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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Okay, at the risk of sounding like a complete asshole, I want to discuss Education Vouchers. Our state has recently put into place a program that provides education vouchers for many children in the state to give them the financial ability to attend a private school of their choosing. Sounds awesome. Finally, children who were not wealthy could still have access to a private education.

I grew up poor but was always at the top of my class. I worked my ass off because my parents stressed the value of a good education. It was important to our family.Had the voucher program been in place when I was a kid, I could have gone to private school and received a more challenging education than what my public school education could provide.

My girls attend a private co educational school because we place value and importance on education. We are by no means wealthy but we made the choice to prioritize our girl’s educations over other things.We made the decision to sacrifice in other areas. We go without some things so the girls can get the best education we can provide for them. Unfortunately, even though we are not wealthy we also don’t qualify for the education voucher but I was still 100% in favor of education vouchers because if it could help one kid who needed it to get to an education they deserved, it was perfect.

Here is the problem, the education voucher was a great idea in theory prompted by people with seemingly good intentions but in fact, it is failing miserably, in my own personal experience. You see when you attend private school, there are usually a battery of entrance requirements; interviews, stipulations, testing. Parental involvement is a must and if it’s parochial, so is involvement in the church. At out school, the staff know al the parents because we volunteer on a regular basis. We see each other several times a week and we are in many ways, a family. But when you attend private school on an education voucher none of that applies. None of it. None.Of.IT!! I don’t think that is fair at all but that’s not here or there because fair is a luxury life doesn’t usually afford us. This is not me being an elitist snob this is me stating facts.

Every morning at drop off, I see kids whose parents took the voucher and forced their kids to attend private school. Some want to be there but others don’t. I don’t begrudge a parent for wanting better for their child but if you are going to go in, go all in and be involved with their kids education more than just dropping them off at school. They are not required to be involved in school activities like the parents of traditional students. At our school, traditionally it is required that the entire family be involved. There are requirements and expectations in place for both parents and students.

We oblige because we want the education for our children and we want to optimize the experience because we are invested ourselves, financially and personally. What bothers me is that the parents of the children attending on vouchers are not required to volunteer at the school or attend the church. Since the voucher went into effect, our school rating has fallen. I think it has a lot to do with uninvolved parents who are not invested in the program because they didn’t have to pay for it and in effect, children who take for granted what they’ve been given. It’s just not that important when you don’t have to earn it or pay for it.

I’m paying a lot of money in tuition for my kid to go to what is becoming a subpar school while these other parents send their child to the same school for free. We bust our ass to meet the stringent requirements as a family in order to attend the school. Meanwhile, the parents of the voucher students don’t have to do anything. My issue is not with the children, my issue is with the program. There needs to be equal admissions qualifications for all families, vouchers aside.There needs to be academic standards in place as criteria for admissions. Some sort of academic testing should be in place and there should be an interview process in which the parents are made aware of and held to the same standards as all the other parents and students.

I think financial need should be a qualification but there needs to be testing to make sure they deserve to be there; that they can keep up educationally and that they actually want to be there. If they don’t qualify then they shouldn’t get to attend the school; voucher or not. Why should the kids whose parents have worked their asses off to provide them with a great education and who have worked hard since kindergarten to be a part of the school, now have to accept the new lower standard in education excellence?

What do you think about kids being accepted into private schools simply because they qualify for free tuition through education vouchers?

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superstar, Coca Cola, for the dream, Latinos, Hispanic Scholarship fund, how to pay for college, Latino teens, education, college

This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola but all opinions expressed about how to pay for college are my own.

I grew up working class to parents who only graduated high school. My father was a blue-collar worker in a factory and my mom stayed at home and took care of the six of us children. My grandparents were the same, only my grandfather farmed. Bottom line was that I come from a long line of people who work really hard because it was the only choice they had. My parents wanted better for their children.

I was taught from a very early age that education was the ticket to a new life. If I got a good education and worked really hard, I could have anything I wanted. I could be anyone I wanted. Live anywhere I wanted. I could do anything I wanted, if I were willing to pay the price in determination, dedication and hard work. I was never told there was another option so from the time I could remember; I worked to do my best in school. It wasn’t just about me. I was the hope for better from my parents and I was the example for my younger siblings.

This lesson was drilled into my head. I’d get A’s my dad would ask, “Why are these not A+ s?” I never felt that I could do enough but going to college was the end goal because it was the means to better. Failure was not an option. The only option I was given was to work hard and to do it. I lived my life on a mission to excel. This is what my parents wanted and it was my duty to succeed for all of us.

Now, mind you, there was never any plan in action to help me pay for this journey. They expected me to go to college but they had no intention or idea of how to pay for it. It was all up to me. I won’t lie, it was hard. I felt like I had worked hard to get the grades, I should have gotten some help when it came time to pay for university but sometimes what we expect and what we get are not the same so I had to figure it out, on my own.

I did figure it out. I applied for financial aid, I took out loans and I even did work study in my dorm’s cafeteria freshman year even thought he smell of food repulsed me. It was what I needed to do to cobble together the funds for tuition. Over the years, I would take a semester off here or there to work at odd jobs and save the money. Finally, after 8 years, I graduated with a whole lot of debt. I want better for my girls.

My girls know that I expect them to go to college. They know how important an education is in this world. It is their part of the bargain to get the grades to be accepted. It is our job as parents to help them and guide them through the financial aid process, scholarship application process and if need be take out loans for them. My goal is for them to focus on school and for us to help them succeeded in college while accruing the least amount of debt. I don’t want them leaving college with a huge financial burden hanging over their heads. I am still paying on my graduate degree loans. There has to be a better way. We have to equip our children not only with the desire to succeed but the means to get there or we are just setting them up for failure, disappointment and heartache.

This year, Coca-Cola is partnering with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help Hispanic families achieve their college dreams and aspirations, as part of the #ForTheDream Hispanic Education Program and the #ForTheDreamSweeps sweepstakes.

The purpose of Coca-Cola’s #ForTheDream program is to inspire and empower Latino teens and their families to prepare, plan and pay for their college education. Something I wish I had in my toolbox when I was preparing to go to university.

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Coca-Cola is donating $100,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. To help raise additional money toward the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Coca-Cola is donating $1 for every social media post with the hashtag #ForTheDream, up to $10,000.

Financial pressure is the number one reason that Latino youth do not attend college. As a community supporter and partner of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Coca-Cola’s #ForTheDream program is helping provide Hispanic families with the resources needed to attend a college preparatory boarding school and achieve a higher education.

Coca-Cola understands the importance Latino families place on education, and wants to provide them with the opportunity to achieve their educational goals and become future leaders. The For The Dream program has a sweepstakes component, #ForTheDreamSweeps, in which Coca-Cola is awarding one College Tour Experience and 34 x $500 grants to cover education expenses. For more details about how to get your teens ready for college you can visit the For the Dream microsite. To enter simply share a photo and Tweet or post about why education matters for our youth and community or how your family pushed you to pursue your education.

I will be giving away a Coca-Cola prize pack to one lucky reader.  Winner will be chosen on August 4th. The prize will include a fun Coca-Cola-themed Summer Prize pack that features a logo cooler bag, sunglasses, Mason jar tumbler and a visor.To enter simply leave a comment below telling me why you think an education is so important?

How will you teach your child how to pay for college?

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report card, grades, education, parenting

Do you worry about your child’s grades? Last week we attended annual Parent/Teacher conferences for our girls. They are always fairly uneventful. We go, the teachers tell us how good our girls are doing and we all go home and pat ourselves on the back. There are never any surprises.

We usually have a report card for the first quarter in hand before we ever meet with the teachers. It’s hard to argue with high honors. Mind you, we don’t necessarily want constant approval. In fact, I think parent/teacher conferences should be like managerial review meetings. Tell me 3 great things about child and then give her 2 goals of improvement to work towards. I want my child to feel challenged, not complacent because I know complacency and boredom is a recipe for trouble and failure in the long run.

This year my daughter’s 5th grade teacher threw us a curveball. She had our girl assess herself. Not surprising, my daughter marked herself “average” on all accounts. Average because we have expectations for her education that are based on more than just grades. Our expectations include love of learning, understanding concepts and being challenged. Grades are just a superficial quantification of learning. We know this.

I was raised to always strive for my best. I competed with myself. I still do because my toughest competition is myself and I want to be motivated by myself not out of envy or jealousy of someone else, it’s not healthy. This is what I have instilled in my girls. This is what my parents instilled in me.

Do grades really quantify an education?

When I was a child, I remember bringing home straight A’s and my dad asking why they were not all A+s. I remember feeling deflated. This turned me into a perfectionist and left me feeling unsatisfied in a lot of ways because I always felt like I let myself down and worse like I had let my parents down. I never wanted my girls to feel that way.

I never ask why a grade is not better. I am always proud of them and I ask them why they think a grade is what it is but mostly I just keep my eye on it and make sure that I put a little extra time in reviewing homework so I can find out and gently help them gain confidence and mastery in whatever the deficit or concept that is lacking is in. This has worked pretty well for us. I know that there is more that I can do but, for now, this is how the Big Guy and I address grades.

Imagine my surprise at the parent/teacher conference when the aforementioned 5th grade teacher, chuckled at my daughter when she answered “average” and then corrected her by saying, “if the other students listened/paid attention even 1/3 as much as you do you do, I would be happy. You, my dear, are most certainly “Above average!” My daughter looked confused, as was I.

I know, you are thinking, just shut up and be happy but what you don’t realize are few things 1) I was getting my masters in early education when I had my first child 2) I worked in education for 10 years 3) that teacher just completely undermined the expectations we had set for our daughter 4) in an instant, the teacher has lowered my daughter’s expectations for herself by making her effort seem overdone.

I’ve never liked rating/grading scales in education because really, what do they measure? It’s a moving scale. This is why we put in place expectations of our children, other than grades themselves. I want my children to feel proud and accomplished for thinking, for learning for craving more knowledge. It’s not just about a grade. I don’t want my children to be afraid to feel challenged. I want them to be exhilarated by it.

And before you start thinking I’m one of those mom’s who thinks their children are “gifted”, I don’t. I do think they are smart and capable of more than the expectations the school is setting for them. Of course the school is only responsible for passing grades, it’s my job as their mother to advocate for them and teach them to expect more from themselves than just “average”.

My daughter said, “average” because she knows that the effort that she is giving is not her best. Granted maybe a well-behaved child, who listens, pays attention and engages 97% of the time is better than the average student for that teacher, but it is not better than my daughter’s average and my daughter knows that.

I found myself to be completely annoyed by this teacher. I think she could have told my daughter that she thinks she is doing great without going so far as to say, “compared to the other students” because I’ve not taught my daughters to give a flip about what others are doing. I don’t teach my daughters to gauge their success by someone else’s failures only by their own feeling of satisfaction.

As a mom, I believe my number one purpose is to love my daughters but it is also my responsibility to encourage them to go after their dreams, honor their commitments and think for themselves. I’m doing my best but it’s hard because parenting is not an exact science.

What do you think? Do our expectations for our children distort their expectations of themselves? Is it better to encourage our children to strive for their own personal best?

How important do you think grades are to your child’s education?

 

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How To Continue Education During The Coronavirus Pandemic

By now, we are all painfully aware that Coronavirus is serious. President Trump has stopped visitors from the EU, and other countries around the world, from entering the US. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re officially amid a Coronavirus pandemic. The WHO classes a pandemic as “the occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness… clearly in excess of normal expectancy.” Life is definitely not normal at the moment, it feels like we’re living in a sci-fi horror film, so the World Health Organization must be right. Aside from every other fear on our minds, the nagging thing we have to consider is how To Continue Education During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

READ ALSO: Parents who Send Sick Kids to School are the Worst

But, most families’ routine isn’t going to stop in its tracks because you can’t afford it to. Education is a prime example as many Americans will still need to go to work and some kids still need to get to school or a daycare center, though many of our children’s schools have been suspended indefinitely. These are uncertain and unpredictable times. How can you still get your kid an education during an outbreak of one of the worst health crises in the past decade?

Homeschool

As a mom, you always have the right to homeschool your kids. It’s not as simple as pulling them out and starting the curriculum halfway through as you have a life, too. However, if you’re worried about the state of the education system right now, it’s not unfeasible.

Speak to The School

Parents have the final say; however, your children’s daycare or school isn’t off the hook. If the virus starts to get in the way of education, the teachers and principal should craft a plan to limit the damage. For example, they might upload the classes onto an online program that allows the students to complete the work at home. 

Study Via E-Learning Technology

Let’s not forget that the children aren’t the only ones studying in the US. Plenty of adults are trying to better themselves also. As a grown-up, you have the flexibility to decide against attending class, where kids don’t. I’m actually going back to school myself in April and it will be online. As far as the kids go, I was keeping them home Monday no matter what (I’m the parent and their health and safety is my top priority).

READ ALSO: Working with Preschoolers

Luckily, the girls have the luxury of using E-learning at their schools, not every child does. Even so, it’s essential to study hard to stay on track for good grades and to ensure their hard work doesn’t go to waste. Thankfully, currently, the world is more technologically savvy regarding e-learning, so it should be as easy as logging-on and completing studies from home.

Practice Good Hygiene

In a health scare such as this one, it’s vital that everybody practices quality hygiene. It’s up to the parents to help their kids maintain a high standard as they’ll happily drop the ball. Believe me, if working with preschoolers has taught me anything this year, it’s been the power of germs and the lack of childhood hygiene. As adults, it’s our responsibility to help them. That means packing extra tissues for coughs and sneezes and leaning on hand gel and antibacterial gel. Try not to touch your face, either, and get the kids to follow your lead. If you are having a hard time explaining this to them, you may want to grab a Kids Hygiene Book so that you can show and educate them easily the importance of practicing good hygiene. Hopefully, these tips will keep the whole country safe.

How is your family life-changing during the Coronavirus pandemic?

 

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college, graduation, education, national hispanic fund, coca cola, family, latinos

This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola however, all opinions expressed about the importance of education are my own.

Since I was a tiny little girl of an immigrant father, I was taught that education was going to be my vehicle to success in life. My dad worked in a factory, my parents had six children and my mom stayed home to raise us, we were financially poor but rich in family and love. That’s what I grew up wanting only without so much of the financial struggle. They wanted better for us.

My parents are both very smart but only had a high school education. My dad came from a farming family and my mom came from blue-collar workers in the south. They did the best they could with the cards they were dealt. They were hard workers (still are) and did everything they could to provide their six children with all the necessities but there were not a lot of luxury left over. At the end of every day, my parents were exhausted. They wanted better for us.

I learned, as an adult, that when we were small, my parents felt a lot of frustration and disappointment in not being able to provide us with more opportunities. It didn’t matter to us, not really. We had food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and parents who loved us the best they could. We never had to worry about people using us for the things we had and our parents never had to worry about us taking our belongings for granted, we had to develop strong personalities and learned early on to appreciate everything that we had. I think it played a big part in the worth ethic we have now as adults. They wanted better for us.

My parents wanted us to have everything we wanted in life. They wanted us to work smarter not harder and they wanted us to spend more time enjoying life not just working and living paycheck to paycheck. It was imperative that each of us got a good education only they had no means and no idea of how to pay for it. They wanted better for us.

college, graduation, education, national hispanic fund, coca cola, family, latinos

They taught me from the age of reasoning that education was the great equalizer and no matter if I was a woman, a Latina or from a blue-collar family who lived in the ghetto, I could still grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer or anything else I wanted to be. The only limitation to my success was my own ability to work for it. They wanted better for us.

I knew that if I worked really hard and got the grades, I had the chance to go to school anywhere I wanted to and that meant the chance to be anything I wanted to be. That was a very powerful lesson that they taught me about life in general and it has stuck with me. If I close my eyes, I can still here my mom telling me, “ Where there is a will, there is always a way.” I believed her, even if she didn’t believe it for herself. It is probably the most important lesson they ever taught me. Its what made me the woman I am today.

I knew that an education could help me change my situation. Just because I was born poor or whatever didn’t mean that I had to spend my whole life in that same situation. Just because my parents only had high school educations didn’t mean that’s all I could have. Just because my parents had to make the best of what life gave them, I didn’t have to accept that. They wanted better for us just like all parents do.

I figured out on my own how to go to college. I worked hard for the grades and got accepted to all the schools that I applied to but I still didn’t have the money. I figured out how to apply for financial aid with the help of some of my friends and eventually, I applied for scholarships but I had waited so long that I’d missed most of the deadlines. I didn’t know any better and neither did my parents. They wanted better for us.

Eventually, I settled on a reputable state school because the ivy league schools that I got accepted to didn’t offer enough scholarship funds to cover the tuition and my parents couldn’t afford to even fly me home on holidays. I felt jilted. I had worked my tail off to get accepted to these prestigious schools and then I had no way to pay for it. I compromised my dreams because of money but I made the best of the opportunities that were available to me. I was the first person on either side of my family to ever go to college. I even went on to graduate school. Still, I want better for my children and that’s why I’m preparing now for my girl’s K8 education, which is available via Monte Cassino School.

Coca-Cola’s #ForTheDream program empowers Hispanic families to prepare, plan and pay for their teen’s college education, and inspires Hispanic students to pursue their higher education dreams and become future leaders.

This will prevent parents and students alike from not being caught off guard when the time comes for college. No child should ever have to sacrifice her education goals because of money, especially not when she’s done the work to earn it.

Although college enrollment has increased tremendously during the past two decades, the Latino population lags behind other groups when it comes degrees earned. This might be fueled by financial pressure for some students to support their families before graduation. As part of its commitment to the Hispanic community, Coca-Cola HSF #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program aims to empower Hispanic families to put their teens in the fast track to higher education.

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Coca-Cola understands the importance Hispanic families place on education, and wants to help them prepare, plan and pay for college, while aiding their Latino students achieve higher education. Coca-Cola is coming together again with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help Hispanic families achieve their college dreams and aspirations, as part of the #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program. Coca-Cola is donating $150,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to be awarded in college scholarships to qualifying students. Applications are being accepted from January 1 until March 30, 2016. Resources available to help complete it are on the For The Dream microsite.

How are you preparing for your child’s education?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

When I was growing up, kids were encouraged to play outside. It was the most natural thing to see children outside playing; climbing trees, riding bikes, playing tag, kickball, or just running. Neighborhood parks were our favorite place to be.

Of course, when I was growing up there wasn’t the Internet. There were no laptops, iPads, kindles or Google. There were computers but they were big and bulky and not everyone had access to them. If you wanted to know what the name of that guy was who did the voice of that character in your favorite movie, you couldn’t Google it, you had to get up off your butt, go to the library and check the encyclopedias, the papers and the magazines. It was a whole big thing so why not just go swimming with your friends?

healthy kids, things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent

These days, kids are becoming tech savvy at a lot younger age. The Internet is commonplace and as we evolve technologically, we seem to be doing a lot more sitting and a lot less moving. Kids are not playing outside like they used to. Physical education is being phased out. Recess is becoming viewed as an obsolete dinosaur because who needs fresh air and playing on jungle gyms when you can play a video game about being outside and playing on jungle gyms?

things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent, healthy kids

We’re supposed to be moving forward but in a way, I feel we are moving backwards. Just because we have the Internet to answer every question we can ever dream of that doesn’t mean that we should stop moving, just because we can.

I believe our children’s physical health and well-being is just as important as their intellect, maybe more so because we only have one body and once that body is damaged, it’s hard to repair that. Research shows kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day and PE programs can help get them there so why not teach our kids at a very young age to cherish their bodies and physical well-being.

healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

It’s our job as parents to ensure that our little ones are healthy, and for me that includes advocating for physical education and more recess. In a world where it is getting easier and easier to do everything from the touch of a button, it’s important that we instill in our children not only the importance of physical activity, but the habit of moving. We need to model that behavior from a very early age. Heaven knows it’s easier to hand our kids the phone to play than to stop what we are doing and engage them physically, but we have to make the time and find the energy to just do it.

Childhood obesity is not only “a thing” in our society but it is commonplace. We live in a world where super-sized everything is the norm, and it is cheaper to buy junk food than it is to buy healthy food. Did you realize only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year?

Kids don’t get time to just play anymore. Everything is scheduled and those schedules are packed. In my family, 6 days a week, my girls have extracurricular activities. It just so happens that their activities are physical, but there is very little time for free play and not all kids have these kinds of rigorous physical schedules. This is one of the reasons they don’t spend a lot of time on their devices. A healthy body fosters a healthy mind and increases academic performance. That’s a good thing, in my opinion.

healthy kids

I try to fill our summers with activities like hiking, bike riding, swimming and playing outside. The girls like to spend a lot of time on the trampoline, slack line and zip line and luckily for us, they are not that into being on the computer unless it’s for homework. They’ve not discovered Minecraft or video games yet.

I’m always advocating for more recess and additional days of physical education because those days are important, not only for our children’s physical well-being but their mental well-being too. PE addresses the needs of the whole child, positively impacting their physical, mental, and emotional health. Physical education also seems to have a positive impact on children’s self-confidence because when you feel more physically fit, you feel stronger and more confident.

things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent

We encourage our girls to embrace physical activity and to strive to be their healthiest. The Voices for Healthy Kids initiative aims to foster a national conversation about the need to ensure quality physical education as a part of every child’s education.

Throughout 2017, they’re aiming to deliberately and consistently insert the need for expanded PE into the national dialogue to push for changes in the states and communities where change is most needed and where clear opportunities exist.

healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding!

But here’s the caveat: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding. 95% of parents with children under the age of 18 think PE should be part of the school curriculum for all students K-12. I agree. Children need PE, as often as possible.

Do you know if your kids are getting enough PE? Protect PE by joining the PE Action Team at www.voicesforhealthykids.org/PE

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public school, private school, bad parent, good parent, education

Hi, my name is Debi and I am a product of public school. Before you get your panties in a wad about the title, this is in response to a post on Slate called, If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.

Let me start by saying (or admitting, as Slate would have you believe it’s a crime) that I send my children to private school. GASP! I don’t really believe you are a bad person for sending your kid to public school. I believe that as parents we all do the best we can for our kids. If trying our best makes us terrible then we’re all the worst kind of parents.

I didn’t go to private school and neither did my husband. We grew up blue collar. I am one of six kids who had a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked as a forklift driver in a factory. We survived on one blue-collar salary, Tang, public school and all the gluten. We survived. We overcame but I’m not sure any of us thrived in that situation.

Let me put this in further perspective, I was a gifted child in all honors classes and still I was not challenged. I was bored and by the time I was in high school, I was so unchallenged that I hated going to school because it felt like a waste of my time.

I wasn’t thriving because even the best at my public school wasn’t good enough.

When I had children, I knew that if I could afford it, I wanted to send them to private school. More specifically, I wanted to send them to Catholic school because I liked the idea of more challenging academics with constant spiritual nurturing incorporated into their daily routine. Yes, you can do that at home on your own but I like the idea of spirituality and faith being present daily and, perhaps more importantly, how it molds them and the children they spend their days with.

We are not independently wealthy. We are middle class parents who have made the decision that we want to give our children the best opportunity to grow and learn at a young age. In making this decision, we have accepted the fact that we may have to sacrifice other things. Things like extravagant vacations and a larger house. Don’t feel sorry for us, we still travel a couple times a year, our home is in a wonderful neighborhood in the suburbs and there is always plenty to eat. We made the decision to invest in their future but it’s not compromising our present in any way that is too much for us to bear.

The author of the article said that parents who put their children in private school are bad parents because we are doing a disservice to the other children of the world because after all, doesn’t every child deserve a great education? Yes, they do but it is not my place to save the world. It is my responsibility to do for my children. The only way the author’s scenario works is if you take private schools out of the equation entirely. Then, and only then, will all focus shift to bettering the public schools which I wholeheartedly agree needs to be done.

Those who follow her idea of putting our children into public schools with subpar curriculums now to make education better unintentionally make our children martyrs to the cause. I’m not willing to sacrifice my children’s education in hopes that I might be able to make the world a more level playing ground for future generations of hypothetical children. Meanwhile, failing the two I gave birth to. It is not my right to sacrifice their future. It is my duty to protect it.

By this author’s logic, I can argue that if you have the means and you don’t put your child in private school, then you don’t love your child at all. If I am a monster for caring for my children and doing my best to give them every opportunity to excel in this world then so be it because at the end of the day, my only responsibility is to my children.

Raising good humans who are functional, contributing and caring members of society is literally the most important thing a parent will ever do with their life. This is done by being present, be involved and giving them the guidance to achieve their hopes and dreams and that all starts with a good education. The system is failing the public schools, not me.

Are we bad people because we didn’t send our children to public school?

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Going back to work, stay-at-home mom, new career

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Have you taken a break from corporate America to be at home and raise your family? Maybe you’re thinking of dipping your toe back in the office pond? You’re not alone. It’s scary.

A few months ago, I got really excited about the thought of returning to a corporate job. I actually got way more excited than I expected to. Dare I say I was giddy. Suddenly, the thought of someone calling me by my actual name and not needing me to keep them alive was very appealing. I felt wanted for my brain and it was amazing.

Building a fulfilling career is a challenge that a lot of people struggle with. It takes years of pushing yourself in the right direction and doing the hard work to move up the ladder. It’s easy to end up back at square one in the process, especially if you take time out for personal reasons, like raising a family. Nobody wants to hear it but it’s true even if it shouldn’t be.

READ ALSO: Working Mom Guilt; Finding the Balance 

Raising children takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s no wonder that you have to work twice as hard if you are trying to balance that with climbing the ladder in corporate America. Let’s be honest mamas and papas, I’ve only got two legs and after spending the day chasing little ones and running behind eye-rolling teenagers, my two legs and my brain are exhausted.

That shouldn’t keep us from having the careers we went to school for and worked so hard for before we became parents. Being a parent should not mean an automatic, go to jail do not pass go. We should not be penalized. Let’s be honest, parents need the money more than anyone else. Kids are expensive.

If you’re planning on returning to the workforce, hopefully, this post will help pump you up to go out there and do you.

Why Do It?

First, decide what your ‘why’ is? What is your reason for wanting to return to work? If you’re like me, your “why” are those little people whose butts and noses you’ve been wiping for the past few years. Then, get your head in the right space. There are so many reasons to want to build a career as your kids grow up, from wanting something different in your life to planning ahead for when the kids are grown. You have to decide what makes it worth it for you and your family. Obviously, there are benefits anyone would get from this, you’ll find a few below.

Money: While working any “job” can provide enough money for you to live on, especially if you are going from a 1 to 2 income household, but getting something higher up the ladder will obviously present the potential to earn more money. This extra money could go towards a vacation home, helping your kids as they start their own careers, traveling the world or just saving for a rainy day. But, I’ll be honest, if I’m leaving the house and my family, it’s got to be worth it, so the higher up the ladder, the better to me.

READ ALSO: Would You Prefer Being Divorced over Being a Stay-at-Home Parent?

Satisfaction: Personal fulfillment is a big motivator. I used to speak 4 languages. Now, my first languages are baby gibberish and teen slang. Retirement sounds like the real American dream when you’re in a job you hate. However, the reality is that spending all of that time focused on yourself might not be all it’s all cracked up. You might actually find it to be boring, especially if you take early retirement. By building a career doing something that you love you can add a lot of satisfaction to your work life and when you do retire it will be because you’re ready to relax not because you are trying to get away from a job you hate.

Personal Value: Not everyone cares about being around other people, and will be happy to work for themselves for their entire life. If you value the community to live in, maybe you pursue a career as a way of increasing your personal value to your local area. For example, entering a new field where you are contributing value to your community may be something that you find fulfilling and fills a need for the people in your area.

Your Direction

Now that you’ve considered the benefits, time to think about how you’re going to build your career. First, decide on your direction. This doesn’t have to be as specific as the company you’d like to work for or the exact role you want, as long as it gives you a clear path to follow. Not a lot of people take this approach, but it can be a good idea to build your goals into something like a business plan. Having a plan will help you find your way to the career path you want.

This is a serious decision and it’s important that you consider everything and everyone this move will affect. You’ll want a career that you will enjoy and this will probably be the most important factor for most of us, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. It’s also worth considering the things that you’re good at, as well as those things that you struggle with. If, for example, you’re good at coding, then you should also search for job opportunities like remote programming jobs. With these considerations in mind, it should be easy to find a fulfilling career path that you’ll love. You’ll need to do lots of research to find something you can jump into that meets all of your criteria.

Education

There are several hurdles that you’ll need to overcome before you can find yourself a new career, and education is one of the biggest. It’s common for employers to expect degrees and certifications from potential employees, even if the jobs being advertised don’t require them. The market is oversaturated with qualified people. With Professor Google, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what you need and you can easily search for courses to upgrade your qualifications.

Research: This will start with a little bit of research, with each of the courses you have available asking for different requirements. There are websites out there which collect and compare qualifications, but you may have to do some extra searching to make sure that you’re not missing an option that could be perfect for you.

READ ALSO: If You Send Your Kids to Public School, You’re the Worst

Type Of Study: Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly common for schools to offer e-learning courses. These options are perfect for those who want to raise children at the same time as learning. Not everyone will have the discipline or attention span for something like this, so seriously consider the commitment before you decide to take on something like a BBA online to become a business manager.

Get Qualified: Once you know what kind, of course, you’d like to take and how you’d like to do it, it’s time to start getting qualified. This could take anywhere from a couple of months to several years, making it hard for a lot of people to stay focused and motivated. If you start when your kids are babies, you’ll have lots of great opportunities to do some learning as they grow up. Or maybe you prefer to wait until they are in school or at a child care center all day, either way, where there is a will there is a way. You can do this.

Experience

Along with working on your education to build a new career or return to the one you had, you may also need to spend some time thinking about the experience you have. While you need to work to be able to get experience, most roles will expect a minimum of a few years working in an entry-level role before you can get into something better. For some people, this will be a normal part of progression, and it won’t be too hard to push yourself to work for a few years before you can get the job you really want. However, maybe you’ve been doing some on the job training as a parent that you haven’t even considered. For example, I think my organization and multitasking skills have definitely grown as I’ve been working with children for the past 14 years.

As your kids grow up, you will have plenty of opportunities to get experience. If you wanted to become an office manager, for example, it would make sense to spend some time working in the school office or a local doctor’s office. This can be done when the kids are at school, and even as little as one day a week can be enough to build the background you need. This will enable you to slip into your new career far more quickly once the kids have left home, and won’t force you to spend the first leg of your career doing entry-level work.

Getting Your New Job

After all of this effort, it’ll feel like you’ve done more than enough to get the job of your dreams. In reality, though, you still have to go through the application and interview process. Applying for a Remote Executive Assistant job is simple enough; you only need a resume, a cover letter, and experience. There are loads of resources around the web that can help you with this. Employers will get far more applications than they need, and your documents could end up simply being ignored. This isn’t something you can control but makes sense to cast a wide nest and apply for as many jobs as possible.

If you’re successful with your application, you’ll be asked for an interview, and this will usually be face to face. This can be equally terrifying and surprisingly exciting. This is where I got to in the process. Prepare for your interview. Even if you feel confident, a question you’re unprepared for can easily throw you off your game. There are lots of resources on the web to help you prep for an interview. You might get confusing and difficult questions, but it will be worth taking the time to think about each of them. Anything that makes you feel more at ease in the interview process is an asset and a weapon that puts you ahead of the other candidates.

READ ALSO: What’s the DIfference Between a SAHM and Working Moms?

In most cases, you will only ever hear back from an employer if you’ve got the job, with the rest of the candidates being ignored. It’s not worth letting your hope die if a couple of months go by, though, as a lot of businesses have to go through long processes to hire someone, and won’t be able to get back to you until everything is properly in place. Unfortunately for me, that position that I was really excited about got put on hold according to the last email I received from the HR department. But still, it felt good to be interviewed and see a company get excited about what I have to offer.

With all of this in mind, are you ready to take on the challenge of building a career while you’re a full-time parent? And what parent isn’t a full-time parent? This approach can make your future more enjoyable with more money, satisfaction, and skills you’ve ever had before all working together to provide you and your family with a higher quality of life.

Are you ready to go back to work?

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Tips to Help your Teen Survive

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

We’ve all been so worried about keeping our kids safe from Coronavirus that we’ve forgotten to keep their mental health safe from seclusion. Check in on your teens and little ones, they are not alright. Not even close. I put my girls in therapy last April at the beginning of the pandemic and they are still struggling. We can’t shelter them from the world but we can try to ease the weight of the world so many of us are feeling. Below are some Tips to Help your Teen Survive Depression, Anxiety and Pandemic Burnout.

It’s not fine. We’re not fine. They’re not fine. The kids are not alright.

We’ve been quarantining since March 9th. Our life went on pause and everything we had planned for the spring and summer was canceled. Nothing is like it’s supposed to be. The new normal absolutely sucks. We are a family of huggers and kissers. Friends are family and family is everything. We’re explorers and adventurers. We celebrate life in the small moments but this past year has been hard to find the silver linings.

Disclaimer: Firstly, let me start by saying I am not a therapist or a trained mental health professional. I’m just a mom who is very self-aware, has years of therapy under her built and pays a professional to treat her children. A good licensed mental health professional to follow for great tips is Katie Hurley.

Bella turned 15 last March 10th and 16 this year. March 14th , 2020 was supposed to be her quinceañera. We planned for years for her big day. Everything was ready to go. The dress, the court, the venue, DJ, photographer and videographer. It was going to be the quinceañera she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl. Friends and family from around the country were flying and driving in to celebrate our special girl. I can’t even put into words the devastation I felt taking that away from her. It hurts to even think of it now, especially since we rescheduled it to August 8th and had to postpone once again. Instead of getting the quinceañera of her dreams, she didn’t even get a proper birthday celebration. Her birthday was basically skipped for the past two years thanks to CoVid.

Gabs turned 13 last May, the day after what was supposed to be last day of school. There was no party. No family and friends to hug and play with. There’s no theme or games in the backyard. There was no bbq with 50 of her favorite people. There was a birthday drive-by parade which made her pandemic heart break with gratitude for those who showed up. She felt alone and forgotten. The smallest gestures mean so much when human contact is few and far between.

But how do you help your teen survive pandemic burnout?

https://youtu.be/gXFjjwGlVsw

We’ve learned not to take things for granted. We know the worth of our freedom to move throughout the world safely. We know the value of a hug and human interaction in real time. Virtual is a poor substitute but it may be the only thing offered at the moment.

Our kids are resilient. They are strong and they are amazing. They carry on even when they want to give up but everyone has their breaking point, even you and I. I’ve been doing everything that I’m supposed to do and still, people I love are getting sick. People I know are dying. My heart is breaking but I’m trying hard to keep my mental stability. Manic mom has even made an appearance this pandemic and I was hoping to never see her again. I’m trying to be strong for the Big Guy and the girls but even I notice that while I’ve had to adopt the let it go, one day at a time mentality, I am also holding on to things. I’m holding on to things and anxious about things I don’t even realize.

I’ve started clenching my jaw and my fists in my sleep from stress. I wake up sore. I’ve started finding myself angry for no reason at all or maybe it’s for every reason under the sun. Why would I think my girls are any different? They are younger with less life experience and more hormones. How could I forget that?

Check in on your kids. They are not alright.

https://youtu.be/BrP9UW9eOts

My girls have been overly silly. At first, I was annoyed by this but then I realized this silliness is what is allowing them to get through this unbelievably stressful time. If they need to regress and find joy in the simplest things, who am I to judge? Right now, all bets are off. We’re all just trying to get through this pandemic. We’re in survival mode and that’s ok. Unfortunately, all that silliness has begun to give way to anxiety, depression and burnout and not just for them. I am burnt out too.

I’m so over virtual learning. Not only have my girls been virtual all year long, so have I. I had the bright idea to get a masters and enrolled a month pre pandemic. I’ve been struggling with burn out myself for the past couple months but watching my girls buckle under the pressure and anxiety of this non-stop pandemic life is too much. I hate it for them and can do very little to make it better other than pay for therapy and give out random hugs and encouragement all day.

Worse, I feel like I’m failing at that because I’m struggling myself. I hate all of this. There’s 2 weeks left of school for the girls and I feel like we’re all drowning. There’s no down time and days and nights are just one long exercise in never ending lists of shit to get done. I want to scream but I’m afraid if I start, I’ll never be able to stop. F*ck you pandemic and all the people who aren’t doing their part. I’m tired of my cage. I know this will pass but watching my girls struggle is the worst.

https://youtu.be/F_9K8Pgekwo

Tips to help your teen survive depression, and anxiety and overcome pandemic burn out.

  • Create calm times of the day, preferably an hour or longer.
  • Spend time with them doing silly and fun things like playing a game, being outdoors, cooking a fun meal (this helps kids calm down their nervous system so they aren’t so triggered by stress), or just plain talking.
  • Structure helps kids know what to expect which always improves stress.
  • Sleep and eat well (less sugar).
  • Help them write about their feelings.
  • Get them a therapist, many are offering virtual right now. Do it.
Tips to Help your Teen Survive  Depression, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Anxiety, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Pandemic Burnout

Anxiety specific simple but effective grounding techniques

Grounding Techniques
Grounding is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. They help reorient a. person to the here-and-now and in reality. Grounding skills can be helpful in managing overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intensely emotional state. 

Grounding skills occur within two specific approaches: Sensory Awareness and Cognitive Awareness.

Sensory Awareness
Grounding Exercise #1:
Begin by tracing your hand on a piece of paper and label each finger as one of the five
senses. Then take each finger and identify something special and safe representing each
of those five senses. For example: Thumb represents sight and a label for sight might be
butterflies or my middle finger represents the smell sense and it could be represented by
lilacs.
After writing and drawing all this on paper, post it on your refrigerator or other safe
places in the home where it could be easily seen and memorize it.
Whenever you get triggered, breathe deeply and slowly, and put your hand in front of
your face where you can really see it – stare at your hand and then look at each finger and
try to do the five senses exercise from memory.

Grounding Exercise #2:
• Keep your eyes open, look around the room, notice your surroundings, notice
details.
• Hold a pillow, stuffed animal or a ball.
• Place a cool cloth on your face, or hold something cool such as a can of soda.
• Listen to soothing music
• Put your feet firmly on the ground
• FOCUS on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.

Sensory Awareness Grounding Exercise #3:
Here’s the 54321 “game”.
• Name 5 things you can see in the room with you.
• 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on floor”)
• 3 things you can hear right now (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”)
• 2 things you can smell right now (or, 2 things you like the smell of)
•1 good thing about yourself

Cognitive Awareness Grounding Exercise:
Re-orient yourself in place and time by asking yourself some or all of these questions:

Where am I?

What is today?

What is the date?

What is the month?

What is the year?

How old am I?

What season is it?

Tips for parents

Build coping skills. One thing kids and teens need to hear on repeat is that all emotions are okay. There is no right or wrong way to feel about this global pandemic. Parents should get in the habit of checking in with each child privately throughout the day to give them an opportunity to verbalize feelings and talk about triggers.

Learn how to manage anger. Now is the time to figure out some techniques to decrease negativity in the home. In other words, stop yelling. Parents have a lot on their plates, and it is difficult to juggle work responsibilities, parenting responsibilities, keeping the family physically and emotionally safe, and running a distance-learning school. Chances are, you feel like you might snap at times.

Adjust expectations. To hear social media tell it, this is a time when everyone should be enjoying every moment and learning new things as a family (a privilege not everyone shares). And parents suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat for their children’s education, expected to manage distance learning regardless of resources, finances, work schedules and child-care struggles. Then there are the expectations parents have of their kids regarding learning, training for extracurricular activities and being “productive” during this time away from school.

Practice empathic communication. There’s a lot we don’t have control over right now, and that can trigger negative emotions, but we can control how we respond to and communicate with others. One thing I hear on that tiny screen day after day during my sessions with kids: I just want my parents to understand me.

Tap into technology, and stay connected. Many parents spend a fair amount of time trying to manage and limit screen time. There are positives and negatives to technology, though, and now is the time to tap into the positives. It’s still important to focus on balance and make sure that kids and teens are getting exercise and engaging in activities that don’t involve screens, but technology can be a source of support, connection and education.

Parents, don’t forget to take care of your own mental health. It’s hard to help your teen survive depression, anxiety and pandemic burnout if you are holding on by a thread yourself. Believe me, I know. Find yourself some coping mechanisms and a licensed therapist.

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passing notes, bullying, teacher not paying attention, raising girls

I don’t usually complain about my kid’s school. In fact, I mostly love their school. If you have children in a parochial school you already know this but kids who attend parochial just seem to consider consequences of actions more than the average kid. Our children’s education is based on a foundation of charity, family and faith. Kindness, compassion and respect for others is reinforced in the classroom from the beginning. I’m thrilled to see the lessons we teach at home being reinforced at school. These are good kids. This is why I work to pay tuition. For us it is worth it. So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I hear of a child behaving in a way counterintuitive to everything they are taught. What’s worse is when the teacher ignores or misses it.

What’s not worth it is to expect all this and then realize that this year, you got the teacher who is not invested and never accessible unless you pop into the classroom and even then there is a very good chance then that you’ll be cutoff midsentence and asked to leave. True story. I am used to teachers who, if call or email about my child, respond. I am used to teachers who pay attention to what is going on in the classroom and handle it.

For the past 3 years, my oldest has been victim to some bullying and every year, I contacted the teacher and he or she handled it. We worked together and it all ended up fine without too much emotional scarring but it took all parties involved to be invested. This year, one of her previous bullies is in her class again. It’s a very uncomfortable situation.

Yesterday at pick up, my 8-year old got in the car and immediately started telling me about her day at school and then started crying telling me that her teacher thought she was bullying a little boy and she swears she didn’t do it. When she tried to explain, the teacher called her a bully. You see the same little mean girl who bullied her in 1st grade is in my daughter’s class again this year and this time she has a new victim, a little boy in the classroom who sits next to my daughter. The little girl wrote a note of insults about the boy and put 4 girl’s names next to them. Girls she also doesn’t like. Then she showed the little boy. Then she gave it to my daughter. My daughter knows that we have a zero bullying tolerance. She told the girl to erase her name and when the girl wouldn’t, my daughter went to the teacher, only to be shushed and told to sit down. A few minutes later the little girl threw the paper at my daughter and the teacher saw it mid-flight and assumed the girls were passing notes and when she saw what the note said she moved the girls apart and then told all five girls (the child who wrote all of it and the other 4 girls names who she had put on the sheet (as far as I am concerned victims too) that she will be bringing up the “bullying” incident at Friday’s parent teacher conferences.

Now this all comes after a week of my trying to get in contact with the teacher via email about the Halloween party I’m organizing, with NO ANSWER to any of my emails. This also comes after she almost made my child wet her pants because she wouldn’t allow her to use the restroom (I have since told my child that if she needs to go..go and I will deal with the consequences rather than her piss her pants and deal with the ridicule). My daughter is 8, I think she knows if she really has to piss. So this teacher has been, in my opinion, half-assing a lot of things this year.

I have a couple problems with the whole “bullying” incident because 1) if the teacher would have taken a second to just listen to my daughter when she tried to give her the note in the first place and not shushed her maybe the little boy would never had gotten the chance to see it and she would have known who was doing what. 2) If she paid attention to my daughter in class at all, she would know that doing something like this is not in her nature especially since she has been bullied herself. 3) When I called her to discuss the incident (5 minutes after pick up) she was gone and never called me back this morning. I think if you are going to be throwing around the word “bullying” and label my child you should at least answer the phone message of a concerned parent who wants to know what’s going on because if my daughter is not the perpetrator she shouldn’t be labeled and punished and if she is then she should be punished by her father and I.

She swears she never said the things written on the note after a long and thorough discussion, I believe her. I still told her that she needs to apologize to the little boy; to which she said she already had when he first saw it. My husband has told her to show a little extra kindness to the child who was insulted because he’s probably feeling pretty down. I just want to get to the bottom of all of this so we can take the proper steps to stop this kind of shit from happening to our children. If I were that little boy’s mom, I’d be livid. Things like this can stick with you forever.

I need your advice. As a parent, what would you do?

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