• BIL is hosting Christmas.  Turns out that BIL’s MIL isn’t vaccinated.  Said MIL is being super obnoxious about it and is complaining that BIL’s mom is forcing them to get vaccinated, but BIL’s wife (his MIL’s daughter) is like, no, I’m forcing you to get vaccinated if you want to do Christmas with us.  I had not even thought about this being a potential danger.  So we said that BIL’s wife could add our voices to the we will not be doing Christmas at BIL’s if someone there is not vaccinated.  We haven’t stayed away from our families this long just to get Covid from some relative’s relative.
  • It’s also ridiculous because said woman works at Walmart and is going to have to get vaccinated to keep her job at some point ANYWAY.
  • We’re not entirely sure that SIL’s husband is vaccinated either, but he literally just got over covid (along with 2/4 of the kids) so we assume he’ll still have antibodies.  I would hope that he got vaccinated because their two youngest were preemies.  SIL certainly got vaccinated as soon as she could.
  • The really obnoxious people who live across the street from us (backwards, so our back yards are across the street) have installed a permanent Tump flag.  Apparently they also never took their Trump sign down in their front yard.  They also play super loud music and are constantly burning things.
  • I often wonder if we should install a flagpole and put in the American flag and a rainbow flag.
  • DH’s relative’s kid is 3 courses away from finishing her associates degree.  Unfortunately she put off 3 hard gen ed classes to this semester and just… stopped going mid-semester.  (We didn’t pay for this semester because there was some kind of pandemic program that paid for books and classes.)  She has since separated from her newly married husband, given away her dog, left her two cats with DH’s relative, and moved across the country to live with her older (half-) sisters, their children, and their biological mom and said bio-mom’s other children.  So… we’re back to 0 for 5 on paying for higher education.  The smart second daughter now has 5 kids and manages a drugstore across the country, but no secondary education.  The legally blind son did get his disability application approved.
  • DC2 finished Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry last week.  I think both zie and DH learned a lot from it.  It’s hard to express… like, the villain is white supremacy but also (SPOILERS) this Black boy named TJ who is both a villain and a victim.  And DH was like, you spend a lot of the book hoping he’ll get punished and then he gets punished and you’re like, but not in that way.  I didn’t mean that.  Not like that.  DC2 really identified with the protagonist.  And had hir eyes opened to the unfairness of it all.  It’s not something DC2 or DH would have read on their own.  It’s a slice of life and ends unsettled.  The author (Mildred Taylor) is extremely good.  (After reading it in 5th grade, I did check the rest of the books in the series out of the library.  DC2 isn’t sure if zie wants to do that or not.  We do randomly own one of the books in the series already.)
  • Now they’re doing the Phantom Tollbooth which I think is going well?  It’s much easier than Roll of Thunder and they’re zipping through 2-3 chapters a day.  Next up is A Christmas Carol and after that I’m out of ideas.  We have The Westing Game but DC2 is NOT interested.  We’ll probably just do short stories and maybe some more poetry until winter break. (We also did From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Tuck Everlasting, In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, and Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of Nimh along with poetry and junior great books short stories.)
  • I understand more now why so much of our grades 3-12 reading was reading these great books from different genres.  DC2 has grown so much this semester, even just in terms of critically reading and being able to summarize chapters and pull out the important bits.  There really is a lot to be gotten out of reading and critically thinking about and discussing works of literature.  And it is terrible that they really don’t do that in this school district.  Or only do it in high school with terrible books like a separate peace.
  • I feel a little guilty that we’ve stuck with things that I read in school (though they’re still being taught in California according to the web searching I did at the start of this project).  But DC2 has read most of the newer Newberry medal books on hir own last year because we were checking them out of the library from newest to oldest.  So we could go more into depth in them with questions, but maybe not gotten as much out of them as we have been with the older works I’m more familiar with but DC2 hadn’t read.  It’s also harder to find complete lesson plans for the newer stuff online– the older books usually have several choices from schools across the country.  (Plus I think they will eventually read Holes and Number the Stars later in school if we stay here.)
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 28 Comments »

28 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. K Says:

    I was introduced to Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry rather young….6? Maybe 7?
    That book will forever live in me
    Anon in mass

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That is young! I think pre-teen is good because it makes it easier to identify with Cassie, but also I was introduced to it in 5th grade so that’s what seems right.

      It is such a great book on so many levels.

  2. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    I would say 70% of our visit-for-the-holidays extended family is still not vaccinated. On top of not getting vaccinated, my mother is choosing not to have health insurance because “she’s healthy and never goes to the doctor anyway.”

  3. KGC Says:

    I’m a newish follower and know you have written before about paying for higher ed for family members. Do you have a post you could link to where you explain more about that? (if you have explained more somewhere!) I have brought this up as a possibility to my spouse regarding two family members that I think could benefit from someone caring about their education but honestly – I don’t know where to start from a logistics standpoint or how to even potentially broach it with others. I’d love to read more about how this has worked for others. Thanks!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well, nothing has actually worked. :(

      The oldest dropped out of community college after getting pregnant after a year. The second (who turns out to be really bright and should have gone to the magnet school that DH and I went to, but we didn’t know) got pregnant in high school and never got additional education. The third got romantically entangled with a much older adult and barely graduated high school and has kind of disappeared (after getting accepted to a regional state school). The fourth is legally blind and doesn’t want to leave home to go to college even though he could. He’s now on disability. The fifth just dropped out three classes shy of an associates degree.

      So basically all we’ve done is decreased the debt amounts of said kids. And it turns out we didn’t even really do that because the first kid took out a bunch of loans because she could.

      I am certain that paying for school and making it known that you are willing to pay for school helps some kids. But we haven’t been successful about it.

      My parents and aunts on my mom’s side have been more successful with a set of my cousins (these folks: https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/my-catholic-relatives-arent-really-catholic-a-rant/ ) and they’ve gotten university degrees and some of them have separated from their horrible parents.

      How to broach it will vary too. DH’s relative is only 2 years older than DH and probably would have had the kind of life DH had if he hadn’t instead gotten married at 16. So it’s really easy for them to talk and for DH to offer to help. Plus DH’s relative is always helping people who are worse off even though he can’t really afford to, so that helping and be helped culture is useful there. I assume we’ll offer to help DH’s sister’s kids when they get older if we’re still super wealthy at that time. I’d like to stealth contribute to 529 plans, but SIL only wants to open one for the oldest (a boy) and not any of the younger kids and that seems really unfair even though all money is fungible.

      • KGC Says:

        That’s helpful info; thanks. I would have never even thought of the idea of funding education if not for this blog so even if it hasn’t really been successful for you, it might be for someone else!! Unfortunately, I think that we would need more than just educational funding for the two family members I have in mind, which are my spouse’s cousin’s children. Their mother was seriously injured many years ago in a car accident and still has some cognitive deficits that prevented her from ever getting even a GED. Their father (my spouse’s cousin) is sort of in and out of the picture. Both parents have no income (that I know of? maybe the mom gets disability?) and are separated from each other and now each have new partners. I feel like to really ‘break the cycle’ the kids would need intervention earlier than secondary education (read: to live in a different environment than that provided by their parents) and that’s not something we can take on…so maybe even if we did help with education it wouldn’t matter. I don’t know. But it is something that I think about not-infrequently.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        yeah, there’s a really good analysis by Nate Hendren and I think Raj Chetty and someone else that shows that early interventions basically pay for themselves but later interventions you can spend a lot and not get many results. But… some people still get positively affected.

        We’re two years younger than relative and were not in a position to help when the kids were little (plus we live far away). But I do regret not flying the two oldest out to our first sabbatical city for a week instead of putting $1K in 529s for them when they were in middle school. But that might not have helped much either.

  4. FF Says:

    I haven’t seen any Trump flags around here for a while. They seem to have been replaced mostly with thin blue line flags.

  5. omdg Says:

    Thank you for the book suggestions! Dyl likes Wish, Pax, Beyond the Bright Sea, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, One Crazy Summer, Wolf Hollow, One and Only Ivan. I just got her Julie of the Wolves which was one of my favorites. I also liked My Side of the Mountain.

    I cannot recommend Inside Out and Back Again enough.

    Wondering if you’re familiar with The Giver? I bought it to read myself with the intent to pass it on to Dyl, and I just…. BLEGH! I find the whole premise so off-puting! I have not been able to make it more than 1/2 through it. Does it get better?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC2 liked a lot of those books as well. I thought about my side of the mountain but opted not because DC1 did too many white boy survives or doesn’t in the wilderness in school and didn’t feel the need to add one for DC2. We have my old copy though.

      I think DC1 read The Giver in school. I haven’t. We’re more fans of Lois Lowry’s funny stuff (I like the Anastasia books and DC2 really likes the Willoughbys and Gooney Bird).

    • teresa Says:

      I haven’t read The Giver since I was in ?HS or college but I remember being completely horrified by it, including the ending. Not because it was badly written or anything but because of the content. I also know my mom taught it at some point – probably to 8th graders- and apparently there are f/u books (sequel? trilogy? not sure). I did love all the Anastasia books and Number the Stars when I was that age. I remember reading Number the Stars in particular over and over.

  6. Lisa Says:

    I’ll second The Girl Who Drank the Moon – think I’ve mentioned it in comments before but my oldest read it in 6th grade in their accelerated program and later made me read it to them for a bedtime story – it was beautiful but not challenging in a Roll of Thunder type way. My oldest was also really into El Deafo around that age. I love Summerland by Michael Chabon as recent literature for tweens (perhaps better read in the summer, though). They also liked The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Wild Bird (a couple of Scholastic book club type YA books). When I homeschooled DC2 last year I was not as diligent as you about reading – they had just started Holes in school before I pulled them, so we finished that. I tried to get them to read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for synergy with our social studies/history timeline, but that was only marginally successful. We read Longitude to go along with our study of the rise of sailing and exploration and colonization. It was a hard push for them but I think we both enjoyed it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Not only did DC2 read El Deafo in English for fun on hir own multiple times, but also in Spanish! (Zie reads a minimum of 15 min of Spanish every other day and watches a show in Spanish/does a section of a Spanish science textbook the other days.)

      It took me about a year to read A Connecticut Yankee and it has such weird theme breaks (mirroring Twains’ break in beliefs about technology).

      Longitude sounds neat! So does learning about the rise of sailing and exploration and :( colonization. I had a couple of world history teachers who were really into boats that I had completely forgotten about until you just not mentioned it. Details about Greek and Roman and British and US boats are all coming back to me in a huge flood of memories.

      Roll of Thunder pairs pretty well with Crash Course African American History. :/

      • FF Says:

        I thought Longitude was fascinating (it’s also pretty short), but I read it as an adult. It inspired me to spend a day visiting the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, where the clocks described in the book are exhibited. I was just looking at their website and there is a fair amount about these clocks and the problem of longitude there, which might be helpful if you decide to assign it to DC2.

        Also, Connecticut Yankee is by Mark Twain.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I knew that— I had dickens on the brain. (Also all of my childhood dickens and Twain books are from the same publisher so CT yankee looks like all the thick dickens books I never got through). DC2 read Tom Sawyer this year!

        And I did read ct yankee which is American though set in ancient Britain.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Maybe I should just stop working for the day… In my defense I was listening to a talk and answering an RA’s questions at the same time and not focusing on anything.

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Oh, I should say, we’re not picking books that DC2 would necessarily like or read on hir own. Zie reads/rereads probably 30-50 books per week or more for fun while homeschooling. (I go to the library 2x/week and DH goes 1x/week and we’re each allowed to check out 25 at a time. My mode is returning 10 and picking up 10. I am including graphic novels in the count. Plus ebooks from the other library.) Zie generally doesn’t read deep and meaningful books or slice of life books on hir own (unless there’s a funny trouble-maker protagonist).

  8. Debbie M Says:

    I really like your/DC 2’s review of Roll of Thunder and have added it to my (very long) list. Thanks!

  9. accm Says:

    Oh, The Westing Game!!! “Braided kicking tortoise si a brat” That book really stayed with me, for whatever reason. I think I have a copy somewhere; my kids aren’t ready for it yet. We’re currently working our way through the Foxcraft and Dragon Boy series, thanks to your recommendations.

  10. First Gen American Says:

    One of the best decisions we’ve ever made was to keep the holidays small. Not a lot of drama or travel anymore.

  11. undinenotofgeneralinterest Says:

    Local gifts again this year (books & games).

  12. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I’ve got to compose a reading list from your posts, there are so many books I read and enjoyed as a kid but forgot about because I’ve read so many more books since then. I’m worried too that JB got my love of reading but also my terrible memory (they once reassured us that it was ok for them to look at an answer key because they’d forget it all anyway and a) that’s not the point and b) that’s terrible!!!!).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You will have to let me know what you think about The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. It’s written by an Asian Immigrant, but it’s also several decades old.

      DH and DC1 don’t have great memories, but they seem to be doing fine in life. (DH thinks that B-complex helps his memory.)

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