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.

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?

Zucchini Heaven!

I’m quite the amateur home gardener with about four years of attempted organic summer foods. Each fruit and vegetable has its own care label, yet the vast majority of my experience forgets this concept after planting the seeds.  Each year, the general gardening concepts become more and more clear to me, such as not watering everyday once established to encourage root growth or ensuring to thin the plants once they sprout, especially the spreaders such as my lovely cucumber and zucchini plants. About them…they are doing just lovely, even in this horrible drought we are experiencing in the Chicagoland area. It was unclear to me prior to this season that they could thrive in such conditions. What a thrill when I found that first monster of a zucchini!  I had to google how to harvest it – I had no clue what to do! I feel that I have grown as a gardener and have a leadership lesson to share: Some things and people have wonderful hidden talents and abilities that seem to emerge when least expected or in the toughest times. Sometimes,  it may be simply a lack of knowledge by others or perhaps a misuse of talent. We are all a work in progress. I learned from my zucchini and it served its true purpose in my delicious loaf of zucchini bread. True learning at its best is reciprocal.

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