Tag Archives: Education

Time Out for “Hurtness”


It’s amazing when kids invent their own words. Malachy’s latest new word… “hurtness.” He’ll say, “Mommy, please make the hurtness go away,” or “Daddy, how can we make the hurtness go away?” πŸ˜‰

Well, this Friday, we had to deal with some “hurtness.” It was a grueling and mentally exhausting week because we were waiting all week to see if Malachy made it into one of the city’s more “prestigious” elementary schools. It was crazy how many dreams I had about it. He had made it to the top 290 from around 1400 kids, but didn’t make it into their top 50. For me, the biggest “carrot” for this school, was that if you got in, you didn’t have to worry about having to make any decisions or worry about any city/state exams from elementary to high school! We wouldn’t have had to worry in that department until college! We wouldn’t have had to deal with any “hurtness” in terms of having to try to make it into a “good” middle school or “good” high school. That makes me cringe, because shouldn’t ALL schools be “GOOD?”

We are in a society where we can start “prepping” our kids in one way or another if we want to increase their chances of getting into a “good” school or a “gifted” class in the city. How is it that we have such a range in terms of public education (starting at age 4 or 5) in a democratic society? Everyone is entitled to a good education but not everyone gets one. We are already separating and dividing our students at age 4! Is there not enough good education to go around for every child in America? What is up with that?

The one thing I have to remember is that we as parents are our children’s first teachers, and we can continue to play a key role in their education. No matter where Malachy winds up, we have to remember to stay involved and know that there is a lot of learning and teaching that comes from us. πŸ™‚

So, it’s more wait and see for now…

Time Out from Killing the Spirit of Education!

This compelling video featuring Yong Zhao, a University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, really makes you think about what is going on with education in America. Is American Education really going backwards? Are we heading in the wrong direction when it comes to educating our students? Are we missing the target?
Why is so much money going into testing and nationalizing what is taught to our children? How does testing bring out our kids’ creativity? How does this motivate our students to learn?
Is our education system heading towards conformity and elitism, while other countries are moving towards innovation and celebrating individuality?

The good thing is that there appears to be a BUZZ around education and it’s getting louder.

School starts for Malachy tomorrow, and we’re trying to psych him up for a great year ahead for all of us. Let’s just hope we’re not psyching him out in terms of the future of his education. We want most for him to love learning. That’s what living is about. πŸ˜‰

Time Out for Race to Nowhere…

I’m really excited about this documentary movie coming out. The film, Race to Nowhere is directed by Vicki Abeles, a concerned mother turned filmmaker! Now, that’s cool! πŸ˜‰ What better way of addressing an issue than to bring it to the big screen? Hoping lots of people get to see this and seriously start talking and thinking about education. After all, our kids are the present and the future. We have to question what we’re teaching, how we’re teaching, and why we’re teaching. Our children deserve the best that we can give, both at home and at school.

Time Out for Education…

Show me the Berries!

I think many people equate education with school, and there is much to be learned in school. But, an education shouldn’t begin with school. Our children shouldn’t wait until age 4 or 5 or 6 to start learning. An interesting Washington Post article/blog post writes about how our public education system is out of whack beginning at age 5, and yet so many studies emphasize the importance of learning from birth to 8. It might not necessarily mean our kids should start school at 2 or 3. I think it means that we, as parents, have a big responsibility in being our kids’ first teachers. Summertime shouldn’t be a time out from learning. On the contrary!
We had such an incredible experience last weekend in the Poconos with Harriet. (Thanks so much, Harriet! πŸ˜‰ ) We spent about an hour walking in a trail in the woods, and it had a great impact on Malachy. I just finished reading Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Men (an excellent read!), which also stressed how boys (children) learn so much better when they are able to use their five senses.

Thousand Legged Worm... a Millipede! YUCK!
In the woods, Malachy was able to see, hear, touch, feel, and taste! Harriet introduced us to huckleberries, Indian Pipes, and minty wintergreen leaves! πŸ˜‰ Then Malachy found a thousand legged worm… a millipede… EWWWW! πŸ˜‰ He loved being outdoors with nature.

Time Out for School

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It’s hard to believe that Malachy is 3, and he’s in full-day PreKindergarten. I keep thinking how things have changed for kids today. Today’s 3 year old is like yesterday’s 5 year old. Grandma (Po Po) rightly questioned us about rushing him into “growing up” too quickly. We felt that if we didn’t put him into a quality school, then he’d fall behind. We felt he was ready and he has definitely shown us he could handle it… better than we could have ever imagined.

One thing that I kept in the back of my mind was Po Po pleading with us not to get caught into the mode of waking up and rushing him and hurrying him to get ready for school. So, I promised myself that we would try to give him some happy home time before beginning the day. Yes, in the beginning, there were some tears… him on the outside, me on the inside. But, after a week or so, he was okay… better than okay. He soon accepted that Daddy had to go to school for work, and he went to school, too, as did Mommy. Yes, there are days when we are tired, and it’s hard to wake up, but at the end of the day, we’d always meet again.

It melts my heart whenever I come home and he asks, “How was your day, Dad?” Good… very good.

Time Out for Reading

Reading to Malachy
I remember speaking with a colleague of mine one evening, when I was in the Aspiring Leadership Program. He had a daughter just a few weeks younger than Malachy. He told me about how he read to his daughter every night since she was a “baby.” Here, at 4 months, I was thinking I had missed so much time reading to Malachy! What was I thinking? I was a teacher, too, and I wasn’t reading to my child! So, from 4 months onward, we have missed only a handful of nights. (And the only excuse was that we had come home late from a gathering, and he had knocked out.) Before bed, and after brushing, we have read to him and with him EVERY night. The book of choice? The one we read the most? Goodnight Moon, almost every night, for over a year. We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar many many a time. He loved it, and we loved it. And, before age 3, he started to read! I never would have thought that was possible.

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