Thursday, April 23, 2009

6th grade at CSI

This is the letter I sent to the Richland One Superintendent. I hope it helps. I talked to the counselor at the school Mark is zoned to, and she seems really cool. I know Mark would do well at Sanders Middle School, mostly because he'd get in the advanced classes. What about kids who won't be in advanced classes? Don't they deserve to be treated with respect, encouraged to explore, taught in the way they learn best? And I really really really hate Accelerated Reader. Really.

The letter:

Dear Dr. Mack,

As a parent and a strong supporter of excellent public education in South
Carolina, I am writing to support the implementation of a sixth grade at
Carolina School for Inquiry public charter school.

My son Mark has been a student at CSI since its inception when he started third
grade. Previously he had attended South Kilbourne elementary and Harmony
School, a multi-aged inquiry based private school. Although he had caring
teachers at both schools, neither of those school situations offered what
Carolina School for Inquiry has given him.

He has blossomed as a learner and as a responsible citizen in a school with a
diverse population and an atmosphere of kindness & respect. Nowhere
else would Mark be able to interact with children of such diverse ethnic,
cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds and be able to learn not only the
designated curriculum but what it means to be a responsible individual and
member of society.

As a board member and frequent visitor to the school, I have seen other children
blossom as well. Carolina School for Inquiry has shown the nay-sayers who
claimed that Inquiry can only be used to teach middle-class children that they
are wrong. Most children learn better when they are respected and expected
to respect others, and when they see themselves as scientists, historians,
readers, writers, and citizens and not as observers.

I want this learning to continue, and I know that Carolina School for Inquiry
can serve a 6th grade population as well as it has the K-5 students.
Please give us the chance to show you and all other people who care about
quality education how well Inquiry can work on the 6th grade level.


Katharine Duffy Thomas
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Carolina School for Inquiry

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Laziest Person on This Earth

I finally quit working at the church, although I'm going back to train one day --- maybe two (payroll). It was only eight hours a week (on top of the 40+ during tax season, & 30 when it's not), and the people are great to work with, the job isn't hard, the love flows as freely as the good humor and support. Still, it was just too much, on top of everything else. I kept thinking that I OUGHT to be able to do this. What's wrong with me? Everyone works harder than I do and they don't complain.

Many years ago, my mother got angry with me about something I didn't do and said I was the laziest person on this Earth. She said that kind of thing to me all the time, I think, but that is the time I remember it. It almost killed me. It didn't, of course, but every time I sit down to read or write or enjoy a sunset, I hear a voice telling me that I am the laziest person in the world and that I have work to do. If I try to do something big, the voice says: You'll give it up before you finish & you'll just let everybody down. Everyone knows I am the laziest person on Earth.

I can usually ignore it, but it always there.

So when I thought of quitting my second job, I felt lazy and useless. I thought that we needed the money, and if I gave up reading and blogging and happy hour and gardening, I could do both jobs. I thought if I wasn't so lazy, I could do it all.

Thank god it didn't take a crisis like a very sick child to snap me out of it. It was just Mark's small voice: "Mom, when can I talk to you?"

And when I say, "Snap me out of it" I know it's just for now. Because, really I am the laziest person on this Earth.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Focus Focus Focus Friday

Today, I am going to do a bunch of nothing or everything. I am going to reconnect with some people I haven't been able to see much during tax season. I am going to buy a dress for my daughter-in-law's sister's wedding. I am buying a belt and shoes for Mark and helping Joseph pick up his suit. (He doesn't know that means he gets to help me pick out my dress.)

I am tying up some lose ends at the church (they found someone to take over! Yeah!) but I won't be spending as much time as I thought I would. I'm going to lunch with my hubby. I am picking up my new glasses. I may go by Verizon to figure out why I've had "no signal" for four days.

And then I will go to happy hour on the deck at my sister's house.

What a nice day.

While I'm running around, I will be thinking about what I need to do this week, this month, this year. For me, the end of tax season is the start of the new year, but without the funny hats and fireworks.

I need to really clean my house. Seriously. I might have to enlist a counselor to help my get rid of stuff. I'd like to have a yard sale because I'm a masochist I want my stuff to have a good home I want money. I'll have to share with my siblings, because some of this stuff came from my parents' house. I donated it to a yard sale for the school, but ended up bringing home more than I brought. It is an illness, I'm sure. Maybe I should ask Lynette to help, because she's OCD and her illness would complement mine. Or maybe it would just end in lots of crying.

I have a cool plan to build a corner office in the "breakfast nook" of my kitchen. Maybe if I get the junk room den cleaned up, I can work down there and make the breakfast nook a breakfast nook. Or maybe not, because even clean the den is dark.

And I need to decide what to do about my career. I had thought it was time to move on, but maybe it's just time to really do it. We've had several people say they want us to help them with their business accounting. We are the counselor/accountants, specializing in small businesses in which somebody opened a business and a year or two later realized he needed to keep records. Don't ask.

I am really good at explaining taxes to people --- personal & business, or at least making it fairly clear what they are paying and how to keep records. Although I am not a "people person," people don't seem to get that. (I also have the same problem with dogs, but dogs are sluts.) So as long as I can build in my quiet time, I think I'm going to have to embrace the "communicator" side of myself. Wish me luck. I also need coagulants, because I tend to get too personally involved in people's problems --- feeling their pain, even if I can't help.

I am going to take the enrolled agent exam. I need to start over, but I feel OK about it. I need a label to help my legitimacy, you know? And God has been taken. A lot.

So was there any focus here? Oh well... when is happy hour?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mark spent his spring break in Washington, DC with his cousins, aunt and grandparents rather than at home with his mother who was suffering from tax-season induced dementia.

He is back and in school, while I'm ready to hang out. I can't wait until school gets out next month so we can take some tours.

One year, my mother was working on a political campaign and couldn't take off for our usual week or two at the beach. Dad decided to take one or two days at a time and take us to historical & other interesting sites around S. C. It may have been 1970 --- the year of the South Carolina Tricentennial celebrations. I remember going to Camden, where they had people dressed up as soldiers and civilians from the American Revolutionary era. I don't remember if there was a reenactment of the battle of Camden, but I think the original battle involved two armies missing each other and a lot of dysentery. I don't remember that stuff any more. I suppose I should look it up. We also went to Kings Mountain, which is a naturally beautiful place. The ghosts of brothers who killed each other in the battles & skirmishes around there aren't as loud as the mockingbirds and the jays, but it's hard to miss them.

I think I'll take Mark, Roslyn, Shayna and anyone else who will fit in my minivan and wants to go to some of these places this year. That would be an accomplishment.

Pass the sunscreen and the bug repellent.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Focus Friday

It will come as no surprise that I am focusing on getting everything done by next Wednesday. Yesterday, I sorted through a whole bunch of problems, and I think they are under control. This morning, I need to tie up the loose ends --- the part I don't like so much. I'm so over these tax returns.

I am trying to get the tying up done quickly, because I have a pile of big returns. AND of course: Easter. Who put Easter the weekend before tax day? What were they thinking?

The latest day Easter can fall is April 25. That would work for me. Then Mark would have spring break AFTER tax season, I could dye eggs & make pineapple upside down cake and do all of the cool Easter things without rushing. I do them anyway, it's just a little last minute. Like the trip to BiLo tomorrow morning to pick up stuff for the Easter Bunny. I hope the Cadbury Eggs aren't all gone.

So this week:

  1. Every freaking detail in the office, like making sure we actually e-filed everyone we were supposed e-file.

  2. Massively large tax returns that look like the final exam in an upper level tax class. Did you know you can't section 179 rental property?

  3. Easter

Mark will be back from his wonderful trip to Washington, DC tomorrow afternoon. We'll dye eggs tomorrow night. Gabe is 20 months old, so he gets his first Easter egg hunt! Woo-hoo!

OK --- back to the taxes.