A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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When Accelerated Reader slams on the brakes
Friday, 10 Feb, 2012 – 11:36 | 2 Comments
When Accelerated Reader slams on the brakes

It’s a good thing Accelerated Reader wasn’t around when I was in third grade. I doubt there would have been AR tests for the Perry Mason novels I loved.
For unindoctrinated uninitiated, Accelerated Reader bills itself …

All the world’s a history book
Thursday, 26 Jan, 2012 – 13:00 | Comments Off
All the world’s a history book

Maybe we’re weird, but I swear this kind of stuff happens here all the time. We’ll be out enjoying the day or running errands, something will catch one of the guys’ attention and before I …

My life in a lunch sack
Thursday, 15 Sep, 2011 – 11:42 | Comments Off
My life in a lunch sack

Big Guy brought the project home from school Monday. It started with a typed note attached to a brown bag – bring three things to school that represent something important in your life. You’ll talk …

Bored with school at age 6
Monday, 12 Sep, 2011 – 12:29 | 2 Comments
Bored with school at age 6

Boots’ school operates on a color system – kids start the day at green and either move up to yellow, orange and then red or down to blue, purple and gray.
The problems with that are …

Spiraling (out of control) math
Friday, 12 Aug, 2011 – 11:41 | Comments Off
Spiraling (out of control) math

Last year, it brought  “mean, range and mode” to second grade. Later we saw estimations that caused many a kid to howl “why can’t I just solve the problem?” instead of rounding addends  to get …

Back to the bus stop
Wednesday, 10 Aug, 2011 – 11:45 | Comments Off
Back to the bus stop

Even though this year’s bus stop is a much longer hike for Big Guy than last year’s “roll out the back door” location, my plan had been to let him walk the third of a …

When the test results are right – but wrong
Monday, 1 Aug, 2011 – 13:53 | Comments Off
When the test results are right – but wrong

I’ll say this about our first adventure in standardized testing land: Big Guy’s results from the spring exam dovetailed perfectly with his performance in the classroom. I’m just not sure that either indicator is accurate.
In …

Why the guys have barely cracked a book all summer
Monday, 18 Jul, 2011 – 12:15 | One Comment
Why the guys have barely cracked a book all summer

I started out with good intentions, declaring as school let out that the guys would read for a half hour each day.
That soon devolved to bribing – they’d earn one “Mom Buck” for each 30 …

A SWAT for needing extra time to do what we used to do in 6
Thursday, 30 Jun, 2011 – 18:44 | Comments Off
A SWAT for needing extra time to do what we used to do in 6

There’s an impressive list of organizations backing the TIME Act – a bill pending before Congress that would provide grant money to schools that extend their schedules by at least 300 hours a year. There’s …

If you’re laying off nurses, you better have a backup plan
Friday, 24 Jun, 2011 – 13:12 | 2 Comments
If you’re laying off nurses, you better have a backup plan

The lack of health-care workers in schools is nothing new.
We saw the impact when Big Guy was in kindergarten and cooled his heels in the office for half a day after a snooty secretary diagnosed …

What I will never tell the guys about state testing
Tuesday, 12 Apr, 2011 – 11:14 | Comments Off
What I will never tell the guys about state testing

The guys go to a school that ends at second grade, though the weight of the entire student body has been thrown behind this week’s state testing.
The kindergarteners made posters supporting the second graders – …

Extending the principal’s job to cover the world
Wednesday, 16 Mar, 2011 – 17:03 | One Comment
Extending the principal’s job to cover the world

I am not in favor of bullying.
I am not against school officials taking swift action against anyone who breaks the rules or laws on their campuses.
I am, however, opposed to making principals in charge of …

In defense of gaming – or something like it – in the classroom
Wednesday, 23 Feb, 2011 – 16:50 | Comments Off
In defense of gaming – or something like it – in the classroom

Why is it that Boots can “die” endlessly on Mario and still go back for more, yet he used to get frustrated to near tears if he wasn’t the first to answer a question in …

A SWAT for cramming for kindergarten
Thursday, 17 Feb, 2011 – 17:01 | Comments Off
A SWAT for cramming for kindergarten

You know what they say about kindergarten being the new first grade?
Well, forget it. It turns out that advanced kindergarten is life in the slow lane. The real competitors in the “get your kids ahead …

Reading books about stuff
Thursday, 17 Feb, 2011 – 13:33 | One Comment
Reading books about stuff

Though he’s finished all the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books and the 10-volume “39 Clues” series – does that make it 390 Clues? – Big Guy is not much on stories. He has a …

Venting should not be socially accepted
Wednesday, 16 Feb, 2011 – 16:12 | Comments Off
Venting should not be socially accepted

I’ll admit to occasionally rolling my eyes at someone’s back after a frustrating conversation.
I’ll cop to longing for a voodoo doll so I could return the torture an annoying person was inflicting on me.
But those …

Let’s freak out about learning another language
Thursday, 10 Feb, 2011 – 17:25 | 4 Comments
Let’s freak out about learning another language

For years Russian was the only foreign language taught at the high school I eventually attended. To my knowledge, no one during that era grew up and defected to the Soviet Union.
I took three years …

Helicopter, tigers and slackers, oh my!
Wednesday, 9 Feb, 2011 – 12:45 | Comments Off
Helicopter, tigers and slackers, oh my!

I am not a helicopter mom. In fact, once I get past freaking out at the amateurish nature of the guys’ “made it myself” art projects, I silently mock picture-perfect productions that scream parental micromanagement.
I …

If you want a race to the top, make sure kids start at the same place
Monday, 7 Feb, 2011 – 19:51 | One Comment
If you want a race to the top, make sure kids start at the same place

How can we promise to leave no child behind when we’re abandoning so many of them at the start?
And how can we hope to have a race to the top when some kids are a …

Just because the rant’s legal doesn’t make it right
Thursday, 3 Feb, 2011 – 17:23 | One Comment
Just because the rant’s legal doesn’t make it right

It’s a classic case of the cliche about two wrongs not making a right. Make it three wrongs in this case.
A California high school student, who, according to Mashable was upset over his homework load, …

The birds and bees and ABCs
Friday, 21 Jan, 2011 – 14:37 | Comments Off
The birds and bees and ABCs

My only consolation as I read the note from Boots’ teacher is that he wasn’t the one in trouble this time.
Please talk to your children about not having boyfriends and girlfriends at school, she wrote. …

Grading parents doesn’t make the grade
Thursday, 20 Jan, 2011 – 17:10 | Comments Off
Grading parents doesn’t make the grade

Note to Florida Rep. Kelli Stargel: I’ve already passed kindergarten. Second grade, too! Therefore, it really doesn’t matter what my kids’ teachers think about my performance. I’ve earned a diploma and a degree. It’s the …

What’s in a name? A whole heap of trouble
Tuesday, 18 Jan, 2011 – 11:35 | Comments Off
What’s in a name? A whole heap of trouble

There’s name calling, and then there’s name calling.
We have zero tolerance for one kind in our house: Anything that’s gender, race or sexual preference-based. I called Big Guy out recently for saying, “that’s so gay,” …

Call 911 coz we have a grammar emergency
Thursday, 13 Jan, 2011 – 12:55 | Comments Off
Call 911 coz we have a grammar emergency

“I am heavier than him uh huh.”

“That is shinier than that yep it is.”

“I am happier than him OK right.”
Overlook the confusion about usage of he/him. I’ll work on that one later. Right now, I’d …

How to teach math? Beats me.
Tuesday, 11 Jan, 2011 – 11:35 | One Comment
How to teach math? Beats me.

It’s not that I had the “bad math experience” in school that a recent newspaper article talks about – though I’m not sure what a “bad math experience” is because the article never defines it.
At …

When Dora is outlawed, only outlaws will wear Dora
Thursday, 6 Jan, 2011 – 18:16 | Comments Off
When Dora is outlawed, only outlaws will wear Dora

The guys’ backpacks are camouflage. Their lunch boxes, though, are Buzz Lightyear. We have a camouflage model left over from last year, and since only one guy takes his lunch these days that means they’d …

The guys and school lunch – at least two of us are happy
Thursday, 6 Jan, 2011 – 13:53 | One Comment
The guys and school lunch – at least two of us are happy

For Big Guy it fell into the category of Things That Are Really Important. That meant he was going to keep pestering me until I got around to making it happen.
For me it fell into …

It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book
Wednesday, 5 Jan, 2011 – 18:00 | 3 Comments
It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book

Mommy, am I Student A or Student B, Big Guy asked.
Huh?
Am I Student A or Student B, out of the ones in my school folder.
I was stunned that he’d read his school folder, especially given …