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Saturday, February 17, 2018

When Did Schools Start Failing?

The more I know about the public school system, the less inclined I feel to have my children enrolled. My two boys are struggling and my kindergartner is going through the same torture that myself and others who were considered "gifted and talented" went through. Sad to say, but in the past 22 years, the school system still has not changed in that regard. 
My oldest son has a teacher who pretends she has it all together. Lady can't be on time to her class. But complains that my son isn't taking advantage of coming to class early when she is "always there at 7 to help with homework". She doesn't truly listen to the parents who are trying to get their kids the best education available to them. She doesn't know how to communicate effectively with parents on misconduct acts. Although lets face it, neither of my kids second grade teachers are able to use proper grammar or spelling in their emails to me. Even some of the homework sheets they send home are full of errors. Both in the English and in the math. She expects every child in her class to be honest when they are being bad. She doesn't show that she bothers checking homework assignments outside of simple reading projects. She gets an attitude when her assumptions of what should happen don't (i.e. - parent calls instead of arriving for a face-to-face meeting). And here is my favorite ill conceived idea of hers - kids have to earn the right to have their snack in class. These are second graders being forced to go from breakfast at 7 AM (or earlier if they are eating at home) to 12:19 without their snacks. And on some days, while having PE class in between. My kids have hyperactive digestion systems. They burn through what energy they get from eating pretty quick. And they get hungry. But in her class, you have to earn the right to eat. Otherwise, you can sit there and watch others eat. And if your snack doesn't meet her idea of "healthy", you also won't get to eat. Granted, when I was in their grade level over 20 years ago (yes, I'm dating myself now), we didn't have snack time. That is something newer in the schools. Then again, we didn't hear much about how many American kids are starving and only eat at school either. Another problem I am butting heads with this teacher on is how she thinks (or is the normal guidelines in schools now) that it is more important for a 9 year old to know how to get the answer rather than get the answer. What do I mean by this? My son can do the math in his head, but struggles when he has to show his work or label the strategy that is used. She makes the kids label each part of the problem and then solve it. He knows the answer, but that is not important to her. How is he getting the answer? My cousin was a math genius who couldn't show the work, but could solve any problem in his head. Got accused of cheating no matter how he proved that he wasn't. Remember, this was before cell phones and calculators were being carried by everyone. She says she is treating the kids as though they are in the third grade already. Lady, you are forcing them to grow up before they are there yet! Why?! She also had the balls to make the statement that I need to help my son be more independent because she knows that I have "other kids" and my "focus is divided". Followed by other statements leaning towards the idea that because I have 4 kids (which is a lot to a woman like her), I can't devote as much time to each one as is needed. Sweetheart... be glad we were talking on the phone or you might have needed to take a sick day. So help me... Who does she think she is? As another mother, who removed her child from this teachers class, pointed out - we Mothers have different levels of what we can handle. Some Moms can only have one. It is all they can take. Some Moms have 2, 3, or 4 kids and that is their limit. My Mother has 10. We all have different thresholds of where we can balance ourselves. I hold to the belief that God gives us what we can handle. 4 is my limit. But I'll be darned if I don't give them my all and give them the attention they need as they need it. I might be poor. I might not have a college degree. But I have a heart full of love. A love that overflows for my kids. So tread lightly when you make out that I'm not fully able to be there for any one of them. 
My other son excels at math, but he's not confident in reading because he isn't as good at it. I feel his pain. It is the same that I had when it came to math. I'm not sure I qualify for even average. But I excelled in reading to the point that I was "gifted" you might say. But because of this deficiency in one subject, she doesn't feel he is truly ready to pass and is, instead, "placing" him in third grade next year to be "watched and assessed". When did it stop being a pass or fail? When did they introduce the "placing" method for the grey liners? Not in the red (failing), but not in the black (passing). So we put in this middle category and hope you make it. GAH! 
Then we have my kindergartner. This girl is already reading nearly as well as her older brothers. She sounds out words that I wouldn't have seen her reading yet. She attempts math that is ahead of her. So her teacher, seeing her long strides, sends home an assessment to see where we think she stands and if we think she is worthy of being tested for the gifted program. I'm all for it. I think that just maybe the system has changed and maybe they will later advance her if they see her pulling far enough ahead of her own level. Challenge her and see where she lands! What do they do? Start sending home packets of worksheets. Enough that she has to do 5-7 pages a night, Monday to Thursday and hand them all in on Friday morning. Where have I seen this before... Ah, yes! My cousin. Same grade level work or slightly ahead, but not advancing him. It was just to keep him busy and to make him feel better about being smarter than everyone else. My daughter gets so fed up after the 3rd page that she just starts whining and begging to be let go. She can't play games with her brothers who have maybe half of the workload she does now. She can't have play time with neighborhood friends all the time during the week either. No time. Just enough to eat dinner, shower and get to bed. 

That's another thing. My kids have to sleep early. They wake up at 6 AM to eat, dress and be ready to walk to the bus stop every morning. They don't have much time between getting off the bus and bed time. Especially not when they keep getting new bus drivers who don't know where they are going. They dropped some kid off at the wrong stop recently. Poor kid had to walk home a ways. Bus driver didn't realize the mistake until the next stop, where that kid should have been let off, when no one came forward to get off the bus. They just call a name from the list and say, "Get off here". Some days, we stand at the bus stop worrying that something bad has happened. At which point, we are all dialing the school and get the phone picked up by stressed out admin staff that say the bus will arrive "soon". 
This system is too broken. You are facing kids so bogged down instead of promoted up that they want to quit school as soon as possible. I have said it before and I say it again - public schools are like prisons. You have teachers that are not getting proper support from the administrative roles above them. You have admin that are blaming teachers for student not passing, no matter what the teacher does. Every couple of weeks, it seems like I'm getting requests for money or supplies. Some fundraiser is happening or something else is missing in the classroom. They send home pictures of my kids that I did not authorize them taking and say I can buy them or send them back. Just don't send them at all! Then there are holidays every month. If not a national holiday, there are student holiday/staff training days. I don't remember having so much time out of school when I was incarcerated in the public system. How about the fact that they are not teaching real life lessons as much as teaching what will be on the next test? It is all about getting kids to pass a test and make the passing grades higher for the schools rating. My second graders still are not being taught cursive in school. They aren't retaining some of this other fluff stuff though either. They spent a single day practicing how to write a letter. Still don't do it right. I'm having to show them that art as well. But they have to learn about Kwanzaa and Ramadan at Christmas time. Because that will be helpful in their lives. 
My husband and I have agreed. Either next year or some time before they reach 5th grade, they will be home schooled. I'm done putting up with this crap. I want my kids to succeed at life. I want them to learn real skills. And I'm going to have to show them how. Because I just don't see it happening in the public school system anymore. And with the latest school shooting... I don't see them being safe anymore either.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

3M Post It Review

Shoplet has partnered with their reviewers once again. They want to showcase a great product that you can find on their website - Shoplet.com. Shoplet is the largest e-tailer for all your office needs and more.

*Disclaimer - I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid or otherwise endorsed. My opinions are my own.*

I'm a huge fan of the Post It brand. They are made by 3M, who has great products that I use on a regular basis. You will find a great many through Shoplet. This one would be no exception. The Post-It Dry Erase Board is easy to use. You can use it as it comes or cut it down to the sizes you need. Easy to peel and stick. I think it is great for multiple uses. My husband and I have been talking about home schooling again. This would be perfect for a white board at home.
No drilling holes in our rented walls. Another use, would be for teachers. A classroom is ever changing according to the teachers needs. Having a white board that you can peel up or just stick on whenever and wherever is a huge plus. I could also see a use for this in the office. An inexpensive white board option for those business meetings that involve throwing ideas around. 

What I love: 
  • It is very easy to use. In peel and stick form, they are ready to go as is.
  • You can cut them into the shapes and sizes you need or use it in the exact dimensions it comes in. 
  • It comes with a super soft wiping cloth to help you keep it in excellent condition. 
 I have so many ideas for this sort of thing. What about you? Can imagine a way you would use it? If you want to get some of your own, or even other office supplies, I highly recommend you take a look at Shoplet.com and see what they have to fit your needs. But they don't just offer those types of supplies. Shoplet has cleaning supplies, medical supplies and office furniture too.
What is missing:
  • Just the markers! 

Valentine's Day Followup

Ah that great holiday of love has passed. In its wake, we find clearance deals and lingering memories. My husband ordered a beautiful bouquet of roses. They were delivered while I was getting the baby down for a nap. So I came downstairs to a wonderful surprise. Absolutely gorgeous! And oh, they smell so sweet. My favorite flower has always been the long stemmed red rose. And he has not forgotten that love. In addition to these beauties, he had a card. As is becoming quite the habit, the card had a spelling error thanks to his phone thinking he didn't know what he was trying to say. I still have a picture of the last Valentine's bouquet. The card was more loved than the flowers. And this card will join it with my other treasured memories. 
We don't do anything else beyond spend time together. Valentine's day is just too commercialized. It doesn't hold the same appeal that it was meant to. Instead of spending money we don't have on things we don't need (chocolates and cards), we enjoyed going to our local Walmart to see what clearance deals we could find. I was quite surprised. Is it just me, or are stores finally getting less stock for holidays so that they don't have ridiculous amounts left over? Walmart by 10:30 AM had moved everything over to a small section and was prepping/stocking all the aisles for Easter. We wouldn't have known there was any clearance left had we not walked into the Easter aisles. The selection was even less when we realized that half the shelves had Chinese New Year products on them. So what you see here is all there was. 
We did pick up a few things. All the Valentine's items were half off their original prices.
There were shiny silver cups that will be cool for upcoming birthday parties. They were only .49. Then we got some crowns that were the same color for the same purpose. A pack of 6 for $1.22. Table cover rolls that were in metallic purple and pink for $1.22 each will be useful for either table cloths at a girls party or even for pretty wrapping paper. They had packs of glamorous glasses that will be put with the party stuff as well. These were .99 each. I picked up stickers for my little sister. She loves horses and unicorns. They are puffy and glittery. Perfect for the care package I plan to send. The last two things I got of the Valentine's stuff are my favorite finds. A metallic purple pom pom decoration that after using at a party, I can hang in my daughters room. And then the My Little Pony poster packs. These will be cute party favors for my oldest daughter to give to her guests. No need to pack little bags! They are all inclusive. The other things I got were a paper lantern from the Chinese New Year variety and some cute umbrella toothpicks that my husband and I both loved. I think I was more surprised that he said to grab them despite not having a clear idea on what for. Overall, I'm satisfied with my findings. I'll probably check HEB tomorrow, but even if I don't find anything... I'm good. These things will come in handy and I didn't have to spend an arm and a leg. What about you? Find any good deals?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Coupon for America's Incredible Pizza Company!

Review to follow, but I wanted to share this great discount coupon so that you can also join in the fun! 

Fun, Food and Family America's Incredible Pizza Company is the place to find it all! Incredible Pizza Company delivers high energy and a quality experience for the entire family. After enjoying our freshly homemade buffet; enter our world famous Fair Grounds and play over 100 arcade and carnival style games. Race to the finish line while driving our go karts, get lost in a friendly game of laser tag, get a hole-in-one while playing glow golf, and spin away on the bumper cars and more! So whether you're 6 or 60, enter our fairgrounds and have an incredible time while making memories that will last a lifetime!

Get a 99 cent All-You-Can-Eat Buffet with a $15 Game Card Purchase at America's Incredible Pizza Company. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Can not be used towards a private birthday party, fundraising event or private group event. Valid at our Oklahoma City, Memphis, Springfield, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Tulsa locations only.

Coupon Printable Here