Boxed or Homemade?

trainer-quoteI started homeschooling my daughter this year for a number of significant reasons that include protecting her from Common Core and, as her parent, exercising my natural and Constitutional right to direct her development and education.  I strongly believe that education should be an opportunity to nurture a child’s strengths, bolster weaker areas, and should build upon a child’s interests, talents, and natural curiosity.

Another important reason is differentiated instruction–she, like me, has ADHD, and I wanted to provide her with an education fashioned around the way she learns, not the way Johnny R. or Susie M. learns.  She is a doer–hands on and active, and hates being fed worksheets all day. And goodness knows if you can’t explain or show her relevance, it’s not happening. She gets that from her mom.

Which brings me to cooking.

Miki loves cooking, which dishes up a host of learning opportunities and meets her learning style. Reading, math, critical thinking to solve problems (like when you don’t have enough of an ingredient or drop the last egg on the floor and you are already committed to the recipe), creativity (like tweaking recipes to suit your particular taste), safety, and even cursive (copying recipes for the recipe box)…not to mention it’s fun, you get to eat your work, and serves up some awesome mother/daughter time.

We made brownies today. Homemade brownies, for we don’t do the box thing. Do you know what is really in boxed brownie mix?

We like quality and everything else that comes from made-from-scratch cooking, especially the  tweaking part. Sometimes we want to add ingredients, sometimes we want to leave a few out–provides variety and the perfect dish for the situation at hand.

And it’s our choice.

Unlike Common Core.

Common Core likes the box…one boxed education laced with poisonous ingredients for every child, producing not-so-healthy, from-the-box “citizens.” A buffet with only one option, and somebody coughed all over it.

And quality? Not so much.

While public schools have created the facade that they, not parents, are the experts, and only the experts can understand education–how and what children should learn, it is obvious to any parent who is paying attention that public schools offer a menu of substandard and questionable items, made even more rotten by the arrival of Common Core. After all, parents are the experts on their children, not the system.

It’s hard being a single mom, staying home to raise and homeschool my daughter. I gave up an awesome income and many things that are now luxuries. Going to the movies, for instance, is a rare treat, as is going out to eat or ordering pizza, shopping in certain stores, downloading songs from iTunes…all of which we do without and have a full, high-quality and happy life.

I was willing to make the hard decisions.

I’m not telling you to quit your job and homeschool. What I am saying is that it behooves all of us as parents to look at our children and make decisions based on what is right for them, even when it’s hard. Even when it means sacrifice.

That’s love, and that’s parenting.

It’s up to us to raise our kids, not the government.

Common Core is a terrific reminder of that.

Additional Resources

A Mental Health Professional Testifies About Common Core

Kids React to Common Core

Common Core Video Library

ADHD Meds and Growth: Do They Really Know?

growth chart exampleLike many of you, when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and placed on Adderall, her pediatrician discussed with me the need to monitor her physical growth carefully, citing the potential for stimulants to inhibit normal growth in children. Every check-up since that time has included checking her growth rate against the age-appropriate national average to ensure that there were no issues that needed to be addressed.

Now, let me say this: my daughter has ALWAYS been on the low end of growth charts and tables, and continued to be so until this past summer. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Not long after my daughter’s diagnosis, I ran across information that claimed that the medications themselves did not inhibit growth in children; rather, growth is regulated by various hormones, the production of which is usually below average in children with ADHD, causing the slower physical development. This explanation certainly makes sense.

Recent studies completely debunk the theory that medications can inhibit growth in children with ADHD.  One such study was conducted by the Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Slavica Katusic, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, explained that previous studies were missing information or had too few children, all issues the Mayo Clinic states that they addressed.  The results? “Stimulant medication did not affect children’s final height as adults.”

We all know that sleep is a hot topic when it comes to ADHD.  School-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep at night. My IMG_0037daughter’s internal clock keeps her awake until 10:30 at night. It doesn’t matter how much exercise she gets during the day or what kind of bedtime routine we established–she’s still going to be awake until 10:30. Getting up at 6:30 in the morning for school meant 8 hours of sleep at night, at the most.

When I started homeschooling my daughter, I decided to work with her natural sleep rhythms and allow her to sleep until 9:00 am. Now she gets at least 10 hours of sleep every night. In the three months she has been on that sleep schedule, she has not only grown out of size 7 clothing, but she is also now an average-sized 10-year-old wearing size 10 clothing and size 3 shoes.

My gut told me sleep had a lot to do with it.

Not to rely on instincts alone, I did some research on sleep and growth, and found overwhelming confirming IMG_0036information. Simply put, human growth hormone is released during sleep. A study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University explains the process in greater detail. The connection between sleep and growth is also discussed in an article on BabyCenter.com.  “Without adequate sleep, growth problems — mainly slowed or stunted growth — can result. Growth hormone production can also be disrupted in kids with certain physical sleep problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea.”  The research is astoundingly conclusive.

My observations and research will hardly qualify as a confirming study; however, I am not one to believe in coincidences. The profound changes not only in her size but in her overall functioning since starting homeschooling clearly are positive, and with sleep having a profound impact on important functions of the body, especially noticeable in children with ADHD, I am comfortable relying on my critical thinking and logic, backed by some solid research.IMG_0038

What about you? Has your child experienced significant changes in sleep that noticeably impacted other areas of functioning?

 

 

Recommended Articles:

Human Growth and Development in ADHD Children

How Sleep Problems Affect Growth in Children

Does Lack of Sleep in Young Children Stunt Growth?

Good, Sound Sleep for Your Child

What Stunts Growth and What Helps Your Child Grow

Reaching Out

I attended a memorial service today for an elderly woman whose family members had drifted apart.

As I watched people reconnect, some of whom had not spoken to each other for years, it occurred to me that the loss of a loved one also sometimes means the discovery of new ones.

Death brings memories–stories that have not been thought of for years.  Pictures and memorabilia are pulled from boxes and closets, favorite moments are relived, tugging on the common thread that tie family and friends together.

Why do we wait for the end to cross that bridge?

Reaching out

Reaching out

Common Core Arne and Second Graders

Arne Duncan common coreIf Common Core weren’t so serious, I would find Arne Duncan quite humorous.

Let  me ask you this…how many of you knew what career path you wanted to follow before graduating from high school?  How many of you entered college unsure of what you wanted to study? I certainly fall into this category. I changed majors three times before settling on Communications and Political Science. How many of you even knew if you wanted to attend, or could attend, college when you were 7 years old? When I was 7, I was going to be a ballerina, a teacher, a nurse, and a pilot…all at once.

Apparently, Arne Duncan had it all figured out, for he is a rather unique creature, and he expects every other 7 year-old to have it all figured out as well. I ran across an article from the New York Times from February of 2009 in which he actually stated that during a visit to a Brooklyn charter school. “We should be able to look every second grader in the eye and say, ‘You’re on track, your going to be able to go to a good college, or you’re not.”

Really? Have you ever been around second-graders, Arne, or even seen one?

Second-graders are highly interested in perfecting the arm-pit fart, Minecraft, rubber band jewelry, and groundies (a type of tag). Sure, they may have some ideas about what they want to be when they grow up, and for 90 percent of them, that will change at least as many times that I change majors.

As it should. The beauty of childhood is being able to explore interests, discover talents, build skills and figure out what they want to and are most suited to do.  Sorry, Arne, it’s just not about you.

My concern is that he’s actually serious and is going to try to force that scenario down the throats of every second grader and their parents across this country.

The following video is a touchy-feely ad from Pearson about increasing technology in schools, and, towards the end, you’ll notice the smiling mom gets an electronic update telling her that her son is on track for certain careers.  Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s just not the way it’s supposed to happen.  Arne and corporate goons are not supposed to tell me what my child will be doing…we’ll let them know…maybe.

I wonder what the outcome would have been if someone had told George Washington Carver or Albert Einstein at the second grade level whether or not they were on track for higher education, and what “career track” they were on?  How does that work with someone like Bill Gates who dropped out of school?

NBC News published an article in 2005 about the fallacy of forcing high school students choosing schools and degree programs when they, in all likelihood, have no idea what they want to do.

“Eighty percent of college-bound students have yet to choose a major, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com. But they are still expected to pick schools, apply to and start degree programs without knowing where they want to end up. It is little wonder 50 percent of those who do declare a major, change majors — with many doing so two and three times during their college years, according to Grupe.”

I am editing a book written by an incredible man who struggled to settle on a career path until his sophomore year of college.  Ironically, he was told as senior in high school that he should not pursue a degree in engineering because he showed no mechanical aptitude.  He changed majors several times before entering a program at Cal Poly in Pamona, California and ultimately earn his …yep, you know where I’m going with this…electronic engineering degree.  He went on to design the flight computer for the Navy’s F-14 and the SYM-1, used in the Navy’s robotics Robart series. What if he had believed them when they said he couldn’t?

So, we are to now ignore human development, growth, exploration and creativity…not to mention common sense…by telling second graders whether or not they are on track for college? That’s like trying to tell tornadoes they can no longer go through the state of Kansas.

Impossible and senseless, not to mention heartless. If Arne has his way, he will be setting many second-graders up for failure by self-fulfilling prophecy. What a horrible thing to set a young child up for!

Let me know how well that works out for you, Arne.

Time to Turn the Tables

Time To Turn the TablesI have been thinking quite a bit the past several days about the shenanigans of our illustrious government, specifically, regarding the influx of immigrants. I hope you are aware by now that they were enticed, and that they didn’t just all decide to come to America on their own.

“The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers issued, in part, this statement: ‘This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor Illegal Alien children at risk for purely political purposes.’ “

Obviously, the feds are using vulnerable people.  Yes, some are the scourge that nobody wants to deal with; however, some are families and women, many are children, all hoping for something better.  They come from such destitution that anything would be better.  They have dreams, hopes, needs…just like us.  I feel compassion and understanding for them, my heart aches, for if we were in their shoes, we would do the same thing for a chance, any chance, at something better. I would–I  know I would.

Regardless of how we feel about the topic, I can’t imagine anyone finding justification for their being used by the government. I have images of our past history of slavery running through my mind. Being part of the system, used by a government that has grown way to big for its britches, is not a dream come true, yet that is exactly what they are being offered–welfare for control.

They are here, whether we like it or not; therefore, I would like to issue a challenge to my fellow patriots: let’s welcome them, wrapping our arms around them, and teach them to live, to understand what is happening, and how to NOT be a part of the scheme. Let’s teach them to stand on their own, whether it’s learning the skills to create something and sell it, to build, to clean houses, to work on computers,  to raise their own food (that is a dream of mine), to learn English (imagine not being able to read and understand the garbage that we are bombarded with daily), and to sustain themselves.  Knowledge is power, and ignorance hurts us all.

I know, I know…foreigners taking American jobs.  The system has taught us that we must work for and answer to someone else in order to survive, stifling independence and entrepreneurship, encouraging dependence. I believe more of us could be running our own small businesses on a more local level and surviving–not getting rich– but surviving, and not dependent on the government or big business.  Don’t compete with immigrants, partner with them.  Work side-by-side.

Foster or adopt the children and teach them the truth, raising them to be discerning, self-sufficient, and wide awake adults who know and pursue the truth. It will probably take homeschooling–Common Core will do them in for sure.  It’s difficult to manipulate and control an informed person.  Teach them what America was, about those trying to ruin it, and what it can be again.  I believe it can, but it is going to take a completely different mindset than what is all to prevalent today.

I’m looking for an opportunity to do just that–won’t you join me?

Immigrant child

Time to turn the tables.

Further Reading:

Hitting Immigrant Kids Where It Hurts

 

Common Core: Follow-up to Is It Indoctrination?

I had a good conversation with a friend of mine this morning about transformational learning and about the fact that many of us become involved in this process at one time or another as a part of life. 

We each had been through similar crises in our lives, and we talked about how that one event changed–or transformed–us in many profound ways.  Remember Jack Mezirow’s three dimensions and various phases of meaning? His work certainly has merit in a certain context, and we had experienced them, naturally. 

We have all heard of and read the stories from people like Bethany Hamilton and Roman Polansky, who suffered significant traumatic experiences and were forever changed as a result. These people have long since inspired us, perhaps prompting us to examine ourselves and our lives differently. 

So, how do we translate this into education reform? How does this become a positive building block to improving schools and education for our children?  The very thought alarms me. 

What crisis does Common Core propose to introduce to facilitate transformational learning?

Or is Common Core the crisis?  

 

 

ADHD is Overdiagnosed: Can We Thank Common Core for That?

I ran across this infographic last night, and I found the story that it tells quite interesting.  

Notice the states where diagnosis are highest, which correlates with the number of children being medicated as well as stringency of standardized testing.  Some states now provide that the test scores of a student who has a diagnosis of ADHD do not even count.  Hmmmmm…

One of the most disturbing points is the kindergarteners who are diagnosed with ADHD and medicated.  60% of the youngest kindergarteners are prescribed medications! Research has confirmed that ADHD medications can be dangerous because they inhibit growth and harm the liver. A child as young as that is particularly vulnerable. 

Take a moment to digest the chart’s story.  What is going on in your state, and how is it affecting your children?

 

Misdiagnosis of ADHD in ChildrenInfographic by 12 Keys Rehab