Monday, June 28, 2010

ice skating recap

W recently had his last class for ice skating lessons at a local skating rink. (W is pictured with the red mittens and Cars helmet). He was in level Tot 2 which was a beginner class for kids 3-6 who were not familiar with skating. It ran for six weeks, and for the first couple of weeks it was almost painful for Jacob and I to watch our little boy falling down so much. After the second class he had wanted to quit after feeling quite discouraged but I am very glad he decided to stick with it (I think the cardboard Zamboni that one of the instructors gave him certainly helped.) :)  I was afraid he was doomed with my lack of natural grace, but gradually he got more confidence and ultimately he could skate around on his own. He did mostly marching, a bit of gliding, and he was finally able to get himself back up when he fell down. Most importantly, he had a good time with it.

In the future I think he will be relaxed about skating and it gives him a good reminder to stick with things and practice. When asked if he wanted to contribute to this post, W said "I had fun at the ice skating rink."

Friday, June 25, 2010


 I have been quiet on the blog of late, as we are in the process of buying a new home and it is hard to keep quiet about such a major change. The closing is less than 3 weeks away now and all is going well. After a few updates we plan to move later this summer. The boys and I have been keeping busy with playdates, library summer reading, and visiting the local splash park in our town. There are several things about living here that we will miss, although our new place will be great. It has a much larger yard as well as space for a garden, and eventually animals. It is so cool and I can't wait to blog about our projects there, both here and on my personal blog. 

W is doing very well with reading level 1 books, with a few words or one sentence per page. As I mentioned, our library currently offers a summer reading program, and for every ten books he reads he can go and spin the wheel and earn prizes like animal-shaped erasers and candy. 

C is *still* teething, but overall is a happy little guy and loves playing with duplo legos and his big brother. 

Here are some fun books we have been enjoying lately (some for storytime, others read by W). I highly recommend checking out library book sales and used homeschool curriculum sales this summer, it is a great way to find some treasures and not break the bank! Also buying used on Amazon can be reasonable. We found a copy of The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales (Usborne books) at a homeschool sale which W has enjoyed reading.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gatto on the Lessons Taught in School

This may be the best article I've read about what schools really teach children:

The Six-Lession Schoolteacher

There's a tendency to downplay the evil he discusses because "well, I went through the system and I turned out okay" or "I know a schoolteacher, and he/she says ..." 

The "turning out okay" comment reminds me of the poor father in Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron", who endures a shock every time he starts thinking too hard.  In his regular state of mind, he must have a vague sense that there could have been something better, that maybe he is not living to his full potential.  However, if someone complained to him about all these damn handicaps and the system that put them on everyone, he'd probably tell the person that he doesn't see the big deal because he "turned out okay".

And with respect to schoolteachers: of course there are individuals within the school system that actually care and make an effort.  Some may even inspire a few students.  But despite the best individual efforts of any number of teachers, the system itself enforces the lessons Gatto describes.  Schoolteachers are almost all going to think the answer for improvement is some tinkering, or curriculum change, or policy changes by the administration; if they saw things as Gatto does, why would they work for the system?

Real improvement is possible when you withdraw your support from the school system.  You may be forced to pay taxes to support the system, but you are free to withdraw your children and let them have a real education.  Without handicaps.