Did that get your attention people? Continue reading
“The Transcontinental Railroad”
Spear on my back, arrow in my right hand, and bow in my left. Lay ahead of me, the buffalo that roamed and feasted on the grassy meadow, the mighty kill. I kneeled down, then fell on my stomach, then went into a full out crawl. I pulled the bow up, aligned the arrow, and pulled back the string until my muscles couldn’t take any more.
The horn blew, the buffalo stepped forward, and then came the noise that echoed through the valley that my people often heard before the buffalo fell. I didn’t think it was possible, or true, until the buffalo fell. What followed was the laughter, heard far away, from the terrible machine that always passed and made weird noises like an extraordinary animal.
The waste of meat, bones, and the hide that was used to make my tepees. My family needed it, needed it all. The tepee needed patching due to the water wear, we needed more eating utensils, and I needed more weapons now that my father had risen up to be one with the bear in the sky.
The gold stake was driven nineteen moons ago. Since then the black smoke maker rumbled in the night. The buffalo had been disappearing since, and if the buffalo were disappearing, my people were to go along with them.
Three weeks before the driving of the golden spike:
I sit down on the log along with Kohla, my sister. The fire burns and rises up to point to the stars above. The sticks crack in a rhythm tonight, and the sparks rise and dance in the cold wind. I grab a rock of obsidian, along with another rock, and start rubbing them and sharpening them for better and newer arrowheads so I can hunt with ones that are sharper than my father’s old, worn arrowheads.
The shouting starts from the tepee behind me, I drop the obsidian and run to the entrance. There, in the middle Koluku, a friend of mine and tribe mate, stands with a wooden club. The light shimmers through the tepee, shining gold on the walls. I follow it to the red hair on the white man’s head.
The man was murmuring to himself with his hands on his shins and blood seeping through his fingers. I grimace. Koluku raises the club, and strikes as hard as possible. The man screams in agony, his hand crunched where the club struck.
I walk forward, raising my hand in front of Koluku’s chest. Crouching I stick my hand out to grasp the white man’s chin. I turn his head so he is staring into my eyes. Fear, hunger, pain, and shock is etched in his eyes, it sunk down into his brain. I let go and shoo Koluku.
I run out of the tepee and to the warm fire, and lean to the buffalo meat in the center. A handful is as much as I can take. I run back and grab the crippled hand of the white man and place the meat in it, then nod. His hand shakes and quivers as he pulls it to his mouth. The meat falls on the red dirt he sits on.
Tears form under his eyes then fall to the meat. He shivers tremendously, and then cries out in agony.
I walk towards the dead buffalo, my hands shaking as I put them on the animal’s back. The tears formed the same way they always do, the Irishman’s and yours. The tears fall on the mammal’s fur that shimmers in the sun, and ruffles in the wind. My legs aren’t broken, my hands are not crippled, but the pain is the same as the Irishman’s. The pain of knowing your death.
This was written by my son, Z-dude, for his history class project. When I first read it, I was moved to the point of tears. What an incredible story, don’t you agree?
Our schedule is full. Our cups runneth over. Our plates are piled high. We are inundated. Dentist and doctor appointments, after school projects, assignments with long term deadlines, homework, baseball, swimming, basketball. Places to go, people to see, things to do. That snapshot to the left? That’s our actual calendar, minus a much needed update now that the school year calendar is in. Much bigger, I’ll give you, easier to read, but you get the gist.
For a long time, we’ve incorporated a scheduling system with the kidlets to help them organize their days, most importantly, their homework, using something that would help them visualize their time. We used to use blocks, but now have gone to using paper.
First they’ll write down everything they have to do after school, estimating the amount of time it takes to do each thing (the columns to the left above). This includes each homework assignment, chores, bedtime routine and even dinner.
They’ll total the estimated time and then move over a column and enter their start time and end time (bedtime) and come up with the total amount of time they have to do the things they’ve listed.
After they’re done with those tasks, they’ll use the “blocks.” There are four for every hour, each block representing 15 minutes. In the example above, the bottom right are the blocks, each column representing an hour, therefore a total of five hours are available to them. The colors match up with the tasks they’ve already identified so it’s easier to glance at it and know what they’re “in for.” In this example, the yellow-gray blocks represent free time. They were amazed to see that they were going to have almost two hours of free time, which was enough of a motivator to get cracking on the less desirable aspects of the schedule.
It may sound a bit anal retentive, but in truth, it’s become a wonderful motivator. Without us having to harp on them, they’re able to stay on task, get the job done quick and efficiently. They’ve learned that if the task isn’t done right the first time, not only do they have to do it again, right; but they’ve learned that they’ve doubled up on the time it takes to complete the chore which means it takes away from free time.
We started doing this about the time they were starting fourth grade. As the system progresses to match their cognitive levels, we still have to work with them initially to make sure they’re using the system routinely. They seem to like it and I can tell you we sure do! I especially like it because when my husband steps in to oversee their jobs (believe me, he’s very much a hands-on dad, but in this instance, I’m more hands-on for this), it’s easy for him to pick up and keep going, like he’ll need to do in a few weeks when I’ll be away for a few days.
Interested in this system for your kids? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to share!
I love shopping for school supplies. Hundreds of spiral notebooks, thousands of pens in every color imaginable. Gadgets for fastening, adhering, sealing, flying, pushing, pulling– Maybe I should stop there.
If you’re responsible for hiring at somewhere like Office Depot or Staples, you’d be wise not to process my application, I’d go out of my head being surrounded by all these yummy things day in and day out!
So when the kids are getting ready to go back to school, as much as I try to get them to give me very specific lists in an earnest attempt to curb my overwhelming need to take all those homeless items back with me, the kids don’t quite get the importance of being specific. And whose to blame them? The lists they come home with from their teachers seem to grow to a ridiculous size whenever the budgets go wonky.You can probably imagine just how crazy the lists are now, given how strapped the school’s resources are with the massive budget cuts.
This year my husband stepped in to save the day, offering to grab up what they needed provided they came up with a list. Did I happen to mention how they’re not very good at that? Yeah, I think a bit of my adoration for the stuff has rubbed off on them, too. You’d have thought they were writing out their wish list for a birthday or Christmas by the time they were done!
I thought it was way too much and began comparing what was on their list to the list their teachers had handed out and what I knew we had on hand. It went something like this:
Stuff on Teachers’ Lists
A Glimpse of Mom vs. Son Conversation
|Notebooks||Journals/Notebooks and/or Loose Leaf Paper||Notebooks, Loose Leaf Paper||“Mom, I am not going to take that Tinkerbell notebook into class!”|
|Scientific Calculator||Scientific Calculator||Scientific Calculator||“I haven’t seen it since Christmas last year.” -Z. Dude|
|Pencils – lots (Ry-guy)||Pencils and/or pens||Pencils, Pens, Crayons, Markers, Sharpies, pin to prick finger so you can write with your blood||“You keep stealing our pencils, Mom.”
Me: “I have straight pins if you prefer.”
|Graph paper||Graph paper for later in the first quarter||Rulers and lined paper for a fun, DIY project||“You can not be serious.” (If you’re envisioning a roll of the eyes at the end of that, you’ve nailed it!)|
|Locker Buddy stuff||Three scans later, nothing at all was said about locker “gear.”||Drawers full of fluffy pom-poms from a 2nd grade project, glue sticks, colored wooden popsicle sticks from a 4th grade science project, beads and string from some Christmas gift projects a couple of years ago, and much more.||“I’ll use my own good grade money you still haven’t coughed up and buy my own.”
Momzilla’s response: “Negatory, rubber ducky, that ‘good grade money’ was lost when the bad messy room didn’t become sparkling clean.”
They came back with notebooks, mechanical pencils complete with extra ‘lead’ and erasers, and I believe I saw two bright yellow highlighters. It was just the silly string that kept me from permanently assigning the hubby to the task next time.
But I might reconsider. I got these:
from their trip to the store.
Happy back-to-school supply shopping, y’all!