Frankly, I Think She’s On To Something

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone today (and I have a ton of stuff to do), so no Spin Cycle today – I’ll post it tomorrow.  However, I thought I’d post this because I found it both hilarious and thought-provoking:

I know a few of my readers are educators, and even more have children that are either school-aged or have graduated from public schools and I’d really like your thoughts on this.

Texas was the very first state in the country to have standardized testing, which means that our kids were among the first to be put through the grist-mill. Beloved and I have very serious issues with standardized testing – as the parents of five children, we can tell you there is absolutely nothing standard about them.  Couple this with the fact that OGT testing – the standardized test here in Ohio that a child must pass in order to graduate – is being administered this week (and has completely disrupted The Young One’s schedule AND education), well, I’d like your opinions.

Standardized testing – what do you think of it?

Glitter, Glue and Poster Board

It’s amazing what you can do with those three things.

No, there will be no recipe today, although I almost always post one on Mondays.  But I didn’t really cook this weekend, for more than one reason.  First, Beloved had to extend his business trip to California and won’t be home until Tuesday.  Secondly, Saturday afternoon, The Young One came up to me and said, “Mom?  Um, there’s this project I, um, have to do for science?  And it’s, um, due sorta, um, on Monday.”

Swell.

The project was to do a poster board-type thing about an element from the periodic table.  Yeah…just edge-of-your-seat type of stuff, especially when it’s a totally obscure particularly well-known element like Rhenium (Re, atomic weight 75, atomic mass 186).  Nickel-based superalloys for the use in jet engines contain up to 6% of rhenium, making jet engine construction the largest use for the element, with chemical industry catalytic uses being next-most important. Because of the low availability relative to demand, rhenium is among the most expensive industrial metals, with a price average of 2009, exceeding US$6,000 per kilogram.

HEY! You can wake up now!

The project entailed listing the name, symbol, atomic weight and mass as well as the properties and practical applications of the element on a 10″ x 10″ (yes, 10 inch by 10 inch) piece of white board that MUST include a 3-dimensional rendering representing the element or it’s use(s).

If anyone cares to bitch-slap The Young One’s science teacher (who I think graduated from college 3½ hours ago) for assigning my son a very rare element whose only real commercial use is in jet engines or as a catalyst for processing unleaded gasoline and which MUST be rendered in 3D on this postage stamp-sized media, I will be more than happy to hold your coat.  And buy you a steak dinner.

Oh, yeah – did I mention this was the first weekend in four months with temperatures in the 40s and sunny, blue skies?  A weekend I spent braving the sweating, frenzied masses at the only (abysmally understaffed) craft store in town? Where I spent $37 on this project?  Then spent an entire day of said gorgeous, sunny weekend with my loving offspring, whose interest in the project was remarkably absolutely non-existent, trying to figure out just what we were going to do with $37 worth of cardboard, poster board, glue, glitter, paint, Styrofoam and markers?

Well, we got through it, and if I may say so myself, we might not have a clue as to scale and construction, but for a couple of clueless klutzes, I think we did a half decent job.

I mean, really – could you make half a jet turbine engine out of poster board, glitter paint and glue?

Gee, I hope I get a good grade on it…

High School Is Not a Musical

Hansome Boy!At least according to The Young One, who grumped through the morning like a Disney dwarf with bursitis.  I’m sure the fact that 47 of his closest friends chose to call him at 10:00 p.m. last night to talk about the impending first day of high school while I yelled, “GET TO BED ALREADY!!” in the background didn’t help.  Nor did the fact that we were both up at the crack of absurd this morning.

When I was in school, we had to be there at 8:00 a.m every morning, and we left each and every day at 3:00 p.m. (well, until my senior year when the really bright kids, like myself, managed to weasel in a study hall for first and last periods, meaning we could show up an hour late and leave an hour early).  We had 6 periods a day, and lunch.  This was true even when Darling Daughter was in high school (although they had block scheduling and managed to fit in 8 periods by having them attend 4 a day on alternating days).

Not so now – school starts here at 7:20 a.m., which means the bus comes at 6:45 which means he has to be at the bus stop no later than 6:35.  He has like 11 periods (don’t ask me how they manage this; I have NO idea) and they get out of school at 2:38 p.m.

2:38 p.m.  What, if they stay an extra two minutes all of the teachers will implode?

At any rate, he got off this morning without any tears or drama on either of our parts.  I don’t have any desire to wax poetic about how my baby is a mere four years away from college, or how he grew into a handsome and reasonably responsible young man seemingly overnight.  There will be no sappy prose about him starting a new phase of his life or his impending journey into young adulthood.

Mostly due to this conversation this morning.

“Young One, stop abusing your lunch!” I scolded, as he swung the paper bag around.  He immediately raised it in front of his face and began poking and slapping it around.

“Take that, rotten lunch!  Good for nothing!  Bad lunch – BAAAAAAD lunch!”

It’s going to be a looooong year.

I’m Through. Finished. Done. Kaput.

Last Day of Middle SchoolYesterday marked the end of an era.

As of 2:45 p.m., I was finally, officially, irrevocably and irreversibly done with middle school.

CAN SOMEBODY GIVE ME A HALLELUJAH!!!!

If you count Jolly and Miss Jacki (and I do) I have had a child in middle school for thirteen consecutive years.  And if you’ll excuse my gratuitous use of the “F Word” French, that’s a long fucking time to deal with kids going through puberty.  I don’t know how middle school teachers do it, I really don’t – if I had to deal with that many 13-year-olds for that many hours every day, I’d have taken up residence in a padded room long before now.

Because, as Bill Cosby so eloquently stated, those people are BRAIN DAMAGED.

This week has already been stressful enough, but The Young One alternately whining about the time dragging or bouncing off the walls with nervous energy has simply made it worse – even the fish shy away when they see him coming.  But the very last day of middle school finally came, full of pizza parties and water balloon fights and yearbook signings and walking home with friends, and – thankfully – went.

Now the summer stretches before us, but before we know it August will be here and we’ll be going to freshman orientation, also for the last time.  In fact, the new school year will be replete with firsts and lasts, new beginnings and bittersweet farewells.  The end of high school for Miss Jacki, the beginning for The Young One.  The first grandchild.  What could very well be our last holiday gathering with all of our kids in attendance, at least for awhile.

Somebody pass the Geritol, please.  Or at least a bottle of scotch.

And on that note, Beloved and I are taking Miss Jacki and The Young One to Washington D.C. for five fun-filled days.  I’ll be gone from Sunday through Thursday but both Beloved and I will be taking our laptops with us (we take our laptops everywhere), so I’ll try and hop online for a few moments every day to leave a line or two and show off my new photography skills if I can.  I’ll even try to check in with all of my wonderful bloggy friends if at all possible.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.