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

Many options but few good choices
Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2009 – 11:00 | Comments Off
Many options but few good choices

I’m sitting at my desk with 15 browser tabs open and wondering why my Internet connection is creaking.
The 15 tabs is standard operating procedure. What’s different, though, is the pages they’re connected to: Four school …

Breaking out on his own at age 5
Friday, 12 Jun, 2009 – 10:16 | Comments Off
Breaking out on his own at age 5

I’m not supposed to be here.
I’m supposed to be at a museum 45 miles away, watching 80 kindergarteners ooh and aah over helicopters and fire trucks while they occasionally pay attention long enough to learn …

A SWAT for waiting a decade on digital textbooks
Friday, 12 Jun, 2009 – 6:20 | Comments Off
A SWAT for waiting a decade on digital textbooks

It seems there are two development paces for digital textbooks in California:
There’s doomed-to-fail-fast for public schools that wants to kick off by this fall, and there’s pokey procrastination for colleges that wants to wait until …

Time for another trip on the year-round merry-go-round
Sunday, 7 Jun, 2009 – 23:00 | 2 Comments
Time for another trip on the year-round merry-go-round

It sounds like a sweet set-up in Alexandria, Va.
Magic potions in a Harry Potter class. Math You Can Eat that uses brownies to teach fractions. Calligraphy, karate and film-making.
It’s all because of the district’s experiment …

If you buy a kid a book …
Saturday, 6 Jun, 2009 – 16:12 | 3 Comments
If you buy a kid a book …

Confession: I never bought the cookie dough – Big Guy was allergic anyway, and much of it was recalled during the Peanut Corp. of America sweep so I’m glad I didn’t buy it even as …

Digital text books a great idea, but by this fall?
Tuesday, 2 Jun, 2009 – 20:30 | 4 Comments
Digital text books a great idea, but by this fall?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push to put free digital textbooks in Californias high schools by this fall is so enticing on so many levels, the biggest of which is in the fewer number of trees that …

Pay teachers like the rest of are? We already do
Wednesday, 20 May, 2009 – 0:48 | Comments Off
Pay teachers like the rest of are? We already do

Think we could solve all our problems in education by going to a merit-pay system that would make teachers earn their checks just like the rest of us?
Turns out that teachers already do earn their …

The peanut patrol and the school secretary who invades privacy
Monday, 18 May, 2009 – 23:09 | 20 Comments
The peanut patrol and the school secretary who invades privacy

Here’s a concern that had never occurred to me as a parent of child with food allergies because I’ve been spoiled by our school’s concerned, considerate reaction in dealing with Big Guy’s peanut allergy this …

The case against rigid standards
Thursday, 14 May, 2009 – 21:38 | Comments Off

Standards are good – they’re a framework for building a solid education.
Problem is, though, they’re only a framework, just as the human skeleton is the framework for the body. And just like the human body, the …

Worried about prom souveniers? You don’t have enough to do
Saturday, 9 May, 2009 – 23:46 | Comments Off
Worried about prom souveniers? You don’t have enough to do

Until Boots moved in and sent all my beautiful high school treasures to the Salvation Army, I still had a souvenir from my prom. It was a wine glass – for red, not white, though …

A SWAT for ‘tough on crime’ so tough it ruins a career
Thursday, 7 May, 2009 – 23:37 | 6 Comments
A SWAT for ‘tough on crime’ so tough it ruins a career

How on earth does it become right in anyone’s mind to indict a 60-year-old with a spotless professional reputation on possession of child pornography simply for doing his job?
Who can justify an employer abandoning a …

The question is how, not if, technology will change classrooms
Thursday, 7 May, 2009 – 1:11 | 4 Comments
The question is how, not if, technology will change classrooms

I’m a Mean Mom with old fogey leanings. It’s the worst possible combination.
Just ask Big Guy, who’s reduced to bartering Batman stickers for Nintendo DS time because I won’t buy him one.
Just ask Boots, whose …

A SWAT for insisting on an incomplete picture
Thursday, 30 Apr, 2009 – 22:54 | 2 Comments
A SWAT for insisting on an incomplete picture

News flash: Little boys tend to look up to their fathers. And little boys whose fathers are in the military tend to find everything about the armed forces fascinating. The uniforms, the rituals, the gear,the …

Homemade is best – except at school
Thursday, 30 Apr, 2009 – 1:17 | 9 Comments
Homemade is best – except at school

My eyes turned pea green with a world-class case of baking envy tonight when I saw the darling treats a friend had made for her daughter’s birthday celebration at school.
Elizabeth over at Parenting Pink and …

Where’s the payoff for longer school days?
Thursday, 9 Apr, 2009 – 0:58 | Comments Off
Where’s the payoff for longer school days?

First off, let’s get over the notion that American students are at a disadvantage because the school days are longer in China and India.
The lofty goal of the Chinese education system is nine years of …

Are school Web ads like being a little bit pregnant?
Thursday, 19 Mar, 2009 – 1:01 | 3 Comments
Are school Web ads like being a little bit pregnant?

Scholastic Inc.’s effort to push toys and trinkets on kids in the name of reading: Bad
Chuck E. Cheese’s generous offer to give schools 15 percent of the take from fund-raisers held at its restaurants: Tempting, …

An education plan that finally drills down to basics
Tuesday, 10 Mar, 2009 – 23:05 | 3 Comments
An education plan that finally drills down to basics

It’s too bad that most of the buzz about President Barack Obama’s education policy speech today before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has to do with charter schools and merit pay.
Both are tired subjects that …

Talking his way into trouble epiblogue: Recess returns!
Tuesday, 24 Feb, 2009 – 11:30 | Comments Off
Talking his way into trouble epiblogue: Recess returns!

When we last left Big Guy, he was struggling mightly to keep his mouth shut and avoid losing recess time at school. He had brief spurts of success, but largely it was a problem that …

RU going to jail over TXT IM?
Thursday, 19 Feb, 2009 – 0:51 | 2 Comments
RU going to jail over TXT IM?

Rule of thumb for the guys: You won’t get in nearly as much trouble for what you do as you will for lying about it.
That’s what a 14-year-old Wisconsin girl found out last week when …

Play’s the thing when it comes to early learning
Tuesday, 17 Feb, 2009 – 1:03 | Comments Off
Play’s the thing when it comes to early learning

You’re a conscientious objector to flash cards and Brainy Baby videos, but a tiny portion of your brain fears you’ve doomed you kid to life in a dunce cap.
You titter to yourself when parents complain …

Big Guy keeps talking his way into trouble
Monday, 9 Feb, 2009 – 11:31 | Comments Off
Big Guy keeps talking his way into trouble

Big Guy simply cannot keep his mouth shut. It’s part of his charm, but also part of his downfall.
It keeps landing him in trouble at school, too, and Chatty  Charlie that he is, he always …

Seeing stars and learning lessons about how to learn
Tuesday, 27 Jan, 2009 – 11:28 | Comments Off
Seeing stars and learning lessons about how to learn

Big Guy had big news Friday that he couldn’t wait to share the second Boots and I came to pick him up.
He told other parents on the way home. He told cousins and aunts and …

A giant legal headache over a 13-year-old and ibuprofen
Saturday, 17 Jan, 2009 – 11:27 | One Comment
A giant legal headache over a 13-year-old and ibuprofen

Savana Redding is a college student in Arizona who likes to read, write and listen to classic and alternative rock.
“Sorry to say but I do not listen to rap … i don’t like the messages …

NCLB, seven years and still bullying strong
Thursday, 8 Jan, 2009 – 0:48 | 2 Comments
NCLB, seven years and still bullying strong

Happy Birthday, No Child Left Behind.
You were born seven years ago today as the federal government’s first major foray into education reform. Through testing and bludgeoning, you were supposed to be the solution to the …

Shouting – but not with joy – at going back to school
Tuesday, 6 Jan, 2009 – 11:23 | Comments Off
Shouting – but not with joy – at going back to school

I panicked and nearly froze Sunday night.
Let’s see … how exactly do I do this?
I think we need a lunch box, on the off chance Big Guy decides to eat at some point Monday. His …

Looking for unhealthy teens? Follow the fast-food chain
Friday, 26 Dec, 2008 – 0:54 | Comments Off
Looking for unhealthy teens? Follow the fast-food chain

Other than what people who are so Pepsi-addicted they feed it to babies in bottles sneak to them behind my back and a shared diet Sierra Mist once a week with popcorn, the guys don’t …

The anti-homework homework works for Big Guy
Thursday, 18 Dec, 2008 – 12:32 | Comments Off
The anti-homework homework works for Big Guy

Don’t tell Big Guy’s teacher, but I tossed the “suggested homework” list shortly after it walked through the door at the end of the semester.
Halfway through kindergarten, I’m officially sick of homework even though I …

Don’t put all the blame for fitness problem on schools
Tuesday, 9 Dec, 2008 – 0:22 | Comments Off
Don’t put all the blame for fitness problem on schools

You can cram for a quiz. You can cram for finals. You can cram for the SAT.
But I’m skeptical that it’s possible to cram for a physical education test.
Yet, that’s exactly what Big Guy’s school …