Saturday, September 01, 2007

Blog Chain Number Ten

I'm feeling a tad jangled. Keep that in mind.

Wow, Blog Chain Number Ten! I want to state for the record that I adore Gillian. I love that she's an historian and says words like sumac berries, nigella seeds and cubebs. So, I'm really tickled pink to follow her in the .

Gillian wrote about food and the changing (or not so changing) notion of what makes a good diet. A quick thought: Food. I could go on and on about food here in Japan, but instead I'll just mention that last Saturday I ate bonito (a kind of mackerel) heart. In my town they called 'belly button' and stew it in miso paste. It looked like this:

My brother-in-law told me what to expect as far as taste goes and he was right on the money. He said, "Imagine a combination of liver and rubber band."


Gillian also mentioned her childhood, the scientific method and summer excursions. I think I'll take that last one and run with it.

And I'll call this post "Little Help".

Summer excursions. We hardly ever do them here. Summer vacation is only one month long and with every child out of school for such a short time everything is crowded -- pools, amusement parks, my living room.

That and the amount of homework that must be done is ... mountainous. When I was a kid my dad would take a couple weeks off and we'd hop in the old station wagon and drive all over the place. Admittedly, I was bored most of the trip. It was a bunch of hours curled up in the floorboard with my tape recorder to my ear listening to episodes I had taped of Gilligan's Island and The Beverly Hillbillies over and over and over. But eventually we'd get somewhere fun like Disney World or Cypress Gardens.

Today is Saturday. School starts on Monday. And this is a rundown of summer homework:

1. Complete a workbook of math (38 pages)

2. Complete a workbook of Japanese characters (48 pages)

(Those puppies look cute. They're in fact, lethal.)

3. Complete another ten-page handout of both math and characters.

4. Chore at home (some daily job like make breakfast, take out garbage)

5. Daily exercise

6. One page of calligraphy -- He did about twenty pages before he got one he liked...I didn't really examine it, said it was fine. His dad came in took one look and said, he spelled his name wrong, poor kid. I haven't the heart to tell him.

7. Build something --Last year he built this cool lamp. This year we're still thinking.

8. Read at least eight books and comment about each

9. One science project -- This year with some nifty teaching from his dad he made a program to help kids learn their times tables, complete with messages like "You need to study more, buddy."

10 One social studies project

11. Keep a daily diary -- The teacher gives them a large, two sided handout with a chart of each day where they mark if they did their daily chore, daily study, daily exercise, and a one line space for a short comment about the day.

12. Oh, and J had the extra bonus of not having finished his character practice and had to do 54 pages of copying characters into a notebook. Is he laughing? Is he crying?

13. The teacher also requested that we teach them somewhat about World War Two as that is what they'll study next unit and it really is a lot of information.

14. Self Study -- They can pick anything they want and study it, keep a notebook about what they learned.

Did you ever have homework during summer break? Maybe the kids do now. But I don't think I did. I recall owning a desk. But I never remember sitting there to do anything other than jotting in a diary, cutting out pictures of heavy metal bands and maybe filling in my super secret Harriet the Spy notebooks. I wonder where I'd be now if I had studied more

Next up is Oswann. I hope he can salvage something from this to expand on.

The whole thing looks like this:

My Midnight Muse

(The Blog Formerly Known as) Taosbound

Virtual Wordsmith

The Death Wizard Chronicles

Food History

Kappa No He

A piece in the puzzle

Sound Off Blog

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!


sam said...

Oh, man! I worked with a student from Osaka, once, who told me alllll about takoyaki. I was a little squeamish about that. But bonito heart? I'd take takoyaki, any day!

Lynn said...

I can't say that summer homework is a bad thing, but I can tell you my two teenagers would revolt something fierce. LOL!

Jim Melvin said...

Being a parent of three adopted children from Cambodia, two of whom have a lot of catching up to do in school, I haaaate homework. Haaaate everything about it. There's nothing like being 50 years old and helping a child with algebra when you haven't done it yourself since the 1970s.

Kappa no He said...

Sam: Takoyaki is awesome. I eat it nearly everyday...okay, not that much but we have a great little place near our house...mmm...octopus...

Lynn: Me too. I've got mixed feelings. I mean, I did waaay too much of nothing, but this is like...woah! I did ask a bunch of the kids at Sports Day today and discovered everyone is pretty much in the same boat as far as having it done. That helped me relax some.

Jim: I hear you there. It is quite embarrassing. And then I get the, "Well, you don't know any of this and you're doing okay. Why do I have to know it?"

Anonymous said...

So now he's 浦松J? That's just awesome! Poor kid...
Or maybe he's just thinking about disowning his parents :P

Kappa no He said...

Ha ha...that disowning thing might be right. That or a Japanese version of dyslexia. Good news is he got that done. Bad news is here it is seven thirty and まだまだ。。。with the 漢字書きとり。

Dan said...

I never had homework in summer. My parents worked for the school district, so they got summers off too (though my dad was a Diagnostition so he didn't get quite as much time off as a teacher).

All I did during the summer was play baseball, football, snot box, whatever, with every other kid in the neighborhood.

I always find it sad when I drive through neighborhoods these days and I don't see kids playing.

Gillian said...

I love it that you love it that I say "nigella seed."

I remember summer holidays as being far too long. Children need a happy compromise between boredom and overwork. Maybe the world's most perfect nation is a combination of the best features of Australia and Japan? No bonito hearts, though - thye lok a bit too much like kidney stones (brown manju, OTOH, ought to be a staple part of everyone's diet - yum).

Kappa no He said...

Dan: Me too. I was out at the crack of dawn and was told to be back in the neighborhood when the streetlights came on. Those were the days.

Gillian: And cubebs...don't forget cubebs!

And if you like brown manju...oh, have I got some manju for you! I think I'm gonna work up a whole manju post. There are some doozies out there.

Virginia Lee said...

1. Bonito hearts -- Erm, not thanks...

2. Your son is a cutie.

3. Wow. I never even had a summer reading list for college, much less homework unless I was going to summer school on purpose.

4. I did go to a couple of camps for gifted kids where we had to go to classes part of the time. That was okay, but if we didn't get enough leisure time I think we'd all have rebelled.

5. I really need to do better about visiting your blog. It makes me happy and it expands my world view. :)

Pat said...

I never had summer homework but both of my girls had summer reading lists. I just hated those! It was a nightmare getting them to read at all (they're both ADD). How on earth does J get all of that done in one month? No wonder the Japanese kids are more advanced academically than American kids are.

Kappa no He said...

Virginia: Yea, work and play balance is really important and slightly difficult when you really think about it.

Pat: The answer is, he doesn't, ha ha. Well, he did about two hours of homework every morning except when at camp (only three days) and at a friends (another three days) and although he made a nice dent in the workload...still didn't pull it off. He left Monday with lots of shiny stuff to impress everyone and fool his teacher. We'll see if it works.

Cath said...

Wow, that's the kind of homework regime that instills discipline. I think I might have benefited from something like that. Instead, I seem to remember running rampant through the English countryside instead.

Nice post, and your son is a cutie. :)

Midnight Muse said...

Holy crap! That's homework! I don't think we ever got homework for summer - but I can see how some would have been a good idea. Too often summer is just wasted. Although there's something to be said for wasting time :)