Monday, December 31, 2007

How About Logical Consequences?

I was reading the headline article from our Sunday's paper in the pullout section for our county when I decided it was time to dust off the ol' soapbox. The article addressed a new school program for a local middle school that aims to help struggling students.

They had my attention.

The program is called, CARE (Carver Activities Remediation & Enrichment Period). The school's principal, Don Ashburn admits that the school has fallen behind the standard for No Child Left Behind and previous attempts at improvement had yet to produce adequate results.

Enter....CARE which provides 125 minutes per week within the school day where students can make up work or get some extra help. If the students are caught up on work they can participate in "more than 60 different activities ranging from basketball to yoga to scrapbooking".

My issue?

My issue is with the school's "instructional strategy". (I prefer words like crutch, band-aid, or the easy-out)

The strategy is called the "Power of I". The I stands for incomplete, which means that instead of a student receiving failing grades for not doing their work OR turning in poor-quality work, they would receive an incomplete. The allotted "CARE" time will provide the opportunity for the student to redo their work.

So let me get this straight. The lesson is.....

Don't Do Your Work = More Chances To Do Your Work

Do Shabby Work = Opportunities To Do It Again

I'm not sure where this flies in the real world....the job force....or the natural order of cause and effect, but then again it's our public school. Their primary job is to churn out adequate test scores.

It doesn't end here. They are also using the CARE time for students who need to serve detention.

Call me old-school, but shouldn't detention involve some sort of detaining process? You know, all your friends are going home to eat pop-tarts and watch MTV and you are stuck here at school in "detention". I was even thinking that detention might serve as a deterrent of some sort?

Nope. It's more like:

**Hey! Let's provide laxity opportunities for students who need help and rather than apply actual consequences for their actions let us instead provide more *chances* for their success.**

Honestly, the only success this program is driven for is the success of the standardized test (No Child Left Behind) and an improvement in the grading curve.

If behavior (remember we are talking about children in need of a Savior who will most likely always choose the fleshly desire) is not addressed then actual change will NEVER take place. Things like respect for authority, responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment cannot be taught within the school day if they are not first taught at home. Hence the vicious circle of programs and gimmicks aimed to "solve" the problem.

Ashburn tries to clarify, when he says, "In a way, we have to be more like parents and say you have to do your work and you have no choice."

The problem is, they certainly do have a choice and a rather lucrative one at that. A second chance during the school day when the incentive for correct answers outweighs the benefit of a child learning the true consequences of reaping & sowing.

I understand that there are students within this system that are not being parented well or at all for that matter. So does it make sense to lower the standard to accommodate the lowest achiever?

This article serves as another blessed example as to why the state should not decide what consequences look like for my children or what the standard should be for them either.

Our standard for parenting and teaching our children is the Word of God and I am once again reminded how far removed that is from our public school system.

Oh, and by the way...

The middle school that is highlighted in this article is where my oldest attended 6th grade.

Stepping down now....

Friday, December 28, 2007

December Blessings....

I fell behind on blogging during our trip to Texas and I am still trying to catch up. I love having the blog as a place to visit our memories, as I have never done a great job at scrapbooking or journaling.

Truth-be-told, I seldom even get my pictures printed, much less into an album. I used to go to the Lurker's house and pull all-nighters trying to get my pictures organized and then adding some beautiful sentiment to my pages while using scissors and die-cuts with grace and ease.

The problem was, I usually went home in a pout because I had cut off one of my children's ear-lobes or my messy penmanship ruined the whole page.... all the while Lea Ann's albums looked like pieces of art. It was a real boost to the ol' self esteem.


Thank you for never making me use a glitter pen or a 3-dimensional pop-up.
I love you.

Now I will share pictures from the month of December that Gigi and the Lurker will surely appreciate :)

Emma competed in the Christmas meet at her gym that also served as the last Sectional Qualifier. She needed a 7.8 on the vault (last element) in order to qualify and scored ......a........


That's Emma on the left...

A couple of weeks ago, we spent the morning at our local mall and followed our tradition of:

*Train Ride
*Pretzel Bites
*Picture with Santa

During co-op we celebrated the birth of Jesus with a special cake and song and then the kids all decorated gingerbread graham cracker houses lumps.

Our church family went caroling and handed out one of John Piper's books, "Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ".

The winds were crazy that night, but we had so much fun in spite of it. Notice the small children at risk for frostbite. We include small children in everything...even frostbite.

Ya'll, there were people who opened the door for our children....took the book....saw us singin' our hearts out and then they.... SHUT....THE....DOOR.


We are singing "Oh, Holy Night" with our wigs about to blow off and there were people who actually shut the door in our face.

It tad bit humbling.

Merry Christmas ya'll.
I hope your front door falls off.

The girls and I made this fabulous gingerbread tree from scratch.

You fell for that? I already told you I can't even use a glitter pen.
This was from a kit and was really easy. I did have to make my own icing because the cement that it came with just didn't do the trick ;)

I love the Mistletoe Yankee Candle. It smells just like a Douglas Fir but without putting my sanity in jeopardy.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Summer Weather

Several weeks ago, we had a day that looked and felt like the middle of springtime with record setting 80-degree temperatures. We finished our school work early and headed to the park.

Little did I know that my little man was falling ill as the day progressed. We managed to persevere and had a sweet day together.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wii had a wonderful day...

On top of being blessed beyond measure with good food & my precious family we enjoyed a full day-O-fun, courtesy of the Wii.


First, you must know that I would not consider our family the "gaming" type. We do have a game systems upstairs in our bedroom where Samuel will occasionally play a race car game or Spiderman. The girls could really care less. They each have hand-held games that they play in the car and their current favorite is called, "Cooking Mama" so I don't have to worry about violence that could be associated with that....unless they cut themselves in the cyber-world while racing to finish a recipe. Samuel also has a handheld game that he plays in the car and he certainly shows some serious potential to become a full-fledged addict, but we don't foster the love while we are home....just yet. I don't really have a problem with video games as long as I am the moderator of both time and content.

My interest in the Wii was peaked when I heard about other families who seemed like-minded in this area who really loved it and spoke highly about how much action was packed into playing the game. I guess anytime you hear about someones grandma playing a video game, it kind of peaks your curiosity.

To quote the company direct,

"Wii sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone."

After a quick trip (hours waiting in the rain with other crazies) to Target, our very own superhero Daddy came home with one in hand a few weeks ago. He has been obsessed so excited to monopolize and dominate share it with our children ever since.

Here is a glimpse of how "Wii" spent our Christmas Day.


I love how Samuel uses the entire living room to bowl. I don't love that his skill level is already leaps and bounds beyond mine.

The girls love bowling and tennis so far...

Look. It's Dad again....except he's changed his shirt.....cause he broke out in a full sweat.

What a fun day! We stayed home the entire day and still managed to get in several rounds of bowling, golf, & tennis....and one round of boxing, but Emma knocked her Dad out cold and Chris ended up feeling like he might have actually pulled something out of whack. (ego maybe?)

So we wrapped things up and everyone settled down for bed in a happy state of exhaustion. I had looked forward to the evening for the entire day. Time for Chris and I to be together reflecting on the joy of Christmas and how blessed we had been.



Member me?

I guess I've gotta get better at tennis :)

A funny report from this morning:

Emma and Hannah came downstairs both moaning and groaning about their backs and arms aching and asking for Advil. I guess the whole claim that the game is "aerobic" is actually true!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I decided that I would make one last attempt at our *Annual Christmas Card*, even though it was late. Can you appreciate how vain this attempt was?

Note to self: Never try to take the *Annual Christmas Card Photo* on Christmas Eve when the energy level of your children could power a small city.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I think this whole "chilled-out" approach has worked splendidly for me and I have learned so very much from this holiday season that I hope to share later. I have sent out Christmas cards for an impressive 17 consecutive years so surely I can beg your pardon this once and hope that this sweet photo will soften the blow :)

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Friday, December 21, 2007

House Update...

When we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Texas, the roof was almost finished and my bay window was in!

Within another week, the siding had been completed and they have begun the sheet rocking process. It seems to be dragging on at this point because all of the exterior work went so quickly. The two upstairs windows are where the baby will be. Originally that space was going to be storage, but after seeing how much room there was we decided to go ahead and have it finished out.

So far, this whole process has not been terribly invasive.

So far.

But they cut the opening into the upstairs bedroom a few days ago and when they cut the opening for the downstairs, things are likely to get a little hairy (or dusty). It has been a challenge to hold everyone's attention for school when there is really loud construction taking place but on most days, it isn't too bad.

I would love for things to be completed sooner rather than later so that we could move into that space, but I am trying to prepare myself for the prospect of them finishing later than expected.

Because of all this hoop-la going on, we only decorated with a tree & outside bedroom kitchen decor. Truthfully, it hasn't really bothered me but I think the kids are a little caught off-guard because Christmas just sort of snuck up on us!

They are giving us a completion date of the second week in January. Stay tuned for more pics!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A glimpse....

This was supposed to be a glimpse of our week, but that would mean that I would have posted it several weeks ago.


Because I took two Sudafed and there isn't wallpaper to install or a 5,000 piece puzzle to put together I suppose I will take this drug-induced energy and put it to some sort of good use.

Well, and now I am supposed to somehow collect my thoughts and remember what in tarnation we've been doing for the last few weeks.

Let's start with a massive dumping of photographs.

Remember this little fella? He turned a whopping 5 years old and we celebrated at an indoor playground. The party/playdate was a smashing success and because we were scheduled in the afternoon when most reasonable mothers are putting their children down for naps, our homeschool herd nearly had the place to themselves!

These are Jenn's kids, Coleman and Emmie...

These are Sophia's kids: Briley, Seviann (with Emma), & Sabree...

Here are two of Dusty's kids, Hayden & Elliott...

Here is Kelly's little boy, Joshua....

In the time it took for me to post all these pictures, I have already used up every last bit of my stamina. Simply pathetic.

I would love to write long and thought-provoking posts about how much we love homeschool.

One sentence?

The most bless-ed and wonderful decision I have made this side of parenting.

Or maybe a long-winded essay about the joys of the 33rd week of pregnancy.

One sentence?

My ribs are on fire.

Of course I could easily write about the challenges of having an addition built onto your house while you are 33-weeks pregnant and homeschooling.

One sentence?

"Mr. Contractor.....when you heard me yellin' at the top of my lungs, "LAY DOWN... ON THE FLOOR.... RIGHT NOW OR SO HELP ME"....I was actually addressing the dog."

Seriously, our lives are very full and I love to record the important milestones, so I will return tomorrow with (hopefully) a recap of the past few weeks.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Worth your while...

Read this... because evangelism is not a program.

And this... because it will make you think about politics in light of the gospel.

Then this... because Amy says how I feel about our little church.

Don't forget this...because God's ways are perfect.

And please read this....because I love Kim's ideas for a Christ-centered Christmas.

Plus this...about Martin Luther and Away in the Manger (be informed....he did not write this precious carol...contrary to several well-meaning lies that I have been spreadin' around)

One more? How about this...because Leslie wrote a very well-informed review of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

There. That ought to keep you busy for a while :)

Clean...for a minute