Utilizing the power of chocolate at the most opportune moments in life.
Taken at key times it can unlock a power within us
To take on and seize almost any moment
Of any day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Response to the article "Research Finds The Effects Of Homework On Elementary School Students, And The Results Are Surprising" by CHILD EDUCATION PARENTINGBY MARIA ONZAIN

A friend shared the following article on social media and asked for "thoughts":

Research Finds The Effects Of Homework On Elementary School Students, And The Results Are Surprising CHILD EDUCATION PARENTINGBY MARIA ONZAIN


Some of the highlights directly from the article:

Why teachers shouldn’t assign homework to elementary school students

According to research, there are a number of reasons why teachers shouldn’t assign homework to elementary school students:
  1. Homework can generate a negative impact on children’s attitudes toward school. 
  1. Premature homework can damage personal relationships in the long term. While homework is meant to reinforce the relationship between parents and children and get parents involved in their children’s education, with elementary school kids this can have the opposite effect. 
  1. Homework gives a false sense of responsibility. 
  1. Homework leaves less time for kids to be kids. 
  1. Kids need to rest to be productive in school. 

Well I started typing my "thoughts" about the article and I realized I had a LOT of thoughts on the matter. So I decided to write a blog post.

I will begin by stating that I actually agree with this article. I say "actually" because I value lifelong learning and quality education. I know that it takes a strong desire, effort, sacrifice and sometimes very hard work to gain knowledge and understanding.

I am a mother of two elementary school children. I want my children to get a good education and to value lifelong learning. I want them to know that they must put forth effort and an appropriate amount of time to gain knowledge. The scriptures shed light on the importance of gaining knowledge:

Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19

 18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
I attended elementary school over 40 years ago! The school day and curriculum requirements are much different today than when I was in elementary school. Kindergarten resembles more of my experience in 1st-2nd grade. The children are required to learn concepts much faster and testing starts much earlier now. There is also much less time for play and discovery (art / music). They have gym class once every week and sometimes once every two weeks depending on the rotation schedule. Recess is as little as 10 minutes during the day and immediately follows lunch not breaking up the day much.  

I have a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW), I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor and a Certified Personal trainer. I know kids need to move, exercise, and play.  Family time is priceless. When my young children come home from school they have missed me. They want to spend quality time with me and I want to have quality time with them too. My daughters also need time together to play and continue to develop their "sister bond". When their father comes home from work they also need time with him. Furthermore, they need time by themselves. There is also, of course, dinner and bedtime preparations. My daughters go to bed quite early in order to get the sleep that they need to be healthy and productive each day. They go to bed at 7:30 pm and have 30 minutes to read whatever they want before lights out at 8 pm. They have an early start to the day at 6 am. We go to school a bit early to participate in the Morning Mile Program at the school where we run laps before school starts. I am one of the few parents that participate in this excellent program. We typically run/jog/walk 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 miles each day before school. I know that this exercise helps my children better prepare for a day of learning.

Homework time is definitly the most unpleasant time of the evening. Homework time often is accompanied with tears and fits of frustration. I see the impact that the pressures of school and then additional homework are having on my children (especially my third grader). I want my children to get the physical play and exercise and fun that they actually need to live healthy lives now and to set the healthy habits they will need to continue to live healthy, happy and productive lives. I want to have quality family time to strengthen our family. After all, "The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children" 'The Family A Proclamation To The World.  

I am grateful for the education my daughters are getting.  I know that many children are not getting a quality education.  As a parent I know that the education of my children should not solely come from their teachers at school.  I have a responsibility to teach my children and to encourage them to work hard and to help them to live healthy, happy and productive lives.  Some of the most important things I have a responsibility to teach my children will not come from a hand full of worksheets sent home from school.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy 11th Year Wedding Anniversary!

As our 11th year wedding anniversary approached my husband and I were excited to take a trip back to the beach to celebrate. We are so very grateful for our awesome friends the Sagers who are willing to serve our family by watching our girls for a night so we could get away to the beach. The Sagers did this for us last year too! I know, aren't they great!

Although we found a really nice place last year right on the beach, we decided to try a new spot this year.  La Fiesta Ocean Inn & Suites in St. Augustine, FL.  It was a two story townhouse on the beach.  The view from the room was a bit obstructed and we were just a little farther from the actual beach than we were last year. However, the rooms were nice and we enjoyed having two floors with a living room, kitchenette, and balcony on the first level and a bedroom, Jacuzzi bath and a balcony on the second floor.

The walkway to the beach

The happy couple:

A beautiful sunrise:

Off to the beach we go:

A Very Happy Anniversary Indeed!

Personal Trainer

 I have been a certified group fitness instructor since September 2012 . I absolutely love teaching classes and helping people get and stay fit. It truly is the most fun I have ever had at "work".  I currently teach at a local Y (YMCA). I offer a weekly Cardio Kickboxing class, a Glute and Core class, a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class, as well as two Ab Blast classes, Silver Sneakers Classic and Silver Sneakers Yoga classes. I also sub teach many classes at the Y.  I have never not wanted to go to work. I truly like the people I work with, the members at the Y, and I most certainly enjoy the classes I teach.

I value continuing education and it is an important part of being a fitness professional. Since my group certification I have also completed a self study course "Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults" and received specialized training to teach Silver Sneakers (older adults) fitness classes and Silver Sneakers Yoga classes.  A year ago I decided to embark on a new challenge to obtain a Personal Trainer Certification. 

Initially, the majority of my study time was done while sitting in my car at my children's school. I arrived at the school an hour before the first bell for afternoon release and I sat in the car each day reading and studying the training materials. I read through the text book twice and completed the practice exam several times. I even took a portion of a free online Anatomy Course.  As the months passed I added more study aides, shadowed a couple of the trainers at the gym, and practiced on my husband and children in preparation for the exam.  

I received much encouragement and support from my family, friends, coworkers, members, and even some casual acquaintances! Test day came and my daughter left chocolate treats and made good luck signs (*two signs and two treats for two different test dates):
My super-supportive husband helped set me up for the online proctored exam. *We ran into some technical difficulties on the original scheduled test day and had to reschedule the exam for the following week.  

On March 7th I completed the two hour exam and passed the test:
I am now a Certified Personal Trainer.  

A few days ago my daughter told me that she thinks it is really cool that her mom is a fitness instructor and personal trainer. I think it is pretty cool too Elizabeth.