Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Question of the Day

What is important?

This has been on my mind for the last few months concerning education, my kids, and my little family. How important will their K-8 education be in the long run? Is high school more important? College? Life experience?

I need to know.

I went to a great school. Well, several really. In grades 4-8 I attended Rio Bravo-Greeley. Granted, it was a different era financially, but I wonder if that even matters? Before the standardized testing came out, before No Child Left Behind... we had fun. And we learned. We had band. There was wood shop, home ec, study hall, enrichment, Spanish, and lots of PE and a great sports program. (I love playing sports!) There was only one period of each, because we were a very small school. We took field trips. We had electives- some of them required (so not truly "elected courses") and not so fun, and others to give you something to look forward to because you weren't sitting in a chair yet again. 

It seemed that almost everyone succeeded, and had fun. We had things to look forward to.

But, is this important? Maybe it doesn't matter, and high school electives will suffice. Will it matter to my kids when they are almost 34 years old whether or not they had fun in school? That they liked school?

If you have any thoughts on this at all, please share. I am truly at a loss. What do you think is important in education? Reading? Math? Friends? Lunch and PE? (Two of my favorites for a long time.) What would you do if your kids were at or above grade level, but there is no GATE or enrichment, no dedicated arts or music program?  (The elementary teacher incorporate crafts, but none of them actually teach ART, as far as I'm aware. I may be wrong. And they sang for a Christmas/Holiday program, and it was fine, but that's not music.) Am I being too picky? And, say they leave the house at 6:45am and return at 4pm, with 30 minutes of homework to do. Which I know will go up to an hour very shortly. Does that seem like an extraordinary amount of time for reading and math? 

I might be crazy. A true possibility.

I could supplement at home, which has always been my attitude about education anyway. But I didn't anticipate my kids being dedicated to their public education for 10 hours a day. When do I supplement? Between dinner/chores/bath time? Will the kids get burnt out? When do they have time to be kids? Be with the family?

I might home school.

I just freaked myself out.

I might not.

I do have a teaching credential...

I need some more opinions.

Please help my brain settle down before it explodes!


  1. It makes me sad to think that my kids won't get the same schooling that I did. I had GATE, band, and fun in school. I'm not sure I can homeschool. I'm not so good at keeping up on paperwork. I'm not opposed to homeschooling or even partial homeschooling. But what about band? I only have two kids. I would have to start a private band. There are tons of sports immune community for kids to join. I've even considered private school. I went to one for a few years. I'm thinking I'll try kindergarten and see how I feel at the end of the year. There are a few charter schools around here that have school two days a week and then you do the rest of school at home.

  2. AHH- That was a fun post. You're Hillarious!
    1. I was smart didn't have gate and I turned out fine and enjoyed school.
    2. I was in orchestra ( I never really considered it an elective) but didn't have any elecives until Ag/orchestra in Highschool and that was just fine for me.
    3. I think if you're worried you should do at home summer school to teach them wood/baking/animal husbandry/musical instruments.
    4. with your new spot on the board I think you should get the district to get rid of homework. Oscar just went to this training that had the reserch to back it that homework doesn't help at all. They said it will take 10 years for the info to trickle down to the schools! I've known this for YEARS! HA :) Spencers teacher told me that she didn't care if he turned it in or not because she knew he "Gets" everything. I still make him do it but its like 5-15 minutes a day. Nathans teacher is lazy and doesn't assign much any more. Plus they are only gone from 8a-2p
    5. You know I'm not a huge homeschool fan. But I think if I had a child that wasn't getting the best of the public system....or in a situation where distance and time away from home was an issue....it would be an option. I think it would be hard for my kids because they dont ever believe me. I can help with their homework, but if the teacher does it a tad different they're like, "THATS NOT THE WAY WE DO IT" or something to that effect. It makes me mad and then I just walk away.
    6. I think it would be a tricky transition from homeschool to highschool...if that was in your plan. I think Highschool was more shaping to me than k-8.

    now that i wrote a book, id better stop :)

  3. Now that I have kids in high school, jr high, and elementary I should have a great answer for you! But I don't. I do think any child going though the education system of California right now is not going to get a great education. Unless they have parents who are willing to supplement in some way. Which could mean anything from full home schooling, to "filling in the spaces" at home. 10 hours is a long time to be away from home, the last thing anyone wants to do after bus rides and school is go home and learn some more. I agree, school seemed more fun when I was a kid than it is now. Actually I was sitting in Josh's classroom yesterday thinking exactly that. We definately got to do more fun stuff. I don't think GATE is a huge advantage, at least at the elementary. Ryan had an art class last semester that he loved. They did some really neat projects. It made me a little sad that he had no idea how fun art could be, because he hasn't ever had a class focused only on art before.
    I think if our children don't get at least some exposure to subjects other than the "core" ones before they get to high school they are missing out. I think what they do in high school has a greater impact on life than what came before. and just to confuse you more... I think I could be very wrong about that last statement.

  4. Wow, that's a super long day for your kids! We had the same issues with our oldest. We had him in the magnet program to give him some exposure to sports and arts. The day ended up being way too long and tough for him (and me). This year we took him out of the magnet program so he's in school from 8am-2pm and we supplement that with piano lessons and the opportunity for various sports. Between that and all of the church stuff (reading scriptures daily, fhe, Sunday activities, etc), he's pretty well rounded.

    We always request teachers that are willing to go the extra mile to challenge him and the ones that creatively deal with his constantly running mouth.

    I have considered homeschooling because he has pretty severe anxiety issues, but I couldn't do it... I'm not disciplined enough to do school each day and I'm definitely not patient enough. Plus, the homeschooled kids I actually know really are weird (but then again, so are their parents). I hate to say it, but it's true.

    You aren't weird though ;). I think your kids would do perfect with you as their teacher too. Plus then you could continue to instill morals in them WITHOUT as much influence from peers. Do you think you could handle it without going crazy?

    There are tons of upsides to regular school too though. No matter what route you choose, your kids will be just fine--they will turn out to be bright, healthy, and well adjusted.

  5. i think it's all about discipline. whether your doing math, band, or underwater basket weaving the part you get out of it is the focusing on a task learning how to complete it and finishing it.

    would you guys be able to use valley oaks? i know that the kids that do have band and p.e. and other stuff that requires the group while doing the homeschool thing too.

  6. @Jen and David- there is Valley Oaks charter school, and if I lived in town, I might consider it further. It has it's own pros and cons, pros namely being free enrichment and curriculum (I think), but cons being distance and time. I may look into it further, and actually make contact with someone to answer my questions.

    @Jocelyn- I supplement already (I think most parents do naturally), but I'm finding the lack of time to be the big issue. When to have piano lessons, even if I'm the teacher? When to practice? It sounds like your hours are ideal. Not too early, not too late.

    @Carla- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Pushy parents=pushy kids. Lazy parents=lazy kids. Reliable parents=reliable kids. Of course, for the most part- some kids are just the exception. However, I still struggle with the social stuff from what I've seen firsthand. My pool of subjects to observe is rather small-and it's split 60-30. 60/ugh and 30/she's homeschooled? But she seems so normal! :)

    @Cori- you know how it is up here- for both sides of the fence. Kacy in particular loves art, and my Ryan is fairly artistic, and I'd like to see that develop. You are fortunate to live in a great school district. Ours used to be better. I was happy with it until this year. (Because they've changed so much from when we first moved out here.)

  7. I think your best decision making tool at this point is prayer.

  8. I did K-8 at a school that had no music, beyond two stepping to an accordian every other friday for thirty minutes, and no art. We had two grade levels per teacher. I was in GATE. I do not recall ever feeling bored or understimulated. I think I turned out okay, but that is just my opinion. Maybe other people might think I am seriously jacked up. I was home every day by three until I started highschool then I had an hour and twenty min bus ride down and back. I tried home seminary and just from that experience alone I will tell you, I could not have done homeschool. I did do Independent Study my senior year (like Charter) and that was okay. As a parent now, NO WAY could I homeschool, but my kids also go to a great school with fabulous teachers and staff, if I was faced with a different situation, who knows, I might suck it up. All this rambling and I really have said nothing. I think you are fabulous and your kids are great. What ever your decision, it will all be just fine.