Sunday, August 21, 2016

What we learned: Junior Year Edition

It is almost time for the school busses to roll.
Last year I neglected to do my annual interrogation of my children on this topic.   
Now that school is about to start again, it’s time I let on what two of my children learned this past school year.  The oldest one has graduated from college (! ! !) so there will be no report from her, although I believe that she has also learned quite a lot this year about Life In General.

Younger Daughter, about her junior year of high school:
“I learned how to write a 40-minute essay. I learned about LBJ, who is awesome.  And about the ridiculous process by which our country is run, and that Britain is better.  ….. Then there was Chem, in which I learned that chemistry is hard.  In Creative Writing I learned that flash fiction is harder to write than a short story.”  
Her Dad: “What is flash fiction?”
Older Niece:  “It is hard to write flash fiction.”
YD: “It's also known as lightening fiction.”
Son: “Drive-by fiction?”
YD: “Math... (Sigh) I learned that math is also hard.  In gym I learned that all the gym teachers tell you that how hard you try matters more than how you perform, but Mr. L* is the only one who actually believes it.  In Latin I learned that pink is good.  It's Magistra R's favorite color.”

*Mr. L was her teacher last year, but sadly, not this year.

Son, about his junior year of college:
“In Process Control I learned that when the professor offers a project for you to work on instead of the one you thought of, you should take him up on it.  In Transport I learned about tensors.  In the laboratory class I learned that a Hickman Still is very expensive.”
His Dad: “Did you break it?”
Son:  “Well, yes. But I already paid for it! This year I had to pay $80 for broken glassware.  That's why I'm a chemical engineer.     I don't think I learned anything in Communication for Engineers.”
Dad: “And so you wouldn't be able to tell us.”
Son: “In Separations I learned how to design a distillation process.”
Dad: “So you're going to make whiskey!”
Son:  “In Measurements Laboratory I learned how to do small-scale experiments, like on a reactor, and then scale it up to a big reactor.  And I learned how to use Excel.  … I didn't really learn anything in Microfabrication class.”
Dad: “Maybe you learned very little.”
Son:  “In marching band I was a section leader.  I learned in Wind Ensemble that there is one person I should not sit near. He plays all the time like he is in marching band, very loud, with no variation in tone, and his horn was not in tune.”

Other members of the family learned:
- that group projects are horrible. Especially if you have three at the same time, and especially if some of the people are at a different school.

- that science can be more like telling a story rather than just churning out numbers.

- that I should not run, especially not downhill, and especially not while holding a camera.

Here is sweet Younger Daughter, about one year old,
probably writing an essay of some kind.
In a few days, she will start her final year of high school!


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Such smart people! I like that intentional reflection on what you learn. I need to ask my kids that question more often.

Angie said...

You have wonderful children! Why have I never thought to ask my sons this question? Interesting answers!

Cassi said...

I am so impressed that your children can remember what they learned last year, AFTER the summer has happened! Emma (sophomore in high school) is taking her first chemistry class, and in the very first class the teacher gave them a math test. She came home VERY unhappy. That teacher didn't win any points that day.

Hearing the names of the classes your son is taking made me think of someone delving farther and farther into a subject, until it became microscopically small :-)

I should probably ask my daughter these kinds of questions, but I've a feeling she would simply refuse to participate.

The Crislers said...

Great questions, and great answers. Your husband's punny responses made me laugh. I really, really identified with your son having to pay $80 in broken glassware; that was me in every last one of my college chem labs. If you had to demonstrate that you were not clumsy in order to enter a lab, I would be barred from them all. I suppose this is why we're down to the last five or so pieces of our sixty-piece set of wedding dishes (thankfully not nice or expensive stuff, but a clearance box from Kohl's we received as a gift from Derek's ever-practical grandmother).

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

And they remember these things after an entire summer?
These are questions I would like to ask but almost never remember to ask. Good for you!
Your husband's puns cracked me up.