Sunday, September 07, 2014

A Not-So-Many Week

Some weeks come with lots of events and photos. Others, not so many. This was a not-so-many week. Still, we did do some things. In addition to running errands, working, and school:

We had a barbecue with our next door neighbors on Labor Day. Bruce helped Mike pull down some unsightly cables from the pergola, and now we’re considering ways to bring more afternoon shade in to cool down the back yard. The unusually warm weather is expected to extend into the coming week. 

Mike attended California Lutheran University’s opening convocation. As a church-sponsored school, CLU shares many elements in common with BYU in spite of the difference in their size, including most obviously the plain use of language that connects the university experience to its ecclesiastical roots.
The crucifer bearing the stained glass processional cross

Grandma and Grandpa O. came over to visit on Thursday. Alie and the kids had fun tearing into the toys in the playroom. Afterwards, Mike went with the missionaries to teach. One of the best parts of his flexible schedule has been how it offers him unexpected pockets of time to provide service and volunteer during the middle of the day or week.

Mike delivered some stacks of photocopies we collated for Landon’s class. Their math and language arts curriculum come from New York’s Common Core-based curriculum. The whole set of documents, including lesson plans, are available online. What a state of affairs: a California school district imports its curriculum from another state. Granted, years ago when Mike and Hallie were in school, teachers got their materials from private textbook publishers instead. All of the freely available online material makes supplementing at home what he gets at school much easier and takes a lot of the mystery out of new classroom teaching techniques. When seen all together as one body of work, there’s an elegant logic to it all. Now whether it all gets used in the classroom what with all the other things that need teaching is another question. Still, Mike would have appreciated having something like this back when he was teaching elementary school.   

On Saturday, Mike took the kids to the Home Depot for their Kids Workshop. They built Wizard of Oz-themed birdhouses. As an added part of the experience, the store provided paint for the kids to embellish their houses. Needless to say, the kids made a glorious mess and produced two very original works of manual art.

This afternoon, Maria was baptized, and we all attended the service while Mike conducted. We feel inspired to see that the members support missionary work here in the ward, and we hope for more good things to come.

Later on, Mike attended a potluck for students in his doctoral program at his department chair’s home. Students he taught over the summer came up to him to thank him for making them work so hard in his course. Yay! 

In the ultimate show of willpower, Hallie baked cookies with Eliza this morning while participating in her Fast Sunday fast. After church, we were invited over for dinner with a family in our ward. Very nice way to end the day!

Next week begins everyone’s first full week of classes, meetings, and all that.  


Kim said...

If you can say publicly, how do you like Common Core? I've not heard any positive about it here in Orange County!

Michael Owens said...

Kim, it's a mixed bag. There are the advantages of a consistent nation-wide curriculum for families such as our own that have moved from one state to another, but the designers of the curriculum have not done a very good job helping parents to understand the logic behind it. The accountability piece is also an issue. I feel the goods outweigh the bads on the overall.