Sunday, April 30, 2017

I tried - April (update and May Goals)

Recap for April:
 - I read and enjoyed (still processing) Seven by Jen Hatmaker.    I will be hopefully posting a review/blog about my journey through her book.
Health - I can't seem to get my mind to care.  I want to be healthier (thinner/more in shape) but my motivation and drive are lacking.  I ran races, and took 3rd in one of them.  But as far as weightloss or fitting into a smaller size - that did NOT take place.  Also ran my first 15k, it was fun - but the course map got messed up so I ended up making my own route.  Get free admission to the race next year, so that's cool!
Scripture Memorization - I focused on Provers 1:7 (it's still written on our chalkboard in the dining room, looking at it now... a good daily reminder), John 8:32, 1 Peter 2: 1-3, Luke 10:42
Challenges - There is one main challenge I have been working on since February.  For the past three months I have been doing something, something small, but significant.  Stay tuned.

May is here!
It's a busy time of year for us. It's like a book coming to a close.  You watch as the pages turn and know that there is SOOOOO much more to read.  You skip words every now and then to see if that helps you get to the "good parts" - well May, the days will be a blur as baseball starts, Jeremiah graduates from college, I will be finishing up my 5th year of teaching, and we prepare for summer. April provided a good jump start on simplifying our lives (will talk more about that in the book review), and so hopefully May we can enjoy and create those habits to a more simplified life.

Book: Going to be reading Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Shocking fact - I have never read a book by C.S. Lewis.  Never.  Not even Chronicles of Narnia.  I will hang my head and shame while putting my nose in this book (that I have heard several people recommend).

Health: Ketosis diet or life style change.  I think it's one that I can focus on.  I can eat B.A.C.O.N. for like every breakfast.  Ketosis is essentially an incredibly low carb diet.  We are talking like 30 or less grams of carbs a day.  Because I like to be different though, as much as I am going to focus on "healthy fats" I am also going to give myself grace and allow fruits (so much sugar/carbs!).  Jeremiah said he is going to do this as well, having his support always helps.
I am still running!  But loosing joy.  I have no one to run with and no longer have the drive to even compete with myself.  I hope that changes.  My sister and I, however, have attended a trampoline exercise class the past two weeks.  NOT little individual trampolines, but like at a trampoline gym. It's legitimate.

Scripture Memorization: Found this site that has a verse from each book of the bible.  Check it out.   Need to write our monthly newsletter update. This month going to look at: 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Peter 4: 8-9, James 4:10, Micah 7:8.  Do you have any tricks or methods that help you memorize scripture.  Do you "reword" it to make it shorter and "in your own words"?

Challenges: I am going to, for the third or fourth time, attempt to do the challenge bellow.  I am also going to continue for the forth month a special challenge that brings small pieces of joy to others.  You will just have to wait and find out what I am talking about.  I am going to have to process Jen Hatmaker's book, Seven, for there are some challenges in there that I think I'd enjoy attempting to help change my life.  Maybe for June??  EWWWWW, a real challenge, getting my garden to grow!

Other news: Our anniversary is at the end of the month!  Celebrate.

Have a great month! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

I tried - being a friend .... SURVEY

I love data and numbers and information.  If you are interested in filling out a survey about what a "friend" is and how social media changes our perception of our social interactions please fill out the voluntary survey below.

This is for fun and I am in no way a psychologist or person using this as an actual study.  This is just for my own personal insight to others perception.

I joke that I  have the emotional range of a teaspoon - but I am also a very loyal person.  Sometimes I do not see the world as others do and would like insight from my peers.

Thank you for your time!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I tried - education {a public school teacher's view on homeschool}

 A "hot" topic in my "world" is education.  From toddler time to college, and everything in between, I value it. If you have extra time to waste, just bring up an educational related topic (i.e common core, discipline, retention, IEPs, etc....) we will talk. For hours.

WARNING: because this is a topic I am passionate about, this post is going to be lengthy - please look at the questions and find what best fits you.

I have had several parents come to me asking for my opinion about homeschooling over the alternative of public school. I have seen several articles recently about education - some with incredible inaccuracy and some with pure joy. So, now, instead of repeating myself, I can start pointing them to this blog.

Before I begin, I need to clarify some things about me.  I am public school teacher at a middle school, and currently, love my job.  I am a mother, but only to young children. I am opinionated, and do not have data to back up my claims (just resources and observations).  I am a Christian and some of my educational beliefs are woven tightly with my religious beliefs. I am a fan of homeschooling - and have had and still do consider it as an option for my own children as they age.

The best way to tackle this topic is through a Q and A session.  If you do not see your Q please post it in the comments and I would love to give you my version of the A - this is real life - not a multiple choice test.  =]

***What would I do if I was considering homeschooling, but are unsure?
As I mentioned, I have several peers who are considering homeschooling for a variety of reasons. Usually the biggest struggle I see from them is, "is this right?"  They might stay up late at night asking if they have the funds and other resources, the drive to home school.   They might be considering home schooling because of bad personal experiences in their own education.  Some of them consider home schooling for they have an UNeducated view of public schools (i.e. common core is evil - no, common core are standards, not my curriculum or how I teach - besides, most states are not aligned with common core anyhow - please don't be ignorant when making life choices for your family...... ooops, I am slipping on to another soap box).

If you are considering homeschooling please keep these thoughts in the back of your mind:
1)You have to do what is right for your family.  No one is going to fault you for that. Stand your ground, do research to support your opinions.  If you are religious, pray about the situation and ask God for guidance. Also see the questions about my Christianity and homeschooling later in the post.
2) LET THE TEACHER AND THE SYSTEM PROVE YOU WRONG.  If you have a fear or concern about school, one that might not be supported in concrete evidence - let your child try public school - if you are not happy - than home school. But let your teacher show you that rumors are in fact rumors.  I think you will be surprise that public school is not a bad place.
3) Educate your self.  Please, know what you are getting into.  This is not just a game, but your child's life you are dealing with.  A website I share helps identify with your type of home school that best fits with your personality and ideas of home school - check it out here. 
4) I BEG you as a  teacher, if you do homeschool, actually teach your children how to read and do basic math. It's very worrisome for me when I see students, who will one day be adults in our country, who can not multiply at the age of 13.  *sigh*

***What would I do if I was already homeschooling or enrolled in another non-public school system (private, charter, co-ops)?
Homeschooling, like I said, can be a huge success for several families.  I have seen it!  Sometimes I am envious of it.  If you are happy with your choice to home school please consider the following:

Don't bash public schools
For hundreds of thousands of families
public school IS their only choice.

These families and teachers need your support and encouragement.  I had one friend post on facebook how she really did not like that she has to pay property taxes to support a school that her children do not even attend.  I really wanted to respond with "you have the choice, others don't" - Is it justified taking away from others who might not be as lucky and blessed as you are?  Also, ponder this, if this your country - why wouldn't you want public schools to be successful and have proper funding - your kids are going to grow up and have to function as adults with public school taught adults.  Personally, I want to live in a country that is not full of ignorance, hate, and people lacking basic education - regardless of the route.   Think about those who do not have children who still pay property taxes.  Delight in your home school success, but do not bring down the public school.  Please.   If you want to see some positive reasons why home school is good, go here

***What would I do if my children have to attend public school?
Most families do not have the option to home school.  To that situation, I would say - make the best of your child's education.  Have constant or good communication with your child's teacher.  If there is a concern, instead of talking to other parents about it, address it with the teacher.  Although we are all adults, parents are very capable and sometimes the best at starting rumors.

You can be an activist for your child's education! 

If you are not pleased with what is happening with in a district, educate yourself about the situation (terminologies and what is normal protocol) - then, seek help from your principal, school board, governors.  You can be an activist for your child's education.

 Please keep in mind that like any profession there are good teachers and their are teachers who need another profession.  This practice, or lack of, is not uncommon; other professionals have the same issue from "corrupt cops" to "moral lacking doctors" there are people who should not be working where they currently are.

SUPPORT the school. Desegregation started centuries ago, however, because of economic status, some of our schools are slowly turning back into segregated schools.  Read this article about why some families don't want their kids going to another school. This breaks my heart.

Do you really want to live in a society that treats people differently because of their race or economical status?  If you are blessed and happened to end up in a school that you are pleased with, be thankful.  Show appreciation to the teachers and administration.

Always be supportive - think, are you part of the problem or the solution?

***What do I do differently as a Christian parent?
Although home schooling is a great fit for several families, as a Christian parent and as of right now, I want my kids to go to public school to be the light.  Our oldest, who is 5, understands who Jesus is and that he died for us.  I want Gideon to be friends with the meek, the poor, the hurt, the black, the Muslim, the "stereotype of your choice" child.  Our practice in our home is love ALL people and give them honor and dignity.  There will come a day when Gideon will bring home a friend that needs a loving place to feel safe.  I want that to be our home.

To love people,
we have to break free from our 
safe and comfortable circle of like minded peers. 

I usually get the follow up question or response along the lines: what about bullies, drugs, bad words, sex, bad behaviors, or an education I don't agree with..... My children are my children, regardless of where they go to school.  It is MY JOB AS THE PARENT TO TEACH THEM.  That is what it comes down to.  Until we can support single moms, help feed children, give refugees home, welcome foreigners better - the education system will remain broken, for the world is broken.   I am not going to rely or expect another person to be the parent of my child. 

***What would I do if I did homeschooling, but then "fail" or it is not longer an adequate option for our family?


To fail means you are leaning what works for your family.  It's okay to attempt home school or similar programs and then realize that it is not as successful as you had hoped.  I know several families who have a "blended" family where some children go to public while others remain in an alternative setting.  It works beautifully for them!

Now, if it is not successful, please reevaluate the situation and try something different.  Unfortunately, I have seen several homeschooling failures as an educator. I have had a student who attempted to speak her own language, and would get frustrated with me for I did not understand her.  She did not do well in public school, a few months after, was pulled back out to home school.

This teachers final thoughts:
Our country needs public education.
Our public educators need everyone's support - or education is going to continue to be inadequate in the public's eye.  The article, although a few years old,  summarizes that over the past 40 years, despite endless debates about curricula, testing, teaching training, teachers' salaries, and performance standards, assessments, and despite billions of dollars invested in school reform, there has been NO improvement - none - in the academic proficiency of American high school students.

Something needs to be done. Teachers are leaving by the masses.  Read this article, or just simply google search why teachers no longer teach. It all comes down to community support. Teaching is no longer a respected or honored profession, comparitavely to other countries.

Teaching is not an easy job.
Parenting is not an easy job.

Please - if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know.  I would love to hear from you!