Gullible citizens and prudent citizens

Proverbs 14:15  “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.”

As the first session of our 29th state legislative session comes to an end, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.  This is not intended to come close to a comprehensive review of every bill presented over the past few months, or every legislator’s move.  What I do intend to address are the bills which were most important to me and the communications I had with legislators concerning those bills.

First up is Senate Bill 89, now being called CSSB89.  Below, you can read the sponsor statement on this committee substitute bill, and following that is a video of Senator Dunleavy which puts into words my own thoughts and findings.

SB89 Sponsor Statement for CS(EDC) Version

It is my firm belief that education of one’s child(ren) is not only a parental right, but also their obligation.  While some parents choose to hire out that responsibility to a public/private/charter school for one reason or another (I’m not judging individual situations here), others choose to take the lead and educate their children based out of their home.  In the end, it is parents who are held responsible for the education and direction of their child, regardless of who they chose to raise their child.  SB 89 reinforces this idea, while at the same time ensuring that the most involved parents are not penalized in some way for their awareness and sobriety in raising their future adults.  Also included in this bill is direction to keep abortion service providers and their materials out of schools.  I’m all for a qualified science teacher addressing the biology of human procreation and answering questions raised by their students.  I’m even for these teachers addressing the risks involved in physical intimacy, especially before marriage, and especially with multiple partners.  I am not for outside organizations who make money from the murder of infants and the destruction of families entering into the schools under the guise of educating the high-risk youth population.  Abortion service providers are attempting to put a band-aid (albeit one that causes more damage) on a problem that runs far too deep for them to come close to touching.

Now for Senate Bill 80, also sponsored by Senator Mike Dunleavy…

SB 80 Sponsor Statement

For many people, it may seem that education reform snuck up on us overnight.  I contend that the greatest atrocities to public education in the United States have been implemented within my own generation.  Standards have dropped, been adjusted, re-worded, slid up and down scales, and who knows what else.  Test have been created in order to collect data on school and teacher performance, thereby placing children into little boxes that must perform accordingly.  The jobs of teachers and administrators are now on the backs of our children, and schools that fail to perform according to varying formulas must create ridiculous plans in which they outline how they will fix whatever they perceive to be the problem.  Madness.  All madness.  How much better would it be to apply the absurd amount of funds currently applied to teaching teachers how to teach every new set of standards, implementing new tests and exams, and conforming to the federal government’s latest programs, to the paychecks of those educators on the front lines?  How much better off would we all be, if we were to go cold turkey from the strings-attached cash flow from the federal government, and take care of our own darn selves?  How much better off would our schools be – can you imagine?! – if we were to jump off the “latest and greatest curriculum” train and educate our children using *gasp* traditional texts and classic literature?  What if…?

What I appreciate about SB 80 is that AK DEED would no longer be allowed to quietly implement new standards and tests, nor accept federal monies, without being questioned about it and having the legislature approve the decisions.

On the house side, from the bold and courageous Representative Lora Reinbold, comes House Bill 85, and from Representative Gattis, House Bill 80.  I’m running out of time today that I can spend here on the computer, but I strongly urge you to read about these bills for yourself.  Here are the sponsor statements for each:

HB85 Sponsor Statement

HB80_Sponsor Statement

Perhaps education isn’t on your radar, but sport fishing is.  Is the oil industry important to you?  Whatever issues face our state and Alaskans as a people are likely being addressed to some degree in our state legislature.  Familiarize yourself with this website, which holds all working documents and has many archived documents, contact information for legislative members, and much more.  As the Proverb heading above attests to, those who are simple are easy to persuade – gullible.  Those who are prudent take time to consider the different sides of an issue and think through their words and actions.  May we all be found prudent in our lives, and not gullible, believing anything that tickles our ears.

~VRae

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Exploring Creation through Zoology

Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 

Last school year, I made a last-minute curriculum change decision. Instead of teaching through Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, I thought we would try something new, something that looked “kid-friendly”. Meh. I chose a Christian Kids Explore text (used) that covered Earth and Space. I won’t go into details lamenting the entire textbook and lackluster experience. Many people seem to enjoy the series, and that’s great for them. I think we should all find what works for our families and stand by those decisions. I ended up piecing together short units based on the subjects in the text and hardly using the text at all. My advice? Get your hands on things before implementing them.  We did some neat projects throughout the year, as you can see…

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice "glaciers" versus "glaciers" full of sediment.

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice “glaciers” versus “glaciers” full of sediment.

 

Showing the earth's layers.

Showing the earth’s layers.

 

 

On the upside, I have gone back to Apologia. I wanted to try something new, see if there was something…better? Anyway, the Young Explorer series offers everything we need in a rich science study, and God is glorified in the process. To ice that cake, Pinterest has become a homeschooler’s goldmine, offering up everything from applicable Netflix suggestions to corresponding art projects and where materials can be had for less money.  The kidlets have created their binders already, and I have the first lesson printed out, with each lessons taking two weeks to complete, topped off with an experiment.  Once I purchase my lesson planner, I’ll scribble in the lesson plans and get to focus on the best part of all – gathering experiment supplies and LEARNING TOGETHER!

How is it possible to be stressed as a stay-at-home mom?

Stretching, now reaching
Not enough time, space, or me
Need to re-focus

How in the world is it possible for someone who spends the majority of their time at home, gets a full night’s sleep most nights of the week, steals moments each day to take care of themselves, and is doing what they deeply love, to become incredibly stressed? How could she possibly develop stress headaches that spread down into her shoulders? What could she be doing so wrong and inefficiently that at the end of the day, her brain seems to cease working and she becomes clumsier than normal? She is exhausted from the inside-out. Why? With such a comfortable situation, how dare she feign a tired mind and body?! I’m not a doctor of any sort, and so will not venture into understanding or explaining things from a technical angle. I will briefly share how she has arrived at this place, and how she imagines pulling out of it.
Homeschooling should be considered a full-time job. If an employed, certified and paid teacher is working “full-time”, then a non-ceritfied, unpaid homeschool mom should consider such her employment. She will spend summer mornings working her garden and caring for her home and having adventures with her family. She will spend summer afternoons carefully scheduling curriculum into a lesson planner, leaving room for life to happen along the way. The school year will begin with great excitement as new supplies are dipped into and new books explored! P.E. and art classes and the occasional field trip will be slipped into those open spaces the homeschool mom saw a need to leave room for as she scribbled away over the summer weeks. There will be appointments and disruptions to the well-laid plans (illnesses, surprise visitors, work schedule changes, etc). With a deep breath and an eraser, homeschooling mom adapts quickly and quietly, trying to roll with the bumps and jostles, keeping things running as smoothly as she can. You may thinking that she is a naturally organized person, but she isn’t. She struggles like a young child just trying to keep her own room orderly. She has joined up as a member of parents and teachers within the local school program, and enjoys the shared purpose of the monthly meetings.
On top of her homeschooling job (which she deeply loves!), she has a greater love – Jesus Christ. Her Savior, the Lover of her soul, her Redeemer, He who she longs to know better and grow to become more like, deserves her very best. She slips scripture into her students’ lessons so they can discuss, apply, and memorize God’ word. She sneaks peeks at her sermon journal and sits quietly with her Bible and coffee most mornings of the week. She longs to become a servant in the church body, and berates herself for not doing more for her Christian brothers and sisters or serving within the various ministries.
Homeschool mom believes that a healthy marriage is the top priority after her relationship with Jesus, and strives to put her husband’s needs and desires ahead of all others. His health and needs weigh heavily on the heart and mind of his wife. While she doesn’t worry – worrying being a lack of faith – she does have him on her mind constantly.
Next on her list of priorities are her children. Three personalities, three groups of strengths and challenges. Three unique individuals who all need a wise and loving mama. If one were to couple the tasks of “home economist” and “caregiver” which generally include all of a mom’s responsibilities, you would have another full-time job. What are we up to now – two full-time jobs? People do that and survive every day, no big deal, right? Well…maybe.
Now for the extra tasks and outside pressure. Here we include the business(es) the homeschooling mama dreams of putting more time into, though these endeavors require a cash infusion of which there is little each month. Money aside, one business requires focused chunks of time on the computer and eventually at shows. The other requires time in development, time in construction, and more of both in the future.
So, at the end of it all, where does she draw the line? At one full-time job? Two? Cut out activities for the children? Give up on her joint dream with her husband on operating a mini-homestead? Give up on her personal businesses? Perhaps forego those stolen moments of personal development and rest she finds in writing, reading, and outdoor adventures? She has tried different ways of juggling all that is asked of her over the years, and only one thing has worked. Prayer coupled with re-focusing priorities. There are only so many hours in a day, in a week, in a year. When using the Bible as her guidebook, she is able to prayerfully decide what will benefit her relationships with Jesus and her family. Perhaps, that is what she needs to do again.

~V

Movin’ and Groovin’

Time to get back into the swing of things, starting first thing tomorrow. I didn’t intend to go “full break” like the public schoolers, but that’s the way it happened. By “full break”, I mean foregoing all lessons and just sort of hanging out.  I’d intended for my students to spend an hour each day reading, and two 30-minute segments doing computer-based lessons.  What really happened is that we all got sick with the worst cold I have personally seen in my adult life.  I may have slept for almost 48 hours, I’m not really sure.  Thankfully, I have family who cares and older children who can feed themselves without burning down the house.  I suppose my plans aren’t always the best plans, in God’s eyes or anyone else’s.  To that end: 

Each person copes with change and transition differently ~ for this reason I pray for grace.  

Many good and worthwhile things are out there needing someone to participate in them.  Our days are full enough as it is, so adding more without removing some is not going to do our family any good. ~ For these reasons, I pray for discernment.

Priorities are important to consider when trying to keep one’s focus, the general ones for our family being Jesus, our little family, others, and each individual (caring for one’s self).  When these priorities get mixed up – even with the best intentions – our days tend to fall apart. ~ For these reasons, I pray for a sober mind and Heavenly wisdom. 

So here’s to keeping an upbeat attitude as we transition, saying no to overloading on unnecessary things, and keeping our focus on our current obligations.