Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

We've all heard that before, right? But it seems lately I've been hearing a lot of false rumors about the public school system. It makes me so sad that one thing someone else has said can turn others away from schools when the statement wasn't even true to begin with.

It is true that schools don't do everything exactly as we would do it, but isn't that true for every organization? Even church?

I was with a group of friends a few weeks ago. All of them have very young children who aren't even in school yet. One of the moms said, "Our schools teach to the test and I don't want that for my child."   What does, "Teach to the Test" even mean? It means that teachers make copies of all the released TAKS/STAAR tests and use those for their daily lessons so that their students will become pros at completing them. Here is the truth: Some schools do teach to the test, but most schools do not. I can guarantee you that CSISD does not. When I worked in very poor schools, they did. Those students came to us at least an entire grade level behind because they started school with NO foundation. They did not know their alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc... so instead of focusing on Kindergarten curriculum, the KG teachers had to go backwards and teach Pre-K skills. And when those kids get to 1st, the 1st grade teachers have to catch them up on KG lessons, and so on. I was there, I did that!

As a former teacher in CSISD, I have heard the superintendent say, time and time again, "We do not write our lesson plans to the test. Our goal is to teach our students what they need to know to be successful citizens when they graduate from 12th grade."

Another myth popped up when I posted on Facebook that my Kindergartener asked her teacher if she could bless her food at lunch. My friend asked if Abby got in trouble for that.That saddened me to think that parents believe our kids can't pray in school. On the contrary, they all have a moment of silence in which they can pray if they want to. And honestly, the vast majority of CSISD teachers are practicing Christians, very active in their churches, and you can tell from their posts on Facebook that their love for Christ is present in their classrooms!  My kids come home and tell me their teachers played a song from Peace 107 in their classroom or it was played for the whole school at morning assembly. Our music teacher left the country for a few years to go on a mission. And just to confirm what I already knew, I talked to several principals who were on my retreat team (it's so awesome that at least 4 of CSISD's 14 principals go to my church). All of them said the same thing, the kids are allowed to share their faith, the teachers are not allowed to lead such discussions. AMEN!

So please, don't believe everything you hear, go to the source and find out yourself!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How much is too much?

When I was a working mom, well, we are all working moms, but when I was a teacher, I dreamed of all that I would do if I could be a stay-at-home-mom. My dreams were of a well-managed home with clean sheets on all the beds, scrubbed bathrooms, an empty sink, and so on. A June Cleaver home! And I dreamed of spending time learning more about my faith with my friends, and being a volunteer at the kids' school.

This is my 3rd year to stay home and my life definitely does NOT look like that. Not even close! I have jumped at almost every opportunity to learn more about Catholicism by attending the mom's group, joining another mom's group for moms of school children, attending different studies on Pope John Paul II's letters, being a team member for a marriage enrichment group, attending an ACTS retreat in January and then being on the team for a retreat a few weeks ago, and more.

Stephen has gotten involved at church as well attending the Men's group Thursday mornings at 6, joining the Knights of Columbus, attending an ACTS retreat, and now being on the team for the upcoming retreat in January. He also just became Cub Master for Caleb's scouts pack and that is at church as well.

Doesn't that all sound perfect? It is. Then you throw in dance for the girls on Monday while Caleb is at Scouts, baseball on Tuesday and Thursday, and choir at church on Thursdays. Plus I like going to Mom's Night Out, Bunko and a book study, which each meet once a month. I really want to get to one of the new Children's Holy Hours on the first Friday at church. I really do.

But wait, there's more! I decided it is time to commit to helping at school and Caleb's teacher asked me to be her room mom. That doesn't sound like too much, I have done it once before, but at Greens Prairie, the room moms do more than anywhere else. So I have failed at that already!

In addition, Lauren wanted to join an after school group that promotes friendships (which she needs), and Caleb wants to join a running club afterschool and I have NO IDEA when those begin. That will mean I have to wake Spencer up from his nap to pick them up from school....since I have no idea when, I'll just wait til the day one of them doesn't come home on the bus, then I'll know I'd better go up to the school.

And......I made an agreement with myself to promote Sweet Station once I had 3 kids in school so I have been swamped with making cakes and about 15 dozen cookies in the last 3 weeks.

And just to make it more fun, my children, who NEVER get sick, got sick and Caleb was home for 4 days last week. Just when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, Spencer broke his foot and is now in a cast! Good times, my friends!

It's no wonder I dressed my kids for school pictures today, only to realize later that picture day is tomorrow! So if you see me in public in my jammies, or maybe even my underwear, you'll know why!

So the million-dollar question is, "How much is too much?"