~my thoughts about life~

Friday, February 26, 2016

Why I Love Language Arts

Son #1 is getting an F.  In Pre-Calc.  I'm ticked.

He's always been a smart boy....takes honors classes, catches on fairly quickly (when he applies himself), and gets mostly As with a couple Bs here and there.

Now he's getting an F.

I had a parent-teacher conference last week with this woman who is teaching Pre-Calc for the first time.  The following are words that actually came out of her mouth:
"I just don't know how to teach this."

Hmmm...  What I wanted to reply but didn't (because I'm much snarkier in my head than I am in real life) was, "Then you should not be teaching this class," or "Why are you a math teacher?" or "So my son has to suffer and struggle because you don't know what you're doing?"  But I didn't.  She also said, "I know how to do this type of math, I just don't know how to explain it."  Isn't that kind of the hard part of a teacher's job?  Knowing how to explain it to others?

The teacher also told me that anyone getting an A or a B in the class is staying after school daily for help. She suggested that Son #1 request help from another math teacher, who happens to be the chair of the math department.  She didn't even suggest that he come to her for help.

Since then, we've sought out two separate math tutors for him.  One is a college student who is currently enrolled in Calc 3.  The other is a peer who reads calculus books over summer break for pleasure.  I decided to give it just a bit more time, even though my gut told me it's already too late.  You see, in math, one concept must be mastered before a student can move on to the next concept.  Since Son #1 hasn't fully grasped the last 39 concepts, moving onto the next concept is like trying to brush your teeth while eating an Oreo cookie.

His last two test scores were 23% and 27%.  The class took a test yesterday and, according to #1, everyone failed it.  Even the kid who reads calc textbooks for fun failed the test.  So, I decided I've had it.  I called the principal.  Why should my son be the guinea pig for this teacher who is trying to figure out how to be a teacher?  This experiment of putting her into a class she can't teach has screwed up my kid's academic career.  Not only has his GPA plunged, now we're hesitant to allow him to move onto higher math for his Senior year.  If he can't get pre-calc, how is he going to get Calculus or Physics?  And move on another year or two....how is he going to grasp college level math when he never learned it properly in high school?  Mama Bear is not happy.

While I'm all riled up, I'll go ahead and let you know that the principal wasn't available and I had to leave a message.  So, I'll be a nervous wreck anticipating his return call.  I don't know what I want him to do about the situation, if anything, but I think he needs to be aware that he's employing a teacher who can't teach.

Wish me luck.  I hate confrontation more than spiders.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hubby Passed

My friend is one of the school nurses in our district.  She travels from school to school.  Yesterday, she was at the middle school and Big Sis came in to see her.  Big Sis and the nurse's daughter are great friends, just like her mom and I were at that age.  I love it.  Anyhow, Big Sis said to the nurse, "My dad passed!"  The nurse answered, "Oh great, I didn't know if I'd heard that!"  Her daughter scolded her, "MOM!  Why are you acting happy that her dad passed away???  That's horrible!"  Both the nurse and Big Sis laughed.  The girl thought her friend's dad had died and her mom wasn't sympathetic enough.  

It turns out, Hubby passed his state police exam!  He is now trained and qualified to be a police officer!  He sat on pins and needles for two days, waiting to get the phone call.  We were doing an inspection at one of our tenant's apartments when he found out.  We explained to her that Hubby was expecting a very important phone call and would step out if he received it.  By the way, we call her Crazy Lady because she is one fry shy of a Happy Meal.  So, Hubby got the call and stepped outside into the snow.  I had to stand there talking to Crazy Lady about her bad teeth and iron levels while I was dying to be by Hubby's side.  He walked in the door, right past me and said, "OK, what do we have here...?" I called his name and he ignored me.  I said, "Did you pass?"  He ignored me again.  The unthinkable finally hit me...he must have failed!  I didn't think there was any chance he would fail...he studied his tail off!  So I rephrased my question, You failed?"  He looked back at me, pointed at my face, and said exuberantly, "No, I did not!"  I exclaimed, "You passed?!?!?"  He replied, "Yep!"  I gave him a playful slug on the arm, upset that I couldn't properly congratulate him.  This moment was a couple years in the making and we had to spend it with Crazy Lady and her crazy dog!!!

He breezed through the inspection and came back into the empty adjoining duplex.  I was able to give him a big hug and talk for a few seconds.  We had a new tenant arriving briefly to fill the vacant apartment.  It was not the magical moment I had hoped for, but since the results were positive, that's all I cared about!

Now he's up to his armpits in background and security checks.  Our local department wants to take him on part time!  He knows everyone down there and they all love him.  One of the female cops he knows well is pregnant and taking a break from patrol.  They've moved her into the detective bureau and she's the one assigned to his case.  She's coming over next week to interview me.  I'm kind of nervous about it...I tend to ramble when I get nervous and I try to be funny.  I'm scared I'll end up saying something stupid.  

It's amazing the things they need to know about you to be a cop.  I'm glad though...if all the cops in my community passed a thorough check like this, they all must be pretty decent people!  They need to know every car accident you've ever been involved in, all your financial information, every job, every home, and they require a list of contacts.  They will interview our family, friends, and neighbors.  I guess that's not too big of a deal for a 21-year old...but when you're 41, you have a lot more history to go through!  

Anyway, we are both so relieved that it's all over!  It's actually weird having him here in the evenings and on weekends!  I know that will all change again when he's working a second job, but at least he'll finally be getting paid for it!  

When I announced this on Facebook, I got some of the most positive and comforting comments.  They really meant a lot to me!  A lady from church said she has been praying for him recently and didn't know why.  Another said she will be praying a hedge of protection around him.  Several people mentioned they will pray for his protection.  I was blown away by the support!  

The 8-year old boy who lives inside my husband is finally getting his dream come true.  He's a policeman.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Random Question

Here's something totally random for today...

Do you wash your ear lobes?

As I was showering the other day, and obviously thinking too deeply, I realized I don't actually wash my ears.  I guess I just assume that the shampoo and soap running down from my face and hair takes care of cleansing a part of my body that, let's admit, probably doesn't get too dirty anyway.

So, to answer this question that I asked myself, no, I didn't used to wash my ear lobes, but I do now.  It just seems the right thing to do.

I'm sure you'll all sleep better now that you're privy to this information.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Still Reading...

I finished The Prize Winner since I last posted. Like many of you commented, it was just OK. I didn't realize it was a movie too but I would definitely be interested in seeing it.

After that, I read The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks. I really enjoyed that. My mom had steered me away from his books because she said they always left you crying. I don't like to cry. This book had sad parts but it didn't leave you sobbing. It had romance, but wasn't too smutty. It had a handful of choice words, but nothing too awful. It's a book I would definitely recommend. 

Finally, I read Lake News by Barbara Delinsky. It's something my mom had lying around and I gravitate to anything in hardback. (Kind of a snobby book thing, I guess.). My verdict: Eh...  The last 1/4 of the book was good, but the rest of it was too wordy and too dramatic without enough actually happening. It turns out, I didn't really care for the main character all that much. I enjoyed the parts about her sister and wished the book had been more about her. It's not a book I would read again. 

Since I just finished the last book, I don't have anything else ready yet. I guess it's time to make a trip over to Mom's. She recently spent a Barnes & Noble gift card, which means I get to read all 3 of the new books she picked up from the bargain table. I'll let you know what I pick next. 

What are you reading???

Monday, February 1, 2016


As I discussed in my last post, there is nothing on TV any more.  Because of this, I have taken to reading.  I don't remember the last time I sat down and watched a show (excepting my Sunday night Downtown fix).  I used to take a half hour at breakfast (well, 22 minutes) and another at lunch time to watch one show with my meal.  Now, I sit on the couch, balance my Stouffer's pizza and Diet Dr. Pepper, and try to keep my book open to the right page.  I still haven't mastered the process yet.  Sure, sitting at the table would be easier, but who wants to do that?

Because of my increase in reading, I've already read several books since Christmas.  This coming from someone who reads one or two books a year.  Here's what I've been reading so far:

1.  Tara Road by Maeve Binchy - It's my favorite book.  I think I've read it 4 times now.  It's a great story, not smutty, lots of characters, and plenty long enough that it's not over in 2 days.  Maeve Binchy is my favorite writer and I love her Irish voice.  Sadly, she recently passed away, so I'll miss anticipating new Maeve stories.  I love how she details a great number of characters and then brings them all together at some point of the story.  It's kind of her calling card.  Either Tara Road or Circle of Friends are her best works, in my opinion.

2.  Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers - My mom bought both books in this series because she had a gift card to a Christian book store.  Francine Rivers is my favorite Christian author.  (Give Redeeming Love a try.)  This book is loosely based on Francine's history, but is a work of fiction.  I really enjoyed it and was anxious to begin the sequel.  It starts with a character based on her grandmother.  The series spans several generations and ends in present day.  It left me wondering what was real and how much was fictionalized.

3.  Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers - This is the second book in the series.  I was glad I had both of them on hand because you can't read one without the other.  This series did not disappoint.

4.  Quentins by Maeve Binchy - Because I didn't get enough Maeve at Christmastime, I had to reread this book too.  I had only read this one once before.  If you want to give it a go, I would recommend reading Tara Road, Evening Class, and Scarlet Feather first.  She brilliantly brings back a lot of those characters.  We lost our copy of Evening Class, but I'd love to read that again too.  Again, Maeve always comes through.

5.  The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan - This is what I'm currently reading.  I tend to totally judge a book by its cover (or its title, as in this case) and I was less than excited to read this one.  My mom made me promise to try it and I'm actually enjoying it.  The subtitle is "How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less."  It's a true story about a hard-up housewife who took care of her family by entering contests, writing poetry, and developing catchy tag lines.  

I keep a little end table next to my reading couch and it's stacked with a selection of the next few books I plan to read.   I can't read anything with too much smut, but I like a little romance.  Fiction is my preference, but I'll read a true story if it's interesting enough.  Nothing educational (ha!).  

What are you reading right now?  Anyone read any of the books on my list before?