Monday, July 19, 2010

Sa-Rah Finishes First Online School Year

Sa-Rah with Primitive Bicycle

Yesterday, our daughter Sa-Rah finished her first two semesters of online homeschooling and did well enough in this, her seventh-grade year, for us to take a modicum of pride in her achievement, so we went out last night to eat at Outback Steakhouse by way of celebration. The school that she 'attends' -- Keystone Middle School -- has worked her hard but in productive ways, especially teaching her some fundamentals of research and essay writing.

As evidence of a typical essay required by Keystone, here's a recent, short one that Sa-Rah wrote on 'forced' bicycle riding:
Reflection: Trying Something New
I can remember a time when I didn't want to do something, but ended up liking it, and still doing the thing regularly while maybe enjoying it the most in our family. Bike riding. Bike riding along the stream close to our apartment for hours and hours -- that was what I really didn't want to do. Especially, in the middle of the summer, biking would feel horrible because my body would become covered with sweat, and my T-shirt and pants would be sticking to my arms, legs, back, and almost everywhere! The sun gleaming its hot ray right over my head would burn my skin, and my hair would become burning hot, too! I always hated coming back home more than going, too. It seemed to take longer and it would look like our apartment was so far away. Of course, it would feel great after all that exercise drinking a cup of Coke or Gatorade, but I didn't think that was worth going through all that stickiness and heat.

I ended up liking it, though. Another annoying-sticky-hot-sweaty-thirsty day, and my dad wanted me to go bike riding with him. Of course, I said no, but that never worked, and it was a good thing it didn’t work then, because if I didn’t go biking then, I might never have come to love this great sport. Anyway, my dad and I rode our bikes along the stream, and went a little differently than usual. I was getting tired, but something made me not complain so much like other times, and finally, we reached a wonderland for bike riders.

There was a orange colored tent-like figure that had writings on it, saying something like 'Coke, Gatorade, Beer, Ra-men, pork, beef, fresh squid . . .' and it just kept going on! The place turned out to be a small restaurant for bikers who would bike along the streams. It had all kinds of drinks and foods that would cheer me up after all that hard exercise, and made me feel better. The food was great, too!

After experiencing that wonderland, I came to like bike riding with my family, and now also like it not only because of the eating, but mainly because of the exercise. I now like the heat and sweat and coolness that come after it.
Not bad for a bilingual thirteen-year-old kid whose better language is Korean, and with time -- five more years, to be precise -- Sa-Rah will have worked through the grammar errors and corrected them. I'll make sure of that. Her English teacher liked it, at any rate, and wrote:
"This is such a wonderful essay. I'm glad that you now enjoy bike riding. This is a great activity to stay healthy and active."
I guess that Sa-Rah's essay must have met the standards . . . even if there is room for improvement. But that's always true, isn't it?

By the way, I didn't have a recent photo of Sa-Rah with a bike, so I selected this relatively recent image of her with a young horse that belongs to my old high school math teacher and surveying boss, Mr. Jim Scott, whose Ozark farm she visited last summer, as some readers might recall.

Within a few days, Sa-Rah, En-Uk, and Sun-Ae will again be in the Ozarks, doubtless revisiting Mr. Scott's farm, so perhaps I'll soon have more such photos to post.

Maybe even one of a bicycle . . .

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At 10:53 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Congratulations to Sa-Rah! That was a very nicely written essay. I know some kids her age-- native English speakers, mind you-- who still can't even put a coherent paragraph together. Your daughter's going places.

At 10:57 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, and not just on a bicycle!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Sa-Rah. It seems like online homeschooling was a great choice for her.

"This is such a wonderful essay. I'm glad that you now enjoy bike riding. This is a great activity to stay healthy and active."

Hopefully Sa-Rah's teacher gave her more concrete feedback that you're not sharing with us to respect Sa-Rah's privacy and told Sa-Rah specifically what about the essay was great. I noticed that the essay used a lot of seasonal multisensory details to paint a picture in the reader's mind.


At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will most definitely take new pictures for this summer trip. I am not sure about a bycicle, though. Perhaps a motorcycle of Harley vintage can be located!
I am very pleased with the essay. I have graded hundreds and hundreds of such works over 20 years.
My favorite part of the composition was her description of the intractable parent!
We are looking forward to seeing all of you in a couple of weeks. Too bad that you are coming at such a cool, misty part of the summer!

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, the teacher in fact said nothing more than that. I, too, would have liked to know why.

Perhaps she was simply impressed. On other essays, this teacher made critical comments and was a tough, though fair, critic.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, you wouldn't know much about intractable parents, would you?

I have trouble believing that an Arkansas summer has a "cool, misty" part, but if you're not joking, my family and I will be very pleased with the weather lords.

Incidentally, Sun-Ae and the kids should arrive within a day.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you well know, the cool and misty phrase was just to make you smile! It is hot as hell is described and dry. However, as semantics go, I guess that we could consider the 89% humidity as some form of misty.
Intractable parent? Nah, my dad is a sweet, gentle soul with no exact opionions. Your memory must be failing you!!
Are you coming at a later date?

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, I'll arrive around the 7th of August.

Glad to hear that your father has no "exact opionions" . . . whatever those might be.

My memory has ever failed me . . . if I recall.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our family, an "exact" opinion is one in which the stater of said opinion is exactly RIGHT! My feeling is that an opinion is just one's way of thinking on a topic, and who's to say the rightness or wrongness of such.
However, last Thanksgiving, there was a Scott reunion(dad's family and Uncle Bob's, also) at mom and dad's house. I have come to the conclusion that all Scotts have been taught to state their opinion with such surety that exactness rang from the rafters!!

At 5:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Interesting, Jeanie, but just to be exact, what the heck is an "opionion" . . . some sort of onion?

Jeffery Hodges

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