Category Archives: Learning

School Days

appleSchool days, school days,
Dear old Golden Rule days!
Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of a hick’ry stick.

I loved being a student, from the time I was in kindergarten. I never minded it when it was time to wake up early in the morning and go off to school, even in the middle of the cold Minnesota winters. And there were no school buses to transport us to our elementary school. Yes – we had to walk six blocks, even in what was sometimes 30 degree below windchill temperatures! My mother would bundle us up to ward off the freezing temperatures, and to me it was worth it.

I enjoyed learning everything, from art to science. And the year that I began to learn how to read – now that was banner year for me. I remember how excited I was to learn that if you put together letters in a certain way then you could form words and those words could form sentences and that this was the key to reading. And from there you could write. Yes, reading opened up a whole new world for me.

I’ll admit that I was a good student and learning did come easily to me. My mind was always hungry for new knowledge and I soaked up any new knowledge like a sponge. I was receptive to any and all teaching. Maybe that’s why I was a good student. And when report card time came, I was always proud to bring it home to show my parents how well I had done. We were never rewarded with anything but praise for a job well done. And I was content with that.

I’ve always valued a good education and believe that it is the foundation for a good future. My husband and I instilled this value of a good education into our children as they were growing up. While they were in school, we always told them that they needed to do their best, and if their best was a “C” at report card time, that was okay. We never rewarded our children monetarily for their grades. And they always did their best. I’m proud to say that all three of our children graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. And they all worked their way through college, too. Not only that, but our youngest daughter just completed her first year pursuing her master’s degree in music performance on the cello.

Am I bragging? I guess maybe I am. But as a mother I just can’t help it. I’m so proud of all of my children. I’m proud that I was able to pass on my love of school to all of them and that it shows. And I know that my children will pass that love on to their children.

And this is one of my greatest accomplishments.

So what do I miss about being in school? Everything.

 

 

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A Matter of Honor

appleHave you ever felt as though you were truly cheated out of something that you had worked hard to earn, something that you felt you rightly deserved to have, but were nonetheless denied? I had this experience when I was in the ninth grade, and whenever I look back on it, I still have bitter feelings about it.

I had always been an excellent student, ever since the first grade. I loved learning, and it showed because I had a 4.0 grade point average. I was one of those students who hardly ever needed to study; learning just came naturally to me, and I also enjoyed helping others with their studies. I wrote excellent papers and always came out on top when exam time rolled around. I never minded going to school; as a matter of fact, I looked forward to going to school each day. I enjoyed being with my friends and I enjoyed learning new things. I was one of seven children, so I suppose that going to school each day was almost a welcome respite from a crowded household!

One day in home room I received a notice stating that because of my grade point average, I was being considered for the National Honor Society. I had never even heard of the National Honor Society before, but I began to do some research, and I discovered what a prestigious organization it was. I also began to realize what an honor it would be to become a member of such an organization. I was excited about the possibility that I could become one of its members.

Along with the notice, I had received some standard paperwork which I filled out, had my mother sign, and then promptly returned to the school office. Then I waited. A few weeks passed and I had almost forgotten about the whole incident until one day when I received another notice in home room. My application for membership had been denied. I couldn’t understand the reason for their denial. I had a 4.0 grade point average. What more could they want? Then I read that I was denied because I was not involved in any extracurricular activities.

I was incensed. The reason I was not involved in extracurricular activities was because I worked a part-time job after school. My family was on welfare, we lived in a housing project, and we couldn’t afford for me to be in any extracurricular activities!

Didn’t it count that I helped out at Sunday school? Didn’t it count that I volunteered at the Brownie Girl Scout meetings? Didn’t it count that I volunteered by visiting the local nursing home? Just because I wasn’t a cheerleader or a dancer or involved in any sports, why should that be counted against me? And what about helping my classmates with their schoolwork? I was like a tutor for many of them. Doesn’t that count for anything?

I appealed their decision. I made my case, just as I made it above. But it didn’t matter. I still was not accepted into the National Honor Society.

And I decided that maybe it was for the best. Maybe they weren’t so honorable after all.