Sunday, March 28, 2010

Finding the Beauty - Day 8

Ahh, Garfield.

I'm reposting an oldie-but-goodie about Garfield and the comics in general over at The Relaxed Learning Cafe. If you want to read about how comics help us learn about life, go check it out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Unspoken Issue

Hello friends! I am still finding the beauty but, as my hands are a bit better, I thought I would blog about an issue close to my heart, instead of ranting at my hubby about it for like the fifteenthth time. More pics to come, and also a post about the zen of knitting, but in the meantime:

Our education system is broken. Newsweek's recent article, Why We Can't Get Rid of Failing Teachers, is the latest indication of just how bad it's gotten.

The article makes a persuasive argument in favor of wresting power from unions and giving it to administrators to fire teachers when the need arises. As a teacher, I feel conflicted about this; teachers get such a bad rap that the idea of firing them at will just appears to load on the disrespect. Need somebody to blame? Here, have a bad teacher!

But what really concerns me about the article are the assumptions that underlie it.

It's a foregone conclusion, for example, that current teaching methods and curriculum are fine. The emphasis on standardized tests as a reliable measure of children's learning, as well as the idea that all kids should learn the same things, at about the same age, are assumed to be okay too. A student's imagination and interest - the theory that a child should have a say in what he or she learns - has been totally sidelined. Are these ideas really so embedded in the national consciousness that they can be dismissed without mention, in an article about how to fix education?

Also, if teachers are failing, how is that measured? There is not a word about how to determine this in the whole article. Who decides that a teacher is failing? Aside from the obvious, like those who sexually assault students, or overtly abuse them, the criterion I've read most about is... the height of students' test scores.

As this system slides down the rabbit-hole, it's taking kids and adults with it. The system nearly took my oldest son, and we only realized how broken public education is after we started homeschooling.

So, bully for us, right? What about the kids who can't homeschool, or can't afford private school? How do we make it right for them?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding the Beauty - Day 7

We're deep into March now, usually the month I have the most trouble with, and I have to say that so far... knock on wood... there has been lots of beauty to find.

Recently, we went on a hike with some friends - that's where today's pics come from:

Thanks, Angela, for that first one!

Why do I love bleak, dry pictures like this? I don't know, I just do.

Here is the view, seen from between two rocks up at the summit. It is an amazing place, and takes my breath away every time I get the chance to climb to it.

I hope you are finding the beauty in March too! If you want to read a bit more about hiking, go to Shannon's post at our new community blog, The Relaxed Cafe.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Finding the Beauty - Day 5

Today, a field trip in pictures. First, we have The Book Barn. My gosh! What a place:

Next, it was off to an amazing state park in Connecticut:

We topped it all off with ice cream (Thanks Jen:-) Yum!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finding the Beauty - Day 1

Because, what with hands that are sore, and cloudy, drizzly days, and everything else that March brings, searching for a little beauty is necessary.

Thanks very much to Adele, whose personal struggle to find the beauty started along with the New Year, and to Lise over In the Purple House for planting the seed of the idea for this series!

I expect I'll be my usual wordy self in a month or so, but in the meantime I'm going to do a pic a post.