Part One – Making the Connection: Virtual Charter School

 

For the last 14 months my family has been apart of a local virtual charter school. We have recently decided to move on. No matter how many times I’ve sent a web message or had my daughter to give a verbal reminder of my deafness, they just could not wrap their heads around voice telephone, conference calls, webinars, etc. NOT  being an option. I was hesitant to share our experience, but I realized that it may be helpful to someone else. (I’ve purposely chosen to leave out the name of the school.)

My daughter had been an honor roll student since the start of her academic career, and prided herself on maintaining that though it was extremely challenging. But no matter how challenging it got, she’d work to get it. After many years of exceptional academic success, in late 2011 I noticed a change in her. I knew from the start that it wasn’t drug related or none of the other things teens of today tend to get themselves caught up in…but also knew that I needed to do something fast.

After talking & researching, we opted to give virtual charter school a shot. It’s claim was a “Flexible Learning Environment”, “Individualized Learning Plans” and “Dedicated & Caring” teachers. It sounded like exactly what we needed…plus it’s free. Who wouldn’t want that?? Unfortunately, that was not OUR experience. The enrollment process is fairly simple. On our first day, a set number of assignments populate into the students work planner. Whatever is not completed…rolls over onto the next days planner WITH a whole new set of assignments. I’ve asked a teacher just how long one assignment should take, and she said 45 mins. to 1 hour. I thought, “fair enough”…seeing that the required school day was at minimum 6 hours.

We have NEVER completed an assignment in 45 mins. to 1 hour. Also, a typical day for us would be 10-12 hours…what happened to that 6? The work itself was not difficult but takes some time to complete , plus the continuous roll over of assignments was hard to juggle, so we tried to make up for it by working though long breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter)…and on weekends. #TeamNoLife

We could never catch up, but worked like Hebrew Slaves to not get further behind. When the end of that semester came, my daughter needed summer school so I contacted her homeroom “teacher” to get the forms to submit. I filled them out and sent them back to her via web mail. We had a week and a half before summer school, so we took that time to try and decompress (which didn’t work with being under constant stress that long). The day before summer school was set to start, I was still waiting for my daughter’s log-in info for her summer course to be sent. I decided to contact the Principal who informed me that the teacher did not submit my daughter’s summer school paperwork. Fortunately, the Principal was able to make a call just in time to get her in. There goes summer break because we’re now back on the “hamster wheel” of work.

When August arrived, we geared up for the next grade. My daughter and I both assumed that things would be easier because 1) We had an idea of what to expect. 2) We were starting the program from day one of this school year, instead of coming in mid year like we did the previous semester. We were wrong. If you get behind with more that a couple assignments…you’re pretty much screwed until you can make it to a big holiday break to work through. Before that could happen for us Hurricane Isaac came and put us 5  additional days behind.

And then the call came…

Due to the length of this post, this experience will be shared in two parts. Stay tuned for part two…

Life With the Diva Temporarily Down

I’m not really sure how long it will be, but the Life With the Diva blog is experiencing some trouble. I made some changes to have the URL redirected to my website instead of here, to pick this blog back up in a new space. I later remembered that moving the web address only, to a new location, would greatly effect you reaching the older post on this blog. I tried to undo the changes…and now we’re here. Hopefully it will all be sorted out soon.

Changing Things Up a Bit

I’m stopping in to let you know that Life With the Diva has been moved to my website. I will definitely be leaving this Blogger.com version up as an archive that you can access at www.lifewiththediva.blogspot.com.

See Edit below

In the next day or two, LifeWithTheDiva.Com, will begin directing you to my website…the blogs current home. If you subscribe here already in a reader or by email…no worries, none of that chances for you. So…same web address, same subscription updates…new post…new space, deal?

If you’re a new comer, feel free to head over to the new space, there’s a blog post with links to some of my favorite post here in the new archive.

Chat with you soon and thanks for the emails guys,

 

Edited 10/01/2012: After tons of issues moving this blog from Blogger to my website, it’s been moved here to it’s own WordPress. Hopefully things will get all glittery and cute soon! Thanks for hanging in there :)

It’s been a minute…

It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged in this space. Over six months, really. I haven’t fallen off of the face of the earth, just trying to make some decisions. A little background on me. I come from a family that avoids talking about uncomfortable situations at all cost. I’ve never been okay with that, but as a kid what can you do?

As an adult and in my household, we discuss things no matter how much they may sting. Even if it changes peoples perception of us…oh well. It is what it is, and we are who we are and we’ve never asked anyone to put us in a little “ideal” box anyway so…*shrug*.

This openness has kept my household from relying on unhealthy vices as a way of “numbing out” the discomfort of some of the most trying situations. This openness allows us to be honest with ourselves & each other, which truly draws us closer.

I shared all that to say I started to feel censored here. As long as I keep what I share about deaf awareness it’s fine. Wanna talk about hair, love, funny things that happen with the kids okay…but leave your feelings and that other stuff at the door. Here’s what I mean.

As long as I write about the previously mentioned things there’s no problem. The minute I write about something current that has somehow been shaped by a past experience I get side-eyes, messages and darn near interventions from family certain  people.

To me it’s not that serious, and besides that I only share what I feel is relevant to the message I’m trying to convey. This is not a “tell all book”, it’s a blog…so simmer down! lol

Anyway…do I leave LWTD up as a archive for my deafness-related post? Do I continue to update this blog when I feel I have something to say? Do I make “Life With the Diva” a D/deaf awareness category on Curly Hue and stick to hair while spreading awareness that way??  I haven’t decided as of yet, so well see.

Stockpiling: How Much… Do I Need Again?

The idea of stockpiling can be a bit overwhelming, when first starting out. Quantity purchasing guidelines may vary tremendiously depending on who you ask, but I found these Stockpile Amount Guidelines by The Krazy Coupon Lady to be reasonable for families on a modest budget.

She suggests:

  • A two week supply of milk, eggs & bread
  • A one to two month supply of perishables {meat, frozen veggies, etc.}
  • Six months or more of canned goods, drinks & other packaged foods
  • A one to two year supply of non-perishables {tolietries, paper goods, laundry goods & other cleaning supplies}

Does this mean that you can’t purchase more if your budget allows? Absolutely not! It just means your stockpile will grow faster :)  Remember, if at all possible buy before you need and only buy what you can/will use. You will not spontaniously combust if you walk away from some deals {believe me I’ve done it, and lived to write this post}. Final note: Need + Stockpile = Total Shopping Budget so you don’t break the bank.

Check out this article on Couponing 101: How to Build a Stockpile to Save Money

Switched at Birth: Download the series premiere free for a limited time!

The wait is over, Switched at Birth premiered last night. I loved it as much as I thought I would! If you missed it, not to worry, for a limited time you can download episode one for FREE on iTunes {please note that it’s not captioned there :( }

Also if you haven’t already, you can join Switched at Birth on Facebook and follow the show on Twitter @ABCFsab

True Life: I Crave Coupons

It all started with a text from a friend inviting me to a local couponing class. I immediately accepted, but at the last minute was unable to attend. I few weeks later, we decided to meet for lunch so that she could show me some of the things that she learned.

She took out a binder that was well arranged that contained all you’d need for a “super saver shopping trip”. After our lunch I was amazed, excited, but also unsure. With a recent reduction in income, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to focus on building a stockpile and  tackle my weekly grocery bill. I decided that no matter what, I was going to give couponing a try.

(Source)

One thing that stood out to me was the advice to “plan meals according to what’s already available at home and what’s on sale ONLY”, so I figured I’d start there. I also decided to start my stockpile with items that I can get for free (or close to it) each week. Things that aren’t urgently needed right now, but that my family uses often {toiletries, cleaners, etc}.

I now keep a running list of things that are getting low or that we are out of. Each week when the “junk mail” comes with store circulars, I check them to see what’s on sale to begin planning my weekly menu. Many websites often give you a “preview” of what will be on sale. Coupon Match up sites, have quick and easy summaries about hot deals & savings from a variety of stores.

Next, I’ll share with you:
  • Where to find Coupons
  • How I choose to organize & other ways that are out there
  • What my “baby steps” shopping trips look like

Deafness: Should Fear Be A Factor

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As my world becomes increasingly silent, I find myself somewhat anxious, sometimes worried, and even scared. I’ve noticed that it is harder & harder to sit through a verbal conversation with my family & friends without becoming completely frustrated. Voices that my ear still remebered, have become just as muffled, distorted….unclear like the rest.

Should fear be a factor?

Natural Hair Vloggers: Please do not forget your D/deaf audience

You Tube has been an invaluable resource throughout my natural hair course. The ladies who take the time to make videos to share with us, all rock in their own special ways.

The only complaint that I have really, is that some don’t seem to consider their D/deaf or Hard of Hearing audience. Vloggers, please do not forget your D/deaf audience. There is a massive amount of D/deaf & HOH people all throughout the country, and I am sure many of them are naturals…or wanna be, and can benefit from the information shared within those videos.

Imagine finding a natural hair video on You Tube, that you feel, just by looking at the title that your pressing question may finally be answered. So you click on the video, and once it starts, the Vlogger is speaking so fast you can’t possibly rely on lip reading, and there is not a tap of captioning included, highlighting the main points. You’re a little disheartened but not to worry, there is always the more info/description box, so you head there and its blank or gives you not a hint as to the break down of that video.

I swear every time I find a video like that it feels like some D/deaf natural is somewhere relaxing her hair in frustration.

Why is this important to me? Because I am a deaf natural & so are some of my friends. I can not tell you how many times I’ve been faced with the above mentioned scenario. Clear pronunciation, facing the camera when speaking, captions within the video or a detailed description box are treasures to me. Blogger/Vlogger Mae of Natural Chic is a wonderful exemplar of this!

{Check out Caption Tube, and this helpful article on Mashable for video captioning help}

Another option could be that if you have a blog in addition to your You Tube channel, you can briefly summarize your video in a blog post. Nothing major, simply include the title of the video, ingredients & step order if it’s a tutorial. If it’s a review, tell us whether or not you’d use the product again, and if you’d like, a one or two sentence reasoning. Heck if you don’t have a stand alone blog…send the info to me and I’ll post it on Curly Hue (giving you full credit of course). Just do something… just don’t leave us out.

Raising CODA Teens & Tweens: Who’s Listening to the Radio?!

The radio is kind of a touchy subject in our household. Whenever I see the kids obviously singing around our home, I feel somewhat of a panic. I want to know what they are singing to and where they heard that. Before pre-deafness music was always around. But now, with our current situation and the “quality” {clears throat} of new music nowdays, I’m at a lose.

I have confiscated every radio in the house, with the exception of the alarm clocks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all music…just the music played over the airwaves. With the radio, the only control you have is to change the station or to turn it off completely. I have very good kids, but they are still young and need guidance. I’m much more open to the idea of ipods & other portable music players that can be loaded. My husband & I, along with the kids, can load music they like…with the appropriateness I love.
Any D/deaf parents of hearing children experience this? If so, how did you handle it?

Photo Credit: drella