Daily Archives: April 18, 2012

NOT MY KID by Christine Hughes

I’m going to let Christine slide on the recipes, since this post touched a nerve deep inside.  My husband was a teacher in Southern California for over thirty years and dealt with far too many uninvolved parents.  For that matter most of our friends in SoCal were teachers and I just spent a weekend with them.  All of them would have revelled in knowing a parent like Christine.  So grab your favorite beverage (I’m drinking Sorrento coffee and contemplating breakfast) and enjoy.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a wonderful crustless quiche recipe I picked up this last weekend.

Take it away Christine.

Mom, Teacher and a Bowl of Cheerios – NOT MY KID!

Hey Mona! Thank you for having me! I’ve been wracking my brain figuring out what to share and since the topic of my son’s schoolwork is in the forefront of my head this past year, I felt maybe I could ramble a small “lecture” for those of us who may need it.

I was an English major in college. I taught English to students from 6th grade to 10th grade. I love to read. I love to write. I love to talk about books, I love to touch books and I love the fact I’ve written one about to be published. So with all this love of reading and writing, can you imagine how shocked I was when I found out that my first grader wasn’t progressing, as he should in those areas?

I had three reactions to his reading level when he started first grade. The first, I am ashamed to admit, was my selfish response – What are you talking about? He has to be good at it because I am (not my finest mom moment, I assure you so you can close your mouths now.) The second was my mom response – Not my child! Omygosh! Is going to stay back? (again, not a great response) My third response, and actually the most helpful, was my teacher response – What can we do? How can I help him? What methods are you using to gauge his level? And with that I called everyone I could at the school, my old teaching buddies, and set up meetings with whoever could help us.

As a teacher, I should have known that boys often progress in reading later than girls. I was able to see the light when I put my teacher hat on. Having been on the other side of the desk, I was familiar with a number of the strategies teachers use to increase reading flow and continuity. I was also familiar with many of the tools available in public schools – I was aware of my rights as a parent, the rights of my son’s teacher and approach what seemed like doom and gloom in a more positive manner.

My husband and I set up our kitchen with bulletin boards and white boards and got down to business. I knew everything we did needed to be as straightforward as we could make it. My son isn’t a fan of arts and crafts and all that so whatever we did to help him needed to be as logical as it could be. And as soon as I calmed down, lineated my thinking and focused, he grew less anxious and homework started being fun and you know what? Based on the methods used in his school, his ability to comprehend and his measure of fluency have increased by 14 points! (That’s phenomenal, by the way) So everyday we do homework, we celebrate the end of the “lesson” with a bowl of cereal complete with the spoon clinking “cheers” he loves.

I think my rambling point is that, as parents, we often look for who is to blame in terms of our child’s education. But remember, a teacher follows a prescribed curriculum and in this day and age of “teach to the test”, differentiated instruction is difficult.  Maybe if we all could wear a teacher hat for the day and realize that blaming instead of finding solutions is counterproductive. Because while we all respond with “not my kid!” we all need to realize that, “yeah, my kid” might be the truth.

Thanks Christine for the reminder–I don’t have children but I’ve had the “not MINE” reaction when my dog is the only one to “mark” the obstacles in Obedience.  Oops.  Christine’s “Torn” is coming out from Black Opal Books

MORE ABOUT CHRISTINE: A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she’d met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey.

Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.

Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper play list, Hughes finds the words don’t flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books in June 2012.

3 Interesting Facts: 1. I  attended 13 different schools, including college, due to my family’s military relocations. 2.     I met my husband when I was 14. 3.     My favorite book of all time is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.


When Samantha’s father dies and she finds out he was an angel because of what he was protecting, she must join the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In spite of the unforgivable betrayal of her best friend, the newly acknowledged love for her guardian angel, the face to face confrontation of the dark angel who killed her father and the growing need to allow darkness to take over her being, Samantha has been charged making the choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the darkness of the Exiled.



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