Open thread

We have an open thread today.

As we head into warmer weather, here’s something to think about.  Or not.

Just How Much Pee Is In That Pool?

Are you eagerly anticipating summer?  I am!  March may be my favorite month just because it kicks off the time of year with milder temperatures.

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229 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. “Are you eagerly anticipating summer?”

    Ummm….no. Not in Texas! : )

    I do enjoy the more relaxed schedule of summer. I just hate sweating so much.

  2. I really expect more of NPR.

    Toxic breakdown products? It’s like they cribbed that from email forward that went around 20 years ago about how Diet Coke breaks down in to formaldehyde, formaldehyde is poisonous, Diet Coke is poisonous. There are trace toxic things in everything! There is a lot of radiation in your banana peels! Dose matters!

    So then they say that urine in the pool is dangerous for certain people. Who are these people?? What will happen to them. All of my kids have at one time or another, peed in the tub. Are they going to get cancer from that?

    Interesting theory about the artificial sweetener as a surrogate for urine. That implies that intake of artificial sweeteners is somewhat predictable. Um… the mommy and me swim class has probably minimal artificially sweetened pee that goes into the pool – the babies all eat organic broccoli and pee all the time in the pool, the moms live on Diet Dr. Pepper and probably don’t pee in the pool at all.

    Also, I was under the impression that sweat is chemically identical to urine. So, people who swim really hard are “peeing” into the pool too?

    The moral is that one should just never think about what is in the pool. (And I enjoy having a good pop science article to rant about.)

  3. Tangential regarding totebaggery and artificial sweeteners: I have a theory about mapping out school quality.

    One should create an index about the “juice” drink aisle at the local grocery store. How many products? How many have high fructose corn syrup? How many are 100% juice. Even better, how many are enriched with calcium and/or organic?

    At the two stores where I do most of my shopping, the numbers look something like this:

    50(products):30(HFCS):10(only juice):3(enriched)
    40(products):5(HFCS):25(only juice):10(enriched)

    A store in SoCal I visited recently:
    100:95:5:0

    Guess which is close to the failing school? Guess which is close to the best school in the state? My fruit juice index might be even more predictive than the Great School number.

  4. Love the summer. We live outside from April – September, both in the city and up north. Nothing beats all that fresh air.

    My only lament for this summer is that at the end of it, DD starts college. This one’s going to hurt.

  5. “The moral is that one should just never think about what is in the pool.”

    Unless one can see it.

  6. I love summer and winter is just hanging around far too long here. I am so sick of grey skies. Has anyone else seen the meme of the snowman stabbed with various implements and the quote is “Die winter, die”

  7. I wish winter would stay longer and snow more. There has been a severe lack of snow this winter for my taste, particularly since it was all squished into one 3-week period. :(

    Summer is OK but too hot for me.

  8. I’m with Houston – not looking forward to summer. It was 86° In February, so I don’t even want to think about what August is going to feel like. DD and I are possibly going to Ireland this summer for her graduation, so I’m hoping to plan it for the hottest most miserable time in Houston. I like to summer more when we had the house with the pool, because it was so easy to jump in and cool off after doing something. In this house, we have a neighborhood pool, but after a walk it’s a hassle to change and go up there so we rarely do. One positive about Houston is that after around 7:30 at night there is enough breeze to make it pleasant enough to be active outside. Of course that’s when the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes will be out since we did not have a freeze this year. I’d be happy if we could just freeze with our upper 70s low 80s temps we have right now and stay this way through next winter

  9. “Ummm….no. Not in Texas! : )”

    Oh yeah, I was forgetting about you all in warmer climates!

  10. “Oh yeah, I was forgetting about you all in warmer climates!”

    DS teaches in a preschool a few days a week. Teaching themes include the four seasons. When kids are asked what any season but summer is like, they come up with some crazy answers.

  11. Thank you, Ada! I wasn’t going to quit swimming — I’ve been swimming since i was a toddler, so it’s too late for me now.

    “Also, I was under the impression that sweat is chemically identical to urine. So, people who swim really hard are “peeing” into the pool too?”

    Sweat is chemically identical to urine? I did not know that.

  12. I love summer because of sleeping in and not having to pack lunches.:) My oldest is going to sleep away camp for two weeks in June and so it will be me and the littler ones hanging around in the heat for the first month and then we’ll go to RI/Cape Cod for the last week of June and most of July. Then it’s back to school on August 2nd. A lot of my friends here seem to summer somewhere else and the dads just head up to wherever the summer place is on the weekends.

  13. Ridley,

    Summer is when the college age DDs and DSs come back. Another reason to celebrate.

  14. With the requirement in some college towns that apartment-dwelling students sign a one-year lease, I have a fair number of friends that are telling their students to just stay there, get a part-time job, and keep taking classes rather than pay for an apartment that is going to sit empty. My DD did that one summer as well. Is that a Texas/southern thing, or is that an issue everywhere?

  15. Here we are back to seasonal temps – 60s mostly. Cooler and cloudy. I don’t mind the summer – three months of the heat and we are back to milder weather.

    I learnt to swim in a pool that was the color of the Olympic pools – green. The water was filtered but I don’t think they checked the chemical balance in the pool.
    My kids swam at the Y for years. There are a ton of swimmers using the indoor and outdoor pools – Tons of kids during the summer. They would be constantly checking the water, since an entire community used the pools and splash park.

  16. I am dreading summer a little bit. Both of ours are having such good school years and we are in a great routine right now. Really don’t want it to end.

  17. MBT,
    I don’t know any parents who gave their kids the advice to stay in the college town. Some kids sublet their apartments but perhaps most parents just think of the summer rent as a sunk cost. I know I would rather have my kids around in the summer, or off doing something lucrative or productive. But then we live in the college town and the kids all lived on campus so never had to eat those costs.

  18. MBT – my oldest had one year leases his last two years in student (private landlord) living. The year was June 1 – May 31. The first year (so after his 2nd yr in college) he came home and essentially worked ~60hrs/wk between a full-time paying job and a 1/2 time unpaid internship that actually resulted in a paying gig in his then-career-field the next spring. The second year in that house he stayed there and worked meaning that when he left for his 3rd year of college he had effectively moved out of our house permanently.

  19. I don’t know any parents who gave their kids the advice to stay in the college town.

    My old boss’s son went off to college and ended up getting a job as a research assistant related to his STEM major and I don’t think he ever really came home again. They home schooled so I always wondered if that had something to do with it. Then again, if you have a really good gig you might as well stick with it vs. working at Starbucks or hanging around the house.

    Also, depending on the school, “good” summer jobs maybe easier to find around where the school is located vs. home.

  20. I can’t wait for summer! DS4 will be born in early to mid July and then I’m off for 12 weeks! I’m looking forward to a lot of sitting on a blanket on the lawn in the shade with the babies and watching the big kids play. Heaven! In the meantime, it’s snowing again.

  21. Rents in undergrad apartments in the town where I went to college are set with the assumption that most places will be empty in the summer. I was there recently, and it is much less isolated from the nearby city than when I went there. The uni seems to have given up on the no cars rule, and students go out to the city for the evening. I wonder if that will change summer residency rates.

  22. I return to work at the end of April. The weather will finally be nice and not gross. DH will go on leave then and I hope to take a few days at the end of his leave. It will be wonderful to be outside with the boys where they have more space and cooler toys.

    At least this winter isn’t like winter 2015 when DS1 was born. It snowed every week for 6 weeks and I was snowbound in a whole “Here’s Johnny!” way.

  23. Lark – just checking my phone and waiting for the exciting BC-WF game that’s up next!

  24. We just had a very cold weekend in NY, and I cant wait for winter to end. There were some nasty weekend snow/ice storms in January and Feb. I like the mid week warm ups, but some of these weekends have delivered plenty of winter. This upcoming weekend promises to be the same, and I just want to put away the extra mat that I have near the front door for wet or salty shoes/boots.

    I started to buy camp stuff for DD, and I just wish it was already May.

  25. Ha! A mom at a birthday party a few weekends ago was telling me that pool water causes cancer. She must have read this article.

  26. Lark – I am anticipating a big change in the summer between middle and high school.
    I saw high school band practice fairly early in the morning to avoid the summer heat.
    I am sure there will be other things, after a few years of consistent summer camps and activities there is going to be much moaning and groaning at the changes.

  27. Public pools disgust me. The idea of sharing the water with strangers has always grossed me out and don’t even get me started on public hot tubs! Unless it the pool was entirely bleach – no thank you. That said, I hate summer. I hate the heat, I hate the filth, I hate the sunscreen, I hate the bugs, I hate how happy everyone gets about summer! So disappointed in this winter, hoping we get some kind of spring but really just looking forward to Fall.

  28. “With the requirement in some college towns that apartment-dwelling students sign a one-year lease, I have a fair number of friends that are telling their students to just stay there, get a part-time job, and keep taking classes rather than pay for an apartment that is going to sit empty. My DD did that one summer as well. Is that a Texas/southern thing, or is that an issue everywhere?”

    BITD, this was the case for us. Probably 75% of kids went home anyway, but I always stayed. One summer, I did a variety of PT and That meant that one summer, I lived in an 8 BR house with one other person, and the next summer, I lived in a 2BR apartment by myself (there were 3 of us during the school year). I went to college in a small town so the “wasted” summer rent was pretty cheap, really.

  29. I hate summer.

    You are history’s greatest monster.

    I hate the filth,

    I assume you live in the south?

  30. I hate the filth.

    I thought you said “I hate the frizz”. All summer long the women complain about the frizzies in their hair, not about the heat but the frizz inducing humidity.

  31. The eldest or eldest remaining kid got the best single bedroom until fall of sophmore year in college. Then everyone moved up and the doubled up ones got a single. So after that they usually stayed away. Not necessarily in the college town

  32. I am not a big fan of the dead of summer. I hate being hot & sweaty, and I don’t do well with a lot of sun. I would love to live in a place where it never goes above 80 degrees. But I also don’t love it when it is below 20. And I like having 4 legit seasons. So I don’t know where that is – Seattle?

  33. The idea of sharing the water with strangers has always grossed me out

    So, where do you swim? Are you ok with sharing the water with non-human creatures (ocean, lake) as long as there aren’t human strangers around, or are you limited to a personal pool?

    This is just such a different way of looking at water for me, I’m trying to wrap my head around it. I vaguely think of public pools as kind of the safe (lifeguards, no jellyfish / sharks / currents) form of swimming, very predictable, no waves, but suitable for lap swimming and so on.

  34. I would love to live in a place where it never goes above 80 degrees. But I also don’t love it when it is below 20.

    San Francisco?

  35. “Public pools disgust me.”

    It’s become easy for me to start to feel like this. But I’ve never even liked being in a bathtub, by myself or with someone else. :D Swimming is not my favorite pastime, and I place part of the blame on the fact that I’ve needed eye glasses or contacts most of my life and getting my face into water is a PITA and I can’t see. Being by the water or on a floating device is pleasant, however.

  36. There is a natural hot springs pool in the mountains near my parents’ house. Big enough for serious swimming (9 feet deep on the deep end, 4 on the shallow). Because of the high flow of hot water, they are able to leave the water minimally treated. Once per week, they drain the pool, scrub it and refill. It’s amazing. And there is pool side wine service.

  37. Ooh, I like natural hot springs and MY hot tub, but not necessarily public hot tubs.

  38. @HM – I am far more freaked out by swimming with sealife than I am by a little sweat/pee in a chlorine pool. But I enjoy both. I don’t like being far from shore though in natural bodies of water.

    I don’t know if I’m hipster/tech enough for the PacNW. I did once daydream about it when a recruiter reached out to me about a job in Portland, but I didn’t seriously consider moving. I guess I’ll put up with August and January here for awhile.

  39. There is a natural hot springs pool in the mountains near my parents’ house. Big enough for serious swimming (9 feet deep on the deep end, 4 on the shallow). Because of the high flow of hot water, they are able to leave the water minimally treated. Once per week, they drain the pool, scrub it and refill. It’s amazing. And there is pool side wine service.

    You just described my vision of heaven.

  40. I recall staying on campus at least one summer. I just kept working at my school-year job, but amped up the hours. That was a lovely summer. I got to really enjoy the campus when it was less crowded. I had an easier schedule and lots to do and it was during the second nicest season (I love the fall.) When I dormed I came home and worked for the summer. Can’t recall what I did during the summer between sophomore and (my first) junior year. Hmm.

  41. We were only able to live off campus senior year so the year round rental thing was only an issue between the summer of junior and senior years. One of my roommates ended up living there for the summer, but we all started paying June 1st. Rent was only $200 per person, so really no big deal if we weren’t there and I could make more money living on the Cape for the summer.

  42. Small hijack – I think my younger DS has a learning difference with math. Smart kid – great writer and illustrator but he just can’t retain math facts and is not fluent in numbers. We are in 4th grade and things are really building and he is getting further behind. I worked with him last night and we had a series of problems with the exact same set up (calculate the total hours in x days y hours). After doing five together, tried to get him to do the next one on his own and he couldn’t figure out the approach, despite having the examples right above. His math tutor and teacher all seem to put him in the ADD box but I see more anxiety and avoidance with math, not attention issues. He has no attention issues in other subjects. Anyone have a child with similar issues? Any resources that helped? Do they test for this type of thing? He has scored in the 66th percentile in MAP testing and passed the state tests but he seems to be struggling frequently in class and with homework.

  43. MiaMama — Your son may benefit from Kumon or, if you’re able to dedicate time to it, Saxon math home instruction. Both these helped a student I know who was in a similar situation. As you probably know, Kumon involves worksheets that some parents oppose. Saxon is similar. But both build skills and confidence by working from a level that the child finds easy and then slowly working up to develop skills and understanding. I guess his tutor has not been able to help him much?

  44. Ivy – Seattle is lovely in the summer. It does get into the low 80’s sometimes but there’s zero humidity. No need to be a hipster or tech – I am neither :-)

  45. Miamama – Does he have the times tables down pat? I remember learning them in 3rd grade and having to review at the beginning of 4th grade. Is this something he is way past at this point, or the type of building block that hasn’t yet sunk in?

  46. We might try Saxon – the tutor has not been able to really help or the help provided has not moved the needle, at least. I don’t know if writing out the times tables might stick better than flashcards or if using some math manipulatives might help him see the sums and make connections better. There is something going on with his retention in math.

  47. Times tables are definitely not solid but we keep practicing and they don’t stick!

  48. During my first visit to SF, as a kid, the temperature never got below 80. So for many years I thought of SF as a hot place.

    IME, the bay area would get 2-4 heat waves each summer when the entire bay area, including SF, would get really hot.

  49. I agree with Moxiemom. I really dislike summer and I’m very sad at how lame our winter has been (wish I lived in Tahoe). The bugs will be even worse this summer because they didn’t die over winter. Already looking forward to fall and that also means last kiddo is in Kindergarten and I’ll be done with daycare!

  50. “Small hijack”

    I’ve been told here before that you can’t hijack an open thread.

    I’ve heard good things about Kumon as a way to prep for SATs and for reinforcement (not so much for getting ahead). I’ve heard the repetition there helps with retention.

    IME, the best thing for retention is teaching someone what you just learned. Maybe have your DS explain to you how he did his math problems?

  51. “sweat is chemically identical to urine.”

    If they’re identical, wouldn’t they smell the same?

  52. “wish I lived in Tahoe”

    Oooh, I’d forgotten how great Tahoe is in summer. When I lived in SV, summer was off-season for Tahoe, so ski cabin rental rates went down. Great biking in the area; the ride around the lake is fantastic.

    Another locale for my retirement list. Perhaps a few weeks in Tahoe in the summer, and a few weeks in the winter.

  53. MiaMama, I’m a fan of getting the shaker of fun cupcake topper shapes (dinosaurs, fish, whatever, just so there are hundreds) and laying out the times tables as patterns on the table. You can even take 12 shapes and reform them as 2×6, 3×4, 4×3, 6×2, 1×12, 12×1. Maybe other manipulatives are more helpful, but that’s where my kids got the x groups of y concept for multiplication, I think.

    The other suggestions sound good too.

  54. Ada, I think sweat and urine are probably similar in terms of basic analysis (water, ammonia, urea, etc.) , but doesn’t the body do a bettter job of retaining electrolytes when it excretes urine from the kidneys? I suspect the sweat glands don’t attempt to retain electrolytes as the kidneys do.

  55. “Are you eagerly anticipating summer?”

    Not this year, because…

    “My only lament for this summer is that at the end of it, DD starts college. This one’s going to hurt.”

    DS’ senior year, and his entire childhood, has been passing all to quickly.

    “son went off to college and ended up getting a job as a research assistant related to his STEM major and I don’t think he ever really came home again.”

    This summer may be my last chance for extended time with DS.

  56. MiaMama – Based on my experience with DD#2, I would look into having him tested. My first direct “how come this child can’t get this” moment was at the end of 4th Grade when they had a social studies project that required 10 unique facts about place. Granted her place was not large or diverse, but she could not seem to see the overlap in the facts or to group them to help eliminate duplication. My second moment was at the end of 5th Grade when she was working on a scout project that required her to replicate a pattern for an event. She did a wonderfully creative project, but it wasn’t what was required. My third moment was early in 6th Grade with the science fair/experiment process. At this point, I was starting to see a pattern. We did went to a neuropsychologist and had testing done. The results were that she had mild ADHD inattentive, mild anxiety, and mild dysgraphia. We followed most of the neuropsych’s recommendations and by early 7th Grade we had a different child.

    What I learned is that many kids do not show issues until late elementary/early middle school. Why? Because they are bright and haven’t reached a point where their ability is stretched to the point where the problem shows.

  57. I might try the Saxon workbooks for the repetition. We are homeschooling him and his brother next year so we will have more opportunity to determine what works for him. Neither of them enjoy math – it makes me sad. I used to write out my times tables for fun in first grade and practice them in my head at tennis practice.

  58. For parents who lack WCE’s creativity and who prefer a packaged product, Saxon offers manipulatives and activities similar to what WCE described.

  59. Mia, have you tried the old standby of getting kids interested in math via their interest in sports stats?

  60. “DD and I are possibly going to Ireland this summer for her graduation”

    She’s graduating in Ireland?

    I know what you mean, but that’s what I read initially.

  61. My children enjoyed the activity because they got to eat the sugar dinosaurs at the end.

    I’ll also note that shapes (pyramids, domes, octagons, etc.) are nicely formed with miniature marshmallows and toothpicks, and you can eat the marshmallows at the end.

    It rains a lot here…

  62. I hate summer.

    You are history’s greatest monster.

    I hate the filth,

    I assume you live in the south?

    @Rhett – thank you for the compliment! I revel in my hatred of summer. I live in the mid-atlantic.

    Yes I hate the frizz. You won’t see my hair down from April to September.

    I really don’t like to swim at all. We have a pool but last year I didn’t even go in it. I don’t like seeing strangers and people I don’t know nearly naked. I don’t need to know that your husband has moles in the shape of Cassiopeia on his back! I don’t need to see your wife’s regretful tattoo on the small of her back. I don’t need to see any of it! Don’t get how much people like it and NO I do not prefer to swim in oceans or lakes with the feces and schmutz of all those living things. I like to walk the beach at dawn and sit on a deck near to it at sunset. A day at the beach is just so dirty to me. I can feel the grit of the sand mixed with the sunscreen while i think of it. I hate the sun and spend all my time under an umbrella and a huge hat. I hate taking a shower, getting dressed nicely and then being sweaty 10 minutes after I walk out the door. I hate sweating while I am drying my hair. I just really, really hate summer! Oh and Rhett – I also HATE convertibles!

  63. Mia, I would look into having him tested as well. If he is otherwise smart there just may be a glitch in the way he processes that information. If you can find out the way he best learns you can save him and you a lot of trouble. It is not cheap though. About $1K-2K around here.

  64. Rhett – doesn’t matter and I have A LOT of hair. It is a good 20 minute process.

  65. @moxie – You bother with drying your hair in the summer in The Swamp? I don’t even bother here. And I look a mess from June to October because of it.

  66. Ivy, sometimes if it is a special occasion and I expect to be indoors the whole time I might give it a shot. I always regret it. I spend the whole summer frizzy and pink.
    Houston – thank you for the validation. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  67. I think it is worth getting him tested. I found dyscalculia in my google search for “dyslexia for math” last night. We have a good testing resource here and I will be giving them a call. A little annoyed that our well-regarded school district isn’t bringing it up as a potential issue. It was pretty clear from my few minutes last night that he lacks math fluency and can’t envision how 24 = 20 + 4 and you can break down double digit multiplication into easier smaller pieces.

  68. I have that problem with blow dryers in the summer on humid or really hot days. I have to turn my A/c really low, or I sweat while I’m blow drying my hair. It’s definitely an issue if I worked out, and don’t have enough time to really cool down.

  69. @Lauren and @Ivy – I’m guessing Rhett doesn’t have a head full of lush, flowing hair like Fabio. Gonna have to change the whole mental image I had of him.

  70. “I would love to live in a place where it never goes above 80 degrees. But I also don’t love it when it is below 20. And I like having 4 legit seasons.”

    Ivy, my favorite weather of anywhere I have ever lived — and I mean by a longshot – was Colorado Springs. It rarely got into the 90s, and when it did it was *not* humid and cooled off into the 60s as soon as the sun started to set. And even on the coldest days in winter, there was rarely a day that didn’t get close to 40 — the sun was so strong that even fairly significant storms (well, by MD standards — 8″ or so) would melt within a day or two (the downside of the dryness was that 20 felt *really* cold, but given where you live that still has to be an improvement). So I never felt the horror of summer or the dregs of winter, because the temperature varied 30-40 degrees every day, so there was always a cool break or warm patch to look forward to. And 300+ days of sun a year to boot. Damn, I miss that.

    I couldn’t handle the PNW — too grey for too long, and I don’t like humidity. At all.

  71. “Oh and Rhett – I also HATE convertibles!”

    [Gasp!]. Fine. Just go ahead and stab me, right here.

    I was with you until then. But that’s just a bridge too far.

  72. Mia – I am glad you are homeschooling next year which gives you an opportunity to figure out what the issue is.
    The kids school requires Math facts to be memorized in the 3rd grade and they gave plenty of time and practice to do the same. The summer between 3rd and 4th required keeping those skills up. Some review in the beginning of 4th. If you didn’t know times table by the 2nd month of 4th, you would have difficulty because the topics required fact fluency. This is just a timeline as I see it.

  73. So it’s official: DD now has her first summer job. Camp counselor, not exactly a surprise, and a stipend vs. a “real” job, but they made her come in and interview and all, so she was very nervous, and very excited to walk out with the official offer. She is even wavering about whether she wants to take her planned vacation with my dad — if she were going to be there the whole summer, she could be a bus counselor and make another $450. :-)

    Between that and the learner’s permit she got last week, I am feeling close to Finn’s category right now — it’s all very “Sunrise, Sunset.”

  74. @LfB – there is a reason you don’t see many convertibles and it isn’t price – it is the fact that they are hot and dirty. You need sunscreen to drive somewhere, after the ride your skin is filthy and unless you wear a scarf or a cap your hair is tangled and filthy. They are only awesome in Coca Cola commercials.

  75. “I hate sweating while I am drying my hair.

    Do you not have AC?”

    When DW uses the AC and blow dryer simultaneously, the breaker will often trip.

  76. And then when you arrive at your destination, do you park and walk away or move everything into the trunk and then put up the top?
    A friend who bought a midlife crisis Aston Martin only drives it two miles to his golf club where he knows the staff will keep an eye on it. Or takes it for a spin and then comes home and tucks it into the garage.

  77. I sweat while I’m blow drying my hair.

    A friend with an autoimmune disorder was on some medication that messed with her internal heat regulation. She had to wear an ice vest while she was drying her hair.

  78. “They are only awesome in Coca Cola commercials.”

    And in my garage. :-) Hats live in the car, AC and heat work in sub-optimal weather, hairbrush lives in center console. My dad’s Porsche is even better, it has an air deflector that keeps the wind way down, but I’m not in that price range.

    “And then when you arrive at your destination, do you park and walk away or move everything into the trunk and then put up the top?”

    I keep most everything in the trunk so it doesn’t fly away. When I get somewhere, I leave the roof down, lock the car, and walk away — button to open the trunk does not work when the car is locked.

    Man, y’all are just determined to suck all the cheesy fun out of life. Just today I got to sit in the sun and read a book while DD did her interview, then blast the radio on the drive back in the balmy springlike weather. Freaking awesome.

  79. Chose my alias b/c if I died swimming, I would die happy. In the winter I dream of summer when I can swim outdoors in a lake where my family has a summer cottage. Only electric powered motors are allowed as the lake is small and shallow, so I can swim long distances unencumbered. In the winter I am forced to swim indoors. I accept the risk of chlorine/urine as well as algae in fresh water as low and do not let it determine my course of exercise.

    MBT – I remember clearly staying in my college apartment in the summer. I was forced to sign a full-year lease, which left me open to full-year job opportunities. I was pleased to find many other students staying in the area, so I was not lonely at all. We often ended up at a small local lake with a great rope swing on the really humid summer nights, so there’s a nice tie-in on two topics in this thread.

    Mia – get on top of any insecurities in math as soon as you can.

  80. @Moxie/Lauren – I remember one really hot summer here, the only day that I bothered to blow dry my hair was for our anniversary. And I promptly got poured on in a freak thunderstorm & ended up looking like a wet, shaggy, overgrown dog at our fancy dinner anyway.

    @LfB – You know, I could do CO. We visited Denver last August, and while I got really hot during the day when it was 90 & sunny, it wasn’t so bad because it was fine in the shade (no humidity) and at night it was really pleasant. Not like here where you are still sticky-sweaty at 10pm during a heat wave. I did go through an insane amount of chapstick and lotion though because it was so dry, but I got to blowdry my hair!

    @Louise – Our 4th grade teacher for next year told us the same thing about math. That facts really need to be memorized and students need to get a good handle on place value in 3rd grade or they will really struggle in 4th grade as the concepts get more difficult. DS’s strength is math though – we discussed his starting to struggle with writing last week.

  81. Denver has gotten a lot hotter in the summers. 20 years ago it didn’t get above 90 all that often, but it sure does now.

  82. “The kids school requires Math facts to be memorized in the 3rd grade and they gave plenty of time and practice to do the same. … If you didn’t know times table by the 2nd month of 4th, you would have difficulty because the topics required fact fluency. “

    Yeah, one of the first clues that our school had problems was when my kid’s third grade teacher insisted that students did not need to memorize math facts because it was more important that they “understand the concepts”. Well, as you well understand the subsequent topics in the higher grades required fluency or the student falls behind. No problem because the school just wants students to understand the concepts, not actually do the math. lalalalala

  83. Is there no one else here who did not memorize times tables? I know that in fifth grade I was still doing 8+8+8+8=32. I remember my teacher that year telling me I could no longer draw little groups of dots in the margins of my math tests. I eventually became familiar enough with them that I just remember. For my son, it was learning how to break things down into factors that really helped with multiplication.

    LfB, when you get that deflector, then I’ll go for a spin in your convertable with you, but not before. ;).

    I swim laps and play in pools with my kid, and I love waterparks, but my very favorite water to be in is waves at the ocean. I don’t like it when yucky stuff washes up against me, but being dragged along the bottom by a wave is all part of the fun.

    I don’t know when I last dried my hair, other than the hairdresser doing it. It isn’t good for your hair. I can’t recall ever owning a hairdryer, other than a little one I got for Mom to use when she visited once. When our pipes froze, my husband and I called the landlord. His girlfriend brought hers over and warmed them up.

    Summer was always my favorite season. Then we moved to Florida.

  84. “I did go through an insane amount of chapstick and lotion though because it was so dry.”

    I can personally attest that your skin adjusts after a year. :-)

    @Rocky — Lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you. Do *not* mess with my fantasy, thanks much.

  85. CoC, that makes it sound like you consider memorization of a table to be “understanding the concept”. I think it’s just the opposite. You need to know how those numbers got there, or learn it later when it’s time to multiply polynomials.

  86. MiaMama, I love how this book breaks the numbers up to 100 into primes with monster pictures. You should risk the $1.94 + shipping cost for it just on my recommendation.

  87. “I did go through an insane amount of chapstick and lotion though because it was so dry.”

    I can personally attest that your skin adjusts after a year. :-)

    When the humidity here drops to 60%, I get headaches until I remember to drink more water every day. True story.

  88. I have 4 dehumidifiers in my house. If I don’t run the one in my bedroom, mold grows on my clothes in my closet.

  89. Denver has gotten a lot hotter in the summers. 20 years ago it didn’t get above 90 all that often, but it sure does now.

    But there’s still no humidity so you can do stuff outside, and it still cools off at night. LfB said everything I love about the climate here.

  90. “For my son, it was learning how to break things down into factors that really helped with multiplication.”

    In the way my mind works, that’s backwards. Learn how multiplication works by building up (maybe using some of the manipulatives mentioned), memorize the times table so that it is part of rote memory, and THEN figuring out factors for operations using fractions (and other 4th grade math concepts) is a lot easier.

    The problem is that at some point, kids need to both understand the concepts AND memorize the basic facts. And apparently from the discussion here, that point is around 4th grade. Makes sense – it’s the same for reading, right? Learn to read transitions to read to learn, and if a kid is behind in reading ability/comprehension, all the other subjects get more difficult around that same time.

  91. I have a rule that I won’t travel to Houston from April to October. The first time I ever went to Houston was in September. It was a due diligence trip for a potential client, so I had no choice about the timing of the trip. I couldn’t believe how humid it was at that time of year. I hate DC in the summer too, and I only go back for college reunions or weddings. I was saved by Drybar when I was there for a reunion because the temps were in the mid 90s with typical DC humidity.

    I love my hair in Vegas and Colorado. I have pictures from last summer when the temps are over 100, and my hair still looks great.

  92. With the humidity here, it is impossible to cool down in the summer. And when I am hot I get all stabby, to borrow from Rhett. I am not a fan of Houston in the summer

    Mia, another vote here for the testing. You don’t want him to hate math or doubt his abilities. If there is an issue, you can learn ways to work around it.

  93. “Man, y’all are just determined to suck all the cheesy fun out of life.” Are you kidding? I LOVE cheesy fun and I love cheesy cheese – just different cheesy fun. I love comedy and hiking when it isn’t 100 degrees, I love dancing and singing at the top of my lungs in the car, in my home, in the shower. I even sing along in the grocery. I love complimenting old women on their lovely outfits and talking to children while I wait in line. I love funny accents and even mud (ever been to the Bay of Fundy?) I just simply hate, hate, hate summer.

  94. Just a few hours until This is Us and The Americans. I am trying to convince DH to stay up so we can start to watch the Americans around 10:15 because I do not want to watch the commercials.

  95. Ivy, you need all the factors, in whatever order, to get the result. The concepts all go together. I don’t think it really matters which way you move, as long as you wind up with that set of relations. Memorizing tables is no part of that, and can block it from ever happening. If you know 8*3=24 and 6*4=24, and your parents and teachers are happy with that, why would you bother thinking about how those facts connect up with each other?

  96. I’ve never been to Houston, but I have been to Guam and Singapore, where the humidity is oppressive. It rarely gets that humid here.

    Anyone been to both Houston and either Guam or Singapore? How do they compare?

  97. For memorizing times tables, marching around and singing them to the tune of “Yankee Doodle” works. My MIT PhD colleague whose active sons I had in Sunday School before my own children were born was amused when I engaged his children in that activity when the adult Sunday School class ran over. I told him his boys needed activity before sitting through church, and we’d already done Father Abraham twice. (Father Abraham makes up in physical activity what it lacks in theological value.)

  98. I have been to Houston and Guam. They both seem similar weather-wise, but Guam has better diving. : )

  99. But S&M I think you still have to have them memorized. For example, we did not learn the 11 and 12 times tables. To this day I have to stop for a minute and think about the 12x once I get past 72. I can do 12×1 through 12×6 from straight memorization, but then I have to say 12 x 7 – what is that again? 60 + 24 or 72 +12 is how I usually do it. For 12×9 I subtract from 120.

    I am a big fan of memorizing, and it lasting a long time! I still can name all of the states in alphabetical order because we learned “50 Nifty United States” in 5th grade.

  100. ssk, I can still do the Fifty Nifty States too. Used to be able to get a free drink or two by reciting them in order. I drank with nerds.

  101. Moxiemom – nice! I don’t think I ever got a free drink, but I did get to show off a couple of times when someone doubted that I could do it. DS has memorized all of the countries and capitols of the world. I have worked on it enough to get all of the countries – hoping to keep brain activity going as I get older, but I don’t think I want to tackle the capitols!

  102. “DS has memorized all of the countries and capitols of the world. ”

    Does he update as they change? E.g., I know the capital of Yugoslavia used to be Belgrade, but I haven’t kept up with all the changes in that area.

    BTW, when talking about cities in which central governments are located, I believe it’s capitals, not capitols. It would be really impressive if he’s memorized the capitols.

    https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/chooseyourwords/capital-capitol/

  103. TOTEBAG COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT

    I don’t think I ever got a free drink

    TOTEBAG BOASTS OF THE WEEK

    I have A LOT of hair

    TOTEBAG DEPARTMENT OF TOO MUCH INFORMATION

    I do not know what lesbians do.

    THE TOTEBAG HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT WANTS *YOU!* TO BE ALERT FOR:

    Determinate and indeterminate tomatoes

  104. My son didn’t learn the ABCs until somewhere around 5th or 6th grade, when they had to put things in alphabetical order. I can tell you all the countries and capitals in Africa and most of the rest of the world too, but I never sat down to memorize them. It’s probably safe to say to we are outliers when it comes to things we memorize.

  105. RMS – you get the Golden Totebag of the week ! No, you get the dreaded SCUMMER (not summer or hummer (as in sings) convertible.

  106. RMS, this needs to be a weekly feature.

    I’m considering it. Contributions of wine are both necessary and sufficient.

  107. “I do not know what lesbians do.”

    The question was really more about how anything would get done in a household headed by 2 women if they both participate in a Day Without Women.

    OTOH, I don’t know what they’ll do in that situation either.

    BTW, on the topic of Totebag boasts, how do like the new car?

  108. I hate sweating while I am drying my hair.

    I don’t sweat. I think there is something wrong with my internal body temperature, but I am almost never, ever hot. And even if I perceive it is hot, I do not find it uncomfortable at all. Even when running outside I don’t get hot (unless I’ve really overdressed), and I still don’t get sweaty and flushed.

    But I am so, so cold if the temperature dips below 80, and uncomfortably so. Goosebumps, shivers, want a blanket on my lap.

    RMS, that is so awesome. But I missed the lesbian comment. Clearly I don’t read closely enough.

  109. The question was really more about how anything would get done in a household headed by 2 women if they both participate in a Day Without Women.

    Finn, you deserve your own category.

    Lark, it was on the political thread. But don’t go over there just for that. Mercy.

  110. Lark, it sounds like you’re not well insulated and your body dissipates heat quickly, largely independent of the ambient temperature.

  111. The 10 pm start time for The Americans is crazy. Just saying.

    It’s on at 8 here :) Record it and watch it tomorrow.

  112. BTW Lark, be thankful. You can always layer more clothes to stay warm. Those of us who get hot can only remove so much.

  113. MiaMama: I recently bought this book. Every single even number page is a blank multiplication table to fill out https://www.amazon.com/Multiplication-Games-Logic-Yourself-Homeschooling/dp/1514895161/ref=pd_sim_14_15?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1514895161&pd_rd_r=JH9MT10Z15FMXHYSXAE4&pd_rd_w=jMZ0x&pd_rd_wg=8Ou0K&psc=1&refRID=JH9MT10Z15FMXHYSXAE4

    One snowflake is working her way through it. Looking at the table and finding the patterns in it is fun for her. I have her go through and “read” the table to me sometimes – 6×8 is 48, etc. It is a different form of drill and kill. I don’t know that it addresses your larger problem, but maybe this works on part of it.

  114. Lark – has your dr tested for hypothyroid and Raynaud’s? I am hypothyroid and thus always cold.

  115. Thanks for all of the math recommendations – I knew this would be just the group to help out. I have been doing some searching online for local testing and it is amazing how little there is on math difficulties. Lots of options for difficulties reading. I should have caught this earlier just based on the consistent disparity in standardized test scores for math versus reading. I will definitely work with the tutor to try different concepts to get math to sink in – I think the singing and counting of physical objects will help a lot. So far, the only testing specifically related to dyscalculia that I have found is an online test.

  116. @ L – no, I’ve not been tested. I try to have as few encounters with actually being a patient as possible.

  117. Mia, the comprehensive testing we had done for both kids when I suspected learning issues included math components, because I recall the results discussing their math fluency scores. I’d call one of the testing places you found and talk to someone about your concerns. They should be able to discuss what testing you would need.

  118. it is amazing how little there is on math difficulties.

    I wonder why that is. I assume it’s because teachers tend to be weak in math anyway so they view a weakness in math as less serious. Also, if you’re weak in math you can still go to college and have a decent career but if you can’t read you’ll end up homeless.

  119. Rhett, how does that fit with the worship of calculus?

    “Those of us who get hot can only remove so much”
    Yeah, then you’re not just hot, you’re hawt.

  120. Rhett, how does that fit with the worship of calculus?

    I’ll refer to DD and his ongoing critique of the totebag calculus worship but you can still live a decent without it.

  121. tangentially related to calculus:

    DS3 asks me almost daily “did you use geometry or algebra today?” And he means in the solving of some kind of math problem sense, not the just-using-common-sense like walking the hypotenuse (e.g. across a lawn vs walking to the corner and turning).

  122. Fred, math is good for more than just solving math problems. It teaches systematic thinking and logic skills.

  123. Doing math problems taught me patience. I am not one of the people to whom the answer is obvious, I have to go step by step and sometimes write out/draw to make sure I understand the question. OTOH, I rarely get things wrong with this approach.
    My kids get very impatient with this. They are better at Math than I was at their ages.

  124. I’ll refer to DD and his ongoing critique of the totebag calculus worship but you can still live a decent without it.

    Thanks :) To answer S&M’s question, IME the obsession with the calculus track is limited to the totebag demographic. Most teachers are not in the totebag demo, so they do not grasp the importance of getting onto the calculus track starting in third grade, and how failing to do so will doom a student to attending directional state U and the resulting limited career options.

    In all seriousness, I think Rhett pretty much nailed it at 8:55.

  125. The lack of focus on math in some schools is due to an attitude about math in this country. If you are educated in other countries, there is an emphasis on reading and math. It would be unacceptable in the US to say to a child, ” I struggled with reading, so don’t worry if you don’t know how to read”. On the other hand, some parents in the US, would find it acceptable to make that same statement about math. The attitude continues to be, don’t worry about it because I struggled too. There would need to be a change from the parents and the schools to place the same importance on learning math as they do with reading. Also, funding isn’t available for kids that struggle with math in many districts. My district has reading specialists and kids get pulled out for reading from k -6 if they are a struggling reader. There is no similar program for kids that aren’t on grade level in math. Parents have to pay tutors if there kid can’t keep up in math, and that isn’t an affordable option for many families across the US.

  126. Count me in on calculus worship! Really, it is important to be able to write succinctly and understand how to approach a problem to be successful in many fields. I used to hate the word problem emphasis in elementary math and finally realized that most of the data I am looking at and using to evaluate deals every day is like a giant word problem. Understanding order of operations and logic is important for creating good formulas in excel. My excel skills have been helpful in going through large amounts of data arranged in cluster(*#& fashion for a non-profit that I am volunteering with. In looking at my son’s worrisome math scores, it is not lost on me that he is still performing above average for the state, where the bar to pass exams is about a 40% average. The expectation for our school district is for the average score to be at the “commended” level on state tests. First world problems for sure!

  127. On the other hand, some parents in the US, would find it acceptable to make that same statement about math

    Because it’s true.

  128. Genuine question. Why must our kids take calculus in high school? I took it as a college freshman. Why do we have to push for the fast track to take it in 12th grade? Isn’t there an argument that kids will be stronger in math if they go just a bit slower?

  129. “the obsession with the calculus track is limited to the totebag”

    True!

    But I don’t agree that making “that statement” about math is ok.

  130. I don’t think I’d push my kids to take calculus at all if their interests lay in other areas. I think statistics is far more useful. To me, the fun of calculus in high school was that’s where my friends were. Math class involved math but it also involved socializing and joking with similar people compared with, say, 9th grade social studies, where I was partnered with a 5th year senior taking the class for the 5th time.

    I remember one conversation where we annoyed the substitute with a long conversation about why Euler and Euclid had the “Eu” pronounced differently. I now know enough about Greek and German to know the answer.

  131. Lark – it probably should not be the standard expectation in all honesty. The average American student won’t need it and I would prefer that they be very “fluent” in a broad spectrum of math concepts and ready for calculus. A strong logic course might be more useful for students. The question I have is whether students will be exposed to higher level concepts and truly be ready to start a college calculus course freshman year. My college accepted my AP/IB credit and I never took math in college.

  132. The math I use daily is algebra and basic order of operations taught in 5th/6th grade.

  133. Lark, I’ve wondered the same thing. I went to a top 10 engineering school, and probably half the students hadn’t taken calculus in HS. Granted this was 30 years ago, but have things changed that much that you couldn’t get into a top engineering program today without having taken calculus?

  134. I also find it interesting that nobody here stresses out about their kids getting on the AP English track.

  135. Why must our kids take calculus in high school? I took it as a college freshman. Why do we have to push for the fast track to take it in 12th grade? Isn’t there an argument that kids will be stronger in math if they go just a bit slower?

    1. Because when they go to college, they will be in class with other students who have taken AP Calc. If they haven’t had the exposure they will be in a freshman class learning new stuff, graded on curve with students who are reviewing the material.
    2. Because if they are able and willing to take calculus, and they go on the slower track, they may well be bored. In my experience, bored kids either a) think something is wrong with them, or b) come up with ways to entertain themselves. This generally results in parental visits with the principal.
    3. Going slower can mean just going slower,not deeper or stronger. Just learning less.

  136. DD,

    English isn’t as sequential, and humans are hardwired to learn language. In most totebagger households, people converse (a lot!) in English, not so much in math. So, it likely takes more effort to learn to read and speak math, than to learn and speak English.

  137. You don’t take English to learn to speak English. You take it to read great literature and have a deeper understanding of the world. And learning to write coherently is NOT something most people can do. Yet it’s an everyday office skill.

  138. Actually, she said incoherently, people can learn to write coherently. But they don’t usually do so without being forced. Sigh. Sorry for the muddled comment.

  139. I didn’t take calculus until college, and I came out fine.

    But in a lot of schools, it’s a matter of peer group. Kids not on the calculus track are also likely not grouped with many kids who place a high value on academic achievement, and are more likely to have slackers for peers.

    If the highest track isn’t a calculus track (BITD that was the case at my HS), then it’s not as big a deal.

    For kids who major in engineering, it’s difficult to graduate in 4 years without having taken some calculus in HS, raising the cost of college.

  140. I am of the opinion that one of the greatest disservices we are doing to most students is the way in which we are rushing math. If you kid is a Mathy McMathleton or Sharon McScience then ignore this post. Math is such a cumulative subject and I think for most kids it should be like building a house. Teaching each part, making sure it is solid before adding on top. There are a lot of kids who just kind of get carried along doing well enough until they get to high school and it all catches up with them. I think I’ve posted this here before but STEM isn’t for everyone any more than English or dance or business is for everyone. There are a lot of people putting all their child’s educational eggs into a STEM basket who are going to be sorely disappointed. If you are not a STEM person you will not likely be very successful at STEM. I predict that we are going to end up with a glut of marginally qualified STEM people much like we saw with computer scientists in the 90s. In my district the “soft sciences” and the arts are being pushed aside by this hyper focus on STEM. You need both. You need someone who can invent the invention or build the program and then you need someone who can make it intuitive, make it attractive, make it appealing to the end user. You need someone who can explain complex scientific topics to non-scientific people. I feel like so much of what we are doing as a country is fear based. We are educating our children out of the fear that we will be surpassed by China. We are constructing our social policies out of fear of people that are different than we are even in the absence of any data suggesting it is rational. There is no golden ticket for your kid. No one thing they can do or study that will ensure that they have a prosperous, rewarding, happy life. Help them find their way. Help them be the best at what they are the best at. Anything else is no different than day trading.

  141. 1. Because when they go to college, they will be in class with other students who have taken AP Calc. If they haven’t had the exposure they will be in a freshman class learning new stuff, graded on curve with students who are reviewing the material.

    Won’t the students who took AP calc be in a higher level class? Again, it was 30 years ago, but that’s how it worked back then. There was introductory calculus, and if you had a 2 or higher on the AP test, you skipped it and went right into second semester calc.

    English isn’t as sequential, and humans are hardwired to learn language. In most totebagger households, people converse (a lot!) in English, not so much in math. So, it likely takes more effort to learn to read and speak math, than to learn and speak English.

    But that’s has nothing to do with the calculus track pressure. Per your comment above, it’s so they will be better positioned in college. So wouldn’t students who have taken AP English be better off in college than the ones who took regular English?

  142. “IME the obsession with the calculus track is limited to the totebag demographic. Most teachers are not in the totebag demo, so they do not grasp the importance of getting onto the calculus track starting in third grade, and how failing to do so will doom a student to attending directional state U and the resulting limited career options.”

    This reminds me of my recent meeting with DD’s guidance counselor, who was practically falling all over herself saying what a fabulous student DD is and how well she’s doing. And I’m thinking “she’s got 3 Bs, whatchoutalkinbout?” :-) A good reminder of my own personal academic bubble.

    @Lark: I *wish* we had calculus in 12th grade — here the advanced track has it in 11th, with AP Statistics in 12th. Junior year = 2 classes/day of math, + 2 classes/day of engineering, + AP Physics (plus, of course, mandatory English and history, neither of which she cares about, but which are of course also AP) — she only has time for one real “fun” course (band). But I finally realized that they frontload everything into junior year because the top tier of kids all now apply early decision, so all the colleges see is junior year grades and what the kids have enrolled for fall term of senior year. So, basically, if she does well, she’ll have a killer transcript to present by fall of senior year — and then mostly a gut year from then on (especially spring semester, because two of the required classes — stats and economics — are fall semester only).

    I also total agree with Rocky. It is sort of ridiculous how poorly many people write, even well-educated ones. I wish it were emphasized more, along with logic and Latin. I don’t talk much about that here only because my kids are totally STEM-focused. DD is one of those for whom writing a comprehensible essay is like pulling teeth; DS, OTOH, has an intuitive knack for telling a story — he gets the melody of language and how to spin a narrative — but is currently completely fixated on doing Something With Robots. I still hope I can convince him to go liberal arts for undergrad at least, but we’ll see.

  143. Won’t the students who took AP calc be in a higher level class? Again, it was 30 years ago, but that’s how it worked back then. There was introductory calculus, and if you had a 2 or higher on the AP test, you skipped it and went right into second semester calc.

    Not in my daughter’s experience. She didn’t take AP Calc, went for AP Stats, and then ended up her freshman semester taking a number of classes for the first time with classmates who had taken the AP version of the class with her. At orientation, we were warned about this from another student who said that her prof generally prefaced new concepts with, “as you saw in AP calc”

    So wouldn’t students who have taken AP English be better off in college than the ones who took regular English?

    If they take introductory English they would be. DD passed out of her English requirement through AP and she didn’t take freshmen English.

    From what we’ve learned this year, a common strategy is to take the college version of whatever AP classes you’ve had. Both to boost your GPA, and to make the first semester transition to college easier.

  144. Both to boost your GPA, and to make the first semester transition to college easier.

    Because if they are able and willing to take calculus, and they go on the slower track, they may well be bored.

    A bit of a contradiction I would say.

  145. “she’s got 3 Bs, whatchoutalkinbout?”

    Ha! I’ve been there :) In the office of the MS AP for discipline, who had no idea who he was & pulled up his record to see. She said “hm, he’s a good student” and I actually contradicted her. Out loud.

    And I want mine to keep his options open too. People on here are all about the STEM, but it’s language arts & social studies where the As just happen, even while he’s bored. He also reads aloud/presents well. One day those abilities might land on something that interests him, and it’ll be off to the races! Otoh, if he gets traction in STEM, that’s great.

  146. Ditto to Rhett. BITD, the only people who took calculus over in college were the people who really didn’t understand it the first time.

  147. “Junior year = 2 classes/day of math, + 2 classes/day of engineering, + AP Physics (plus, of course, mandatory English and history, neither of which she cares about, but which are of course also AP)”

    And there’s only 3 B’s with that class load – that’s a really difficult schedule. I think the praise was warranted! Wow. My children will not be loading up on AP classes like that unless they are internally driven to do so….which so far, seems like a no. So far I think I have a future comedian/comic book author and a biologist in my household.

  148. “Because if they are able and willing to take calculus, and they go on the slower track, they may well be bored. In my experience, bored kids either a) think something is wrong with them, or b) come up with ways to entertain themselves. This generally results in parental visits with the principal.”

    To me, this is the only reason for my kid. And frankly, I’m not sure if I care if he ever takes calculus, I just care that he doesn’t get bored in the subject that comes easily to him. Especially at this young age. If he speeds through the math he needs to get into State Flagship by sophomore year & wants to take art instead, that’s fine with me. But I don’t care about the HSS school race much either.

    BITD, rather than taking the HS Calc class which was 2 semesters, I took Calc 1 at the local 4-year college via the state dual credit program fall semester senior year and used the same time block the following semester to take Macroeconomics which I liked much better. We had the dual credit option vs. AP – which honestly worked out much better as I had easily transferable college credit rather than an AP test score. I used Calc in a few of my Economics major classes, but I have never, ever used it on the job. I mostly use order of operations and algebra like the previous poster, with some Financial calcs mixed in (Present Value/IRR, etc)

    Calc wasn’t required to graduate at my college as part of Gen Ed. You could take PreCalc, Elementary Stats, or another general math class to fulfill the math requirement. Even if you took Calc in HS, you’d have to take another math class unless you got college credit for it (like I did).

  149. @Mia — Alas, that is next year’s schedule, and the Bs are this year’s. :-) Which is precisely why I was meeting with the guidance counselor in the first place — to make damn sure this ridiculous schedule wasn’t going to be too much for her and investigate bailout options if she loses it halfway through the semester. The biggest problem is that the English/History are mandatory but stuff she doesn’t care about; all of the hard math/science is optional but stuff she really wants to do. So she is insistent on taking it all. And the counselor thinks she can do it, so we’ll see.

    Back in my day (a/k/a the Paleolithic), my college didn’t accept AP scores for credit, but they did allow you to place out of the intro courses. I honestly think most kids today take all the hard classes for two reasons:

    1. Signaling/It’s What’s Expected. The kids have definitely have gotten the message that they need to take as many hard classes as possible to get into a good college (whether that is true or not). So no one questions anything, it’s just What You Do.

    2. GPA. Our school uses “quality points” to give more weight to harder classes — regular classes max out at 4.0, honors at 5.0, and AP at 6.0. So if you are looking for class rank for a better college application, there is a real incentive to take as many AP classes as you can. I know some people use the dual enrollment option at the local CC to help with this, too — apparently, the CC classes give you the same quality points as the AP classes, so some kids are taking classes through the CC where the HS doesn’t offer an AP version, so they get the extra quality point factored into their GPA. Not us, mind you — DD’s schedule already looks complicated enough next year without adding in a commute to/from the CC — but the guidance counselor definitely suggested we should look at that (hahahahaha).

    I will say the dual enrollment is a great idea — they can take up to 4 CC classes tuition free, with guaranteed transfer if they go into the U Md system. That can really help a lot of kids. We are looking at it for more miscellaneous stuff — e.g., there’s a mandatory one-semester health class that seems like a waste of space and is apparently a totally crappy class, so she may do that online over the summer through the CC (like, apparently, everyone else). And since she has to drop Spanish next year, we might have her do the dual enrollment over the summer at the CC as a refresher so she can jump back in her senior year — she really doesn’t want to give up Spanish permanently.

  150. Mia and Ivy, thanks for your comments. I’ve always said that the learning and being happy about it were most important to me, but putting it in action can be challenging. Pushing him to take a course or achieve anything he’s not into is like pushing a piece of string, and if I had any back-of-my-mind fantasies about HSSs, they’re gone now. I’ve always sort of looked down on being motivated by GPA, but now I wish he cared just a bit more about grades. His teachers see intellectual potential, but that hunger that LfB’s daughter has just isn’t there, so I have to trust that he’s a good kid and will find his niche.

  151. “Just a bit more”. What was I thinking? I wish he cared just a bit. He doesn’t like getting anything but 100% but danged if that does any good when it’s time to get an early start! At that moment, it’s all about the (lacking) intrinsic desire.

  152. “I honestly think most kids today take all the hard classes for two reasons:”

    A third reason that sometimes applies is peer pressure, and appearances. Some kids have part of their identity tied up in being part of the AP/Honors track.

  153. “Won’t the students who took AP calc be in a higher level class? Again, it was 30 years ago, but that’s how it worked back then. ”

    I think things have changed in those 30 years.

    There’s a trend away from accepting AP credits. Some colleges just don’t accept them; others have raised the bar (e.g., only 4s and 5s), and others let you place out of classes (often with the high bar) but don’t give credit.

    I believe re-taking the same class in college is especially common at colleges that do not give credit. Obviously it’s going to happen at the colleges that just don’t accept AP credits, but at the ones that let kids place out but don’t give credit, many kids don’t see the point, and some also see it as an easy class.

    Over in CC, I’ve seen a lot of 2017 parents indicating their kids will retake AP classes.

    DS’ safety school does not accept AP credits, but allows students to place out of those classes. If he attends there, DS has no intention of retaking his AP classes; he sees it as an opportunity to take more electives, or perhaps take a minor.

  154. SM, are you planning to put Saac into any summer programs?

    From what you’ve posted here, my impression is that he’s not found his passion yet, or an appropriate peer group. Perhaps a summer program for gifted kids would help with that, and he’s still young enough where he could try multiple programs.

    My brother spent a HS summer in a NSF-sponsored math program. He enjoyed that summer, which was a rare opportunity to spend a lot of time with academic peers, and it really helped clarify his college and career paths.

  155. LfB, every college to which DS applied asked not just for transcripts through junior year, but also for class lists for senior year and mid-year reports. His safety also requires final grades for senior year.

  156. I am surprised that some of you think that math isn’t important. I completely understand why reading is more important, but math is important and excuses should just be made to kids that they can’t learn it. I am not talking about pre calc/calc….just simple math including some algebra and geometry. Many jobs require more than basic math. My contractors and their workers used geometry, fractions etc in my house everyday to make sure that things fit, or were installed properly. When a subfloor is 1/2 inch lower in one part of the room, they had to use math to fix the problem. When I renovated all of those bathrooms in my home, it was necessary for almost every person involved to know more than basic math. This included the person that helped me int he plumbing store, the person that designed the layout of the room, the plumber that figured out the measurements for pipes, the contractor that determined the right slope of the pipes under the floor to insure the water would drain etc. When the tile guy laid out my tile, he did some pretty complex math using fractions in chalk on my driveway. The people that helped me in stores with designs and spacing issues didn’t always turn to a computer for help. The plumber, electricians, etc etc….they all use math too.

    Most of the places that I have worked require advanced math skills. The big banks obviously have systems and lots of software, but you need more than arithmetic to understand how to build even simple models in Excel or similar to complete projects. If I am sitting in a meeting with client, and we are talking about pricing or spread, I can’t just say that I have to run out to my desk to use a computer because I don’t know how to calculate certain margins etc. Even the attorneys that worked on bond deals with us had to understand some complicated pricing issues.

    I can’t stand when you pay cash in a store, and the cashier needs the cash register to determine how much change to give because they can’t do the simple arithmetic.

    If you look at the jobs with the expected growth over the next ten years, many of these jobs require a good understanding of math. Every problem can’t just be simply solved on an i phone calculator.

  157. I agree with Lauren about the value of math skills in many types of jobs. Sure, your great communication skills are an advantage in most jobs, but math is a requisite or can help you stand out in many jobs. Of course, it’s not necessarily calculus but algebra and stats are often important.

  158. I can’t stand when you pay cash in a store, and the cashier needs the cash register to determine how much change to give because they can’t do the simple arithmetic.

    It’s probably store policy that they ring everything up through the registers and give the change indicated by the register. But if they give you a weird look or try to tell you, “No, your total was less than that” when you hand over say $21.03 for a $15.53 purchase, then ok, fair enough to make that assumption.

  159. @Finn — right. They will know what she signs up for fall semester of senior year, and I am assuming that acceptance is conditional upon successful completion of the entire senior year. But it seems that they have moved the bulk of the hard classes up to junior year, with the remaining few that matter in the fall of senior year, specifically so that the kids can have as many hard classes as possible on the resume at the time the initial admission decision is made. Which, I think, is why they have AP Stats in the fall of senior year and not the spring, for ex., so the schools can at least see you are taking it; and, conversely, why the spring is larded with fluffy classes. I mean, it’s not like they will withdraw an admit because you took health and home ec spring of your senior year instead of some advanced dual enrollment course at the CC.

    IMD(tm), I would have had to double up in math and drop an elective junior year to take calc senior year. At the time, almost no one did that (I sure didn’t). Now my DD is doubling up on math as a sophomore, so that she can double up on calc as a junior. AND she will be doubling up on her engineering “elective” next year as well (one of which counts the same as an AP class). Then senior year is 1 semester (fall) of math and one year-long engineering project. The only way that structure makes sense is if they want kids to be able to put their final grades and AP scores, for as many tough classes as possible, in the applications they submit in the fall of senior year.

  160. I don’t think of math after geometry as an end in itself, but as one of many parts of a complete college prep education. (Like Latin.) Obviously, some are not going to get to calculus or Virgil. As I have mentioned before, calculus wasn’t offered in my high school. I took it in college. My child who majored in Classics got a lot of pushback from the high school when she did up her schedule for senior year with Latin, Greek, English (those three expected), Calc B/C and Physics. The teachers of the last two wondered why she was in their classes. It was a combination of not wanting to be bored and considering Physics and Calculus as parts of a full meal – items she would be unlikely to have a chance to take in college as electives.

  161. I am surprised that some of you think that math isn’t important.

    No one is saying it’s not important it’s just less important than knowing how to read. There are many careers open to those who are bad at math. There are almost no careers open to those who can’t read.

  162. “I am surprised that some of you think that math isn’t important. I completely understand why reading is more important, but math is important and excuses should just be made to kids that they can’t learn it. I am not talking about pre calc/calc….just simple math including some algebra and geometry. ”

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that I think that math is unimportant. I think it is really important for a variety of reasons. I do not think that Calculus is necessary for all, and I definitely don’t think completing Calculus in HS is important to most.

  163. @Lauren – I would also consider the things that you describe your contractors doing as “basic math” in the sense that it would be covered in grade school for most. And Rhett’s theoretical VP @ 5th 3rd Bank certainly needs math/excel/logic skills, but whether or not they took Calculus in 10th grade or took the lowest level intro class at Directional State U.

  164. I love hearing everyone’s take on this. Pseudonym seems to approach it as if a high school student has so much extra bandwidth they’ll be bored if they aren’t taking the most challenging classes. Yet a few months later, a college freshman will have all they can do to adjust to the change and review material they’ve already covered in high school.

    My take would be that high school is the hard part and college is the easy part so one should err on the side of leaving a little slack in the system during high school. YMMV, clown college, etc. obviously….

  165. Is being educated as an end in itself becoming anachronistic? Or was that only in certain social circles, from which most of us (definitely not I) do not have lineage.

  166. I agree mostly with Ivy’s 3:39 post with the caveat that learning those skills for the first time in grade school does not enable one to move fluidly from one form to another, or to do the calculations in an offhandedly kind of way while focus on the main thing elsewhere.

    Relying on the register to tell them the amount of change, including HM’s $.50 example, is a pet peeve of mine. We learned to count out change starting with pennies and moving up : $3.31 (amount due) 32, 33, 34, 35, 40, 50, 75, $4, 5, 10 (amount given) Get those darn kids off my lawn!

  167. Is perhaps calculus being used in many cases (e.g., those who don’t need to understand physics as part of their jobs) as a proxy for cognitive ability and grit?

  168. Is perhaps calculus being used in many cases (e.g., those who don’t need to understand physics as part of their jobs) as a proxy for cognitive ability and grit?

    Only if you want to piss off the humanities majors who put a fair amount of cognitive ability and grit into their classes.

  169. I don’t think calculus is a proxy for cognitive ability. I think math develops those abilities. People use “do. the math” to point out all sorts of illogic, but honestly, if you’ve at least done some proofs in math, you should be able to reason more clearly, including on things with no numbers in them at all

  170. “Pseudonym seems to approach it as if a high school student has so much extra bandwidth they’ll be bored if they aren’t taking the most challenging classes. Yet a few months later, a college freshman will have all they can do to adjust to the change and review material they’ve already covered in high school.”

    Well, IME, Pseudonym is dead-bang on. HS was boring as dirt to me, except for one or two classes. I was smart and quirky and off-center and thought differently than everyone around me and so was frequently made to feel stupid because I stapled the TPS report diagonally. And most of the classes were slow, because they were designed so everyone could keep up. I *needed* the challenging classes to keep my mind from wandering off to Planet Zuton all. the. time.

    Then I went to college and was immediately, for the first time ever, surrounded by my tribe — all of a sudden, everyone was *like me*, all smart, mostly quirky. And the classes were designed for people who were just as smart as I was! The professors expected you to engage, delve deeper, rework/redo, keep up with a massive reading load, do problem sets for every class (and the answers weren’t even in the back of the book!). And I actually had to work! I didn’t intuit all the answers first try! My first paper in my writing seminar actually had red pencil all over it! Holy crap!

    I kinda got shot out of the water a little bit, at least in my own head (this is when I panicked and took calc pass/fail at the last minute, because I thought I was going to scrape by with a C at best even after studying harder than I ever had, and I didn’t find out until later than my 80 on the first test was a solid A).

    Obviously, YMMV. But if you are hoping your kid goes to a SLAC, or an honors program somewhere, then by definition you are planning for your kid to be surrounded by a bunch of other kids who are just as smart as s/he is — meaning it is also very likely that your kid will be challenged like s/he never has been before. Kids in that situation can rise to the challenge or crash and burn — and no one likes to see their kids crash and burn.

    So, yeah, I can totally see wanting to have a few classes be familiar to ease that transition freshman year.

  171. Pseudonym, am I correct in my understanding that your oldest went to the school which can be anagrammed as Steam Ax? Didn’t you say she felt unprepared? How would you advise her if you knew then what you know now?

  172. Then I went to college and was immediately, for the first time ever, surrounded by my tribe

    I so wish my life had gone that way. My tribe surrounded me in high school — all the brilliant kids of the Stanford faculty and of the nascent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. College was a huge let-down.

  173. @lauren, I don’t think math is unimportant but it isn’t the be all end all and high level math isn’t and shouldn’t be for everyone any more than being able to write beautifully is. and @finn I am one of the few who still believes there is immense value in being properly educated on all fronts, that is education for the sake of education. I think it makes you smarter, more adaptable and it makes life richer. But I know in this day and age there are a lot of people who cannot imagine studying something that doesn’t directly correlate to a job or a dollar value (e.g, Art History)

  174. “Then I went to college and was immediately, for the first time ever, surrounded by my tribe — all of a sudden, everyone was *like me*, all smart, mostly quirky.”

    SM, this is along the lines of what it think (hope) your DS will experience.

  175. Finn, yep, that’s the plan/hope.

    I completely agree with Moxie on education being valuable for more than just the $$ it brings in.

    “I *needed* the challenging classes to keep my mind from wandering off to Planet Zuton all. the. time.” My word, does that sound like your “ADD bunny” daughter who’s taking a massive load of classes next year or what?

  176. I’m in the Rhett 3:54 comment camp. But I’m also willing to admit there may be some secret sauce here I don’t know about.

  177. Yeah, but there is “having challenging classes” and then there is “having so much work that your head explodes”.

  178. “all the brilliant kids of the Stanford faculty and of the nascent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.”

    Holy shit, Batman. Now that’s a high bar.

    Let’s just say that the B’Mer ‘burbs were in a different, umm, universe.

    @Finn: I believe in education for education’s sake — part of the reason I fully intend to pay for SLACs if they get in and want to go. But one of the things I have learned from this board is that that way of thinking is really a privilege. So I think I pontificate about it a little less now than I used to.

  179. “My word, does that sound like your “ADD bunny” daughter who’s taking a massive load of classes next year or what?” Yes. Apple, meet tree.

    “I’m in the Rhett 3:54 comment camp. But I’m also willing to admit there may be some secret sauce here I don’t know about.”

    Don’t think there’s a secret sauce. Just different sauces for different kids. Important thing is to try to figure out which sauce suits your particular kid.

  180. Moxie – I agree with you that learning for fun/learning’s sake is still a goal, and that’s part of why I loved going to a LAC and getting to take lots of interesting electives like Art History and Photography and French Literature. It’s also why I still have museum memberships, read about history, listen to educational podcasts, practice my French on Duolingo and do all kinds of things that aren’t purely entertaining that don’t do anything to help my economic or career position. But I don’t think Calculus is necessary for a person to be “well-educated” either. YMMV.

    I’m kind of with Rhett, but I don’t have any recent experience. For me, college was the same difficulty as HS, but with more independence including the ability to skip class at will that I did not always manage well.

    We are always hearing here how unbelievably stressed Totebag HS kids are – immense pressure, full load of AP classes, suicide pockets in PA, etc. I went to a HS recruiting open house at my kid’s school (yes, he’s in the 3rd grade, but I hang out on the Totebag – shut up), and they were going on & on about how much competitive pressure there is in their schools (as a GOOD thing) and how the kids go to college (even HSS because OF COURSE that is the goal), and they find it “easy” compared to the Totebag test-in/private HS. If I can use uneducated language – that’s f’ed up.

  181. Lots of ways of thinking are privileges. I realize that. But just as I think the point is not that white people should come to expect shitty treatment the way many black people do, but that everyone should be treated so decently that black people expect to be treated as well as middle-class white people expect for themselves, I don’t think it’s healthy to denigrate a way of thinking about learning that you weren’t privileged to have. There may be some value in it, even if you cannot expand your personal value system to have happy, feel-good vibes about it. As we mentioned recently in discussing whether the point of professional school is always making money, there are ways in which typically money-making careers can be and are used to benefit people who couldn’t afford the services, or broader life in general. I know you say the EPA is a mess. I believe you. But compared to smog levels in the 70s, burning rivers. and college-age me taking part in a demo just to get the govt to admit there were nukes at what is now a superfund site, I’m glad that some lawyers chose to go that way. Given that shit rolls down hill and the unhealthy effects of environmental degradation do not accrue to the people with the privelege to have lofty goals of “saving the trees”, it’s pretty short-sighted for those who don’t have that privelege/do. get shit rolling down from above to stomp on those values.

  182. Ivy – I;m with you on the calculus. I never got past Algebra 2 and that was plenty.

    I will have two HS kids next year and the AP rules are and have always been – Take AP if:

    It comes easily to you OR
    You are super into the subject matter.

    Under no circumstances are you allowed to take an AP just because you feel like you have to. It is nonsense. High school should stay high school. I don’t want them chasing imaginary academic rabbits with no real sense of purpose except maybe some school they only know in name and I won’t have them running themselves into the ground. It serves no purpose. They need to know about how to balance life. They need to sleep for god’s sake. I am speaking of my kids. Other people’s children may really like doing that and have an easier time in school than my kids do but it isn’t everyone. My dad always said – “run your own race” and it has always served me well.

  183. “But I don’t think Calculus is necessary for a person to be “well-educated” either.”

    But without calculus, how can you understand physics, and without physics, how do you understand how things work?

    “YMMV”

    Yeah, I know very little about art history.

  184. Rocky,

    You are correct. I would have had her take a different major entirely to begin with, because she was so far coming in from her high school that she couldn’t catch up. I would have made sure she took a math class at the community college either during her senior year or the summer before college. I would have made sure that she was taking some literature type course (e.g. Shakespeare) her first semester. And if I could really do things over, I would have listened to the the parent who told me in eighth grade to send her to a different high school.

  185. @Finn, you can understand the basics of physics enough to appreciate it. I don’t have to know how Vermeer made the colors he made to appreciate his beautiful paintings.

  186. Sorry, SM, not following that recent post. I said I had recognized that “education for education’s sake” is a privilege not to try to shut down conversation or criticize anyone, but instead because DH and I make sufficient money that I can afford to offer that to my kids. So it is easy for me to pontificate about the value of a LA education and well-rounded student, lalala, because my kids will always have that option open to them. And since I was raised by a college prof who literally would have mortgaged the house to send me to the HSS of my choice, it never occurred to me that there was any other way of thinking about it. But talking here it is clear that a lot of equally smart people see education as a tool, as a stepping stone into a career that will provide a decent foothold into the MC or UMC. And that if you’re the first generation to send your kid to college, and you and he are taking out massive loans to fund this generational hope, then it might seem froo-froo to focus on the value of an education solely for itself, because you need your kid to get a good job to pay that money back and support himself.

    That’s what I meant — was speaking of my own biases. I still believe in the value of LA, btw, including for that kid in my example. But I am not going to pontificate about it as much, because it’s too easy for me to talk.

    Apologies for typos or nonsensical stuff — posting on phone, which I never do.

  187. “I would have had her take a different major entirely to begin with, because she was so far coming in from her high school that she couldn’t catch up.”

    I think for the major she chose and her HS experience, her choice of college was not a good match. Her test scores suggest she has the smarts for just about any major; it was her HS that failed to prepare her adequately.

    Entry into her college is extremely competitive (especially in state), and it attracts many of the top kids from top HS in state. She might have been better off in a college whose students’ preparation was closer to hers, perhaps a state college. After a year or two there, she would probably have the option to transfer into a more competitive program.

    I agree that some college classes during HS would’ve helped her better prepare. Summer classes might have worked well logisitcally.

    The good news is that her younger sibs can benefit from her experience.

  188. Great post, LfB. I will add that people who value education can value it either inside or outside school/college. Both my grandfathers were excellent students, and one planned to attend college until the Depression hit. He never got to go, but he read newspapers, books about science, magazines, etc. and was a well-informed person. The other grandfather was a machinist who invented new machine parts. Neither was “educated” in a formal sense.

  189. But without calculus, how can you understand physics, and without physics, how do you understand how things work?

    You take the non-calculus physics for liberal arts majors.

    I had the experience of being mostly bored in HS, then getting creamed in college. But it didn’t start until second semester. I coasted through the first semester (even without taking “review” classes), so I had a false sense of how easy things were going to continue to be.

    And why the heck is everyone here so paranoid about using the actual names of colleges they went to and their kids are going to or applying to? People give enough information so we know which schools they are, so why the paranoia about using the actual names?

    I’ll say it – I went to undergrad at Illinois.

  190. One side of my family is very knowledge for its own sake. That is my Dad’s side. They did have the money and were all well educated. Of his siblings only my Dad worked.
    My Mom’s side was the opposite. They didn’t have the money and though they encouraged education, it was seen as a path to a better life. My Mom decided to become a banker instead of continuing with her PhD. All my Mom’s siblings worked and are comfortably off.
    Two different approaches to education. My opinion is that money does give you the freedom of choice.

  191. Sorry I missed most of this thread.
    Last year, I read a fascinating book that challenged my previous belief that every reasonably bright college-bound student should be able to handle calculus. Damned if I can remember enough of the book title or author for Google to reveal, but his point was that most professionals, even engineers and other STEM types, don’t actually use calculus after they graduate, and that imposing stringent math requirements is responsible for most student failures.

    I still believe that calculus can be a means to an end even for liberal arts majors, in that it teaches you to think logically, but I had no idea that so many otherwise capable students struggle with math. Our university doesn’t “require” calculus, but the data sheet that admissions completes for each applicant includes a box indicating whether the student took that course, and the vast majority of our applicants from totebaggy schools are dutifully enrolled. Furthermore, if your school offers calculus and you don’t take it, you can’t get a “5” score for having taken the most rigorous course in all of the core subject areas, which could well doom your application. Based on what appears on CC threads, the applicants are getting the message.

    DH has been teaching college courses with a calc prerequisite for years, and in his experience the best students are those who took calculus at college, even if they had AP courses in high school.

  192. Laura, you nailed it, as usual. I’m just so sick of the recent trend of pointing out privelege as a way to shut discussion down victoriously. Privelege is not usually ill-gotten gain; being angry at someone because of it makes no sense. People who stay up until midnight completing a grant application, fly off to conferences, accept short assignments away from home without being interrupted by a toddler who can’t sleep, a call from a pancied babysitter or worrying about their child’s safety and security are priveleged over me trying to do those things, sure, but they aren’t doing it “at” me, and it’s not their fault that I chose poorly when I picked my kid’s dad. But I still read what they write and appreciate their critiques of my work.

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