Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wonder Why Wednesday: Chutes and Ladders

Ty, my three-year old, asked to play "Chutes and Ladders" with me today. We got the game, sat down to play, and reviewed the rules.

I find innumerable teaching moments when we play board games:

1.  We review rules, which works his memory.

2. We have to follow rules, a life skill.

3. We take turns and use niceties as we play.

4. It takes patience, because these preschool games take quite a bit of time.

5. We finish what we start.

So, number 5 did not really happen today, and as usual, I am wondering if I did the right thing.

Ty wanted to disregard the spinning-number part of the game. He wanted to climb ladders and go down chutes. I told him that was fine, but then we were not playing and he could just mess around with the board. This resulted in a screaming crying fit. I stood my ground, but should I have modified the rules, just once?

I wonder, because he is only three. He is small. He wanted to have fun. Is one game of Chutes and Ladders that impressionable for the rest of his life?

I wonder, because what I do matters. I want him to understand rules and know that consistently his father and I enforce them. I want him to know we don't cheat (even though that probably wasn't his intention).

I want him to be happy and know that I love him. I want him to be prepared for life, for me to give him as best a handbook as I can. I just always wonder if I do.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wonder Why Wednesday: High School to College

Time and time again as a high school teacher, I have students return to see me, often for lunch or a quick Facebook chat. After talking for a bit, many casually mention they have left college. I always wonder why.

I believe there are many paths to success. Sometimes I send off students to college shaking my head, because I know he or she does not have the drive, nor the academic skills to stay there. Other times, I do wonder if some of my college dropouts were really gems, just covered in soot, that nobody took the time to dust.

How do we Americans have this problem of college freshman performing so poorly that they leave? Does society expect too many people to attend college? Is college for everyone? Do parents send kids to college with little help?

I read "High School to College Transition, Part I: The Freshman Myth" yesterday. This article built off these questions I always wonder. In it, Brian Harke wrote for the Huffington Post: is one of the biggest transitions a person will make. Therefore, it only makes sense to focus more attention on high school to college transition.

I agree. Harke mentioned several other ways this should happen, such as counselors helping students (at the high school level) and colleges helping at (of course) the college level. Most importantly, he wrote about healthy dialogues that parents should have with their children. As a high school teacher, I see so many parents that think their influence with their teenagers is nil. It isn't, and discussing college in a realistic way will shape students' views and attitudes upon arrival on campus. After all, as Harke so truthfully stated about college:

The students have already arrived with ideas and perceptions about college that are often more romanticized notions than accurate reflections of college life - ideas created by admissions brochures, a campus visit, stereotypes in the media and stories from family or friends. This leaves many new students struggling to adjust to their new environment.

I "went away" to college my junior year. I remember sitting in my dorm room, wondering what to do. I had new towels, a clean room, and a loaded laundry card. I ate some Ramen noodles because I knew that people in college "survived on those" -- whatever that meant. I don't even think I was hungry. I simply did not know what to do. I wonder how many of my students feel that way. I was lucky, figured it out, and graduated. I took plenty of wrong turns and could have quit or "taken a semester off" as so many of my former students word it. When a student tells me of leaving college, I always return to that feeling of eating Ramen noodles, even though I wasn't hungry.

Harke promises to continue writing about the transition from high school to college, and we probably should too. So... what were your expectations when you went to college? How will you help your child make realistic goals and expectations for college? Do you already talk to your child about college? What is a good age to start? What do you talk about? Anything else I left out?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Almost Done Feeling Sorry For Myself

I really am. I can do this whole SAHM gig. I will find time to do writing and blogging, because I love it. I miss all my bloggy and twitter peeps. I am going to get going again, and this my pep talk.

I've wallowed enough. I will ignore the older person who told me over the weekend that I was "a lady of leisure" because I didn't work everyday. Completely dismiss her.

I will balance, I will: I teach two hours in the morning? I have grocery shopping to do? Carpet to vacuum? A husband to watch the telly with? Laundry? Dishwasher? Kitchen floor? Toilets? Kids to read to? posh, posh [insert hand wave above my head]

I will blog as well, because it is important to me.

I will also exercise more, because that is important to me as well.

Shucks, I might get this SAHM concept yet. I will and I will return. This is all just part of the journey.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting "It"

And, if you can tell by my lack of posts, I'm struggling again with this SAHM gig. I don't know how to balance the kids wanting food every two seconds, Ty mad because I'm holding Za, writing, blogging, doing laundry, doing dishes, scrubbing floors, showering, exercising, changing diapers, helping go potty, reading, kissing, shopping, and such.

I wonder if I'll ever get it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I wonder when I get to sleep.