If you like what you read, consider donating to help me support my family.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Public School Gone Wrong

You all know that I am a homeschooling mama, but when I am asked why and I say that there are many reasons, including that schools don't really care about the student as much as they care about how much money they can get, it never fails that the person who asked me rolls their eyes and stops listening.
So when my friend reported the other day that her daughter had been mistreated by a staff member of her school, and the school was trying to cover it up, I held my hands out as if to say to the world: You see? This is what I'm talking about!
Here's a follow up in her own words:

By Jolynn Iceman

Warroad Elementary School Update
Well in since my last post of what a Warroad School employee did to my 7 year old daughter I was informed that this person no longer works for the school. Keep in mind that that they did not state whether she quit or was terminated. Warning to parents out there, if they allowed her to quit she is still able to be hired back and get away with this.

Now for the update… I received multiple letters from the school. First let’s focus on my daughter that was the main issue with this person that they call a principal at the school. Two of the letters are violations on my daughter. Both listed as severe problems not minor. One stated that she refused to put her paperwork in her folder when she was told to and that this interrupted the entire class. Hmm okay. The second stated that she was under a table and disrupted the entire class. Now I understand that this behavior is not how she should act, but when I asked her about it she told me that they told her to put her homework away, and that because she didn’t do it fast enough the teacher threatened to call the principal, and which they did. A principal that was not to have any further contact with my daughter, period. Sorry guys she is not an adult and may not put things away as quickly as you do. I asked her why she was acting like that and crawling under the table and she said that she was playing with her friend and that she is the only one that got in trouble. Note: She had her favorite doll taken away for two weeks for this instance.

Did you know that Warroad Schools have one of the highest amounts of paid aides and assistants in the state in comparison to school size, and yet they fall short in a lot of other areas. There are multiple aides in my daughters class so I asked why they didn’t help her. My daughters reply was, “they don’t like me mom. They don’t like me because you made Mrs. (Name) mad.” Needless to say they are lucky the school is closed and no one was in office when she told me this.

Now to continue. There is also a nice little envelope that states all four of my children have too many absences due to a new policy “that was not written in the 2013-2014 handbook”. Guess what.. before they send out information on this subject they should know what they are talking about and if it was not in the handbook for the year it does not apply. First of all any days my children have missed they have been called out by myself or their father. The school seems to think they have a right to press that they can tell you when your chlld needs to go to a doctor. Here’s the thing. At the beginning of the year all of us parents attended a little BS meeting where they stated that "if your child is ill please do not send them to school", guess they failed to mention they are going to try and use it against your child’s status. I am not about to bring my child to the ER or doctor when they are going to just tell me to give them Tylenol and keep them hydrated for a flu virus that is going around, and I know there are a lot of parents that would agree. Then they tell us that we are wrong in doing so, and think they can tell us they need a doctor’s note for missing. Hmm wrong again. They can only request a doctor note if a child has a medical condition in which they need medication, will be out for extended periods of time (i.e. surgery), or if they have an injury or condition that will prevent them from doing normal daily activity (i.e. gym class). If a parent calls them in sick that is all they need for an excused absence, but our school lists them as unexcused without a doctor note. Guess what… this is against a lot of laws including a patient privacy act.

All of these and many other letters have arrived since I stood up for my daughter. If they think I am going to back off they are crazy, this just made me reinforce my fight against them in court. I will say that law enforcement has been very helpful in the case with my daughter and I have no issues with their part, but I will not stand for a school harassing my family or any child for that matter.
Since this has started I have had a lot of parents contact me about things their children have experienced, some stating that if they are not of the correct ethnic background or family name they get treated differently. Others stated if they are not a family big in sports they are treated differently. Here is an example.

A parent informed me that they had issues with one of their children. There are multiple children in the family, but this one child in particular is of a different race. They had held meetings over her actions, and again one of the Warroad School staff (that no longer works there but is now in a different local school) was treating her terribly which caused this activity. This was even backed up by doctors. When the parents had enough of this they stood up to the school. What actions did the school take you may ask? They called social services because this child was eating breakfast at school and not at home. Keep in mind they did not report the other children from the family, just the one child. Most of the staff didn’t even know this child had siblings at the school. Correct me if I am wrong, but because of the longer school days most children eat breakfast at school. So I wonder; how many other parents were turned in to Social Services for this ignorant complaint? The parent stated this continued with multiple harassing visits that disrupted their family, and found nothing to back the schools ignorant claims.

Next multiple parents stating that they had to leave work to go to the school because their child was acting inappropriately, only to get there to find out; they walked out of line, didn’t finish their lunch fast enough, that they arrived to class a minute late (after that parent called the school), that they thought a student was absent that was there, that busses dropped their kids off at the wrong place (after parent notification) and were locked out of the home in cold weather, along with many others. Oh wait this was my personal favorite. One teacher was failing a student on their homework because the PARENT didn’t grade it for them. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t that what teachers are paid for, or one of the many aides they have. Not to mention that most parents sit with their child when they do their homework, I know I do, so as far as I am concerned they get a 100%.

Now back to the reasons for this activity. Warroad Public Schools bank on this lovely four day school week. They have to have proper attendance and meet other various criteria for this to happen, which means that they have to put more on the students and parents, facts that they leave out telling us. In order to get funding for all the paid aides and paras that they have they also have to have a reason for them, so they list normal minor things as severe instances so that they have a “paper trail” to back up the need for funding. Now let us touch on funding for a moment. Funding in the Warroad School comes from multiple sponsors and grants, much of which is donated to various specific programs. Now if they have said amount of funding and they limit what each student can receive for assistance, can you tell me where the excess goes; especially when most students do not use all the funding for the programs that the funds were donated for. Very interesting if you ask me, and also nice that it is information that can be released when you know the proper venues to do so.

Some of you may think that I am a “hostile parent”, but those that know me know different. If any of my children are in the wrong, I am the first to let them know and I do normal parenting things like grounding or taking away fun activities. Heck, I even make them do more reading if they are acting up at home. My children are lively, fun and have a lot of energy, just like other children. Each of them have their own personalities, and aspire to be different things. My two oldest want to go into the military, my daughter wants to be a basketball princess, and my youngest boy wants to be a fireman cop ninja. My oldest loves to read (like his mom), my second oldest can build anything (and I mean anything), my daughter loves to draw and color, and my youngest…well let’s just say that he is crazy all the time. We are like normal families; we spend time together, eat dinner around the dinner table, take planned trips, go to the park, have movie and game nights, talk about problems and love each other. No matter what my children are everything to me, and there is not a morning that I don’t get told I am greatest mom ever, and that they love me. So listen up Warroad Elementary, I will not sit back and let you put them into your cookie cutter mold so that things are easier on you, I will never let them down and that includes making sure you do the jobs you are paid to do. What happened to the days when school was about the kids, and not about what the kids can get the school?

P.S. My attorney loved the letters as they are proof of harassment.

Secondly to that lovely person that hurt my daughter I know who you are and I will do everything possible to make sure you never work with children again.

Lastly to the person that seems to want to report my posts so they get deleted… I also know who you are and if you have an issue I suggest you contact me instead of running your mouth.
Like · ·
  • Roxanne Packard I would have pulled my children out of this school and made it clear that I will not tolerate harassment while I file a major lawsuit against the school. Stories like this and what's happened to my neice simply reinforce my decision to homeschool. Schools don't care about the kids anymore, it's all about how much money they can get. And the BS about not doing things fast enough, or stepping out of line just a little as a reason to call the parents in? THAT is teaching children to basically just shut up and do what they are told, like little slaves.
    Can I have permission to copy this ENTIRE rant and post it to my blog? And also to share it? Because I have a community of homeschoolers that would probably throw a fit that a school DARES to do this.

    JoLynn Iceman Share and post away Roxanne. That was one of the other things I was told, that a lot of parents are afraid to post or stand up to the school because they will just take it out on the family and children. Anyone who wants to share this is more than welcome to. I am just not one of those people who are afraid of backlash, and if they do anything to my children they will regret it. Most people's biggest fear is that this school uses the reporting law to their advantage in cases like this. Not that they are doing anything wrong, but if the school reports you to social services they are required by law to look into it. Like most parents say "it makes people look at you like bad parents when you did nothing wrong." They can report me all they want because with every knock at the door it is more proof of harassment by the school, and negligence of social services not looking into the real problem...that friggen school.

My Chainmail Bra

Back in 2011, my husband made me a custom fitting bra out of chainmail. It is hands down THE best bra I have ever had, but I don't wear it much because the chainmail bites into me, and while it doesn't cause pain or discomfort while I am wearing it, I do get some pain and discomfort when I take it off. Thus I don't wear it often. Plus it's sort of a process to get in and out of it, making it impractical for every day usage.

Anyway, because I do love it so much (and WISH I could have someone who knows how to sew make me the exact same bra in cotton or something), I decided to show it off. I never truly did so before because the pics are - well... a bit risque, lol!

So, WARNING, if you don't want to see my fat and semi-naked body, do NOT scroll down!!! I will give some space so that you cannot see the pics unless you do actually scroll by counting down from twenty-one. Okay?


Ready? Okay!

 Here is a front view of my chainmail bra, including my pretty face. I was sunburn if you can't tell, lol!

 Here's a closer view :-D

 A side view :-)

 A back view, which shows one of the things I love most about this bra: it has super supportive straps that prevent the thing from digging into the back of my neck.

Here's the reason that I don't wear this bra as much as I'd like. Don't get me wrong, those marks aren't painful - at least not while I am wearing it. I don't notice it digging in at all. It's only after I take it off that I feel like a mild burning sensation, and the marks take a while to fade.

Anyway, I feel kind of bad about not posting pics of my bra much sooner. This blog is SUPPOSED to be a documentation of my many weirdnesses, and I'm sure that chainmail certainly make the list, lol! Hopefully late is still considered better than never.

Oh and if you love my blog, please remember to like any and/or all of my posts and share them to your page and consider donating :-)

Thank you and have a happy night!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Progress on my second skirt

Just a quick post today. I am making a second 25 yard skirt to layer and contrast with the first one, and I'm using a slightly different technique on this one. On the first, each row was the same length until I got to official sections where I planned to decrease the size of the row, but this one I've decided to decrease EVERY row so that the skirt gets easier and easier to crochet as I go along AND I'm saving quite a bit of yarn over the first version. I hope that I will end up with enough left over to make the top I want to go with the skirt :-)

Here' a progress pic :-)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Crochet 25 Yard Skirt

About a month ago, I saw a picture of a GORGEOUS 25 yard skirt in a maroon color. I immediately fell in lust. I just HAD to have it! And since I am an avid crocheter, I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone and crochet me a 25 yard skirt.

The very first thing I needed to do was find an exactish definition of what a 25 yard skirt is. I rather impetuously jumped to the conclusion that a 25 yard skirt was a skirt made from 25 yards of fabric divided into 4 panels. I immediately made plans to crochet 4 separate panels that totaled 25 yards. The bottom panel was only going to be 11 yards long, I think, but then...

After far more research than should have been necessary, I finally found out that the REAL definition of a 25 yard skirt is any skirt that has a bottom hem line of 25 yards. That made my heart jump into my throat! That's 75 FEET for a base chain. That's nine HUNDRED inches!!!

OI! What have I gotten myself into? Why must I always bite off more than I can chew??? lol

So then I needed to figure out how I could possibly make this skirt without taking the rest of my life to do so. I made a test pattern out of random yarn from my stash to see how it might work, and then a tiny barbie sized sample out of crochet thread to see how it would look if using thread. I was not surprised to find that I liked the thread version better, lol!

So I went online and found a jumbo sized skein of size 10 white crochet thread (2730 yards) for $12.88 at walmart dot com. That was a great price and so I bought it and waited not so patiently for it to arrive. This gave me time to fingure out the hands down MOST important part of making this skirt...

What to watch while I crochet?!

I have my favorites - such as Doctor Who, Merlin, Torchwood, Firefly, etc. Heck! I even watched Orange is the New Black (which I didn't really like) just because I'd run out of stuff to watch. SO, I asked my facebook friends and got some good tips for shows to check out. With that set, and a good playlist or two of music to listen to as a backup, I sat down and started my skirt the moment the thread arrived.

This skirt was actually really easy to make, provided that one has the patience and motivation to persevere. I stuck to a pretty basic outline. Most 25 yard skirts are made in 4 panels, the bottom panel being 25 yards, the next panel being half of that (or in other words, between 12 and 12.5 yards). The one tutorial that I found for making the skirt out of cloth actually cut off the extra .5 yard on this panel in order to use the fabric to make the waistband. The next panel is then 6 yards, and the last panel is 3 yards.

Knowing all of this information AND knowing that it is SO MUCH EASIER to start on the large side and work my way ever smaller - not to mention that the important part is the 25 yard bottom hem - I decided to start there; at the bottom hem.

Getting comfortable with a new series to watch and plenty of water to drink, I started my base chain. Scratch that, I started my Foundation Single Crochet. I really really REALLY recommend using the FSC over a base chain for two reasons: 1 - It works up much more evenly, and 2 - It saves time in the long run. I mean think about this, would you rather chain 75 feet and then have to go back and single crochet in each chain across to give it a good foundation, OR would you rather create your chain AND first row of single crochet all in one and be done with it?

There's a bonus reason I recommend it. If after chaining 75 feet and then SC in each stitch across, you happen to remeasure it and find you have a whole extra yard, it is so much easier to take that yard out of a FSC than it is to unravel all that work just to get back to the base chain and remove the extra. If you are anything like me, you'd rather keep the extra yard than have to unravel 25 yards of work!

Okay, so, using a size L (8MM) hook, and size 10 crochet thread, I FSC 25 yards. The first time I did it (on my test above), I used scrap thread to mark each yard so that I could just measure it once and not have to worry about it, but because yarn and thread both stretch, the marked stitches were off, and so I ended up measuring my very first attempt like 3 or 4 times anyway. Thus, on my official skirt, I simply used a safety pin, which I moved each time I reached an easy to remember number of yards - such as 5 10 15, etc.

I recommend using scrap thread over a safety pin because it's a visual reference that can come in handy when crocheting later on :-)

Either way, I do NOT recommend pulling the base hem too tight when measuring. Hold it flat and fairly loose, but not too loose. You want the measurement to be accurate, but do NOT be picky. When you are dealing with 25 yards, a couple of inches or even a foot is not going to make a big difference.

This pattern is very forgiving!!!

The other thing you need to know about making this skirt is how LONG do you want it. Most people assume a length of 36 inches. I'm short, so I was aiming for 32-34 inches in length. I know that the skirt will naturally stretch AND I didn't want it to drag on the ground. With a 36 inch length, the skirt is typically divided into 4 panels of 9 inches each. Depending on the width of the fabric, the bottom panel may often be half that. (And the other panels adjusted accordingly.)

I wanted to sort of stick to the panels of the fabric skirt, but not needing the same length, I planned to make the bottom panel only 6 inches tall, and each of the remaining three panels 9 inches tall.

The first row after my FSC, I double crocheted in each stitch across. If you were paying attention, I used a big hook and a smallish thread. This means that it went by much more quickly than one might expect. HOWEVER, each row of the original 25 yards still took a LONG time. I think the FSC took me 8 hours to work up, and each row after that probably took at least 6 hours to work.

I measured the length after each row and quickly realized something... I was NEVER going to make it to 6 inches at 25 yards!!! I had a pretty hard time making it to the 3 inch mark. It took me at least 3 or 4 days of near continuous crocheting just to get to the 3 inch mark. But you know what, that was okay by me, because once I made it there - which for me was the original FSC plus 6 rows of DC - I decided that it would be easier and save me a lot of yarn if I decreased here.

To be straight, I did NOT end the panel here, decreasing from 25 to 12 yards. I actually only took out 1/4 of the length. (You know, half of the half that I would be decreasing at the 6 inch mark anyway, lol!) This left me with 19 yards to work, which reduced my crochet time per row to about 4 hours.

When I reached the 6 inch mark, I figured that I actually needed to reduce the total length by a third to get to the 12 yards I needed. (Actually, you'll note that I still have "extra" footage, but that's OKAY!!! Do not be "perfect!") I ended with 13 yards or so, I think.

The 13 yard rows seemed to fly by in comparison to the original 25, lol! THIS is why I started with the long part, so that the work would get easier as I went :-)

Again, I made the decision to decrease every 3 inches rather than at the actual 9 inches for each tier. I ran out of the first 2730 yard skein of thread about halfway through the second tier, and needed to order a second 2730 yard skein. The good news is that the second skein not only finished my project, but I have PLENTY left over for other things :-)

That's the whole pattern! Work 3 inches of DC, and then use a row of decreasing single crochet. Decreasing is simple. Let's say - since MOST of this skirt decreased by a 1/4th each time - that you want to shorten the row by 1/4th. This means that you "skip" every fourth stitch. More to the point, you work the third and fourth stitches together so that the two stitches become one and you in essence skip the fourth stitch. If you wanted to decrease by a third, you'd skip every third stitch, if by a tenth, skip every 10th stitch. Got it?

The third tier is the only truly different tier. It starts out with 6 yards - give or take some length - and ends with three yards. This means that I could not decrease by 1/4 like I had just about every other time I decreased. Up until now - with one exception - all decreases have been by 1/4th.  Now, after I had three inches of 6 yards, I took out 1/6th of the length to give me 5 yards. After three inches of 5 yards, I took out 1/5th of the length to leave me with 4 yards. 3 inches later was the end of the tier, so I took out 1/4 of the length to leave me with the 3 yards for the last tier.

Right here, the skirt SHOULD measure 6+9+9=24 inches. Back when I was working the 4 yard rows, I'd held it up to me and it was almost the perfect length, but since each part measured what it should, I thought that maybe I wasn't holding it right or something. So I continued to crochet until I got to 3 inches of the last tier. Then I held it up to me again and discovered that it was way too long!!!

You see, while each part measured what it was supposed as I crocheted it, I already told you that it was going to stretch. In fact, the DC stitches themselves sort of tighten up and add a lot of length as it's own weight pulls on it. This means that I actually had to pull out half the 3 inches I'd just worked so that I could then decrease to about the perfect size for my waist and make the waistband.

NOTE: the waist band is adjustable. You can leave it 3 yards long or take out some length to make it a bit closer to your own waist. The choice is up to you :-) I chose to take out some length.

Lastly, I crocheted a long string to thread through the waist band. (I SC for 7 rows and then using a slip stitch, "sewed" the top of the waistband to the bottom of the waist band to create a hollow tube to thread the string through. This is why the waistband is adjustable.

Wait LASTLY lastly, I SC along the side seam to sew it together. PHEW! Done!

YEA! Throw a party! Wear the skirt and strut your stuff like a peacock! :-D

Okay, so by now you - if you are still here - are thinking that your eyes hurt from reading all of that. Also, unless you have a good knowledge of crochet, you probably don't know half of what I said, lol! What you REALLY want are pics, lol!

I planned to take progress pics after each skein, thinking I'd need 2 jumbo and one regular skein, but as I said earlier, I surprised myself by not needing all of the second skein, so instead of a ton of detailed progress pics, I have a couple and then a bunch of finished pics :-D

This is my Foundation Single Crochet plus what "looks" like 7 rows. This is the first three inches (6 rows of DC), a decrease row and then another row of DC. I recommend measuring 1 row AFTER a decrease row to make sure that it measures correctly. Again, do not hold the fabric too tight or too loose. Aim for flat and err on the side of loose :-)

 THIS is when I ran out of the first skein of thread and folded it up to wait for the next skein to arrive.

 This is so you can see what is approximately a yard looks like :-)

Here you can somewhat clearly see the two decrease rows. The first one (in the middle of the work), is at the three inch mark, decreasing from 25 yards to 19, and the second one is at the end of the first tier, where I decreased to about 13 yards. NOTE: My measurements were never exact, often having MORE than it "should."

 I finished my skirt, threw it on my hubby's mannequin and snapped a quick pic before I realized that the mannequin was standing in the hands down messiest spot in our house! Please disregard the mess, it's all stuff we currently have nowhere else to put. Shrugs.

 Not really having a big open area ANYWHERE in our house to take pics of a big wide skirt, I decided that the kitchen was the best place I was going to get. Here I am simply standing to show how the skirt hangs and drapes. It's nice :-) However, what you can't see is that it has already stretched so much that I have it not around my waist, but up under my braline, and it still touches the ground. This is not a tragedy though since the skirt is make to tuck and play with :-)

 For example, the double cross, lol! The front side of the skirt is pulled up and tucked into my bra strap, and the other side of my skirt is wrapped around back and draping over my shoulder. In this pic, it looks like the skirt is pulled up over one shoulder, wrapped around back, and draped over the other shoulder, but it's not, lol!

 It's hard to see with my limited space, but it spreads out into Angel wings :-D

My only real complaint is that it's LONG - longer than I wanted it to be. But that's still good news, because I plan to make a second skirt - it's traditionally worn with a second skirt for contrast - so I know now that with a bit more planning, I can make it much shorter and save myself a LOT of work :-D This tuck is called the mullet - I believe - and is nicknamed the can can. As in from the old fashioned dance girls who often did the can can, lol!

Betcha didn't realize I was wearing pants under my skirt, huh? lol!

So that's my skirt. I am SO proud of it and can't wait to make a second one in a gorgeous color. I'm thinking Deep Rose, Bright Blue, or maybe even vibrantly hot pink since a friend of mine mentioned that if this skirt was OVER a brightly colored skirt - rather than under like I planned - it'd probably look really good. :-)

Just so y'all know - in case you want to try your hand at it too, it only took me about 2-3 weeks to finish this dress, even after I had to wait several days to get the second skein of thread. Therefore, it's worth the time and effort. It might take longer if you can only crochet a couple hours here and there, but once you get past the first tier, it starts to really fly by :-)

Good luck and have a happy day!

Charts and Readings