el otoño

Fall is almost here!  As the all-knowing Google tells me, the Autumnal Equinox is this Saturday, September 22.  However, when I was talking to my mom the other day on the phone she relayed the same information….”Megan, Saturday is the first day of Autumn.”  But what I heard was, “Saturday is the first day of Awesome.”  And I replied, “I like that, how long is Awesome?”  Anyway, that made for an interesting conversation.  But I’d have to say that so far, Autumn is pretty Awesome!  Coming from a die-hard Summer Girl that says something.

Right now, here in the South it’s still warm (about 80 degrees during the day) and there’s just the slightest chill in the morning.  And the air smells great!  Yes, I’m aware that sounds strange, but it’s the same way in Spring….then it’s reviving and creating new life….now it’s refreshing after the heat of summer.  Anyway….I hope that whenever you are you are enjoying the beginning of Autumn!  And just as a ‘refreshing’ reminder…we’re here if and when you need us!

 

¡Chau Chau!

la influencia española

As many of you know, last week was the Republican National Convention.  I have to say I shocked myself and watched almost the entire thing.  That’s definitely something new for me.  I never was very politically active growing up.  I had a very vague and fuzzy idea about what was going on in Washington, D.C. (And I guess really, the whole concept about what goes on up there is vague and fuzzy).  And if you asked me, I would have told you, “I’m economically conservative and socially liberal.”  Yeah, I made it sound all fanc-i-fied.

When I reached voting age, I did identify myself as a Republican and have voted that way ever since.  But I felt like I had to hide the fact that I had conservative ideals because it seemed to make people upset and angry thinking things like, “Oh, she must be arrogant and narrow-minded.”  I also didn’t want to identify my ideals because honestly, politics is this giant issue that everyone fights about and I despise confrontation.  But you know what, you should feel comfortable about identifying who and what you are.  It doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s a free country, so hey, I’m a conservative young woman.  I’ve started my own business, I love working for myself.  So let’s get this economy back on track so others can share in the American Dream.

Okay, I’m off my soap box.  And all of that was to say that during the RNC we saw some great speeches.  I was very impressed and interested to see the number of Hispanic speakers who took part in the program.  Rep. Governor Susana Martinez made and very inspiring and uplifting speech.  Romney’s own son Craig made a short but beautiful speech (partly in Spanish) about how is father is the best candidate who understands Hispanic desire to come to this country and build a better life for the future generation.  If you didn’t get a chance to check them out (regardless of your affiliations) please do!

 

http://youtu.be/2y7Z9031EZU (Craig Romney)

http://youtu.be/NEewz5v04mU (Susana Martinez)

But my hands are blue…

I’m sure at one time or another we’ve all seen and episode or two of Bill Cosby’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  And they really do have that innocence and ability to come out with whatever they may be thinking at the time.  And although many of us may want to speak what is on our minds, we’ve learned (at least some of us) to filter or tone down what we say.

Fortunately, children don’t worry about such things and I’ve learned over my experience (albeit limited) that children are honest, blunt, and very creative.  I thought I would share with you some of the little morsels I’ve heard along the way….

Question:  What do our hearts do, why do we need them?

Answer: Because if they stop (your heart) you die.

Question: Why is it good for us to exercise?

Answer:  So we can sit down and watch TV all day.

Question: Do we know why the dinosaurs are extinct?

Answer:  Because at first there was a lot of water.  And the dinosaurs kept drinking all the water.  And Jesus came and told the dinosaurs, “Stop drinking all the water!!!”  But the dinosaurs didn’t listen and Jesus got really mad and he came and killed all the dinosaurs.

Question: What is this (pointing to the CD-Drive)?

Answer: A cup holder.

 

I guess the message here is: Kids can be kids.  And why shouldn’t they be?

 

Learning more about Learning

This week I started working with the So Much 2 Learn Homeschool in Decatur, Georgia.  It has been wonderful and I’m enjoying every moment of helping out and helping the kids learn.  After seeing the children in the homeschool setting, I was wishing I was 5 or 6 again, experiencing it from their point-of-view.  Thankfully, I always did and always have loved school and learning (except for a couple tough middle school years) and was blessed with a family who supported me along the way–but I know I would have loved homeschooling if I were given that opportunity!!

In the classes last week we reviewed a lot of the basics, the continents, oceans, where our country is located on the map, evaluated reading, writing, and math levels, and began our Spanish classes.  As we catch everyone up to their various levels, I’ve noticed that there is quiet a disparity between the education I received in the public school system (15 to 20 years ago) and the education children are receiving today.  Some of those common, basic, essential concepts for a handful of children are severely lacking or completely missing all together–And that makes my heart ache.

This is a problem that should not be overlooked, but unfortunately due to lack of funding, lack of caring (and if I’m allowed to say it–government involvement) in our education system, the youth of America seem to be rapidly dumbed down.  This makes me want to stand on the rooftops and yell “Come on America!! Wake up, your children are the leaders of tomorrow!!!!”

Well, as my father says, “I’ll get off my soapbox” but I’d like to leave you with this little tidbit of information…some advice from today’s teachers.

Until next time….¡Chau chau!

Expect the Unexpected

When I started this tutoring journey (February 2011) I had no idea where it would take me.  I just knew that tutoring Spanish and helping others is what I wanted to do.  Since that time, I have taught very young children, adolescents, high school students, college students and adults.  I have learned just as much (if not more) as my students (i.e. learning styles, how to teach children, different methods of tutoring, etc.)  I have also learned an abundance of information about education.

As many may know, education choices (for the schooling of children) are seemingly broad and many.  There are schools for the arts, the public school system, private schools, homeschooling, and (something new I’d never heard of before) Cyber School.  Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with children of different education backgrounds, most recently a home-school group.  This group has been a pleasure to teach and they seem all around excited about learning and happy.  That itself is a beautiful thing.  I can recall my middle school days, how unpleasant they were and how cruelly I was treated by my fellow students.  I’m not saying that treatment goes on in every public middle school, but in my experience, I was miserable and by the time high school came around I was more than ready to leave the public school system.  In ninth grade, made the transition from public to private education and although it was tough (very), I was much happier there than I had ever been before.

Now, however, after my teaching my home-school class (and seeing some of my family members have success with home-schooling) I find myself being gradually pulled in that direction.  Seeing how happy my current students are it seems natural to have children learn at home, where you the parent knows your child is in a safe and happy environment and you supervise (or closely monitor) their education.  Granted, I don’t know all the ups and downs of a home-school education and I don’t have any children (yet).  And, I’m certain many of my family members and friends would be surprised to hear these musings, but I believe that an education is VERY important–so this is surely something to think about!

Learning about learning…

It is true that every person learns or acquires information differently.

For example, say there is a room full of students who must learn the location and capitals of certain countries for a geography test.  Billy knows that he can just study the map for about 30 minutes or so and then know the location and capital of each country.  Sarah knows that in addition to studying the map, she will have to write down the name of each country and its capital in order to memorize all the information.  And then there’s Sam, and he knows the only way he’ll remember the map, countries, and capitals is if he traces the map, writes in the names of the countries, and places the capital in the correct spot.

Each of the three students mentioned above has a different learning style.  Billy is a visual learner, he can look at something and absorb the information.  Sarah learns by reading and writing and Sam is a hands-on learner (or tactile learner), having to trace the map multiple times.

Although a person may learn using one method over the other, most people learn best with a combination of these methods, reading, writing, seeing, listening, and do an activity.  And maybe that’s why lately I’ve decided to take a fun “combination” approach to my lessons.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made it a point to find an interesting current events article for each student.  I’ve tried to find subjects that I think may interest my students and we both read the article together.  I think that seeing the written Spanish, speaking it, and learning about a different or interesting subject has much more appeal that a standard textbook.  (Not to say that textbooks are bad, not at all, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the norm).

The exciting news is each student really enjoyed this exercise, and seeing words in a different context  helped them to realize they do understand Spanish and can figure out really what is being said!

The Food I can’t live without…

 

  • Peanut Butter Scare

    I don’t know if I have five foods I couldn’t live without, but I can think of two. Peanut Butter and Apples. Yes, I know what it probably wouldn’t be on the top of everyone’s list, but if you think about it I think that these two foods make pretty good sense.
    First, peanut butter is a great source of protein–that’s why it was created more or less. Second, apples are a great source of fiber. Third, both of these are very yummy and particularly awesome together.
    When I was studying in Argentina, finding peanut butter was a hard thing to do. Most Argentinians think that peanut butter is disgusting and would never think of eating it. The woman I lived with, (she was amazing) trekked all through downtown Cordoba to find peanut butter for me (this was after my Mom sent me one of those giant jars of JIF that you use primarily for baking).
    When Rosita did find peanut butter, she brought some home and then said to me…”What do you do with it?” I think that my mouth almost hit the floor and I said something like, “What can’t you do with it? Then I explained that with peanut butter the possibilities were endless…”PB & J, PB and toast, PB and chocolate, PB and apples, PB and celery, PB and bananas….” I felt like Bubba from Forrest Gump listing all the things you could do with shrimp.
    After my long explanation Rosita started to soak it all in and even began to partake of the peanut-buttery-goodness. It was nice to share a little bit of my foodie culture with someone who made amazing food. And, I learned that it was very hard for me to live without my PB!