Heads Up: Grandson Medical Update, Standardized Testing, Homeschooling, Plus MOAR!

Let’s first start this Heads Up with a discussion about the TN public education system status for kids as it applies to statewide standardized proficiency standards in English Language Arts (ELA) starting with third grade. This is an issue in many states, not just ours.

I brought it all up in a previous Heads Up about the great angst the state is causing students, parents, teachers and school administrators with their push to improve ELA statewide standardized testing scores through coercive type measures.

Statewide Standardized Testing (TNReady)

The difficult to find link below provides program info from the state website.


Not much, right? When you peruse their links you may get the big 404 on the ELA Standards link as of this story’s release. The state Department Of Education is making things as difficult as possible to get to the truth. The state legislators are not happy with standardized ELA proficiency in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test results for third graders, yet, they cannot even keep a website updated with current information. Go figure.

However, there is more to this than meets the eye. After discussions with current and former educators, a legislator and a newly elected family member to our county’s school board; I believe I understand the motives behind the madness better concerning the TN legislature and its undertaking of pushing for improved results in the intermediate schools (3-5). Note that some states and school districts go with calling these grade levels as being in elementary or primary school.

Please understand that I am not saying I agree with the state’s motives and methods although I believe the public education system model is completely broken in this country. That will be a subject to address in Civilized War series down the road.

In the current TN process, if a child does not meet or exceed expectations in their 3rd grade ELA they must go to summer school or be held back a grade without parents applying for and receiving approval for an exception as well as students in IEP’s. It is the law and the GOP super majority controlled legislature and governor are not yielding to parents, teachers and administrators. Instead they added 4th grade ELA TCAP tests with the same onerous provisions that 3rd and 5th grade already had. As a result:

1) Homeschooling and private school enrollment is jumping off the charts when you add in the effects of woke school board leadership in a few of the more urban areas. This reduces public education student class sizes as well as the numbers of teachers needed. The unintended consequence is the public school teachers are finding good jobs in the private schools now.

2) The governor has also been pushing a bill with funding set aside in the annual budget for a school vouchers provision that gives $7 K per student for what appears to initially be 20,000 students for school choice starting in the 2025-2026 school year, which benefits even more enrollment in private schools. Its provisions would allow it to be expanded in a much bigger rollout later. The battle lines are clearly drawn, yet, if the governor gains sufficient support from the GOP it will pass with the supermajority control of the GOP in the legislature. Below is a link that discusses.


All of the current and proposed changes have been raised as topics of concern by the Tennessee Education Association (teachers union – voluntary membership). Well, actually, freaking out may be a better description. 🤣

3) The teachers association’s influence is weakening as TN is a right to work state. Lately, the pressure placed on teachers and admin staff to achieve is off the charts. The gray hairs who are steeped in old school philosophies and liberal teaching methods are retiring in droves. Political influence of the association is waning with a dominant GOP legislature and governor’s seat in control.

4) The legislature sees the ability given to individual school districts to choose from a half dozen approved curriculums as being a bad thing. Forcing compliance with standardized testing pushes educators toward using curriculums that match up better with the testing. In my opinion that will eventually lead to one accepted curriculum, killing the current “diversity” driven model of districts choosing from multiple curriculums.

This shift is not happening overnight. There are many steps involved. However, it appears to be happening as approximately two thirds of the voters in this state are MAGA backers that have elected an approximate 75% super majority GOP to the legislature for several terms now.

Summer School Results

As I predicted they could not hire enough tutors and assistants to handle the needs of the students. Most districts have dozens of openings for same that have gone unfilled. As a result the general quality of applicants who do apply is not as good. This increases the problems in the classrooms for all students, which leads to lower test scores.

A large number of existing teachers actually left their classroom jobs to become tutors in their subject specialties as the compensation was similar and their benefit packages were unchanged. This has been akin to shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic to go with the more experienced teachers being smart enough to be heading for the lifeboats.

Note that test scores have not improved measurably since the standardized testing’s inception decades ago. Less than 40% of the state’s third grade students test proficient. There was less than a 2% statewide increase in students meeting or exceeding expectations after attending summer school this year. Needless to say the tutoring was largely ineffective as the results are within the statistical norm prior to summer school. Only a handful of districts in the state have more than half of their students meeting (70% or higher score) or exceeding expectations. Many of those students not meeting expectations were A grade average students in the classroom and simply do not take standardized tests well, especially when the curriculum they are taught does not match up with the content, formatting or delivery of the TCAP tests.


This TCAP stuff has been going for over 30 years as our daughter had to do much of it. Back then it was primarily utilized as a tool for helping students and parents understand their achievement levels versus peer and as a review of teacher competency. However, in the past half dozen years the legislators have grown more militant about it, which culminated in the implementation of the current process two years ago.

All of it leads to this interesting observation. Scores of the ELA TCAP have been fairly consistent for decades. Living near to the University of Tennessee I have observed the average ACT score for admitted freshman go from 21.4 in 2006 when Daughter graduated high school (still have her results) to 28 today. The vast majority of the 10,000+ incoming freshmen students enrolled at the Knoxville campus are state residents. This current enrollment amount far exceeds the freshmen enrollment of 2006. I do not know the comparable results of this at universities where you live, however, I suspect you will find that it matches what I believe. An average score of 28 on the ACT and 4.0 GPA for that number of admitted high school graduates is quite good and a significant improvement over what it was 17 years before in TN. The state leadership should be required to explain how ACT scores and high school GPA’s have been trending strongly upward over the decades while corresponding state student intermediate school standardized ELA test results have essentially remained the same during the period. I sincerely doubt most of the state’s middle and high school teachers have been miracle workers.


I believe we are now seeing a pattern from our legislators. They are clearly seizing on a perceived issue to leverage desired results for public education overall.


It is time to update on grandson’s adaptation to homeschooling. He has completely caught up for the lost time he spent in public school for the first 11 weeks of the school year. Yes, you read that right. He has been homeschooling since early November exclusive of similar school scheduled breaks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break. He has totally caught up as if he had been in public school since the second week of August. In that time he has averaged 3-4 hours per day of the four required subjects of English, Math, Science and Social Studies. Add in we all contribute to his Christian education study with a curriculum for the purpose, other educational field trips, sports, etc.

One thing has been clearly revealed. There is a great deal of wasted, unproductive time in public schools.

His Dad handles English, Mom handles Math and Science, and due to Mom’s pregnancy and birth of our granddaughter; I have handled Social Studies along with some math to keep him on pace. We completed fifteen thorough chapters of Social Studies before the end of March. He loved the content so we stayed well ahead of pace as he wanted to tackle it, which cannot happen in public schools. Students go on the pace the administration and teacher sets for all of the students. Getting it done the way we did gives him additional free time to concentrate on the other three primary subjects.

We have found he prefers and does significantly better covering one subject per day. He thoroughly learns the material instead of just memorizing and parroting. We can hold his focus much better. He then applies it in the days that follow. We are going to experiment the rest of the school year by going multiple, consecutive days in just one remaining subject to see if it helps or hurts his performance.

His parents were able to shift his eye therapy and OT appointments to earlier in the scheduled days because of the more flexible homeschooling schedule. He has been on a couple of field trips and associated a few times with other kids in local homeschooling groups. This will be expanded next school year as the catch-up period from public school incompetence will be over. He has begun using the public school’s speech therapist for group sessions for 30 minute sessions, twice per week, which gives him time with a few friends.

The same kid who had been under an IEP for four years, who the fourth grade teacher said was supposedly learning at a kindergarten level in her class in October, is now caught up with peer 4th grade classwork with two B+s and two solid A’s so far. The curriculum is at a similar to greater difficulty level as was being taught in his 4th grade class in school. Time4learning is no joke as a curriculum with over a million users over recent times. The level of English he is studying has been reviewed as fifth grade level by independent education and parental reviews of the curriculum. For what it is worth, these same Time4 learning homeschooled students average higher ACT scores as well. He reads and spells words at a much higher level than peer 4th graders. He developed a love for math that never existed as well as for Social Studies. He is learning the use of a calculator. This summer we will work on cursive writing and typing skills.

A couple of weeks ago he looked me in the eyes (which is very big as I will explain later) and said, “Papaw, I LOVE homeschool!”

He will soon start golf activities with me, tennis with his family and play summer youth league basketball. His progress has been very encouraging to him. You can see the pride he feels after being beaten down in class those years in public school.


Eye therapy is done. His eyes are tracking normally. We celebrated as a family! He will continue to wear the special glasses with lesser strength prisms until Doc releases him from that later this year. I cannot tell you how happy I am for our boy to just be able to look me directly in my eyes. That is something he could not do for all of his life until this vision therapy. Something all of us take for granted, he could not do, and now he can. Praise the Lord!

With that ability to see better he rarely has any focal events that were formerly diagnosed to be absence seizures by neurologists. If he does it is during his studies due to anxiety and sensory issues because he tries so hard with the prism glasses that they cause him to lose visual focus briefly. We have him relax and take a few deep breaths. He responds well and dives back in. His hand/eye coordination, which is exceptional in sports, have been unaffected by the prisms in the glasses.

So I will briefly return once again to what caused the decision to homeschool.

A number of the big mistakes happened in school over the years. The last one that caused the goodbye was the IEP meeting when the teacher said grandson was learning at a kindergarten pace (4th grader) and causing problems in class with the other students. When we drilled down we learned he was being required to take notes from the board with each subject while sitting at the rear of the class so as not to cause a distraction to other students. Totally senseless and in conflict with the existing IEP. The distractions were caused by him asking the teacher and other students what the teacher wrote down on the board each day as well as what she said.

The system had been made aware in writing every step of the way relating to his medical conditions and needs through the years. It did not matter. They wanted him to do what he physically could not do due to his vision and hand issues. Despite the law, they refused to provide the teacher’s class notes and/or voice to text capability for his school provided Chromebook despite recommendations to do so from medical professionals, therapist and even the teacher herself in the IEP meeting.

However, God used their intentional disregard of the law and doing the right things in the classroom for good. The goal for any school is for young people to learn well that are in their charge. Grandson was not doing that while in their schools. They were ineffective and simply checking boxes. We used their non-response to his needs as a catalyst to make positive changes as a family unit. Now he is learning well and growing more confident every day. We would not send him back to public school at this point for any reason whatsoever.

Which speaks to how we all should approach our lives versus what the world throws at us.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

He continues bi-weekly private OT sessions, which have been focused on body awareness for about a year. This has really improved his coordination and balance. They are now drilling down on more micro hand and wrist usage improvements to counter his sensory issues since the vision issues and physical nerve issues in his hands have essentially been cured.

Sensory Therapy

Therapy will be ending that has been primarily for eating and food sensory issues. He has made good progress, starting to gain weight and as a family we believe we have unlocked a few ways to improve his selection and consumption. This also involves calming techniques that quiet anxieties about different foods he has refused to try in the past.


All adjustment goals have been met and he will continue monthly maintenance to keep him there. The neurons are not firing wildly through his central nervous system as they were early in the initial adjustment period during the first year. As a result he does not appear to be nearly as ADHD as he once did.


No medications are needed after his testing over a year ago revealed several pollen related allergies. He has had one ear infection in the past year since the season began that was handled in 4-5 days with amoxicillin.


Symptoms are still present, but have reduced in severity over time. We are keeping a close watch on it and are interested to see how it goes as he continues through puberty. Our answer has been the holistic response as described above along with good nutrition, sleep, exercise, play, church… and no medications.


From all sorts of early childhood maladies attributed primarily to birth trauma including sensory, to physical therapy from developmental delays, to a diagnosis of epileptic absence seizures with harsh prescribed medications that caused hallucinations and sleeplessness, to the chiropractor adjusting his badly misaligned spine, to occupational therapy for delayed body awareness, to allergy testing, to eye therapy to correct eyes that did their things randomly and individually; to finally approaching normality as a human being in a period of three years.

That period followed earlier physical therapy learning to walk, having ear tubes inserted twice, adenoids out, tonsils out, and treating lactose intolerance causing GERD.

Along the way the school educators generally thought he was behind academically and in intelligence. They loved his attitude and social skills. They tried accommodating within limits their county system bosses permitted. Some were better at it than others, some cared more about him than others. All but one teacher did it the classic way and checked the boxes.

During his short life there have been MRI’s, catscans, X-rays, upper and lower GI scopes, endoscopy, EKGs, EEGs, allergy pricks, blood tests upon blood tests, and exams by multiple physicians and specialists. Not once has he complained or become upset about having them done. He is happy that we have been trying to “fix” him as he says it. His spirit has humbled all of us.

For the first ten years very few diagnosis were correct except with the astute chiropractor, who got it all right. Everything she spotted and expected turned out to be true. There was only one on the education side get it right besides one second grade teacher – the county’s occupational therapist. She spotted the vision issues a year ago and gave us the name of the Binocular Vision Disorder (BVD) specialist optometrist, the only one in this region. He became the second medical professional to get it right and has been as successful as the chiropractor. The private OT specialists have learned from the treatments provided by both the chiropractor and BVD specialist, which will in turn help their current and future patients. They have also made good progress with grandson in their area of expertise.

The other education professionals who got it right were us – his parents and grandparents who made the call to homeschool and teach their own child.

BONUS Observation

This old boy has been exposed to COVID sufferers a bunch lately. This includes neighbors, church members and Wifey. My observation is that I have sailed right through this period with no respiratory issues at all. When Wifey gets something I usually do as well. That has not happened. I have zero doubt that taking IVM as a prophylactic is the primary reason. I take it, she does not. I have been far more exposed than she has and still did not get it. Wifey is known by family and friends for having a stubborn streak the width of the state of Tennessee, so there’s that. She also claims to have an Internet Doctor license. Physician heal thyself comes to mind, not too loudly of course. 🤣

Which leads to another observation of two married family members. Well educated, financially strong, essentially retired, numerous grandchildren. The man is 67 and the wife is 58. In the past they have traveled frequently to Colorado for a month of skiing and the Virgin Islands to a home they have there to spend most of the winter. Seem to have everything one needs to enjoy life, except health. They were in good health and very active prior to COVID. To continue traveling frequently without hassles, they made the decision to believe and trust the medical providers and government; so they were jabbed and boosted. They never asked anybody else’s opinion, just did what the people they ran with did.

They now look 10-15 years older. He is eating pain meds for terrible shoulder, rotator cuff and spinal pain with a surgery scheduled soon. She has been in a wheel chair or using a walker for months due to multiple foot, leg, knee and hip joint ailments. In comparison, a year ago they were playing in pickleball tournaments frequently.

They both have contracted COVID variants at least three times and claim to be in long COVID now. They are now selling their VI property and are planning to live out their last days at home here in east TN, whatever that looks like. Skiing and physical exercise are out of the question now. They asked Wifey and I how we look so young and act so healthy despite being significantly older. They choose not to mention our previous conversations about being jabbed or not, and why. We simply reply to them and other folks that we do not do traditional medicine unless there are no other options. If asked we will respond that we have not done jabs, that we use alternative supplements and let the conversation go from there at the will of the inquirers.

As a final observation, a few hours before press time today 😀, a friend called who I had posted about on a daily a month or so ago. He and his wife were returning home from vacation and called to chat. About two months ago he went into the hospital for a serious fungal lung infection. The docs treated it with some powerful meds. He improved to about 80% of his normal self and they released him to go home. He stabilized, but never fully regained his stamina and lung capacity. While on vacation he began to have chest tightening with shortness of breath. He will be headed back in to see his docs later this week. All we can do is pray for his healing.

He is a recently retired biologist and the head deacon of our former church. Nearly all of the deacons were jabbed and boosted along with the senior pastor. By all appearances they did not believe that the government and medical industry would lie to them and want them to die. Their lack of wisdom and discernment was a big red flag for us and was one of several reasons we left and found a new church home. The senior pastor and three deacons have now been seriously injured by the jabs and undoubtedly will have shorter life spans. They have all had COVID multiple times along with other ailments. They are all caring Christians with solid families. We feel for their suffering, yet know seeds of knowledge and wisdom fell among the thorn bushes such that other beliefs and practices of the thorns took hold and began choking their lives. That has given us much sorrow.

Even if one is not of the Christian faith, it would have been so much simpler and less painful to use reason and not believe people who have not yet proven to be trustworthy. These globalists and leftists outright stole an election, ripped off America, leave our borders wide open to invasion, helped domestic terror organizations and made false accusations against President Trump for years before COVID even happened. It is not like they did not tell John Q Public who they were.

Note of Appreciation

The decision to start over and create a new baseline for our grandson started here with input from many on the QTree. Once again we will be forever grateful. Add in appreciation for the assistance of a few unsung locals who were willing to observe him and offer useful recommendations.

We have followed Wolf’s advice about our medical concerns along the way, especially when he suggested not throwing the honest, more competent medical professionals to the curb; that many simply did not know that they did not know. This paid dividends with grandson’s Christian pediatricians and the second neurologist. The pediatricians have made a complete 180. They give no mRNA vaccines and have stated they learned a great deal about the pharmaceutical companies over the last few years. They are slowing the roll on prescribing meds for everything they see.

We all call our grandson’s progress a miracle that was nearly three years in the making. With each issue he experienced one door after another open that led to better health, learning and a brighter future for a wonderful child of God.

I pray that each reader benefit from this update. Unless something out of the norm happens, this will be the my last update on him for awhile. As we observe his progress we will note what works and does not work to report on later. We know whatever happens will bring the Lord all praise and glory.

Go find the lost sheep and take care of them. Our Lord did…

Be blessed everybody! Time to start putting on the armor as my reboot of Civilized War series is up next.

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It sure is nice to hear good news! 👍


Great news! Thanks for the update. Strange how many keep doing the same thing, over and over, yet expecting better results.


I love your family’s story and the updates. From a seemingly impossible to overcome malady with the cascading problems following…it’s so encouraging that everything is going well AND a new baby too!


Wonderful update! I am so happy for your grandson.

Mark my words, this boy will grow up to be someone extraordinary. As my father used to say, hide and watch.


You’re awesome.


Our youngest daughter homeschools her 4. I was initially wondering about the idea. I stand corrected. Those kids are very well rounded and very smart.


Homeschooling is great.


What a wonderful update! Your grandson is doing so well!
It took courage to “buck the system” regarding schooling, doctors, your grandson’s health, and carve out a different set of approaches to help the boy. It’s working. Kudos to all the family!
Sorry to hear about the people you know having issues after being “vaccinated.” I’m not happy to posit that this type of thing will start showing up much more frequently among the “vaccinated.”


TradeBait2 thank you for sharing the progress of your grandchild. I am so happy that he is gaining confidence in his homeschooling work that will dribble over into everything he attempts to do. How wonderful that you are part of shaping his learning and able to share with him. May God continue to Bless you your grandson and your family 🙂


Kids are truly a blessing. 😀

Valerie Curren

This is such a wonderful & encouraging report. TY for taking the time to articulate so many of the details. Your grandson has a much brighter future thanks to all the appropriate interventions & especially the TLC of family who have gone the extra mile, & then some, to ensure so many of his complex needs are well met. Hats off! PTL  😇 

Valerie Curren

God Bless You & your extended family too! Congrats on your new grandchild too! Our middle granddaughter turns one this week 🙂

Valerie Curren

TY 🙂

Happy go lucky

This is a wonderful update, TB2, I am so truly happy for the little guy. God is great.

Thank you for saying you would pray for me, the last time I was here at our tree, when I was hating on myself for taking the clot shot, your saying that meant everything to me.