49 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. good morning! I am so happy it is Friday.
    coming back from three weeks away is hard (i know i know poor me, i was on vacation for three weeks! boo hoo)
    I have one more week before grad school starts and i cant help but think I AM CRAZY for doing this! I am kind of freaking out about starting up again.

    In other news, something I wanted to share, a new soccer website, if your significant others (or you!) love soccer, please check it out! http://www.onpointsoccer.com or on FB, http://www.facebook.com/onpointsoccer

    Finally, my parents who have been married for 30 plus years are arguing like cats and dogs and it is stressing me out!! any advice?? (i should add, they live downstairs from me, and mom takes care of my LO)

    gracias! thanks! Merci!

  2. I just got to talk to SnarkyMom to get advice on my class. A phone meet-up :-) So strange to realize that I’d never heard her voice before! Anyways, as you all know, she’s awesome and her teaching advice helped me a lot as I think about my class. Yay!! I love MT :-)

  3. In other news… just semi-inadvertently got on a FB thread of all these Moms complaining about not enough homework and how they were upset with teachers/schools with a no-HW policy in elementary school. They wanted an hour plus of HW a night for 1st grade?!? What am I missing? Meanwhile, we’re trying to figure out ways to push back on the HW levels without leaving her “separated” in the social/status stuff in the classroom.

    And 3rd grade mean girls are ticking me off… So tired of calming a sobbing little girl after school because of nasty girl stuff. I want the school to explain why girls can do this and not get a behavioral “yellow card” but Isaac can wiggle in his seat and get one?!?

    • An hour-plus of homework in FIRST GRADE? Are they sadomasochists or something? Not to mention there is no research that would indicate that that is beneficial. Our district’s policy is 10 min per night per grade level and that is plenty as far as I’m concerned.

    • They’re all welcome to run off to the teacher supply store and buy workbooks if they feel their children need extra practise in something. Homework is two things – finishing up stuff that didn’t get done in class and extra practise (much like you’d spend time practising an instrument) to improve skills. It’s not an activity to keep kids busy because moms want to be farting around on facebook.


    • An hour plus for first grade?! That’s insane. I can barely tolerate my son’s just shy of 10 minutes nightly not including his reading. Who are these people? Why make your week nights any more complicated?

    • Ds has a long bus ride, he doesn’t get home till 4:45. He has about 1.5 hours/week and my mom, who is a former first grade teacher, thinks its a bit excessive. But I have reframed HW. I realize its a way for us to find out exactly what they’re learning, since we have to sit with him and do it. And his teacher writes up a nice weekly summary of topics covered.

    • Hugs to your girl. Have you talked to the teacher/counselor/principal yet?

      And I hope karma bites those moms in the butt. My girl is going on about 5ish hours of sleep a night right now thanks to homework, swim team, yearbook, etc. I almost jumped down the throat of the mom of a friend of hers who said her child goes to bed at 9 every night because she uses every minute wisely. Grr. I’d love to be back in elementary school with a no HW except reading policy.

      Okay, rant is over for the day. Sorry, ladies.

      • seriously… or those moms who say “well MY child isn’t over SCHEDULED”

        bite me.. seriously.. bite me…

        I find it amazing that my kid can manage all she does and her homework and get to bed by 10pm each night frankly.

    • Thanks all. I was really surprised – I had commented on the initial post of “new school with a no homework policy” with a comment about how much I would love that and was quickly drowned out by the chorus of voices about how much they’d recommend doing on your own, which workbooks to get, etc.

      The move to a new school has been much tougher on Mira than we expected. Some of it I think is the school, some the class, some the teacher. But the most frustrating has been the nasty cliqueness of some of the kids and the mean teasing that comes with it. We’ve talked with the teacher and got support earlier in the year but may have to talk with her again as post-break things seem to have escalated in a bad way.

      • Yeah, I had a teacher tell me that homework was not only optional, it was only assigned to satisfy the demands of parents who wanted it. This was before the homework policy limiting total HW to 10 min per schoolnight per grade. Most parents I know support the new policy, but a few were shocked – shocked! – to learn that the GATE kids were going to be held to that as well. Surely running and playing is for those ordinary kids with nothing better to do? The GATE coordinator flatly stated that kids should not be punished with extra work for being gifted, but some parents clearly think that the specialness of their children is not being properly nurtured into additional specialness. Fortunately those special kids have special parents to help them win the academic arms race.

      • I’m sorry that M is going through this. Joey never found his niche last year and had a very tough year with similar issues although it was boys. This year he is in with a better bunch so I hope that this too shall pass and also that she finds some friends in her class this year in the meantime.

        • that’s a good point – time does have an ameoliorating effect. Jess went through a torrid time the first half of the year with Mean Girl-ism, but I felt with a lot of proactive effort by teachers, the administration and with parents, there was a significant change for the better. Jess also got better at sussing out social situations and, like M, is standing up for herself more, and choosing social situations that are more positive. Hugs, Vee.

    • I am soooooo happy our school has a no-homework policy at least through the end of third grade (I don’t know about years 4-6 yet). Our principal quoted the studies that SnarkyMom mentions, plus gave two additional reasons: 1.) she knows that not all households in the school are resourced to the same level in terms of parents at home, English as primary spoken language at home, and that there’s a mix of arrangements in terms of how many parents work outside of the home. Thus, it creates an unfair situation to assign homework knowing that there are varying levels at home. 2.) she wants kids and parents to have maximum freedom to do what they gotta do after school. I love our principal.

  4. House hunting blerg. I do want people’s input so I am asking for input on FB. But all I am getting is my suburban friends all “crime, booga booga, school, booga booga!” We’ll we are already in the school dist and quite happy with it. And crime of course is a problem, but we live in the city. The most beautiful neighborhoods are closest to downtown, generally, and have higher crime but also million dollar properties. So looking at a crime map is sort of helpful but not really, since we are looking only within the city. I don’t know how to find out about neighborhoods. If it was summer maybe i would go stalk the park or something. Or maybe we’ll just keep looking around where we are currently renting, since we are familiar with it. But I also don’t want to miss a great deal somewhere else. And I want my kids to be relatively safe. I want it all, I guess. Blerg.

    • Can you find out about neighborhoods through their neighborhood associations? The crime maps aren’t that helpful, I agree. Maybe drive around and check out houses and yards–are they in good shape, are they shoveled when it snows, is there crap piled up, etc. It’s not a perfect correlation, of course, but there’s something about pride in your home that seems to go with being more neighborly. And maybe driving around during the day and in the early evening to see if there are kids out playing would help.

      But, yeah, I saw the “yikes, bad neighborhood” post on your fb. That’s annoying.

      • Yeah. It looks pretty well kept. But hard to tell how many families. The other thing is, we could buy a house there super super cheap, and it might be nice to live there. But given the reputation, deserving or not, how hard would it be to unload in the future? Just trying to figure out if we want to bother my agent to go see these homes.

        Also my feeling on crime is that a lot of it is drug related or gang related. Our first house was in a crime hotspot but I felt safe because I was involved in neither and most crime is personal. So living next to a crack house (where people are looking to steal money) vs having drug dealers on your block are, IMO, two very different things. Sad to say.

        • Yeah–the whole reputation issue is important on resale. That’s what we are facing. Our neighborhood is fine and we generally feel safe here, but people in this area associate our neighborhood with the bad part of town. We moved here from out of town and didn’t know the reputation stuff. We looked at a crime report and it looked fine, but I’m not sure how important facts are to the reputation of a neighborhood. We had at least 3-4 people cancel their showings because they didn’t want the neighborhood, which was SO frustrating.

          • Ugh. We were on the other side; sold our last house super fast for full price because if the neighborhood. Looking for something long term now, but where we are, lots of neighborhoods are being revived. I can’t tell if this one is going to go up or go down. Where we rent now is definitely going up but we can barely afford what we want. Where is my crystal ball???

            I don’t know if your city is similar…who knows, maybe if you hang in there long enough your neighborhood will have a revival and you’ll have gotten in on the ground floor

            • Sorry, the first part of that post sounded like bragging. I didn’t mean to rub it in. I was just amazed at how quickly we could dump a tiny 2br with a mini kitchen. But we did but it specifically for the neighborhood. Now we are looking longer term, so trying to predict the future.

              • No no. I didn’t take it that way at all. I’m really happy it worked out for you. We THOUGHT we had our sold after our first showing and a contract a day later! Turns out we weren’t that lucky in the end, and now we’re settled back in for a couple of years. Our area of town has supposedly been on the upswing for a couple of years…just waiting for that to hit our neighborhood.

          • I used to live in downtown Baltimore in a neighborhood that was just outside a restaurant strip en route to a few clubs, and I would walk at night to my (now) husband’s apartment four blocks away. I developed a nodding acquaintanceship with the businessmen on certain corners, and felt safer knowing the street was closely watched. Not that they were looking out for me, but we didn’t bother each other and I figured not much else would happen while they were watching.

  5. Oooh, bad sleep night last night. She woke up at 4:30 and just would not go back in her crib. (Poor DH, who dealt with it until 6:15) I just have to remind myself that this is going to happen sometimes, and we can work through it. And it’s not derailing the process if once in a while she’s like that.

  6. Hey California Mamas- one of my Education Dept colleagues is making a trip west to the Bay area and then down to LA to do some alumni and recruiting stuff. He’s also hoping to do a few small speaking things (for free or cheap) on his work with Village Schools, Place-Based Learning, and Educating for Sustainability. I know a lot of you have close associations with your schools- if there’s any interest in having him speak to PTAs or other groups, I’d love to hook him up. The trip is in February but I don’t have specific dates yet (he’s sort of scheduling around the places he might be able to speak) Let me know if you think you might have a lead for him? lthomas at antioch dot edu

    • Could you expand a little on what those three concepts you mentioned are, for those of us not in the ed field?

      I actually doubt he would want to come over here, not close enough to either location, but I am curious what those are.

      • Sure! Sorry about the EduBabble- I spend so much time immersed in it that I don’t even hear it anymore.

        Village Schools and Place Based Learning are connected- they focus on using the place where you live as the center piece of curriculum. The basic question is “How is who I am affected by where I’m from?” with the ultimate goal being school and comment in service to one another. PBL can work in any setting, but the Village Schools movement is about saving teeny tiny communities by reframing (and sometimes re-opening) schools in terms of the local history, resources, and needs. Educating for Sustainability takes an “ecological” view of classrooms and schools, functioning from a perspective that students and teachers are connected to one another in a habitat for learning.

        So…wicked groovy stuff.

    • DS’s K-8 school does place based learning and has seven Habits of Mind, one of which is Sustainability. I think that might be their theme this year. I’m not sure how their parent ed calendar is looking but it might work. I’ll email you.

  7. Great glasses mystery–today Lucy took her new American Girl doll with glasses to school, as she was “star of the week” and was encouraged to bring her favorite item in for show and tell. She did her show and tell in the morning, and then put the doll in her locker, which is just a few steps from the door of the classroom. She was never allowed to take the doll back out of her locker, but says that she saw the glasses on the doll’s face several times during the day when she was getting her coat, etc. At dismissal time, she opened her locker and the doll had no glasses on. She looked all over her locker, in her coat, in her backpack, nothing. She told her teacher and the teacher had everyone look around and they didn’t turn up. They weren’t turned in to the office and when I helped her retrace her steps and look on the floor of the classroom and in her desk they were nowhere to be found. She’s really sad. I am not surprised that the glasses got lost, as they fall off all the time. I am surprised at the circumstances, however. If it’s really true that she saw them on her doll many times throughout the day and then they were gone at the end of the day, is it possible that a kid in her class stole them? They are bright blue and would be pretty noticeable on the floor if they fell out of her locker or something. If she didn’t see them right away, someone walking by should have. I keep wondering if there’s a kid in her class who pocketed them and how they must be feeling about that tonight. Very strange and a little sad. We can replace the glasses, but darn!

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