Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Schools Require Saintly Parents

Ages ago, when my daughters were babies, I knew a smart, inspiring woman with two young sons. Her boys were quite impressive, too, both in the way they carried themselves and in their accomplishments. I asked my friend where they went to school.

She told me the name of the Chicago Public School where they were enrolled. She then highly recommended the teacher/administrator who shaped the program there and later became a principal at another CPS elementary school. My friend added that if I wanted to find an excellent school for my daughters, I should find the woman and the school.

Which I did. One of my daughters attends that school, even though the (yes-it's-true) amazing principal has since retired. The new principal has retained much of her educational philosophy and most of her staff. But almost immediately, the new principal ditched the practice of assigning homework over Winter Break. Yay!

Still, my daughter occasionally gets an assignment that pretty much requires doing homework over the holidays. I suppose the quality of teaching developed under the former principal is too deeply ingrained. These teachers teach, after all. And so, this year, my daughter's group assignment - to film a 4-5 minute commercial having to do with the reading of Brave New World - is due Jan. 6th. School resumes Jan. 4th. Are you kidding me?

What do you think about that? I don't know anymore. On one hand I'm annoyed, because scheduling six 8th graders around family plans is tedious and difficult. On the other hand, getting six 8th graders together is socially fun, and I'm sure they all took something positive away from the experience.

The mom who hosted the event? I'm sure she took a gigantic headache away from the experience. After 6+ hours of dealing with technology issues and personality issues and the teenage stomach, this woman deserves public thanks, a hug, a beer. Or, maybe a get-out-of-chaperoning pass for the remainder of the year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Dream of Italian Cookies

This morning I woke up distressed by a dream in which I finally discovered my Grandma's recipe for pizelle, but I could not decipher the measurements. Instead of cups and teaspoons, she had jotted down a P or a Q. I didn't know what that meant, and then I woke up thinking "It's pints and quarts!"

So, should I mind my Ps & Qs today? Or get out the pizelle iron?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Now to spend some money in the iTunes store. . .

I'm adding Said the Gramophone to my blogroll. "More music" is usually on my short list of New Year's Resolutions (along with "more vegetables" and "more flowers").

But I'm also linking to it because of this fine post, a reaction to Vic Chestnutt's suicide.