Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grade point systems- WHY so many?

Ok- SO my best friends son is now in 9th grade in Massachusetts. He is in Geometry- honors- Not that uncommon. What threw me is when she explained the grade point system for honors. Here in Arkansas we have PAP- which is comparable to honors and we have AP- or advanced placement- these are in addition to the traditional " regular classes" and basic classes. AP classes give the option of college credit if you pass the CLEP test offered in the spring.
Honors classes in Massachusetts do not get you college credit. BUT they get you an increased grade point system. SO an A is equal to 4.5 and A+ is equal to 4.8.
It seems like an uneven playing field. Here PAP which seems the comparable since Cassie took PAP geometry and it is not a college level credit class. It is worth the traditional 4 points. I find myself a little upset that my student who made 28 points from perfect on her national Geometry test will have a lower grade point thru no fault of her own. Logically I realize in the end the ACT and SAT scores will help to make up for this- but I know how much hard work went into her A's.
I am not sure what to make of this just yet. Since many of her older friends have full scholarships to top colleges- I feel certain it balances out somewhere. But does it affect specialized scholarships( like single parent, or maybe science award scholarships?)
This is omething I will definitly folwo up on!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Lifetime of Diets

I think we as females in the American culture are obsessed. I am one of them. We want to have the cute figure we had at 21. I may not weigh what is considered "a lot" but my body shape has changed. It seems unfair that I look at celebrities and I work out - but have not seen much change. I know my age is playing role, and my eating habits as well.
So I diet. The dieting is a lifetime process. A love/ hate relationship if you will.
I did lose weight on the low carb plan- even got down to my college jeans size. It lasted several years, now I feel the weight returning as my jeans won't zip- and my face is the only thing that better be photographed. I sit down in pictures and ask for neck up only in family photos.
I have tried several diets; and find them difficult to stick to. I work out several times a week, but I could work out more effectively.
I have passed this self loathing of my weight on to my daughters. My youngest recently went vegetarian. She constantly worries about her size- she weighs 92 pounds and is five foot two. She is 15. My oldest finally has curves; and after years of athletics is not fond of these curves; she prefers herself before she got "a butt". Of course i think they look amazing; and would like to have the muscle tone that they carry with them from sports activities and youth.
I am working on improving my appreciation of my curves; as well as increasing my workout routine. NO longer will I complain out loud( except to my best friend or to my sister) about my aging figure.
I will continue to work on my eating habits- which are fairly healthy compared to most of my friends. Sicce Cassie has gone vegetarian I will be reducing my meat intake- maybe I will eliminate red meat. I will continue to watch my carbs- sticking to those that are balanced.
I am seeing the negative eefects of my own desire to remain youthful in appearance and i do not like it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High School Open House- Opportunity for Learning

Last night I attended the open house for my daughter's high school. I have found that this is a great opportunity to learn about opportunities for scholarships.

A friend said(last night)" Wow.. This school has perfected the art of college scholarships." this school being Central High, ranked one of the top in the country by US News and World report among others. This school became known in the 50's due to refusing to integrate. It has come a long way. It is located in a decaying part of town, but parents (like me) apply for this public school and the kids fear not getting in. Why? 76% of the graduates had scholarships of some type last year. At 5pm parents could attend a program on scholarship searches, and preparing students for various testing. At 6pm information about upcoming college visits was presented, there were several other gatherings for parents to get some guidance in this endeavor. At 7pm we went from class to class- following in our kids footsteps.

Teachers encourage participation in clubs, and openly discuss with parents and students the importance of being a top student and getting coveted letters of recommendation. These clubs allow for volunteer hours, and increase the appeal of a resume. I can imagine that colleges pour over student papers day after day- and they begin to look alike. Make your child the stand out. This has to be something that you put into them and THEY want. Lots of students have top grades and are members of National Honor Society and a list of others. Joining a club that offers opportunity to learn a new skill may impress those college admission counselors (and get scholarships). For example Central offers drama students the opportunity to learn "clowning", and they perform at hospitals and local events and fund raisers. Encourage your students to think outside the traditional box. Take an activity they enjoy and help them to make it "their own". Encourage them to be creative- This is how your student will not look like every other mostly A's high schooler with pretty good ACT/ SAT scores.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The car accident

My car accident occurred Sunday afternoon. I felt that I needed new jeans. I heard about a sale at Old Navy- My old clothes are getting to tight around the middle- I am developing the "mom shape" - ugh...
I am first in line at the red light. Talking on the phone with my oldest daughter. I get rear ended- never even saw it coming. I gasp loudly(instinct). Lauren is on the phone yelling what happened( I dropped the phone). I yelled on impact I think. It felt like I got hit really hard, but obviously that was not the case, my air bag did not deploy. I get out of my car at a major intersection( and within view of Old Navy); yep my rear has definitely been hit. The female is crying. Now I have a headache- not sure if it is because of the accident or my irritation level. I tell her that we need to pull into the shopping center. I call the police. She looks at it and says - maybe it can be painted; I explain that it looks pretty dented in.- I remember I should call my daughter and my boyfriend. 7 missed calls in 5 minutes. My daughter had already called the other daughter. My headache grows. I may have high blood pressure by now. The female keeps crying, then calls her work, tells me her life story- normally I listen to these-I am SO not in the mood to hear it. I say uh huh- uh huh.
She gets a ticket, I get her insurance info, she does tell the officer she was not focused, and thought I was already making a right turn. I did not even see her until the Kaboom- but definitely I was not making a right turn with traffic streaming continuously.
So yesterday I am sore on my left side, not bad but I felt it. Today- much better. THE Girl calls me- twice. She wants me to get estimate and do this without insurance involvement. I will get the estimate- but she better report it- cause we have.
Tonight is school open house- my rear light is not working so I will ride with someone else. Hopefully police report will be ready tomorrow. This car will be Cassie's next year- so I would like to take care of it.

My ifnal word- File insurance- protect yourself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PSAT- Pay for prep or not?

Talking with other parents of teens, reviewing the information from school- I feel overwhelmed- and wonder if we are heading in the right direction for my daughter's college life?
Now in the tenth grade some of her friends are enrolled in prep programs for ACT, SAT, and PSAT that are costly and time consuming. Are they worth it? One of the news channels had a show on this topic; I decided that No they are not worth it for us.
A free one day program- maybe- or even minimal cost.
The PSAT is offered in a month, some suggest she take it this year, others next year; I wonder both?

I have made sure she learned good study habits from kindergarten; I checked homework, made sure she understood assignments throughout her grade school years, and into middle school. Last year I realized the parenting had paid off. She has activities she enjoys, she volunteers at the church, and has good grades. The most telling sign is her own desire to be the best in her class. Cassie wants to do well for herself.

When listening to kids who have done well on the ACT(yea Hannah- with a 35) and SAT. They have not taken the classes, but instead took practices tests at home, and focused on understanding their schoolwork. Hannah's(friend) scholarships allow her to be a full time student and have spending money. These students have taken college credit classes in their high school years, and felt that was enough preparation. Cassie is taking her first college credit class this; and will take the CLEP test this spring.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teachers- They are human

I continue to have full days- with plenty to write about- I guess with a teenager- there is constant chaos.

Cassie is one of those driven students. good grades, mind set on college-She is clearing a path. I am a perfectionist- my sister and parents were, so Of course I passed this on.
Last week she was sick and missed a school day, she was feeling anxiety over the homework load she would be obtaining upon her return.

Her teacher did not accept her homework assignment, why? I do not know. I know that she could not eat she was so upset. Her grade dropped from A to D in one swift move. Cassie was afraid to question her teacher, not sure why; she always questions me without hesitation...

So I called and left a message, no reply, I emailed, no reply. I called again this afternoon- Voicemail.

I would like to resolve this issue soon. I decided I will call the principal tomorrow morning. This is an advance placement class, and Cassie had her assignment ready to turn in, I wonder if the teacher failed to take roll last Thursday, and thought she turned it in late? I would know if she called me back.
Maybe this teacher fears parents. Not sure, is she absent today?
I feel that three days should be plenty of time; am I wrong here?
I have many to be continued's going on. Add this to the list, oh yeah- I did get full dressed today before taking her to school.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Interstate-

I have so much today that I could write about.

So I will start with my morning adventure.

Cassie and I leave on time to get her across town to the high school.

I do not have any appointments til eleven today. So- I do not get ready, I look forward to a nice leisure shower on my return.

We hit a snag. A wreck- this blocks the entire I-630, of course. I am maybe ten cars back, the police and fire men are behind me. I am past the nearest exit ramp, and half a mile from the next one. I and many many others. Great. Cassie decides to study while we wait. Then it hits her- "MOTHER- LOOK AT YOURSELF". Then I realize- I have not even combed my hair. It is 8:30, still we sit, they have cleared the far lane, so slowly we get over and move- tardy bell is at 8:45. Cassie and I are both quite fearful of the idea that I will have to check her in to school.
I did at least put on a bra. I am wearing and old shirt- greens and yellows, pajama capris- they are huge( oh but they are comfy); and I am wearing flips flops, in red.
Cassie is needless to say giving me a lecture on getting ready in the morning. I guess I can't really blame her, I look bad. I know I am not the only mom in PJ's stuck there; as we look back at miles of traffic.
I call the school, and explain the situation, I think I was not the first call.
I finally get through the traffic, and she arrives a few minutes before nine, I have been given a reprieve by the office.

Whew- I will not do that again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shot thru the pocketbook-

Cassie and I went dress shopping today. This was not something we looked forward to. It was our second search. Cassie is 90 pounds of muscle( translation= no cleavage), and stands five feet two.

Our previous search began with a second hand shop. They had full size prices for second rate merchandise. We searched a mall on that adventure as well. Finding a small size is not easy. I do not mind having a dress altered in length, but I would like it to fit pretty well everywhere else. She feels the same way ( we agree on something- whoo hoo).

We walked into our first store; many moms and daughters were on the prowl. The color and size choices left us less than impressed. Cassie does not like stiff material, and she did not want beads. She wants blue or green, maybe navy. Well- we found a few size zeroes. They were hideous. I would post pictures but there is a sign asking that no pictures be taken. One was like a blue ostrich- feathers on the bottom, and in the cap sleeve. We laughed out loud.
We did see one that was nice- not exactly the right color- we could not find a small size- not even a two. Of course.

Store number two. Nothing under five hundred dollars. More than double my budget. She is fifteen, we bought two formals last year. I have to have a price limit. Last fall we actually bought her fall formal on Friday and the event was Saturday. I obtained it on clearance. It was elastic at the top, and had no waist; I love that dress. It was so perfect- in her words" everyone noticed how I looked; I can't wear it again-it was the first time I felt like a real girl". How can a mom argue with that?
In other words- mom top last year....

So we have no dress. I think I will post something on facebook and offer to trade with someone. Start my own online shop.
It is not just that I do not want to spend my life savings, it is that the choices are so limited. I hear women complain on tv about how large sizes are so limited; well; on the other end of the spectrum we are having the same problem.

We ended our shopping- in our favorite way- a stop at Barnes and Noble.
I have no solution for our dilemma. We could shop for this item online- but fit becomes a concern.

I will post the picture of our magical dress- when we find it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Green Acres

Allergy season has hit our humble household. My youngest can't breathe- and therefore is cranky. I do not blame her. It can be so frustrating to sniffle; then the sore nose becomes red.
I have begun to check into home remedies. Why? I became immune to most all prescriptions as did daughter number 1.
Those who have only minor occasional bouts of "hay fever" may laugh at home remedies, but they are usually less expensive, and what does it hurt to try?

My oldest(Lauren) has had more sinus infections and bronchial infections than i can count. Mowing the grass has led to several infections. Inhalers- work sometimes, but pills- have no effect on her.
So I started researching folk remedies.
Moist heat is quite effective for temporary relief, add a little Mentholatum- and her relief lasts for an hour- This can be a great lift to the spirit.

Lemon juice and peppermint first thing in the morning helps decrease mucous production. Peppermint- not the candy- but the real stuff- will also help improve concentration.

I have read that honey is good; and have read that is not true- not sure on this one- jury is still out. Our household has seen no results after two seasons of use.(Had to try).

Keep in mind that the only cure- is to avoid the responsible ingredient. Let's see- Lauren is allergic to several kinds of grass, oak, pine, cedar, onion, several types of flowers, mold and even a few types of nuts.

She would need a bubble until the first cold snap. This could be October or November.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fame- the movie- Original Movie

So my 15 year old and I are driving down the Interstate when a commercial comes on for a NEW movie- Fame- without hearing the music I start singing-
My daughter asks "How do you know this song"- Cassie tells me she never heard it on any commercial.
So I explain the original Fame, the weekly show, all that.
She reminds me that I am old- gee thanks- I did predict that if the remake movie is a success leg warmers will be back in a big way. She rolled her eyes.

I write about this because I now see the impact music and lyrics had on my teenage years. I can't find my car keys at least once a week, but I remember every word to Footloose theme song, and Little red corvette. The lyrics that our kids hear does have an impact on their minds and souls. My oldest loves country music, especially blue grass- not common for young adults. My youngest really likes rock- so I have turned to alternative christian music channels, she is happy- because she likes the sound- and I like the meaning. I do believe that what goes in will come out- this is especially true of teenage minds.

Confirmation Code: GNMNFBD3373102-

Next topic- ACT prep classes- are they necessary?

Friday, September 4, 2009

School volunteer work-

I always viewed school volunteer work as helping the school system, never really considered how it could help my kids or me.

I have been volunteering this year partly due to more free time and partly after talking with other more experienced parents.

I first volunteered a week before school started and was able to work with parents of seniors. Moms had all types of advice on preparing for college, thru clubs, and which classes they felt most helped their kids advance for scholarships. One mom- now on her fourth teenager, explained the best clubs and hobbies(all her children received full scholarhsips to various colleges) Her youngest is a senior and has received a scholarship in the area of engineering. I learned so much from her.
Cassie is now a member of Beta(which I knew nothing about two months ago) she joined Spanish honor society; and will be volunteering at Red cross events. Of course she is in a few others- like drama club. Getting into clubs that offer volunteer opportunities is a must for a good looking college application; particularly in this tightened economy- there may be less scholarships offered than in previous years.

The moral of the story learn from others- and then pass it on- we need all the help we can get.