Darth Vader Goes to Walmart: Pandemic Musings

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“Children, ages 2 and older, will be required to wear a mask at school.”

“Parents, whether your student wears a mask or not is up to you.”

“We are not going to require masks.”

“We will only require our teachers to wear masks.”

I was talking to a high school student the other day, she told me:

It is one thing to wear a mask, into a store, for a short amount of time; It is another thing to wear a mask at school all day.

I get it. I never knew that I had issues with claustrophobia. Not being a doctor or someone required to wear a mask for work, I never really thought too much about how wearing a mask would make me feel. That is, until I was required to wear a mask to shop in a store.

I try to play off the mask wearing by making Darth Vader breathing sounds as I wear one. While at the same time, I also try not to think about how we all look like a bunch of poor doctors and bank robbers.

Speaking of bank robbers, I saw a Brink’s armored truck parked the other day. The two armed security guards were wearing bandannas. They looked like armed robbers, as they casually walked back to their truck with cash. This pandemic plays mind games with ya when the good guys look like the bad guys.

For parents having to make the choice as to school their children online or in person at school, you have my sympathy. I can’t imagine having to work around enforcing that my child stays in front of the computer/in their seat, at home, for as long as they would if they were at school; I also can’t imagine sending my child to school and forcing them to wear a mask all day and social distance. Your children’s teachers are not paid enough. But you know that.

I was recently telling Tabitha that our lives, as parents who have chosen to homeschool, do not revolve around a school. No, our son’s education/schooling revolves around us and neatly fits into our day.

  • We decide when school begins and ends.
  • We decide which curriculum to teach from.
  • We decide whether there will be masks or not.

I am thankful that we made the choice to homeschool. I am thankful for my gifted wife who has made the decision to stay at home and teach our son. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone though. Not every kid is built for homeschooling. But for our family, homeschooling works for us.

No masks will be required, in our home, this Fall. We will strive to preserve as much normalcy as we can in our school routine. Wearing a mask, around the house, seems silly. I shouldn’t say that aloud though as home mask wearing could soon be a thing. Stupid 2020.

However, I WILL BE WEARING A MASK if going to the local Walmarts… I mean, if Darth Vader goes to the Walmarts.

>Insert Mechanical Breathing Sound of Doom<

From Across the Net – “Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education”

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Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

The sciences and mathematics have a historic place in the cur­riculum, and technology does not, for the simple reason that the latter is not inherently “about” anything. Absent human contributions on specific topics, cut off from the subject matter of academic work, technology is nothing—an electron microscope without any samples, darkened VR goggles, an empty spreadsheet. Specializing in techne as such means trying to teach people to be good at “making” without having any idea of what to make, or why to make it.

You can read more here

Should We Homeschool?

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Homeschooling is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from the fourth grade all the way through high school. I had been falling behind both academically and socially. Public school was failing me by passing me on from one teacher to the next. I had trouble with reading, math, etc. My parents realized what was going on and brought me home. I’m thankful.

Tabitha and I have always said that our children would attend public school. As long as the teachers and the overall district were willing to work with us, we’d stick with it. Our children would be good examples for others to follow. Salt and light.

Enter our son:

  • Helped teach his fellow students in kindergarten
  • Excelled through first grade
  • Has continued in second grade to consistently earn high grades
  • Reads on a middle school grade level

(I can brag as a dad, right?)

The boy wants to be pushed. He wants to learn multiplication and how to write in cursive. Our fear is that his enthusiasm for learning is going to be snuffed out unless he is challenged. We realize that public school can only do so much for him. A teacher has to teach so that all students are on the same middle ground. That means that the higher students in the class are often ignored. Not the teacher’s fault at all. Teaching is hard.

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So how do you make the decision to homeschool?

Throw some dice?

Spin a bottle?

What?

I know the challenges that are involved with it. I have seen them firsthand. I know the impact it has on a family and on a marriage.

Social outlets are essential. Support in the form of a homeschool group help a bunch. The kids never leave the house… ever. Mental fortitude is a requirement.

But how does one pull the trigger?

Trying to figure that out.

Please leave my wife alone

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I admire and respect my wife. For eight years Tabitha taught as a third grade teacher in her hometown. I was with her through the highs, lows, and in-betweens of teaching. Learning that our education system prioritizes/champions testing and scores. That challenges come not only from in the classroom but from outside of it. Taking the form of parents and district representatives. Through it all, her love for educating her students never died. As long as she could close her door and teach, she was happy.

Somewhere along the learning journey we had Wyatt. Tabitha found herself torn between being a mom while working as a teacher. For years, Tab’s mom gave us peace of mind by watching/raising Wyatt. But we lived in that tension of her wanting to stay home. We didn’t think that we could live without dual incomes and the insurance her job provided.

After much time and prayer, we made the decision to keep her home. A decision that has not always been easy but has been good.

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Something weird happened when Tabitha became a stay-at-home mom. A cloud of lies settled in that said, “she must not have anything better to do” OR “she needs to be doing something”. My wife became the dumping ground of low paying jobs and babysitting requests.

I am here today, as her husband, to tell you, whoever you are, that my wife’s freedom comes at a cost. She doesn’t have to watch your kids; she doesn’t have to take that babysitting job for the church. If she does watch your kids, she has made that decision to help you out. Not because she has to but because she wants to. As a husband, I love being able to give my wife that freedom. That ability to be a mom, a wife, whoever else she wants to be.

Whether we have just one child or many, that does not change her role. Whether we choose to homeschool or send Wyatt to public school, that does not change her mission. She is still a mom; she is still my wife. I am proud of her. Please leave her alone.

 

Office Thoughts

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Working in the world of an ————- office has led me to experience some extreme highs and deep lows professionally. As a front office manager, I have been placed in the unique position to fully observe almost all events in the office. In thinking through the different situations I have observed/experienced, both the good and the bad, I have come to conclude that:

  • Education Should Never Cease – This is as simple as providing constructive feedback to employees without belittling them. No one ever learns by being verbally assaulted over an issue. Instead, taking time to work through/ explain a potential problem helps an employee when they tackle the same issue again in the future.
  • Management Needs to Lead by Example – Yelling at employees, slamming the phone down on the desk in anger, and demanding unrealistic expectations are the actions of an office diva/ dictator. Don’t do these things! Instead, treat others as you want to be treated. A manager who believes that he has “earned” the right to treat employees in this manner, due to time spent working for the firm, is a manager leading his employees into a personal (daily) Hell. Don’t be this person.