School Readiness

School Readiness

Smooth Transition From Home To Classroom

Are your children ready to make that transition? How do you know?

For children entering a classroom–a structured environment, often for the first time–the experience can be pretty traumatic. In order to make sure a child is ready for the transition, a number of factors should be considered:

  • Does the child know his/her birth certificate name?
  • Does the child know mother/father’s names (other than mama or dad)?
  • Does the child know how to sit still for at least 30 minutes?
  • Does the child demonstrate ability to focus on starting and completing a task (tying shoes, coloring a page in a coloring book, etc.)?
  • Does the child know where their address and parent’s telephone number?
  • Does the child know his/her birth date?
  • Does the child recognize letters of the alphabet?
  • Does the child recognize numbers 0-9?
  • Does the child use the bathroom by themselves?
  • Does the child know how to hold a pencil/crayon?
  • Does the child know how to hold a book?
  • Does the child know how to follow instructions?
  • Does the child know how to socialize appropriately with other children?

The above are the basics that every child should know before they ever cross the threshold of a classroom. Knowing these fundamental basics will insure a child’s success and learning will not be as traumatic as it for those who don’t know. A traumatized child means parents get lots of phone calls from teachers and principals.

A good pediatrician will always tell parents if there are physical or cognitive concerns about a child by the time they’re 3 years old. They monitor physical, fine motor skill development and the child’s ability to follow simple directions. Making sure a child is vaccinated ensures they’ll not infect others or get infected with communicable diseases. Make sure a record is kept of all their developmental milestones in a safe place.

To get a child ready for this monumental occasion, read to them, sing to them, play games with them that ignite a desire to learn and when they get to school, they’ll be ready to learn what the teacher has been prepared to teach. A child who sees a parent read a book is more apt to want to read for themselves. Having a variety of books available for children is a necessity to encourage strong literacy skills.

Breathe deeply–inhale–hold it, now let it out. Helping a child make this transition can be as easy as breathing when you know they’re ready for school. Help them and yourself–make sure they are SCHOOL READY!

 

 

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New School Year!

New School Year!

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young–let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7 NIV

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 4:5-8 NIV

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 4:10-16 NIV

Though there are those in the WH administration who do not think an education is important, those of us who know The Lord, know wisdom and knowledge go hand-in-hand and we should never take access to a quality education for granted.

So, on this first day of a new school year–I’m praying for the students who are entering schools all over the place. I know that some schools (not in Michigan) started weeks ago, but this is the first day for many of our public schools and having access to education through public schools is important.

Of course, Betsy DeVos will never understand that and neither will trump supporters since they think getting an education makes a person “an elitist,” and therefore they are happy to stay ignorant and trump is also happy for them to say ignorant; he can continue to dupe them into believing anything he says. I guess they don’t realize he has a Bachelor’s degree, but then again, the way he talks and writes, no one would believe that anyway.

I’m straying from what I need to say: to the students who are crossing that threshold of your school building–have a wonderful first day and a great exploration throughout the school year. Stay respectful and inclined to learning.

This is a particular emotional day for me since my grandson is beginning his last year of high school–at 15 years-old and will soon be driving (in a few days) on his own. Time flies and next year, he’ll begin his first day of college.

I pray that every student, in every school, will clear their minds of old lazy habits and prepare to receive wisdom and instruction from every teacher in every classroom; by the end of the school year, all will be more knowledgeable about every subject taken than when they were on the first day.

For those 17 years-old and older–pay attention in your history and government classes so you will vote wisely and consider country over political party agendas.

Have a safe and wonderful day!

circumstances

When Small Rocks!

When Small Rocks!

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:24-28 NIV

There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:24-28 NKJV

Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zechariah 4:10 NIV

They say (whoever “they” is) that the human being is the superior being upon the earth and yet, if we are careful observers of human behavior, there is much reason to doubt that “they” say.

We tend to spend what we don’t have, forget about others and think only of selves, and usually get caught up in the most mundane debates and conflicts. Then, because we have seldom reached out to help others, we wonder why–if and when we need–there’s no one to be found to help.

That is not to say that whoever is holding out a hand–expecting something to put into it–should be helped. We should all exercise wisdom and discernment–being good stewards over what God has provided us. However, wisdom–when exercised–will reveal to us who is actually in need of help and who is simply scamming people.

Now, reflecting upon the above-referenced passages–can we say, unequivocally–that we are as wise as those little creatures who act so much more responsibly than we do? Do we “prepare” for life or do we simply exist in life? When we have–do we set aside a portion to use another day? Do we take the time to prepare to achieve goals or do we just set them and without any preparation–expect to accomplish anything?

In our current economic state–by now most people know–we need a college education in order to navigate the obstacle course of life. We no longer have access to the “manufacturing job” that only required an ability to follow instructions, therefore not much education was needed to do “rote work” on a job. Now, we need to know how to “think critically” without someone standing over us, telling us what to do.

One of the biggest problems I’ve observed as an educator is that not many students take any initiative in learning. They wait–expecting to be spoon fed information–and tend to get angry when expected to think. They have been trained to simply regurgitate what they have been told and most–even when they could successfully refute what they’ve been told, never say a word. This is not an acceptable path of learning.

In order for one to truly learn anything and learn it well, they must be willing to question every aspect of what they’re being told or what they discover. It is through questioning that we learn and the more we discover, the more questions we should have. We can conclude we have learned what’s needed when we can no longer ask a question about the matter. But how many people understand that concept?

Those in research–the scientist, the discoverers, the inquisitive, understand this concept which makes them valuable assets in any society. They are seldom satisfied with the first or last thing they discovered and keep questioning their findings. This is not a large group of people–comparatively so to the population on the planet–this is a small, dedicated group of people that many don’t acknowledge unless something tremendous is found. Though there are a number of people working on a project–those seeking a cure for cancer–it is seldom the small group–that gets the accolades–but they don’t care. They just keep going, and going, and going–like the rabbit promoting the battery.

We are admonished not to think lightly or to despise the small things in life, for if we are truly wise, we know that it is the small steps taken by small groups that make a big difference in the lives of others.

Therefore, we prepare for doing big and great things, by taking the first small steps–in whatever it is–we hope to accomplish. First things first–Remember The Name!

name recognition

Have You Heard?

Have You Heard?

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:15-31 NIV

We have seen with our own eyes,

The impact of hate and lies,

Why we cannot depend upon man,

To improve our lives and save our land.

Rolling back regulations that safeguard American consumers demonstrates the lack of concern with the quality of life for all Americans because the idiot in the WH is so consumed with hatred of his predecessor that he cannot think beyond his hate.

We have known for some time that he is thin-skinned and a cowardly bully. His criticisms of others in the same office were relentless, but now that the office occupied by him and the criticisms are directed at him–he can’t handle the criticisms or the truth. And all of a sudden, since the media prints and broadcasts truth, everyone is ganging up on him and it’s all fake news.

Have you heard about all the “fake news” he postulates?  Let’s look at some:

  • President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
  • President Obama wire-tapped his phones at Trump Tower.
  • There was an act of terrorism in Sweden.
  • He is worth ten billion dollars.
  • He has no connection with Russia.
  • The Trump/Russia discussion is a hoax.
  • Climate change is a hoax.
  • He has a great brain and the “best words.”
  • He’s a great negotiator.
  • He “will be the president for all Americans.” (still waiting to see this)
  • He’s responsible for job growth indicated for February 2017.
  • He’s responsible for Ford increasing their production.
  • Obamacare is a disaster and will implode. (only if he sabotages with reduced funding)
  • “I and I alone can fix it.”
  • “I know more than the generals.”
  • “On day one…” (and then lies about what he said)
  • Hillary is corrupt (projection of himself).
  • Hillary is a liar (projection of himself)
  • Hillary is a murderer (projection of himself and the lives lost in two military events since January 20, 2017)
  • Russia is our friend. (He’s too stupid to see how he’s being used)
  • He’s a great businessman (not evident unless he counts all the people he stiffed not paying them or the bankruptcies)
  • Running the country is like running a business. (America is not a business)

This list could go on for another 2000 words at least, but my time is limited. We cannot trust anything 45 says because he is a pathological liar and has no acquaintance with truth in any form. His hatred of Obama is the driving force behind all the slashing of the necessary agencies in Washington and he and Bannon are determined to destroy our nation. Our hope cannot be in him or any of the GOP leadership who are obviously in cahoots with him to undermine the security of the nation by catering corporate interests and their ability to get richer without concern for the safety of others.

Our hope–just in case you haven’t heard–is in the One who created all things and without whom, nothing was ever created. We cannot get allow ourselves to be exhausted by the daily onslaught of foolishness coming from the White House or the lies promoted and parroted by Sean Spicer and other surrogates, who apparently either haven’t heard or don’t care, just how stupid they sound trying to defend the idiot in the White House.

Don’t stop paying attention to what’s revealed in Washington, but don’t lose hope because of it; use it to prepare for the storm and onslaught of health issues that are inevitable with the decimation of the EPA and the lack of appropriate healthcare if God doesn’t move upon the hearts of those in Congress.

Only The Lord can change the outcome of what buffoons do. He knows them and He knows they won’t listen to Him, but they will cave with enough pressure from those the buffoons seek affection. Remember–God has warned us through His Word what happens when fools are in charge of anything.

Eagles2

Shedding Ignorance!

Shedding Ignorance!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. Ephesians 4:11-19 NIV

Ignorance by definition is a lack of knowledge or understanding. To some degree, no matter how much knowledge we think we have, we are all ignorant about some matters, but when wisdom reigns, we recognize what we don’t know and if we need to know–obtain the knowledge about the matter so we are no longer ignorant about it.

The ignorant are not so. They have not been introduced to wisdom and therefore wisdom cannot reign in their lives so they cling to ignorance like some children cling to a moldy, filthy, blanket–their insecurities–won’t let them be relieved of the blanket long enough for it to be cleaned and so it stinks and all sorts of bacteria breed within the fibers and spreads disease, causing more stench. But that insecure child–the one that clings to that moldy, malodorous blanket–doesn’t seem to mind the stench, the filth, or the bacteria clinging to them.

That’s how children act–and it’s forgivable because they are children, but when adults and over-aged toddlers cling to ignorance–there’s a problem. Now, like the children–adults cling to their ignorance out of fear–the fear that knowledge will force to see truth and the fault of what they once believed. So they will wear their ignorance with pride–not realizing how foolish they look and they won’t care.

We cannot force people to shed their ignorance–they have to want to shed it and exchange it for knowledge, but they can only do that–when they allow wisdom to reign in their hearts. Therefore, the ignorance we see in those who profess a love for an idiot–is what the ignorant want and there’s nothing we can do about it.

What is amazing to me is how many people appear to idolize a person who is about to create havoc with their healthcare, poison their streams, and pollute the very air they breathe, just so corporations can get rich not having to follow any guidelines for safety reasons. The ignorant believe–because it’s what they’ve been told and will not research any information for themselves–that de-regulations allow corporations to hire more people. They don’t bother to think about the “safety” issues that will persist, their only concern is the money they’ll make, but it they’ll end up spending–not enjoying–on healthcare issues. There is no fair exchange with de-regulations and the only ones who will profit by it are the corporations–not the people who work for them.

The ignorant have no problem with the dissolution of the Department of Education because they don’t have an education–no wisdom to see what the end result will be.

The ignorant have no problem with streams being polluted by toxins dumped into the water because they seldom drink water--at least from what I’ve seen of the interviews conducted in the local pubs.

The ignorant have no problem with air pollution as a result of the chemicals and toxins in the air and they apparently see no problem with everyone eventually having to wear masks like those in China. There’s a reason why products are made so cheaply in China–there are no safety regulations.  People wear the masks to protect them from the toxins in the air, but the death rate in China is up–but since the productivity in China is driven by American companies who are saving a bundle in manufacturing–no one cares about the people who are incapacitated by the air and water pollution and fact that their fish is poisoned and they eat it and sell it others.

But why should Americans living in America worry about the Chinese and their problems? We’ll soon have the same problems and as it is in every society, only the strong will survive and in this case–only the rich who can afford to drink filtered water, hoard goods in sheltered areas, and live in air-filtered environments–will survive, all because the ignorant disdained knowledge and truth and voted for an idiot who only cares about himself.

Even so–those of us with wisdom and knowledge must keep pouring out truth so that on the day we all stand before God in judgment–we can say honestly say–we did not wear ignorance as a skin-tight garment, but shed it in exchange for knowledge so we would know truth.

Think about it! What are you wearing or what’s clinging to you? Is it ignorance or wisdom? I choose to wear wisdom with pride in the knowledge that God would not have me ignorant about those things or people who are not his. I shed that ignorance a long time ago and have no desire to reclaim it. What about you?

Human Effort!

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 NLT)

For those who do all they can to make life bearable for themselves and others, I commend you. For those who do nothing but seek self-comfort–I wonder about you. For those who walk not after the flesh, but allow Holy Spirit to guide all you do, I thank God for you. If what we do is not by the leading of Holy Spirit–our efforts will amount to nothing, short of temporary solution.

The old adage that is better to “teach a man to fish than to give him one” is still relevant today. Now, I know there are some who do not believe God or that He exists and they think that what they do is more important than what most Believers do. If acknowledgment from man is all a person wants, then–it is enough. However, if one wants to please God, then one must things the way God wants them done–this ensures eternal life, beyond the temporary life here on earth.

Does that mean people should stop giving and assisting others? No! What this means is that before we do anything, we should seek Him for direction and then do what He says.

We know from all the documented sources about “giving people a helping hand” and then watch those same people end up in the same condition in which we found them, If we’re going to really help people, we must begin with “wisdom and knowledge” so they will be able to do for themselves.

In Michigan, there are thousands of jobs available, but people do not have the skills to get the jobs. Why? Too many people, here, do not have the literacy skills or technology skills needed for the jobs.

As an educator, I am appalled at the attitude of those who think education is a waste of their time and yet, we still have the highest unemployment rates in the country. And now, many who are receiving benefits from the state are crying foul because their cash assistance will not be available for long. Their protests are pointless since the state has been saying for over five years that people had “five years” to get an education or job skills and most–didn’t believe it and just sat around on their hind parts, waiting for the handout.

If they had been forced to demonstrate sufficient literacy skills in order to get the assistance, they would be in a much better place than they are in right now. The assistance received, should have been based upon their ability to get an education or job skills training as a condition of receiving the benefits. Sometimes, as seen in Michigan, waiting for the mailman becomes a career that requires little effort. Well, the mailman’s job just got a little lighter (figuratively speaking) and many will find themselves wishing they had paid attention to “the last letter” they received.

I’m sure the conditions mentioned about Michigan may be true of other states as well, and what we must do–is to educate people about how to do things–especially in giving. We must remember that it is not by human effort that we accomplish anything, but by the direction of Holy Spirit that we can accomplish all things.

Educating Our Future!

Some schools–depending upon where one lives–are already in session for a new school year. Others are going back soon! What are the students going back to do?

Speaking from experience with Detroit Public Schools, many of the inner city students are going back to chaos–overcrowded classrooms, overused testing, and demoralized, unhappy teachers. None the chaos is the fault of the students, but they are the ones who will be negatively impacted by it the most.

First of all–PARENTS–get your act in gear and teach your children to respect authority and property of others. One of the reasons for the overcrowded classrooms is the budget allocation for textbooks which students either take home to keep or deliberately desecrate with profanity–making them inaccessible to others. The other reason for much of the chaos–ill-mannered, ill-behaved students who interfere with the process of learning. They have never learned to do school and when a teacher meets some of the parents–they know the apple truly did not fall far from the tree.

If parents truly want a quality education for their children, they need to engage in the process–get actively involved with the schools and the legislators making decisions about the schools.

The Detroit Public School district has had an assigned Emergency Manager for five years now that has not made a difference in the debt accrued. Why? Too many people coming into the system with the sole purpose of “lining their pockets” and totally forgetting about the kids they are supposed to help educate. This would not happen if we had anyone with integrity having oversight of the Detroit Public Schools. For those who know the power of prayer–it’s prayer time–pray for all Emergency Managers to develop a conscience and do their jobs–not line their pockets with the funds that should be spent on educating the children. Everyone needs to get out and vote–getting rid of all those politicians who are only interested in promoting their own–self-serving agendas–not the benefit of all the people.

EDUCATORS–FIGHT BACK–and stop the testing nonsense and spend the time–TEACHING your students. Students do not learn anything from over-testing; they learn from educators who have time to teach them the skills for which they are being tested. If they have not been taught, why are they being tested? A little common sense is needed here.

ADMINISTRATORS–grow a pair–and move out of the way of those teachers who are “still interested” in teaching children what they need to know to survive in this world. Using threats, being demeaning, humiliation and coercion will not accomplish anything other than unhappy, rebellious staff who will only do the minimum required to get you off their backs.Abusing your staff does not make you a great administrator–understanding what your staff needs and supporting them in their efforts will get the job done. If you are an administrator and are only a doormat to the district–resign! Get out of the way so our children can learn!

From observation and research, I know there is a conspiracy afoot to keep students from Detroit in a rut–for manual labor only and everyone who is involved in the system and is not willing to change the way we do education in Detroit is guilty of being a participant in the conspiracy. Our students need to know grammar–for conversational purposes as well for writing. When the District decided that grammar did not need to be taught (almost 20 years ago)–that should have been a signal for all to understand the complicity in keeping our children–illiterate. Now, we graduate functionally illiterate students who cannot read above the seventh-grade level. Where do they get to work? Fast–food restaurants and anywhere they do not have to think or read with comprehension. Just take a look at the cash registers being used today and you’ll understand my point.

So now, what are you going to do? Get mad at me or do something about educating our future?

You can read more in my book, If Parents Cared Enough, Johnny and Juaneshia Could Read  found here: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

Get mad, but get busy when you get over being mad!