May 19, 2014

Perfection. Here’s to finding the beautiful messy perfection that make my house and thoughts chaotic. Looking at my sentences and compositions—what those–fifty thoughts don’t belong in one sentence? So often I don’t write. It really isn’t that I have nothing to say. (Perhaps I should start writing in mind maps… )Because anyone who knows me well knows I have plenty to say, when given a (sometimes) extended chance. Once in a while my ADD friends creep me out with how fast their brains work—and my proverbial mouse just stretched one paw up to the damn wheel and is trying to get going. See pic if you don’t understand.

slow and fast hamster

slow and fast hamster is not always fast

Or my mouse just cant seem to get going at all. Then nothing is happening in there. Maybe it got tired? I seem to be good at verbal BS like that which is required by Balderdash, but not so much when it comes to writing or speaking in highstakes situations. Unless I’m required to trash talk or have humor about myself.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans, LA…otherwise known as (Nawlins) for a literacy conference. Because making connections is my superpower I combine my beautiful messy perfection with This Is What Family Literacy Looks Like at chez Chaos Is Normal.

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March 13, 2014

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FTY: Dont Know Mind and Questioning

June 21, 2012

Today’s Friday Thank You goes out to Teachers and Parents.

Two things my family is working on is asking each other more questions and embracing.. don’t know mind or beginners mind.  By embracing don’t know mind we shed our perceptions and biases of what we think should be. It is very similar to letting go of expectations–as the 12 step programs say.

Using questioning with the 4-6 year old age group has been difficult for me to embrace. I have noticed a remarkable improvement in kiddo’s behavior since I embraced it. I’m used to giving choices and being open to children’s suggestions with the elementary school age group and not preschool. I’ve had to let go of the idea that I’m The Adult and my kiddo should just do what I say. It also brings up uncomfortable feelings about cultural differences. I must say my thoughts have fluctuated between thinking– Yes, ma’am and Yes, Sir seem a little rigid—but at the same time it makes sense to me. I particularly like asking a question and if the answer is no telling kiddo, “The answer is Yes ma’am”.<—this is me embracing the paradox of it all>

Also, not every family gives children choices. So, what happens when I give a student choices and it overwhelms them. This is a particularly sticky question I’ve been asked as a ‘White Teacher‘. And, I haven’t found an answer I am completely comfortable with yet. I think I would look to veteran teachers around me to help me with children uncomfortable with making choices.

Through some reflection my husband and I noticed that we weren’t even asking each other questions regularly. I also realized that I wasn’t asking him questions because I thought I already knew what his answer would be.<Silly, silly thoughts.>

Some of my other thoughts on questions are that I need to question myself more. So far I compiled these 5 questions <I can’t remember where I found them>

5 mindful expressions/ questions< I’m sure they are similar to ones in 5 Questions that help us wake up.
1. I don’t know.
2. I was wrong.
3. I made a mistake.
4. It happens.
5. How can I help?

chaotic notes

As I’ve been trying to keep the house and other things cleaner recently, I find this as an area where I cannot control my tone of voice. It’s hard not to get exasperated when kiddo brings in a large bucket with the bottom coated in mud. Now as I write this I see that she is only following my example of having a little glass jar with moss growing in it to show her what an ecosystem is. It’s very similar to these jars but I reused an old spaghetti sauce jar. I realize the reason I gave up trying to have a neat house is that it causes me great aggravation to have to continually pick up things, instead I’m really trying to see the clutter as a reminder that people I love live here and I do appreciate their presence.

My Moss Jar Experiment


June 2, 2011

Doing it All Wrong –isn’t this the definition of being female?

Reluctant writer is definitely how I’d describe myself these days. The sentences starting with I are getting on my nerves. I am not going to capitalize it any more dammmmit. i suspect they are infused with evil ego. So, i’d rather not write at all. The cute commas chase me wherever my sentences go. Wanting to put one here and there and everywhere. Dashes and dots and carrots clumped….. together  <i love>.  They can even make pictures ( , )

Kiddo has decided saying the word BUTT is bad. And even gross. She replies “i will cut my butt off”. <Hey, cut and butt rhyme—>we have been working on identifying rhyming words.> i tell her you would die if you cut your butt off.

BUTT i have dashed and dotted and thought-Ed myself into a silent still stupor. Trying to survive the next week is the name of my game.<Bob the Builder plays in the background. Bob and Wendy work so well together. They are a fictional cartoon.>

The sick has socked me. First HiM 2 days this weekend and then HER today. And the gremlins continue to give chase. <Thank the gods we’ve switched to Shaun the Sheep>


worst case scenario–i spend 500-800 bucks on educational testing to get accommodations for the GRE. i don’t get any. OR i do get them and i still don’t get into school <again. i’ve already tried twice.> it’s not worth wasting what little money/ power you have.

You said you would not take the hellish test again without accommodations. And that was without the writing portion of the test last time.

Positive Polly-Anna:

You won’t know until you try. If your risk pays off it could result in more money/ power for you and kiddo. You could try again without the testing/ accommodations and use your new meditation/ mindful skills.




Under Construction: Philosophy of Education

February 18, 2011

So, I’ve started another blog called OpenSkool where I am going to deposit my educational ideas/ resources. I know my politics may not be as popular as my ideas about schooling. Aw heck, I’m just a bleeding heart liberal that is too lefty for the mainstream. Just to prove that I am ADDish and stubborn I started it at blogspot and that is where it will stay, for now. The following entry is cross-posted there.

I’ve been asked during the course of my career as an educator to state my philosophy of education. It is currently getting a ‘make over’ due to the fact I’ve got a kiddo to educate. She’s four and showing all the signs that she’s ready for it to begin. So without further ado I present the foundation of my philosophy of education.

From Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible-In Search of Pharaoh’s Daughter by Patricia J. Williams

Cultivating the extraordinary richness of what children offer us depends on neither a mother nor a father alone but is a responsibility that extends to grandparents, friends, neighbors, and civic community–across fences, across religion, across class, and across town.

Take Back Your Education by John Taylor Gatto

To know yourself, you have to keep track of your random choices, figure out your patterns, and use this knowledge to dominate your own mind. It’s the only way that free will can grow. If you avoid this, other minds will manipulate and control you lifelong.

I’ve made a folder that has each of these headings on the top:  three powers, three weaknesses, and  keeping track of kiddo’s choices. I’m going to start talking to Kiddo about my strengths and weaknesses and how I build upon them. She seems to be noticing how I think about this already, she told me that I wasn’t good at driving/ navigating. It’s one of my professed weaknesses.

Thus the foundation has been dug.

chaotic note

rethinking schools

protest songs: meaningful music

An Informed and Educated Electorate

Besides the dates of his birth and death, he chose to be remembered for three things that he did in his 83 years of life on earth:

Here Was Buried Thomas Jefferson

Author of the Declaration of American Independence

of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

and Father of the University of Virginia

Writing the Declaration of Independence was an obvious choice, and declaring forever his opposition to integrating church and state also made sense (although it got him demoted in 2010 in schoolbooks in the state of Texas). But “Father of the University of Virginia” being more important than “President of the United States of America”?

Jefferson, it turns out, had this wacky idea. He actually believed that young people should be able to go to college regardless of their ability to pay, their station in life, and how rich or poor their parents were. He thought that an educated populace was the best defense of liberty and democracy in the new nation he’d helped birth.

So the University of Virginia that he started was free.

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