Tag Archives: children

3/29/17 National Test Day: Please Read

Hello, this is Liz. Maggie is taking the day off.

Most adults are sweating the April tax deadline. However, many kids are dreading April 8, “National Test Day”. In case you’re not familiar with this, on this date, high school entrance exams, the ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests are held throughout the nation.

My son James is taking the ACT with the writing portion on April 8.

I’d like to say, I’m not a huge fan of standardized tests. I understand perfectly that schools need a benchmark, but frankly, not all kids are great test-takers, and many students miss a great fit with their desired school because of standardized testing. One can’t show creativity and passion while filling in an oval. I’d like to talk about this a minute, and I apologize if this gets a little long. But if you only read one blog of mine this year, I beg you, let this one be it.

I’ve got three kids: Mike, my inherited son from Jim’s first marriage; my son Erik, and my son James. Each child is wildly different than the other. They’ve all had different approaches and attitudes about school. Imagine three different roller coasters, and you’ll have an idea!

Mike, quick on his feet and charming, was an outstanding test taker. He scored very high on the ACT. Mike loved high school sports and played on a couple of different teams, and was very good at the social aspect of school. Mike had a lot of friends and had a regular “posse” he hung around with. Although he was a great test taker, he found that a middle-of-the road curriculum suited him best for academics. Mike’s strengths were found in his social skills and ability to make and keep friends. After high school, he landed a commissioned sales job that suited his skill set very well, and today, he is happy with his career and is successful in his profession.

Erik, somewhat moody and wildly creative, was not a good test taker. He scored about average on the ACT. Erik had a terrible high school experience and hated sports. He excelled in Art, however, and flourished in any creative class that was thrown at him. From watercolors and calligraphy to pottery, he was truly in his element. After high school, Erik decided to pursue Cosmetology classes, and that is where his grades went through the roof. Comfortable in an environment that encouraged passion and creativity, Erik’s grade average was 96%+ and graduated with a straight A average. Erik is now a Master Stylist with a major chain, and has full benefits at his job. He has an astonishing request rate at the salon – even I have to make an appointment to see him!

James took the ACT when he was 13. He did very well. He took it again as a practice test last year, and scored two points higher. To prepare for the ACT this year, he is doing independent study, classes after school, and tutoring on his own time. He expects to raise his previous, practice ACT score by two or three points. James is enjoying high school immensely. Although his is not a “sports guy”, he’s a “Robotics guy” and enjoys tinkering with various projects. James has a knack for details and dates and hopes to get a specialized History PhD when he completes high school, with an eye on teaching college-level classes. He is relishing taking the Writing portion of the ACT because he feels this is where is greatest strength is going to be. On a side note, I never have to ask Jamie to do his homework; rather, I worry about him “beating himself up” about it too much.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I learned, through my extremely different children, that it’s OK to excel or not to excel at these standardized tests. And if you’re that parent trying to push your kid into being the lawyer or doctor or football star you never were – please, please, stop. Your kid might be your child, but he or she is his or her own individual person and we as parents might know them well, but still, you can’t be in another person’s skin and know what makes them tick. It’s OK to be a school person or not a school person. There’s something out there for all of us, but we have to find it individually.

You, as a parent, might be sweating National Test Day right along with your offspring. I can give you the wisdom of my experience to let you know it’s going to be all right. There’s room for lawyers, doctors, football stars, entrepreneurs, actors, scientists, teachers, salespersons, and all the rest, and some you can’t imagine. I am saying to you today, encourage your child to be THEIR best, not YOUR best. Let them shine in their own way, and they’ll do you proud and probably surprise you. Had I tried to fit any of my square pegs into round holes, it would have been a disaster.

National Test Day is right around the corner. Some will thrive, but we’ll all survive.

Your friend,

 

Elizabeth

PS – I made the bed with fresh linens today and Maggie is enjoying the afternoon snoozing on the soft sheets and blankets. She sends a Woof and will see you tomorrow!

 

 

12/27/15 Pensive, thoughts

I’m not going to rant or anything, but I am feeling pensive today and would like to share some thoughts with you.

As you know from my Pitmas Eve and Pitmas Day posts, we had company over the holiday. I like having company. My primary issue is that I want to jump up and kiss everybody, and that could tend to knock younger, smaller, humans over. So, when company came to our house, my human parents kept me on a leash the entire time, with someone watching over me.

I was a good girl. Once I welcomed everyone I settled down and I did not jump.

I would like to gently point out, however, that if children insist on startling dogs (or cats), they are likely to wind up getting hurt. No one got hurt at our house over the holiday, but this is an important message that I feel needs to get out there.

Human children should be supervised around animals. Because when dog bites or cat scratches happen, it is always the animal who gets blamed/held in quarantine/put down. Seldom do people blame the humans for anything. But, for example, when a friendly cat gets picked up by the stomach and whirled around, he or she, no matter how good-natured, can only take so much!

Likewise, with a large dog. We are not meant to be ridden. We do not like when human children pop out of nowhere, grab our muzzles, then scream loudly in our sensitive ears. Or when they suddenly leap on us, wrapping their arms around our necks and choking us with no warning. These practices directly lead to dog bites and cat scratches, especially on the face and head of the human children involved.

I just want to know – if my parents are supervising ME, shouldn’t the OTHER parents be supervising THEIR kids??

Just a thought.

pensive

Woof! Love, Maggie

6/16/13 Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a great day because it is all about Dad.  I love Dad!  He is the Best!  I don’t get to see Dad a lot, so when I do, it is always a special time filled with love.

Dad works 6 days a week so Mom can stay home with Jamie and me.  I have a lot of love for him for that!  I have a lot of respect for Dad, too, because of something new I learned about him.  I realized just how responsible he is by piecing together bits of conversation between him and Mom.  Apparently, there was a time not long ago when A Certain Family Member dropped off half her litter at our front door for Dad and Mom to raise, because she didn’t want to be a Mom anymore.  The rest she left to Other Family.  (I have seen this many times in the Animal Kingdom.)  This was Before My Time.

Dad and Mom had their own kids at home and Grandma duties.  At times, there were 9 humans living in the house, and not a lot of food left over.  Dad was doing all the supporting but he never complained, because he didn’t want anyone to be abandoned or Stray.

When the kids got older and moved out, Dad opened his big heart to me, and I left the Shelter after 6 months.  So to me, he is the Best Dad Ever!

Since it is Father’s Day, I got to meet Mike, Dad’s oldest son.  Mike does not live here at home anymore.  But, he came over and spent time for a visit so that Dad and Mom and Jamie could go out with their best friends, the Serafins, for something called, “brunch”.

Mike stayed and watched over Grandma and me.  We had a wonderful time!  Even though Mike is a real grown-up, he still loved to play with the tennis ball and throw the stick to me.  I like Mike a lot, and hope he comes back soon!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, whether you had your own litter or took on a litter of someone else’s and made them your own.  Thank you for your love, hard work, and responsibility.  Woof!