Category Archives: Education

Hard At Work on Labor Day

Hard At Work on Labor Day

Yes we did! E and I worked as a team to get our crew in bed and lights out at 6:30pm. That’s due to Lainey going to morning kindergarten starting tomorrow. We’re thrilled and so excited over the new schedule. Tonight was the first 6:30pm bedtime but we’ve been moving it up and practicing as best we could. All the kids happily complied and even though the girls didn’t pass out right away, they stayed in bed until I went to check on them.

This is going to be a healthy change for our family. I’m so happy!

Goodbye July

Goodbye July

Summer always seems to fly by once the 4th comes and goes.  Now that camp, which a friend of mine likened to “Manna from Heaven,” is over we’ll be embarking on August soon.  School lists are posted and supplies are on sale in every discount store around.  Seeing all the paper, crayons, glue and scissors makes me as excited as it did when I was a girl.  Now I can share it with my lovelies. They can’t wait to shop!  Ooo, I hope Eric doesn’t call from Target today asking me what stuff they need.  He was eying watercolors in the sale paper yesterday.  I could fake amnesia, since I only glanced at Lainey’s list, but he’d just wing it.  True shop-a-holics learn this skill in the intro class, I think.

Still, there is a little hesitation in my soul about everybody leaving the house this fall.  It’s faint, but there all the same.  I’m holding back due to trepidation for them.  Two of them don’t seem to have much fear.  But the baby, well you know.  He’s my baby.  Part of me wants to shelter all of them from the world, even though I know they were born to become a part of it. They’re supposed to help make it better. But wanting them to be different than most of what’s practiced in the world is enough to drive any parent crazy.  I am no exception.

Although school starts in September here, August will forever be the end of summer for me.  In NC we’d go back as early as the second week in August.   Of course the college semester always starts next month; after five years of that I’m pretty much programmed. I’ll just have to take it in stride now, and not lament any more.  An early ending to our typical mayhem will prepare us sooner.  It is surely going to take order and lots of prayer to see us through the great transition ahead.  It’s as serious to me, as if I were going back to work in an office away from home. 

I’m looking forward to a great start.

Area High School SAT Scores

Area High School SAT Scores

We were raised by our maternal grandmother. Our mother was young and spent most of her time working.  Of course, she loved us but she didn’t have to do the hard part of child-rearing.  Mama, did it all.  We never experienced daycare because our grandmother took care of us.  Although she worked parttime cleaning apartments for a group of mutal friends, much like my Aunt who has cleaned house for one family for years, we were always well cared for.  Now decades later, I am realizing that it is this love and presence that seems to play a bigger role in a child’s life than I first imagined.

Before I go any further let me say that I do not avocate for anyone to stay home nor go to work, when you have small children.  I have done both for a number of years and only an individual can decide what works best for their family.  And what works best may change as the children grow.  But I am at home now and so I have to speak to what I know.

My weekly paper didn’t come in the mail yesterday and I was disappointed since I couldn’t read the next installment in the series on education.  But that’s okay, I’ll pick a paper up from the grocery store today.  Besides, I’m still reeling from an article where I found out which high school in our county has the highest SAT scores.  It turned out to be a high school in the more rural part of our county which is also less diverse.

I’m totally familiar with how minority scores tend to “bring down the average” as they’ll politely put it when being trounced by the competition.   Didn’t make it any better to know that the high school with the lowest SAT scores was in fact in the most diverse and most economically disadvantated part of our county —if you can say there is such when salaries here are the highest anywhere.  But here was the shocker, in the part of the county where salaries are highest and resources seemed better, the kids still didn’t fair as well as those in the more rural area.  This perplexed me as I was taught that having more money pretty much guaranteed a better education.  After reading the article, I don’t think this is entirely true.

The SAT is culturally biased and I could easily state this as the sole reason that African-American students scored the lowest out of everyone who took the test, Hispanic and Native-Americans included—since most minorities except Asians typically score lower than whites. In this report, even Asians came in third. Harder to pinpoint is discovering what other issues can bring scores down.  In communties where it seems most of the cultural slant should be nearly level, it is not.  Or is it simply that the nature of working hard to make ends meet has overridden our time and attention for our children?

It seems to me that the children in the area with higher salaries do not have as much parent participation or accessibility.  So although they, like their career focused parents, are extremely intelligent, the scores aren’t as high as one would think. In contrast, the schools in the more rural area boasts a lower cost of living and more parents, ie. mothers that stay home.  These mothers tend to volunteer in their children’s classrooms and perhaps are more accessible to their child than  the parents who work themselves silly to afford to live in the more expensive areas.   I know about the mothers volunteering because a member of our mothers’ group is a teacher in the school district with the best scores.  As a whole our county’s schools are overcrowded and with budget cuts  coming, it just getting worse.  So when the calls go out for help from parents, those that can help actually do.   This frees up time for teachers to do more with all the kids in the classroom.  Couple that with parents who can actually help children with homework or just be there when they need or want attention and you could be staring at the reason for higher scores on the SAT.  And as our friend noted, this parental involvement begins early in the children’s education. 

I’m not 100% sure this is the reason for some children outperforming others, but it certainly makes me wonder.  There are all manner of other factors that could change things, for sure.  Still, I ponder how do you effectively, affect your children for good when you are at home and have the time to invest in them.  I mean, I don’t want to waste the opportunity while I have it.  And perhaps more important, what do you  do when it’s time to go back to work?  It’s simply mind-boggling! 

For now I resolve to do freelance writing, but if it doesn’t pay well enough I want to be an elementary school teacher.  Overall, I want a flexible schedule so I can be more involved in my children’s lives.  And that’s with or without higher SAT scores.  I’d love more family time and quality of life over earning a six figure engineer’s salary. Might sound crazy but raising children is a huge job.  I might as well give it a huge effort. What’s your take?

Education As A Principle —Where I’m coming from

Education As A Principle —Where I’m coming from

I’ve been following a series on Education in my local paper for the past three weeks.  It is  nearly fascinating to me so I arrived here to work out some of my feelings on the subject.  It’s not like this is all the research I’ve done, infact a friend and I have been discussing school options for quite some time now.  Lots of people think it’s crazy seeing how our children will be entering kindergarten this fall.  But it’s not crazy for me.  I am a great example of how much education does matter.  It can change a person’s life.  Don’t believe me, ask President Obama and first Lady Michelle — a perfect picture of what I mean. 

I’m not saying I want to push my children so hard that they crack from pressure.  No, nothing even close.  But I know that each one of my kids has something wonderful inside them that they want to do.  It is my job to give them an education that will allow that passion to thrive into the beauty that it is meant to be.  I intend to show them that they are smart within their own right and that learning is fun.  I will establish those two points by being available to teach them and to help them with whatever they need.  If they have a love of the arts, sports or another talent, we’ll nuture it together.  All I want is for them to feel validated inside themselves. First.  Then we can take it to the next level.  And that next level is competition.  Anyone who thought I was going to take the high road on this one is dead wrong.  All three of my little Brooks will be coming full force.  But now is not the time to worry.  I’m not pitting them against their friends or having them show off for anyone, persay.  They will function as normal children whose parents take no slack when it’s time for education.  It’s what I had and it works. 

That’s not to say, that I will be the sergeant in here and they will be afraid if they don’t perform to some standard.  I just refuse to accept laziness.  I want my children to think and do to the best of their ability. There is no room here for self pity and apathy.  If they have a learning disability, then I’ll work with them so they’re the brightest child they can be.  If there are behavioral issues, we’ll seek out the cause and manage it.  In other words, go forth and prosper — regardless.  But I want them to know they have my full commitment.  I know this means several hours of homework and other activities.  As well as, disappointment and unnecessary boasting. I’ll just program myself to know that right now.  It is what it is. 

So once I train them from birth to 18, I fully expect them to be able to handle most anything.  Years 19 to 25 will be spent refining skills and building on real life lessons.  I will never cut off my love and support to them.  But eventually I’ll have to let them go so they can be individuals that will contribute to our world.  That was our whole intention in having the three of them to begin with.

Next, I’ll discuss the hot mess on African-American students’ classroom performance.  Attention is needed.