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Friday, November 14, 2008

How Naughty Are Kids in Yakima?

Here are the results of the Healthy Youth Survey for Yakima.

At first I was thinking it might be relevant to compare the 6th grade results to the 12th grade results, but Yakima loses such a high percentage of students along the way that it wouldn't be relevant at all. Since the test is voluntary and anonymous, a 6th grade crying out for help might be likely to take the test, and then later skew the results by dropping out before they get to 12th grade.

Anyways, here they are from 2006 I think.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Charlotte Mason Seminar

* Seattle/Tacoma, WA *

All Day Charlotte Mason How-to Workshop
Location: Seattle/Tacoma, WA area
Presented by: Catherine Levison
Date: September 20th, 2008

Attention all Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia
homeschoolers, teachers, and others interested in Charlotte
Mason's educational philosophies.

Catherine Levison, author of several popular books -- including
A Charlotte Mason Education -- will be presenting her popular
All Day How-To Charlotte Mason Workshop this September
2008 in Auburn, Washington.

Charlotte Mason's methods are fun, effective, and inexpensive.
Her techniques are easily adapted to any home schooling method.
Please tell a friend or your support group!

Pre-registration is required by September 10th, 2008.

DATE: Sept. 20th, 2008
TIME: 8:30am - 4:30pm
http://charlottemas oneducation. com/speaking. html

An overview of the Charlotte Mason method, the liberal arts,
how to use narration, literature, art appreciation, formation of
good habits, history, century books, science, nature notebooks,
sketching, short lessons, scheduling, book selection, language
arts (including foreign languages), composition, handwriting,
poetry, spelling, and dictation. High School and the Charlotte
Mason method will be covered at 3:45pm - 4:30pm. Those not
interested in high school will be dismissed at 3:30pm.

White River Presbyterian Church
526 - 12th Street SE
Auburn, WA 98002

$30.00 Per Person
VISA/MC payments can be accepted by calling Catherine in
Seattle at 253-879-0433, or mail a check payable to Catherine
Levison and send to:

Catherine Levison
c/o Charlotte Mason Communique'- tions
2522 N. Proctor, # 500
Tacoma, WA 98406

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dear Wilson Middle School Parent/Guardian

The bolded words are mine.

As Part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002, Title 1 schools that have not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP for two or more consecutive years must provide parents the opportunity to move their child/children into a school that has made AYP. Transportation is free. AYP for Wilson is determined by the WASL scores of our students and their unexcused absence rate.

If your neighborhood school sucks you're legally allowed to choose a different school at our expense.

In 2007-08, Wilson students met all participation requirements in reading and math but didn't make proficiency requirements. Our goal in 2008-09 is to have all students also meet the proficiency requirements in both reading and math.

We suck but we'll try harder next year.

Wilson staff is committed to the success of our school and to provide quality education for each of our students. With the support of the District, we have completed a comprehensive needs assessment and implemented a school improvement plan that will be continued this year. District representatives were involved in the development of our plan and have also implemented a District Improvement Plan.

We even have a plan, the acronym is DIP.

Each of our middle schools has been identified for improvement which eliminates school choice as an option in our district. If you have questions contact me at 573-2401 or by email at

You don't really get to choose a different school because all the middle schools in the district have failed. Any questions?


Ernesto Araiza, Principal
Wilson Middle School

Annual CAPE Barbeque

I just wanted to report what an awesome time my family and I had at CAPE's barbeque yesterday! The food was very tasty--whoever made that rice/casserole/dish, I so want the recipe so I can eat it every day! My kids had a great time bouncing in the jumpy house and trying on the role of mad scientists. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing so many new faces. Not that I don't love my friends... but it's sometimes nice to talk to someone whose stories I haven't already heard!

I wish I had brought business cards so I could exchange contact info with some of the cool parents I met yesterday. If any of you want to get together with the Marshall family, you can leave a message on my blog. We love play dates! Otherwise, I hope to see some of those new faces at other CAPE events, including our parent meeting at Red Art Gallery this Thursday at 7 PM.

Emily Marshall, homeschooling mommy and avid blogger

Monday, August 25, 2008

MacGuyver Monday: Reusing Art Supplies

We go through a lot of art supplies in my home, and that means I can constantly wishing for ways to use the leftovers. I already know about the melt leftover-crayons-in-a-muffin tin trick (and to be honest, my daughter started crying when I showed her the result and wailed, "what have you done to it? They're all mixed up now!", so I won't be doing that again). So here are a few ways to recycle art supplies.

1. Paper scraps make cool collages. See if your kids can work them together into a paper crazy quilt.

2. Crayon bits can make cool melted wax creations. Just put a piece of paper on a warm hot plate and let your child drop the crayon on it. They can push the melted wax around with silverware. Be. Very. Careful. I'm told that dropping melted crayon wax on cloth makes some cool batik effects.

3. Leftover finger paint can be stored covered in the fridge. It might form a skin--just peel it off.

4. Leftover colored pencils can be made into stunning works of art if you have a lot of time on your hands.

4. Dried markers can be rehydrated with a little nail polish remover, or used dry on a wet watercolor painting for a new effect.

MacGuyver Monday is a weekly feature at my blog, SageMommy Says.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yakima School District Teachers on MySpace

Following the Advice of Washington Post columnist, Ian Shapira, I searched MySpace for Yakima School DIstrict. I was surprised to find their job listings, is MySpace really where they want to find a staff? I don't know where MySpace gets its listings, though. They could be pulling them from the newspaper database or something.

Anyway- here are the results of my investigative report; there was Kevin, whose public profile looks great. There were no offensive graphics or foul language. In fact, the entire thing was student-friendly. He's single and he loves kids. Hmmm, who can I set him up with?

Next I saw Jaqui whose profile has a pretty graphics display. She's a family support specialist, not a teacher and her public display is also responsible. I feel like such a matchmaker. I wonder if she knows Kevin(above) They're both in their 30's.

OK, so far nothing offensive, let's see what's next...

Michael, this is getting boring. Aside from the bad color scheme choice (it's really hard on the eyes, Mike) there's nothing offensive here.

, not a lot of personality on the page. She's listed all of her favorite books, music, etc but I'm not familiar with any of them, so I can't really say if they're naughty or not. Her "about me" is curious, she just wrote the lyrics to the Fresh prince of Bel Aire theme song, I'm not sure how it applies to her life. In the comments, some of her friends have used foul language, but she didn't use it in her profile. And none of the comments were excessively vulgar, just a few four letter words, I think it reflects more on the person leaving the comment than on the person receiving it. She has a pretty smile.

Next up is Carla, I like her little "quote" it says
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
She is a middle school math teacher, and her page is pretty, not offensive at all. Again, a few commenters have used 4 letter words. I wish Myspace would let you edit them into something else, will someone please send a letter to their tech department?

OK, now it's time for Jesus was Way Cool. I'm not making that up, this person didn't use her real name. She's 28 and she just quit her job at Blockbuster to be a substitute parapro. Her profile image is.... um... bound to be offensive to someone. I just think it's weird. It's a Jesus doll winking and giving a double thumbs-up sign. In her "People I'd like to meet" she states;
"People who are truely different than your average joe, but are forced to conform to this closed minded, hypocrytical world."
She also says she's
"Finding new ways to entertain myself with my fairly new sober lifestyle"

Newsflash- looking at the pictures- I know this girl, she is super sweet and has an adorable smile. I know her from Blockbuster. There's a lot of profanity on her page, I am so shocked. I'm guessing she grew up in an environment where it was OK. Her sobriety counter shows 4 years, which is good because I didn't know her 4 yrs ago. She was always very good with the kids. Wow. What a small world. I hope she continues to grow and mature as aperson and cleans up her MySpace before the kids she's working with check it out. (and truely is really spelled truly, it's a common mistake.)

OK, what other surprises do we have in store
Yo yo it's Adrian, his "about me" is interesting, it says
"Hey my name is Adrian. I work for YSD and go to school full time. Im always down to kick it meet new people. I'm planning on moving out of this crap hole within the next two years and make a new living somewhere else. I am currently single and dont have any kids, not really looking for a relationship but still lovin the ladies."

He works in the maintenance department. Luckily he's not a teacher.

, is a coach with YSD for 4 years. His page is really hard to read, I hate Myspace graphics. It looks like he's a used-to-party-too-much Latino man who is now coaching Soccer. I think, for a student with a troubled home life or who has seen their share of trouble, this man can probably help. I'm glad he's not teaching english, or counseling.

If you have trouble reading these pages, sometimes it helps to highlight the words. It's a MySpace thing.

Luckily I didn't find anyone horribly offensive teaching in YSD via MySpace. In case you wondered. I

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Theatre 4 Hire Auditions

A message to all members of Theatre4Hire

Hello, everybody! Mr. Trickey here. We are now casting for two upcoming Fall productions and we need your help! We're looking for experienced men and women of any age to take on comedic roles. Also note: all cast players will be paid. Spread the word and tell your friends. Now's the time to get everyone pumped: Theatre4Hire is open for business!

Let's do it!

Visit Theatre4Hire at:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The CAPE Graduation ceremony

I took my girls to the CAPE Home school Graduation earlier this month. It was a fantastic event. Our local group did a great job of holding a graduation ceremony for homeschooling teens. It was held at a local church. It was a little hot in the room- but compared to my High School Graduation (110 degrees- sitting in bleachers- in the sun for 5+ hours) it was heaven.

It was a cozy ceremony with four graduates. In the back of the room there were display boards highlighting the kids' accomplishments. At the beginning of the ceremony younger kids were given little medals and ice cream certificates to acknowledge accomplishments, like learning to read, or finishing middle school. I like that they did that because it offered the chance to have the younger kids present and involved in the ceremony. That part of it was over quickly and the spotlight was back to the seniors.

Each senior had a slide show presented on a big screen TV. In a traditional graduation, there wouldn't have been an individual acknowledgment of each graduate. There also wouldn't have been an acknowledgment of the younger kids. I think it was perfect, really- because it got the families of the younger students OUT to the event. My kids have seen high school graduation ceremonies from several of the area high schools but they've never once seen how home schoolers graduate. It was nice to see my 14 yr old daughter envisioning herself as a home school graduate.

Two of the families had been very active and involved in our group, and it was so very heartwarming to see their kids graduate. As homeschoolers, I think we tend to get more of an emotional attachment to our kids' friends. Actually, I had an emotional attachment to one of the graduates because she used to work for us and I only just barely met her parents (who are charming). The other two graduates- I had no idea who they were, that was kind of weird. I think I go to like 75% of the events in our group and it was strange to see people I didn't know. It was very nice, though to see a lively and involved family whose son is creative, talented and has a heart for service.

It was exciting to imagine what's in store for the graduates. They all had goals and plans for the future. It was nice to hear their plans and get to know the real graduates- at a traditional graduation their individuality would have been drowned out by the crowd. This was special.

As an added bonus, one of the mothers in our group had finished her college degree through an online university. She got 2 1/2 minutes of fame (compared to the high schoolers 45 minutes) but it was very inspirational. This gal is also very involved in the support group, helping to plan events and coordinate activities and homeschooling her two boys but still managed to get her degree. I think that's a WAY bigger accomplishment that high school, and I am so glad that she was able to participate in the event.

I like that homeschooling acknowledges the entire life cycle. Kids accomplish things; finishing high school and taking charge of your occupation and studies is an accomplishment and if you decide, in your 30's to finish college online that's an accomplishment, too. I am so proud that our group had a ceremony that rewarded all of these accomplishments. It makes a traditional graduation seem. so. shallow. This was way more meaningful.

As a side note- our group hadn't had graduations for the past few years so big Thank-Yous are in order to the ladies who worked together to plan this one. I can't wait to see what's in store for next year. Hopefully the tradition of acknowledging all accomplishments will continue. Hopefully the big barn party and line dance will continue. Hopefully we'll see more kids graduating as well. I've always felt a little sad about so many of our local group members putting the kids in school for high school. From what I can tell; that's when the fun starts!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homeschool Week June 8th-14th

Dear Homeschool Friends:

Once again the governor has officially declared "Homeschool Week"!

Each year the Washington Homeschool Organization applies for state-wide recognition of Washington homeschoolers. This year Governor Gregoire signed the attached proclamation stating that June 8 - 14, 2008 is Washington State Homeschool Week.

The proclamation will appear in the next issue of "The WHO's News", it's on the WHO website, and will be displayed at the WHO Booth during their annual convention, June 13 and 14, 2008 at the Western Washington Fair Grounds.

What can you and your family do to raise awareness of homeschooling by using the Washington State Homeschool Week Proclamation?

For the Homeschoolers of WA


I reposted this for Janice, from

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Ellensburg Rock Club is hosting a dig at First Creek (Red Top Mtn) on June 7th/8th. They're meeting at 9am at the 29 Pines campground. They expect to find Geodes & Thunder Eggs. Bring your rock hounding tools. Here's a journal page from someone who has been there before, so you know what to expect..

Literature Based Curricula

Since we began homeschooling two years ago, we have been a traditional homeschooling family. By this, I mean that we had textbooks and workbooks for each subject, and school at home looked a lot like school at school, without things like roll call and bullies and hours spent waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.

One month ago, I began doing Sonlight with my five year old. She blew through a more traditional kindergarten curriculum and then a first grade one. She's not ready for second grade work, so I thought a literature based program would be a nice diversion.

The first day, we sat on the couch and read. The second day, we laid on my bed and read. The third day, we sat on the front porch and read. And so on. Now, we both love to read, so I could feel really guilty about this if my daughter wasn't getting a truly awe-inspiring education from all of this reading. But I don't feel guilty at all. In fact, I am buying Sonlight's Core 100 for my soon-to-be eighth grader. I'm hooked.

If you love reading, a literature based curriculum will allow you to pass this passion on to your little ones. If you don't like reading, a literature based education will ensure that your own children don't develop an unhealthy relationship with the written word. Either way, I highly recommend this method of teaching your children.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Diana Waring Came to Town

She came to discuss the 14th Annual WATCH Conference, but with Diana, it's never "just that." She has a wonderful gift for weaving a story. She'll be teaching a couple of workshop at the conference. She has such a beautiful smile and a sparkle in your eye that makes you just believe that anything is possible. Her homeschooled children are grown. We enjoyed hearing tales of their travels, and what she has learned from educators all over the world. We enjoyed hearing stories about her grown children, and how their learning patterns in childhood have lent themselves to the whole person they are today. She has a gift for inspiring parents to bring out the best in children, and I highly recommend you check her out. Soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wild Waves Homeschool Day

Wild Waves Homeschool Day will be on June 6th this year. Tickets for Homeschool families are only $10.99 for this day (almost $25 lower than general admission). It's our goal to reach as many families that we can in this short period of time, so hopefully they can take advantage of this offer. Please call or email me back so I can give you the rest of the details if you are interested in helping spread the news. Amber LeeMarketing & Group Sales SupervisorWild Waves Theme Park(253) 661-802336201 Enchanted Parkway S.Federal Way, WA 98003

Saturday, May 10, 2008

James and the Giant Peach

The Allied Arts Council is bringing the Sign Stage Tour back to Yakima. They will be performing James and the Giant Peach, Monday May 12th, 7:00pm at the Davis High School Auditorium. The cost is $8.00 for students and $10.00 for adults. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of seeing the Sign Stage tour before you do not want to miss this. The play is performed in both English and Sign Language. Call 966-0930 for more information.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last Time Diana Waring Was in Yakima

She gave such an energetic talk. Diana is awesome, she just gives off such a peaceful, dignified "vibe." She is very approachable and makes you feel like the star of the conversation. She homeschooled her three (or four?) children and they are now grown. She has some great stories to tell of her homeschooling days, stories every mother can relate to. She has a wonderful way of telling stories, she is a very engaging speaker. Whenever I hear her speak, I am energized and encouraged. I highly encourage you to stop in and enjoy this visit. Usually, Diane speaks at big conventions and it costs a fortune to see her. I'm sure her sweet husband will be bringing his card table full of Diana's History Curriculum (it's musical) and her homeschooling support books. I particularly loved the Homeschool Survival Guide.

If you're planning to visit from out of town let us know if you need trip planning information, we'll help.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Diana Waring Speaking in Yakima!

Diana Waring will be speaking on Tuesday, May 20th at 7:00pm at the Yakima Evangelical Church, 7901 W. Nob Hill Blvd.

This is a WATCH Whistle Stop Event. Diana and her husband Bill are now serving as the President of WATCH. They will be providing information about the upcoming WATCH Convention.

It is such a treat for us to have Diana here to share with us. Diana is an energetic speaker who will challenge you to grow as a homeschool parent. Mark your calendar, this is an event you don't want to miss!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More on the 2008 Convention

I had the privilege of scheduling vendor workshops this year. We had five workshops for adults and twenty five workshops for kids. That alone should tell you where we put our focus. This truly is a Kids Convention. (McDonald's and Disney must be doing something right.)

Most vendors are used to presenting their workshops to adults. I am so pleased that so many of them were willing to step out of their comfort zone and teach classes to kids. Keep in mind our goal is for parents to attend WITH their children not drop them off for childcare.

All of my girls commented on how much fun they had in the Art classes with Mindy from Red Gallery. They made masks, which are still being worn today.

Northwest Treasures is the name of the company who put on the awesome black light display. I was very impressed with the kit they had on Yellowstone. (Having just spent spring break there.)

Kimm Orr stepped out of the box with her Creative Memories workshops. As you probably know one method of record keeping is to use a portfolio. Kimm showed students in 9th-12th and 6th-8th grades how they can develop their own portfolio to use as a part of college admissions.

Ever popular instructor Cami Post from Camp Ghormley helped students plant trees as they learned about the importance of reforestation. Rumor has it that the 2008 Outdoor School theme will be pond biology this year. I know that I can't wait! Those who have enjoyed Chef Craig's cooking at Outdoor School got a special treat at convention when he stepped up and covered the preschool class due to a cancellation. Thanks Craig!!!!

Another thanks goes to Sensei Zack from Yakima School of Karate. Sensei Zack ended up covering three classes. The students who participated in his Karate class seemed to be having a lot of fun even with the slight drizzle of rain.

Returning favorite Stuart Curry from Camp Woodworth had the archery range going all day. The rain didn't slow the archers down any. The class was at its max through most of the convention. Discussion is in the works to see if we can get Stuart to share his secrets for telling the ultimate camp story next year.

We are very thankful to the representatives from YVCC who came to share with us about the current expectations for homeschool students who are planning on attending Running Start next year.

The rubber band rocket is still flying around my house and my oldest is continuing to work on new designs for fizzy fliers thanks to the incredible hands on workshop presented by Civil Air Patrol. (Please don't tell her that science isn't supposed to be fun!)

We have such wonderful memories here that I can hardly wait for next year's convention. This would not have been possible without hours of hard work put in by the convention committee and their fearless leader! You did and incredible job! Thank You!

Convention was amazing

I hope you all had a chance to visit the 2008 CAPE convention.

The pre-schoolers loved playing on the gymnastics course set up by Lori from Gymnastics Plus.

Our K-2 kids learned a few songs and rhymes about obedience from Morna Gilbert, whose family distributes the Character First program It looks like an awesome program, I can't wait to check it out. basically you focus on one character quality per month, and the book gives you songs, games, rhymes, a story from history where notable personalities (not always from the Bible) display this character quality and also a fictional story displaying this quality. Each trait has an animal (because kids love animals) and a story and playing card about the animal with this quality. I like it because they give 4-5 easy to remember positive statements that you can easily memorize and "play back" to your kids when they're being naughty. Also, Morna suggests praising children for their character qualitie, not their tasks. I know I do this sometimes, but not often enough since I didn't even realize my 2 yr old was "showing initiative" and Morna praised her for that whereas my instinct was to praise her for "cleaning up." Anyway, she was delightful and I highly recommend their program, I can't wait to get it in our house.

The K-2 kids also enjoyed a geology talk from ----insert name of man/company here----- I happened to walk in during a black-light display of phosphorescence, an amazing thing. The kids were amazed, so was I.

Effcom had a booth and I was very careful not to drool over the new MacBook Air. I didn't know it had a built in webcam. Is it possible to feel affectionate toward technology?

Discovery Toys had a booth. The kids, of course, loved the toys, developmentally appropriate toy products that are great for early childhood education. The lady who had the booth indicated that she has more parties than she can possibly work, so she's recruiting a home demonstration sales person. If you want to earn free toys, this is a great way to do it.

Marge from Usborne Books was there, she is a real local treasure. I doubt she sells many books at Convention, but she definitely inspires us all to book the next party. She's got my number.

Londa Harpster gave the opening address and darnit all I missed it. Her talk "Coach Your Kids for Life" based upon her book of the same title was well-received and definitely the talk of the town. She's an amazing, energetic lady who knows how to work a crowd. i sat in on her "What's in it for me" talk directed toward middle and high schoolers. She rocks. I think the kids received her information well, she helped them discover how to "find what works" in communicating with your parents. Instead of telling them that bickering, back-talking and eye-rolling were naughty, she helped them realize through directed conversation that these tactics don't even work. She gave them a worksheet to help them learn how to find answers in the bible for things that are troubling them. The first question was "What am I consistently getting in trouble for" (not verbatim sorry) I think it was very effective. She had fun with them, and I think they appreciated it.

Polished apple gave a writing workshop for the K-2 group (can you guess who I was with all day?) The lady was very patient working with that age group. She did a great job of drawing out the writers in the kids and helping even the rowdiest boys to expand upon their nouns and verbs to create better sentences. I was impressed. I can't wait to check out their writing program.

I sat in on Chef Craig's snack-making workshop for the K-2 kids. They made ants on a log and Yogurt parfaits. He had on an amazing hot chili pepper chef outfit and a real chef had (the kids thought he was so cool). He got the kids late in the day and some of them had a hard time staying on task. He was very patient with them.

Jamie gave a speech called "Homeschooling is a piece of cake." Her handouts will be available here.

Tia gave a great speech about the Homeschooling Law. She's making her handout available online, too. Hopefully she'll comment here so we can find them:-)

An enormous Thank-You to Our Convention leader, and all of those who volunteered to set up and take things down. it was an amazing team event. I think it's so important for homeschoolers to come together and celebrate our lifestyles. Homeschooling is such a HUGE part of our family's life. Getting together with other homeschooling families is so important. being in the same room with people who "get it." just helps me keep ticking.

If you missed the convention this year, I hope to see you there next year. If you were there, please comment about your favorite part of convention.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the CAPE Families United Convention

CAPE is Yakima's oldest and most respected homeschooling support group. The group is over 20 years old and its founding members were part of the movement to help Washington pass their homeschool law around 20 years ago.

Every year CAPE hosts Central Washington's best homeschooling Convention. This year, the theme is Families United, and you can read more about it at their website CAPE See you there.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mission Statement

This mission statement will probably change several times. That's OK.

4-26-08 First Mission Statement: To create one central blog that Yakima, Washington Homeschoolers can contribute to that gives prospective homeschoolers in Yakima and people who are moving to Yakima an idea of what kinds of things go on here that might be of interest to Homeschoolers. At this point the blog will be 20% philosophy, 70% local education based things and 10% "other" like State of Washington legal issues, and whatever other misc concepts can still be relevant to Homeschooling in Yakima, life in Yakima and homeschooling in general.

I am sure when the other contributing bloggers join up they'll want to impart their vision, or simply revise my sleep-deprived text. Keep in mind that I am using keywords and I think they matter at this point.