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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Ca-nation Cam: Day 5
Friday, 26 Mar, 2010 – 13:19 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 5

Even Boots can see the beginning of the end now. The blooms aren’t as full as they were, and the red flower is brown around the edges.
“Why, Mommy? The ones at school are still giant …

Gimme a B, Gimme an A Gimme a D! What’s that spell? Bad idea!
Thursday, 25 Mar, 2010 – 17:09 | Comments Off
Gimme a B, Gimme an A Gimme a D! What’s that spell? Bad idea!

California sent out tens of thousands of layoff notices to teachers last year, and by the time this spring’s are tallied the total will be similar.
The state’s scores on a national test were higher than …

Ca-nation Cam: Day 4
Thursday, 25 Mar, 2010 – 13:14 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 4

Green is very late to the party – still barely showing up in fact – and Big Guy is starting to take that personally. Green, you see, is his favorite color, and the fact …

Ca-nation Cam: Day 3
Wednesday, 24 Mar, 2010 – 13:06 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 3

Ah, here comes yellow. The color isn’t as wide-spread as on the red and blue, but it looks really cool. I’m not a big fan of yellow, but I have to admit it makes the …

Ca-nation Cam: Day 2
Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 – 14:49 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 2

Though yellow had taken the early lead at school, at home red and blue quickly pulled out in front at home in our flowers-and-food-coloring experiment. I wondered if the flowers were picking up on vibes …

Ca-nation Cam: Day 1
Monday, 22 Mar, 2010 – 14:48 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 1

From the same fun folks who brought you Chia Cam – the plants are all now officially dead, by the way – we introduce Ca-nation Cam. It’s the science project that was so much fun …

Hopscotching into math
Wednesday, 17 Mar, 2010 – 11:46 | One Comment
Hopscotching into math

It’s a math drill with no flash cards!
It’s exercise without leaving the patio!
And it’s also an idea I blatantly stole from Parents Math Night at Big Guy’s school – but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with …

Recess and rules
Monday, 15 Mar, 2010 – 16:53 | 2 Comments
Recess and rules

It started out ugly yesterday afternoon, but it ended with a peace accord that made all sides happy.
Big Guy and a friend from school were playing tag at a park when another kid came along …

Don’t mess with Texas? Then don’t mess with history
Thursday, 11 Mar, 2010 – 19:07 | 4 Comments
Don’t mess with Texas? Then don’t mess with history

Life was so much simpler when I was in school. History texts focused on presenting facts – and back then, a fact was a fact was a fact.
Today, though, there are some who think the …

Protesters at schools? Bring ‘em on
Wednesday, 10 Mar, 2010 – 19:02 | Comments Off
Protesters at schools? Bring ‘em on

Where does “protest” end and “publicity stunt” begin?
With PETA and its propensity to station costumed characters in high-traffic public places – always making sure the media are aware of the big news- it’s hard to …

Over the moon about Molly – but is the trip worth it?
Wednesday, 10 Mar, 2010 – 12:36 | One Comment
Over the moon about Molly – but is the trip worth it?

I’m certain it was the bright-blue goggle-eyed pug on the cover that drew Big Guy’s attention. The fact that I was trying to steer him to what I thought was more age-appropriate reading material – …

Milennials aren’t harder to teach. We just don’t try hard enough
Monday, 8 Mar, 2010 – 18:57 | Comments Off
Milennials aren’t harder to teach. We just don’t try hard enough

It was, admittedly, a new take on the old “these kids and their short attention spans and self-absorbed natures are ruining the world” spiel.
Instead, a British education union leader blamed a culture of “instant gratification,” …

Reading Across America – in a virtual way
Wednesday, 3 Mar, 2010 – 13:09 | Comments Off
Reading Across America – in a virtual way

We’ve read the books, and we’ve eaten the cake at the library. That’s all old Cat in the Hat now. What else could we do to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America, I …

Fire all the teachers? Yes, that will work
Tuesday, 2 Mar, 2010 – 19:36 | Comments Off
Fire all the teachers? Yes, that will work

It’s unfortunate that the AFL-CIO did its job today and jumped into fray in a Rhode Island district that’s firing the entire staff at the low-performing Central Falls High School.
Unfortunate because that gives more ammo …

Lunch with teacher
Tuesday, 2 Mar, 2010 – 13:18 | Comments Off
Lunch with teacher

When we last left Big Guy, his big mouth was causing problems at school on a daily basis. It’s a seasonal issue for him that’s going to crop up just as sure as the teacher …

A SWAT for enticing kids with computers and then spying on them
Thursday, 18 Feb, 2010 – 19:50 | Comments Off
A SWAT for enticing kids with computers and then spying on them

Every time Big Guy’s class has a substitute teacher, his regular one says she’ll get a report about their behavior from her “spies” when she gets back.
She’s joking. In a certain school district in suburban …

Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell them they’re learning
Tuesday, 9 Feb, 2010 – 12:05 | Comments Off
Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell them they’re learning

Take one over-sized wall map of the United States.
Add quick sheets filled with random information about various states.
Combine with a boy’s passion for racing, stir with a DryErase marker and marinate for 36 events over …

Happy Friendship Day – but I still want chocolate
Friday, 5 Feb, 2010 – 12:31 | Comments Off
Happy Friendship Day – but I still want chocolate

Valentine’s Day has been canceled according to Boots’ school, which should save a few relationships that normally would shatter in the “I don’t want to buy a present” pre-holiday breakup rush.
Don’t breathe that sigh of …

A SWAT for mocking parents instead of talking to them
Thursday, 4 Feb, 2010 – 20:00 | Comments Off
A SWAT for mocking parents instead of talking to them

I get that some parents are a total pain in the rear. I’m sure I am at times, though I try hard not to be.
And I know that a sarcastic diatribe can be cathartic.
Unless, of …

Don’t blame the food allergic for ruining the party
Thursday, 4 Feb, 2010 – 11:25 | Comments Off
Don’t blame the food allergic for ruining the party

I did a double cringe when the Valentine’s Day note came home this week from Big Guy’s school: “Due to food allergies, please do not send any candy, cupcakes or food items.”
The first cringe came …

High-tech snow days with clear, sunny weather
Friday, 22 Jan, 2010 – 11:24 | Comments Off
High-tech snow days with clear, sunny weather

Back in the day – yes, the day when we had to walk four miles to school, uphill both ways – snow days held a certain mysterious romance.
We’d watch the flakes start to fall the …

A SWAT for making school budget cuts a race issue
Thursday, 14 Jan, 2010 – 22:44 | Comments Off
A SWAT for making school budget cuts a race issue

I don’t know Paul Gibson from Adam. I have no idea if he’s white, black, green or purple. I don’t know if he’s liberal or conservative.
But I do know that if his take on a …

Note to the Class of 2011: Be careful what you put on your shirts
Tuesday, 5 Jan, 2010 – 22:51 | Comments Off
Note to the Class of 2011: Be careful what you put on your shirts

Note to school officials in Dearborn, Mich: Teens do stupid things. Incredibly stupid things that at times demonstrate a stunning lack of awareness of history.
And something that happened in 2001 is indeed history to today’s …

Thank you, Junie B. Jones, for making reading fun again
Tuesday, 5 Jan, 2010 – 12:05 | Comments Off
Thank you, Junie B. Jones, for making reading fun again

Big Guy had big news just before the holidays. He’d been promoted to the hot-pink dots under the school library color-coded system for deciphering reading levels, meaning he now was allowed to check out “chapter …

Where are all those bad teachers? We’re not finding them
Friday, 18 Dec, 2009 – 11:42 | One Comment
Where are all those bad teachers? We’re not finding them

We got a call yesterday morning, just hours before the start of winter break, from Big Guy’s teacher. She’d wanted to know if he’d been sick the past two days – he had – and …

A SWAT for trying to disturb the peace at Christmas
Thursday, 17 Dec, 2009 – 20:45 | Comments Off
A SWAT for trying to disturb the peace at Christmas

Merry Susan Hyatt is a 61-year-old substitute teacher in Redding, Calif., who’s also taught in Southern California. In all those years she seldom encountered students who weren’t Christian. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a …

Rolling along with sight words. So what.
Thursday, 17 Dec, 2009 – 14:14 | Comments Off
Rolling along with sight words. So what.

A full eight months before he’s to start kindergarten, Boots already knows a half-dozen “sight” words.
I’d never say this to his face because it would break his little heart, but so what?
Yeah, yeah. I know. …

Hair today, in-school suspension tomorrow
Wednesday, 16 Dec, 2009 – 22:56 | One Comment
Hair today, in-school suspension tomorrow

Of all the things to go to the wall with a kid over, hair has to be the most ridiculous.
An odd-ball hair style causes no long-term damage – it can always be cut or grow …