Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How did I miss this? I was left behind!

Back in August the Washington Post ran an opinoin piece, Gifted Children Left Behind. It's 5:30 in the morning (I can't sleep) so forgive me for not summarizing it; just click and read it yourself.

Thanks to Joel at the Gifted Ed Blog at Prufrock Press for pointing this out.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Attention Gifted Ed Advocates in Illinois

I still doubt my kids' ability to get a free and appropriate education (which some state officials tell me ain't gonna happen) at our local public school, but we have started investigating it a bit more closely. We met with the principal, something DH and I both agreed was not as bad as we feared. But the more I reflect on it, the more reality sets in. How could this possibly work? And as I sit here at my keyboard, I realize I'm not prepared to write about this yet. My emotions run quite high on this topic.

But I can say this:
I once read that there are about 150,00 gifted children in my state that have been left behind due to funding cuts. Last year our legislators finally restored funding for gifted ed. Hooray! The five million dollar sin funding translates into about, hmm, $33 dollars per student. Now wonder my boys are at the Gifted Academy. *sigh*

I recently received word that the Illinois State Board of Education is holding budget hearings for the FY'09 budget. The budget hearings are the first in a series of legislative procedures that could ultimately result in increased funding for gifted education. You can make a difference by attending a hearing and speaking on behalf of the educational needs of gifted students in Illinois.

Want to help?
It is really quite simple... Get to the meeting early. Sign in as soon as you arrive. Those addressing the board are called in the order in which they sign-in. Prepare a brief statement ahead of time and bring 15 copies with you to the meeting. Tell a personal or professional story about a gifted child you know and how funding is needed to meet his/her special educational needs. If you have a child/student who could speak to the board, that would be even better.

See full meeting details at the IAGC site. Here are two dates and locations that might be relevant to nearby readers.

Monday, November 5, 2007 6 to 8 p.m. Des Plaines Room L 101, Maine Township High School West, 1766 Wolf Road, Maine Township High School District 207, Des Plaines

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 2 to 4 p.m. Chicago James R. Thompson Center, 9th Floor Conference Room 9-040, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My special little guy kicked out of school?!?

It's true!

Sort of.

At the end of a miserable week, we found out last Friday that Smartypants has Mono. As in Mononucleosis. As in the kissing disease. I asked him who he's been kissing. Just you Mom. And Dad.

Last week was horrible. Fever, headaches, chills, swollen lymph glands in his neck, and inflamed tonsils-so huge I don't know how he could swallow. I was miserable. I mean he was. Too.

The pediatrician said Smartypants was among the worse cases of mono he'd seen all year. Except that the term he used was "impressive symptoms." And Jewish mamaleh I am, I couldn't help but kvell when the word impressive was used to describe my firstborn. I'm weird like that.

After missing a week of school we got The Call. The gentle reminder from the school secretary informing us that Smartypants will not be re-admitted to the fine Academy without permission from the doctor.

He's made a pretty remarkable recovery, but we've been warned to have him take it easy. In fact, the doctor says no PE or recess for another couple of weeks because his spleen might be enlarged (classic mono symptom) and too much activity could damage or rupture it.

Anyone who's talked to me since, oh, July, knows that I've been craving the return to the fairly predictable routine that school brings. But school didn't start until Sept. 10 and was followed immediately by the Jewish holidays and then a business trip for me. Here it is October and he's missed two weeks of school, next week he'll likely only go 1/2 days. Then in the blink of an eye it will be time for the week long Thanksgiving Break followed a few weeks later by a 2.5 week Winter Break.

I'm still putting in the 20 hours/week at an office job, plus a few more for a family business, plus another hour or two at yet another part-time job, plus freelance writing (including blogging). I've got a couple of doctor's appointments on my "free days." Then there are the school meetings, plus extra research as we ponder where to send the boys next year (Costly and logistically challenging, but generally beneficial private school? Our seemingly inadequate public school? Do we move to be "better" district? Haven't we been through this before?)

So if I spend my holidays in a locked ward, you'll understand, won't you? *sigh*

Pending Smartypants's continued recovery, I may have a big mom's night away soon. I can't jinx it by writing about it just yet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Free and Appropriate Education?

When my blogging time is limited why should I find the words to say what's already been said (and, importantly, researched)? Check out this entry over at the Gifted Exchange Blog.

Laura Vanderkam writes about an important recent court ruling out of New York. But don't just read her post, see the comments section before you click away. Are we ignoring our nation's most promising minds? And at what cost?

And the Winner is....

Congratulations to Sarah of Sarah and the Goon Squad (and the DC Metro Moms Blog and about a gazillion other blogs), who will soon receive more candy than should ever be allowed in a single house. I hope she enjoys the chocolates, the goodies and the 47-cent spending spree at Pottery Barn.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Ultimate PMS Survival Kit Giveaway

Say goodbye to your PMS blues, ladies because I'm about to make your month!

I'm giving away a great package featuring chocolate! Not just any chocolate, but the ultimate chocolate from Pretty Mean Snacks (PMS, get it?). I didn’t get to try these at the Candy Expo, but I did get to ogle them. These gourmet chocolates are so pretty, they are suitable for framing.
The giveaway also includes a cute chocolate from Custom Candy Concepts, maker of customized chocolates, cookies, and lollipops.

And a brand new chocolate product from Werther's, so hot off the drawing board it's not even in the stores yet.

And speaking of hot, does this whole global warming thing get you down, especially when your hormones are wreaking havoc with you? No worries!

The ultimate PMS giveaway also includes a canvas shopping bag courtesy of Pure Fun organic candies and, of course, many samples of their goods.

The survival kit also contains loads of other cool and exciting samples from the Candy Expo. Throw a handful at your kids and they're sure to stop whining for a few minutes!

And because I know that premenstrual bloating is bothering you, I'm tossing in a pack of Nutra-Trim weight management gum. (Also from the Candy Expo...wait, why am I giving that away?!)

While your kids are chomping on all the candy, lock yourself away and soothe your PMS blues with a 4 CD set from MOMbo. You will enjoy Minnesotan Nanci Olesen’s voice- it’s every bit as calming as Garrison Keillor’s. Listen to Nanci and a host of other mothers and experts discuss stages of motherhood and some of the challenges we all face. I loved the school piece- and totally related. It was a driveway moment for me.

Having a hard time keeping track of your menstrual cycle? Can’t remember when your last period was? This month start the Days Ago timer at the beginning of your cycle. Helpful for tracking both fertility and menopause. Take your pick!

The package also includes a large canvas shopping bag recipe cards and some other goodies courtesy of the Dairy Council (from this event not the candy show, but still good stuff). And a
Pottery Barn gift card with 47 cents on it because They would not issue change for my gift card purchase. Seriously Pottery Barn people, WTF?

Leave a comment below to enter. (Yeah, sure mention it on your blog, too. I'm totally up for some linky love, but it's not a requirement.)

Contest starts now and ends Saturday October 13 at 9 PM CST. I'll announce the winner next week. Good luck!

Friday, October 05, 2007

When your kids read too much

I may soon be contributing to yet another blog (which I'll announce after the ink on all the paperwork is dry) and I asked Smartypants if he wanted a new blogname.

What should I call you?

"Call me Ishmael," replied my 9 year-old.