Today I was home alone.  All alone with just the dogs, the cats and my thoughts.  It was wonderful!  I could get used to it, as long as there was someone else to do the laundry, cooking and cleaning.  That's what I spend my day doing - YUCK!  And there is still more to do tomorrow.  For now, I will listen to my daughter and hubby put some Lego's together before she heads off to bed and I head off to the couch and watch The Biggest Loser.  Love that show.  And the little boy they have on there this year is adorable!  He looks like one of my kids from last year. 

As I was sitting today taking a break and playing on the computer, I got an email saying someone had donated to my Adoptaclassroom.org thing.  Some guy who lives by my school donated some money to my classroom.  I went to go and buy my stuff, but nothing has sparked my fancy.  Guess I should get going on that.  But it got me thinking about my kids and where they come from compared to my daughter and her life. 

When my daughter was born, my hubby was in law school, so he stayed home during the day with her while I was at work.  She had a parent with her 24/7 for the first 2 years of her life.  And, if we weren't with her, one of our parents were with her, so she was always with family.  But, we did things with her.  We took her places.  We exposed her to new things all the time.  Whether it was a trip to the zoo, the dairy or a road trip up North, we were taking her places and talking to her about what we were doing and seeing.  She was only one when she went to the Redwoods and drove through a tree and tried black licorice.  She's been to Yosemite, rafted down a river, fed a giraffe and watched sea otters play in the ocean.  She's played soccer and basketball, taken an art class and now has a desire to learn to play the drums.  So lessons, here we come.  A lot of the things we have done, didn't cost a lot of money, but provided her the experiences and vocabulary enrichment. 

Many of my kids in my classes over the last 15 years don't have those.  Parents claim it's because they don't have money, and I get that, I really do.  But there is more to experiences than money.  Less than a mile from my school is a dairy.  A real life dairy.  They have a little area in the front that has animals that you can feed (it's a quarter for a bag of food).  My daughter loves walking around, talking to the animals.  She's been doing it since she was 2.  She learned what the animals said, what they look like, etc just by walking around and looking at them.  Half of my kids have never been there.  And I think it's sad. 

A lot of my kids now and in the past do not have the vocabulary to talk about everyday life.  Simple things that I take for granted are unknown to them.  And trying to teach them the little things while teaching the big things is a challenge.  I wish I knew how to tell parents to give their children experiences to help enrich their lives, but the parents are just as limited as their children.  Like everyone, we get stuck in our routines, stay in our comfort zones and don't go out of them.  I am trying to change that in myself and it's hard, but I know how much richer my life and my daughter's life will be if we do things that are new. 

At school, it's hard with the rigors of teaching to give the kids the new experiences.  My goal for myself this year is to try and give my students a new experience every week, if possible to help them learn something new.  And if it goes with the standards, great!  If not, we will chalk it up to learning something new and having fun doing it.  Everything we do will have to be on site and will have to be provided by me, as we have $0 for field trips.  I guess I should start begging for people to come in and volunteer their time, but I'm not good at that.  I can't even get parents to come in and help in the class.  Maybe that should be a new goal, too! 

If anyone has any suggestions on CHEAP, easy things to do, please pass them on.  I need to get my butt in gear and start planning for the next month.  I haven't wanted to accept the fact that school is starting soon.  I should be ready, but I have enjoyed my time at home.  4 more days before it's over and reality sets in!  Until then, I will continue to enjoy my time at home being a mommy and getting ready for January/February!  Happy Monday all!

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