Saturday, September 26, 2015

College Sophomore and High School Senior

It's hard to believe that the boys I wrote about in the beginning of this blog-space are where they are - one in college as a sophomore, and the other as a senior. They are self-sufficient in school, rarely have projects to do that require any involvement from me beyond a proof-read, and they have turned into wonderful young men if I do say so myself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dear History Fair...

Dear History Fair -


Please refer to my note to the Science Fair.



A non-history Mom

Friday, September 09, 2011

Dear Science Fair...

Dear Science Fair -

I will try to not have an attitude about you this year. I know you are not to blame for being required of my 8thGrader who has no interest. I know that you are there as a tool for middle school teachers to get students to do something "hands on" for learning. I know that designing and completing a project, whether one is "in to it" or not, is a good skill to have because not everything in life is going to be something we want to do, but we have to do it anyway.

But could you at least give us an idea that is interesting enough to hold his attention? That won't be complicated? That he will actually do without complaint or needing to be bribed or cajoled? And that I won't have to fuss at him about?

A non-science mom


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

18 Minutes of Constant Chatter

I pick up 10thGrader after school each afternoon. It takes 18 minutes from the time he gets in the car until we get home. Those 18 minutes are filled with his day - what he did in class, what homework he has, what observations he made. Those 18 minutes of constant chatter about whatever is on his mind.

If I didn't see him until after work, I'd miss that. I cherish and treasure those 18 minutes. It's my favorite part of the day.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sophomore and 8th

So I neglected this blog for well over a year because I didn't post a single thing about our first year as high school parents! And we are now emarking on our last year as middle school parents. Yep, 10th and 8th graders in our house. School starts tomorrow and I'm determined to let them be responsible for their own stuff.

I made sure they have what they need for the first day, but I've left it to them to get it put into their backpacks. No more am I filling pencil pouches or putting loose-leaf paper into binders. They are more than capable of doing that themselves.

But I will be making them pb/j sandwiches for their lunchboxes tomorrow :) Some things don't change, no matter how grown you are. A pb/j made by your mom with love is one of those things.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Middle Schoolers

I started this blog with a 1st grader and 3rd grader. Now we have a 6th grader and an 8th grader which means next year we'll have a high school student living in our house!

It's been great having both of them on the same schedule. It makes mornings and afternoons so much nicer, although I think they do miss having some time without their sibling at home. Next year's schedule will put them two hours apart in both the morning and the afternoon.

6thGrader is enjoying band where he's playing the trombone. He said he wants to take double-band for 7th grade and learn to play the euphonium.

8thGrader hasn't started counting the days til summer vacation yet, but I suspect he will once we get by spring break.

But in the meanwhile, we have two weeks with standardized testing coming up. Thankfully at middle school there isn't as much stress put on the students about this. I attribute it to having six different teachers and none of them having time to stress the students out. Plus they've been doing these tests since first grade, so they're much more used to what is involved. It also means free snacks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mozart quote

"Moms are ignoramus slobs who cannot be pleased." - Mozart, 1736.

I found this written on the side of the bathroom counter when a certain school-aged child was mad with me for insisting that he complete his homework over the weekend.

I asked him if he had Googled to find the quote. Because I know that sometimes Google will pick things up out of blogs, I thought I would be sure to put this Mozart quote into a post so when we google together, we'll see that yes, indeed, one can find this quote attributed to Mozart on the internet.

Of course for all of you dear readers, you do understand that this is not an actual quote by Mozart. Or by anyone besides a disgruntled boy who would have been better off putting his creative thinking into his civics homework. Or at least having written it on a piece of paper rather than the side of the bathroom counter.

I have just three words for removing Mozart quotes... Mr. Clean Eraser.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


5thGrader and 7thGrader are suffering from disorganization. Unfortunately they get it from me, their mom.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

School Play

5thGrader has the role of Santa in the upcoming school musical.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

End of the first nine weeks

5thGrader and 7thGrader have just completed the first nine weeks and both did well. We get their report cards next week, but thanks to technology, there are no surprises on report cards any more.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer Movies

Welcome to the summer movies brought to you by 7thGrader!

(note: when I entered the blogosphere, he was known as 3rdGrader.)

Quest: watch a Disney movie every day for the entire summer.

June 2nd - double feature: Monster's Inc. and Aristicats.
June 3rd - Robin Hood

What are your favorite Disney movies? Or what other movies might you recommend for a 7thGrader?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Savings Time is so wrong

I don't know about y'all, but the two times a year that man interferes with God's clock just make me discombobulated for a couple of weeks. This whole 'daylight savings time' is just so wrong in so many ways.

And of course the time change this year corresponds directly with our county's administration of the our state's standardized testing. Now how in the world is that supposed to work? Kids who go by what their bodies say rather than what the clock on the wall says will have their normal sleep pattern interrupted by either not getting to sleep "on time" or having to wake up before their bodies would naturally.

It's just so wrong! Of course I already think the emphasis on the xCAT is too much - I think xCAT has its place, but to be the "be all, end all" is just ridiculous. The schools spend so many months preparing the kids with test-taking strategies and learning the format of xCAT, sending notes home to parents and guardians to make sure their kids get adequate rest, a good breakfast, etc., but then schedule it at a time the time changes -- argh. I know that for our county this actually falls at a good time - leaving 7 weeks after spring break for the teachers to actually teach in the way they want to -- and I know the schools have zero control over the time-changes, but adding the two factors together -- xCAT + time change = not necessarily an accurate assessment.

Of course this may not be as bad as the year the 1st graders were given their SAT9 (now SAT10) beginning the day they returned from Spring Break.............

Friday, February 29, 2008

Phineas and Ferb

6thGrader and 4thGrader have a new favorite show: Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel.

We were first introduced to Phineas and Ferb courtesy of Kidzeyes when 6thGrader got to preview several episodes in the fall as part of a Kidzeyes survey. We were hooked from the first episode and looked forward to the launch of Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel.

Phineas and Ferb are brothers who have the whole summer ahead of them - 104 days of summer vacation (come on, sing along if you know the words...) and they face the age old question of what to do with all those days ahead of them. They are lucky boys because their parents haven't over-scheduled them or booked them into camps and programs for the summer; they are left to do what kids ought to do in the summer -- find their own adventures!

Phineas and Ferb have a sister Candace (voiced by Disney Channel star Ashley Tisdale) who has a crush on Jeremy the hot-dog-stand-guy (voiced by another Disney Channel star, Mitchell Musso). Candace is always trying to rat her brothers' out to their mom (doing what older sisters do best), but somehow Phineas and Ferb always manage to not get in trouble for their (sometimes mis-)adventures.

There's a sub-story in each episode involving their pet, Perry the Platypus, who is really a secret agent whose main mission is to stop the evil Dr. D.......

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"What kind of guy are you?"

On the way to school the other day, I noticed a sign that the local area soccer organization was having sign ups soon. I asked 4thGrader if he wanted to play this season, just like I ask him every season about every sport. He had the same answer as always - NO!

Just like always, I asked him "Why not?" and just like always he said he didn't like it, he didn't know how to play, and he wasn't any good at it. I said perhaps we had failed him and his brother by not playing sports in the yard so much, that perhaps they'd had too much unstructured time in the yard as little guys. He said no, that wasn't it - it's just that he's "not a sports guy."

"Not a sports guy? Well, that's ok - you can be whatever kind of guy you want to be," I said. "What kind of guy are you, then?"

I should've guessed his reply. "A Technology guy."

I told him that he can be whatever kind of guy he wants to be and that no one else can tell him what kind of guy to be.

His dad says if he'll end up as wealthy as Bill Gates and those other "Technology Guys" then we'll be all set!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Fish, by 6thGrader

6thGrader's Creative Writing assignment:

My Fish

Everyone has something special to them. I have something special to me, too. My special thing to me is a fish. The reason I think he is special is if he died I would have no more pets. Sometimes I think he beckons me to feed him some more. You may think he is normal, but I think he is great. He can prop his head on the feeder, he can also swim around the tank with great agility, and he takes advantage of being in a tank.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Last Day of Summer Vacation

Our winter break has been so great and even though we were out of school for just over two weeks, it felt longer - but in a good way. In a way that felt like going back to school today was much like the first day of school after summer vacation.

We spent some time at the beach over New Years so perhaps that adds to our feeling of summer vacation vs. winter holidays. Christmas Day seems ages ago even though the Christmas Tree is still up in the living room. We've decided it gives off enough light that we can leave it up all year and use it as a lamp. Or not.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Last Christmas...

"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day, you gave it away. This year to save me from tears I'll give it to someone different."

Or something like that.

6thGrader and 4thGrader have claimed this as their song to sing at the top of their lungs whenever they need to burst out in song.

Hilarious. I need to record them and add it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas...

6thGrader has been listening to holiday music on the radio for over a week already. He says it is his favorite type of music, so when the local station started playing "all holiday music all the time" on Veteran's Day evening, he happily tuned in.

His favorite two songs are Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock.

What about you and the young'uns in your life?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Home Videos

A few nights ago we watched Christmas Vacation and there is this one scene where Chevy Chase is in the attic watching old home movies on a projector. It reminded us that we have our old videos from when the boys were little. I don't even know where our video camera is now but we do still have the tapes.

The first one I pulled out was October 1997 - September 2002 which covered 6thGrader's toddler and preschool years as well as kindergarten and the beginning of 1st grade. 4thGrader was an infant, and then toddler and preschooler during the course of the next 6 hours.

It has been so much fun looking back at the children and seeing how much they have (or haven't) changed over the years; watching their personalities emerging into who they are today.

Of course we have the yearly Christmas morning scenes; in fact, that has been the overwhelming majority of screen time. The kids have enjoyed seeing what they got for Christmas each year and what of those things they still have. They have even pulled some of those items out to play with again "for old time's sake."

But we also have a lot of every-day footage and I'm really glad we have that because it shows me that maybe I wasn't as uptight a mother as I thought I was. I let them climb on stuff and launch cookies across the dining room with their pop-up toys. I let them run and jump and play like boys (and girls) need to without hovering all the time. I have at least one lengthy segment for each of the boys when they were crying unconsolably so they now have an idea of what we had to put up with at times (hee hee).

And we have the reading and the singing and the adventures with grandparents. And what a wonderful surprise to me to see my grandfather in one holiday's footage - how awesome it was to see him and hear his voice again as he sat at the dining table with 4thGrader as a toddler in his lap.

I think that as the boys have aged and we've neglected the video camera that now is the time to get it out again, but instead of us using it as parents to let the boys use it to see the world through their eyes for a change.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

4thGrader makes All A's

4thGrader made all A's on his report card, with all 3's in work study habits and E's in behavior and citizenship areas. 3's are best.

Time to take the boys and their report cards to Krispy Kreme for free doughnuts.

Monday, October 29, 2007

6thGrader Makes Honor Roll

6thGrader got his first Middle School report card today and had all A's except for a high B in math which qualifies him for Honor Roll ("whatever that means, Mom"). He got 3's and 4's for Citizenship which is great (1's and 2's mean detentions, etc.). Thank goodness the first 9-weeks is done and has been successful; he had a few ups and downs but seems to have settled in to the workload, although I hear that the 2nd 9-weeks begins the lengthy projects for Geography and Language Arts. Thank goodness he has Guidance Aide to be a bit of "down time" during the day for him.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Be the Book Report

In our county, 4th grade is the year of the book report.

4thGrader's first book report was to be presented by cutting a face-sized hole in a piece of poster-board and then decorating it so that he could become a character from the book. He read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and he chose to become Willy Wonka to deliver his book report. I remember my mother reading that book to my brother and me when I was only four, and while 4thGrader has seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on video, he had never read the book.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Math Olympiads

4thGrader got picked for the Math Olympiads team for his school. YAY!

Monday, September 17, 2007

No more Art woes

6thGrader had to pick electives for school this year. His choices were a full year of P.E., Band or Art, or a half-year of P.E., Art, Dance, or Research. He didn't want to do P.E., Band or Dance, so when we marked his schedule choices, he had to put four 1/2 year choices, so we put Research, Research, Research, and Art. He was placed in Art for the first semester's elective.

6thGrader isn't much of an artist, but he does enjoy doing clay and other tactile forms of art. But drawing is his "worst nightmare." And of course 6th grade art starts with drawing. We talked with his Art teacher about just getting through it and on to the next project, and she was making progress with him. But then she became ill and was out for 2 1/2 weeks.

And thus the parade of substitutes. Things spiralled downward very rapidly for 6thGrader and I got the dreaded call from the Guidance office. We've been talking back and forth for the last week and a half and today, when the phone rang, I recognized the number. Ay yi yi! You don't ever want to recognize the school's phone number.

It was the guidance office calling to let me know that 6thGrader was being transferred out of Art and into Guidance Aide for the rest of the semester. 6thGrader asked the counselor if she would please call his mom because he was tired of me asking him how Art was every day.

So his Art woes are over. He'll work in the guidance office for the rest of the semester, doing errands or office tasks, studying, reading, or other things that are productive. He's a lucky boy that the teachers and counselors at his school were willing to figure something out for him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why I love the Math Teacher

Can I just say how much I love 6thGrader's Math teacher?

Here are a few reasons why.

1. There are no such things as math "problems." Only math questions or equations. She says that in Language Arts, they ask you to read Question #3. In Science, you answer Questions about scientific things. So why is it when you get to Math class, suddenly you have all these Problems?

2. She's in tune with 6th graders. When teaching the Order of Operatives, she uses a mnemonic device (and yes, is my friend!) to help them learn: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply/Divide, Add/Subtract. She says that many people learn "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" to help them remember, but she doesn't have an Aunt Sally, but she did have four Annoying Siblings and she's sure that her middle schoolers also have annoying siblings (or know someone who does). So she teaches Please Excuse My Dumb Annoying Siblings. Not P.C., but effective.

3. When asked if they could use their calculators for a particular assignment, she told her class that she would rather they use their Florida brain than their Texas brain. And before any Texans get upset, she was referring to the calculators; they're made by Texas Instruments, you know!

I've been having some discussion with some mom-friends who live in various states about school textbooks and how they vary from state-to-state. We were wondering how they can really be all that different, and is math taught differently in Florida than in Georgia or North Carolina or California? One of the moms said she wasn't sure about most states, but she knew how they teach math in Idaho.

One potato.
Two potato.
Three potato.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lunch with 4thGrader

4thGrader's class had a special lunch today - bring your grandparents (or parents, if your grandparents can't come) and have lunch in the classroom. Because 4thGrader's grandparents live too far away, I joined him for lunch.

He wanted to just get school lunch, so I packed lunch for me. As it turned out, he didn't like what they had (we don't have a menu this month for some reason or another) so he ended up eating my sandwich while I just had my yogurt and squishy banana. We sat at his desk to share our shared lunch.

After lunch, the children had a play about Strong Verbs that was written by Melissa Forney. If you're unfamiliar with Melissa Forney, she's an author but more importantly a motivator and educator who teaches how to teach writing to students and how to encourage children to write, and how to help even those who don't enjoy writing to, when they do have to write, to write well.

4thGrader then showed me around his classroom as our Open House was the 6th day of school and they didn't have much up, but now that we're in the 4th week, they have a lot more stuff on the walls.

What a wonderful break in the middle of my day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


4thGrader and I had a "me and mom" breakfast at Chick Fil A yesterday since he had no school and I had no work. DH dropped us off while he went to Lowe's for a while, so after we finished eating, we were just hanging out.

(Aside: It's nice to hang out at CFA and NOT have to go into the playroom. I spent a lot of hours at CFA when 4thGrader was preschooler so he could play with his friend while her mom and I would visit and then tell them "10 more minutes" which really meant another hour.)

Anyway, after we were done, we both started folding our chicken biscuit wrappers into different shapes. 4thGrader said "look Mom - it's for-a-gami" which swiftly turned into "foil"a-gami - the not-so-ancient art of folding Chick Fil A food wrappers into swans and airplanes.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Code of the Boys

I found this while being a voyeur over at Found Magazine.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

P.E. Requirements

The State of Florida defines P.E. like this:

"Physical education" means the development or maintenance of skills related to strength, agility, flexibility, movement, and stamina, including dance; the development of knowledge and skills regarding teamwork and fair play; the development of knowledge and skills regarding nutrition and physical fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle; and the development of positive attitudes regarding sound nutrition and physical activity as a component of personal well-being.

State law says:

1003.455 Physical education; assessment.--
(1) It is the responsibility of each district school board to develop a physical education program that stresses physical fitness and encourages healthful, active lifestyles and to encourage all students in prekindergarten through grade 12 to participate in physical education. Physical education shall consist of physical activities of at least a moderate intensity level and for a duration sufficient to provide a significant health benefit to students, subject to the differing capabilities of students. All physical education programs and curricula must be reviewed by a certified physical education instructor.

(2) Each district school board shall adopt a written physical education policy that details the school district's physical education program and expected program outcomes.

(3) Each district school board shall provide 150 minutes of physical education each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5. Students enrolled in such instruction shall be reported through the periodic student membership surveys, and records of such enrollment shall be audited pursuant to s. 1010.305. Such instruction may be provided by any instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), regardless of certification, who are designated by the school principal. Each district school board is encouraged to provide 225 minutes of physical education each week for students in grades 6 through 8.

History.--s. 4, ch. 2004-255; s. 19, ch. 2006-301; s. 3, ch. 2007-28.

I'm wondering how 4thGrader will get his 150 minutes in each week when he only has PE class twice a week. And while P.E. is offered daily at 6thGraders school, participation is only "encouraged." Seems like middle schoolers should also be required to participate in P.E. - guess it's the whole scheduling thing that lets them not.

To graduate from high school, you have to have one PE credit between 9th and 12th grades; various sports and activities can substitute for the traditional P.E. class.

Gotta get these kids more active......... what do you do to get your kids moving?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm such a nerd...

6thGrader's math homework tonight is to bring in two math facts and their sources. He told me he wanted to use the website I work on for my job because he knew we have math facts there because he helped me with some of it when he participated in Take Your Child to Work Day in April.

I'm so proud! My middle-schooler wants to use my data for his homework!