Tag Archives: homework

Hobbits, anyone?

Good morning Everyone!

As we drove to the store yesterday, to the complete and utter mystification of everyone in the car, Kayla announced,”I need a hobbit!”   To aid her obviously befuddled parents, she added helpfully, “You  know, like soccer or knitting or something.”

Knitting Needles, knitting

Knitting, anyone?

When we explained to her that she meant the word “hobby,” her eyes widened and she said, “No wonder my teachers looked at me so strangely when I told them.”


My suggestion that she take up the hobby of studying more for school was not met with enthusiasm.

Have a great day!


Snit Fits, Melt Downs & Cross-Examination

Good morning Everyone!

Our school system decided that the students would make up one of the many days missed because of weather electronically.  Each teacher put a special assignment up on the EdModo website.  Students have to turn them in today, April 30.

As you can guess, Kayla still had assignments to finish up last night.  When I got home from work, she was wandering around in the kitchen, where she airily informed me that she was going to do some cooking before she did her assignments.  I nixed that idea and told her she couldn’t do anything until after she finished her Edmodo assignments.  Snit fit #1.

30 minutes post snit fit #1, she informed me that she was done.  I checked the (single) assignment for completeness.   Cross-examination #1 established that there were other class assignments out there, leading directly to snit fit#2 which resulted in her being sent to her room to complete her math EdModo quiz.  After she reached her room, but before she could start her quiz, we achieved obligatory math melt down #1.

30 minutes letter, after math melt down #2 in the middle of the quiz, Kayla submitted the quiz answers on-line, and then started wandering around the house again aimlessly.  This behavior led to the simultaneous appearances of cross-examination #2, snit fit #3 and paternal parental lecture #1, the upshot of which was a telephone call by Kayla to a friend to obtain the vocabulary words she was supposed to define and use in a sentence.

Once completion of the vocabulary words was verified, Kayla again announced that she was done.  Cross-examination #3 and #4 (please insert paternal parental lecture #2 here) discovered that there was one assignment left to complete – a timed quiz that Kayla had accidentally opened days ago and now could not complete because the 60 second quiz had timed out somewhere around 190 hours, which led to snit fit# 4, melt down #2, paternal parental lecture #3 and bed time.  Maternal melt-down #1 was allowed to commence thereafter.

Have a great day!


Adages that Aren’t plus Other News

Adage –  a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth

1)       Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  – Not really; it just makes me sleepy.


From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

2) Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. –  If we didn’t, how on earth could we ever buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store?


3) Handsome is as handsome does. – Nope.  By any standard of conduct, Pierce Brosnan, George Clooney and Sean Connery are handsome.

geese and gosling AJKoops

4) A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  – Not if you’re a birder seeking to win the big year, or participating in the World Series of Birding in New Jersey!


5)  Out of sight, out of mind.  – Obviously, whoever made this one up never had a pressing problem to worry about.


From Print Shop Professional 2.0

6)  There is no such thing as a stupid question. – Well, yes, yes there is.

United States coinage penny

7) A penny saved is a penny earned – unless you owe back taxes, then it is a penny paid to the government.

Prisoner Costume

8) Practice makes perfect. – No, imperfect practice perfects imperfection

Sticks and Stones:  From Clip-Art Online

Sticks and Stones: From Clip-Art Online

9)  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.  – Really?  Wounds from sticks and stones heal relatively quickly but word wounds will sting for generations!

USDA Food Pyramid

10)  An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Not according to the USDA food pyramid or plate or whatever it is they are using these days.

Newspaper, news, magnifying glass

Breaking News!

And in other news –

(Dedicated to the Jefferson Davis High School “get-by” class of 1986, working its way through to a new generation!)

The following conversation repeated verbatim from yesterday.

Mom, in response to an e-mail from a teacher:  Kayla, what is this about you not having your study sheet in social studies today?

Kayla:  Mom, she told us to take it home last night.

Mom:  So?

Kayla:  She didn’t tell us to take it back.

Mom:  Kayla, it’s implied!

Have a great weekend everyone!


The Mysterious Landscape of the 10-year-old Mind

Good morning Everyone!

80% of the time Kayla makes perfect sense, but then there’s the other 20% of the time…

Exhibit One

On Thursday, Kayla tells me that her (huge, bright green, state of the art) Nike backpack that we bought this year is too small.  I suggest that she go through and trim down what seems to permanently reside in said  book bag.  For some reason, that solution is not acceptable.

On Friday, when we are already running about 15 minutes late from the time we normally leave, and after I have been waiting in the car for her for five minutes, she comes out of the garage door carrying her purple and white backpack from last year, announcing that she has switched over to it because it is bigger.

On Monday, she exits the house after me with a small red and white backpack that is smaller than anything she has ever carried to school.  The reason?  Her other backpacks were too big!

Kayla has emphatically refused to take gymnastics for the past two years, and has decided this year to give up dance, so of course, Sunday afternoon, when I hear strange thumps and bangs in her room and go to check, she has set up a kind of gymnastics routine/obstacle course in her room with pillows that she wants me to watch!

Yesterday, we had a soccer game at 5:30, which means that the kids are supposed to be at the field by 5:00.  That time-table is fairly difficult for us to  meet but we managed to have just a minute or two where I could stop at a nearby convenience store and buy her a Gatorade and myself a soft drink.  When I got back in the car, she wanted me to open her Gatorade and I told her no, she needed to finish getting on her shin guards, socks and cleats before I would do so.  (Experience has taught me that I need to get what I want first, or I never will get it.)

She fussed mildly, but then announced as we were pulling into the parks and recreation area that she “ought to give me a break because she would be a mother some day.”

I glanced sideways at her, and then said, “There’s more to it than that.  Has anyone told you about the curse yet?”

She was curious.  “What curse?”

I answered, “They call it the parent’s curse.  When you have a child, she will be exactly like you.”

Kayla was silent for a minute, then asked, “Exactly like me?”

I answered, “Yes.”

She thought about it a minute more, and then said, “I need to change some things!”

The Daily Homework Dialogue:

Me:  Kayla, do you have any homework.

Kayla:  No.

Me:  Really?

At this point I get one of three answers.

Kayla Answer 1 (Angry):   Really, Mom, why don’t you believe me?

Kayla Answer 2:  Well, yes, but I’ve already done it.

Kayla Answer 3:  Well, yes, but I’m almost done.

Have a good day everyone!


Sprouty and the Planets

Good morning Everyone!

Sprouty and the Planets is not a rock band, but rather the two topics of discussion today, both of which involve school projects Kayla has done.

Really, “the Planets” should just be “Venus” but putting Venus in the title of anything is not a good idea these days in the wild world of span.  Even searching for Venus on the internet isn’t that great.  The first time Kayla tried on her computer, she just put the word “Venus” in the search bar, and since her computer has very strict parental controls, most of the first results were blocked.  What she ended up having to use was something like “Venus planet NASA space” to get any results at all.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We need to start with Sprouty.

Meet Sprouty!

Sprouty is basically a home-made version of a chia pet, I think, but it was done as a school project.  If you don’t know what a chia pet is, google the phrase.  Then when you come back and ask me why they were such a big deal, my answer will be that I don’t know, but then, this is the same country where the “pet rock” was invented.  What really astounded me was to find out that 500,000 chia pets are sold every year, still!
Anyway, I digress.  (You’re shocked, I know.)  Sprouty was a science project that did not involve a grade – the kids took the foot end of a panty hose, stuffed dirt into the end until the dirt formed a ball, then tied off the panty hose with a sort of a wick still trailing down, sprinkled grass seeds over the dirt ball, then decorated a cup to their heart’s content.  To finish the project, the kids then filled the cup with water, put the ball of dirt on top of the cup where the “wick” would siphon the water up to the dirt.  Then they were to bring the cup home and see what happened.  Kayla was so excited early last week when Sprouty first began to, well, sprout, and is even more excited now that he bears his luxuriant crop of hair.  Even I will admit that he’s rather cute.]
The second science project, which was for a grade,  was to either 1) build a model of the solar system, or 2) build a model of a planet and 3) pick a planet and find out some facts about it.  Kayla chose Venus because it was closest to Earth, and set out to find facts about it.  The computer search didn’t help a lot, so I reminded her of a “Cat in the Hat” book about the solar system we had bought her years ago that was in her bookcase, and pulled a book out of my book case called The Lives of the Planets.  She got her ten facts from them.  Since The Lives of the Planets is written pretty much on a layperson but graduate level, I was proud that she was able to pull any facts out of the text at all.  I do suspect that she might be one of the only fourth graders in her school to have said and written the phrase “plate tectonics.”  Whether she understands what they are is another issue.  I did my best to explain, but without a globe handy it was a little tough, and then she got distracted because my hand gestures made me look like I was an Indian attempting to talk in Indian sign language, so she was laughing too hard to pay a lot of attention.
Then we had to figure out how to do the model.  One good thing about Venus is the fact that it is so thickly covered with clouds, it is impossible to make out individual surface features, so we didn’t have to worry about including large features that you might be able to see from space like you would with the moon or Mars.  We did however have to find a suitable picture to base our model on, and after several internet searches, this is the picture she found:

The Planet Venus, from Nasa.gov

We looked at the photo for a day, then went to local Wal-mart, where Kayla found 2 of the only four round styrofoam balls left in the store and I found some very basic acrylic paints and brushes she could use (no, I was not willing to sacrifice my good acrylics and brushes to her pursuit of an education when I had a choice), and we set off home.  I made her paint the styrofoam ball white for a primer coat, then I selected several of the acrylic colors, put portions of them on a paper plate and let her do the mixing and painting from there.  Here is what she did:

Planet Venus model close up

The Planet Venus on the Study Table

I realize the planets usually do not have toothpicks on which to sit, but at the same time, round objects roll and we needed a way to get the model to sit still!

I thought it was a great model, and Kayla’s teacher must have too – she got 100!

Have a great day everyone!


Thoughts on the Way Home from Pri-Med

Hi Everyone!

Tuesday night, Mark and I decided we both needed to go to Pri-Med as that most elegant of Southern illnesses, the crud, simply refuses to leave us alone even after two (Mark) and one (me) rounds of antibiotics, and it appeared we were headed South towards bronchitis.  Since we went, of course, Kayla had to go too. 

From Print Shop 2.0 Professional

We had a rough start to the evening when I discovered that on the day when Kayla knew she had the most homework to get done for the week, she chose not to do a single bit of it at after school care.  Not her best move with two sick parents!  So she was working on long division in the back seat of the car, while I was trying to help her from the front seat while Mark drove.  Long division is not the best subject to work on for homework at any time; she knows how to do it but wants someone to verify that each step is correct as she does it (not exactly equivalent to actual test conditions!) and if you don’t she tends to get frustrated.  Still, we prevailed somehow.

Kayla's Spring School Picture (Age 9)

When we got to Pri-Med, we had to wait for a while, which gave her time to finish the spelling and the long division, and then once we were in the examination room, we reviewed her science notes.  The doctor came in, looked at us, and sent us home after two shots each (Kayla was quite relieved when she realized it was her parents and not she that had to take the shots) and more prescriptions. 

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

It was on the way home that Kayla became thoughtful.  It had started to rain and she had been chattering away in the back seat without my really paying attention (don’t tell me you don’t do that either sometimes as a parent!) when something she said caught my attention.  I asked her to repeat it and she told me that she knew why clouds rained.  I asked her why, and she told me that just like we get full of water and had to go the bathroom, the clouds get full of water and have to go to the bathroom too.  That’s what I thought I had heard her say originally.  It’s not the most elegant analogy but at the same time, I couldn’t really fault her logic, either.  (When I was her age, we lived in San Diego and went to Sea World frequently, where they had a fountain show about water with a song, and the first lines of that song are indelibly etched in my brain for some reason – “The seas yield vapor to the skies, and the skies return it as rain.”  Isn’t that close to the same thing she is talking about?) 

From Print Shop 2.0 Professional

Then she chattered away some more before announcing that she was starting to not like barbecue, so she was afraid she was turning into a veterinarian.  We corrected her word choice to vegetarian, which she agreed was what she meant, and Mark explained that just because she didn’t necessarily like the barbecue at school anymore, didn’t mean that she wouldn’t like all barbecue, and that there were lots of other meats besides barbecue.  (I promise, folks, we eat lots of meat at home, and most of the time it is not barbecue.)  She was relieved, because I don’t think she really was ready to “turn into” a vegetarian.  

Breakfast with Cheese Grits

I explained that at the end of the school year, (we have about three weeks left) the cafeteria probably is trying to use up everything it can so there isn’t anything left to spoil over the summer.  This observation did not placate her;  she reared up in outrage and said, “Good Grief!  Why on earth don’t they use up all the cheese grits then!”  I wanted to say it was because she probably had eaten all of the school’s stock already  (last I heard, she gets six helpings of the things when they do have them at school) but I didn’t.  After that she got sleepy, which ended her reflections and let us put a sweet, tired little girl to bed when she got home.

Have a great day everyone!


This and That

  1. I forced a very sleepy little girl out of hibernation this morning and into the cold, cruel world of getting ready for school, and she did NOT like it!  Her latest fad is to get up, grab her clothes, turn on the fireplace in the den and huddle in front of it while she gets dressed.  (No, it is not that cold in my house – well, sometimes it is, but not right now.)  It looks quite pitiful and Dickensy – I keep waiting for her to bring me her empty cereal bowl, look at me with mournful eyes and say in a tiny voice, “Please, ma’am, can I have some more?” 
  2. Wednesday is our busiest day, because Kayla has dance after school, which finishes up at 5:50, and then I have to feed her, get her home to change into her sneakers and then be at the church by 6:15.  We usually are home by about 7:45 p.m.  Unfortunately, homework does not regulate itself according to our schedule so on Wednesday nights when she has homework, I am trying to cram her head full of (usually) math in 15 minutes and still get her to bed on time.  It can be quite a drama filled experience.  Last night when we entered the car, I asked if she had homework, and Kayla said yes.  Once we were on the way to the church, she announced that she didn’t have homework after all; the teacher had decided to keep them from pulling the homework page out of their book after all.  The dilemma:  Should I double check the homework file to investigate the mysterious disappearing homework, or just take the statement at face value and hope for the best?  I’ll let you decide what I did…..
  3. Isn’t it nice to see families doing things together?  Last night the three of us participated in a joint parking project.  I was driving and trying to swing into the garage without hitting the other car.  I got advice from both Mark and Kayla (Mark:  Cut it as hard as you can to the left; Kayla:  You’re okay on my side!)  Of course they were sitting on the same side, so the instructions were a little conflicting, but I decided to go with the more experienced driver :).  Regardless of whose advice was better,  since everyone participated, it qualified as a group project.  Everyone was still speaking to everyone else when we finished, too!
  4. I have now seen about five tulip trees in full bloom.  They are so beautiful!  I really hope we don’t have a killing frost this year.  The Bradford pear trees buds are starting to get full, but they’re not ready to bloom yet.  It would be too early for them, anyhow.  I still haven’t seen any yellow bells, which is sort of odd for this time of year here.  If anyone has seen some, I sure would like to know about it!