Category Archives: education

Chivalry is Not Dead!

We have just one more week of school left until summer break.  We have had such an amazing year with our new school.  When I tell people about it the first question is always, “that’s a public school?” Yep!  We love the teachers and the principal, but I have also been impressed by the other kids.  The girls and I have all noticed how much nicer they are at this school compared to the last school.  I don’t know why this is, but we are so thankful for the good friends we are finding.

Yesterday, Morgan came home with a story about a soccer game at recess.  A bunch of boys were playing and she wanted to play too.  She jumped into the game and one of the boys from her class yelled, “go easy on Morgan!” Apparently he told her that he plays soccer and got hit in the face recently.  He seemed honestly concerned for her well being.  At, six years old, I find that impressive.  He also went out of his way to stop fast moving balls for her in the middle of the game, so she would be able to take a shot.  Morgan is tough and a natural athlete.  She didn’t need him to do this, but I find it adorable that he took it upon himself to protect her and make sure she had turns with the ball.

Morgan’s story reminded me of an incident with Emma earlier in the year.  I was waiting for her after school and as usual she was the last child out the gate.  Normally she is last because she is busy chatting with friends or looking for a lost lunchbox.  This day was different because she came out with a boy from her class.  He was carrying a box that belonged to her.  He saw her in the classroom with a lot to carry out to the car and stopped to help her with her things.

So often we hear stories about kids being rude and disrespectful.  It’s exciting to see so many thoughtful kids at the school.  Especially boys treating girls with respect!  It gives me hope for the future of our daughters. I would love to hear more stories like this. Comment with a story about kids being kind to others.  I know they’re out there.

Happy New Year

Today is the last day of winter break for the kids, which means that tomorrow is the first potentially productive day of the new year.  I am hoping to write more for my blog this year and not just about cakes.  I am also going to host my first give away thanks to the generosity of my brother.  Details coming soon and you don’t want to miss it!

I am not big on making new year’s resolutions, but I am excited about the one my five year old daughter made.  She is going to do her chores without being asked.  Apparently, this was inspired by a speech given by the principal of her elementary school.  Before the kids went on break they were all told to help out at home and do chores without being asked.  Have I mentioned that I love this new school?  I don’t know how long she will be able to keep this resolution, but I look forward to her efforts. I should also mention that my eight year old goes to the same school, heard the same speech, but made no such resolution!  Oh well. 

Happy 2012!

Gifted and Talented Education

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

This Albert Einstein quote was spread all over facebook last week and it caught my attention.  It’s a great quote, but what caught my eye is that this is truly the philosophy being used at my girls’ elementary school.  I have always been in favor of public education, but my oldest daughter’s kindergarten experience made me start to doubt that we had made the right choice.  After homeschooling for almost two years we decided to take another look at the public schools in our area.  We were incredibly blessed to find one, not far from our home, that seemed to have everything we were looking for.  We took a leap of faith and signed up both girls.

We have been with this school for a month and a half and I am so excited by everything I see happening there.  The philosophy is that all kids are gifted and talented.  Don’t we as parents feel that way already?  We all believe that our child is special and we are right.  The school’s job is to find those gifts and talents and teach the kids how to make the most of them.  The amazing thing is that our school is actually doing that!  The kids are evaluated on so much more than Math and Reading.  The teachers know who loves computers, who is a great artist and who likes to perform.  They have also assessed learning styles including who likes to work in a group and who works better alone.

I am so excited about the way this school is reaching out to each student.  I think they are making a difference for these kids and hopefully are reducing the number of fish attempting to climb trees.

The Great Homework Debate

School has been in session for a couple of weeks now and it seems like the hot topic this year is homework.  Our district has decided not to give homework to kindergarteners in an attempt to save money.  I don’t understand how this is saving them much money, but I am fine with it.  My five year old doesn’t need to come home with homework.  So far my fourth grader has had a reasonable amount of homework.  She is required to read for twenty minutes, complete one spelling page and one math page.  It doesn’t take her too long to finish her work unless she is in a bad mood, so I have no complaints with our school.

However, I have heard from other parents that their kids are coming home with large amounts of homework that keep them up late and prevent them from enjoying other after school activities.  They are a bit older than my kids, but not too much older.  Is there an age when it becomes appropriate to send home that much homework?  I don’t think so.  Our kids spend at least six hours in school and then come home with a minimum of an hour of homework each night.  Is it possible to be a good student and participate in sports and other after school activities?  Are kids being forced to choose between grades and sports?  How does this work in your family?

Bonus question: Why is homework so important anyway?  I was able to teach my daughter at home in far less than six hours each day and she learned what she needed to learn.  We just received her first standardized test results from the district and she scored in the advanced category across the board.

Cast your vote.  Voice your opinion.  Inquiring minds want to know!  Well, I want to know. 🙂

First Impressions

We survived the first day of school.  Parts of it were just as chaotic as I anticipated, but on the whole it was a good experience.  I, like my kindergartener, am exhausted so I am going to keep this short.  Here are my first impressions based on the first day of school.

Principal- Caring, welcoming, and great at communicating with the parents.  She also visited the classrooms today to introduce herself to the kids.  She was very visible all day.  No hiding in the office.  Love her!

Kindergarten Teacher- Organized, calm, welcoming towards students and parents.  Poor Morgan came home from school rather grumpy, but I think she will like her teacher once she gets used to this new school routine.

Fourth Grade Teacher- Super organized, greeted each student before taking the class inside, strict in a good way!  She is just what Emma needs.  Fortunately, Emma loved her.  She chatted excitedly about her first day from the time I picked her up until the time she went to bed.  She is also thrilled that part of her nightly homework is to curl up in a chair and read a book of her choice for 20 minutes.  I made her take a timer with her because I figured she would go back there with her book and we wouldn’t see her again all evening… all in the name of homework!

It looks like it’s going to be a good year.

Back to School Shopping

I love the idea of brand new school supplies.  There is just something exciting about opening a fresh box of crayons, having markers that work and a stack of blank notebooks.  It means a fresh start and hope for organization and a great school year.

Unfortunately, the first public school we tried with Emma sucked the joy out of this experience.  The supply list was so long.  It included all of the standard stuff plus everything that the teacher was going to need for the year, but the school could not afford to supply.  They even used a check list to make sure that each child donated every item on the list.  Including cash donations for certain items that the teacher would be purchasing for us.  We ended up spending a ton of money and sending our little kindergartener off to school with about twenty pounds worth of supplies.  It was a sad sight.  I understand that the public schools are short on funding.  I know what it is like to live on a teacher’s salary and have to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies, but there has to be a better way!

This year we are trying a new school for both of  our girls.  The kindergarten supply list came in the mail and I was nervous to read it.  However, this school takes a completely different approach to the supply list.  They actually follow the education code, which states that the school, not the parent, is responsible for supplies that are essential for learning.  Wow!  What a relief.  The letter suggested that I may want to supply a backpack for my child and that the classroom teacher would greatly appreciate donations like pencils, tissues, and baby wipes.  The list was short.  The items are on sale right now and there is no pressure to donate.

We just finished our school supply shopping for the girls.  Many of the items we will keep at home for homework time and the rest will be donated.  I imagine sending the girls to school with their backpacks and a small bag of donation items light enough for them to carry themselves.  Thank you, Campus Canyon, for putting the joy back in the Back to School Shopping experience.  I can get behind this approach and attitude towards donations.  It makes me want to donate the things that the teachers are asking for.

Preschool Artwork

Today we decided to clean out the coat closet in our living room.  The top shelf was full of artwork that my five year old brought home over the course of the last school year.  We pulled it all out and piled it on the floor.  It was rather overwhelming once we unleashed this mess from the closet.  Morgan was excited to see it all again and instantly fell in love with all of it all over again, which of course means we can’t part with a single picture or project.  Luckily she got bored and I was able to sneak away some of it.  I am sure she will never notice.

 

 

 

After much sorting, weeding, cutting, and gluing… this is the finished product!  

We actually have four of these neatly stacked in our now clean coat closet.  Each girl has two from their two years at preschool.  I don’t know if they will keep them forever, but it was my way of saving their work just a little longer.

Homeschooling

I just finished a year and a half of homeschooling with my oldest daughter.  We had a blast doing it, most of the time, and I set up a blog to record our adventures.  At Adventures in Homeschooling, you can read about our journey from start to finish.

I will be writing more about education once the girls go back to school in the fall.  My youngest will be starting kindergarten and my oldest, who isn’t very old, will be starting fourth grade.  I know I will have a lot to say about it come September!