Saturday, March 5, 2011

What food does Arthur like

We were passing a cafeteria and Arthur sniffed and said, "I smelled some yummy food."  I asked him, "What do you smell?"  Arthur said happily, "French Fries."  As I was rushing Minglun and Arthur to get out of the gym and go to the car, I just said to Arthur, "Oh, those are junk food."

While on the way driving home, I started talking about lunch with the kids.  I asked them, "How about we eat meat loaf today?"  Both of them love meat loaf.  Minglun answered, "Yeah!"  But Arthur got into some unhappy mood and said, "I don't like meat loaf."  We still have friend chicken, so I asked him, "How about I give you chicken."  Arthur said, "I don't like chicken either."  Then I remembered that we also have meat balls.  So I said, "How about meat balls?"  Again Arthur said, "No, I don't like meat balls."

So I asked him, "Arthur, then what food do you like?"  Arthur said, "Junk Food!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Take off the myth about private schools

I am a Chinese immigrant living in Texas. My first born is going to Kindergarten next year. All of sudden, my husband and I started looking for information about schools everywhere. We also think about whether we should send our kids to private schools because we keep on hearing people talking that private schools are better than public schools. Even though private schools are way beyond what we can afford, we still spend time to collect information on private schools. What's so great about private schools? Is it worthy to send kids to private schools? Like any other parents, we are just trying and thinking hard about how to give our kids the best education they can get or put them into the best environment we can provide so that they can learn and grow into well educated people.

By looking into information about private schools, I found this interesting book by Richard Rothstein and co-authors: "Can Public Schools Learn From Private Schools?". The authors did extensive case studies to try to find out what are the factors that contribute to private elementary schools students providing better outcomes than those in public schools. If it is due to certain practices from private schools, then public schools can learn from private schools and improve. However, the result of the research turned out to be not as those commonly held generalizations.

"Private elementary school personnel are not necessarily more accountable to parents than are public elementary school personnel."

The key factor that lead to private schools' better outcomes is
because they enroll students from more advantaged backgrounds and disadvantaged students' outcomes also improve by association with more advantaged classmates.

These are very valuable researches and give me insight into private schools and comfort that public schools can provide as good education as private schools. As conclusion of this book, the answer to the question "what can public schools learn from private schools?" is "not much". But to the question "what can schools, public and private, learn from other schools, public and private?", the answer is "quite a bit".

There are very good public schools and very good private schools. Not all private schools are good or better than public schools in the same neighborhood. I know there are advantages in private schools, such as we can freely pick any private school, but public schools are decided by which school district we belong to.

For affluent families, this would not be a too hard decision. But for a working family like us with two kids, sending our kids to private schools is not an option. And now I am so glad that we did research on this and I am not feeling sorry for my kids for not being able to go to private schools, because public schools can be good as well.

Arthur shares a lot

We went to the zoo during Labor day weekend. Arthur got a sheet of animal stickers from the souvenir store. The next day, Minglun wanted to help Arthur with the stickers. In the past, the stickers they got normally ended up on their chairs or desks.  So I asked Minglun to "supervise" Arthur to put those stickers to the good spots.

After a while, Minglun wanted to get a few stickers, but Arthur refused him.  "They are all MINE."  He said.  Minglun was not too happy.  So I went to talk with Arthur, telling him that he needs to share, just as Minglun is helping him to make his room look nice with all those animal stickers.  Arthur kept quiet and didn't say anything.  Minglun was sad and almost cried.  So I took him away with me to the living room and let him play something else there.

The house was quiet.  Then Arthur came to the living room with a big smile on his face, "Mama and Minglun, come look.  I made Minglun's room look pretty."  We went there, and saw Minglun's room's door, closet doors are full of stickers.  Arthur put All, yes, All of his stickers to Minglun's room.  I was so touched and I held both of them in my arms and said, "You know what, you two made Mama so happy."

All I remember about Education in China

Chinese sayings:

Live and Learn.  活到老,学到老。

Knowledge is power.  知识就是力量。
Knowledge is wealth.  知识就是财富。

Reading is the key to knowledge.  读书是打开知识宝库的钥匙。

After you master math, physics and chemistry, you can go all around the world without a problem.  学好数理化,走遍全天下。

Confucius: Three people walking together, there must be at least one that I can learn from.

It takes 10 years to grow a tree, and it takes 100 years to educate a person.

In books, there are beauty and house of gold.

Travel 10,000 miles and read 10,000 books.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Arthur's Naive Question

One day I was driving with Arthur, another car all of sudden jumped in front of me. I quickly pressed brake and said "Shoot".

Arthur must be opening his eyes big at the back. He exclaimed, "Mama, you just said 'Shoot'". I said to him, "Sorry, Arthur. Mama was not supposed to say that." Arthur was still amazed, "Mama, your car has shooting power??"

(No. Arthur.  Mama's car doesn't have shooting power.  It is not a transformer either.)
(For some reason, the two kids keep on thinking Papa's truck is a hot wheel and it runs faster than my van.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Minglun's Happy Times and Sad Times

Minglun's answer to a school assignment -

Happy times: 1. When I go asleep.
2. When my dad snores like a baby.
3. When my little brother does NOT play with me.
4. When I go to store with my mom.

Sad times: 1. When my brother Arthur screams at me.
2. When I cannot go to grandma's house.
3. When I get timeout in school.
4. When I cannot watch Star Wars.

A Serious Talk with Arthur

Arthur is almost three and half now, but he can still get into toddler mood sometimes and make some big noise in the house, such as the roars, "DON'T TOUCH MY BIKE." "This is MY toy!"

Last Saturday morning, after he screamed at Minglun, I found myself start talking to him like this, "Arthur, you have to try to control your temper." At the back of my mind, I was thinking, "Does he know the word control or what it means?" Arthur looked at me quite unhappily and said, "I cannot, because I am too little."

Since he answered, I felt that I need to keep the conversation, "You need to change." Arthur looked even unhappier, and said, "I don't want to."

Minglun had been listening carefully since our conversation started, and now he threw himself to the couch and hit his head against it repeatedly in frustration, "Arthur is never going to change. Arthur is never going to change."