First off, they do not include Tiny Girl, who in a stunning upset was apparently tripped up by the OLSAT format and so will remain at Big City Elementary for at least another year. We've heard similar stories here and there, of kids who scored well on the Stanford-Binet test for Hunter, but then took a precipitous tumble on the OLSAT. Is one test more accurate than the other in measuring four-year-olds' intelligence? Our theory: The free rein given S-B testers to gauge a child's intelligence likely leads to either a more well-rounded—or more generous—result than the OLSAT, which is proctored by teachers in the school system under orders to follow a set format to elicit answers, be they right or wrong.

In any event, Inside Schools has an informative interview with city G & T director Anna Commitante online today, which everyone who just emerged from the process should check out, as it includes official numbers of applicants and admits for the season.


Us_dollar_backAs part of Fellow's homework the other day, he had to show, with a drawing, the change he'd receive for purchasing variously priced products at a store. Part of the change included a dollar bill, which he strove to depict as accurately as possible, right down to its motto:

"We Love God"

Close enough.


SquirtleWe finally sat down with Fellow the other night to play a game of Pokemon. We had no idea going in how this card game worked, so we left it to Fellow to explain it to us, and now we know how the Iotians felt when Captain Kirk told them how to play Fizzbin. We played the game for about 20 minutes, engaged in several attacks, lost several characters, and still cannot tell you a thing about what was involved.

We were impressed by Fellow's seeming ability to keep in his head the relative Hit Points of all the character cards on the table, acquired or lost during battles—unless of course he was just BS-ing us all along, in which case, honestly? We're even more impressed.


Daniel Handler is deserving of admiration for the fine series of children's books he wrote, "A Series of Unfortunate Events." As a social commentator, however? He's maybe a bit tone deaf. We suppose that your own reaction to his piece in the Times this past weekend—about how awkward it is to field requests to donate millions of his dollars to worthy causes—may depend on whether your annual income puts you among the top 15% of the world's population, the top 1% or the top .001%:

This is why, maybe, there are so many noble causes and so few of them are well financed: we all want other people to write the checks — they’re richer than we are. I wrote the guy a check anyway, of course, and it was for a lot of money. At least, I think it was a lot of money. You’d have to ask those other people, the hundred thousand who make more than I do and the 60 million who make more than I gave to restore the historic building: isn’t this a lot of money?


Preparations are well under way for summer camp. In fact, we spent the better (actually, the worst) part of this past weekend filling out all of the required paperwork. Tiny will be returning to the day camp run by Big City Nursery School, along with several of her closest friends. The mother of one of those friends actually just contacted Loving Mother to see if they couldn't coordinate a day to accompany the girls on a camp field trip together by signing up for the same outing on the camp forms. She did, however, have one request: "Now, don't sign up for a field trip with me and then send Freelance Dad instead!"


FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENDORSEMENTS receives a lot of e-mail from marketers of children's products, asking us to promote their goods online, and we ignore most of them. But we did recently hear from the maker of Eyes Cream Shades, and took them up on their offer of a trial set of shades for Fellow, Tiny, and Little Guy. The kids all took an immediate liking to the sportily-styled glasses, and we like that the lenses feature polycarbonate lenses with 100% UVA & UVB protection, unlike all those birthday party goody-bag shades, which offer approximately 0% UVA and UVB protection.

So, consider Eyes Cream Shades for all of your sun-blocking needs this summer. You can see the glasses and order them here.


20019284FD spent a lot of time home alone as a child (this is starting to sound like a theme), and one of his boon companions was Texas Instruments' Hall of Fame math learning toy, the Little Professor, introduced in 1976. The Little Professor's genius lies in its simplicity: It's an inverted calculator, which asks you a series of 10 questions, in your choice of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. You can also choose levels of difficulty, 1 through 4. Then it tells you how many you got right out of 10. And that's it. But it's addictive as all get out, as Fellow can attest. Through the magic of EBay, we recently acquired an original Little Professor for him, and it has kept him occupied during hours of car rides over the past few weeks.

You can find the Little Professor on EBay, and sometimes on Amazon. Also, some UK-based sites appear to be selling a more recent, solar-powered version.

Along with the nostalgia appeal, the toy offer kids the math drilling that, in our opinion, they desperately need in these days of Everyday Math. Although for all we know the second-grade curriculum may call for multiplication to be introduced in September, dropped until November, reinforced in February, and assessed in May, we're going to spend a couple of days this summer on our own getting Fellow up to speed on the multiplication tables, thanks all the same. And plan to have Little Professor at our side.


It's spring, when a young blogger's thoughts naturally turn to linking. Please see our LINKS column on the right to find a new and improved roster of thought-provoking parenting sites that get the FD Seal of Approval.


Gawker posted this the other day, via Best Week Ever, and you've got to check it out: Evan O'Dorney, home-schooled winner of the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee, had an incredibly awkward interview with CNN's vapid morning-show host, in which he blasted her for asking him to spell a word for which she didn't know the national origin, and which she mispronounced to boot. A thing of beauty. We also like this tidbit from Evan's bio:

Last summer Evan was chosen as an onstage contestant for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, but the judges could not outsmart his spelling skills and resorted to making him spell out of order and giving him non-dictionary words.

June 12, 2007 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS


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