Common Core Frustrations: I’ve Got Them

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The implementation of Common Core into our education system has been disruptive for many kids (and parents!) Parents are frustrated and sometimes confused by these standards and the new methods of teaching. If you feel this way, you are in the majority. Here are some of the frustrations that parents experience.

Math? Well, you would think Math would be pretty straightforward. Numbers just make sense, right? The curriculum coming out of the Common Core testing make doing math problems complicated. Teachers have to be an expert in these methods to give your child a good education. Doing Math homework takes twice as long for the kids, and most parents don’t understand enough to be able to offer guidance to their kids. Um, yeah…that would be me! And by the way, that upper image of homework is, indeed, my 9 year old’s math homework.

Keeping America Competitive
The biggest reason we hear about why Common Core testing is used is that America has fallen behind the rest of the world. That may be true in some instances, but we are being forced to use methods that are not necessarily proven to be effective. Jumping into these changes without more research and preparation has just mucked up the education system and our kids will be the ones suffering, not succeeding.

Teaching to Testing
Teachers are now put in the position to have to teach to the tests. Students have to pass these standardized tests and the curriculum caters only to this end. I am not sure our kids are learning, they are just being taught to pass a test.

Questionable Reading
The Common Core recommends many books that parents don’t agree with. Some of these books for older kids have many questionable themes and language. I understand that kids will expand their minds during their older school years, but why throw out classic literature that is in good taste?

Common Core standards are supposed to make our kids better and ready for college and employment. In reality, by teaching to the test, we are limiting our kids’ education and not really teaching them to think for themselves. As parents, we will do everything we can to make sure our kids are happy and successful, but Common Core does not seem to be the answer.

And, it really makes me feel like an idiot trying to help my kid with math. Just saying.

My Youngest Starts Kindergarten And I’m Freaking Out…

It is the day I have been looking forward to immensely and now that it is here, I am kind of freaking out. My youngest child starts school. Not kiddie campus. Not preschool. Like REAL school. No more diaper changing (which I am oddly missing) and no more spoon feeding. This kid has moved on to holding her own in more ways than one.

About five years I calculated this day out. My oldest would be in 8th grade, my 2nd would be in 3rd grade when my youngest started kindergarten. It seemed so way off. It seemed like the far off future. But now, that moment is here.

Her backpack is packed. Her outfit is clean and the camera is ready for the annual first day of school photo.

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I made stops at all four schools the first day to drop off each kid. After I made the last stop and was ready to head into work, a sudden wave of sadness hit me. THAT just happened. All my kids are in school. Not only do I feel old, but I also feel as if life is flashing before my very eyes.

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That’s why moments like this make me realize even more how much I need to NOT will my time away. I need to live in the moment and enjoy every smile, every fight, every hair pulling session these kids have. Time goes way too fast.

So why is it that that first day of school is so bittersweet?

This is the start of a chapter they are starting to write for themselves.  The handwriting may be a little messy  They need us, but not as much as they needed us before.  The fruits of my labor are being tested.  And while my work is not totally done, I can only hope that they don’t forget to soak in every moment and remember how much I love them!

Attention, Helicopter Parents!

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Settle the frick down!

We all want to be good parents and take care of our kids, however, there is too much of a good thing with being involved. There is a fine line between being a caring parent and hovering too much (known as being a Helicopter Parent.) And yes, I admit…I do hover. A lot. But, I’m working on…well…not hovering so much.

Here are some things you want to avoid doing:

Saying No
If you find yourself always saying “No” to your kids, you may want to think about why. Granted, the world seems like a scarier place today compared to when we grew up, but we have to allow our children the opportunities to become independent. It is natural to worry, but try to step back for a moment and say “Yes” sometimes when your kids ask you if they can do something they want to do.

Always Speaking Up
While this can be a hard one, you can’t always speak for your child. You don’t want to scare off your child’s teachers by being that parent who is always calling or asking for meetings. Our kids have to learn to speak up for themselves sometimes. Now if it is very important, then of course you may need to get involved. Just don’t get involved every time there is a minor problem.

Doing Homework
Yes, maybe you tell yourself you are just ‘helping’, but we have all been there with that last minute project or assignment. There is nothing wrong with helping your child, but don’t take over. Even if the project is not ‘perfect’, don’t worry so much. Let your son or daughter be themselves and work in their own way.

Too Clean
Some Helicopter Parents don’t let their kids do anything where they can get dirty. Getting dirty and scraped knees are part of growing up. You don’t want your child to be afraid of doing things. Dirt washes off, so don’t obsess too much.

Give your child the chance to make decisions and learn from mistakes. Of course, it health or safety is involved, then you may need to step in. Let your kids know you are there for them, but don’t hover or smother them!

Too much hovering will lead to an insecure child and will probably end up with your child living in the basement in your house at the age of 50.

My Son Has A Video Game Addiction

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Or at least I’m beginning to think so.

When I was a little girl, I remember the age old familiar question posed to me quite frequently. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My parents asked me. My grandmother asked me. My kindergarten teacher asked me. My first grade teacher asked me. My second grade teacher asked me. You get the picture.

It’s a big question! A big question with an answer that I know I filled in the blank with a different answer every time. And I remember pondering and then spouting the first thing that came to mind.

In kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher.

In first grade, I wanted to be a chocolate chip cookie maker.

In second grade, I wanted to be a track star.

In third grade, I wanted to design Trapper Keepers.

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And I think that is why we ask relentlessly young kids about their future occupations…because you just never know what will come out of the mouths of little ones.

While my answer seemed to be different every time I was asked, my son’s answer has not changed the past few times I have asked him.

So what does my dear little 8-year-old want to be when he grows up? Check out our actual conversation below:

Curious Me: “So Carter, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Carter: “I want to be a gamer.”

Confused Me: “A what?”

Carter: “I want to play video games”.

Not-sure-if-I-heard-that-right Me: “Like, play video games for a living? For your job? For the rest of your life?”

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Carter: “Yep.”

Me: “Well, I bet if you really wanted to, you could maybe be a graphic designer. Or learn coding that it takes to create the game. You think?”

Carter: “No, I want to play them.”

Me: “Well, you can play them after you design them. You know, like testing them out before people buy them to play. That would be kind of cool.”

Carter: “Yeah.”

Positive-Because-I’m-hoping-this-is-just-a-phase me: “Okay, buddy. Well you be the best darn video game player ever then!”

Carter: “Ok”.

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Well…what else am I supposed to say?! I’m not supposed to crush my kid’s dreams, right?

My mind is clouded with visions of a fifty year old Carter sitting in his underwear…playing Minecraft edition 545 while snacking on Doritos and counting down the days to the next national video game conference on his MarioKart calendar stuck to my living room basement wall with half-chewed Hubba Bubba.

I’ll let you know what he says when I ask him about his future endeavors when he turns 9. My fingers are crossed that he doesn’t say video game player.