Thursday, September 14, 2006

so, how is school going?

I keep getting asked, so how is school going for M so far?
This is what I wrote my aunt Beth earlier yesterday:
I think it's going well!   Just her second week, and yet, last week, first day was more an orientation and prep for camping, choose lockers, team-building game day.   Second through fourth days were camping:)   I left early to pick her up.   "Mom, I'm wet!"  Then her friend joined in, 80 degree sunny weather.   "We had to tow our canoes [with our gear on them] up the Potomac River."   I was thinking, wow, what a blast.   Wait, they're complaining?   I smiled, "It still beats a day in the office."   It was an awesome trip for them, overall.  Rock climbing, tent camping, s'mores the second night, canoeing in "rapids," primitive "toilets" and just basic bond with each other and with the earth type of thing.  
But homework seemingly every night, and that we are NOT used to.   Not huge assignments, and I think it's not busy work.   I detest busywork homework.   She's going over planners and beginning lessons on organizational skills today.   I'm real glad:)   M is trying very hard to stay on top of things and be organized, coming up with ideas herself as well as what I suggest, but having the teacher show her and work with her is best.   Even if she still has left something somewhere every day so far, oy!    M and I went over her schedule on Monday, plus did her math homework in the car to and from dance.   I'm glad I can comprehend these concepts fairly readily in my head so far.  
Monday went well -- M is quite happy -- this 3? week session, she has fabric arts with the wonderful art teacher:)   Plus doing well with beginning Algebra, and PE, and humanities (revolutionary times or colonial, or both).  They start the day with a group / class session, they want crab for their weekly community lunch (crab?), "Yeah, we may skip it [community lunch] for a few weeks to save money enough for crab."   Um, okay.   There is a bit of a schedule this year, too.   She had done up a list of 30 memories to potentially chose from to write a short memoir on, due today (Wednesday).   I found it interesting just which memories she chose!   I guess she was thinking of what would make a good story, over what is most meaningful for her.  
Tuesday, she went w/ her dad so I haven't heard word yet.
So, 2nd week but only one SCHOOL day I've heard word on.  
But, she was happy to go that second SCHOOL day, wanted to be there early, in part to read her humanities homework as she had left it there, walked in with a guy friend, who has been a best guy buddy since 1st grade (just friends), tired, but happy.
So, I'd say, so far, so good:)"
I picked her up early Wednesday, also.   Had to get those "anteojos."   She was excited to tell her Spanish teacher that she was leaving early yesterday as she'll have "anteojos" now.   She LOVES those eyeglasses, so that's good.   I remember when I had my first pair, and I'd look at the world around me and think, wow, this is like television or photographs, not how it looks to me, such clarity.   M's eyes are not nearly as bad, yet she's happily discovering how things really look again.  :)
I'd e-mailed both teachers (I think I'll call KL and Mo, in part b/c the girls all call the young woman teacher Mo), yet Humanities section had gone off........ to?   Mo and her group was returning from the adjacent parkland.   M took me back into the class"room," showed me where her locker is and planning guides, I reminded her to check her "in-box" (where she'd left her homework the other night oops).  I could hear the others in her group talking, "Who has a chainsaw?"  "I think we do at home."  "Yeah, but can you bring that to school?"   ROFL.  Can you imagine?   Well, perhaps this school, with teacher / parent confirmation.   M waved and called out her goodbyes, and then to me, "We're going to build a wigwam!!"
They DID have community lunch, too, salad with various green salad options, including chicken, and homemade cookies.   I guess the concept of community lunch is too important, and the idea of crab would still have to be something saved up for, budgeted in.  
Last night, I had her take a break and take her shower because we hit a road block on her math homework (naturally, her nice calculator was in her locker), tried more ideas for solving that one problem, and turned to the flip side.   Word problem involving quarts and pints, like anyone uses those units of measurement outside of math, and in some cookbooks for large groups of people I suppose.    Earlier, we'd chatted about the composting skit she has "due" tomorrow -- her group of three will talk to the primaries (pre-K through K) about the composting the older students will coordinate for the rest of the school.  
We're on a better morning schedule, too.   She makes good use of her clear dry-erase board on the front door, and I add things occasionally, too.    Nothing forgotten today:)    I even have tonight's stuff ready, and she made her own lunch today.   I still supervise them -- they're not quite how I'd do them, but, how else will she learn?   She's capable, and I need the a.m. time now.   Oh, C had her late to school yesterday, but it was bad traffic.   It was a dense rain today off and on.   I just look at my little chart and the time, and know what she's doing.   She had a literature circle today.   So organized of a day, helps them transition to high school and "periods" I suppose, while still allowing a lot of freedom within that.  
I read portions of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" this a.m., my insomnia continues so what the heck, started on I think chapter 19? and read a few, then backtracked a few, lol.   Helped calm me, really.   Had me thinking, too.   These youth in M's class are priveleged, really, not nesc. monetarily (some really ARE quite priveleged monetarily but certainly and by NO means all), but in general.   These 22-23 youth, with such enriching opportunities, not squeezed into these huge middle schools, no worries of such things as oral sex on the school bus (which was reported a few times on those going to where M would have attended), no lackadaisal teachers.    Yet, they are taught good things -- about themselves, yes, but also about how to treat the people and the world around them.   Even their upcoming immigration unit will, in part, subtly then teach about diversity and prejudice.   Of course, compared with most of the world, just having a television and daily newspaper, chance at riding lessons even tho my mother pays for them and M works for them, food for all meals and snacks, clothing, is very priveleged indeed.   :)
Okay, I meandered again, lol!   Tired.   I'm glad the Betty Smith who wrote the semi-autobiographical "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" did persevere, and stayed writing.   She is a good writer.   I wouldn't be surprised to find my daughter writing as a part of her profession as well, really, someday, in time.   If she stays getting proper creative outlets AND real criticism as appropriate.   Not until one of my senior classes in high school did I feel I received true critical help in bettering my own written voice.   Seems Ms. Smith was given a C because she wrote of truths of her life in poverty, instead of light and fancy things, tried that and felt it was as if canned words, a bit like canned beans.   Not exactly the same thing.  
(BTW, I don't edit my work here, obviously.   I just type what comes out of my head.)

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