The Importance of English

I get a lot of gripe these days from random folks. I hear things like, “he’s only two,” or “poor kid, he’s just trying to express himself.” I’ve been told I need to lighten up. To these people I say, “it’s never too early to teach your child the importance of speaking properly.”

One of the three degrees I have is an Associates in English. I love to read and I love to write. I always have. That’s part of the reason I studied English post high school. At that point in my life, I had not a clue what I wanted to do, but I loved the English language.

Once I entered Clemson, I transitioned my major into Speech & Communication Studies and Political Science. There was a fascination on my end with the spoken word and how just one small slip of the tongue could turn an extremely intelligent person into what could be construed as an illiterate moron. I put a lot of effort into how I speak, even now, even though I don’t necessarily need to for a job. I do it now because I don’t want either one of my sons to sound un-intelligent.

I’m amazed at the effort put into NOT focusing on grammar or spelling or speaking properly. I suppose we’ve become dependent upon computers to help “fix” any of our errors. These computers have become our crutches in the world of the spoken and written word. I’m guilty of relying on them a lot more than what I should. I try to be cognizant of what I write and say and how I convey myself, and I’m trying to instill that in my boys, even little Henry who just turned 9 months old.

My pet peeve these days with Davey is when I ask him a question he responds with, “huh?” I cringe each time I hear that word spill out of his mouth. It’s almost like the sound of nails scraping down a chalkboard. It’s taken a while, but I don’t hear “huh” quite as often and should it slip, I raise my eyebrows and refuse to answer Davey until he corrects himself.

I try to convey the importance of tense to Davey when speaking and the correct use of pronouns. I’m simply appalled at the number of children older than Davey who say “her is coming”. Are the parents just not listening to their children or do they not care?

I don’t discipline him and I don’t scold him. I just simply take the time to correct him and explain the importance of speaking correctly. And the funny thing is that Davey gets it. He truly gets it. It makes me chuckle when he says with perfect alliteration, “Mommy, I sound intelligent.” Yes, my son, you do.

These days a lot of effort is placed upon the Common Core method of learning. The method has its pros and cons and I’m not interested in turning this blog into a forum about whether or not Common Core is best. What really shocks me; however, is the number of people who are in support of Common Core yet they can’t even understand when to use “which” vs. “that” or “whose”, “who”, “who’s”, “whom”. These same people spout out their so called “intelligence” on the matter and yet they can’t even write properly. Instead they use acronyms and short cuts in order to convey their message. It’s sad. There are run-on sentences, phrases, and comma splices. Heck, I know I’m guilty of the occasional one, but I do try to proofread whatever I’m writing in the hopes to NOT make the constant and common mistakes I see within our society.

What’s even sadder is the fact that so many children these days come out of school without being able to write the appropriate business letter, or type, or even draft a proposal using proper English. For people like me, it’s frustrating to see our children this way.

How many of you spend the time actually speaking to and with your children? How many of you put forth the effort to make sure your children are speaking correctly? It’s never too early or too late to start, and it’s definitely a nice “ace” to have in their pocket.

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Best Education

I spend the better part of my days as a mother pondering my children’s education. Yeah, I have a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 3 month old, so I know it’s a bit early. Yeah, I’m aware that when their father and I were kids, there wasn’t as much pressure to put children into K2, K3, and so forth. Here’s the thing, though, I don’t want my kids to just have what their father and I had. I want them to have so much more and to be so much more, not that we turned out bad.

Each day, I spend some time in prayer over what to do. Should I homeschool the boys or should I send them to private school? My husband and I have pretty much agreed on the fact that they will not go into public school for various reasons of which I’ll get to later. I’ve researched a lot of homeschooling options and I’ve asked questions of others who have homeschooled their children. It’s a daunting task to consider and frankly I’m a bit terrified of it.

I have a total of three degrees; an Associates in English, a Bachelors in Communications and Political Science, and a Masters in Business Administration. I am a self described nerd who would love nothing more than to spend the rest of my life going to school and getting various degrees. Not that getting any more education would necessarily improve our household income, but learning new things and studying is almost like a hobby for me, but having all of this education doesn’t necessarily mean I’m equipped to teach my children.

I’m horrible with math. I despise it with a passion, that and all things economics. I don’t handle our finances, not because I’m not capable, but because I just loathe it. Math and economics are two of things that pretty much stumped me all through school. If I don’t understand it and I’m no good at it, then how can I teach my boys? Well, there are options such as online classes and homeschool co-ops.

Private schools cost a lot of money which means I’ll need to go back to work, something that I’m still teeter-tottering about. And even if we send them to private school, their education isn’t fully in my hands. There are still people they will encounter and standards to meet; standards that I don’t necessarily agree with. This whole Common Core thing that seems to be sweeping our country is not something I agree with and I’m not on board with my child being taught this way, much like I was never on board with the “No Child Left Behind”. Will my boys really get the best education if I put them into some type of classroom setting?

And finally there’s the whole sex scoundrel, pedophile thing that really concerns me. Just a couple of weeks ago, an elementary school principal from Georgia was arrested for soliciting sex from underage girls, and by underage I’ve read it’s more like 10-12 years of age! How do you explain something like this to your child? How do you explain that people they should trust at school, really are just immoral slugs? Apparently, it’s not just public schools either as locally there’s a former coach from a private Christian school who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. So, this issue isn’t just for the public schools.

There are just so many things to consider with their education and I’m hoping the Lord will open my eyes soon or let me see what I should be doing. I want my boys to grow up well rounded, good kids, with strong Christian values…the Christian values being a big sticking point. They deserve the best and these days the best isn’t found within the public school system, at least not for my boys.

I’m curious…how many of you out there homeschool your children? How many of you send them to private schools? I have one website to visit about homeschooling…www.hslda.org. I’ve started perusing through it and I’ve even started following a few Twitter feeds. If you do homeschool your kids, what advice could you offer to me?