Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family Reunion

This is where I was this weekend.
We did a family reunion/retreat up in the foothills of the Cascades. Most of my family made it so there were about 44 of us. 
The lodge has some rooms with a queen sized bed or a pair of full sized bed but they also have family suite rooms with full-sized beds and two sets of bunks so even for the more productive members of the family it works out to have plenty of space. 
There was some hiking done, though it was drizzly or raining most of the weekend. A little rain never stops a true Washingtonian.
There was a fully-equipped commercial kitchen which makes cooking for a crowd that size soooo much easier. Different family members signed up for each meal and we ate very, very well. 

It was fun to get together and catch up with all the members of my family and learn what is new with them. We've decided not to wait so long to do it again. We are hoping to work it out for the end of June. Maybe then it will look as sunny as it does in the promo pic above!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird

Thing Two is taking a class on this classic of western literature. I got him the books on CDs in addition to the print copy. We read chapter one last week and today, during a marathon listening session while "cleaning" his room, Thing Two listened to Sissy Spacek read chapters 2-6. There was more listening than cleaning, but what's a logophile mom to do?
We also watched Hey, Boo, which is a documentary about the Nelle Harper Lee, the book, and the movie. It is really cool to see him enjoying the story. I got another book that gives some cultural background and historical context of the book which we've been looking through. Good stuff.

I love talking to the Things about what they are reading and seeing them develop a deeper understanding. Thing One just finished Heart of Darkness and we had some good talks about that too.

Having teenagers can have its downs but man, the ups are goooood.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A wee little rant

Make a freaking choice, people. 

America is lagging behind the majority of the developed and developing world in terms of educating our children. This is because we are more interested in coddling, fawning over, and awarding mediocrity in our offspring instead of challenging them, making them learn, study, and work, or pushing them in any way.

Early education is done in the least interesting and effective manner possible and students are passed from grade to grade without mastery of essential skills (I think school grades should be run according to the pirate code, "Him what falls behind, is left behind." and attaching age to grade needs to die).

We are turning out ignorant but confident idiots who are incapable of dealing with their own finances, the challenges of college and adult life, and who think glancing at the second page of a Google search should qualify as exhaustive research. Scholastic dishonesty is rampant, and some parents want it overlooked, but only in their own children. Football stadiums are prioritized over textbooks and school libraries are languishing un-staffed, and under-stocked.

Despite these obvious problems, many parents handicap teachers at every turn, making it impossible for them to challenge students or have reasonably high expectations. Most teachers that actually demands excellence of students can anticipate complaints from parents and school administration pressure to tone it down. As if that were not enough of a recipe for failure— then you have the clever policy of attaching teacher incentives to student testing results and thereby guarantee that the lazy, little dimwits are only ever going to be taught to a test because parents cannot be relied on to offer anything other than excuses for their children's ignorance and indolence, leaving teachers no support or recourse to deal with the disrespectful, inattentive, privilege-expecting laggards they are tasked with instructing. 
Oh, and don't get me started on class rooms, just check out this link.
We really need to get our act together people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In the sea, once upon a time, o best Beloved, there was a whale.

The weekly word, which I am tasked with choosing from among suggestions made by children, was sagacious. It was suggested because the child found it in a book, Just So Stories. This meant, no matter what other fabulous words had been offered, it has to win. 
Children must be encouraged to read the classics, you know.

Also, I have made a fire in my wood stove and I am drinking apple cider. We are having an absolutely glorious fall. Cool mornings, warm afternoons, and crisp evenings that make a fire sound delightful.

I made creamy tomato soup tonight. From tinned, diced tomatoes, chicken broth and whatnot, not from scratch, but still.... delicious with some crusty rolls for dinner.

I love fall. Bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils anyone? 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Heard this one yet?

Loving it.
Give it a listen.