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Maxwell 47: Vestigial Tales of the Messy Towel Drawer


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MamaJunebug
41 minutes ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

We chose not to name the story so that what Abby actually read wasn’t the basis of a blog debate. The report was much longer. The last page happened to have the summary on it. If you look at the photo, you can see another page. That page was filled front and back, handwritten, double spaced like the last page. This second page had the front filled as well. The summary is on the back. If the summary takes up about 1/4 of a page, then the summary was about 1/13th of the report.

And, surprising no one, Teri misses the point!

But how funny is it that for her, it comes down to concrete numbers. 1/13 of the report, 1/4 of the page. Surprised she didn’t give a word count. 
 

And of course Abby wrote more than the summary paragraph the were so proud of.  
 

I would be very interested in the rest of Abby’s paper, book name redacted if need be.  That will never happen, of course, so I will belatedly offer a very genuine compliment:  Abby’s handwriting is beautiful!  

 

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anachronistic

@Aithuia YES it was The Pearl! Thank you!

We read ‘of mice and men’ in 8th grade and I did *not* see the ending coming. 
 

I think soooo much amazing middle grade/young adult literature has been written in the past 25 years (time since I was that age) that English class must be a lot more enjoyable than our endless parade of White Men Writing Stuff. It confused me how much I loved to read but hated English class.

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CyborgKin

Have the Maxwells ever had a real 'blog debate'?  Or are they really wanting to keep the title from the greater interwebs? (us)

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Bethy

A small but hopeful part of me wants to believe that Melanie set this up (assigned a story that didn't seem all that interesting on the surface, and intentionally didn't discuss any of its merits with Abby beforehand) so she would write a nice dull, beige paper about it and say it wasn't edifying or educational enough, and then pass that off to Grandma and Grandpa to proofread, to get them off her back about making homeschool too fun/not formal enough for the fathership's liking. And now Melanie is smirking because they took the bait and plastered it all over the blog...while she and Abby sit down with a cup of something caffeinated and discuss the story in greater depth.

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anachronistic

The Maxwells can’t have a blog debate, or a debate of any kind, because none of them have any experience in conflict or peaceful disagreements beyond ‘I know that I am right because God told me so’. If someone disagreed with one of the Maxwells in person, with a solid reasoning behind their argument, I’m pretty sure the family would just either outright deny the other side or be too confused to continue. Change is bad, and change comes from people disagreeing on things. They can understand and accept little stuff, like preferring vanilla yogurt over banana yogurt, but as they say in some parallel universe, Stevehovah is right, all the time, all the time, Stevehovah is right.

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Bethy
9 minutes ago, anachronistic said:

The Maxwells can’t have a blog debate, or a debate of any kind, because none of them have any experience in conflict or peaceful disagreements beyond ‘I know that I am right because God told me so’. If someone disagreed with one of the Maxwells in person, with a solid reasoning behind their argument, I’m pretty sure the family would just either outright deny the other side or be too confused to continue. Change is bad, and change comes from people disagreeing on things. They can understand and accept little stuff, like preferring vanilla yogurt over banana yogurt, bean-only burritos over burritos with meat, but  because as they say in some parallel universe, Stevehovah is right, all the time, all the time, Stevehovah is right.

Fixed the disagreements for you ;) 

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ElizaB
8 hours ago, Lgirlrocks said:

I read the hiding place in the seventh grade and the outsiders in the eighth grade. The outsiders is one of my favorite books. It was something that fostered my love for reading more series books. I have read that book probably 40 times since then. Wish Abby was allowed to read different types of books, same for the other Maxwell kids. 

I actually really like the hiding place. I read it in junior high and then ironically was assigned to read it again in college. I feel like this is a book that perhaps Abby could actually read. It is a fairly faith based book if I recall. 

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thoughtful

In seventh grade, we had to read the Red Badge of Courage.

I was the kind of kid who was self-forbidden to watch or read anything with violent images, because I would re-see or re-imagine them for months, and be horrified and unable to sleep. My brother was expected to watch things like The Outer Limits in my parents' bedroom, with the door closed.

There is a very graphic description of a dead body in The Red Badge of Courage, and it stuck with me for a long time.

Other than that, and other manly men fighting and sailing stories, I was happy to read just about anything. Reading is like visiting a whole other world, and, regardless of practical usefulness or moral lessons, that's got to be good for the brain.

 

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MamaJunebug
2 hours ago, Bethy said:

A small but hopeful part of me wants to believe that Melanie set this up (assigned a story that didn't seem all that interesting on the surface, and intentionally didn't discuss any of its merits with Abby beforehand) so she would write a nice dull, beige paper about it and say it wasn't edifying or educational enough, and then pass that off to Grandma and Grandpa to proofread, to get them off her back about making homeschool too fun/not formal enough for the fathership's liking. And now Melanie is smirking because they took the bait and plastered it all over the blog...while she and Abby sit down with a cup of something caffeinated and discuss the story in greater depth.

From your screen to Heaven’s ears!!! 

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MamaJunebug
9 minutes ago, thoughtful said:

was the kind of kid who was self-forbidden to watch or read anything with violent images, because I would re-see or re-imagine them for months, and be horrified and unable to sleep.

I was this way too, and it did occur to me to wonder why Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” was required reading in my 8th-grade class (progressive, energetic Lutheran grade school that was otherwise great).  But of course I never dared actually ask. 
 

I really never figured out why the first half of my freshman, college-track English Lit course was devoted to the Greek snd Roman mythologies. Of course my darling Big Daddy and Big Mama JB never uttered a peep to school authorities.  But 20 years later, when the newspaper had a series of classic stories for kids every weekday, BDJB would cull the tales and refuse to save any that had to do with other cultures’ deities. 
 

Huh ... writing this, I guess I have my answer:  he figured that at 14 his kids were ready to understand the difference between G-d and gods. Whereas his Grand Junebugs were 5, 6 years old at the time he curated the newspaper’s tales. Yeah, guess it makes sense. 
 

Sometimes what Steve does prompts memories of my own dad that are uncomfortably similar.  BDJB saw the world in very few grey shades. But Dad’s change in attitude toward non-Christian mythologies, I don’t think, is very Steve-like at all. 
 

Rumination over, thank you for reading this far and go in peace. *blush*

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church_of_dog
5 hours ago, Hane said:

Long ago, my daughter and I agreed that we hate all books about “a bunch of men on a goddamn boat.”

I agree about "Old Man and the Sea", although I admit to liking "Mutiny on the Bounty".

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Maggie Mae
1 hour ago, thoughtful said:

I was the kind of kid who was self-forbidden to watch or read anything with violent images, because I would re-see or re-imagine them for months, and be horrified and unable to sleep. My brother was expected to watch things like The Outer Limits in my parents' bedroom, with the door closed.

There is a very graphic description of a dead body in The Red Badge of Courage, and it stuck with me for a long time.

We watched "Nicholas and Alexandra" in 7th grade and I know at least two of my classmates had nightmares for a long time. I personally still feel a little traumatized from the end. I'm still completely obsessed with the Russian Revolution but I'm not entirely sure that was an appropriate introduction to it. 

I only remember being bored AF at The Red Badge of Courage and Johnny Tremain, and since I had the same English/Literature teacher for 5-8 because the school hated me just like she did, I don't remember when we read them. My Side of the Mountain, though, that book was a page turner for me. 

I liked most of the Hemingway that I've read and I really liked stories about people (almost exclusively men) washing up on an island.  

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church_of_dog

loved "My Side of the Mountain!"

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Botkinetti
8 hours ago, thoughtful said:

In seventh grade, we had to read the Red Badge of Courage.

I was the kind of kid who was self-forbidden to watch or read anything with violent images, because I would re-see or re-imagine them for months, and be horrified and unable to sleep. My brother was expected to watch things like The Outer Limits in my parents' bedroom, with the door closed.

There is a very graphic description of a dead body in The Red Badge of Courage, and it stuck with me for a long time.

Other than that, and other manly men fighting and sailing stories, I was happy to read just about anything. Reading is like visiting a whole other world, and, regardless of practical usefulness or moral lessons, that's got to be good for the brain.

 

At some points my sister had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. She hated being awake at night because she said it felt eerie and scary and things would play on her mind. I know what types of books and movies would bother her so I often vetted them for her. I read the Twilight series and knew it would freak her out at 3 am so I told her not to read it. 
It is funny to see the looks on other peoples faces when she tells them that she’s not “allowed” to read Twilight because her sister told her not to. I am 62 and she is 59.

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Lgirlrocks

Abby saying she learned nothing doesn’t make her wise. There is always something to be learned. Even if it’s she didn’t like the story or she learned about someone else’s perspective. She may have also learned that she didn’t like the story. There have been several books I was assigned for school that I did not like. The Catcher in the rye being one of them. I did at least learn something, other than me not liking the book. 

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allyisyourpally5

I was Abbys age when I started getting interested in American history - we studied “Roll of Thunder, Hear.My Cry” and I then went on to read To Kill A Mockingbird and some other books myself.

Remember when Abby and co named their cat Tigger and everyone started asking of it was from the Winnie the Pooh stories, and some commenters mentioned their children also love these books? Steve very conveniently then said there had been a mistake and the cat was called Tiger? Hmmmm

And oh no, absolutely nothing new and no conflicting opinions. Reread the Sports Corner if you can. Steve in one mentions that someone basically cornered him t9 talk about the advantages of sports and that she disagreed (I’m sure she was actually just looking for some healthy discussion) and Steve mentions he didn’t debate because “he has better things to do with his time”. Likewise, the fact that absolutely no one in the whole ten years was capable of having a meaningful conversation with them, meaning only the Maxwells can converse adequately. Rough translation - people offered opinions that differed. 

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kpmom
17 hours ago, anachronistic said:

@Aithuia YES it was The Pearl! Thank you!

We read ‘of mice and men’ in 8th grade and I did *not* see the ending coming. 
 

I think soooo much amazing middle grade/young adult literature has been written in the past 25 years (time since I was that age) that English class must be a lot more enjoyable than our endless parade of White Men Writing Stuff. It confused me how much I loved to read but hated English class.

Old fart that I am I went to high school in the 1970's.  Part of our English curriculum was reading the play A Raisin in the Sun, and then watching the movie later in the semester.  I don't think I appreciated then that that was fairly forward thinking back in those days.  We were a pretty lily white suburban school.

And written by a female playwright no less!

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fundiefan

What is with all the 1/3 of the page 1/4 of the page, double spaced, blah, blah, blah?

WTF is the point of all that detail? It means absolutely nothing. 

I thank Zeus every day I was not born a Maxwell & don't have to live like that. 

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sparkles
Posted (edited)

There are a few things on the Max Blog that I’ve found to be especially disturbing. One was when Steve decided there would be no more organized sports for the boys and manipulated them into agreeing by breaking down in tears in front of them. Another was in a thanksgiving post when Anna’s message stated, “I know I deserve hell…” Now I can add Abby’s book report to that list. 

That Steve thinks it’s so “exciting” that his 12YO granddaughter has been so well indoctrinated that she finds no value in reading simply for the sake of enjoyment is just heartbreaking. What a bleak existence it must be when every little thing has to teach you a lesson (and of course, you know that lesson has to be JESUS) in order to be worth your time. But it also drives home just how black-and-white Maxwell thinking is. If Abby couldn’t learn something from her reading, it seems like it’s because her education and upbringing have failed her, not because the reading materials failed. She said she found the book entertaining. So instead of dismissing that as useless, why use it as an opportunity to figure out why? Was is the characterization? The situations? The pacing?  The writing style? And it could be the same in reverse if she DIDN’T enjoy the book. That kind of examination would absolutely be a learning experience—improving her thinking as well as her own writing skills. Even something as simple as learning a new word and trying to figure out its meaning from context or just by looking it up means she would have learned something. But in Maxhell, they never seem to look past the end of their noses and if things aren’t handed to them, they never go looking. I don’t think for a second that Melanie was trying to put something over on the grands. Nate and Mel may be a little more modern in their appearance and with some of the things they allow their kids to do, but I sincerely doubt they’ve modified the core beliefs that Steve pounded into Nate’s head.

I graduated high school in 1972 and I’m thankful every day that I was a voracious reading because if all I had to go by was our assigned reading (dead white guys, with VERY few exceptions), I probably never would have picked up a book again. Not that any of it was horrible*, it’s just that there were so may other exciting and mind-expanding things we could have read instead or at least in addition to said dead white guys. No women authors and certainly none who were POC either. 

*I reserve judgement on Giants in the Earth, which I remember as being a colossal bore, although the long-term sub we had somehow connected its theme to Scientology (don’t ask me how she did that but it was the first time I’d heard of Scientology—I couldn’t stand LRH’s sci-fi—and thankfully she was NOT a fan). I keep telling myself I want to go back and read it again to see if my opinion changed but my reading list is so long I may never get there.

Edited by sparkles
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Caroline
38 minutes ago, sparkles said:

There are a few things on the Max Blog that I’ve found to be especially disturbing. One was when Steve decided there would be no more organized sports for the boys and manipulated them into agreeing by breaking down in tears in front of them. Another was in a thanksgiving post when Anna’s message stated, “I know I deserve hell…” Now I can add Abby’s book report to that list. 

That Steve thinks it’s so “exciting” that his 12YO granddaughter has been so well indoctrinated that she finds no value in reading simply for the sake of enjoyment is just heartbreaking. What a bleak existence it must be when every little thing has to teach you a lesson (and of course, you know that lesson has to be JESUS) in order to be worth your time. But it also drives home just how black-and-white Maxwell thinking is. If Abby couldn’t learn something from her reading, it seems like it’s because her education and upbringing have failed her, not because the reading materials failed. She said she found the book entertaining. So instead of dismissing that as useless, why use it as an opportunity to figure out why? Was is the characterization? The situations? The pacing?  The writing style? And it could be the same in reverse if she DIDN’T enjoy the book. That kind of examination would absolutely be a learning experience—improving her thinking as well as her own writing skills. Even something as simple as learning a new word and trying to figure out its meaning from context or just by looking it up means she would have learned something. But in Maxhell, they never seem to look past the end of their noses and if things aren’t handed to them, they never go looking. I don’t think for a second that Melanie was trying to put something over on the grands. Nate and Mel may be a little more modern in their appearance and with some of the things they allow their kids to do, but I sincerely doubt they’ve modified the core beliefs that Steve pounded into Nate’s head.

I graduated high school in 1972 and I’m thankful every day that I was a voracious reading because if all I had to go by was our assigned reading (dead white guys, with VERY few exceptions), I probably never would have picked up a book again. Not that any of it was horrible*, it’s just that there were so may other exciting and mind-expanding things we could have read instead or at least in addition to said dead white guys. No women authors and certainly none who were POC either. 

*I reserve judgement on Giants in the Earth, which I remember as being a colossal bore, although the long-term sub we had somehow connected its theme to Scientology (don’t ask me how she did that but it was the first time I’d heard of Scientology—I couldn’t stand LRH’s sci-fi—and thankfully she was NOT a fan). I keep telling myself I want to go back and read it again to see if my opinion changed but my reading list is so long I may never get there.

Abby's reaction to the short story reminds me of when I'm teaching a complex grammar concept from a different language to kids and they say :  "It doesn't make sense."  Well, yes, it makes sense to all of those who are native speakers of that language, so let's look at it again.    If I explain it in enough different ways and give examples it begins to make sense to them, and they can even use the concept in original ways.  It is likely that Abby's 'teachers' don't have a lot of experience in giving lots of examples and having open-ended discussions about literature.  It's no wonder she feels like the reading had nothing to teach her.  She hasn't been taught to think and analyze.   (But I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said already.)

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Caroline
On 5/5/2021 at 3:00 PM, freejugar said:

I can't think of any classic short story that would be Maxwell approved. Maybe a fairytale?

Too many witches, fairies, and general magic for the Maxwells to approve of.  I LOVED fairy tales when I was young.

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OhNoNike
Posted (edited)

If it were my secular kid writing this, I’d have chuckled at the honesty (and she has said similar things).  However since it’s a Maxwell kid, it’s just kind of sad to me.  As if you must have some sort of lesson, or it’s not worth reading. 
 

ETA - I just read Teri’s reply to the length of the report. Defensive much?  Haha. Wow. 

Edited by OhNoNike
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Black Aliss
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, sparkles said:

*I reserve judgement on Giants in the Earth, which I remember as being a colossal bore, although the long-term sub we had somehow connected its theme to Scientology (don’t ask me how she did that but it was the first time I’d heard of Scientology—

I found GITE interesting only because my great-grandparents homesteaded in Dakota territory. But I think I preferred Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptions of life at that time.

Edited by Black Aliss
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Ozlsn

I had never heard of Giants in the Earth, had to Google. Trying to remember what I would have read at Abby's age, and what we studied - I know we did The Red Pony in year 8, mostly because I did a project of turning it into a radio play in a group of four. I don't remember much about the story, but I do remember that walking on kitty litter makes a good audio substitute for gravel!

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allyisyourpally5

I think the Maxwells are a bit pissed off with the reaction to that book report. I’m sure they are praying for all the closed minds and holding this up as an example right now...

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