Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Taking on the world

Sometimes it feels like everything is a fight. Everything! It's exhuasting.

My mother emailed me an article from ABC news about viruses that are coming pre-installed on high-tech gadgets. Gadgets like iPods, digital photo frames, hard drives, and GPS units to name some. I am horrified. Now we can't trust things we buy in the store? I worry enough about viruses online and in spam, but how do we safeguard against stuff we're deliberately putting on our computers? It's just so frustrating.

So far the fault, according to the article, seems to lie with the items made in Chinese factories (big surprise) and seems accidental, like maybe an employee in the factory plugging in an infected music player to the company testing computer and not organized sabotage, but we don't really know, do we?

Another problem I'm facing involves my children's education. Our public elementary school in Austin was great. We loved that school and were sad to leave it when we moved from Austin. Now we live in north Texas, and the boys are in a good school, but it's lacking a few things we had counted on. The PTA at our old school completely funded a Spanish program and teacher for the entire school and a computer lab, program and teacher for the whole school. Our new school does not. Why don't we have foreign language in our elementary schools? According to most research I've ever seen, learning language is easiest and best as a child. Why aren't we taking advantage of this? I went to private schools most of my life and took foreign languages for granted. So, I've decided to take on teaching my children Spanish and/or Latin at home, after school. We'll see how that goes. I'm impressed with my new friend, Kat's, home schooling curriculum and she's inspired me (unknowingly) to contribute to my children's education in what way I can.

The other problem I have is with testing. Our elementary school here has way too much testing. It's out of control. My 5th grader comes home every day having taken many, many tests at school. He loved school in Austin, learning was fun most of the time. They took tests there, but not the huge amount like the new school. Is this school too focused on testing and scores? My 5th grader keeps in touch with his 5th grade friends at his old school and their teacher has a guitar and teaches them things to music. Makes learning fun. I know not all learning can be fun, but the amount of testing and score focus certainly leaches what fun there is. I'm not the only parent upset by this, I know.

On TAKS testing day, my son's class didn't get any outside time. Come on people!! A 20 minute break outside only helps, not hurts, kids. Exercise their brains and their bodies. Give them a little energy outlit, let them enjoy nature. I've never seen a school keep the kids inside so much. In Austin they had outside time twice a day, once in the morning to work out, run some laps, and again after lunch, for recess. I'm a huge believer in kids having outside time.

That's my rant for today, at least for now. The rain and thunderstorms are heavy here today, and I'm considered building an arc. My boys are quickly starting to grow restless and bring up the dreaded "B" word (bored!). We just discovered a new fun Japanese game show...the Unbeatable Banzuke. It's just as good as the Ninja Warrior that I blogged about Sunday. Good for a rainy day.

Stay warm and dry everyone!


tearese said...

I guess every school system has its high and low points. Its hard to get used to something new, when you loved what you had before! I heard from kids who moved to my home town from other states, saying our school was behind where they were before. Yet, by highschool, students in our state ranked as some of the highest in the country in national test scores and reading levels.
Maybe your new school district doesn't have as much money for things like that. I've never lived anywhere with Foreign language taught in public elementary schools.
I hated going outside as a kid, down with recess!(I think it was the interaction with the kids that I hated) But I agree as a parent...its probably better for the kids to go out.
And I'm a weirdo. I've always loved taking tests, so maybe some of the kids really like it. You think?

CrystalChick said...

I only had the choice of French or Spanish in high school and now my son atleast was offered Spanish, so he is taking a basic class. So many good programs are cut... art, music, etc. all very important for a child's total development.

Nothing seems to be made as it used to be and if you don't buy the extended warranty, which ups the price on some things considerably, you could be left with a high repair bill. Just had a stereo/iPod compatible head unit put in my car a year ago. Three weeks after the warranty ended, the jack broke. The store won't do the repair even tho it was a matter of 3 wks. past. Either I try to get Sony to fix it directly (and if they will I'll probably have to pay parts, labor, shipping) or just get a new stereo unit. Amazing, that after only 1 year this stuff happens. Conspiracies all around I think. LOL

Hope your son is feeling better! :)

Rhea said...

Hey, Tearese! I think normal testing is fine, it's the excessive standardized testing that's making me frustrated. That's so funny you liked taking tests.

I thought our school district had a lot of parent involvement and support, but apparently not enough to support a Spanish program. I didn't realize other public schools didn't have it.

Rhea said...

Crystalchick, that stinks about your stereo head unit that broke right after the warrantly expired. I smell a conspiracy!

Thanks for coming by!

Anonymous said...

That's too bad. Learning has to be fun or it just doesn't work!

Rhea said...

I agree, Kim, and thanks for coming by!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Don't get me started on a rant about No child left behind...which is where alot of the testing comes from...or that foreign languages, art, music, and gifted programs are cut to make room for more funding for basics (and testing). An elementary school in our district was labeled (can't think of what it's called - where their test scores don't improve for 2 years?) and the principal committed suicide - at school. The reason they were failing? Over 90% of the student population either doesn't speak English or it's a second language...how do they expect those kids to test well? And then...my dad used to be an elementary school librarian. They had a week where they admitted 300 Somalian refugees to the school - right before testing. You can imagine what that did to the school.

It all goes back to what it's like at home. If the parents don't value education - the child won't. You cannot force a child to learn.

Crud...it was a rant...sorry...I can just wax rasphodic about all sorts of things...and this is one that lights my fire!

OH...and I am honored to be inspiring to you!

Chatterness said...

ahhhhhhhhh.....don't get me started! I'm an elementary school principal. I could devote an entire blog to many topics, but I might lose my job if I were free to write what I needed to write!!


Rhea said...

Chatti Patti, oh, I wish you could feel free to write what you wanted! Glad to hear a principal feels the same way. :o)