Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hey Look I Have Kids!

I haven't done a pictures post in a while, so here is some of the stuff I have cluttering up the hard drive. 

"Hey, Mommy! Look, I'm in a pickle!" For reals that's what she said.

Sweet sleeping Henry

He loves his graham crackers

And he doesn't share.

I didn't intend for this to be a picnic, but that's what happened.

I tried to take a cool picture of myself and post it on Instagram because all my pictures are of my kids but I chickened out.

This is what happens when you leave yogurt out on the counter.

Is it just me or does this girl look sooooo old?!?

Oh my goodness I love her.

Playing with the baby goats at Grandma's house.

He was around 24 hours at this time.

 That's all for now!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Fears For My Daughter (and son too, come to think of it)

Today I had the opportunity to do a presentation for some eighth-grade history classes at a local junior high. I showed this video and led a discussion about voting rights. It was pretty fun. I mean, the students weren't the type to get elected "most likely to succeed" anytime soon, but I got most of them talking and interested enough to satisfy me.

But I can't shake this fear I have about my daughter entering school.

Right now, Summer goes to a Montessori preschool, which I love. I love that her teacher has faith in children's own learning instincts. Summer chooses what she wants to do, and she learns what she should learn because of it.

What I saw in that classroom looked to me like prison. Honestly, except for the whole getting to see my family and friends thing, I'd pick prison over that classroom.

As soon as the students walked into the classroom, they were threatened with a test on the material that was to be presented in the movie. The teacher seems to be under the impression that the most important skill she can impart is sitting down, shutting up, and taking notes about whatever some administrator has decided will be taught that day. Sure, that makes things easier for the teacher, but does it do any good at all for the students? So we watched the movie, I brought up some talking points, and surprise surprise, these eighth-graders are no more enthusiastic about voting rights than they were twenty-four hours ago.

Why on earth do we think this is education? Why, when there are a million better ways to educate children, do we try to shove it down their throats?

I know it's really easy for me to watch eighth-grade education in action and then point out all its flaws. I have no experience educating others, except for myself. And I feel mostly pity for the teacher, who has no autonomy in what she teaches and is considered my most to be not much more than a babysitter.

But education has got to change. Students have got to start figuring what they are interested in learning and creating their own educational experience, like real life demands. Educators have to realize that disinterest in the subject matter is not the same thing as a discipline problem. I firmly believe that every eighth-grader has something that he or she wants to learn more about, from every academic discipline. If we could allow them to create their own academic paths, we would solve so many problems, while still teaching students general academic knowledge and, more importantly, the vital skill of seeing something through.

I just couldn't imagine it if I came into a conference room with my boss looking sternly at everybody taking their seats, periodically barking "no talking!" and said, "today we're going to learn how to do something by watching a video. Pay attention and take notes on everything you might think is important because there's going to be a quiz, which you will probably fail because you never pay attention."

Anyway, I know my dream is idealistic and unlikely to happen any time soon. But I hope Summer never ever has to waste a minute of her life in a classroom like that. It's funny, because I used to fear teen sex and teen pregnancy and drugs and tank tops and coffee but now? I just fear public schools. And mean girls. But mostly just public schools.

And according to this guy my fear is well-founded. Seriously, watch this video. You'll love it.