We got our first real snow this week. Enough gloppy wet snow to trigger a school snow day on Friday. It might have been 6 inches, but it came just before dawn when the busses had to run and the miles of country road around the district were a little too treacherous to travel.

Silas used the snow day as an excuse to post a new YouTube video, his first in a long time.

I spent most of the week patching up odds and ends with various web projects in anticipation of being away next week for Thanksgiving. That and practicing the violin. So far, it sounds aweful, but you've gotta (re)start somewhere.

It was also report card week for the first quarter of the school year. Somehow the kid managed to make the honor roll, despite having an abysmal grade in math, and a near-abysmal grade in earth science. I say "somehow". He got mid-to-high 90s in everything else. That's how.

You have to go to the school to get the report card. This is a new thing since sometime last year. When you go, you pick up the report card at the entrance to the gym, and all the teachers are stationed around the gym at tables, and you can walk around and sit down with any of them, right there on the spot for a parent-teacher conference. We sat down with the science and math teachers to see what they thought was going on.

His math teacher says our kid's performance is a bit of a mystery. He started the year strong, but the concepts on the last couple units just didn't take. So he started the quarter with scores in the 90s and then bombed out with a 30 on the last unit test. We agreed on a plan to have more frequent check-ins, more oversight of homework, yada-yada. On Thursday night, I sat down with Silas to go over that day's notes. From the state of the notes, it became clearer: half the concepts were missing, and what was there had several misunderstandings. Once we filled in the gaps together, I made up a new problem for him to solve, and he was able to it without much trouble.

I wasn't really a math wiz in school either, so I'm sympathetic. I figure I can probably stay on top of it with him until he gets through multi-variable calculus. After that, he's on his own.

His science teacher, too, had some good suggestions for helping him stay on top of his science in the next quarter, and where to find the resources they're working with. Brooke will be working with him on that.

We were encouraged. He has good teachers this year. And the kid took it pretty well when we told him he needed to plan on spending about an hour with his parents on homework stuff every weeknight.