Gaps in Education

No matter where or when a student attends school, there will always be something that student doesn’t learn about that will be relevant in the future.  It happens with public schools, private schools, homeschools, you name it.  One kind of education hasn’t cornered the market on educational gaps.  They simply happen.  Nobody can know everything.  Keep in mind that each child is unique and different learning styles apply.  Teachers are also unique individuals.  Considering all of those variables, how can we be surprised that there are gaps in the first place?

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Our homeschooling journey has felt like one struggle after another this year.  My daughter has turned 18, and she’s a senior.  If she’s not interested in something, she just won’t put forth an effort.  Kids are kids, right?  She has refused to try the ACT test again after her first (and only) attempt.  I understand that she feels discouraged.  I wish colleges would move toward other ways to gauge college readiness instead of relying on high-stakes tests that cannot possibly predict potential or anything else.  It seems to me that test makers are raking in millions at the expense of our children.  Big bucks are paid (not to students or teachers) for testing that serves only to exclude students from higher education.  How about changing our system to invite all students to participate?  How about finding what ignites a student’s passion and work from there?  How about making college an affordable option for everyone?

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The things that interest my child are different from what interests other students.  I will tell you, however, that she is an expert when it comes to anime, cosplay and costume design among other things.  Maybe she should make a portfolio of her passions so she can show college admission staff what she has done and can do.  She amazes me when she casually mentions things she has learned from videos she watched while I was at work.  I have learned from her.  She’s resourceful, too.  She will get interested in something and dig until she has the information she wanted.  My girl is also a talented mimic, able to sing in several languages, and she learned online.  On her own.  Without my input.  I had virtually nothing to do with her research, and she did a fine job of learning something daily about various topics.

Maybe when she decides to try college, she will find the perfect fit.  I sure hope so!  She’ll need a place as amazing and unique as she is so she can fill the gaps and move on to a fabulous future.  I should keep reminding myself that she won’t be the only student filling gaps.

Good Neighbors and Friends

Friends look out for each other.  So do the best neighbors.  I am so lucky to have a a super-awesome neighbor.  She sent yummy chocolate cake over last night.  Another friend graciously provided our supper.  Ihave never enjoyed a chicken dinner more.  I just love nights when I don’t have to cook after a hard day!  My dear friends made my Monday better.  

Then there’s my crafting circle, but I’ll get into that another time.  

Finding My Bliss

I learned to knit several years ago, but I got out of the habit after I moved to Mexico.  This week, thanks to some encouraging friends, I have rediscovered my bliss.  I will admit to not being very good at knitting, but I do enjoy it.  Anything that is homemade will never be perfect.  I accept that.

My crocheting friend and I have spent a few hours plotting and scheming planning for a possible craft fair appearance later this year.  I’ll keep you updated.

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Feedback!

This school year has been different from last year in various ways.  The main thing I have changed is my way of teaching.  I threw out my book and have been concentrating on giving students tons of comprehensible input.  They were a bit scared at first—and so was I, to be honest.  They didn’t know what to expect without a book.

I am feeling much less apprehensive as I practice using a lot more Spanish in class.  I explained the goal to the students (90% or more in Spanish) because it shouldn’t be a secret.  I have had students share their feelings about comprehensible input lately.

One student said speaking Spanish is “becoming second nature” to her.  Another told me he thinks we are meeting the goal of 90% Spanish in class.  He also shared that he is understanding almost everything!  I of course, am thrilled that my students are learning and happy.

I can’t wait to see how much the students learn (and retain) by the end of the year!  Every positive comment from them encourages me more.  For more information about comprehensible input, visit Martina Bex.

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Skills

I had some time to sit and drink coffee while one of our dogs was having a dental yesterday. Chance ended up minus 13 teeth by the time the morning was over!  He’s recovering well, by the way. 

I was in a tiny town in rural Nebraska at the local gas station.  In spite of that, I was able to use not only English, but Spanish and ASL—American Sign Language!

People often give me weird looks when I say I love languages, but I truly value learning something just because it’s interesting and I can.

I was—and still am—so thrilled that I had the knowledge to communicate in ASL.  So few people in this area study it.  How lonely life must be for that kind, deaf fellow in that tiny town.  His uncle sat with us at the small, round table. He was surprised and happy when I started signing with his nephew.  I was sad that so few people ever tried.  

The next time someone gives you a strange look when you mention an uncommon interest you are passionate about, don’t let it bother you.  Your passion may lead to something wonderful.  Learning for the love of knowledge feels amazing.  Using what you have learned is truly priceless when you can make another feel less alone.

Plot Twist!

Supper was served none too soon at The Jugged Hare.  The atmosphere was pleasant, and the food was acceptable.  (With English food, I couldn’t tell what was “normal” from food that was just bland.  Maybe English food is all lacking in robust taste.  I am not sure I can offer a fair opinion until I discuss it with a friend or two in England.  I mean no offense.)

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I learned several new things while Bela and the rest of the tour group went to see Mamma Mia.  Rich, an intriguing conversationalist, was kind enough to keep me company.  I learned that a “shandy” is half beer and half lemonade, for example.  I don’t drink alcohol, but I thought that was amusing.   I also learned that there was a proposed tax on “fizzy drinks.”  I was outraged!  How dare they charge more for drinking a soda than a bottle of water.  Discrimination!

After the group was done watching Mamma Mia, we (thankfully) boarded a bus to the hotel.  NO MORE WALKING!!!!  Bela was in a much better mood because she sat beside a lady who shared candy with her.  Bela and the lady had a delightful conversation while they enjoyed seeing the show (again, for both of them).

Once back at the hotel, things got hectic because our room keys had been deactivated.  Only one of us had a key that worked!  Bela was rooming with three girls from the Texas group, and they were all locked out.

Things finally got straightened out after about twenty minutes, and we were able to get in bed.  The next day I discovered that since Bela snores, she had kept the girls awake!  (I snore too, and I sleep like a rock!)  One of her roomies was epileptic, so she really needed her meds and rest time to be functional.  No problem!  We all were very considerate of students who needed accommodations.  I had originally asked if Bela could room with me, but I was told it would cost us $300 extra!  Students were four to a room while adults were two per room.

Avis, the leader for the Texas group, and I thought Bela could bunk in my roomsince it was an unplanned situation.  My roomie, however, did not feel comfortable with a student in our space even though the student was my 18-year-old daughter.  Plan B was then hatched.  My roommate was kind enough to bunk with her students’ moms so we could at least have time to figure out what would work.

Rich’s hands were tied concerning the room situation.  Final word (approval) had to come from the main office.  We thought things were fixed in London, but the drama continued even after we arrived in Paris.  Let’s just say things were finally fixed to our satisfaction after Avis and I both threw fits and refused to pay extra for the room Bela and I had to ourselves.  My former roomie got a single room (great for her!), I got to room with my girl (great for us), and Bela’s former roomies could rest (great for them!).  The point was there was no way we could have predicted the situation and/or planned for it!  Nobody was at fault.  After the rooms were decided, I could feel tension oozing away….More adventures coming soon!