Friday, August 28, 2009

It Didn't Rain.

Friday, that is. Oh, well... yeah, a few drops in the afternoon. But otherwise, it didn't rain. That was different.

The meeting at the school went well. Two teachers, a vice-principal sort, and me in my paint-stained slacks and sandals. The schoolfolk have done the right thing, though. They've taken the attitude that their charter calls for them to supply an appropriate educational experience, and that the assessment of Elder Son now calls for certain measures -- so if they don't come up with 'em, they're not doing the job right.

I wouldn't have put it so bluntly... but when it was put that way, I certainly took the opportunity to agree.

Anyway, an Individual Education Plan has been created, and examined, and discussed, and it's not bad. They've invoked Bloom's Taxonomy -- specifically the cognitive domain -- and the idea is that for each new unit, a range of activities is plotted which allow a broad exploration of the unit in line with Bloom's ideas. Elder Son gets to choose a spread of activities, with a little guidance, and then has to put them into action.

Right now, they're looking at a book: it's a bio of the bloke who started Qantas. Elder Son has chosen to design a new Qantas logo, and is also querying his classmates for their favorite flight destinations; answers to be tabulated, and then graphed for display using Excel. Of course, he's got to read the book, and there are several other activities on the list to be followed up, but you get the picture: there are choices, and they're not brain-dead, repetitive things, and he gets input as to how he goes about his learning.

We're cutting back on home time, which will be good for me. And I shall be supplying Spanish word-lists to be incorporated with the routine school-time lists of vocabulary and spelling, so some of the Spanish-study load will be distributed better too. Likewise, the school is supplying a laptop computer, and hooking him into their net, and giving him email access, and permitting to do his work by typing, and he'll be learning cursive script immediately -- so there's a lot of movement from everyone.

The meeting lasted more than an hour. I was pretty happy with the outcomes, and when I explained it to Elder Son, he seemed pretty pleased as well. We'll change our timetable over after the school holidays, which start at the end of next week.

I also managed to pick up a couple new hazelnut saplings from the nursery. We've got hazelnuts already, but I'm not impressed with the location, so I'm going to start a new grove. Maybe more. (And I note that hazelnuts can support truffles. Yes. I'm thinking very hard about that one: Tasmania has a growing truffle industry. No, I don't want to be a farmer. But... I like truffles. And who can argue with $1000 a kilogramme for something you dig up off the roots of your trees?)

I also scored a couple of little Camellia sinensis -- tea plants, for the uninitiated. It seems that they're frost tolerant to -6C or thereabouts (which is three degrees colder than I've EVER seen it here), they like well-drained, slightly acid soils with plenty of organic matter... in short, they should take off like scalded cats once I get 'em in the ground. They were cheap, too: just $3.00 each because they were small. I think I'll go back and get another ten or so. I can grow my own tea! Yaaay!

Tea is good. You just pick the leaves, and if you want green tea (which I like) you simply leave 'em in the sun for a while to wilt, then dry 'em in a hot oven for a half-hour or so. That's it.

Coffee, on the other hand... all that goddam roasting and shucking and grinding... luckily, frost kills every known variety of coffee plant, so despite Natalie's grumping, there's nothing I can do about it. Short of building a goddam hothouse. Which, I suppose, is only a matter of time.


  1. It's amazing isn't it The shit that gets spouted about state schools, and yet so often they deliver the fucking goodsand then some.

  2. If only I had the opportunity that Elder son has. Maybe I wouldn't be wasting my time pulling my pud with an Investigations Company. Truly, I am envious.

  3. It's a depressing thing, really, to regard it as an opportunity. Be nice to be able to think of it as 'education'.

    Unfortunately, it comes about as a result of 1) the kid's own smarts and his ongoing dislike of the basic school structure; 2) full-on parental involvement, arising from both parents having a similar school history in childhood and both parents being bloody-minded stubborn in their determination to keep that away from their kid; 3) helpful, thoughtful teachers at the local school; 4) a really good assessing officer with the Dept of Education - also experienced and determined...

    It seems a shame that so many things have to come together to make it possible for a kid to have the chance to do what should be natural: learn, and enjoy learning. How did we fuck up so badly as a society?

  4. "frost kills every known variety of coffee plant"