Saturday, October 6, 2012

Playing school

For the nerd family of four looking ahead to a three day weekend, the view from Saturday looks long.

Perhaps sensing this, Beanie and Bubbie, entirely on their own initiative, chose to undertake some learning.

Beanie has been teaching herself how to read and write Korean, with the aid of a series of video lessons on DVD that my father gave her, some old hangul workbooks from when I was sent to Saturday morning Korean school, and some Korean translations of favorite children's books that we received from my sister-in-law. Whenever I watch Beanie sit down with her Korean lessons, I always wish I had her persistence. When an eight-year-old is determined, she can be a small force of nature. I feel like all I can do is stand back and let her give it a go. So, that is the lesson I am learning from her.

As Bubbie was getting dressed, with me hovering around to make sure he actually got dressed, he said that he had a big question - are mammoths related to elephants? Even though they are extinct, he quickly added. This led to reading about mammoths online - they are more closely related to Asian elephants than African elephants, which I did not know - and then to Bubbie's decision to write a book about what he had learned. This became a way for me to sneak in a bit of handwriting exercise :) Bubbie typically resists explicit instruction from me. He likes to learn together with me, which I think in part is why he likes to ask big questions. Bubbie reminds me that treating a kid as a partner in learning is important.

It is pretty to think the rest of the weekend will be like this.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How is that being-a-woman thing working for us?

I feel like I have been hearing people say for years now that women were "winning" over men. I remember in particular hearing this from another aspiring journalist. A man. We were both recent graduates from college in 1992. However, I got a job and he did not. He seemed to think in part because newsrooms were interested in "diversity." Which I represented. As a woman and Asian, too!

However. What about the fact that I showed a bit of hustle? Which is what one ought to demonstrate as a would-be reporter. I had accumulated clips at my college newspaper, of which I became the editor-in-chief after I had worked most of my free time on it for three years; applied for (and won) competitive internships as an undergraduate; then mailed literally dozens of letters to newspapers and magazines across the country looking for a reporting assignment. (I remember receiving cordial rejection letters from newspapers in Providence, RI, and Anniston, AL)

Here is a reality check from sociologist Stephanie Coontz, who also wrote The Way We Never Were, which discussed the realities versus the stereotypes of 20th century American families.

"What we are seeing is a convergence in economic fortunes, not female ascendance."

What will keep me up half the night thinking about what he means

"Zero makes more sense when it's with another number"
-- Bubbie, explaining math to his mother this evening at our dinner table.

The example he gave is this: 5 + 0 = 5.

I think in math talk, this might be what he means?