head, more like reliving a psychedelic version of her worst memories.

Mental illness is crap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

At the end of this summer...

Son of Thor couldn't write much more than a simple sentence in Italian on his own. today he just wrote a character description. OK it was a bloodthirsty monster so the motivation was there by default, but still his ability and willingness to do the task fully is outstanding when compared to his previous mindset.

Papa will be checking the content for accuracy because that is well beyond my abilities (I can speak Italian well but my writing skills leave a lot to be desired) but it just goes to show that the technical aspects of teaching are at least as important as the subject knowledge if not more so.

All I am doing is transferring techniques, materials and objectives from the English component to Italian.

I was really concerned that I would do him a massive disservice in this area so am dead chuffed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Playing Hooky

We almost never do.

Most other homeschoolers talk about how they are often out and about doing what they please and so far ahead of everybody at school.

I must be crap because we can't afford to take days off whenever we like or we won't get where we need to be for the exams in July.

So today was a big deal to Son of Thor, cos we took a day off to go shopping and hang out together.

And then we discovered that everybody was out and about too cos today and tomorrow are school holidays.

So our hooky wasn't hooky because we had a deal from the start that he wouldn't do school on the the days when his mates had a free day.

I can't even play truant properly LOL.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rocks, Hard Places and Squashed Sarahs

The rest home says she is too mentally ill for their care.

The psychiatric unit says she is too old for their care.

And as they soap up their hands for a good job of washing us off them, they look at us, like they expect us to produce a magic wand from somewhere to make her either younger or less mentally ill.

Note to self - if ever get married again............ first check candidate is an orphan.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh woe is long division....

Unless of course you use this interactive game/tool/mummy memory jogger first.

Not just for home educators, if your kids are struggling with their homework, or you are struggling to help them with their homework this will help everybody remember the stages of the process

Here is the game

And here is a multiplication square to ease the pain.


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