Still Here, Waiting for Wi-Fi

We were supposed to have Wi-Fi installed at our house today, and somebody came out to the house, but the internet was not installed after all and we currently have no date when it will be. They came, looked around, and said they had no wires to connect to on the phone poles outside. We have to contact two other companies, which do have wires already running out to our street. Neither is as good as the one we had come out today, and that one, whcih everybody calls the best, boasts of working for you 80% of the time (no lie, that’s their ad promoting their product). The one that can’t install at our place offers 60mbs, and the one that might offers 50, and it’s downhill from there.

Aside from the internet and a really horrible experience I can’t even tell you about with the very primitive bathroom in a local place I cannot avoid* I am still quite happy to be here. I like the people I’ve met at the school and at our church and in our neighborhood. I like the culture, the food, the flowers, the fruit, the fruit, oh my goodness, the fruit.

I don’t think I am going to mesh with this private school much as an educational institution, but I am not the primary employee/volunteer and maybe I am very wrong. I’m just helping out from time to time, and I think my ‘help’ is going to be a Charlotte Mason peg trying to hammer out a space in a Great Illustrated Classics and workbooks shaped hole, but that part is not at all surprising to me. I kind of expected it. The campus is gorgeous. I have heard the library is great, and the librarian has only been here since November and I have met her and I think I will like her and maybe we shall connect. She seems fairly astonishing. She has a medical procedure coming up and I will be substituting for her with a couple classes she teaches, and that mainly means reading aloud some stories to them and checking out books to them from the library, which makes me happy.

I have also met three local homeschooling families. One of them had us over for lunch along with the other two families and it was superb. They were super-nice, lots of fun, and they’ve invited me to come to some of their meetings.

My son can only go to school here part-time because of scheduling issues, and he’ll be playing basketball and possibly something else, which makes him happy. I’ll still be homeschooling him for two or three classes, which makes me happy.

The Cherub seems baffled, but mostly okay. She is sleeping better, and her food issues are actually easier to manage here because corn is not a subsidized farm crop so it isn’t in every single processed product you can find on a shelf.

*(Awful, combined with a stomach thing I’ve been dealing with off and on since we got here made it Mega-Awful Squared, and it was also potentially incredibly humiliating, but I came semi-prepared so it was only incredibly disgusting and personally humiliating. One day I Shall Look Back and Laugh. That day is in the distant, distant future, and I’ll probably have dementia by then so it will go to my grave with me, which is probably where it belongs)

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Assessing Education, 1920, Part V

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1

Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Part II is here

Part III is here

Part IV is here

Question V (not a mistake, question IV is not in the original)

What of “efficiency, or the power to do,” the fifth criterion named by Dr. Butler? Such ability is the result of all education received from all experience through all life. Yet as school is one of the way-stations of life’s period, the question may be narrowed so as to set aims for even our elementary pupils who have not at this time become classified under a vocational heading. Efficiency in the tool subjects then becomes a very definite aim of our elementary schools.

Such standards as the Courtis and Thompson efficiency tests in arithmetic, the Hillegas and Harvard-Newton standards for written composition, the Kelley, the Thorndike, the Gray, and the Fordyce scales for measuring reading ability, the Ayres spelling basis, and minimum standards in pen manship should aid us in determining where our results stand in comparison with other schools of recognized standing which have used these same means of examination.

The final question, of course, in making decision to adopt any new course or plan should not be, ” Is this the easiest thing for me?” but rather, “Have I the courage to keep growing?” And again, “Where should I begin to graft new life into my work?”

In this case hang up Dr. Butler’s five questions for your thermometer — unless you believe there is no need of a new diagnosis because you still have old pill boxes on the shelves! But having chosen a new “point of departure” let us not cast all of “the old” aside, for in each of us there should have grown something of the genius of adjustment which will help us in feeling our new way as we graft the new and the old together, culling from each to answer our growing vision. The success of such selection will once again prove the old words, ” Perseverance isn’t Everything, my son — have a little talent!”

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Of small things observed

Little things:
We had been here a couple weeks when I heard somebody calling outside the guesthouse room. I ignored it at first because it didn’t really register. But then it continued and I realized it sounded quite close and was repetitive. I opened the door and there was a visitor standing with a cake in her hands. She’d been calling somebody else ‘s name, but at our door. She asked who lived in our guest house and I told her our names, and she asked if we wanted a cake, so I said yes, and she handed it to me and disappeared.

After that three or four more times, somebody would come to the door and I would only realize they were there when they had been calling our names several times, or not even oru name, just something like “Hello! We’re here!” or ‘Good morning!’ or “Maayong Buntag!” Now, in our new house, one of the carpenters and the driver of our landlord who has done some errands for us as well, has come to the gate of the house and called (I am Mrs Maam to him). They don’t knock on the door or come up that closely to the house.

The windows aren’t practically air tight as in the US, so they can do this, and most people aren’t running their air cons much because of the expense. There is just, I think a different view of private property and personal space? Your home is your home. You don’t knock, you call.

Wedding rings: mostly on right hand instead of left.

It is unspeakably rude to say a direct no, or to ask a question forcing the person to say a direct no.

Do not point. You thought it was rude to point in the U.S. but you were wrong. It was only mildly childish. Don’t point with your index finger. Just don’t. Jut your chin or lightly waggle your entire hand lightly in the general direction you mean.

Rice, three times a day and plenty of it.

Corn is often a dessert.
Corn jello. corn over icecream. Corn in your pudding.

Why? In the land of mango and pineapple and jackfruit, why corn at all? I have no ability to comprehend this whatsoever.

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Assessing Education, 1920, Part IV

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1

Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Part II is here

Part III is here

Question III What opportunities are we offering for^growth in “the power and habit of reflection”?

1 The use of the socialized recitation where the child learns the value of open-mindedness which in itself is a requisite for growth. The child must draw conclusions- and state problems rather than depend upon a memorized version.

2 The use of “individual study” periods to provide opportunity for the child to be taught how to be self-helpful.

3 The type of questions proposed by teachers should! stimulate reflection. Purely informational questions should not typify regular periods of work. Present questions demanding comparisons and judgment and allow the pupil opportunity to solve the situation.

4 The spirit of inquiry is encouraged in the progressive school. This does away with the tendency of set mind which refuses but one interpretation of incidents and which narrows one with succeeding years whatever the experiences encountered.

In history we accept Dr. Dewey’s statement for the keynote to method: “The chief purpose in studying history is not to amass information but to use information in constructing a vivid picture of how and why men did thus and so, achieved their successes and came to their failures.”

The tableau interpretation of various historical epochs presented by pupils illustrates the research of pupils and teachers interested in working out an interpretation of the life of the past. The dramatization, e.g., of parts of “King Arthur” by a fourth or fifth grade class will develop the spirit of inquiry through a socialized discussion of former times.

Reference work of great value grows out of this attempt to truthfully portray (by means of simple improvised costumes and typical situations with possible conversations) interpretation of a period or country. Such instances are typical by-products of a change in method.

Geography teaching is also drawing away from the mere drill for “knowledge by heart,” and becomes a means for promoting a real mental activity where the child’s constructive imagination is cultivated. The representation of Indian life upon the sand-table, the making of a miniature Eskimo hut, the drawing of the schoolyard upon the blackboard when discussing direction, or the application in paper cutting problems of the historical story of the New England settlers, or in later years turning to Joaquin Miller’s “Columbus,” or again to “The Charge of the Light Brigade” — all these give opportunity to more fully imagine and feel the unseen and to interpret rather than recount in order much of the detail growing out of any course of study.

And by the use of the problem method we wish the pupils to have the chance to cull and select the big facts and as the need arises to propose problems growing out of problems suggested. By such means, ability to place emphasis upon important fact comes as a natural growth. This learning how to study and select the kernel is necessary not only for future experience but also for the child’s intelligent use of many books during his school life.

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Everything Takes Longer

Everything takes longer-
This is what we were told frequently while preparing to come here. We heard it so often, from so many people, and I have heard it as well from Filipino friends who live in the states, that I believed it was true, I just wasn’t sure why or exactly what they meant. Sometimes they’d try to explain, but sort of run down in the middle, dissatisfied themselves with what they were trying to describe.

It is hard, because it’s a vast combination of things. Efficiency is less valued, I think, than relationships and employment. Convenience is less important than saving money (most of the time. Or perhaps I am misreading what I see, which is quite likely since we still have only been here 3 weeks as I write) I was absolutely delighted by the discovery that the large jar of mayo I bought comes with a *handle* so I can open it by myself quite easily). For so many reasons- people live in smaller spaces, must walk or make use of public conveyances rather than personal cars, spoilage is more likely because of the climate and the lack of 24 and 7 aircon, packages are often in smaller sizes so must be replaced more often, and then you might prefer to buy the plastic bags of ketchup or dish soap and refill your original container to save even more money (and space, and weight when carrying your groceries home).

The vegetables require more washing, the meat more prepping, the floors more washing (because you are so close to the roads which may or may not be well paved), so more dust comes up and in the windows which are not remotely airtight, the clothes are air dried in a climate not conducive to drying up of anything, the washing machines are smaller than I have been using (most of our kids were still at home the last time I bought a washer, so it was extra large capacity)- just, in general, doing certain things takes a bit longer than I am used to. I also think I take longer to get things done because I am sluggish in the heat and possibly still jet lagged, or maybe just not yet sleeping well because it’s still not ‘my’ bed. Washing dishes in a single sink with only cold running water takes far longer than washing dishes in a double sink with hot running water on tap, and of course, the dishes dry faster with hot rinse water and a drier climate as well.

Whatever the reasons, things do seem to take a little longer to do. One can be frustrated by this, or one can decide that’s not a bad thing. One can do a lot of thinking, contemplating, and meditating while giving attention to washing all the dirt out of the bok choy stems and sweeping the floors and hanging out the laundry.

Sometimes you can take it as a kind of challenge. “Today, whenever I am working with my hands rather than my mind, I shall apply my mind to taking every thought captive and focus on gratitude, what does it mean, what am I thankful for, to whom am I thankful, how can I express it, what does God have to say about it? Or pick an attribute of God for the day, or a memory verse to work on (perhaps in another language). These are suggestions, not orders. Choose your own way of choosing how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time.

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