Thursday, January 16, 2014

Love Nordstrom

I started shopping online for clothing after I got to know that Nordstrom's forever return policy. It is better that you have a receipt to the full price you have paid. It still does the return and refund without a receipt, but the price is the current sale price that may be lower than you have paid. Another nice thing about Nordstrom is that it does price match too.

Today I did a return without a receipt. Not to say that the sale person is always polite and helpful. He located my purchase by the credit card I used to pay.

Using credit card in stores or online these days is really a DANGEROUS thing. The recent breach at Target and Neiman Marcus is scary. Nordstrom is not in that list. Thump up!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Visiting Millikin Basics and Laurelwood

Millikin is one of the best elementary schools in States. It is a public school in Santa Clara county. But due to the high enrollment, it is run by lottery. The chance of winning a lottery is 1:4.

We had a visit during the open house on Tuesday. We dropped in a few classes and attended the meeting hosted by the principle. In general it is a great school with high disciplines. All kids are seated well, behaving well in the classroom, and participating discussions in the class. I like the message they are passing that kids' job is going to school and study. They have strict dress code to avoid the distractions. They are very strict about what to teach too. Teachers only teach the requirements at the grade level. Even if the whole class are advanced and ready for the next level, the teacher will still stick to the curriculum. This may make some students feel bored.

While glancing the homework hung on the wall, I spotted a few spelling errors. I am a little disappointed by that. It seems that the teacher doesn't go through the homework and do any corrections at all. Though I didn't think the education system in China is great, I remember clearly how hard our teachers graded our homework. Sometime it made kids feel shame on it. Such a big difference.

I asked my friends about the public schools in Cupertino. It seems that the elementary schools are not as good as boasted. The teacher doesn't grade students' homework much. Most of the parents send their kids to after schools where they learn the discipline and learn something really serious. I haven't visited them. One may visit and correct this.

I just dropped by Laurelwood elementary for some basic information. The staff there is very helpful and com potent. She explained to us the rule for registration. According to the federal law, the minimum age for admittance to kindergarten in California in public schools is five by September 1. Private schools don't have these requirements. At Laurelwood the teacher will observe the kids behavior for two months or so in the kindergarten. If the kid is ready for the first grade, they will move them from kindergarten to the first grade. The staff also explains to us the differences between Washiongton Open, Milikin, and public schools like Laurelwood. At Washington Open, parents need to involves a lot both in classroom and after schools. For Milikin, only teachers teach. It doesn't allow parents to teach anything in classroom or at home. It doesn't let students do group projects either. At Laurelwood, there are some parents involvements, but not as much as in Washington Open. It also allows students to do group projects and teach each other.

After observations in these schools, I started to like montessori method more and Marva Collins' book. One may buy the book at amazon: Marva Collins' Way.

To deeply understand the public schools, the flat world and education is a good reference.