It comes a time when we have to teach our children how to make informed decisions about money and money management. This way, they can make financial decisions that’ll prove to make them healthy financial managers for their future. At least this is my hope.
For a few years now I’ve given my child $20.00 a month for her allowance. You know, just money to have in her pocket to spend on items when we are out and about, and so that she can learn money exchange and money sense.
She earns this money for doing small household chores, but our agreement is that when she reaches $100.00 she takes it to the bank and deposits into her savings account. Whatever is left, she can spend on a few things, but also put a few bucks in church.
Well, she’d saved $152.00 here lately, but I suppose she was “itching to spend it.” She’d talked earlier about reaching her goal of $100.00 and having an access of $52.00 to spend, but she thought about our trip to Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
Since we’d be at Barnes and Noble Booksellers for a book signing anyway, and she’d wanted to go there since Spring Break, she thought about three books she wanted. Of course spending money on books is certainly a great way to spend her money. She had my blessing for sure! What she hadn’t planned on this time is that although I agreed to her new purchases, I’d be informing her that she would have to bring her own money along on this particular trip in order to buy her books.
I decided to do this because the last two purchases from Barnes and Noble Booksellers were “on me.” Not to mention that I purchased/funded her choice of books from Scholastic orders this entire school year. Needless to say, she has lots of books to read.
I wasn’t planning to see my daughter fall apart when I announced that while I had no problem with her purchases at Barnes and Noble, she’d have to go into her home “stash” and purchase her books with her own funds. When I told her this, you should have seen her reaction. She went on to tell me that a child should not have to pay for her own educational reading materials.
Educational? Well, although reading at any level using any material is great for children due to the fluency, comprehension, vocabulary building, and much more that they’d receive; I’d hardly think that “Big Nate” books are on the educational side. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am very happy to see my child reading, and I do not have a problem with “Big Nate” books, but the psyche, or reverse psychology she tried on me this time, just didn’t work.
Trying not to laugh and with a serious face, I convinced her that it would be wise to bring her own cash if she intended on buying new books. She asked, “How much money should I bring?” I said, well it depends on the cost of the books, so I don’t know, but I’d bring at least $30.00-40.00 if I were you.”
Later, I found out that she’d only brought $20.00 with her, but mind you her three books cost $39.09. Before we reached the clerk, I explained to her again that since her books cost more than she had in her pocket, I’d be more than happy to loan her the remainder. Trust me — I did not fail in my explanation to her that while I was helping her out I expected to receive every penny of it back when we returned back home, so I happily provided her a loan ($19.09).
Eyes rolled. These eyes were not mine.
The purchase was carried through, we left the store and ventured on into our day, had lunch at Olive Garden (on me – I will feed my child), and then ended up at the Mall. While at the Mall, my daughter decided she wanted a game for her Nintendo DS game (remember she didn’t have enough money to cover the amount for three books she wanted), but I consented to her purchase, but again explained clearly to her that I expected to get my money back. I didn’t stammer or stutter when I told her that I’d want the $37.88 back.
“Okay,” she said with a sigh. By now, I’m not fit to be called Mom!
Before leaving the Mall we stopped by Great American Cookies for cookies of course, and drinks (my treat).
We finally arrived home and I presented my daughter both receipts. She grudgingly went to her stash and counted out what she owed me and decided that I was a pitiful Mom who robbed her of her nice stash. Now she couldn’t make a $100.00 deposit and it was totally my fault.
After huffing and puffing — At one point she considered returning the game because she remembered the clerk saying that she could return it with a receipt within 30 days. I said, “Okay, that’s your decision. Just tape the receipt to the game so you won’t lose it, okay sweetie?” Eyes rolled again – again these were not my eyes. I suppose she really wanted the game because after a few minutes, she said, “Oh, I’ll keep it!”
There was a lesson learned, and I hope that my daughter learned more than I did, but I’ll admit that I learned a great deal too.
My child is okay with spending my money, but not hers. I believe that by handling these two situations this way, perhaps she’ll learn to make better decisions about how to spend her money. She’ll have to weigh her purchase decisions against her savings.
I watched my daughter sit for a while just staring at her money. She counted the remainder of her stash, and she wasn’t happy with her balance. Needless to say, she may decide to save more of her money and watch it grow in her savings account, especially since apparently she doesn’t feel so good about spending her money.
Just after Spring Break, our children will merge right into the testing season. STAAR testing will fill their lives for the next few days, and after that most will face Stanford 10. “Here a test, there a test, everywhere test – test.
What is STAAR testing really doing for our children? Granted, I realize that there certainly needs to be an accountability system in place, but are we using assessments the way that they should be used to help move children forward?
I wouldn’t mind the assessments so much if they were designed to determine our children’s strength’s, and areas that need attention/improvement. But what are teachers doing with the information that they have gathered?
Are teachers using assessment results revealed from test scores to:
- Reteach/reinforce learning?
- Learn if students are in need of differing teaching strategies that match their learning modalities?
- Find out if students learned what they were supposed to learn at a particular curricular Benchmark?
- Reveal if students mastered what they’d hope they would?
- Determine if students are prepared to undertake next set of academic goals?
- Determine is students are ready for the next layer in their curriculum?
We have new tests sure enough, but are these new tests leading to new academic opportunities for our children?
Assessments should not be used for “I gotcha moments,” or for punitive measures.
How can we reform how test results are being used? I hate the seemingly “teaching to the test” method that’s being used today.
When we don’t use test results to ultimately benefit the students, we begin to lose them academically, behaviorally, socially and we cannot afford to do this in this 21st Century.
As a parent, I find myself purchasing lots of materials that I believe may help strengthen my child. My hope is to ensure that she not only knows the material, but she feels equipped and ready on test days. Perhaps I’m more nervous than she is, but I care for her preparation and emotional state.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
I know, I know, it takes lots of time and family effort to pull school projects together, but we did it! I am happy to report that my daughter, Kelly, earned 1st place in the 5th grade Science project last week, February 18, 2013.
The title of her project was “Can Spices Keep Cucumbers Fresh?” Kelly wanted to find out which ingredient mixed with water would render cucumbers edible after being put in Mason/Ball jars and then placed in a windowsill for six (6) days.
My daughter and husband went to the local Farmer’s Market in Houston and chose four (4) cucumbers approximately the same size and length.
I had the challenge of finding the right size Mason/Ball jars to use as containers and retrieving the tri-fold board.
Kelly filled the Mason/Ball jars with 300 ml of water and put one cucumber in each jar. Each container would have its own separate ingredient. The ingredients that she chose to use are as follows: 3 tablespoons of (1) sugar, (2) salt, (3) real lemon juice extract and (4) non alcoholic white grape juice. Kelly closed the jars, my husband sealed them tightly and shook each for about 2 seconds, and then Kelly placed the four jars on a windowsill for six (6) days.
Kelly was charged with writing daily observations of how each cucumber looked over the six day period. It wasn’t until day 4 that she began to see visible changes.
Of course, Kelly had to finalize her project by writing a research paper including her purpose, hypothesis, procedures, materials used, results (charts) and conclusions. She also included her daily logs, photos and an abstract. My husband created a board for her to showcase her Mason/Ball jars and glued each to the board for ease of carrying to school. She could not put her name on the project, or show any pictures of herself.
On the day of judging, Kelly was called to the school’s Multi-purpose room to explain her project to the judges. The judges seemingly were very impressed with Kelly’s ability to explain her scientific process. They were especially impressed with her bibliography and how well she followed their instructions as she put her project together.
I can tell you that the conclusion of the project revealed a null hypothesis. There is no way that the researcher would advise eating any of the four cucumbers, although the one in salt was the closest. Since salt is a preservative, it smelled like a pickle, but Kelly still would not advise eating it.
From this family project, came lots of togetherness, cooperation, headaches, toggling back in forth with each other’s ideas, but the best of all was the togetherness and the great learning experience that my daughter gained from this – not to mention the 1st Place certificate.
Now, we are on to our next family project. Kelly is entering the G.T. Expo Contest. The theme is: Living Museum of Scientific Inventors. This time Kelly has to decide on a famous environmental scientist and/or inventor to research and bring to life. I believe that she’s decided on Alexander Fleming. You know the guy who received credit for inventing penicillin. I can’t wait to share photos and the results of this project with you.
Kelly wants to present the facts about her inventor using another tri-fold board, but I’m trying to get her to do this in the form of a creative book with a bookmark (to give to visitors). Perhaps we can do all three!
Kelly will actually have to wear a costume that represents how her inventor would have dressed, and she will have to bring a coin receptacle of some sort for visitors to deposit small change which will bring (the inventor) to life. This one will prove to be such fun!
I promise to take lots of pictures and perhaps include a video next time, okay?
Keep Your Children Smiling and Ready to Go to School – The Nightmare of Bullying – Report it Anonymously
I love to see my daughter smiling and ready for school, and I aim to keep it this way. It hurts my heart to drop her at school realizing that she’ll face another day of torments from the hands of a bully.
Many students and their parents fail to report bullying because they fear retaliation. Parents become emotional and of course want to protect their children, and most will do so “at the drop of a hat,” but children (at least mine does) will often say, “Hey wait, Mom. If you come to school and report any of this, it will only get worse. Let me try to handle it on my own.” Well, this all sounds good and of course we want our children to have the courage and problem solving skills to report incidences of bullying, but I strongly believe that when it has gotten to the point of mentioning it to a parent, it has to be the time for parental intervention. If not, perhaps the child is just asking for ideals in which to move forward in hopes for an end to the dilemma (nightmare).
Sounds sad, doesn’t it? At this point, who in the world would barge up to the school and lose all faith in the world of their child? As for myself, I’ve contemplated barging straight to the school while having the attitude that I’d dare someone to touch, or say any mean sarcastic word to her ever again once I “said my peace.” But, the truth is, and our children realize it first hand, if we did try to protect them from bullies — whether peer bullies or teacher bullies (sadly reporting), our children are exactly right – the “war is on.” This reporting issue may just backfire on them. More than I’d like to admit, peer bullies who are not directly handled and “called-out” with backing from their supportive parents (parents of the bully), or school officials, continue to bully in sneaky manipulative ways, and teacher bullies use the “power of the pen” and isolation to further torment children leaving them with guilty feelings of “Why in the world did I ever bother to tell my parents?”
With this in mind, there still has to be ways to intervene and “come to the rescue” of our children saving them from these tyrants. I’d like to stop here and offer a few tools that I hope will work for students and parents in these horrible situations.
Tools to Help Report Incidents of Bullying
- Anonymously – create a form on line asking key questions so that school officials can arrange to be in certain areas on campuses to investigate
- Privately – one-on one behind closed doors
- Parental Intervention – some children may be so “fed up” that they are able to go to their parents and have their parents intervene without a problem
- Buddy Reporting – perhaps a buddy won’t mind going to an adult for their friend who is being bullied
I’m sure that you have other tools that you can add to this list. If so, please feel free. Bullying has to end one way or another.
Video of Poems – The Bully-ee (victim) & The Bully (perpetrator)
I was just sitting there working away in my office at work when the telephone rang. It was my daughter’s 5th grade teacher. What he said on the other end of the phone paralyzed me for just a moment, so thank God for passing moments.
The teacher informed me that my daughter had been cut with a blade during Computer class. Although the teacher was not present when this occurred — as this was the student’s ancillary time, and teacher’s conference time, there was some sort of “horse-playing” going on when this incident transpired. Hmm! I wonder where the computer teacher was.
Well, I was ready to fly out of my office, but the teacher told me that my daughter had been seen by the school nurse, and she was fine. The cut was cleaned and bandaged, and there were no serious injuries, or veins severed, so I was relieved. The news that my daughter was fine, settled me down some, but I still had lots of questions. One of them was how could something like this happen at school? The teacher informed me that the young boy apparently brought the blade from home. He’d gotten it from his pencil sharpener.
Who knows what actually happened during computer time that day, but according to my daughter, she asked her friend to help her with something on the computer she was assigned to use, and when he reached over to help her, he did more than she asked him to do with the program, so she decided to pay him the same favor on his computer. Well, when she reached her hand over to his computer, he raised his hand to stop her and laid his hand on top of hers with the blade in his hand. It was a pretty good slash that drew blood.
Needless to say, this little boy had two days of in-school suspension in the Principal’s office, but I have to wonder——
- if two days of in-school suspension n the Principal’s office was enough time to let the little boy realize the severity of his actions/intensions.
- If the child ever thought about how using the blade in a different way could have really hurt or perhaps killed someone that day
- if the Principal was more lenient on this child because his mother is employed on this particular campus.
- if the mother was not an employee on this campus would the punishment differ
- if the mother ever asked the child to offer an apology to my daughter.
- why the parent didn’t attempt to contact me for an apology. I would have done so to any parent.
- if the child learned a lesson from this incident that will prevent him from making future mishaps.
- what my own child learned from this incident.
The child who brought the blade to school certainly didn’t make a wise, responsible choice that day. This was a great time to teach both children how what they do could negatively impact their lives and ruin their future. We have to teach our children to use their heads and make wiser decisions.
The enclosed photo of my daughter’s blade cut is a week later, so you can see how serious this could have been.
Photo: Compliments of Cherrye S. Vasquez
What you should know about Richardson is that she has two chronic illnesses: Multiple Sclerosis and Congestive Heart Failure, but she doesn’t allow her illnesses to control her.
What Richardson has done on her spare time as she goes to and from her doctor’s visits is created a healing prayer workbook titled, “Healing Prayer Workbook: A Journey from Illness to Healing.” Her journal was designed to assist those who are diagnosed with chronic, life changing and threatening illnesses towards a passageway of empowerment, strength and restoration. Richardson’s workbook can also be used as a guide and resource to document final wishes (if final is God’s plan). She has included pages for one to write where their Will is kept, and so much more.
I love Richardson’s workbook because it allows one to journal about their healing plight, for it is a journey — A journey of mixed emotions, fear, hope, thoughts, and emotions.
When time permits, take a closer look at Richardson’s workbook. You may know someone who would find it beneficial.
Healing Prayer Workbook: A Journey from Illness to Healing