Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer Bucket List

Today I started my summer vacation.  No more up at 6am, running to get some exercise in before the day starts.  Well, for the next few weeks anyway.  There is no better job for a mom than working in a school. 

Summer is my time to recharge.  To spend time with the kids and go on new adventures.  I've realized when you work full time, time at home becomes cherished.  Every minute counts. 

This summer, I am making my own bucket list.  I've decided I want to stop talking and start doing.  I want to experience new things and relive old favorites.  I want the kids to be together, and I want all of us to make the most of these days home.  Some of my bucket list items are small, some will take more planning.  Either way, they will keep me motivated to keep moving forward and make more memories with my kids.


This summer...

I want to take the kids kayaking
Go to an amusement park
Make smores
Eat dinner on the deck and linger over good conversation
Play a game of family baseball
Go on a hike
Hit the beach
Play a board game
Teach each of my kids a new life skill
Go to the park

Let's embrace these next few weeks and really enjoy our time with our kids.  Sit back, relax and make some memories.  The laundry will get done.  I promise.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Teacher Gifts!

If you teach my children stop reading.

I'm 99% certain that warning was not needed.

If anyone else in the United States is also STILL in school, this post might come in handy.  Most of you are already enjoying your summer vacation with your kids.  Or you are ready to pull your hair out because your kids are all home, ALL day, with YOU.

If that's the case save this post for next year.  Or use it for a camp counselor.  Or a birthday gift.  Or make it for yourself and eat the candy when your kids are driving you mad and you want to stick needles in your eyes.

These candy jars are very easy to make.  And they require little extra supplies if you have some basic craft items in your house.  A glue gun is worthwhile investment if you don't have one, as are jelly/jam jars.

Jars are very versatile, and glue guns are awesome.  

These jars are whimsical, fun, and they can save you money if you are in need of a few teacher gifts.  

Two important tips for these jars.  

#1:  You are going for color.  Bright colors work for ribbon and candies. 
#2:  Use what you have in your home.  Don't go crazy purchasing special ribbon or tissue paper.  Find something that will work in your basement or closet and USE it!

"Super Sweet Teacher" Candy Jars

Supplies:
Jars with lids (I recommend Pint Jars or larger)
Candies (Skittles, M&M's etc)
Colorful ribbon (curling and craft ribbon)
Colorful tissue paper, wrapping paper or regular paper
Printer
Scissors (craft and regular)
Glue Gun (or use Elmer's if you must)
Cellophane or plastic treat sacks if attaching gift card


Wash and dry jars and lids.

Full with assortment of colorful candies (I used Skittles and M&M's).

Cut tissue paper in squares to fit over jar lids, leaving about 2-3" around edges.  Screw lid on gently.

Measure craft ribbon alongside rim of jar, and cut.  Using glue gun, secure in place.

If attaching a gift card, wrap in cellophane.  Cutting down those plastic treat bags works well too.  Tie curly ribbon tightly around cello (or party bag).  Leave enough slack to tie this ribbon around jar (leave about 12" to be safe.  You can always trim it down).

On printer, print out "Sweets for a SUPER SWEET Teacher"  or "Thanks for being a SUPER SWEET Teacher" card.

Cut card into square with craft scissors (or regular if you don't have them).  To spruce up card glue it to a piece of colorful cardstock or construction paper.  Cut to size and punch hole in top left corner.

Tie card onto front of gift card using curly ribbon.  Loop the curly ribbon around the neck of the jar, cross in back and tie in front (in front of gift card).  Curl ribbon with scissors.

If desired, secure curly ribbon on back of lid with glue gun.

Voila, teacher gifts, in just a few minutes!
One major bonus to making these jars??

You can eat the candy as you make them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why I Hate Tests

It’s the end of the school year and I think we’re all feeling a bit of the burnout.  We’re done with homework, done with packing lunches, we’re pulling from the dirty laundry pile and fighting bedtime battles.

Who the heck wants to go to bed when the sun is still out beckoning us at 8pm to get outside and play?  I know my kids don’t.

Along with the exhaustion I’m feeling something else.  Frustration. I’m frustrated that with all the advances our society has made in so many other arenas we haven’t come up with a better way to assess our children’s intelligence and progress than standardized tests.

Yes, it’s testing season over here.

And it makes me cranky.  Or shall I say, in honor of testing, cantankerous.

I was a good student.  School was easy.  I didn’t fret about tests or studying.  If I didn’t study I could still pull my own weight.  I know for so many other kids this isn’t the case.  I have a child who is not a good tester.  This child studies.  This child knows the material.  All of this goes to crap when a piece of paper with numbered questions is placed in front of said child.

As a parent it is heartbreaking.  Projects, homework, behavior, participation…that is how my kid keeps the grades up.  We can be cruising through the month with an A average until test day.  Then we drop a quick ten points. 

It stinks.

There are classes that this isn’t the case.  Some material sinks in well, and the format of the quizzes seems to jive with the way my dear child’s brain works.

Other classes, not so much.

I just feel we should teach and test the way our kids learn.  Measuring their intelligence with paper, a pencil and questions about a bunch of material is not an accurate method.  I know this because I’ve seen it fail.  I’ve seen my child fail, and I know all of my children are brilliant.  They have different gifts, different ideas and opinions.  They have different mannerisms and preferences.

And this system is not serving all of my children.  This system is failing so many children who learn and perform better when a test is a discussion and not a quiet room.

Life, after all, is all about interactions.  How can tests that take hours measure anything other than a kid’s ability to sit still, pay attention and behave?  Maybe we can gauge how good their memory is and how well they recognize what they’ve learned.  But what about the kids that did learn it – and know it – but they don’t recognize it on that paper?

Epic fail. 

To all the non-testers out there:

No test can measure your intelligence.  Yes, there are fields of study that require them.  There are fields that you will not be able to venture into if you can’t sit and test and remember a bunch of material.  I was able to do that and it served me wonderfully.  This system is not serving you.  The good news is that here are also fields – tons of them – that welcome the creative, antsy, quirky, smart kids that don’t test well.

Find yourself, and find your niche.  No test can tell you anything other than how well you take a test.

That’s all for now folks.  Is it summer yet?