June 29, 2009

Nothing I didn't already believe

I read (really, skimmed, is a better word) Real Educationby Charles Murray this weekend. His "four simple truths for bringing America's schools back to reality" seem so common sense to me that it scares me a little that the book needed to be published. However, it did need to be published. Walking through the halls of many schools and talking to many of my teacher friends I have seen the great need for this book.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has become the opposite ... don't move any child ahead for fear someone will feel bad about themselves. Unfortunately, my slogan doesn't have a great abbreviation (DMACAFFSWFBAT). I see students struggling to meet basic standards that they are not capable of meeting. These kids aren't dumb or stupid, they just don't have the mind that grasps the concepts. One kid I know who has failed multiple math TAKS tests is a gifted writer. On girl can out-math me but struggles with reading. Can't we give these kids some real help? Can't we embrace the differences in our kids and teach to them, not to the test?

I wish I had the answers.

Some memorable quotes from the book:

For a society of immigrants such as ours, the core knowledge is our shared identity that makes us Americans together rather than hyphenated Americans.

Even the best schools will inevitably have students who do not perform at grade level.

If academically gifted children come to the end of middle school reading enthusiastically and enjoying the challenge of intellectual tasts, their test scores are irrelevant. (emphasis mine) Let gifted children go as fast as they can

Choices to not attend college or to drop out of college and go to work need our understanding and--this is imperative--our respect.

June 25, 2009

104 degrees

I don't really need to say much more.

It was a Houston record for the hottest day ever recorded in June.

Do you remember where I was?

Day Camp. In Houston. In June.

I love my kids.

June 23, 2009

One Week to Go

I think I will sleep in every day next week and watch t.v. and eat bon-bons and read and write.

This week is Cub Scout day camp in Houston's 100 degree heat.

Pray for me.

June 19, 2009


Isn't summer supposed to be relaxing?

For three months, I looked forward to this summer. The boys and I would relax, swim, and do a few activities.


Before school even let out for the summer we were on our way to DisneyWorld. We returned. Utterly. Completely. Exhausted.

Then we started golf.

Next week is Cub Scout Day Camp (and yes, I am going, I am the leader.)

We have doctor's appointments.

Boy-oneder got braces yesterday.

Then we have golf (again).

And art camp.

Isn't summer supposed to be relaxing?

June 17, 2009

(Always) A Runner

If you recall, I joined a Summer Reading Challenge. I thought I would take a minute every so often and update you on our progress.

I finished Once a Runner: A Novel by John L. Parker, Jr.

I haven't written about it here, but I am a runner. It is a part of my life that is mine. The only person who really cares about my running is me ... and that is the way I like it. So much in my life is a group effort. I raise the boys with my husband, I run the Cub Scout Pack with many dedicated volunteers, and I help out at the school with some brilliant teachers.

I run by myself and for myself. I don't run with anyone. It is a solitary activity. Yet, though solitary, it is never lonely. I listen to music, I pray, and I think. It is the time during my day that I can be whatever I want to be. It is time to dream. It is where I can be in the world but not of the world. It is where I know myself best.

He sought to conquer the physical limitation placed upon him by a three-dimensional world (and if Time is the fourth dimension, that too was his province). If he could conquer the weakness, the cowardice in himself, he would not worry about the rest: it would come. Training was a rite of purification; from it came speed, strength. Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge.

I don't pretend to be a competitive runner. I am not that fast. I do understand this book, however.

He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media, hype, trivial cares, political meddling. He suspected it kept him from that most real variety of schizophrenia ...

Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.

I guess that is why I will always be a runner. Running makes me free.

Should you read this book?
Are you a runner? Then "yes," unequivocally "yes."
You aren't a runner, you say. You might not understand.

June 16, 2009

Happy Bloomsday!

The 16th of June 1904 is one of the most celebrated dates in literature as it is the day on which most of the action of Jame Joyce's famous novel Ulysses takes place.

From The James Joyce Center

I have begun Ulysses a hundred times. Most recently, I made it through Chapter 4.

I will finish Ulysses.

I will finish Ulysses.

I will finish Ulysses.

June 3, 2009

Word of the Week

va⋅ca⋅tion  [vey-key-shuhn, vuh-]


1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
4. an act or instance of vacating.

–verb (used without object)

5. to take or have a vacation: to vacation in the Caribbean.

1350–1400; <>

I'm going to Disneyworld. I'm taking a vacation. See you later!