Today has the somewhat melancholy distinction of being the last day that Jake & Sam will attend the same school at the same time.
Their separation in ages – four years – means that when Sam reaches middle school, Jake will be a sophomore in high school; when Sam reaches high school, Jake will (one assumes) be a freshman in college; and when Sam reaches college, Jake will have graduated the previous (academic) year.
I’m trying not to think about college.
Jake & Sam will have their last day of school together, followed by a fairly busy summer; then, at summer’s end, attend their separate schools.
Jake’s summer will run about a month longer than Sam’s. I can hear the protests now: “It’s not fair!”
I’ve been seeing some chatter lately about this video:
…in which Isaac Asimov talks (in 1989!) about computers, the internet, and their effect on education.
Watching the video, I thought: Yes, this is the future we were taught by science fiction to expect.
The reality of it, though, is that Jake & Sam use their computers & high-speed internet connection largely to watch YouTube videos of other people playing computer games. (When they ask to buy the games, I say: “You’ve watched the whole thing already, on YouTube. What’s the point?”)
Jake was in the other room, watching YouTube videos on the iMac. I was sitting at the kitchen table, pecking away at the Macbook. I was thinking of the OS X text-to-speech system – i.e., trying to remember whether it really has one – when I stumbled across the following:
say - Convert text to audible speech
This tool uses the Speech Synthesis manager to convert input
text to audible speech and either play it through the sound
output device chosen in System Preferences or save it to an
And I wondered what would happen if I logged in to Jake’s computer (via ssh) and entered a few commands:
say Hello, Jake.
say This is your computer talking.
Jake’s been sick for a few days: runny nose, cough. This morning, he said his throat hurt.
Sam woke up all quiet & clingy. He had a fever (102.5°), and said his ear hurt.
So instead of Saturday morning soccer, I took them both to Convenient Care. I’m pretty sure this is their first simultaneous visit. (I imagine it won’t be the last.)
The nurse took some vitals – Jake weighs almost exactly three times as much as Sam – then the doctor did her own (dual) exam. Jake got a q-tip down the throat, for a strep test; he hates those. Sam was lucky – the doctor just looked in his ears.
The diagnoses: Jake has a cold. Sam might have an ear infection in his right ear, but it’s currently impossible to see the eardrum: there’s something in the ear canal. The doctor couldn’t say what it is, and I couldn’t see it very clearly.
It might be a piece of crayon. Sam did come home from school a while ago – how long ago? I wish I could remember – with a story of getting a piece of crayon stuck in his ear. We were sure it had fallen out on its own.
Apparently not. Oops.
The Convenient Care doctor wouldn’t remove it, whatever it is; that has to be done by the ear-nose-throat fella at the main clinic downtown. (Union rules, or something.) First thing Monday, we’ll be calling to set up an appointment.
In the meantime, Sam is on antibiotics. Poor little guy.
Schools in Champaign are divided into three groups: elementary (K-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12).
(It’s interesting how school districts around the country can’t decide whether sixth grade is late elementary or early middle school. I don’t suppose it matters much, either way.)
Since Jake & Sam were born four years apart, the 2011-2012 school year – with Jake in 5th grade and Sam in 1st grade – will be their last at the same school. Even if they end up at the same college – assuming they both go to college – Jake will likely graduate before Sam starts.
It’s a bit sad to think about.
(It’s also going to present certain logistical difficulties, getting two kids onto two different school buses every morning. But we will manage.)