Wordless Weekend

L to R: Gloria Mitchell and Dale Cochran (Cedars Sinai Brain Trust), Dr. Keith Black, chairman and professor, Dept. of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai, Marylou Ferry, Avis Ridley-Thomas, Christina Simon and Barry Perlstein. It was my close friend Marylou's birthday. Barry and I were honored to welcome Dr. Black and guests to our home to recognize his amazing work. He operated on Marylou 13 years ago, removing a large brain tumor, saving her life. What an incredible event!
Willows 5th grade studied the American Revolution, went to Boston for 5 days and created a project that had revolutionary leaders Tweeting!
If they could have Tweeted during the American Revolution...
It was "clone" day at The Willows for the kids, but me and my friend D. showed up wearing chambray, totally unplanned!
At The Willows culmination. Third grade studied L.A.. My son shows us his project.
Blogging takes work! So serious:)

This is where it gets tricky.

Pool required. Hospitality not necessary.

Some of you might remember the post I wrote, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When School Volunteering Goes Wrong.  It generated a bunch of comments. It’s by far the worst—and last– tangle I’ve had with Willows School politics.


So, when an Evite popped up on my screen inviting my family to the 5th grade end of year pool party, imagine my delight disgust as soon as I saw the host. Its HER. The grandmother mom who still can’t look at me or speak to me after four years. Of course, I practically run when I see her, lest you think I’m smiling and waving hello.


I hit the delete button, but not before emailing the Evite to my husband with a “hell no” on the message. “Who else would want to do it?” came his reply.


Of course, I understand why this particular family is hosting this party. First, you must have a pool and yard large enough to hold kids from two classes (about 50 kids). You’ve also got to be willing to pay for it. And hire a lifeguard. And, most importantly, be willing to deal with the machinations behind private school gatherings.


What’s not necessary is to be on speaking terms with all the families in your grade. That obviously isn’t required to host this event.




Now that we have a pool, maybe I’ll offer to host next year!

Wordless Weekend

With a group of very cool mom bloggers at UCLA Family Commons Mother's Week: (Lto R) Beverly Hills Mom, Santa Monica Macaroni Kid, Salt & Nectar, Mommy Poppins, Checklist Mommy, Me, Club Mom Me, Beyond The Brochure, LA Moms Dig, Momangeles
At Romp for private elementary school admissions event. L to R: Laura Gerson (Momangeles), Porcha Dodson (Beyond The Brochure), Christina Simon (Beyond The Brochure), Sandy Eiges (LA School Scout), Janis Adams (Academic Achievers-event sponsor)
A giant sunflower looms brightly over the Willows School garden
At Children's Book World for author Sarah Mazies' signing of her new kids book, "On My Way To The Bath" L to R: Rachel Pitzel (Club Mom Me), Christina Simon (Beyond The Brochure), Sarah Maizes (Mommyliteonline) and Linda Wolff (Carpool Goddess)
My precious girl just after her return from 5 days in Boston with Willows School


An Unusually Vexing Homework Assignment At The Willows School

The Declaration of Independence

Not long ago, my 5th grade daughter came upstairs and said in a shaky voice that she needed help with her homework, due the next day. This isn’t her usual pattern or demeanor. Normally, she goes into her room and does her homework, popping out if she has a question. So, when I saw her face, I knew she wanted help with the assignment.


“I have to memorize the Preamble to the Declaration Of Independence,” she said in a quivering voice. Handing me a paper with the Preamble on it, she said she needed to understand its words before she could memorize it. The class is studying the American Revolution so the assignment fit with the theme she’s been working on. What didn’t fit was the rote memorization aspect of the homework.


I was reminded why we chose The Willows for our kids. I’ve written about homework previously. The teaching style is incredibly creative and inspiring, using big concepts and ideas to help kids learn.  Memorizing is used to support an assignment, not for its own sake or to “make work.” Of course, this was a very worthy homework assignment. It was just atypical for our school.  Thankfully, my daughter isn’t used to the type of endless memorization I grew up with.


We sat together on the bed and went though the incredible Preamble, line by line. I explained each premise and we talked about how America is unique and unduplicated because of the Declaration of Independence. I explained the concept of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Thinking about it gave me chills. It is carefully nuanced and profound. It is, at once, both simple and stunningly complex. Imperfect, but as close to perfect as any country has come. This document has powered through the decades, helping define who we are as a nation.


Despite my daughter’s uneasiness with the assignment, I loved sitting with her talking about the history of our country, written in antiquated language we no longer use, but whose eloquence and brilliance still guides our founding principles.


The next morning, my daughter woke up and asked to recite the Preamble. In a sing-song voice, she nailed it. Off to school we went.


After school, I asked her how the test went. “Great” she said as if the previous night had been unnecessary. That’s my girl!