Food For Kids and Education

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe school where my son attends includes many kids on free and reduced lunches.  Over the years, the number has increased of families who are provided with these meals.  And, many of these kids also get care packages of food to take home each weekend.

It has been startling to see this change in my city from a thriving place of numerous jobs to fewer and fewer each year.  This is, however, the reality, and one that we are trying to deal with.  I am glad that our schools, our churches, and our community are working together to feed these children.

Children must have their bodies nourished before they can learn and have their brains nourished.  If their stomachs are growling all day, it is very hard for them to focus on math problems, or write sentences.  It is also hard to absorb what they are being taught if they are both hungry and thirsty.

My dad taught for several years in a poor community where this struggle was alive and well.  He saw first hand the problem of hungry kids struggling to keep up with school work and learning.  So, that district also provided food for them at a discounted price or full gift.

Many of the families in both communities were and still are the working poor.  They work for minimum wage and do try to provide for their families. They aren’t just lazy and uncaring about their kids as some may think. They do want to provide but often struggle to make ends meet.

Now it seems that there is talk of taking these programs away.  Perhaps some things could be changed, I don’t know.  But you know who will be harmed the most with drastic removals of money and food?  The kids.  Are we not supposed to be providing for our families and our children?  They are our responsibility from birth until they become adults.  And, shouldn’t we be helping others?

I am not saying that no changes should be made or that money may not need to be trimmed back.  The thing that bothers me is to say the poor don’t care about their children, shouldn’t be helped in feeling them, and then turn that into action of eliminated programs.   I see families each day doing their best for their children.

My hope, prayer, and voice will be that before these programs are just gutted, something will take their place that will continue to help our nation’s children.  The idea of hungry children in America is heartbreaking to me.  Is it to you as well?  Let’s help to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Spring Break Adventures

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!!  Last week we were on Spring Break and what fun we had!

This picture is from a Homeschool Convention that we attended at the end of the week.  My husband’s family business is educational consulting.  His dad started this ministry many years ago.  Right across from our booth was the Lego Education booth and Ian was so “in his element.”  He loved it!

The ladies at this booth were so nice and great with the kids, including Ian.  They had workshops which he attended each day to build stories with Lego elements. They had teams of kids work on the story in three parts and then share their ideas.  It was fun to see their creativity and minds at work.  It was also nice to see the kids working together in a project.  Most of them hadn’t met each other before.

We met some really nice people at this convention.   We saw large families with very well-behaved kids.  The largest was one with 12 kids who had written books on sibling relations.  We saw another family with four girls — all wearing matching outfits.

And, we saw some people just starting in homeschooling and some who have been at it a while. The variety of people was fascinating — some Menonite families, some others with just a few children, and we also saw a few people we’d seen last year.

Last March I wrote about another convention that we’d attended.  That was posted on March 18 and the link is at the bottom of this posting, if you’d like to read that as well.

One of the Duggar family members was there with his wife and kids.  He spoke during a session and had a booth with a time for people to meet him and have him sign a book or other item.  That had a very long line.

We had some time on the first day to walk around the very large and lovely Opryland Hotel.  We went to a shop selling moonshine jelly, some funny aprons and magnets, and Moon Pies.  We also saw the river, lovely plants, and some statues of standing horses.

While we were at dinner on Friday night, one of Ian’s front teeth came out.  This was his third tooth to lose.  He was thrilled that the tooth fairy came to visit.  “I wonder how she found me Mommy? She must have snuck into our hotel room,” he said.  “Yes, she did Ian,” I told him.

The next morning he tried drinking milk through a straw through the new space in his mouth.  It was fun to see.  Now, his second top middle tooth is loose.  Should be soon on that one too.

We came back on Sunday morning and had a nice drive and lazy afternoon.  It was great and Ian was very ready to go back to school.  I drove him this morning and he was ready to see his teacher and all of his friends.

The first half of the week, we had fun at home and relaxed.  There was time to play, color and draw, and read together.  Each day, Ian would talk about how many days were left of his break.  It was fun to spend all day with him again.

This morning we are back to our normal routine.  It was good and is a lovely day.  Hope you have a great one! I wonder what new adventures there will be this week?  It should be fun to find out!!

Last year’s blog on the convention is located at https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/convention-adventure/.

Convention Adventure

school-mathHi and Happy Monday!

Over the weekend, my husband, son, and I worked in a booth during a home school convention.  My hubby works with his dad in an educational consulting ministry.  If you’d like more on that, please let me know.

Ian and I were there to help and it was really a neat experience.   It was fascinating meeting the parents and their children.

For years, I have known people who home school their kids.  I always have wondered how in the world they do it.  Now, being around some of them regularly, I see that it is a true calling for these families.  The families feel that this is the best option for their kids and their education.

My family’s background is the public school system.  My parents, my grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, and my sister are teachers.  I guess you could say we are all about education — whether it be in a classroom or a room at home.  There are many ways for children to succeed in learning!!  I think that these different methods can work — it’s just up to each family to decide.

Some snippets of the weekend:

  • Seeing a Mennonite family with 9 kids.  They were all very quiet and well-behaved.  I couldn’t help but think about dinner time, bed time and traveling with that large a family.
  • Enjoying the fun of Ian making friends with the kids in the next booth.  They were there with their mother.
  • Finding and purchasing a book about Dr. Seuss for Ian.  Personally, I think Dr. Seuss is a genius and one of the finest children’s authors ever.  He is my inspiration!  And, I love that Ian really likes his books.
  • Writing a story with Ian while waiting for people to stop by our booth.  He drew the pictures, told me the story, and I transcribed it for him.  I will be posting these soon over a few days.
  • Purchasing a pencil made of wood from Walnut Grove — the location of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s fabulous series of books.  This series, which started with “Little Cabin in the Woods,” was one of my favorites ever growing up.  The booth where I found this also had a book about Walnut Grove, recipes from that era, and outfits that could be purchased.  It was great!
  • Making friends with a custodian who worked at the convention hall.  She was a sweet young woman.  I also enjoyed meeting a lady working in the cafe at the hall.  She was very friendly as well!
  • Taking materials and Ian outside after a fire alarm sounded.  Many people stood around wondering what to do.  My thought was go outside people!!  With so many kids there, shouldn’t we be sure to show them that you do leave a building with a fire alarm going off?  Yes I think so!  We found out that the culprit was a popcorn popper too close to the alarm.  That pesky popcorn.
  • Having Ian fall asleep during dinner on Friday night after a full day of fun at the convention.  I had to carry him from the lobby where I ate, rode up on the elevator to the 6th floor where our room was, and then all the way down the hall.  Then I used the electronic key as I held him.  I said, “whew” when I was finally in our room!
  • Seeing the joy of Ian staying at a hotel for the first time.  Well, at least the first time he could remember.  “Mommy, it’s really cool to live at a hotel for a few days,” he told me.  “Yes it is Ian.”

All in all it was a great weekend.  We met some neat people and learned more about another way of educating children.  There are many ways.

I wonder if all kinds of education can be respected and appreciated.  I sure hope so!

On Sandy, Other Things

Hope you’ve had a great week!  It has been a while since I have written.  Things have been busy!

And now this week, 1/3 of the country is dealing with Hurricane Sandy.  This massive storm has been quite amazing so far.  Rain, snow, wind, flooding are the things we will be dealing with.

My prayers are with all of those in her path.  I just hope and pray that the damage won’t be too extensive and there won’t be deaths or major injuries.

Seeing the New York subway system shut down and Wall Street close today are items that rarely ever happen.  You know things are serious when that happens.  And, the airports up the east coast are closed and many flights cancelled.

Last night on the news, with all of the coverage of the storm, they included a story about Halloween and if it will still happen.  I thought that was funny and quite touching that people are still wanting to have life go on as it normally does, despite such a mess.

Lord, keep us safe!

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Last night I had the first good sleep I’ve had in a few nights.  Ian has been waking me up each night and staying up for a while, so needless to say, neither of us has been getting much sleep.

These nights made me think of when he was a few months old and sleep was very hard to come by.  Those days and nights were difficult and it was trying to be back to that again.

Thankfully this odd schedule didn’t last very long.  I realize that I need my sleep — at least 7 hours each night to function and to be nice the next morning.

If you are having trouble sleeping, I too hope that you can find some answers very soon!

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Over the weekend, I read an update about Malala Yousafzai, and heard about her on the news as well.

Have you heard about her?  This amazing 15-year-old girl was shot in the head by for advocating girls’ education.  She is in England recovering from her injuries. The hospital announced that she was able to stand for the first time and that she is communicating freely and that she is writing.

I was stunned to hear about her and how and why she was shot.  How can it not be okay for girls to learn?  That just isn’t something I can understand but is a reality for so many around the world.

What a brave girl.  I hope and pray that she gets a great education.  And, let us not take that for granted.  Being able to learn and go to school — whether at a school or at home — is a real gift and something that should be appreciated.

Those are just a few of the items on my mind today.  I will be sharing more in the coming week.  May God bless you in your day and keep you safe!

The Importance of Art

This morning I saw a great quote on Facebook.

“Earth without “art” is just “eh.”

I have always loved and been involved in the arts.  My niche was always music and musical theater.  All through junior high and high school, I was in the chorus, chorale, and show choir.  I had a blast and am so thankful for that opportunity.

My high school also had a drama club and each year we’d practice after school and then perform two shows a year.  The ones that I was in were: “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Our Town,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Pillow Talk.”

My high school was three years at that time with 9th grade still in junior high (a while ago).  We also had a newspaper staff and a yearbook staff.  I wasn’t involved in those but had several friends who were and had a blast with it.  Student writers, advertisers, and photographers were all involved in these publications.

My school had an art class as well and the students would display their works throughout the school. I am terrible at drawing and painting but am loving watching my son and nieces and nephews with their amazing work.  And, I have friends who are very talented as well.

I was fortunate to go grow up in a neighborhood that valued the arts both at school and in the community. We had a community theater, community band, community chorus, community orchestra, and community ballet.  Volunteers with a director or conductor or leader would work together to create amazing performances for the general public to enjoy.

But, the sad fact now is that many schools no longer have these programs.  A lot of them had to do away with them due to budget cuts. To me this is heartbreaking.  For talented students to lose this outlet is truly sad and in need of correction.

This morning on Good Morning America, I was thrilled to hear Sarah Jessica Parker talking about her involvement in a new initiative to adopt failing schools and incorporate arts education back into them.  She is involved in the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

According to the Associated Press, Parker, Kerry Washington, Yo-Yo Ma, Damian Woetzel, Chuck Close, Alfre Woodard, and Forest Whitaker are adopting schools to help in this initiative.

Thumbs up to all of them as well as President Obama for realizing the importance of this and doing something about it.

I wonder if we will continue to appreciate the value of the arts.  I certainly hope we do.