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Linnea starts high school today. She barely let me take a photo! She marched herself off to the bus stop! She was in a foul mood!

What gets me? The new late start high school still has her bus pick her up at 6:40am. Late start? I shudder at how early things must have been last year. Her pick up time is very early, but then again,she gets back early.

And in more makes me want to cry, it's Perry's last first day of high school. I'm feeling very emotional about that.
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The things nobody tells you:

That if you choose an instrument other than a string instrument, you don't get to play music in high school, you get to service the football team and play peppy! shorts each time someone gets a concussion or a traumatic brain injury!

I despise football.

I despise marching bands of all sort. Stupid, ugly costumes, ugly music.

And major conflicts with just about everything this fall because Linnea has to be out there paying homage to the most stupid Americans aside from Trump voters: football players.

So much for real symphonic band.

Fucking liars.
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Good news or bad news? It's really hard to tell.

AC is planning on declaring her major this fall (she's getting an extension so she can take a class this summer, because she's been a junior on classes completed for a while, and they want her to declare, but her major only accepts in the fall). She's planning on majoring in microbiology (and anthropology, with a minor in public health). Micro, up to this point, is a non-competitive major, just need a certain GPA.

But what should appear this week? The Center for World University's rankings.

And UW's micro department is rated 3 in the world.

I hope it doesn't prevent her from getting in. She's concerned as well. She meets the requirements already so if they don't change them, she should be good!
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AC and dh just left for her last first day of school.

Whimper.

How did my baby get to be a senior? It seems impossible, that the rolly polly toddler I tent to petite section de maternelle, and who had a fabulous time there, is now a great big senior starting her last year.

OTOH, one more year with that awful school.

The photo will make you think she got a new car of her own, but NSM. Heh.

WP_20140825_06_57_27_Pro

(That was easy. Dh took the photo with his phone a few minutes ago, I grabbed it from the cloud drive on the computer...)

Anyhow, seniors at her school form a mob on the hill up to the main campus, in hopes of terrifying the younger students, and dh is dropping her off to prepare for that. Perry, Linnea, and I will meet him in a bit, and, despite not having her to drop off, will brave first day traffic to get some video and wave at her. (She'll ignore us.)

Oh man. Anne-Chloe is a senior.

ETA. So we drove down, met up with dh, and drove up to the main campus, so we could see our sign wielding screaming daughter and her classmates. It was fun. Her sign said "I'd rather be sleeping!"
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WP_20140612_11_12_04_ProWe did find a nice tshirt, in a pretty dark plum, that looked nice with his black pants and the -left hanging open- button shirt.

The school had pretty yellow rose boutonnieres for the boys (and corsages for the girls). Alas they gave them to the kids before the breakfast and after eating Perry went to play basketball. His rose looked rather on the wilted withered side by the time the ceremony started.

It was great, though. The class is small -46 students- and faculty said a bit about each student, and it was mostly hilarious. Remembering the bad puns, the terrible jokes, the pranks, the funny habits, and also the accomplishments. It was so clear that the teachers both knew and liked the kids. The audience laughed a lot.

Of course every time a vocabulary word was used, the kids all made an ooh-ah! noise!

Anyhow, he's all continuated, and will be in OMG 9th grade next year. OMG. 9th grade.

We survived middle school. Here's hoping we make it through high school as well!
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His yellow rose boutonniere is totally wrecked and he is bright red. From the basketball game. Sigh... He could be so cute, he looks completely disheveled.
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Perry has his "continuation" ceremony today, at 10am.

Provided he survives until then.

Despite being asked at least 4 times (by both me and dh) if all his clothing was ready, he showed up this morning wearing the clothes... black pants, black dress shirt, open over a..... wait. the black shirt is buttoned up. He looks like a crow.

Where is the tshirt?

Well, it turns out the boy doesn't have a single plain tshirt. Which, to be honest, I did not know. When he looked this morning, he didn't find one.

I have no idea what he was doing each time he went down to check that he actually had everything clean.

Yes, my fault, I should have asked to see the actual outfit.

Note that the pretty green and blue dress shirt from Gap that my mother bought him would have looked really nice with this outfit, but he lost it, never to be seen again, the first time he wore it to school.

Then I notice the pants. Which are too big.

Oh rilly?

Oh wait. He's wearing an old pair of (boy) dress pants of his sister's. That fit length-wise, but are baggy. Baggy dress pants look awful.

His regular pants, which is what he'd said he'd be wearing? That fit nicely and look real nice on him?

Are dirty.

I spot clean those, iron them (evil iron!). Dh had already ironed the dress shirt.

Target opens at 8am. We don't have to be at the celebration breakfast until 8:30, we should have time. Please say a prayer to any god you may beleive in that Target has plain tshirts. In Perry's size. In a neutral colour that is not lime green or day-glo orange.

St.Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, right?
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We've still not told Linnea she's changing schools next year. I just hate hate hate that I'm going to hurt her, there is nothing positive about this, no nice angle, no way to she will percieve this as anything else than punishment and failure, not matter how carefully we present it.

And that breaks my heart.

What makes it worse, twists an additional knife in the wound?

She's been doing so well these past few weeks, both in English and in French, and even a bit in math. Her conjugaison, a bugaboo of most kids, is so much better, and she mastered the future tense with no problems, no work on my part, and on time.

And yet it isn't enough.

And she's so proud of herself, bringing me her notebooks, showing me the TB (for très bien, very good) all over them, on things that I know they didn't help her with. Something is coming together, and it's too late.

God, I hate this.

I'm going to have to make a point to get her some French instruction next year. She deserves the same shot at bilingualism as her siblings, especially since she seems so willing to work at it right now.

It hurts to know that I'm going to have to hurt my sweet little nut.
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Take 29, and the Rube Goldberg project worked.

It took some serious last minute changes, a steady hand on the dominoes and more patience than I thought Perry had.

Phew!

Tomorrow, we'll edit to get it into some format she needs (description of the project and the transfers of energy etc).

[eta] We have better video from the camera, but for some reason I decided to record that try, and got some of it.

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AC has a major research paper due Friday. She's submitted two drafts, the paper is looking good, and I pity her poor teacher, since she's submitting a 3rd draft tomorrow. Last paper she got a 97: highest in the grade, and she intends to repeat that.

Anyhow.

Just overheard this:

AC: "My essay is too long, and I want to add something and I don't have the words for it."

Dh: "I'll give you some advice a friend of maman's gave her. Delete any words ending in ly."

AC: "But that's half my essay!"

Perry: "What do you mean words ending in ly?"

AC: "Really, basically, stuff like that!"

Perry: "But how can you get enough words without them?"

[livejournal.com profile] cassandra7, they may not like it, but they're learning! Thank you.


Another moment of AC brag: she got a 98 in her Outdoors Ed class: highest grade he gives, and he only gives 'em every few years or so. She did good.

Wow.

15 May 2012 17:40
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Completely blindsided by that meeting at school. It was requested by the teacher, on the same schedule that we'd been keeping all year. I just checked now, though, about a few other people were cc'ed. I might have known things were going to be on the gruesome side if I'd noticed that.

Not good.

The writing is on the wall. Either we allow her to repeat the grade, or she's out. They were much kinder than that, but I think we were pretty clear that they're not going to pass her on.

Right now things look pretty bleak.
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I've complained before about the history/language arts/math/science projects that are really art projects.

I hate those. Because dh and I don't have an artistic bone in our bodies, and neither do AC or Perry. Invariably those projects ended up in tears.

Perry had Yet Another One this week.

The text of the assignment is below the cut )

So Perry found some mosaic application online that he thought would allow him to make a digital mosaic... we allowed him to go ahead and work at it... only it didn't quite work as he thought it was going to, and by Tuesday evening he was in a bit of a panic.

Dh, Perry, and I talked about it. His second choice was to build an aqueduct.

Humm...

The ideas were flung, fast and furious, and we made some salt dough. Dh and Perry prototyped an arch, it worked fine, we made loads and loads of little salt dough blocks, some of them even coloured.

Photos of the process, including my grubby oven )

Yesterday, we started construction in earnest... only to find out that carefully planned arch prototype without anything used for mortar is one thing, but multiples thereof? Something else. Something else rather dire.

Re-group. Re-think. Re-plan.

A mosaic.

Remember this sweet image of Linnea's? What, you guys don't? But I posted it just a few days ago! :P
IMAG1020.jpg

Well, inspiring himself strongly from Linnea's drawing of the Pont du Gard, using the salt dough blocks, keystones carefully cut out, btw, and glass nuggets for water and reflections? This is what Perry came up with:

IMAG1030

The rice was my idea, though Perry and dh actually applied it. The yarn was also my idea, and dh did most of that. We probably could have let him do it solo, but it was getting late, and since he did the meat of the assignment himself, I don't feel too bad about that.

It doesn't quite answer the assignment, since it's neither fish nor fowl, but it was fun to do, Perry did learn a lot about arches and aqueducts, and we had a good time.

But I hate art projects.

The teacher apparently said it was a nice job. Or something to that effect. Perry doesn't really remember.
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I really should have a "Maman brag" tag so the rest of you could exclude it from reading!

This is something Linnea drew. I don't know why, I'll have to ask her, they're probably studying Rome in school. (Perry is too but there is no way Perry could draw anything as complex.)

The Pont du Gard was probably her inspiration.

IMAG1020.jpg

Anyhow. What got to me? How she did the shading on the arches properly. And the concept of background/foreground.

The rest of us are little better than stick figure artists.
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[Loads of bad language]

Teenagers who refuse to listen, think they can do more than they should, and are planning on going backpacking in a week.

ARGH!

And who get pissy -majorly pissy- and defensive when you question their plans.

UGH!

Deep breath.

She's supposed to lead a Middle School trip, as part of her Outdoors Ed class. I get that. I understand that this one supposedly is only a 0.5 mile walk on gravel. But I don't know that. And hiking is specifically excluded from the current status plan. So I'm not too happy about this. I'm not too happy that the trip is half way across the state. And involves climbing. Yeah, she's only supposed to be spotting the Middle Schoolers who'll be climbing, but still. I worry that the promises that "someone" will carry her gear won't materialise, and that she'll end up hauling her gear down the trail.

And she's being quite uncooperative about everything.

My feeling is that we should pack our gear and go there too. We can stay away -mostly- but be there for the walking portions: not because she needs help, but because our presence will help her walk responsibly. I realise that isn't going to happen, to be honest, but the thought is tempting: hiking down on the Columbia Gorge sounds like a plan to me.

Dh wants to call the surgeon's office. AC is needless to say against that because she knows they'll nix it sight unseen.

One idea is to email the instructor and make sure he's aware of AC's limitations. When I told her that, for example, he needed to be very clear on the fact that she'd not be able to help evacuate someone who got hurt, she screamed at me that that is the whole point of being a trip leader. Yeah, I get it. However, I said, she can't carry a stretcher. To which she screamed again that yes, of course she could. Um. No.

Other idea is to meet with the instructor, dh, AC, and I. She insists on being there because she's positive we'll tell him "stupid things". This is the child who told her teachers that she was allowed out of the boot to play soccer when she broke her foot. I want the instructor to understand that the brace? Needs to stay freaking on no matter how much she wails.

Anyhow, stress and loud voices at my house tonight. Tears were shed too, but mostly by me.
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Dh said, "You are so not blogging this, are you?"

Wrong.

Damn straight I am!

(Ok, so I'm ghost-writing on this one ... - Dh)

So. Perry has a project in math to author a page for a math textbook to teach the concept of decimal multiplication. The page needs to contain text, visuals, numeric examples, and, of course, a couple of the dreaded WORD PROBLEMS. Perry still sometimes finds solving word problems challenging, much less writing them. Still, he puts in his best effort ... completely independently I might add... and proudly shows it to me and requests my feedback. The problem, in its entirety, is worded thus:

"A man has a 9.25cm pole. He needs 4 times more to complete the project he is working on. How many cm of pole does the man need?"

(Now that you are ready to continue reading after picking yourself up off the floor - your giggling fit having calmed down to periodic snickers...)

He is a year younger than most of his 6th grade classmates. So of course he didn't see any potential issues at all... Alas, without any explanation, and trying to speak with as straight a voice as possible while suppressing a grin that nearly brought tears to my eyes, I managed to suggest to him to change "man" to "plumber" and "pole" to "pipe" so that he could present it in front of his teacher and class if necessary.

Still the temptation to let his teacher see the original version ... (snicker)
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Wednesday we had a meeting at Perry's school. It was a mid-year get together with admin and parents to see how the year was going, touching base and all that. In French, I'd call it a mise au point. Anyhow, it was for 5th and 6th grade parents.

It was interesting. One of Perry's favourite things is what they call Experiential Ed. They go out to do service projects, as a group. They've pulled noxious weeds, and made cat and dog toys, and today they're going to a local experimental sustainable and green farm to do a service project.

This has meshed well with his Environmental Practices class. To best of my understanding, it's a second trimester class for all the kids, so they're all at the same point. The school is working on the ecological restoration of a local park, so this all fits in well. Plus, eh, we tend to be outdoors people. Perry is taught about, say, solal or Oregon grape, etc in class (not that we haven't taught him before, but in one ear out the other), and able to recognise them when we went hiking, and he likes that. So a great class, well integrated with the curriculum (like everything at that school. I love that school.)

At the parents meeting, however, the 5th grade parents started to complain about their Experiential Ed component. It seems they go to a local horse rescue, and help out there with caring and rehab of the horses. The parental consensus is that the kids aren't interested and just want to ride, something that is not done there.

Then the 6th grade parents started to complain about all the noxious weed pulling. One mother started and three more piled on. I spoke up in defense of it, said how much Perry was getting out of it etc, then was dismissed by the one mother who said something along the lines of, "But he's a boy. Girls don't like being in the mud pulling weeds."

Wow. Talk about selling girls short. Sigh.

Perry's school has a high coefficient of nerd parents. Very high, compared to either Linnea or AC's schools. There is, however, some people with kids there because that is what is done in their socio-economic class: you send your kids to private independent schools. Because mostly, I've found, nerd parents? Don't assume that because the kid is a nerd she isn't going to like tromping through the mud.

In these days of video games, one should not, also, assume that boys like tromping around in the mud. Many don't.

So stop excusing a child's dislike for dirty, rough work by saying she's a girl. Just don't. It doesn't help. It limits girls in the long run.

Pushing kids a bit out of their zone of comfort, I think, helps them learn and grow. So maybe your kid -boy or girl- doesn't really want to spend an afternoon pulling Scotch Broom from a park. There are, however, things to be learned doing that type of work, about community, about parks, about noxious weeds, and about hard work.

Add in the fact that you've also not just limited your child, but also projected out to the world an opinion that will have effects: girls don't like to play in the mud. What about the girl who does like to? Is she less of a girl? A freak? What?

In my family? AC? Mud? Bring it on! Perry? Mud! More mud! Is there a video game about mud? Linnea? OMG! Mud! My shoes are dirty! So I do understand that some kids don't like getting dirty. They don't enjoy wallowing... but I also suspect that for some, the lack of enjoyment came later, after she has internalised the message that girls should not like playing in the mud, and certainly not beyond a certain age. And that bothers me.

Girls, especially, should be encouraged. And not excused because they're girls and would rather be elsewhere. It won't serve them in the long term.
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We are so far out of their league, we just might -with a telescope- be able to see the ballpark from where we stand.

They?

The other parents of AC's classmates.

Fuck.

Just got a mailed invitation -snail mail!- to a freaking COCKTAIL party.

When pigs fly.

I mean, us? Hello? Drinks and socialisation? I don't think so.

The school's directory reads like a Whos Whos of MS execs, plus a few other movers and shakers whose names I recognised. Some sigs on emails indicated full professorships at UW med school and the like.

Jesus.

Explain to me how we didn't get financial aid in this crowd? Maybe because those parents are like us, hiding and not answering emails and issuing invites to cocktail parties, and "first day of school coffees" at the Blah Blah Blah Home?

Notice how rich people don't have houses like the rest of us? They have "homes".

Gah.

Remind me why I didn't put my foot down and tell her she was going to Eastside Prep with the rest of the nerd kids?

I may sound... well, actually, I don't know how I sound, but I can tell you how I feel: in a panic.

I'm certainly an impostor, a fat, ugly, stupid failure among all those brilliants parents.

I don't think I've ever voiced this before, and it's frightening, but I hope my kid is good enough. I've never felt that way before, but now I'm scared for her. Because we also got in the mail the 're-cap' of the class of 2011, and their colleges? Reads like a "Best Colleges in the US" report. The only Ivy/Seven Sister missing is Harvard, for whatever reason. In addition, we see CalTech. Berkeley. Standford. Carleton, CMU etc. Yeah, a few kids when to UW, thank goodness.

Ugh.
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A friend of mine had some issues about volunteering and desserts this week, and I too have one, though mine if very minor.

Tomorrow is the staff luncheon at the kids' school. I volunteered to make an orange chocolate tart which is in the oven right now.

All this is good.

I figured I'd put the tart on a plate, send in a bowl with whipped cream and a spoon and be done with it.

Uh, no. You need to send in "anything needed to serve the dessert".

I don't have a tart serving thing. Normally I use one of these. I can send mine in, no biggie.

But a sharp knife is needed as well, and give me a freaking break. I'm sorry, folks, but nice school or not, I'm not sending in one of my very expensive knives. And VERY sharp. Bzzzt.

I used to have a cheapie chef's knife I picked up at the clearance rack at Target for times like this but it has long since been lost (as a school picnic, iirc!).

Sorry volunteer people, but having a standard set of utensils for events like this makes sense. Maybe I'll donate some.

I suppose I'll just cut it in the morning before I send it in, which is a shame because a) it's pretty, and b) they say to cut everything in 8 slices. 8 slices of that tart is waaaay too few, it's very rich. I might just cut it in 12 and be done with it.

In the meanwhile my house smells like delicious baking chocolate and that makes me very happy!

[eta] It's done, and looks good... except that I'm betting the crust is very crumbly. That is my biggest gripe about that recipe. I added extra butter, but maybe not enough. Two little pieces broke off when I was removing the rim of the tart pan. Of course that's all I can see. I'm actually debating making a second one, but with a crust from another recipe. That's pretty dumb. And GAH IT'S WINDY!
nwhiker: (Default)
A friend of mine had some issues about volunteering and desserts this week, and I too have one, though mine if very minor.

Tomorrow is the staff luncheon at the kids' school. I volunteered to make an orange chocolate tart which is in the oven right now.

All this is good.

I figured I'd put the tart on a plate, send in a bowl with whipped cream and a spoon and be done with it.

Uh, no. You need to send in "anything needed to serve the dessert".

I don't have a tart serving thing. Normally I use one of these. I can send mine in, no biggie.

But a sharp knife is needed as well, and give me a freaking break. I'm sorry, folks, but nice school or not, I'm not sending in one of my very expensive knives. And VERY sharp. Bzzzt.

I used to have a cheapie chef's knife I picked up at the clearance rack at Target for times like this but it has long since been lost (as a school picnic, iirc!).

Sorry volunteer people, but having a standard set of utensils for events like this makes sense. Maybe I'll donate some.

I suppose I'll just cut it in the morning before I send it in, which is a shame because a) it's pretty, and b) they say to cut everything in 8 slices. 8 slices of that tart is waaaay too few, it's very rich. I might just cut it in 12 and be done with it.

In the meanwhile my house smells like delicious baking chocolate and that makes me very happy!

[eta] It's done, and looks good... except that I'm betting the crust is very crumbly. That is my biggest gripe about that recipe. I added extra butter, but maybe not enough. Two little pieces broke off when I was removing the rim of the tart pan. Of course that's all I can see. I'm actually debating making a second one, but with a crust from another recipe. That's pretty dumb. And GAH IT'S WINDY!
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We went to a talk given by the school district on dyslexia yesterday. The speakers were two VERY well regarded local experts and a psy from the district's Special Ed department.

We've been struggling with choices for next year. Her teachers would like her to repeat 2nd grade, yet everything I read says that repeating with dyslexia does not help. Since this is private, they don't have much training or awareness. They do, however, like my kid, and want to help, so it isn't unwillingness to do anything, they just don't know what to do. (I don't think learning issues are a strong point in the French education system.)

The question for us, that we've been going back and forth on, is do we pull her from French immersion, put her in public, and give up on bilingualism for her, in hopes of making it easier for her and giving her, perhaps, a less challenging time.

Anyhow, the first part of the talk was about dyslexia, and yet again, with 20/20 hindsight, all the signs were there, we just didn't know it. The comments her pre-K and K teachers made were spot on, but they didn't yet add up to a complete picture for us, not until she wasn't able to start learning to read in 1st.

The interesting part was the guy from the district. What was pretty clear to me, unless I misunderstood that part, is that we wouldn't get much support for her. She isn't that bad off. The psychologist who tested her implied as much, actually. The state has some interesting programs doing on, actually, which is good.

Anyhow, after the talk, we were able to chat with the two experts. They both, separately, said that if we were willing to put in the work, and she was, that two languages would be more work, but that it probably could be done. We are willing, and so is Linnea, so the gist of our question was will we just delay her a bit on catching up by having two languages, or eff things up some completely that she'd never catch up.

So I guess we sit tight for at least one more year, helping her. Memorisation is a majorly difficult thing for her, and that nasty French conjugaison is going to give both of us nightmares, but I think we can make it through that.

What was funny in a not funny way? Hearing a parent complain that the school district did so much for his kid with high functioning autism and nothing for his kid will dyslexia. I'm sure if you asked the parent of a kid with autism, they'd say the exact opposite. Sigh.

I really should create a dyslexia tag. I think I'll be needing it.

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