Why I’m Getting Close to Pulling My Kid From School

What’s My Big Problem?

I’m the parent of a kindergartener and an educator myself. Having worked in the public school system for nearly a decade, I would always seemingly joke that I would never put my kid into the system after seeing the inner workings. I always would joke about it. But, I think the joke may be over.

My new journey is to learn as much as I can about what it will take to transition to homeschooling my daughter. I’ve always liked the idea but never thought that I would be a sufficient teacher for her. After all, I do need her to be able to learn from others as well as socialize well with her peers.

Those were my fears for not choosing homeschool all along – the peer isolation and the inability to be an adequate educator for her. I know these myths can be debunked.

My Issues with “The New Way”

As an educator, heart and soul, I am supportive of innovation. The innovation in teaching a foreign language developed by Dr. Stephen Krashen – the Natural Approach – is what drew me to teaching my passion, the French language. Upon researching for links to use in the previous sentence, I learned that Dr. Krashen himself has just published an article on his blog entitled “The Common Core – Ignoring Education’s Real Problems“, dated November 4, 2014. In short, he contests the Common Core agendas ignore the issue of poverty – the heart of the real issues of our schools’ brokenness. I encourage you to check it out – it’s a quick four page read.

So, what he said.

Then, to add to it, I feel so ill prepared to help my child through her school years. I was overwhelmed by something I saw in her class today that has insisted that I spill these words that are bursting out of me. I felt so unable to help my daughter do something as simple as 10+9=19. I didn’t have the proper vocabulary to help her. I know they are training them to learn the vocabulary that will help them succeed as they proceed, but it bothers me that I can’t help her. In kindergarten. I’m not helpless, I can learn, and I already have, but I’m an involved parent in the classroom. What about everyone else? How can they help their kids? The school isn’t sending home packets for us to study to understand what they are learning. It’s just happening.

It feels sneaky to me. And I don’t like that feeling. At all. Especially from the government. Nope. Not a fan.

I want to be clear – I DO want her to understand other concepts of learning. I just don’t like how things are going down in reality.

Do I take her learning into my own hands? Do I just bite my tongue and ship her off on the bus every day to learn The New Way? Will it even persist? Will the government take a deeper look at how they are trying to implement a common system throughout a highly diversified nation?

If I take her out of school, I still pay the taxes, but the district has one less pupil. That hits them where it hurts – in the pocketbook. Money talks, don’t they say?

I am ready to learn something new, too. Our New Way may just be the Homeschool Way. (I can’t believe I’m writing this!) But, I mean it.

Any comments, tips, suggestions are welcome. I appreciate your time reading my thoughts. Some may applaud, some may not. Which are you?

Sources Used

“Books and Articles by Stephen D. Krashen” (2014) Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.sdkrashen.com/ on November 21, 2014.

Krashen, Stephen. (11/4/2014) “The Common Core – Ignoring Education’s Real Problems”. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/articles/2014_krashen_the_common_core_ignoring.pdf on November 21, 2014.

“Natural Approach” (2014) Wikipedia. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_approach on November 21, 2014.

The Rhetoric of Achievement

Sometimes, the smallest details can make a humongous difference.

Take, for example, a slight change of wording. Words carry not only meaning but substance and can define a situation based on the weight and temperament of the word in the perception of the readers.

Case in mind:

Instead of using the term “goal setting”, what if we used the word “dream planning”?

As important is the process of setting goals to achieve desired success, somehow it seems that the terminology is almost generic in a way. Goal setting and planning are such critical, lifeline processes in designing, running, and growing a small business – yet so many small business owner don’t have a concrete plan.

My idea is to revitalize the spirit in small business owners by bringing their consciousness back to what got them started in the first place: The DreamThe daily operations of the business often gets in the way of seeing the big picture of The Dream, as often the small business owner is a key producer of the organization, if not the sole producer. This is the central concept in my own small business, Laura The Project Gal – to help small business owners find, define, and achieve their dreams. 

I’d love your thoughts on the importance of rhetoric in goal setting. Am I making a big ado about nothing? Or could we dig into the spirit of entrepreneurs with a rhetorical concentration of words that touch the heart?

Please comment below – I’d love to get the conversation going.

That itching, nagging thought or idea

We all know we have that one ounce of extra something in us that could truly drive us to our personal limits. That itching, nagging thought or idea that just excites your mind, making your blood pump and your palms sweat, that idea that is going to change the world! (Imagine a guy with his white dress shirt top couple buttons unbuttoned, megaphone in hand exclaiming those last three words. That’s what I picture.)  So, why don’t more people have their success story? Why do so many people tell that itching, nagging thought or idea to just go away?

Could it be that really we’re afraid of becoming successful?  Could it be that although it is just such a great and respectable goal it would require us to change?

A new schedule.  New commute routes to learn. New contacts to create. Starting from the bottom yet again. These are scary and daunting truths about change,  at least in your career.

I bet if I asked for a show of hands in a random audience of who’s self-sabotaged an opportunity or experience because of the fear of change that the number of hands raised would far underrepresent the minds of those chewing on something they’d rather keep to themselves.

What if even one of those people could become inspired enough to take the plunge and answer that itching, nagging idea or thought? Maybe the answer to the plastic grocery bag problem? Or, perhaps the training to become the world’s happiest flight attendant and travel the world? Or even the response to a call for a theological life?

Do you have a story to share?  Was your hand raised or did you keep it to yourself? Did you listen to that itching, nagging thought or idea and have success? Or even a flop? (They say the journey is just as important as the destination.)

We’re BAAAAACK!!!

We’re BAAAAACK!!!.

My cousin Jen is raising a living and breathing miracle! Her son was born very premature,  and his brother went to Jesus after just a few short days with his mom and dad. Jacob has been handed a boatload of mental and physical challenges but Jen and her husband Bryan are working to knock them out of the way. They f I understand a place called IAHP, the Institute for Human Potential,  and this little boy is not only seeing when he was previously considered blind, but he’s even reading upwards of 100 words!

 

Check out Jen’s blog about their journey of miracles. If you can, please consider donating so they can continue the important work to help Jacob live a regular life.

 

Be true to you

I know so many people are trying to get ahead in life, working towards that dream career, chugging along to become someone.  As an educator and self proclaimed nerd, I support everyone who is working towards making themselves better.

However,  be true to you.

So many people work hard to get in a career that will make the bucks, pay the bills,  and allow them to live a certain lifestyle. But at what cost?

Life is measured in so many ways, but the money we make is left behind when it’s time for our legacy to live for us.

This topic has been said and done before, but it is so real that it deserves yet another blog post. I love my job,  but it’ll never make me rich. I struggle internally with the two – richess in the bank or in my heart.

I choose my heart. And a difference I will make. Maybe even for you 🙂

Conflict: Type A versus Type C: From theory to reality

Conflict when dealing with employees,  teams, or families is something that is inevitable. Conflict is what allows innovation to occur. Ideas and the status quo have to be challenged in order to continue to meet the demanding needs of the world today. Type A conflict, however, is what usually gets people in trouble. It’s the type of conflict when it becomes personal when instead of challenging an idea the individual holding that idea is insulted. Many a brainstorming session has been ruined by people attacking the individual who shares an off the wall idea, many of which actually become something huge. Type C conflict, on the other hand, is the type of conflict that we want to foster in our workplaces and even in our families. This is where we challenge the idea, working along with the owner of the thought through dialogue.

So my story begins. I created a little bit of Facebook drama the other day, unintentionally, of course, by stating my opinion on a particular issue of parenting. I am NOT going to rehash the entire argument, there’s no need to go there again, but I do want to discuss the lesson that I learned. My strong opinion may have gotten a little personal. That’s when everything went awry. I really insulted somebody, actually a lot of somebodies. My opinion is clearly different than the majority, and I’m okay with that. My intention was to create a dialogue about something I find important. However, my choice of words turned it into something else. The power of words, it’s very real. So much of what we call bullying these days is all designed through words.

I intended to challenge an idea, by using Type C conflict, but with a choice of words it turned ugly and it became Type A conflict. It just goes to show how important it is to pay attention to what we do and say. While I certainly stand by my thoughts,  next time I want to voice my opinion, I’ll think a bit more before I open my mouth, or in this case, my status box.

The Difference Between 20 and 30.

Great post!

Suzie Speaks

GrowingOldIsToday I found a grey hair. Now, this sounds ridiculous, as I’ve had random grey eyebrows for years, but when I found it I genuinely felt quite sad. That single grey hair confirmed everything I’d been noticing recently… I’m getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m old in the slightest, but I’ve noticed that my opinions of life and how I live it has changed since I turned 30. For example:

1. Staying out until three in the morning is almost impossible, and if I do I’m guaranteed to not be able to move from the hangover the next day even if I’ve only had a small amount of alcohol. In my 20’s I could go out all night wearing six inch heels and an outfit the size of a tea-towel and feel reasonably fine the next day. I don’t want to go out to nightclubs anymore. Instead…

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Thinking – Do we even do this anymore?

This was the summary for my LinkedIn profile for quite some time, and it’s time to update. However, I don’t want to lose these thoughts forever to the delete button, so here it is:

Thinking sometimes seems to be a lost art. We live in a world in which the easiest, cheapest, fastest way is the consistent goal, and our ability to view other perspectives gets swallowed up into a frenzy of convenience and habit. How do we get people to stop and actually think on a deeper level about the choices they make, about the long-term ramifications of certain decisions?

My answer is one person at a time. I choose to start with myself. Now in my fifth semester teaching Principles of Management and Creative Leadership at the community college where I work, I find a necessity to challenge my students more, to get them to think “outside the box”, to give them opportunities to problem solve and develop their team skills. Many nights, I stare at the wall, thinking, researching what others do, and then something just hits me. Helping my students to become thinkers is reciprocal, as I continue to develop my own skills along the way.

I want to keep going with this idea. I seek the opportunity to be a part of a wide-reaching solution in stale thought processes. From my own experiences so far, I’ve realized that to think outside the box, we must first break out of it. How to do that on a societal level in a way that brings about positive change for all is the root of my cause.

 

I welcome your thoughts on this topic as well! How can we bring back the lost art of thinking?

Is it silly to plan for the ultimate failure of technology?

I was recently in a room of like-minded academic professionals at a conference. It was so great to have such equivalent enthusiasm for teaching and learning surrounding me! We were discussing the next edition of an accounting textbook that we commonly use, and after a great morning of getting to know one another, I asked a question that I think about often.

I teach an online accounting (bookkeeping) course. 95% of their assignments are all on the internet. As a Gen Xer, my view may be somewhat old-fashioned, but I can’t help but wonder if we are relying up on technology too much.

My question really was “Is there a technology out there to have my students submit manual work or can we think about developing something? I’m thinking of a worst-case scenario – what if a huge solar storm destroys all our satellites and power grids and we find ourselves without electricity for a while. What happens if all we know is computerized accounting? Does the world just shut down?”

Now, I was serious. My philosophy of learning here is similar to the task of learning how to do long division by hand before being able to use a calculator in math class. If we rely too much upon computerized accounting systems, will we become incapable of reproducing a manual system in the case of need?

The response I received:

“Yes, the world will shut down”, accompanied by a roomful of condescending laughter.

I was humiliated but held my head high. Simply, I was astonished that I was the only one who felt this to be important and my “what if” scenario was ridiculous.

By all means, I support, know, and teach computerized methods, but I feel that we need to understand what is really happening when you tell the system what to do.

Where do you stand on this idea? Do we need to still teach basic manual theories even though technology offers us amazing electronic solutions? Am I being silly by wanting to plan for a potential failure of technology?

I’d love to hear from everyone out there. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I look forward to hearing your opinion!

~ Laura Bantz