Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tonight I went to my first public school community forum where they were going to talk about their budget problems....their need to reallocate resources...bla bla bla. I spent the past three weeks think of what I was going to say but I could not really think of anything that seemed meaningful. I know they are going to close more schools this year. I know mine is most likely NOT going to be one of them so I thought I would go to the meeting and just see how it went. Well in my typical NOT a shrinking violet personality...who by the way has a very HARD time KEEPING her opinions to herself and her month shut (unless I am being paid...then I am very very good at staying PC)...but I digress.....
So they divided the meetings up into five regions and tonight was our region's night for suggestions on saving money and making cuts. Get that the key words are SUGGESTIONS and SAVING MONEY. So after listening to about 40 micro focused people who clearly did not understand what this meeting was about....I decided to stand up and speak. About what I was not sure but I clearly had to stop the Lunacy before I went postal. I was tired of hearing privileged schools whine about having to conduct science classes in the multipurpose room and libraries with old books and experimental schools that needed theaters and alternative education schools talk about needing a track for their 5th graders and a music room so that their kids did not have to practice in the multipurpose room! Hello is that NOT why there are called Multipurpose rooms? So you can use them for all kinds of THINGS!!!!
So I stood up and launched unscripted for about five minutes. I slightly remember rambling about accountability being a three way street. About being a private school family who made the choice to switch to public school and the annual waste that schools spend on trying out new curriculum when no kids or parent really cares that Johnnie is studying the latest in math textbooks and that in terms of basic math and English it has not changed enough to warrant the millions of dollars they spend in their new programs. Having just finshed reading the "Well Trained Mind" and a couple "Charlotte Mason Theory" books as well as "The Educated Child" I found I was far more prepared to discuss changes in education and suugestions for improvement than I had expected.
It is the schools job to teach reading, writing and math (and those of you that know me know I believe it is my job too). That is or should be the foundation of an "public" elementary school education. READING, WRITING and MATH....anything else like science and history are bonuses....art, music, sports and languages are dessert. And right now, they are not doing a good job at any of it...so forget the dessert and FOCUS ON THE FOUNDATION. Forget the tracks, the new science labs, and new pretty books....KIDS DO NOT CARE WHAT THEIR BOOKS LOOK LIKE or if their math program is two or ten years old. It is more important that the LEARN it and the test scores show they are not. I said to forget all the experimental schools that are only available by lottery to get in and take the money and sink it in to the large volume schools since their costs per child are lower. Take those large school and separate out the smart kids and separate out the slow kids and teach at three levels...yes very very unPC but true. Academic intergration is NOT good for the child. How do I know becuase my yahoos are at both end of the spectrum.... I know what I speak....And on and on and on...
I was late to get home so when I was done I turned around to see that the auditorium now had about 400 people in it (I sat in the front) and as I headed out people started standing up to cheer me on, shake my hand and give me a standing ovation. I was followed outside the school to the parking lot by two school board members who wanted to know who I was and if I would be interested in working with the board or being on the board some day. I was followed to my car by the head of the teachers union who wanted my business card to see if I would be willing to come to something...and I was outside by a teacher who I have never seen before that is a first grade teacher at the Yahoos school who said she would love to have my kids in her class. The principle of the yahoos school was at the meeting. I feel like---forget that I know I have the reputation of being a pain in the a** at school because I hold a high standard for my yahoos and the education and likewise I expect them to hold me accountable. It will be interesting to see what the principle will say when I see her at school.....
Gee you can't tell that I'm just a little edgy tonight can you?
Monday, February 9, 2009
So, last month we started our journey by learning about world history at home. I discovered a great book that laid out a great plan and concept for teaching world history to kids. We have started reading Story of the World and if I was smart enough to give you a link to the books in the series I would. But you'll have to look them up on amazon yourself. There are four books in the series. The books go back in time and are written at level that kids will enjoy.
The actual program that I bought is really a homeschool program from Sonlight http://www.sonlight.com/. The program outlines everything in one set that includes the history books, supporting reference books, and about 17 coordinating literature books for the kids to read on their own and those to be read outloud.
It is amazing...and Mr Tomato thought at first I was a little crazy but he too is shocked that everynight the yahoos beg me to read a chapter from the history book and from the story books. We started with the bang, the garden of Eden and last night had reached the Exodus of Egypt. They cannot seem to get enough. I knew Tobbers would like it but I had no idea Noley would like it too. MeiMei is still working on sitting still, but as a four year old it is not easy to still still and listen to a book with no pictures.
We are reading Monday - Thursday nights. We read three history books (Story of the World, Children's History of the World, Usborne Childrens History of the World) and then coordinating story books and finish our week by eating out on Friday night at a restaurant that coordinates with where we traveled for the week. So far we have been eating a lot of middle eastern food.
I'm looking forward to traveling to ancient China.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Fingers are crossed that our dossier will be arriving tomorrow fully certified and ready to send off to .... Agency yet to be named.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I cannot take credit for this witty peice. Mr Tomato sent this to me today and thought it worthy of sharing. I found it quite hilarious and true and wanted to share. I'm not sure who's wisdom I am sharing so if it is yours. We commend you this is great.
Here are some great ways of dealing with the challenges of life:
- Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
- Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
- Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
- If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply be kind to others.
- Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
- Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
- The second mouse gets the cheese.
- When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
- You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
- Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
- We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.