Thursday, September 26, 2013

Keep Your Spirits Up.....

Sure, summer is officially over but that doesn't mean we can't be content with the fall season. For us in the South, it's a big relief and a chance to go outside without being blasted by hot, sticky weather.

Depression is a tough bear to deal with but whatever situation you are in which affects your life, there are some tricks of the trade to undo the damage.

1. Remember your blessings: This idea is a great one if you can find a way to remind yourself when you are in the depths of self-pity.  It's like a snowball affect and once you start to remember, the reminder of the blessings in your life just come rolling out.  Keep it going once you start and you will find your sadness disappear.

2. Find a fun hobby:  Work has you down??? Tired of the grind?? Find something you have been wanting to do for a long time and start doing it.  Did you know that most people only dream about what they really want to do and never do it?? Check out the book: The Power of Doing Something Stupid by Ritchie Norton.  Always wanted to paint? Get started with paints and paper and be creative.  Love to crochet?  Start with easy stitches and crochet. Always wanted to remodel that old car in the back? Get out there and start.  This hobby of yours will release the stress that you feel every week and you will develop something you can be proud. It is amazing how keeping your brain occupied on something else besides what you are worried about can help your attitude. It might even be contagious and turn out some great memories for the rest of your family.

3. Start a "Happiness Jar": This idea is so smart. Find any empty jar you have in the house and every time you think of something that makes you happy, write it down and put it in the jar. It doesn't matter what the paper size or color. Any corner of a scrap piece of paper will work and after so long when you feel that depression coming on--read all the papers.  It is amazing how reading those little pieces of papers will lift your spirits and change the atmosphere for the rest of the day.

4. Enjoy a nature walk: The great thing about the fall season is it is cooler and there are wonderful smells outside. Taking a walk not only lifts your spirits, it helps your physical health. It doesn't have to be a long walk but just getting outside helps a depressed heart. There is something about getting in the out doors that really helps brighten the day.  Unless of course it's raining. But a walk on a beautiful autumn day is unbeatable for a depressed mind.

5. Do some service for others: It never fails. Whenever I get into a depression and I do something for someone else, it always helps me to feel great!! This lifts my spirits and I feel better the rest of the day.

Dealing with depression is not fun.   Remember to include good health and sometimes taking a good, long drink of water or eating an apple can help fight the blues as well.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Common Core Standards: What Good Are They?

We are in another battle for the good of our children's education. Federal mandates in public education written for county school districts are causing parent upheavals and teacher disagreements. What is Common Core and is it any good?  A question in the minds of many parents.
This statement is found on the Common Core website and explains in what seems to be logical and concise wording of what the Common Core Standards are in a short description. ( 

What are Common Core Standards:
"The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy."

The Common Core State Standards [CCSS] was funded by the Gates Foundation which the National Governors Association chose a group of individuals in 2009 to write educational standards:
What is Achieve?  It’s an approved guide of Education by the National Governors Association. So, in other words, they chose 4 from their own group. 
The rest were not educators.  

No teachers were chosen to work on this project although 35 more people were chosen as a feedback group for the findings which were predominately college professors.

Take a good look at this test:

I don’t think anything compares to what students learned over 100 years ago. 
From a 1912 eighth grade test in Bullitt County, Kentucky come questions that 
I have a hard time answering.  We have been “dumbed-down” from our own 
government standards of 30 years of education.  

What I don’t like about this whole Common Core Education is that there is no
 evidence whatsoever that this “core” standard will be more rigorous than what
 we have now.  There have been NO testing or trial periods of any kind. This
 curriculum was just slipped right through states eager to adopt this new standard.

My thought is if these policy elitists (top federal and state officials) are complaining
 so much about the low test scores and economic inequalities of our public school 
system, then why has the whole curriculum market regurgitated "dumbed-down" 
material for the last 30 years?? If they are so interested in the education of children 
why is that test shown above on a much higher level of education than what I 
have learned from the 60's and 70's?

Another idea from the Common Core Standard is that we will transfer
 public money from private corporations.  The estimate of cost to implement 
this Common Core Standard is between $8 to $16 billion dollars.

From a blog which discusses this very issue:

Click here for more info on this discussion....

Some of the Pros and Cons of Common Core Standards:

The Common Core Standards prepare 
students for a competitive global economy
The Common Core Standards do not guarantee improvements in testing 
on the global scale
The Common Core Standards provide
 national continuity in education
The Common Core Standards 
straddle the middle ground of 
education – either better than 
some states or worse than others
The Common Core Standards are not 
finding the lowest common denominator 
to build on, but are in fact designed to 
build upon the best standards so that 
even states with successful standards 
will be taking a step forward in education
The Common Core Standards
 is a program pushed by the 
government – Adopt the 
program or no money
The Common Core Standards have been 
designed to leave room for tailoring to 
specific state populations (states must 
adopt at least 85% of the standards, 
leaving 15% to tweak)
The Common Core Standards 
cannot be tailored to all 
of the diverse populations 
of our nation
The Common Core Standards were 
designed by a diverse group of teachers, 
experts, parents, and school administrators 
to reflect aspirations for student 
achievement and an understanding 
of the realities of the classroom
The Common Core Standards 
is a program created on ideal situations/aspirations in 
education by people who 
have funding and students 
already ahead of the 
learning curve

As Cindy Lutenbacher, a teacher in DeKalb County Alabama public schools wrote on Wednesday (July 3rd):
Common Core … robust … rigorous academic standards … global economy … 21st century workplace … competitive … college-ready … Duplicitous buzzwords ad nauseum, We’ve heard them ten thousand times in the barrage of press releases about Common Core. And every one is bogus.

From another part of the country-- Portland, Oregon area is another opinion for parents to consider:
Common Core will be Disastrous for our Children

Below is an interesting blog which exposes more about Common Core:
Link to another article exposing some of the more dangerous ideals of Common Core

So the controversy continues state by state.  To keep Common Core or not to keep Common Core. That is the question......

To add another brick in the wall there was a post on Facebook that really got my blood boiling against Common Core:

Check this out!!!!