Pblk Education

Alpha attends the local public school. He was able to read before starting kindergarten, but not all of his classmates are at that level so the teacher teaches to the lowest common denominator. That means the public school is causing my child to regress. His spelling is getting worse by going to school. (that’s his going to school, not his spelling that attends . . . oh never mind).

The teacher has a lesson, and it seems that all students are to follow the lesson. The problem is that the lesson is about letter sounds and spelling words as they sound, not how they are spelled.

Here is an example. Alpha brought his schoolwork home, as he does just about every day. We saw this:

kindergarten schoolwork for the letter M

My wife noticed how he spelled the words and just asked him “Alpha, how do you spell ‘mouse’?

And he replied “M-O-U-S-E“.

Why did you spell it ‘M-O-W-S?
That’s how everyone else spelled it.

Then she asked “And how do you spell ‘monkey’?
And why did you spell it M-U-K-E?
That’s how the teacher told us to spell it.

My wife and I were taken by surprise at this. The teacher had warned us at the beginning of the school year that we were not to correct our child’s spelling, so that she (the teacher) could see the child’s progress throughout the year. In theory, the teacher would see that the child was spelling poorly as he was just learning letter-sound concepts and then, at the end of the year, the child’s spelling would be better as he has learned word concepts.

“In theory” is the critical part of that paragraph.

What happens when a child already knows how to spell the required words? How does the teacher measure progress then?

Now, lest you think we made too much fuss over one piece of paper, let me describe to you some more of the story.

We had discussed our concern with ourselves, and we explained to Alpha that he should still do the right thing even though his classmates were not. “Some of them haven’t learned how to spell words yet, so the teacher is trying to help them. If you do know how to spell a word, you should write it correctly.” And we all were satisfied with this plan.

Then Alpha brought home his next paper.

kindergarten schoolwork for the letter O

He spelled “orange” as “ornje”.

Alpha, why did you spell orange like this? It looks like you had it right with the G there.
The teacher made me change it.

That’s right, he spelled orange with the proper letter and the teacher had him erase it and put the wrong letter in there (click on the picture for a larger view). He already knows that G can have a hard or soft sound. And he knows that orange is spelled with a G, not a J.

To be fair . . . he had a substitute teacher that day. But why would the sub do that? Either she had strict orders from the teacher or she went through the same spelling curriculum training as the teacher. Either way, she had to have been told by someone that kindergartners cannot know how to spell and she must enforce illiteracy. And either way, we are not impressed with what we’re getting for our tax dollars.

Just for fun, to torment the kids who can spell, they made almost enough boxes for the letters. They left off one or two boxes for each word.

kindergarten schoolwork for the letter I

It’s like musical chairs for spelling. There are 4 letters but only 3 spots. Which letters can find their places first? Which letter will be left standing? Oh, too bad. Letter N is out.

If only they made the spelling sheets with an area for writing the word instead of letter boxes. Then the children could spell the words the way they wanted, including the right way.

kindergarten schoolwork for the letter H

I don’t know why they did that for one letter sheet but not the others. Most of the letter sheets had the wrong number of boxes for correctly spelling the words.

Unfortunately, Harrison Bergeron is applicable once again. You would think a teacher would encourage excellence and high standards and good stuff.

If it’s kindergarten and we’re already having conflicts about what the school is teaching versus what we the parents think is right, I am not optimistic about junior high or high school. And the conflict is over the rather innocuous subject of spelling.

On the bright side of things – at least that’s the only problem we’ve had with the school. We’ll just be sure to keep our children supplied with real books that use real English words. That way, they will learn literacy at home and can be prepared for life.

The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”

John 7:15

Family Conversations, Part 9

This exchange happened a couple weeks ago, when icicles were hanging off our front porch and I was outside with the kids.

Some Guy (handing icicles to the children): Here, you can eat these icicles. These are good because they are clear. Don’t eat any dirty-looking icicles.
Alpha: Like the ones on the van?
Yeah, cause they’re salty.
I licked one!

Well, you gotta learn somehow.

Now on to last week:
We had finished dinner, and Alpha decided he wanted Fun Dip for his dessert. After mulling over the package, he announced that he was going to have the “Cherry Yum-Diddly” flavor. Then he read some more of the package.

Alpha: “Artificially flavored” What does that mean?
Some Guy: It is a fake flavor. That means it tastes like cherries even though it doesn’t have any cherries in it.
Do you know what, Dad?
What, Alpha?
That means that it doesn’t have any real Yum-Diddlies in it either.

I would have to agree.

I still haven’t figured out what a Yum-Diddly tastes like, real or artificial.

Finally, a clip from earlier this week, where we deal with the ever-present problem of children who are ready to be done with the shopping trip and have nothing constructive to do while waiting in the check-out line :

Alpha (grabbing an item off the display rack beside him) : Can we get this?
Some Guy: No, put that back please.
What is it?
That’s a lighter and it is used to start fires.
Hey look! Mini-lighters.
Put those back too please.
(reading the packaging before putting it back): Aww…it says to keep away from us.

The packages do usually say “Keep away from children” don’t they?

Does not the ear test words,As the palate tastes its food?

Job 12:11

AOL Was Right

In a way, AOL was ahead of its time.

What’s the difference between Facebook now and AOL back in its day?

Connect with friends, send them things, play games, etc. Facebook, the new AOL. Or AOL, the original Facebook.

The same with Twitter. That’s just AIM revisited. Come to think of it, AIM in its day was about as big as Twitter is now.

The first difference is that AOL provided the internet connection and the services. FB/Twitter just provide the services. AOL had people paying to use their services and they still went under somehow. Once people had options other than dial-up, they didn’t need AOL for the internet connection and the services were an exclusive club – only for those with a subscription.

The other major difference is cell phones – the whole mobile platform. AOL was there for the initial wave of internet popularity, but they peaked then and didn’t recover in order to take advantage of the second wave of smart phones and iPods.

I don’t have a horse in the race, so I don’t care if Facebook and Twitter stick around or fade away. I think the latter is more likely. They, like AOL/AIM, will fade away and then some upstart company will produce a service with a slightly different twist that will be hugely popular for a while.

And repeat.

That which has been is that which will be,And that which has been done is that which will be done.So there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Not Mine Monday, March 2010 Edition

In a shameless spoof of MckMama’s Not Me Monday, I am posting a Not Mine Monday. Head on over to her blog if you want to see what she has been doing, or not been doing, this week.

Note: Understanding this entry will require you to have a background in the Doodlebops. Readers with young children will probably not need any introduction, as the Doodlebops is a show about the Doodlebops. The Doodlebops are Deedee, Rooney, and Moe – a colorful cast of characters who sing and laugh and entertain children. Not unlike the Wiggles, the Teletubbies, etc (but with catchier songs).

One of their bits is a slapstick-type exchange between a puppet and Deedee. The puppet says he can’t hear Deedee because he has celery in his ears, and he actually does have celery in his ears.

Now on to the story . . .

  • At dinner one evening, Alpha was asking about the peas on his plate. I told him I couldn’t hear him because I had peas in my ears. He understood the joke and laughed. Beta did NOT think it would be funny to put the peas in his ears, literally. And he did NOT get a firm lecture on the proper use of food (ears, no; eyes, no; nose, no; on brother, no; mouth, yes).
  • At dinner the next evening, Alpha did NOT think it would be funny to say he couldn’t hear me because he had eggs in his ears (yes, we had breakfast for dinner – that is never a bad idea). And I did NOT look over and see Beta attempting to put scrambled eggs into his ears.
  • At the doctor’s office, to get Beta and Gamma tested for strep throat, we did NOT have to remind Alpha not to touch various items in the waiting room. Alpha did NOT then proceed to lick the glass right next to the main doorway.

    Okay, he was joking with us and he did keep his tongue from actually touching the glass. But it certainly looked like he was touching it from where we were sitting.

And a Not Me:

  • I did NOT procrastinate so long in setting my garage clock back last fall that it is now correct again, thanks to daylight savings time. Household maintenance is a high priority and I do NOT let minor things like that go.

On a related note: if I ever owned a store, I would call it “Daylight”. That way I could have an annual spring sale and get free advertising. Maybe in the fall too.

For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.

Acts 17:20

Birthday Present Advice

I will save some of you guys out there some grief with this tip.

If your scrapbooking wife says she wants a personal trimmer, make sure you buy her one of these:

personal paper trimmer

Not one of these:

That’s all I have to say about that.

Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their heads.

Ezekiel 44:20

Football Winner Guesser Results – 2009

I just realized that I never updated Some Blog Site readers on the results of my Some Fun Site project to create a football prediction method that is more accurate than the Isaacson-Tarbell Postulate (ITP).

The methods I createdMore Points Wins and More Yards Wins – are more accurate. Their downside is they take slightly more work, as average margin of victory and average yardage differential are not as commonly reported or available as win-loss record is.

The 2009 NFL season is long gone, and here are the results of the various methods:

  • HTW: 57%
  • ITP: 61%
  • MPW: 66%
  • MYW: 67%

For the ideas behind the methods, please visit the Some Fun Site page.

I also noticed, during the course of playing around with the NFL statistics, that basing predictions on the previous year’s results was equally effective. ITP says to look at the team’s current record. That resulted in a 61% chance of correctly predicting the winner of a football game.

By simply using the previous year’s final record, instead of the in-progress record, you can increase the accuracy to 63%. MPW is not affected – using last year’s numbers results in the same accuracy (only one game difference). I did not calculate MYW based on last year’s numbers – that is left as an exercise for the reader.

But the noble man devises noble plans;And by noble plans he stands.

Isaiah 32:8

The Color of Milk

A lady from church mentioned that she heard that cereals that change the color of the milk in the bowl are not good for you – you should not eat cereal that changes the color of the milk. That cereal is Bad Stuff – it probably has chemicals and unnatural ingredients and part of the Detroit Lions defense (no, it does not taste like victory).

That rule-o’-thumb could be a problem, because Cocoa Pebbles is a certified Good Cereal but it changes the color of the milk.

How do we resolve that conflict?

I’m glad you asked. The solution is to pour a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles and then pour chocolate milk into the bowl. Now the cereal will no longer change the color of the milk. For Trix or Boo Berry you could use strawberry milk.

You can have your cereal and eat it too.

So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength.

Daniel 10:8