Monday, September 28, 2009

Debate: Obama's Plan for Longer School Days - Shorter Summers

Posted by Mandy at 8:50 AM 17 comments Links to this post
If you've not been informed of Obama's new plan for our public school systems, take a look here for a bit of information.

Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.

"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."

Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests — Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

I have to vote  big fat NO to this plan, Mr. President. My children are at school from 7:50am - 3:00pm. If they cannot learn what is necessary to succeed in life in these hours, then, pardon my saying so, but the curriculum, the staff, or the general make-up of schools needs to change. Not the time spent there.

I do understand one good point made: children in disadvantaged homes fall way behind during summer. I think having an OPTIONAL summer program for these kids is a WONDERFUL idea. However, my children do not need it. I can handle their schooling needs in the summer - I don't need Big Brother stepping in on this front.

America's family unit is falling apart as it is. Should we have children spend even more time away from home? What would this mean for after school activites? If my kids were at school for even ONE more hour a day (and this plan could mean up to 3 more hours of school each day) then there is no way I'd allow them to play sports or do other extra curricular activities. Cheer and football practice would simply not be allowed. The family meal trumps all to me. Is THIS good for kids? I say no.

My children love sports. Madison loves dance. I love the family time spent together at their events. I don't feel we should be put into the position of giving them up or spending even less time together. The only thing I really dislike about sending my kids to school is the huge amount of time I am NOT with them. Those are my kids.. I take great pride in raising them, and I grew them in my body. Parting with them Monday-Friday is not something I take lightly.

I will say that if this plan ever comes into action - and our schools become on the list of those to change - I will absolutely take my kids out of school. There is nothing more important than family time. It is proven that kids that spend more time with their family earn better grades, have higher self-esteem, and generally are more successful in life. Why should this time be stripped away further? I say NO! What say you?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Swine Flu Turns Woman into Psycho Mom

Posted by Mandy at 7:46 AM 4 comments Links to this post
This could definitely be a headline in a newspaper somewhere about me. This Swine Flu stuff is scary - and for the first time ever - I feel like "one of those" moms.

When I take the kids grocery shopping with me, everyone is required to not touch ANYTHING as I use those great sani-wipes to wipe down the ENTIRE cart. Yes... the handles, the sides, the back, the top, the bottom. Anywhere my kids could potentially touch that someone else has potentially touched. After shopping I grab the same wipes to wipe myself and my children down and after loading groceries into the van, everyone gets hand sanitizer.

I steer clear of everyone... and judge their health mercilessly.

"His eyes look red and watery.."
"Her nose is runny...."
"That kid is awfully pale. Could be genetics, but we'll go the other way just in case..."

I've always been the kind of mom that does my best to keep my kids healthy with good foods, good hygiene, and common sense. But, I've also been the type that firmly believes that killing ALL germs creates sicker people and I've accepted the fact that sometimes kids will just get sick. Dealing with the common cold a couple of times a year is one thing... but now we're talking H1N1.

I just heard on the radio this morning about someone's 5yr old dying from this virus. I keep telling myself two things:

1. People die from the "regular" flu every year, too!
2. God has us...

This is where my faith takes a beating. I really just freak out when thinking of anything happening to my children. I suppose that's normal. It's very hard to remind myself that God also loves my children and that they are HIS. When I see other people's children getting seriously ill or dying, it makes it tough!

So, I will likely remain Psycho Mom for a while. The only way I know to prevent it is simply killing as many germs as I can, even though I know that won't stop my kids from being sneezed on. The new vaccination is NOT entering my kids blood stream. The disease is scary, but this brand new, fast-tracked vaccine is more scary to me. Anyone know the long-term side effects? Oh wait, NO, YOU CAN'T! It hasn't been used long-term, yet!

So, before visiting you will possibly have to fill out some kind of contract stating that you nor anyone in your home has had fever, vomiting, nasal discharge, coughing, or sneezing in the past 4 days. (or should I make that 7 days...)

My house will likely smell similar to a hospital, and I might demand you wash your hands upon entering the door... but, you're still welcome. Well, you know, depending upon the contract as listed above.

Has anyone else surprised themselves and turned into a lunatic over this Swine Flu?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Choosing Joy

Posted by Mandy at 1:14 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Sunday afternoons are one of the biggest joys to me. We go to church and become renewed and re energized, and get to spend time with our most loved friends. Afterwards we have lunch, either out with those folks that we can't seem to get enough of, or here at home. After that, the world stops for snuggling with Samuel to ease him into naptime. He drifts off to dreamland in my arms, I lay him on those wonderfully cool sheets, and I slip out, off to do house work in amazing peace.

One of my favorite things about Sunday is cleaning. For some reason, it is just so relaxing to clean when Sam is asleep and the big kids are quietly playing together. Today, mid-way through cleaning out Madison's closet, I hear a loud commotion in the hallway, right outside of Samuel's door. The big kids are in a tiff... and they wake up the 2 year old. The two year old that requires no less than 2 hours of sleep to not morph into a version of Satan when his eyes pop open. This tiff occurred approximately 45 minutes into the nap. Needless to say, Samuel was seriously unhappy - therefore so was Mommy. Many minutes of toddler screaming later, I finally got over being peeved with the big kids and made everyone put on shoes to head outside.

It's amazing how the fresh air and sunshine can melt away negativity! In no time we were running and playing, giggling and adventuring. It's times like those that I realize how simple it really is to just choose joy.

When things don't go my way, I can revert right back to toddlerhood myself. I can pout, kick my feet, and become incredibly stubborn. It seems to just be my nature - and possibly just human nature! What's amazing is how easy it really can be to just pick myself up and get happy again, if I'll just take that first step forward. It's that first step - the digging out of the grumpy moods and negative attitudes to TRY to get over it. Even something as simple as a ruined naptime has the potential to really agitate me for a portion of the day. How silly! It is so much more fun to just go out and find joy than sit and be miserable!

So, today I found joy. I am so blessed to have it so readily accessible. I look at these three great kids and just fill up! The sun is shining, the dogs are leaping and bounding outside, and my kids are loving playtime with their mom. Not a bad outcome to a sabotaged naptime...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kindergarten Update

Posted by Mandy at 10:48 AM 2 comments Links to this post

Nothing has stressed me more since having my first son than the thought of him entering Kindergarten. I have heard countless horror stories about boys and school. I have heard over and over again that boys are just destined to hate school now-a-days, that they will be in trouble constantly because school is too rigid for them, and that they begin falling behind as soon as they enter the gates of hell that apparently are the K hallway. I have held my breath each day as I pick Carter up from school, waiting to hear how the day went.

Amazingly, 3 weeks in, and he loves it! He isn't tolerating it, he LOVES it. As in Saturday morning came and he was upset that he couldn't go see Mrs. Linda and his new buddy John Michael. Seriously? Praise God!

When I ask who his friends are, his first response is typically, "everyone is my friend!" This is just so Carter. A good friend to all! He finally will give me specific names with some digging, and I love all of the kids (and their parents!) that he's palling around with.

The best part, to me, besides that he's having a ton of fun and learning a lot, is that his behavior has been awesome. Carter is my "wild child" for lack of a better term. He's a good boy, but he's a boy. A boy as in loud, fast, rough and tumble... get into trouble for these things at home fairly regularly - boy. I have been so afraid that his lively spirit would land him in time-out constantly, but no! He's not been in trouble yet - whew! I think he's just staying so busy and focused that he can't help but be good. Perfect for him! He acts as though he's been in K his whole life.. I suppose his go with the flow personality helps him in this area.

So, for all of the family and friends that have been waiting for an update on Mr. Carter and his first experience with "real" school - he's really just doing fantastic! He loves it! I couldn't be more proud :) His handwriting is amazing, he's learning to read, he's doing math, and he's still the same ball of fun when he gets home. I couldn't have asked for anything more!


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