School Daze | Family Education - FamilyEducation

School Daze

January 25, 2012

If you ask T. what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll tell you "a scientist!" Then she will go on to qualify that and say, more specifically, that she wants to study marine biology. Awhile back I remember telling both kids that I had wanted to study zoology in college, but was held back from my aspirations because of math. To be fair, it wasn't math that held me back, but my reluctance to get my mind around it enough to push through the harder courses.

Math gives me a headache. I think I do …

January 19, 2012

I'm reading my way through stacks of letters of introduction that my students wrote last week. While it's a lot of reading, I also enjoy these letters so much. Years ago I realized that if I wanted to get more from my students than a simple "Hi my name is _______ and I'm from ________" I would need to structure the letter assignment and provide them with actual categories to focus on, turning the letter into more of a…

January 03, 2012

A friend called me yesterday. “Have you prepared the kids for going back to school?” she asked.

Sort of, I told her. Psychologically, at least. Maybe. About a week ago we began dropping little references about school into our conversations with L. We let him know how many days of vacation were left—almost a week, at the time we had the conversation. Yet although L. claimed to be happy school would start in one week, I could sense waves of anxiety rising off of him at the mere mention of it. I have…

December 14, 2011

L. had a presentation due yesterday in one of his elective classes. He doesn’t talk about schoolwork much (if at all) but he let slip mention of the upcoming presentation a few times these past two weeks--that's how I knew it was big. One time last week he asked me if he’d be in school that next Tuesday.

“Of course,” I answered.

“Great!” he said. “That’s the day of my presentation.”

We didn’t know much about the grading standards for the presentation. It’s an elective class, and all work…

November 22, 2011

Did you know that there's a difference between a geek and a nerd? I hadn't given the topic much thought, until L. brought it to my attention the other day. He is, in his own particular way, struggling to define himself and understand where and how he fits into the social landscape of his new school. I think he was entirely unable to do this in elementary school. He saw himself only as not fitting in, and being "other" and he…

November 08, 2011

The first school quarter is over and done with--thank goodness. Both kids brought home their report cards on Friday, although Scott and I had already snooped at L.'s grades via the online portal the county provides so that parents can keep up with their kid's progress. It seems a little Big Brother-like, but I like having access to L.'s grades and to information on assignments--when they were turned in, or whether they were turned in, as the case may be. L.'s 5th grade teachers tried to run something like…

October 14, 2011

In the carpool line at T.'s school yesterday, L. suddenly broke into song. The lyrics were a little catchy, and set to "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz:

I throw my Xbox at my mom sometimes

Singing ay-oh, buy me Halo

"Where'd you hear that song," I asked, curiously. 

B., a boy in his German class, apparently set the entire "Dynamite" song to alternative lyrics (and very clever ones, too), and L. couldn't get it out of his head. He sang…

October 05, 2011

L. has always had a deep fear of being embarrassed. I'm not sure why, because we have never set out to embarrass him--not on purpose, of course. He will often react quite violently to the fear of embarrassment, whether it's perceived, or real. Because he's a big middle schooler now, he's imposed a new rule that we must keep conversation very minimal and light as we approach the school. If the windows are up, we can fudge this rule a little, but as soon as we cross into the school property part of the…

September 30, 2011

When I picked T. up from school on Thursday, she was very thoughtful. Scott was able to leave work to get L., which was a big help logistically for me that day; but also, it gave me the chance to talk with one-on-one T. a little on the ride home--something we don't get to do much if L. is in the car with us.

"Everything go okay at school…

September 27, 2011

As it turned out L. did not, in the end, want to go to the middle school dance. He opted for a night home with Clone Wars, instead, and seemed content with that choice. I'm happy that he thought about going to the dance, though, even if just for a short time. Maybe when the next one comes around the wish to go will take root in his mind and grow into action and I'll swallow that excited-happy-melancholy-worried lump in my throat and watch him head off into a sea of kids.

A year ago even imagining L.…