Posts Tagged ‘Education’


My 5th Grade Reflections by Thing 2

June 6, 2013

I have been at [this school] since Kindergarten and it was awesome. Now I’m going off to middle school without any of the greatest teachers ever. Here are some good memories, life lessons and some wise advise for our rising 4th graders.

Ah, memories … so many good times. Here is one of mine. In 5th grade you can go to all district chorus if you are in chorus. Well, I was and I did. We had to sing our hearts out. The reason that is my favorite memory is I learned a lesson. The lesson was that no matter how much you practice alone you still have to practice as a small group and even more as the large group. Even memories have lessons in them.

Sometimes you have a life lesson and don’t even know it. For example, when I was going fast on my SOLs in 4th grade, I didn’t get the best score I could get. The lesson is when there is: a test or SOLs equals slowing down. Another life lesson is don’t let what older brother(s) and/or sister(s) do at home be what you do at school. My next one goes with bullying. Don’t let what other say and/or do put your flame out. In other words don’t let them put you down and/or bully you or any of your other friends.

Here is some of what I think is wise advice. Be you. Your self-spirit is what can get you friends. If they want you to change you probably shouldn’t be friends with them. Another piece of advice is have awesomely nice friends. I know when I was picked on this year I was really glad I had really nice friends. Last but not least don’t rush. Rushing cost me straight A’s and lowered my SOL scores. On all your school work take your time; on home work , too, but don’t take too much time.

Now I hope you know how to be a successful 5th grader. Some advice and some fun things you can do in 5th grade. I would like to thank my family and all of my wonderful teachers Ms. P and Mrs. R for preparing me for 6th grade.

In her words with minimal editing from me. 🙂 Seriously.


Personal: What Example Do We Set?

April 22, 2013

My thoughts here are for my edification. I have definite opinions that are, for lack of better terms, of a conservative bent and will most likely offend on some level readers of this blog. My intent is not to offend. Nor is it to open up to debate my personal beliefs. If my beliefs cannot be respected, please do not continue reading this post and come back on another day.

I just spent a weekend with my mother visiting my alma mater. It had been 17 years since she had been back; 21 years since our first spring trip to the campus to interview for scholarships. The reunion itself is for another post and might be an interesting follow-up to one of my most shared posts and Pinterest repins (My 20 Year High School Reunion).

We were able to visit with the congregation that took me in while I was a student. For the most part, everyone is still there. One of the founding families moved for job opportunities. Most of the children I was a babysitter and nanny for are finished with college and some are married with children themselves. But the men and women who opened their homes and welcomed me as an adult remembered me and welcomed me “home.” I have visited over the years and had brought T1 &T2 with me but I admit it has been a few years.

One phrase that got me thinking about this post was “We just haven’t had another college student like you.”

I have been thinking about T1 & T2 and their college futures. I’ve been reading several articles pinned on Pinterest by JenontheEdge. T1 only recently had an epiphany about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and T2 has known for years (yes, years) what she wants to be. For T1 now comes finding out where she wants to go. She’s been to teen events that have recruiters from the Christian colleges and the allure is there. I have opinions about a Christian college education and I share them with her. They are not my mother’s.

My mother had a missionary uncle who went to a Christian college. He wrote a thesis as to why we shouldn’t send our children to such institutions of higher learning. My mother subscribed to this and held fast to it as she (and I) got a lot of pressure from the other parents about sending me to a Christian college. This weekend she asked why I never asked to go to one of the Christian colleges. While I was aware of the huge price tag and knew it was out of our means, I was at a crossroads in my faith and I knew myself well enough that if my participation in religious activities was mandated, I would have rebelled. At that time I was the only family member attending services with my mother. I wanted to know why I believed, what I believed–was I only going for her or did I believe it truly myself? Mandatory chapel every morning was going to do nothing to help me find those answers.

But that was me. And I knew myself. I also know others where Christian colleges solidified their faiths and they had faith-affirming experiences and I would say they probably have stronger faith than I do today. But I know others who were going to a Christian college to get an “MRS.” and they are divorced and rarely darken the doorstep of a church today.

So what would I tell T1 & T2 if they asked to go to a Christian college? The first question I would ask is, “Why do you want to go?” Certainly if my children mentioned anything about being sheltered or protected from the world I’d have to say “Then you will never be salt to the world.” If they say they want to look deeper into their faith out of a questioning, I would say a good local congregation could help you find that and might provide a more balanced view. If they were to say to help find a Godly mate, I’d have to point out that I found their father at church, not school. I have talked to T1 that now that she knows what she wants to study she now needs to find the schools that offer the best program. I’m not an expert but I don’t know of a Christian college that has a particularly strong engineering school (I am only thinking of the ones that still use “Christian” in their description–I haven’t looked at Perdue or Pepperdine, both of which started as Christian schools but have distanced themselves from their roots). We have a young friend who is thriving at a Christian school and started in their nursing program–I’d have to ask T1 if there aren’t just as good or better nursing programs right here in our state.

Bottom line is I’m not opposed to it if both the reasons and my daughter’s faith were sound. Now is the time for research and looking at the different disciplines of engineering to help her make her choice.

T2 is a little different. Our big thing is helping her decide whether an associate degree or a more marketable 4-year degree is in her best interest. Her interests could send her to my alma mater. And I know her spiritual growth will be well looked after.

But do I? I was not the only member of my congregation to attend my alma mater at the time nor since. But I was the only one who went faithfully. Why? What was the difference?

One of the members said to me that the first time they saw the family of a college student was the weekend he graduated–he had been there four years and they had never come to church. Surely his parents had visited him Parents’ Weekend or Oktoberfest. Graduation weekend is the first time they show up at church?

The church is in a quandary about why our young people are leaving, why we’re not meeting their needs and they’re seeking elsewhere. I would pose this theory: perhaps when we drop our 18 year-olds off at school without making the effort of finding a congregation for them to worship at we send this message: church is not important, especially not while you’re sowing your wild oats and “finding yourself.”

My mother and I attended evening services in a little VFW hall during freshman orientation weekend. Information was exchanged–like where my dorm was, when freshmen reported back, etc., and they gave me phone numbers and times for services. I was greeted as an adult–something I didn’t get in my home congregation. But I guess subconsciously even though the choice was mine, even though I wanted to know if I was merely just believing for my mother’s sake, the impression was going to church is important.

Maybe that’s the difference. Maybe that is the example. Even though we push them out of the nest we can’t just assume they will make good decisions right of the bat. I live in a college town now and I have to say, not a single out-of-town college student has sought us out, nor have their families (and the college will not allow us to establish a club without it being student driven). But maybe it is simpler. The difference could also be that I myself was searching and I wanted answers.

Sometimes they won’t have the opportunity to attend a congregation of the same faith (the Chief did not have a congregation meeting anywhere near the academy, and he too went through a little rebellion of sorts) but that might make them appreciate finding a congregation after schooling. I think that was the case for the Chief (and I was there *bonus*).

No matter where T1 & T2 go to school I will make the effort to show going to church matters. I won’t make it an ultimatum–it is their choice–but I will help to make the connections that may turn into lifelong relationships and a “home away from home.” When I think of reunions at my alma mater it is always more about seeing my “family.”


Personal: Are we so sensitive?

June 11, 2011

I think my children are amazing. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. I will be totally honest, I have purchased the trophy even though the team was in last place and I have gotten the ballerina statue just for being in the program. I don’t necessarily believe this is a good thing–not everyone can be winners or deserves an award. I believe this only produces mediocre members of society and we are beginning to see the long-term effects of that belief.

My children, though they have gotten “applauded just for sneezing,” do know what it is to work hard and to fail. Both have stuck with losing teams and they have learned from the experience. Both know poor performance at school work will cause them to miss the chance at the awards they want.

They are still spoiled. I admit that.

T1 just finished elementary school. She did amazing–honor roll for the year; earned the Gold President’s Educational Excellence Award (for those of my age, this is the successor of the Presidential Academic Fitness Award); she achieved two perfects, two passing advanced, and 1 pass on her standardized tests; and she won 1st place in the science fair. She is consistent–having performed this way since 3rd grade when letter grades and standardized tests are first given. I very rarely have to prod her; we are aware of her weaknesses (spelling and writing) and we always ask her “Did you do you best? If so, always be proud of that.”

T2 is a nut. This child tests off the charts. Boredom is and will continue to be her enemy. If I had to go by her daily work, I’d swear it was another child’s report card and test results. She did not even place at the science fair. While part of me truly disagreed with this decision, I did not advocate and demand an explanation–this was a good lesson for her to learn and I pointed out that in 3rd grade T1 did not place either. “Not everyone can be winners all the time. Did you learn something? Did you have fun? Then that is what is important right now. Next year, you will try again.”

T2 almost had straight As for the entire year–somehow spelling the last quarter snuck up on her and she got a B. She earned FOUR perfects on her four standardized tests. I’m not stunned she got perfects–I knew she could, all four–I’m stunned she actually GOT four perfects, that she lived up to her potential. And made me eat my words. Again, if I had to go by her review work and pretests… well, it could have been anyone’s call.

I knew T1 was going to be mad at the news of her sister’s scores. Competitive much? I waited until the last day of school to let them know because I did not want T1’s “graduation” overshadowed. I really did not know how to handle this. T2 deserves praise for the hard work I’m sure it took her to slow down and double-check all of her answers, to take the test seriously, just as T1 deserves praise for the hard work she has to put in to preparing for these tests. I certainly don’t want to tell either girl “5th grade tests are harder” because what will I do if T2 continues to perform at this level? I was actually told things would always be harder for my older sibling just because she went through it first (and these weren’t academic issues–I was told this about my first break-up even).

Instead I have calmly told both children that “it would be like comparing apples to oranges. There is no comparison, only with yourself. Dad and I do not compare you or expect you to do the same things–you are your own persons. Yes, we say you are more like Dad (both excel in math like him) but ultimately you are such a blend of things that you are your own persons with your own strengths and skills.” And even though they have with one exception had the same teachers, none have treated them the same. We have been so blessed by these teachers.

So I posted on FB. Other friends would post “great report cards, great tests, yeah school is over.” None were as specific as me. Should I have not been specific? T2’s achievement, while not unheard of, is rare. It is stunning. I did not downplay it to spare her sister, but should I have downplayed it to the general public? Will my friends have a hard time with it? We all want out children to be geniuses and successful and when our child does not achieve what another has, we do take it personally. I may not have come out of a time when everyone on the losing team got a trophy but I am raising my children in this time and it is so hard to resist–I cannot imagine taking my child to the team party and her be the only one not getting a trophy (I have subtly gotten teams to switch to participation medals, with the promise that if we win we’d order trophies later … and many parents have thanked me!).

I’m not comparing my child to anyone else’s. But I do remember when T1 was in 3rd, another parent was as invested in those perfect scores as her child. T1 hadn’t gotten any word except that she had passed. I was worried. And I am forever grateful to that teacher for waiting until the last day to hand out results. It taught me a lesson.

But it is so confusing. I showed T1 her results this year. She missed a perfect on one test by just ONE question. Again, I don’t want to downplay T2’s achievement, I just want T1 to understand how arbitrary these tests are.

I don’t know if this is how my friends feel. Do they feel I was bragging, pointing out the less then perfect performance of their children? Do they know I do not compare mine to anyone but themselves? Many “liked” my status, got a few “Congrats! What smart girls!”

I was worried about having to referee my own children but I don’t want to suddenly have friends irked at me for being proud of what the girls accomplished. I always “like” when others post about their children. I hope we can all be happy for each other, not comparing and being joyful for the blessings we do have.

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