August 18, 2008

What does this teach kids?

Recently, the Dallas Independent School District announced its new grading policy. The key points are:

Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."

Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.

Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.

Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."

(Dallas Morning News, Aug. 17, 2008)

What does this teach students? First, doesn't this significantly lower educational standards and diminish the value of a degree? Second, what life skills does this teach? Employers should let you do whatever whenever you get around to it?

Is this happening across the country - or is this merely bad news for Dallas students?

August 15, 2008

Dirty Dozen

Many already know this, but just in case I've listed the "dirty dozen" fruits in vegetables in terms of pesticides. The list was developed by the Environmental Working Group and can be found here.

1 Peaches
2 Apples
3 Sweet Bell Peppers
4 Celery
5 Nectarines
6 Strawberries
7 Cherries
8 Lettuce
9 Grapes (Imported)
10 Pears
11 Spinach
12 Potatoes

Carrots are listed at number 13. Since we eat a lot of carrots, they are on my organic list. I didn't look into the details of the research, but I'm surprised that tomatoes don't rank higher.

August 7, 2008

Sexualization of Young Girls - Part 2

A few weeks ago I blogged about recent studies on the sexualization of young girls. Two new reports caught my attention that further confirm the negative impact of media on our children.

The first is a new book So Sexy So Soon by Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne and reviewed recently on the Today show. You can read an excerpt here. In their book, the authors discuss how today's highly sexualized culture and media affects our children - even the youngest, and offer advice on how parents can protect them. Examples of real life stories include seven-year-old Hannah thinking that she is fat, five-year-old James drawing a picture of a professional wrestling girl (complete with large chest), and seven-year-old Eva asking her mother what a certain sexual act meant.

Released this week, the Parents Television Council's™ report "Happily Never After" concludes that prime-time television paints marriage in a negative light, glorifies non-marital sex, and exposes children to formally taboo sexual behaviors. Particularly disturbing are the statistics reported for the so-called "family hour" (8-9 pm Eastern):
The Family Hour — the time slot with the largest audience of young viewers, where one might reasonably expect broadcasters to be more careful with the messages they are communicating to impressionable youngsters – contained the highest frequency of references to non-married sex as opposed to references to sex in marriage, by a ratio of 3.9:1. During the 9:00 and 10:00 hours, the references to non-marital versus marital sex averaged 2.5:1.

We parents must protect our kids as much as possible while guiding them on how best to live their lives. As Dr. Ray Guarendi says, "Walk with God, and hold your kids tight by the hand."

August 6, 2008

How to Know God

Darcee over at Simply Catholic posted a wonderful description of how we know and love God. She outlines how we develop our relationship with God through

- Nature, Art, Music and Beauty
- Prayer
- Scriptures
- Catechism
- The Sacraments
- Writings of the Saints and others
- The Lives of Others
- Our Service to Others

Thanks Darcee!

August 4, 2008

Save money by not wasting fruits and vegetables

No rocket science here: make sure you use your fruits and vegetables before they go bad. We are usually pretty good about this at our house since we love fruits and vegetables. But every now and then, I throw something out. I hate to do it. Seems like such a waste.

So, besides only buying what I think we will use, I will now try to freeze any leftovers. Again, this seems so obvious, especially since I freeze extra portions of soups and such. Apparently it took reading Shauna's post to get me to really think about freezing extras.

Here is a trick to freezing portions of soups, stews, and I assume just about anything: label and fill a plastic bag with the portion that you will need in the future, close and lay flat on a cookie sheet, and place in freezer. When it is frozen, you will be able to stack the flat portion more easily than a lumpy version that's just thrown in the freezer. Now, there's some rocket science!