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!