I read Vikki Kratz's incredibly compelling essay on the Walker budget proposal on Valentine's Day. It pierced my heart. While I've never met her, I'm pretty sure I'd love to see her at the helm of one of my kid's classrooms. Her obvious love of teaching is evident in every word.
I'm also pretty sure I am unlikely to meet her, or others like her, in any future classroom as the current budget proposal stands. Not just because she teaches pre-K, and my kids are whole lot older, but because frankly she won't be able to afford to teach much longer. Yes, there are many, many parts of the budget repair bill that I find distasteful. But anything that goes to make teaching a more difficult profession for a passionate educator to choose goes against every fiber of my being.
My father was an art teacher; my sister-in-law is an English teacher, my sister a college professor. For them, teaching isn't just a career choice; it's closer to a calling. My dad genuinely believed in the importance of shepherding kids in one of the poorest neighborhoods in DC toward creating something beautiful and positive in their lives. My sister-in-law feels privileged to be able to explain how to navigate financial aid forms (way after hours, mind you) to the families of first-generation college applicants. My sister, an intellectual historian, feels challenging college students to think differently about how ideas have changed the course of our history can actually change it.
My kids have had so many remarkable educators in the MMSD that it calls for a separate post. These teachers have inspired my children to work harder. They have hugged my kids when they needed it. These folks have instilled in my kids a love of learning that this mom would be hard-pressed to replicate on her own. I need these men and women, and I need them to be fairly compensated.
As those of you who have read this blog before know, I don't consider myself an overwhelmingly politically engaged person. I do a little research and always vote. Sure, I've been known to pass out a flier or two or make a few phone calls for candidates about whom I feel strongly. But at 44, I've never gone to a demonstration. I think that is about to change.
Ms. Kratz asked me to stand with her this week on the steps of the Capitol, a candlelight vigil (since she and other teachers need to be with their "kids" during the day) . No, my calling might not be as an educator, but as a parent I have heard her call and will answer. It is never too late to stand up for the things that will make a difference in the lives of my children, and all the children of Wisconsin.comments powered by Disqus
If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.
On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.