Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Common Core Will Fail Our Children

In the lecture on Aesthetic Education given to teachers in 1921, Rudolf Steiner said,

"From Play, through Beauty, to Work. This is a golden path for education. In later life the most abstract tasks, the most difficult techniques,  do not arouse antipathy if this path has been followed during childhood. Locomotives and railway stations can be built in a way that is both artistic and technically sound. Such an education would give incalculably powerful impulses for social life- the human being would find his/her way back into something that is quite unknown today, the artistic in language."

Common Core standards teach "dead concepts" that will become meaningless to the future.
That is why it will fail our children.

Bless Bless

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Power to Edit and Say No

Saturday's Schedule

Cub Scout Fishing Derby 7-10
Lady Bug's Bridging Over "Graduation" to 1st Grade 9-10:30
Fairy Festival 9-12
Monkey Boy's Baseball Team End of the Year Pool Party 12-4
Lady Bug's End of the Year Baseball Game 1-4
Lady Bug's BFF's 6th Birthday Party 12-?

Sunday's Schedule

Lady Bug's Classmate's Birthday Party
Lady Bug's Brownie End of the Year Bridging Final Wrap Party

In the middle of this crazy schedule Viking Dad has to continue his work to "fire proof" the house for fire season. More on that later. 

I looked at the schedule Friday night and about had a heart attack. How were we going to fit all of these events into they day? None of these events were close by and were minimum 15-20 minutes apart. In addition, at some of these events there was no way in the world that keeping to a schedule was going to work, without being rude. Our family is very food sensitive due to Celiac Disease and Diabetes. So, the idea of "eating out" wasn't an option. 

What to do? Time to Edit and Just Say "NO."

I told the family to pick "two" events each day. Of course I picked Lady Bug's Bridging Over "Graduation" to 1st Grade as the #1 Priority on Saturday. 
The Viking Kiddos picked Lady Bug's BFF 6th Birthday Party for the second event on Saturday.

Consequently, that meant that several people were going to miss us at the other events. Several of them, I knew, would start calling us on our cells demanding to know where we were and why we hadn't arrived. No promises ever were made, so it is a bit irritating to receive these kind of calls. I decided to leave my cell phone in the car so I could focus on the beautiful moment with my daughter. In addition I didn't have a watch. I lost all track of time- and survived!!

Sunday came and the family decided to pick two events. Sorry, but the awesome yearly airshow tends to trumps spiritual needs. We spent part of the day at the local historical airshow. Then we attended Lady Bug's end of the year Brownie Party. 

I am reflecting back at how powerful the idea of editing the schedule and saying, "NO" was to our family. At the end of the day we were not exhausted, sick or stressed out. I am saddened we may have disappointing a few friends but our family has discovered a new "bliss."

Have the courage to edit and say no to you schedule. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waldorf Education-Practical Arts

What is the difference between watching a Youtube Video on knitting and blacksmithing vs actually doing knitting and blacksmithing?

Youtube video:
How to Knit

Black Smith


Knitting as a class

Blacksmith class

From an article called "Why Waldorf Works" 

"Waldorf teachers believe that the human being is not just a brain-but a being with heart and limbs- a being of will and feeling, as well as of intellect. To ensure that education does not produce one sided individuals, crippled in emotional health and volition, these less conscious aspects of human nature must constantly be exercised, nourished and guided. Here the arts and practical skills make their essential contribution, educating not only heart and hand but, in very real ways, the brain as well."

Bless Bless

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reality vs Fiction- Where are the Parents?

Today, I heard on the news of an attack on a young girl who was stabbed 19 times by two other girls. All three of these girls are 12! 

When I started to write about how 
Has Television Violence Gone Beyond a Stated Taboo? and Continue Discussion on Violence on Television-Explicit and the follow up More Violence- And we don't see this in our entertainment?  little did I know that I would receive a bit of a following of parents and young adults who also are concern about the violence in television. 

Today, I would like to extend out to the internet, the infamous Youtube, and social media. Today,  a parent sent me this news article from CNN.

I would like to point out that the article claims that the tragedy in Milwaukee is an isolated incident. It is not! In my years in Law Enforcement-behaviorists and teaching I have lost count how many tweens, teens and young adults have acted out scenes from their favorite show. In fact, I was inspired to teach the "The True History of Halloween" in my history courses on Halloween after three former students were arrested for aggravated vandalism. They had decided to recreate their own "Hell Night" from the movie "The Crow." 

It is not uncommon to have a young teen or young adult retreat into a fantasy world they have created or feel safe in during moments of anxiety, crisis or abuse. Asking where the parents are during this incident is easy and it is usually our first question? What about the rest of the community? Where were the teachers, lunch room attendance, other parents, other friends etc? 

I will ask, however, where were the parents in this incident? It is obvious to me they were not present or caring enough to see their daughters retreat into a very dangerous fantasy. 

The creator of Slenderman claims he has lost control of his creation? That is a cop out! As an authors, artists, illustrators, we should be in control of our creations. It's easy now to come out and claim innocents. In reality he should be responsible for his creations. 

Youtube has taken on the responsibility of making sure that videos posted uphold standards and will take down inappropriate videos. Well, at least when they are reported. I believe, and encourage Creepy Pasta to do the same. Really, monitor your stories  now. The next story maybe someone's suicide note. 

Here is the article from CNN?

(CNN) -- He's the Internet's own monster, a ghoul who lurks in its darkest corners and, like the Web itself, has mutated time and again to suit the dreams and desires of his devotees.
He is Slenderman, a menacing, faceless specter in a dark suit -- sometimes portrayed with octopus-like tentacles -- known to haunt children and those who seek to expose him. He was born in 2009 in an online forum for people who enjoy creating fake supernatural images.
And, on Saturday, police say, he played a role in the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl in suburban Milwaukee by two female classmates who stabbed her 19 times. According to police, the girls said the attack was meant to impress the fictitious bogeyman.
To be clear, the origin story of the monstrous character (sometimes referred to as The Slender Man) in no way urged readers to kill to earn his favor. But Slenderman has undergone hundreds of permutations online in his five-year existence.  In June 2009, a Photoshop contest for images that appeared to be paranormal was launched in a forum on the website Something Awful. According to Know Your Meme, a blog that chronicles Web culture, the goal of the contest was to create the images and then use them to fool, or "troll," other Web users by submitting them to paranormal websites.
Site member Eric Knudsen (under the screen name"Victor Surge") submitted two images to the contest, both black-and-white images of children, one of which appeared to show a largely undefined figure lurking in the background.
They were presented as being from 1984, and one included the text " 'We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time...' -- 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead." (Know Your Meme has documented these posts, although links to the original thread no longer work.)
A day later, according to Know Your Meme, Knudsen added a third photo and a fictional doctor's account of a mass killing. And, from there, Slenderman's assault on the Internet began.
"Some people joked in the thread, 'Wouldn't it be funny if some of these ended up on those paranormal websites or someone said these pictures look real,' " Knudsen said in an interview this year with National Public Radio's "On the Media." "But I don't think anyone really expected that to happen."
Other Something Awful users began creating their own Slenderman stories. And they spread to other sites. Over the past five years, he's appeared in fan art, short stories, videos, video games and other media all over the Web.
A Google search for "Slenderman" on Tuesday returned more than 4 million results. "Marble Hornets" is one of the most popular permutations. It's a video series on YouTube, presented in "Blair Witch Project"-like faux-documentary style, with nearly 380,000 subscribers. Slenderman has also been a popular subject of "creepypasta," a form of Web-based short fiction. A play on the term "copypasta," which itself is derived from the keyboard action "copy-paste," creepypasta is horror fiction written with the Web in mind and, often, done in a style that makes it appear like a news item or other piece of true crime.
The girls accused in the Milwaukee stabbing told police they knew the character from the Creepypasta Wiki, a site that compiles such fiction. The site has issued a statement condemning the attack.
"This is an isolated incident, and does (not) represent ... the Creepypasta community as a whole," the statement reads. "This wiki does not endorse or advocate for killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a satanic cult."
Knudsen, too, has lamented losing control of his creation.
"I feel like less of a creator and more of an administrator, in a lot of respects, or the manager," he told NPR in the interview from January. Knudsen, who could not be immediately reached for comment, has filed for a copyright on the character.
"I feel like I'm Slenderman's manager, and he's out there doing his thing, and I need to just kind of watch him and take care of him."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts from a Teacher

One of the many In Home Nurses I worked with asked one day what I do as a teacher. It was a rather odd question in which I asked what he did as a nurse. 

That night I was given this post. I would like to share it with you, as I will share it with the nurse. 

"Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Search of the Perfect End of the Year Goodbye Gift

I have found a new Mommy Blog. I am in love! 
I would like to introduce you to Passengers on a Little Spaceship. Check out her blog here. 

I am in love with her crafts, her heart warming creativity and beautiful thoughts she shares on her posts. When I am having a rough day at work, I catch a ride on her little spaceship and drool through her projects and read her posts. 

One of her projects I discovered when I was searching how to needle felt bee wings. I decided to save this craft idea for my Summer Ideas and Projects "bag."  I have 70 days to keep the Viking Kiddos occupied. HA!!

Check out these adorable "dragon tears" on her sights. I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed when I discovered how easy they were to make. Check out how to make them here. 

The creative photos are from Passengers on a Little Spaceship. When the Viking Kiddos and I make ours I will post pictures. 

Mermaid tears-from Passengers on a Little Spaceship

Yesterday, Viking Monkey Boy informed me that he wanted to make End of the Year Goodbye Gifts for his classmates. Viking Lady Bug thought it would be a great idea too. 
Thank you Passengers on a Little Spaceship for a wonderful end of the year gifts.  I think for Viking Lady Bug I am going to find lady bugs. Now, just need to convince Viking Monkey Boy that Godzilla may not be the best idea. How about dragons?

Bless Bless

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are You Prepared?

The other day while on Facebook I read an alert about earthquakes. Apparently, of the course of last week Los Angles experienced a 3.8 magnitude earthquake. 

The headlines asked, "Are you prepared for the big one?" 

Now, if you live in California earthquakes are part of life. Californians are always prepared for an earthquake, however big or small. School children learn very early about "Duck and Cover" and where the San Andreas Fault line is in California. 

I had to chuckle to myself when I read this headline because earlier that had been a great deal of media about preparing for major wild land fires. Now, homeowners are being asked to re-examine their home and car insurance, check their landscaping, and even create their own escape routes. 

In all seriousness I have posted about prepardness a couple of times. Check them out here:

Lets recount:
California must prepare for 


Duck and Cover during an earthquake

Loma Prieta Earthquake- 1989

Major Wild Land Fires

 Photo of fires burning in California

and now Godizilla battles.

Godzilla marching through San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

What is your state or country known for and how do you prepare for these events?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Precious Teaching Moment- Random Act of Kindness

In today's society it is difficult for a parent or parents to find those glimmers of hope and shimmers of kindness to use for those teaching moments.

Today I had an awesome teaching moment for the Viking Kiddos. I could not wait t get to my office and to the computer to share. I am carefully and laborously typing this on my so called "smart phone."  Please excuse any weird typos. 

At my favorite coffee shop we had a five or six car "Pay it Forward" or "Random Act of Kindness" moment in the drive hrough window. It started two or three cars ahead of me in which the first car paid for the drink  behind  them. When I arrived at the window to pay for our drinks I discovered that the lovely red car in front of me had paid for my drink. So, in return I paid for the drink for the young man behind me in the huge white truck. 

I have no idea who the mystery person was in front of me but as a way of thanking them for their generosity, I paid for the young man behind me. I hope he continued the "pay it forward" and "random act of kindness" through the line. 

Viking Lady Bug asked, "why did they pay for your drink and why did you pay for the strangers drink?"

I explained to the Viking Kiddos about Random Acts of Kindness and this was an example of strangers being kind to one another. I asked them to Pay it Forward by showing kindness to someone today. 

Then out of the mouth of babes they both quoted Proverbs 3:3


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Time Projects- Day 1

Okay, raise your hand if you know what Memorial Day Weekend means????

 It is to remember our awesome veterans!!

But, to all of us teachers....... it means Summer Vacation is around the corner!!! Woot!! Woot!!

Once again I am gathering ideas on how to keep two very inquisitive and active Viking Children from going "ah- viking" on their Mommy during the summer.

I love being part of the Waldorf Mommy Community because there are so many creative and lovely Mommy's out there. The other day one of my favorite Mommy Blogs, Wee Folk Arts posted a project from Twig and Toadstools. This looks like fun.

Pressed Flower Mobile
Check out their instructions here.

Have fun!

Bless Bless

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Violence- And we don't see this in our entertainment?

Probably by now, especially if you live in California, you have heard about the massacre of six young college students in Santa Barbara. The media has been focusing on the "close calls", the "warning signs", and the "memories", "mental health....." What the media is failing to discuss is this Perpetrators MO! 

A body found in San Barbara

MO is police/profiler jargon for "modus operandi." This is Latin for "mode of operation." In reality "unsub" is actually a Hollywood term in which it has leaked into modern police work. Originally, the MO of a criminal was the description of a criminals characteristic profile. 

Recently, and I will not dignify him by using his name-which gives him power even in death-, the Perpetrator sent his "manifesto" to one of his therapist and was also discovered by the police department. 

You can read it here in its entirety. 

Now, I have recently posted a discussion about violence in the media. Has television violence gone beyond a stated taboo?

They are entitled:

Has Television Violence Gone Beyond a Stated Taboo?

I have found it rather ironic recently that society is outraged when they read this Perpetrator's manifesto but then don't see this same violence in entertainment. 

Let's do a thought exercise. Lets change the author's name of the Manifesto to George R.R. Martin or Marquis de Sade or change the title to Saw I-IV or the Hills Have Eyes. 

How is this entertainment but in the same breath we are horrified of the real thing?
Scene from Game of Thrown-Red Wedding

Thought exercise: How is the change of the title or author any different?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Warning Against Scams

I still can not believe that we actually have people, no scum, that pray on people during a tragedy. There is a special place in Hades for these kind of people. 

Last week San Diego go a taste of things to come with an early season fire. 

Now, as things are slowly going back to normal the community receives a warning about potential scam artists that pray on fire victims. 

Legally, unless a policy holder calls their insurance agent, assessors and related people must wait seven days to contact a victim. At least, in California. I am not sure about other states. 

My frame of reference is based on fires and earthquakes. I live in California. But, I am sure this warning can be applied to anyone who has gone through a "Natural Disaster." 

Okay, this may sound bizarre but a wild land fire is not a natural disaster- unless caused by lightening. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, snow storms, earthquakes... those are natural disasters. A fire started by a careless construction worker or an arsonist is not natural. 

But I digress..... it's been a stressful week. 

This is from KPBS NPR news

Fire Victims Urged To Be Aware Of Scams

Monday, May 19, 2014

A wildfire task force will fan out across the fire- ravaged North County today and Tuesday to warn homeowners against would-be criminals who prey on victims of natural disasters, the District Attorney's Office said.
The investigators assigned to the task force come from various agencies, including the D.A.'s Office, the California Department of Insurance, the Contractors State License Board and the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to the District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
"We're joining forces to make sure people affected by the fires aren't re-victimized,'' Dumanis said. "The sooner we warn residents about would-be scammers, the less likelihood there is that people will be duped.''
A similar task force was formed after the massive 2003 and 2007 wildfires in San Diego County.
Also today, the FBI put out a warning to non-fire victims to be cautious when making donations to help those who lost homes or businesses in the fires.
"Unfortunately, criminals can exploit these tragedies for their own gain by sending fraudulent emails and creating phony websites designed to solicit contributions,'' the FBI stated.
The agency offered the following tips to avoid donation scams:
-- do not respond to unsolicited email;
-- be skeptical of individuals asking for donations via email or social networking sites;
-- beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those with reputable charities, and organizations that use a .com web address instead of a .org;
-- research a charity independently on the Internet rather than click on a unsolicited link; and
-- be wary of anyone who is too aggressive in asking for a donation or asks for cash, a wire transfer or check addressed to an individual rather than an organization.
Bless Bless
Viking Mom

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fires! Are you Prepared to Evacuate?

The Viking Homestead is located in San Diego County. As much as I joke about preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse there is a deeper reason for our need to prepare. We live in Fire Country!  We have been evacuated twice due to fires, dealt with a major Blackout, and have to be prepared for the power companies grid shut down due to high winds. 

The Viking Dad and I met during a Fire Worm Storm!

Are you prepared? I have written about preparing several time and you can re-read them here.

Bug Out Box
Professional Medical Kits
Basic Emergency Check List

Another point to think about while preparing.

 Know alternative routes and roads for escape and travel. All major roads during an evacuation will be closed, clogged or possibly shut off. Know your back roads. This knowledge came in handy yesterday when a fire erupted on my route home. I was able to take back roads to my children and make it home, safely. 

Keep you vehicles fuel tanks full. You won't know how far you will have to travel to evacuate or get to family.

Be safe! Be Prepared! Be Wise!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For the State of California- What is coming in 2014-15 School Year

I feel like an insider sneaking out information to the world. 

After another very long and painful Staff Meeting this was posted to all of us:

2014-2015 School Year

What's Coming Next!
Full Implementation of Fully Functional 
This is the Smarter Balance
That is aligned to the 
Common Core Curriculum

Common Core Curriculum is to be fully implemented 
School Year!

All Common Core Assessments will now be on line and computerized!

Google California Smarter Balance and check it out for yourself. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A True Viking Queen Outfit

This Viking Garment is what a Lady Earl, Karl or Queen would wear. 
Fine wool, fine linen and beautifully hand embroidered motifs. 
The "turtle" broaches were made of silver and gold or find bronze.  In the middle would be her wealth of glass beads, sliver and gold coins, silver or bronze ornaments and amber. Each Lady would have a small knife, scissors and other "Lady items" that would be items of status. 
Behind her are beautifully crafted leather shoes. 
Yes, the Viking loved color! 
Each woman had three layers of garments of on to keep warm. 
Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland were COLD!

This is compared, poorly----

This is what a thrall aka a slave would wear. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Careful What You Say- Your Child is a Reflection of Who You Are

Sometimes, the 240 characters on Facebook are not enough space to really express One's feelings or emotions. So, this moment has been brought to you by a very tearful and confused Viking Monkey Boy whom I just spent the weekend comforting. 

Please raise you hands Moms and Dads if you have had your child come home and has said:

(Names have been humorously changed to protect the innocent)

"Little Attila said I couldn't come to his yurt because his Mama is mad at you because (insert moment of choice)."


"Little Ragnar said he couldn't come over to our house because you can't clean correctly."


"Little St. Francis said we couldn't play together anymore because his Daddy said we were sinners."


"Why does Anakin's father call his Mother a 'b-1-3-4-h'?"

Then in complete confusion your child explains that these "friends" won't be their friends anymore.

As any Mother would do you gently confront the parents of Attila, Ragnar, St. Francis and Anakin and ask for some kind of clarification. Of course they deny ever saying these statements directly to your face. But, you can tell in their eyes that they must have said the statements, but not directly to their child. It was an "adult" conversation that the child wasn't meant to over hear. 

Ladies and Gentlemen- I am not here to be your thought police, your editor, your sensor or even  Judge. What I would like to share with all of you is a bit of a learning moment.

Our children are our mirrors to us. Even during play they are still observing, listening and absorbing everything around them and sounds they hear, including conversations. 

We all tend to vent or express our opinions/beliefs etc to adults, to our spouses or a trusted friend. I do too. But, I am very careful when I vent not to vent around the Viking Children. I try, at least.  Why? To avoid confusion.

When we vent or express a personal opinion around a child under the Age of Understanding they see it as a truth. They see and hear our comments as black and white. Children under the Age of Understanding (ages 0-12 years of age) have developmentally placed us on a Pedestal of Truth.

At this developmental stage children also model our own behaviors. This is why our children are our mirrors. How we behave is how they will subsequently behave. Yes, that tone you often hear from your child that sets you on edge may be a tone that you use. Ouch!

Now, I understand that if a particular person or child is not "healthy" to be around then of course limit their exposure to your children. I have, sadly. 

What I am warning against are those comments, vents or opinions that as adults may be meaningless, but to a child are full of meaning. 

I am still trying to figure out how to fix the damage that has been caused by these two comments. 

Stay tune... I may share my discovery.

Bless Bless
Viking Mom in search of a clean, snotless shirt.

Monday, May 5, 2014

ADhD Monday

Yes, this has been my day.
What do you mean it's Monday and grades are due?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

21st Century Technology and Mother Nature

Sometimes Mother Nature, Njord,  Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri  conspire together against mankind and their desires to keep to a schedule. Today, while visiting one of my Students I had a bit of shock. 

In Southern California we have what are called the Santa Ana Winds. Winds can reach up to 100 mph and they are dry and hot winds. Nothing like what can come off the fjords.  But, like the winds that blow through the fjords or off the Arctic Circle; the Santa Ana winds can blow down trees. 

Those little lines on the street are not shadows. This particular tree brought down power, cable and telephone lines. 

And guess on whose car?

Ja! on Viking Mom's car!

Completely missed the other car and landed on Viking Mom's car. 

I am thankful in many ways that this goofy and nerve racking moment didn't turn out to be a horrible tragedy. Earlier that morning these outstanding fire fighters were on the other side of town battling a fire caused by the high winds. They still came to help us out with a smile. 
They also graciously checked on my medically fragile student to make sure he was okay, since the power went out. My student's back up systems switched over and he's fine. 
As it turned out the majority of the wires were phone and cable. They graciously checked my car and made sure that it wouldn't explode. I think tonight I am going to dream of Iceland. 

 Bless Bless