Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Her homework, my homework, we all have....


Rachel has mucho English homework.  She said the questions were boring her to tears.  But, wait!  "You are reading "to Kill a Mockingbird."  How can that be boring?" I ask.

So I grabbed my copy of the book and we started on the questions together.  We find that when I read passages out loud and discuss the questions and their meaning, she has a better understanding. I find myself leading her in the right direction because these questions are pretty probing. She's having to learn to probe into literature and think in a clear, concise fashion. This isn't easy. What probably makes it more difficult? The generation reading this book in 9th grade today is farther removed from the truths expressed within and which hit hard the generation of which it was published.

I have to work hard at not doing the homework - just discussing the questions and helping formulate ideas and then telling her "I can't write the sentence for you, talk it out and then write it down."  We don't do this for all homework - just the occasional assignments.  But this is one I really like so I find it fun to explore together.

I'm a huge proponent of "it's your homework, you do it.  If you are having trouble with things, the teacher needs to be aware of it." 

This view is especially important with Math homework in our house.  Yes, you have two parents who are CPA's but please don't come to me with any more math work - it will take me an hour to relearn what I've forgotten over the past 30 years and oh, wow, they sure teach it differently now.  "I used to do it this way."  Which is no help to your child who is already frustrated with the assignment.

But the English questions?  I told her last night we should have done more analyzing of the books we read as a family at night.  On reflection, we did do quite a bit as I always stopped to make sure they understood concepts, vocabulary, moral dilemmas, etc.... We just weren't up to the level of digging required for her "Mockingbird" reading in elementary school. 

So I'm prepared to enjoy this particular homework journey with her.  I do like reading.  Just a little.  Which I once spoke of;postID=4223352394207311657;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=191;src=postname">here Please ignore my lack of skillz with html commands and links - Blogger and I have been at war with one another for a while.

Friday, February 01, 2013

On the piste again!

Hello! I'm back so soon! Miracles do happen.

Last weekend my two favorite girlies and I headed up to Sonora in the Sierra's to ski at Dodge Ridge.  Dodge Ridge isn't as trafficked as the Lake Tahoe area - Sonora is a smaller destination area (old gold mining days), the resort area is about 30minutes up the mountain from there and just past the turn-off for Pinecrest/Dodge Ridge, east of Strawberry, is the winter road closure gate for the Sonora Pass.  Soooo - less traffic.  It's also closer to us in the Bay Area and I was pleasantly surprised to see how they've expanded the runs and added more lifts since I had been up as a young lady  26/27 a few years ago.

We were so happy to be there! The girls have been missing the snow and we didn't get any skiing in last year as CA didn't have much snow at all until late February and by then our schedule was veering in another direction. It does take at least 2.5 - 3 hrs to get to a ski destination from our house so it's not as convenient as it was in Switzerland. Yes, we were very spoiled there.

Here they are the first morning up.
We did have a few equipment issues.  Last year we bought everything at the Ski & Swap meet for wonderful, low, low prices.  Then there was the problem of no snow.  Then certain people grew.  So Kendra was in her own boots but we had to rent skiis and poles and then Rachel could not feel her feet so we had to rent boots which then had to be set for her skiis.  A bit of an ordeal for mom at times but we made it all work.  
The clouds kept hugging the mountains that day.  I made an adventure out of it as much of the time I didn't know where I was going.  The runs however are very easy to follow and as I reminded the girls - every run will dead end into either a chairlift or the route back to the main lodge. 
OK Swiss folks - note the chair lift.  What's missing?
Remember - this is the girls first time skiing in the US.  We got on the first chair of the morning ( a triple) and Kendra looked and said "where's the bar? there's nothing to keep us from falling out!"
US skiing folks - In Switzerland, there is a front bar/foot rest that you pull down after getting on the chair lift.  It's great as you can rest your feet on it instead of your boots/skiis pulling your lower leg out of it's knee socket (those of us with cranky knees really appreciate this feature) and it gives added comfort to the fact that when you are riding 50ft off the ground over rocky terrain that you won't slip off easily to your doom.
The girls spent the weekend holding on to either the center or back bar of their chair. 
 Another difference was the lift tickets.  Switzerland uses a barcoded tag or scanned card method for entry at turnstiles for the chair lifts and gondolas.  Dodge Ridge still uses the 'old' lift ticket method so I showed them how to fix those onto their ski pants.  I told them the pants are best as in the event you want to ditch your heavy jacket, you still have your lift ticket on you - we tend to keep our pants on.......
 It cracks me up to watch them ski.  Look at that identical form.  They are very much in control and I admit I question the form of their skiing sometimes except they both do the same things that make me curious and I realize they've both been through the same system in Swiss Ski School.  It comes down to different techniques and I really shouldn't question it because we passed up the family who's kids were stuck on a black diamond run and my girls just kept plugging along and were ready to go back for more.
Not to say we are great skiers but we can get down a mountain without worry of breaking our necks.
The cool thing for Mom?  My knee can't ski as long as it used to and I make it a goal to always stop before it feels exhausted - it may not on the slope but it sure will by evening.  So - I can now send the girls off to make some more runs, I head to the car to dump my equipment, change shoes and grab their shoes/equipment bag and then - we meet at the lodge when they're done, they can dis-assemble and off we head back to the hotel or for home. 
We had a great time and I'm so very, very lucky to have girls who enjoy each others company.  Seriously - I'm realizing what a tremendous blessing that is in today's world.  There may be bumps to come as they continue to grow but I thank God for this good season.