A glimpse into the love, lives and laughter that make my world go 'round!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

School SUCKS!

I have a bad attitude this afternoon. I'll just be honest.

Today, as soon as I got home from work, Abby was waiting in the garage to hand me her Tuesday Folder full of school papers. She stayed home sick for more than half of last week, so there weren't that many papers to review and look over. Her spelling test had an unusually low grade, but after having a heart attack at the sight of such a horrible grade and thinking about it, I remembered that I hadn't even made her practice her words one single time! I don't know how I forgot about spelling, but I did, and she absolutely BOMBED her spelling test. Bombed it so bad that there was even a note from her teacher, written at the top, saying that since she had been out most of the week, her teacher wouldn't count the grade. WHEW! - that was an unexpected relief! (Thank you kind teacher!) After I got done looking at her papers, I noticed yet another handwritten scribble under her conduct grade for the week. The note read, "Please let me know when you are available for a conference".

Suddenly I felt JOY and HAPPINESS hissing out of my body. I was deflating by the millisecond. That type of note from the teacher never means anything but "Please come in so we can discuss what you AREN'T doing to help your child succeed".... or, "WOW. She should be WAY ahead of this by now".... And I always envision that these comments are also accompanied by THE LOOK. You know...it's akin to that face that your mother used to make when she was so ashamed and disappointed in your behavior that there weren't really words to go along with her swirling emotions.... This is also very similar to the look that she would shoot you, letting you know that you were in SERIOUSLY deep shit, she clearly had to THINK about what she was going to say before she opened her mouth because the tongue lashing was going to be a real scorcher, and your certain death (sarcasm people!) was not negotiable.



I hate that the teachers move so fast from one concept to another before the kids have enough time to really grasp each concept.

I hate that when my kids struggle, I feel like I'm the teacher's first line of their defense. Yeah, I said it. It's the CYA approach for some teachers - rather than spending more time with the student, they call home and get Mom to pick up the slack. (This isn't the case right now, but we've dealt with this phenomenon in the past)

I hate that school feels like the main focus for every school year is all about "meeting the grade" on standardized testing.

I hate it when my kids don't even want to do their homework because they didn't get a concept the first time and the teacher has moved on. Either keep up, catch up, or get left behind.

I hate it that my kids measure successes and failures based on a number grade at the top of their papers. There's more to learning than just a flipping number!

I hate it that I feel like such a failure when my kids are struggling.


All this being said, I absolutely DO to work with each of my kids and I encourage them to keep plugging along. One day they'll get it and it will all make sense, but until that day, we just keep working. Each of the kids has really good teachers, it just feels a little overwhelming so see a third grader bringing home basic algebraic equations to solve while multiplication is STILL a challenge.

Is there anyone out there who feels the same way?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Driver's Ed Starts Tomorrow *gulp*

I can vividly recall the day that I went down to the DPS office and took the test to receive my Learner's Permit. And I remember getting behind the wheel of my mom's mini-van for the first time to practice driving around our neighborhood. We were living in Alaska at the time and I was eager to get as much practice behind the wheel as I could possibly squeeze in. I felt so grown up! My rocket boosters had launched me into a whole new stratosphere.

There is one particular "practice run" that I will never forget though. My mother wanted me to get the feel of the road, so we got out on a long stretch of road would take us back towards the the Chugach State Park. It was a beautiful drive full of turns, hills, scenery, and changes in elevation. Some of these elevation changes included a mountain on the driver's side....and a steep drop-off on the passenger's side. :) My mom was incredibly B-R-A-V-E. It was pretty nerve wracking to be behind the wheel, but I thought I was doing a pretty good job!

As we drove farther out of town the road started to wind around a bit, and the hills got bigger. The real "action in the cockpit" started when we got farther up into the foothills. I remember driving up a hill and as we came around a corner, the terrain on Mom's side of the car dropped off into nothingness. There were no trees to block our view, and we could see for miles. We were probably having a conversation about something random, when all of a sudden my mother started beating on the door....her feet were braced on the dashboard......and the was yelling "GET OVER! GET OVER!! GET OVER!!!" I had gotten too close to the white line and my mother was seeing her life flash before her very eyes.

Fast forward about twenty years.....

Conner starts Driver's Education tomorrow through the high school. It's hard to believe that he's old enough to start getting behind the wheel, and even more inconceivable that I'm gonna be the one to get in the passenger seat at some point. EGADS!! I've known that this day was coming. I knew that I wouldn't be able to put it off forever - it's the natural progression of growing up!

Thinking of seeing Conner climb into the drivers' seat gives me flashbacks to that day in Alaska. In my invincible teenage mind, I'm sure that I thought my mother was totally overreacting and blowing things out of proportion...I mean, I wasn't really THAT close to the edge, right? Ugh. Just the THOUGHT of him behind the wheel makes me want to throw up in sheer terror. My mother had GUTS. I don't know how she managed to summon the courage to let me back behind the wheel to drive again!

Do we really HAVE to let them grow up?

Can't we just go back to preschool, play dates, and Happy Meals?

Pretty please....with sugar on top?!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Where Did the Time Go?

Talk about "taking a break", during the whole month of December I never got a single post uploaded onto my blog. There were a several drafts, but somewhere into my second or third paragraph I would get sidetracked and never get refocused enough to return and finish. ....Kinda like my kids and cleaning their rooms. :)

I won't do one of those lame, blow-by-blow, regurgitations on how life unfolded with each passing day through my lapse in blogging, but I will say that December was a whirlwind. A whirlwind of activities and parties for the kids, school plays and events, house guests for over two weeks solid, a house BURSTING at the seams on Christmas day, and a bazillion other things in between. It was wonderful, exhausting, and memorable all at the same time.

One of the biggest treats that we enjoyed over the Christmas break was the time that we got to spend with family. My sister-in-law, niece, and nephew drove in from Arizona and spent a few days with us. I've been estranged from my brother for a few years now, so being able to spend time with them was HUGE! The kids were all so excited to be together that they played and played for the duration of the visit with nothing but boisterous childhood silliness and countless hours of playing outside. We were sad to see them go, but feel so blessed to have had the quality time together!

Getting back into the swing of things today is going to be hard. After having two weeks to undo habits of getting to bed on time and waking up with the alarm clock, the kids will surely cross the threshold this afternoon cranky and near tears. I had intended to start easing them back into the routine a few days ago....but clearly THAT didn't happen! So we'll just make the best of it for the next couple of days and extend a little extra grace when fatigue and exhaustion get a little overwhelming.

I haven't really put much thought into any New Year's Resolutions for myself, other than the annual plight to get myself back in shape, and undo the last several months of no exercise and bad eating. Blah, blah, BLAH!! As a couple, Richard and I are really going to make a big push to finally get the last of our debt completely behind us this year. And just to clarify, the term "completely" means everything except the house and car. We got to this point last year and generally maintained our position, so we are ready to make the hard push to get it finished. Of course, this resolve is already being put to the test as we watch several of our friends/neighbors get new flooring, counter tops, and other "big ticket" home improvement purchases that we've longed to invest into our own home. Oh well....WE'VE GOTTA STAY FOCUSED!!

Wishing you a very VERY Happy New Year!