Thursday, March 27, 2008


For Easter, my kids brought me two pots of flowers. I was quite surprised. My sons gave me the Easter Lily, while my daughters bought me the splashy purple chrysanthemum. All of the trumpets on the lily are now open, and my breakfast room smells magnificent. I know it'll only last a week or so, but it's an especially nice way to wake up in the morning, particularly for someone who strenuously objects to mornings!

Today my 6th grade son was taking the sixth of eight all encompassing tests for his Calvert School curriculum. Some of the questions are truly astonishing; they truly do expect children to learn a lot! I pay a little extra for their "advisory teaching service", which means I can send these tests and they will grade and return them. Good thing, too; every question is expected to be answered in one or more complete sentences, unless, of course, they want one or more paragraphs. Sample questions (Cole, you should stop reading here): In Reading: "Write a paragraph or two explaining what a blues or ja poem is, citing the elements that make up its poetic pattern....." In History, explain the historical significance of: King Darius, The Delian League, Marathon, the Peloponnesian War. Discuss the importance of sanctuaries. What were Pericles' goals, and how did he accomplish them. In Art History, describe Vela's "The Last Days of Napoleon." Geography: "Why does India have difficulty feeding its entire population?" That's nowhere near all of them, but the kid really had to learn his stuff, and really has to think. This curriculum has been around for over one hundred years, and I only regret that I didn't know about it for my older kids. Instead, I sent them to school, and, because I felt the schools were lacking, drilled Math and Grammar into their heads (for Grammar, I used a set of books from 1898. And, I tell you what, those kids can write!).

Tonight, I'm trying a new pork roast recipe, found in the Wall Street Journal. My dearly beloved wanted to know what the hell that was doing in the Journal; I told him it was one of life's great mysteries. I will let you know how it turns out.

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