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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Articles in School days

Quaking behind the camera lens
Tuesday, 15 Dec, 2009 – 14:13 | Comments Off
Quaking behind the camera lens

I stood on tip toes and reached high above me, to the top shelf of the coat closet where the bag had been stashed since we moved. I used to leave it open in my …

Temperatures aren’t the only things that freeze in the winter
Thursday, 10 Dec, 2009 – 13:41 | Comments Off
Temperatures aren’t the only things that freeze in the winter

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen …
But do you know how scary it is up here? Even when the audience is all mommies and daddies …

The household-object story challenge
Wednesday, 9 Dec, 2009 – 12:58 | Comments Off
The household-object story challenge

Used to be I thought the weirdest story assignment I’d ever tackled was in seventh grade, when the teacher told us to write about what life would be like inside a ping-pong ball.
That was before …

Doing right because it’s the right thing to do
Tuesday, 8 Dec, 2009 – 14:01 | Comments Off
Doing right because it’s the right thing to do

As much as I hate to crush a kid, sometimes doing so serves the greater good.
Times such as last night, when Big Guy dallied over his latest penance for misbehaving at school. He’d tossed Play-Doh …

Making reading a race
Thursday, 3 Dec, 2009 – 12:51 | 2 Comments
Making reading a race

There are two things I like about the new voluntary reading program at Big Guy’s school, which involves his teacher sending home two books that the kids read until they can complete the text without …

Behind every successful salesboy stands a mom with a checkbook
Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009 – 13:30 | Comments Off
Behind every successful salesboy stands a mom with a checkbook

I dodged the “overpriced crap the PTA wants you kid to hawk” bullet last year by simply making the flier fly away.
The brochure, which suggested that each kid sell $40 worth of “product,” went quickly …

Supporting adults who really don’t deserve it
Thursday, 5 Nov, 2009 – 13:44 | Comments Off
Supporting adults who really don’t deserve it

Today was a “good” day at the bus stop.
The dozen and a half first- and second-grader crammed into a shelter not really big enough to hold them and either sat quietly on the bench or …

Becoming one of THOSE moms
Wednesday, 4 Nov, 2009 – 15:27 | Comments Off
Becoming one of THOSE moms

I’m not a big meeting person – I’ve sat through too many in my life to voluntarily assign myself more.
I’m not a big on telling schools how to do their jobs – as much as …

Red Ribbon Week the new gateway drug
Thursday, 22 Oct, 2009 – 12:41 | 4 Comments
Red Ribbon Week the new gateway drug

Note to school officials:
I am not going to send my 6-year-old out to prosthelytize the neighborhood about the evils of drugs just to earn a paper “key” to tack up on a wall at school.
For …

Chill, people. It’s just a game
Wednesday, 21 Oct, 2009 – 22:52 | One Comment
Chill, people. It’s just a game

Officials in a Central California town had a great opportunity to teach near-adults a tremendous value lesson last week. Too bad they picked the wrong curriculum.
The event was the football game between cross-town rivals, …

Looking for a true “progress report” for the guys
Tuesday, 20 Oct, 2009 – 12:33 | Comments Off
Looking for a true “progress report” for the guys

Funny how an off-hand comment from three decades ago can stick with you, its implications changing over time.
For me, the comment came during the summer between sixth and seventh grade, when I was visiting the …

Taking away the cupcakes a sure way to kick up a ruckus
Wednesday, 14 Oct, 2009 – 22:37 | 2 Comments
Taking away the cupcakes a sure way to kick up a ruckus

Note to the West Babylon School District in Long Island: Thank you for your concern for children with food allergies, but your ban on home-baked goodies doesn’t help them in the least.
Sure, you specified that …

If a school asks, I’m happy to tell
Sunday, 4 Oct, 2009 – 20:41 | Comments Off
If a school asks, I’m happy to tell

Amidst the announcements about the fall carnival and the homework assignments this week came a blue sheet from the school district titled “Budget Survey.”
Among other things, it asked parents to rank 10 items in order …

Sure, I’ll play along
Wednesday, 30 Sep, 2009 – 14:45 | Comments Off
Sure, I’ll play along

A few weeks into spelling tests and I was tired of dancing, though at least it burned off the calories from the fruit-snack math.
Even worse: Big Guy was a little bored with the homework boogie, …

Does “naughty” last forever
Tuesday, 22 Sep, 2009 – 22:21 | Comments Off
Does “naughty” last forever

There are two types of behavior that put a kid at risk for being labeled “naughty” – a label, by the way, that can stick through a child’s school years and a reputation that can …

If you can’t beat ‘em, teach them
Tuesday, 22 Sep, 2009 – 12:05 | Comments Off
If you can’t beat ‘em, teach them

Parental advisory: The following trick incorporates two great evils I usually avoid at all costs – corn syrup and artificial dye. It’s an awful, awful idea. Except it happens to work.
It’s hardly an original idea …

Sure, it has a great beat. But can he spell ‘orange’
Friday, 18 Sep, 2009 – 13:12 | 2 Comments
Sure, it has a great beat. But can he spell ‘orange’

“Red and yellow and pink and green,

Purple and orange and blue …”

I hate you.
All of you, especially pink. The rest I didn’t despise until two weeks ago, when a note from Big Guy’s teacher gave …

California math standards, meet California reading standards
Tuesday, 15 Sep, 2009 – 21:11 | Comments Off
California math standards, meet California reading standards

“Kev makes this pattern: square, rectangle, rectangle, square. He repeats the pattern 3 times. What does the pattern look like?” – Macmillan McGraw-Hill “California Mathematics,” Page 1.
I don’t know about Kev, but to me the …

Five things you can try with your kids while they’re boycotting the president’s speech
Monday, 7 Sep, 2009 – 21:46 | 2 Comments
Five things you can try with your kids while they’re boycotting the president’s speech

Keeping your kids home so they won’t be polluted by the outrageous ideas and radical agenda President Barack Obama is going to present in his back-to-school speech to children across the nation?
It’s good to stand …

How to become a gang-banger without even trying
Wednesday, 2 Sep, 2009 – 22:14 | Comments Off
How to become a gang-banger without even trying

Here’s one that’s going to be interesting in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that said school officials did not have the right to strip-search a teen accused of carrying ibuprofen:
School officials in …

Nothing magic about this school bus – except to Big Guy
Tuesday, 1 Sep, 2009 – 14:40 | Comments Off
Nothing magic about this school bus – except to Big Guy

For Big Guy, the only thing that could match the anticipation last year of leaving the baby school and going to kindergarten was the excitement of a potential school bus ride.
His dreams were destroyed before …

Why am I in grade school again?
Monday, 24 Aug, 2009 – 21:58 | One Comment
Why am I in grade school again?

It’s a statement as obvious – at least, it is to anyone whose kid has been in kindergarten for more than a few days – as it is unfair: “To help the kid do better …

Back to school: A tale of two first days
Monday, 24 Aug, 2009 – 14:04 | Comments Off
Back to school: A tale of two first days

One guy bolted out of bed, strapped on his backpack and bounced out the door, eager to get started at his new school.
The other trudged, stoop-shouldered, to his classroom.
It was exactly what I expected – …

Creating education road kill in the ‘Race to the Top’
Tuesday, 28 Jul, 2009 – 0:50 | Comments Off
Creating education road kill in the ‘Race to the Top’

Aw, you knew it was coming.
You just knew that Arne Duncan, the reigning monarch of merit pay and cheerleader in chief for charter schools, was going to find some state somewhere to some how make …

Forget the ‘writing’ part in reading, writing and ‘rithmetic
Sunday, 26 Jul, 2009 – 23:46 | One Comment
Forget the ‘writing’ part in reading, writing and ‘rithmetic

It was a year-long battle with Big Guy in which the forces of good finally prevailed when he brought his writing up to kindergarten standards on his last report card.
Technically, it was a two-year battle …

A SWAT for turning a student sit-in into a smackdown
Thursday, 25 Jun, 2009 – 21:56 | Comments Off
A SWAT for turning a student sit-in into a smackdown

She’s been banned from giving a speech at graduation, banished from grad night at Disney, suspended for two days and lost a summer tutoring job she was counting on to help pay for college.
Aurora Ponce …

Introducing the Class of 2022
Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2009 – 10:36 | Comments Off
Introducing the Class of 2022

They’ve learned to count to 100, by single digits as well as by 5s and 10s.
They’ve learned the sounds that all the letters make, thanks in part to a lovely little alphabet song to the …

Charter schools not an automatic cure, research shows
Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2009 – 20:00 | Comments Off
Charter schools not an automatic cure, research shows

Here’s one that should shock U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan out of his school-boy crush on charter schools or, at the least, make him pause before he forces the nation to go steady with the …