Just Precious

Always in support of the IEP

Posted in education, parenting by Julie Meyers Pron on November 11, 2009

assessment

A recent friend’s facebook status read:  

…is PISSED at his kindergarten teacher!… now they are trying to get him labeled IEP, more money for the public school, … already had him tested over summer and educationally speaking he is fine, I have the documentation! He is SO smart he shocks us!!He has other issueses from [an injury] but NONE having to due with intelligence
I’m paraphrasing. As an educator, this status frustrated me. Reading it made me want to reach through the computer, grab her and shake her. “Do you know how wonderful a kindergarten IEP is?! Do you know how far ahead of the game you’ll be with a little Individualized Education Plan in place?!”
 
 
Once one has an IEP, it can never, ever be taken away. It will always be in the child’s file, even if you move to a different system, even if the child “graduates” from the IEP. An IEP allows for a group of adults and, at times, the child, to discuss and analyze the child to determine the best method for that child to learn.  Special services may be determined necessary. And, really, why not?! Why not get everything there is from the public educational system? Why not bring a little attention to your child, in a positive, forward thinking manner? Why not accept smaller classes and a lower student:teacher ratio? Why not, possibly, offer a child special testing conditions, special learning conditions, and special consideration and attention to help the child succeed?
 
 
Having your child pin-pointed as a child in need (any need) isn’t a bad thing; its a good thing. With overcrowded classrooms and under-assisted teachers, getting your child out of the middle (where students needs are often overlooked) and into a specialized plan should be considered a goal. Its a way to help your child to succeed.
 
 
Its also important to know that a teacher can’t just send a note home and write an IEP. Screenings take months of discussion, meetings and assessments. The process begins with a referral to assess. What follows is a stream of events that call for approvals, signatures, discussions and observations. This timeline gives an example of the timeline in California. Its a great example, though it may change from state to state.
An IEP opens doors for students. It defines their learning styles, needs and offers suggestions (usually practices) that helps the student to succeed.

 

More IEP Resources*:
IEP Process
Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (M-Team or MDE)
IEP Guidelines
Teacher resources and key terms and definitions
*Just Precious does not guarantee the information in the resources to be correct. We recommend them only as articles for further reading. Image created by Dominik Gwarek.
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I am SO keeping my Baby Einstien’s

Posted in Baby Gifts, parenting by Julie Meyers Pron on October 30, 2009

babyein

Last night my husband came out of the office, asking if I’d purchased any Baby Einstien movies in the past 5 years. “No,” I responded. “And if I had… there’s absolutely no way I’d be sending them back for a refund.”

Sure, say what you will, Disney. Help us out by offering to take them back for not being truly educational, but I gave up on toys and entertainment being educational for my baby about 3 days into babyhood. Everything is educational. And nothing is educational. Its all what you do with it.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics  suggests actual time allowances for TV watching, I’m a mom of 3 and I need a shower. And it just so happens that my 4 year old adores watching Baby Einstien movies with his baby sister. The music is calming and familiar. The puppets are cute and entertaining. The colors are vibrant.

Baby Einstien has been an entertainment choice in our home since 2003. I used it to shower then, just as much as I do now. When the boys were young and  to calm my them and distract them enough to trim their toenails, Baby Einstien was my series of choice. On days when I was just too tired to entertain that 20 minute powerbreak to just veg and join the baby as he got excited at his favorite part, or laughed when the duck made a “face”, were lifesavers.

Our third baby will watch the same Baby Einstien DVDs. She’ll laugh at the duck and cheer for the turtle in the same way the boys did before her.

Its not for education that I’m keeping the DVDs. Its for sanity, familiarity and a little bit of nostagia. But. Mostly. Its for sanity.

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5 Things… to Do at a Preschool Fall Festival

Posted in education, parenting by Julie Meyers Pron on September 29, 2009

So, I’m on the phone with Paula, a PTO mom who is running tomorrow’s Fall Festival at our preschool. Unfortunately, her son has strep, so while she is still running the Fall Festival, she won’t be there. Together, we brainstormed a simple few ideas:

  1. Paint a Fall Festival Banner with apples
  2. Pumpkin Patch in the sandbox
  3. The Wonder Mini-Pumpkin (to the tune of The Wonderball)
  4. Autumn Handprint Wreath
  5. Face Painting

Precious Personalities BIG. SUPER. SALE.

Posted in Baby Gifts, Organization, parenting, Shower Gifts by Julie Meyers Pron on September 26, 2009

6 different items on sale each week through fall: 25-40% off some of their hottest items.

This week’s specials: 

Mom Agenda Spirals: 35% off
Box of Silly Word Games:40% off
Our Baby’s Album: 40% off
Got Kids? Get Organized!: 30% off
School Years by MomAgenda: 25% off
‘Nspire Brag Book: 40% off

We all love a discount, right?

Conferencing with the Supermoms of ‘Accidentally on Purpose’

Posted in book responses, parenting by Julie Meyers Pron on September 17, 2009

I made some new friends Tuesday night. Famous friends. Jealous? Don’t be. They’ll never consider me a friend.

See, I was on a call with actress Jenna Elfman, film critic Mary Pols and script writer Claudia Lonow. They’re the supermoms, and superminds, behind CBS’ new hysterical show, Accidentally on Purpose, scheduled to debut Monday night.

IRL, Pols, a film critic, wrote a memoir detailing her Accident: getting pregnant at 39 with a 29-year-old one-night-fling. Pols fling, Matt, opted to stay in the picture and support Pols and the baby, though he is unemployed. Prior to the book’s publishing, it was optioned and will finally be released as a sitcom, written by Lonow and starring Elfman.

Back to my point, I may feel like they are my new buddies, but they won’t know me from Adam. All 3 have children, and all three seem to be excellent, caring moms. Elfman shared that any time that she isn’t working  “every spare minute I have is for Story” (she tapes 3 weeks and then has off one and takes her son, Story, on set so that she can spend free time with him). But all three seemed to have moments of calm serenity to talk on the phone tonight. (Though Pols did share that she was making Puttenesca sauce while on our call.) Meanwhile, I was busy… breastfeeding and changing my baby’s diapers, scolding my 6 and 4 year olds for running downstairs to play with LEGOs and then repeatedly yelling “NO” to my 6 year old who kept asking whether he could read way past his bed time. I’m sorry kiddos, I’m attempting to work.

Working moms, I don’ t know how you juggle it. Really. If you work out of home and rush home to cuddle with your kids, I imagine you still have laundry piling up, dishes unwashed and lunches to make. Right? Single moms like Pols, who works as a film critic and is working on her next book, a novel, I hope to hear you either have a cleaning lady or you have many playful dust bunnies roaming under your new sofa. And Elfman and Lonow, please admit to me that you haven’t cooked a meal in weeks (Jenna did share on the on the call that she has never made Puttenesca.)  Here I am, a stay at home mom who dabbles in writing for no pay (and prays that will change), attempting my first conference call with laundry overflowing, a bed without sheets (they’re in the dryer), and a sleeping baby in my lap because that’s where she sleeps best. My husband? This week he’s traveling between NJ, NY, KY and OH with a possible stop in Indiana. I may not be a single, working mom, but I sure am learning to play the part.

So, while dinner for us tonight was paid for with money borrowed from my six-week-old’s bank account (because my wallet was too far down in my diaper bag for me to reach while breastfeeding her in the restaurant — if my grandmother hadn’t been creamated she would have just rolled over), I fretted because between PTO meetings, missed deadlines, football practice, a bus that can’t get my kid to school on time and stinky diapers, I completely forgot to prepare for my very first interview with someone famous.

Which is why they may be my friend, but I’m not their’s. I kept the call muted the entire 1 hour and 7 minutes I was on. I was actually scared the mute button wasn’t working–can you imagine?! Today, while talking to my son’s Kindergarten teacher, the baby was burping and pooping into the receiver.  Jenna, Mary and Claudia would remember me if that happened.

Who knows? It may be written into a future storyline on Accidentally on Purpose. The show’s storyline is based on Mary’s experience as written in the book, but Claudia has taken the concept and added sitcom-style humor, altered the characters (again, based on the book but very different), and is creating new storylines to play out the sitcom. The entire first season Elfman will portray a pregnant Billie, also a film critic (which is convenient since yesterday she shared with Julie Chen on TODAY that she [Jenna] is pregnant.) I have it on good authority that the baby (the fictional one) will be born at the end of the first season. The show isn’t just about Billie being pregnant. Its a show about woman who happens to be pregnant, but lives a real life (complete with work; a strenuous, likely sexy relationship with Grant Show’s character James; and the complicated relationship with the baby’s father, Zack (Jon Foster). 

Really, we would have been great buddies. We would have shared advice, like Jenna shared with me: “I really make sure that I grant him [Story] as much self determinism as possible at all times. I let him control his own motions; I consult his willingness, within reason. I appeal to his determinism a lot… I remember being really young and feeling like I couldn’t control things. He is a very confident, able kid and I think its been a successful tool.” 

We would trade stories, just as Mary explained her time losing her son in a film room, I would have shared losing my kids at the park.

We would crush on each other, just the way Jenna described Mary as “hot, stylish, funny and charming;” with Claudia chiming in “and pretty!” 

And our feelings, like when Claudia explained she’s excited about Monday night’s premiere to the point of panic. And that while she was nervous the script would never be picked up, she knew once the pilot was filmed Accidentally on Purpose was a hit.  The pilot was so fun and there’s such potential for a great comedy. Of course, I set my DVR last night to record the show.

Wanna Talk about Me!

Posted in parenting by Julie Meyers Pron on September 16, 2009

Several years ago, as in, before my kids, my dad told me he loved Toby Keith’s I Wanna Talk About Me because it reminded him of our family growing up. He’s father to 3 daughters. Three, as my mom explained it, leading ladies. In other words, he never had a chance to talk about himself.

Oh, do I understand that! But I don’t just want to talk about me, I want to have a little “me.” Its been, afterall, 6 years since Big was born. And those 6 years, though magical, have taught me to give of myself more than I ever knew possible.

I vividly remember changing a diaper one night in November 2003. I was dressed, make-up on, ready to bolt. It was the first time I had worn heels in about 5 months. My husband came home from work, I pecked him goodbye and ran out the door–my first moms night out ever.

It was awful. The company sucked… we went to Ruby Tuesday’s for goodness sake.  I was hanging out with the wrong friend. But at least I got out. The social event lasted about 45 minutes, enough time to eat dinner and drink a lemonade. I begged off, filled boobies being the excuse. Instead of heading home, though, I drove over to Barnes and Noble. My time wasn’t over yet. And I needed more of it.

No matter how terrible that first night out was, I realized something valuable. There is something cleansing about time away, aka “me time.” Its a time when you can still be you, no matter who you’re with or what you’re doing. Its a time to let loose, to laugh, to relax. And when you return home to your normal duties (whether they’re fulltime mommying, full time working or somewhere in between), you’re refreshed, at ease, perhaps even a little relaxed.

Its not just moms who need me time, dads do too. With his 4 ladies, its no wonder my dad excelled in local politics, an opportunity to get away. He loves movies, gets lost in Star Trek and other SciFi shows and books, and spends time tackling Sudoku each morning. That’s Dad’s “me time.” His break from the pressures, the routine, the drama and the demands.

This post is in response to the Y! Motherboard’s topic of the month: Me Time. Visit Yahoo’s Shine for parenting tips and topics.  And be sure to read other Y! Motherboard member’s posts about Me-time:

Its All About Me Time on Its All About Balance 
Awesome Tips on How to Boost Your Mommy Confidence at The Go-To Mom
It’s All About ME by SoCal Mom
The Downside to Loving Your Career by
Jennifer Wagner
Finding ‘me-time’ in your day at Workout Mommy
Pamper Time Can Lead to More Sex by Thien-Kim aka Kim
Where Am I In All This? by Jessica of It’s my life
A New Era Begins at Tippy Toes and Tantrums
Me Time! on Hormone-Colored Days
Me Time? What’s That? by PunditMom
Dusting Off Some Me Time by Dirt and Noise