Category Archives: state requirements

The M & M girls strike again!


Makyah turned three years old on March 1st, 2014.

Her ‘scheduled party’ was negotiated between her

cousin, Micah’s #5 and a family friend’s daughter,

Hailey’s #6 birthday parties. So, she was a ‘free

bird’ flying along with her sister Marley. Both

were needing a break from home yesterday. We all

ended up having a wonderful day, evening and early

morning together.

Kyah and Marley had met my Filipino coworker’s

daughter Kridia Dawn, a few years ago, when Kyah

was only a baby. Marley and Kridia remembered

each other and were ‘fast friends’ yesterday,

while I was having a blast with the reunion of

several of my Filipino friends, May, MJ, April

and Felda.

What was the occasion? The festivities were due

to Felda and Jason’s new home and they were

throwing a housewarming party! I brought a whole

wheat flour spice cake with cream cheese frosting

(which unfortunately turned out dry… wishing I

had some bourbon or other alcohol to moisten it

since I have leftover cake! This used to be my

Mom’s ‘excuse’ to add alcohol to cake that came

out dry!)

They had picked up some of a local barbecue

restaurant named, “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit,”

and had macaroni and cheese, rolls, cole slaw,

shredded beef, and varied sauces to put on the

meat. Then, there were two different Filipino

dishes, both delicious. One is more pungent and

spicy flavored with shrimp, beef, chicken and

vegetables and what Felda called, “Americanized

pancit palabok.”

There were other desserts and other side dishes,

too. This reminds me of other cultural parties I

have attended, where Italians or Germans are

very friendly, encouraging you to, “Try this, you

will like this dish!”

I had bought a ‘Welcome to your new home’ card

and added a small gift of money enclosed. I also

felt that by bringing the girls, at least in

Felda’s point of view, expressed several times,

that Kridia was so ‘glad to have children at

the party!’

Once we had cleaned up the play room and Kridia’s

bedroom after staying three hours, talking to all

that attended we headed home to put our pajamas on.

I had chosen three movies, one they liked before,

“Ice Princess,” which was a ‘hit’ and they decided

my two twin mattresses were an ice skating rink,

along with adding some gymnastics to their original

exhibition style routines.

Now, if you don’t have children nor grandchildren,

you may have assumed that we would be all ‘uckered

out’ and heading to bed soon. No such luck! In the

case of kids that I know, they feel like they just

‘switched gears!’

We ended up watching at 9 a nice, older movie

called, “Life Size,” about a Barbie-type doll

named, “Eve” who accidentally and magically

comes to life. It has a young Lindsay Lohan,

who was quite a fantastic actress back then,

along with Tyra Banks’ playing the beautiful

doll character. I would recommend it for young

girls who will find out about Lindsay’s losing

her mother (in the movie) and her father trying

to cope with grief, both the best they can.

When we finally had seen two movies, with some

acrobatics and entertainment along the way, we

were settling down to read books.

Kyah had chosen one of the Spot books and Marley

had the “Each Peach Pear Plum” book out.

I had chosen “Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?”

This book was written in 1986. I like the style

of illustrations, striving in my own pen and ink

drawings with watercolors to provide such great

artwork with sweet details.

The Jesse Bear book is about a boy bear which

captures his adventures on a typical day at

home with his mother bear. The author is Nancy

White Carlstrom, while the illustrator is Bruce


In my preschool Ohio testing and reporting to

the State of Ohio (through using twice a year a

test called, “Get It, Got It, Go”) it would

measure learning in three different areas. This

is interesting to some people, that we are

testing 3-6 year olds in Alliteration, where the

pictures that begin with the same sound are matched

up by the student (which is a part of Phonics and

sounding out words), Rhyming and Picture Naming.

We found that some children lagged behind in our

classroom in the first year of testing in the two

areas of rhyming and alliteration.

In the past, my children and many children around

the world were introduced to rhyming in books, in

poems, and in an environment less dependent on

video and computer games. Sure there are ones that

are focused on these areas, but I just felt that

my classroom and now, my grandchildren needed to

hear a real live person reading with emphasis in

these areas, which can be made into a lot of fun

and humorous playful reading times, too.

A very well written series is by Dr. Seuss, or

Theodore Giesel. He was educated and studied how

to use all the sounds and also, how to incorporate

necessary pre-reading skills.

Anyway, just in case my two preschoolers this

past Sat. evening were not really hearing rhymes

so much in their daily lives, I pointed out the

easy ones in the fruit book with the Mother Goose

characters, “Each Peach Pear Plum” and the fine

repetitive rhymes in the Jesse bear book, too.

Jesse bear goes through his day by noticing things

around him. He miles and sniffs roses, catches

butterflies, plays in the sand box, and washes his

hands for lunch. There are cute bear details, like

on his baby bib, his high chair, a bear cookie jar,

and cookie cutter hanging on the wall. I think there

is a bear shaped clock, too.

I liked his enthusiasm and pointed out to the girls,

that he enjoys eating vegetables like carrots and

peas, making the celery ‘crunch,’ and sprouts in a

‘bunch.’ I asked them which words rhymed throughout

the book, too. He receives bear hugs and kisses

from his father, who came home before dinner,

while Jesse was on playing on the swing set.

In the bath, Jesse blows bubbles from a bubble pipe,

and plays with his boat. When dressed for bed, he

has those adorable pajamas with ‘feet’ and the face

of a bear on his ‘seat.’ There is carved into the

wood of his bed, a bear ‘angel.’

I will share the last page of the book, one part

that seems appropriate to close this post today.

There is a full moon shining into Jesse bear’s

room, a glow on the wall, all the stuffed toys

and other decorations illuminated in a blue-gray

light. Reminding you that each page of the book

has asked, “Jesse Bear, Jesse Bear, what will

you wear?”

“Sleep in my eyes,

And stars in the skies.

Moon on my bed,

and dreams in my head,

that’s what I’ll wear tonight.”

The Value of an Education


Do you remember when you would rush out of school in June, fairly

bouncing with joy and enthusiam, feeling “free” to spend your summer

in bliss and have loads of fun? Then, by August (or September), you

would be getting “bored” and miss your friends? You would get excited

to choose some school supplies, get a few new clothes (or yard sale

purchases,) and return once more to school!

Melvin and I talked about home schooling due to a family he knows who

has chosen this form of education on Thursday at first break. We have

some doubts about the authenticity of his friends’ (who are parents)

concerns about public schools. I have had some sincere, recent worries

about my coworker, Keith’s daughter, Ashley and her poor Fall report

card from her internet studies. (All D’s and a couple of F’s, too.)

Both Melvin and I  tend to wonder about how anyone would want to stay

at home to learn, while there are so many exciting learning opportunities

within the schools, with friends there, too. Even though I was a teacher

and am trained to know about the state content standards, have supervised

home-schooled children’s Fourth Grade, Eighth Grade and GED testings

and proficiencies:

I would not have wanted the total responsibility of writing and conducting

their home sch0oling program for my own children or my present

grandchildren now.

I tried to make my children’s early years encompass as many variations of

learning experiences on a “shoestring budget” and definitely stayed home,

helping them and my babysitting crew of five extra kids in those nine years.

But I would not recommend a full home schooling project based solely on one

person carrying out the role of “teacher.” ‘It takes a village’ to help raise the

students passing through the halls at school. One person, without a network

or team approach, *I believe* will not be able to handle the complete

responsibility and diversity that a public or private school offers in their


I have made a new friend who is in her late thirties/early forties, Theresa,

who recently started working at Advance Auto D.C. #23. She has become

close fairly quickly due to a dilemma or problem with her teenaged son.

He has developed an “attitude” towards school and a “bad habit” of walking

through the high school and out of it on a fairly regular basis.

Since Theresa started, she ends up telling me often, lamenting actually,

about Thomas. We find it to be a daily topic as we enter or leave work.

Also, sometimes when she comes in from the brisk weather, having

had a cigarette with other coworkers, she will stop at my friendly table

of coworkers.

Somehow, one of those people outside, let her in on the fact that I once

was a middle school teacher. She also knows from me, now, that my

mother was a high school teacher.

Theresa often asks, plaintively,

“Would you please talk to my son about the value of an education?”

I hesitate, often deflecting the question, putting it to the group for

a consensus, or asking if anyone has a new suggestion to motivate

Theresa’s son?

My feelings are that if you would like to have your child love school

and education, start very young. Be enthusiastic about new things

in nature, in your neighborhood, in your community and spread

the learning to all kinds of museums, parks, historical sights and

the summer library programs. I liked our Delaware County District

Library’s toddler reading program. I liked all the contests and other

programs that were available to take my children and babysitting

clients to during the summer so they would not fall behind. Now,

the programs are so much more encompassing in their subject


At public libraries,  there are lots of entertaining, along with learning,

programs. On this past Thurs. November 14, they had great attendance

at their ages 6-8 year old Legos program for boys. I saw a few Dads in

there, helping out. They had a lively male folk singer earlier in the

month for all ages, singing and getting the parents to participate with

the program, too. I had totally forgotten about the song, “Jimmy

Cracked Corn (and I don’t care!)”

I feel if you missed the early years of getting your child hooked on

learning, due to a busy work schedule, then try to add any extra

activities, with adult participation, as soon as possible! Becoming

acquainted with the school, finding out how to help out at home,

baking on weekends, making cut-outs for bulletin boards, reading

to your child’s classn (use a personal day) or just being there by the

side of the computers in the computer lab will show you are concerned

and interested. By showing a respect for the teachers and schools, you

will be reinforcing your children’s learning.

Most of all, acting interested in every piece of paper that comes home

will be a good start. That backpack is a great source of information!

Lastly, I place a value on education by showing my family different

ways to contribute to society. There is no “right” way to go down the

path of learning. There are all kinds of avenues, they don’t have to be

straight paths from high school to college. Trade schools, joint vocational

schools, classes online, coursework that your boss or others suggest,

business school and computer work through JVS’ can serve their

purpose to further your career or your child’s future, too.

As far as home schooling, this takes a lot of joint effort with others

who have chosen this educational avenue.

Those who read my first post on this subject will understand, I was very

concerned about young 10 year old Ashley, being bascially unsupervised

during the day in her online training, the school being ‘relieved’ I felt by

not having to deal with the ones who had been bullying her. I was not only

concerned about her education, but her social life. Her activities needed to

be ‘stepped up’ a notch. This did not happen, I am sorry to say, she fell

behind in her 4 H project and workbook. Keith responded by not allowing

her to go to the fair.

Once I saw that poor report card, I would have marched her right back

into the school at that point, with an already planned “intervention” with

not only the grade level teacher, social worker but including the principal!

I refrained from too much expression of my spiraling depression over the

whole subject. I am sorry but this single father got pages of my (and your)

suggestions written out and I especially told him he would have to “network”

with other home-schooling parents! (On weekends and this means a lot of

extra effort but well worth the repayment in the end.)

There are a lot of valuable resources out there in this area and I gave

my best effort. I have my own six grandchildren and diverse activities

to stay involved in. My very worn out oldest daughter weekly takes my

now 9 year old grandson to Boy Scouts, is the Pack’s co-leader and

the chairwoman of the Popcorn Sales, which provides their Camp

Lazarus funding for day camp next summer. It is not easy, been there,

done that three times, as a single parent with one father who was down

in Cincinnati, then over in Dayton. All three kids belonged to sports,

along with the five kids I babysat for almost nine years. No pity party

for me, no sympathy anymore, sorry, for Keith and his one and only


I don’t place a value on the education, my mother would agree, and would

have a different way to put this: I will ask her sometime soon!

What you put into effort with your children or teens, will repay you greatly.

I place a value on the PERSON! I believe in my children and their judgment.

I support their choices. You need to do this, follow through and give your

best to them.

What my Mom added, in her recent phone call, that being a high school

teacher was challenging in the seventies, especially. She taught 30 years

so has a lot of history in those years to share. I liked her words,

“The value of an education is knowledge (no one can take that away unless

you let them!) The other key rewards are success, learning, pride and self-

confidence. You may find it in a trade,  going to college, serving your country,

being a great parent, family member or a caretaker… All these are priceless

results of an education.”

I remember my Dad saying that,

“School is your job. You have a ‘boss,’ your teacher. That is your work as a

child. What you put into it, you will get vastly returned. Don’t use any

excuse to get out of something that you are interested in. Invest extra

time to learn all you can about what you love most. I did not get any free

passes out of my life, you will not be given any from your mother or me.”

I would not want or wish for anyone to “rest on their Laurels.” I would

expect personal growth and integrity. I would expect love and compassion.

I would definitely expect good or outstanding parenting! Because this is

another way to show who you love the most! Their future depends on how

you handle their childhood and teen years…

I will pass these words of wisdom on to Theresa and hope for the best.

Dropping Penmanship


“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Somehow, this makes me sad

that I didn’t write this in September, back to school time. But I did

know that penmanship was dropped out of the “Common Core.”

State standards, or school curriculum requirements, no longer require

students to be taught handwriting, cursive or what we called

“penmanship.” I liked to write in my nice blocked off letters in my early

primary school years. Making sure the circles that were made for the “d”

and the “b” didn’t “roll off the page!

I remember watching teachers letters forming on the board while

trying to copy their letters to the “T!” I was a little mimic, Mom said I

imitated the teacher’s moves in ballet class with some humorous

flourishes. I tended to want to add flourishes to my cursive once we

learned how to do that form of writing. I liked my “writing handbooks”

and our journals that we would write our thoughts or follow an

assignment. As a sixth grade Language Arts teacher, I liked taking those

precious journals filled with my students’ thoughts and reflections.

There was a lot of “angst” expressed in their writings. Somehow, if

they had been simply written on a computer and then, printed off, the

impact and power of their words, may not have been driven home.

Of course, schools have not immediately stopped these procedures. I

just can see the day happening, now that it is not “required.” There will

be no tests and no answering to anybody about this area of expertise!

Mom found a really nice article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about

a man who still makes lovely designed pens. HIs name is Brian Gray,

he has a “machine shop” where he makes custom pens. He is a “pen

maker.” There are still a wide variety of people who are interested

in purchasing the hand designed fountain pens with a variety of “nibs.”

There are still beautiful Pelikan pens that have a pelican engraved on

it. I think Cross pens are wonderful tools, this article mentioned by

Joe Crea, a reporter, that he considers them, “reliable tools for everyday

use and inexpensive enough” that he wouldn’t “flip out if they’re lost.”

Joe Crea mentions that he still has in his possession, a “vintage Schaeffer,”

a wedding gift to his parents in the late 1940’s. He has a Mont-blanc

Meisterstuck Classique, a gift from his wife on his 40th birthday.

As writers, how many of you jot your thoughts on note cards or paper

in a notebook, before proceeding to the computer to write your posts

as you blog? I still write notes, since I carry them in my purse, they are

on small slips of paper, either stapled together if I am at home, or

clipped together with a bobby pin or paper clip. I go to the library, spill

the words onto the computer, trying to “beat the clock” before the

next person needs to use the computer. I feel blessed that so far, my

“well has not dried.” (Reference to the days when I would use an ink

well. I no longer use in my pen and ink drawings that form of artistic

usage of ink. I used thin point or extra fine point “Sharpies.” They still

resist the watercolors I apply in some of my drawings and children’s

name drawings.

I do like Joe Crea’s line thtaz summed up the downfall of pen and ink


“Sure, there were issues that drove many users to abandon their

fountain pens: leaking, smudging, staining. Scratchy nibs. Uneven,

stop-start ink flow. The agony of losing a pricey pen.”

How often in your life have you treasured a special pen? Has one come

to you in a gift box, laid on a bed of black felt, maybe in a set? It was

common in my “old days” to receive them, once you graduated from a

level of school, if you had a boss who wanted to reward you or as a special

occasion gift.

The sadness for me is that I can see the days when we won’t appreciate

those scrolling letters. Nor the artistic and creative ways that people write.

There would not need to be writing analysis books and experts who could

tell your personality, simply through the way you wrote.

History of the words “the pen is mightier than the sword:”

George Whetstone (1582)

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (1602)

Robert Burton (1621)

Thomas Jefferson 1796) to Thomas Paine, “Go on doing with your pen

what in other times was done with the sword.”

The person attributed to “coining the actual phrase” was Edward Bulwer-

Lytton, (1839), in his play, “Richelieu, Or the Conspiracy.”

His words in the play were:

“True, This!-

Beneath the rules of men entirely great

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Behold the arch-enchanters wand! Itself a nothing.

But taking the master-hand

To paralyse the Caesars and to strike

the loud earth breathless-

Take away the sword- states can be saved.”