Since Melody's birthday cake just decided to fall over, I'll sit down and do something else for a minute.
"Why is "Dixie" written so many places?"
Dixie loves nothing more than a Sharpie and a blank surface. I think it might have some psychological significance--that she is trying to make sure that she has a spot in our home as permanent as a Sharpie.
What is your favorite classic novel?
Reading, these days, is a very novel idea. I did just finish the last Artemis Fowl book today, but I don't think that this is what you had in mind.
As far as the classics go, hmmm . . . . I adore A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I feel like I know Francie and grow up with her. It is something I can read again and again and again. I know it isn't exactly serious literature, but it should be. I love a lot of books about that era--The Jungle and Angela's Ashes come to mind.
As a kid, I loved the Little House series and read all of them, in order, over a dozen times between fourth and seventh grades.
Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men. Huey P. Long is my favorite person in American history and this is basically the Primary Colors version of his story.
Has Dowlan heard anything about the job mentioned a few posts back?
My brother called to day to say that he didn't think his boss was wowed by him and made a few suggestions. We're working on a Plan, I dunno, H? J? W? which is for me to go back to teaching this fall when the girls start Kindergarten and have Dowlan have a bit of time at the stay-at-home-parent gig while doing some kind of on-line or distance learning degree program to get into some other field because this is not a good time to be a software guy.
Do you believe that Sylvan learning centers really make a great improvement- difference for children who struggle?
I don't know about all Sylvans, but I have been really impressed with how well children do at our center. A huge part of it has to do with the individually prescribed curriculum--if a kid understands something, we don't waste time on it. If a kid doesn't understand something, they don't do an entire page of it, turn it in, and wait a week to get it back to find out that they were doing it wrong all along.
Another main part of it is the confidence building--we get kids who are in 6th grade who read and comprehend at a 2nd or 3rd grade level. Often they missed some very basic concepts and so nothing makes sense. As a result, school has confused and frustrated them for a really long time and we give them what they need to succeed.
The guarantee they make is that, in the first 36 hours of instruction at Sylvan, they will make a year's progress in both comprehension and vocabulary. From what I've seen, that is a bare minimum. Some of our kids will make 3-4 years' progress because reading and math finally make sense to them. I've been there about seven months and I've only come across two kids that I felt really had learning difficulties and might have some areas in which they needed some special ed services. For the most part, they are kids that just needed to back up and start over on a few things.
What's the most embarrassing thing you did in college?
Well, breaking my leg reading would have been the clincher, had anyone been around to see it. The problem, dear college roommate, with this question is that you are asking it of a person with no proper sense of shame.
What is one trait you hope your girls learn from you and one they don't?
I hope they learn my confidence--I know I am capable of doing anything. Changing majors my senior year and taking 21-24 hours at a time plus community college classes to get it all done in 2 years? Bah! Quilting? Not a problem. Building a closet or cabinet from my own plans with no training? Easy-peasy. Bringing a 3.5 year old into a home with a 5 month old and almost-three year old and no extra money or space? Not a problem. Five people and no income? Even that is working out mighty fine. There has never been anything I wanted to do that I couldn't find a way to do it.
What I hope they can avoid is my impulsive and critical nature.
What is one thing you hope Charlie picks up from Dowlan and one he does not?
Dowlan is the most gentle, kind and loving person I've ever known. I hope he learns how to truly care for other people, even people he doesn't know. He is a complete optimist and nothing ever gets him down.
I hope he doesn't pick up Dowlan's complete inability to be anywhere on time.