After The Hunger Games

The other day, I mentioned that my daughter’s 8th grade class would be going on a field trip to see The Hunger Games. The field trip was this morning, and I had promised to update the original post with my thoughts on the movie. However, after what I witnessed today,I feel the topic deserved its own post.

First, I want to thank those that took a moment to comment on the original post. I value each of your opinions, and I respect them. I like hearing how you feel about particular situations. We may not always agree, but hearing someone else’s viewpoint can help broaden my own thoughts and opinions.

This morning was the field trip. I was told that I could attend as long as I didn’t bring the baby. Sigh. Like I’d be that dumb. Did they not read my note? I didn’t even want to have my 14 year old there. But, sure, I’ll bring my 1 year old.

After pushing thoughts of showing up with my 5 year old, my 3 year old, AND my 1 year old – just for spite – aside, I arrived at the theater in time to pay for my ticket and go in. I was the only parent allowed to attend the movie. I know many other parents wanted to go just to see the movie themselves, but I was allowed only because I had stated that if I didn’t go, Ashley didn’t go.

The movie itself wasn’t bad. Had I seen it beforehand, I probably would not have allowed Ashley to go with the school. Not because I thought it was too violent, or that she couldn’t handle it. I wish she had read the book because the book explains SO much better the reasoning behind the Hunger Games. A movie just can’t convey the detail that a book can. If she had read the book and we had the opportunity to discuss it in great detail, I would have felt much better about her seeing the movie.

It quickly became clear to me that the children in the theater had no idea what the “story” behind the movie. As we sat there, I was horrified to hear children clapping with each death – or the shouts of “Kill him!” “Slit his throat!” and other such phrases. At one point, I wanted nothing more than to grab Ashley and leave the theater. I wanted to go back in time and say that she wasn’t allowed to go on the field trip at all, and I would force her to read the book and then take her to the movie myself.

The behavior of the children during the movie was terrible. They were not mature enough to sit through the movie, and they were not mature enough to be subjected to that movie. Had they first been required to read the book and then take a test before viewing the movie, I might be singing a different tune. But they weren’t required any of that, and it was clear they were simply there to have a good time.

The first thing I did when I got home was send an email to the Superintendent. I told her basically what I’ve told you here. I know that I’m not like most parents, and that most view it as “just a movie.” That’s just not how things work in our house.

I don’t know that anything will ever come of my letter to the Superintendent. With 30 days left of school, it will probably be written off as nothing more than an upset mom having her say. And that’s fine. We’re switching school districts next year, so I won’t have to deal with this school system anymore. But, you’d better believe I will stand up for what’s right in their new school district. I’ll just be another “one of those” moms.

The movie definitely doesn’t get 2 thumbs up from me. It was good, but not fantastic. And it definitely wasn’t field trip material without a thorough study of the book prior to the movie.

Did your child see the movie? Do they understand the concept, or just view it as “just a movie”?

The Hunger Games – Thoughts & Ramblings

About a week ago, I started reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. It started with Book 1, and by the end of the book, I had chewed every single nail down to the bone. Last Friday night, I was sitting at home wishing for Book 2, and my 8th grade history teacher sent me the Kindle version so I could download it to my iPhone. I finished Book 2 yesterday and started Book 3 right away.

I am hooked. I normally don’t take the time to read anything. In fact, I’m lucky if I can thumb through a magazine and make it through a full article. But for some reason, I cannot seem to put these books down. I can’t remember the last time I remember reading a series of books as much as I have these.

I am dying to see the movie. Honestly, if it’s half as good as the first book, I’ll be blown away. I can’t wait to see it.

What I do have an issue with, though, is the fact that my daughter’s middle school sees this movie as an acceptable field trip.

I do understand when they say, “This movie has brought the childrens’ interest in reading to a whole new level.” That’s fantastic. Yes, I want my daughter to want to read. I can’t say anything against that.

What bothers me though are several other issues:

  • The movie is rated PG-13. I know that it is rated such for violence, and I know that I cannot shield my daughter from everything the world throws at her. But, in our house, it has been a rule that any movie rated PG-13 or above must first be viewed by myself or my husband and be deemed appropriate viewing for any of our children…. including our 14 year old. We at least need to know what they are getting into. These are middle school kids. Not high school. Middle school.
  • The fact that the permission said “Chaperones are not needed on this trip.” That one sentence burns me up. Hundreds of 7th and 8th graders, and they don’t need chaperones? Really? I don’t think so.

So, I sent a note to my daughter’s school with the permission slip that said if I don’t go, she won’t be at school that day. Not because of my desire to go see the movie myself, but because I haven’t had the chance to preview the movie. If I think Ashley needs to leave the theater, I want to be there to allow her a way out – and a way home.

Do I think that she’s going to need to leave the theater? Probably not. I’ve heard really good things about the movie. But, this is a very strong conviction that I have, and if I waiver, what have I taught my daughter? Sin is ok if….

My husband, Ashley, and I all sat down last night and discussed everything. She understands my feelings, and told me that she expected it. She knew she wouldn’t get to see the movie without me seeing it first – that’s just how things have always been. I am so thankful she doesn’t fight me on this. She wouldn’t, though. This is what she knows, and she’s ok with it. I am so blessed to have a daughter that stands on her own convictions and respects the wishes of her parents…. usually. 😉 She is a teenage girl afterall.

My letter went to the school this morning, and by 8:10, I had a text message from Ashley’s teacher. I am more than welcome to come to the theater, I just need to meet them there at the appointed time. I feel much better knowing that I’ll be there and that the school isn’t going to fight me on this. Truth be told, if they hadn’t allowed me to come, I would have kept Ashley home that day and taken her to the theater myself later in the day. But we would have gone together.

What are your thoughts? Did your child go see The Hunger Games for a field trip? Have you seen the movie? Talk to me…

I will edit this post after the movie on Friday and let you know my thoughts. Here’s hoping it’s as intriguing as the book.

Our Teacher Gifts This Year

I am so thankful for Pinterest this Christmas. It’s opened up a whole new world of teachers’ gifts to me. {And, since there are so many teachers on Pinterest, their comments on pins helped me determine which ones to quickly overlook.}

I wanted to make the gifts special this year. My kids will most likely not finish out the school year in the same school district, so I wanted to give a meaningful gift to each of their teachers.

I stumbled across this pin. I thought it was such a sweet idea. The creator of the project that was pinned used Wordle to create her design. I messed with Wordle and ended up getting frustrated beyond belief. I ended up just using my skills to create designs for each of my kids’ teachers. That way I could use their favorite colors, make certain sayings larger than others, and lay it out exactly like I wanted.

Here’s how Jace’s teacher’s gift turned out:

teacher gift

I am so, so happy with the way they turned out. I did the same thing with Ashley and Zander’s teachers – each one using words the kids picked to describe their teachers. It’s personal, from the heart, and unique. I hope their teachers love them as much as I loved making them.

Of course, I couldn’t just give one little gift, so I threw in a few more trinkets:

teacher gift

You can never have too many pairs of fuzzy socks. And those penguin suckers I found at Walmart were just too cute to pass up!

Jace has two Teacher’s Aids this year, so for them, I mimicked this pin. Instead of using those girly-looking cups, {since both of his aids are men}, I bought two large reusable water bottles, filled them with single-serve lemonade packets, and included a note that said, “Thanks for being such a great ‘ade’.” Too cute.

Did you get creative with Teacher’s gifts this year? I’d love to hear about it!

The Last Day of School!

I am so, so happy that today was the last day of school! For the last few days, the kids and I have been working hard on making gifts for the boys’ teachers, and preparing for today.

Here are the gifts we made:

Ms. Jane's Gift
Ms Lisa's Gift
Those are Jace’s teachers’ gifts. Ms. Jane is the class helper, and Ms. Lisa was his teacher. They each got a candle that we decked out with their favorite flowers, and Ms. Lisa also got a handmade bracelet. I made the bracelet for her, and I love the way it turned out. here’s a close up:

teachers bracelet
Here’s Zander’s teacher’s gift:
mrs raymond's gift
She got a decorated candle, a matching frame, and a bracelet. She was such an amazing teacher, and exactly what Zander needed this year. Here’s a close up of her bracelet:
teacher bracelet
I hope the teachers enjoy their gifts.

As for us, I am SO glad we get to sleep in tomorrow…. as long as everyone cooperates!

When is the end of school for your kids? What kind of gifts do you give to the teachers?

Gotta Brag for a Minute…

This afternoon, Ashley had an awards ceremony at school. It was the 6th and 7th grade Honor Awards ceremony, and Ash told me she’d be getting an award for having all As. She kept hoping that I could come, but she never pressed me about it. (What she didn’t know was that I had already made plans to be there! I wanted it to be a surprise.)

I loaded up Lucy, Parker, and Gage and we headed to the school. For the first time ever, I ended up getting really good parking. Stuck Gage in my Ergobaby carrier, grabbed Lucy & Parker by the hands, and headed in to the auditorium.

Ashley’s best friend recognized me and shouted across the auditorium to Ash that I was there. Embarrassed to death, Ash wouldn’t even look my direction. She kept right on talking and giggling with her friends.

That’s ok. She’s 13. Mom’s just not cool when you’re 13. Besides, all of her friends know how strict her parents are, so she didn’t want to point me out to any of them.

The ceremony started, and the first awards presented were for having a score of 900 or above on their CRCT tests. (The CRCT is a big deal around here. A really big deal, and they put way too much pressure on the kids to do well on these tests.) After they went through the entire 6th grade, they moved onto the 7th graders. (I hate having a last name that starts with V!) They called Ashley’s name, stating that she had received a perfect score in Science, as well as a score over 900 in Social Studies.) I beamed. Announced it on facebook immediately, and told the world that I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter.

After that, they handed out the general awards for 6th grade, and moved onto the awards for 7th grade. During that time, Ashley also received an award for having all As in her classes, and she also received the “Best All Around” award. (Basically, best all around means you’re an excellent student, you’re kind, respectful, and just a joy to be around.)

I am so proud of Ashley. We really struggled with putting her back into public school after homeschooling, but I truly believe this is exactly what she needed. She is thriving and excelling in every class, and I could not be more proud of her.

Thanks for letting me brag on my girl. My heart is truly overflowing right now!

Earthquake Drill

earthquake drillToday at Zander’s school, they had an earthquake drill. When Zander got home, he was telling me all about this earthquake drill and what happened. Here’s exactly what he said to me:

“They sounded off the alarm, and we all got in our proper places. But then they didn’t shake the school. What is the point of having an earthquake drill if they’re not going to shake the school?!”

When I asked him why he thought they would shake the school for a drill, He replied, “Well, some of the kids said that the school has a big machine that makes it shake just for earthquake drills.”

It took me a good 10 minutes to stop giggling after that conversation!