Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mud Pie

Here we are, on day four of summer vacation. Over the past few days, it has been apparent that Joshua and Noah don't totally know what to do with themselves with less structure. More bickering. More whining. More boredom.

But yesterday afternoon, they began to figure it out. Yesterday afternoon, they discovered mud.

Today, they have been outside for almost five hours straight (which has been heaven as I'm not feeling great) and are just now starting to ask to come in, mostly because they are tired of being filthy and are beginning to get cold.

I hope that today is an indication of what this summer will bring for us. Kids being kids. Enjoying the sunshine. And playing in the mud :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Common Core and the Constitution

All right, folks. I'm all riled up again.

Let's start with our Constitution, with the Bill of Rights, shall we?

Amendment X says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This means that if the Constitution has not given the power to the federal government, then the power goes to the State and to the people.

Education falls into this category.

Nowhere in the Constitution is the power to control the education of our children given to the federal government. Thus, by Amendment X, it is automatically given to the State and the people. This is why we have the right to homeschool. This is why the federal government has no right to take that right away or to tell us what we must teach our children.

But now, through Common Core, the federal government is trying and succeeding to take that right away. Washington, along with 45 other states, are all signed up. So far, it is unclear about how this will affect homeschoolers. But I am definitely worried.

I have a lot more to learn about this, but what I've seen so far is frightening.

Common Core is being sold to us as a way to raise standards. I'm all for higher standards. But not at the cost of the federal government controlling our educational system and determining what all students in our country must learn.

And would you like to see what they have in mind for our children's learning? Well, first off, let's teach our six-year-olds how to manipulate their parents . . .

The federal government is saying that this movement is state-led. This is false! In Obama's "Race to the Top" program, there was a contest with the prize of a share of $4 billion in grant money to go to states cooperating with the Common Core standards.

If this is such a great program, why would the federal government essentially have to trick states into signing on? Why would they need to offer grant money as a prize? If this program is so great, why would the federal government have to pay states to take part in it?

This grant money was a distraction with the purpose of getting states to focus on the grant money they would be receiving, rather than the local rights they were giving up.

Nine states have already signed onto the data mining that is part of the Common Core program. With this data mining, a database will be formed to track student learning and most likely, so much more. From Mallory Sauer's article, "Date Mining Students Through Common Core" is this quote:
Within the February report, the DOE displayed photographs of the actual technology that will be used on students, if the department’s plan is fully implemented. What they call the “four parallel streams of affective sensors” will be employed to effectively “measure” each child. The “facial expression camera,” for instance, “is a device that can be used to detect emotion.... The camera captures facial expressions, and software on the laptop extracts geometric properties on faces.” Other devices, such as the “posture analysis seat,” “pressure mouse,” and “wireless skin conductance sensor,” which looks like a wide, black bracelet strapped to a child’s wrist, are all designed to collect “physiological response data from a biofeedback apparatus that measures blood volume, pulse, and galvanic skin response to examine student frustration.”
So no, we are not just talking about a database of test scores. We are talking about a database of our children's emotional responses and personalities.

Scary, huh?

Maybe they'll also start taking iris scans of our children without the permission of the parents. Oh wait. They've already done that in Florida: Report: Florida Schools Scanned Children’s Eyes Without Permission

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

So Very Happily Married

This was taken on Saturday night at our favorite restaurant, the downtown El Gaucho, where we celebrated nearly ten years of marriage come this September. I wore a beautiful new maternity dress that Jason gave me for our weekend sans children, which unfortunately you can't see that well in this picture.

Our weekend was perfection - no cooking or dishes, wonderful food, whale watching, napping, Iron Man 3, the Corpus Christi Mass at the St. James Cathedral and Pike Place Market in the sunshine. We stopped at the downtown EE Robbins where Jason bought my engagement ring and dropped off my white gold rings for rhodium plating and to be soldered together, something that I've wanted to do for several years. They now no longer look like a light shade of yellow gold, but the white gold that they are! They are all pretty and sparkly again!

The most wonderful discovery of the weekend was that we still honestly, genuinely like each other! I can't speak for Jason, but I actually like him (and love him) more than I did when we got married. We had plenty to talk about, learned more about each other and laughed a lot. Jason didn't know that I have a pretty strong fear of heights, which he found out while we rode the new Seattle ferris wheel. And while I am afraid of heights, it's not debilitating. I was freaked out just enough to make it fun scary and I really enjoyed it.

During the past ten years, I have discovered that marriage is even better than I thought. Please note that I said better, not easier :) While I grew up observing my parents' successful, happy marriage, I still think that like so many of my generation, I was affected by our culture's typical attitude about marriage: it's a difficult, monotonous, endless battle of two different people with different perspectives, personalities, needs and desires.

How sad. How terribly sad that so many in our society are missing out on one of life's grandest gifts. I realize that to those who have been married for fifty years, we are but newlyweds. Still, I feel optimistic, hopeful, encouraged and so wonderfully pleased with the way married life has been so far.

So thank you to my darling Jason for an unforgettable weekend and a great start to our life together!