Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wherein Wendy ponders numbers and letters.

I don't like our house number. When I was in high school, 92% and above was an A, 85-91% was a B, 77-84 was a C, 69-76 was a D and anything below that was, well, you know. Clearly, 59 is a failing grade. House numbers with three or four digits don't bother me; obviously they don't fall on the scale of 100-percentage points. And, strangely, I'm okay with single digit house numbers. I just assume that they're part of a top-ten list...the creme de la creme. When we lived in Honolulu, we lived on base on the 400 block of Signer Boulevard, in a big building with 8 townhouses. I liked that address for many, many reasons--if you can write "Honolulu, Hawaii" as your return address without smiling, there is something seriously wrong with you--but one of them was that we were 401-A, not B or C or (gasp) worse.

I like our last name. Almost no one can pronounce it or spell it correctly the first time, but it begins with A. A is good. A is the best. If you can't have a name that begins with A, I hope you got an E or something after the dreaded F. I have a big capital A on the wall above my desk. I covered it (and its little friend, a) with some cute scrapbook paper and it makes me happy to glance up and see it. If my last name was Fargendoodle, there would be no adorably decorated F on the wall.

Our Kindergarten curriculum has not proven to have any occasions to assign grades. I am glad for that. I don't know whether we'll be sticking with this curriculum next year or if their first grade does "do grades" but we at the Dinosaur Academy lean towards just teaching until we know we know and then moving on. For the foreseeable future, anyway. William has gotten into the habit of analyzing his own work. As long as he wants to do that and is realistic about it--not too hard or too easy on himself--I'm going to let what works, work.

Speaking of homeschooling, grades, etc., when the Dr. Phil homeschool debate aired, I Tivo'd it. When I felt my blood pressure go up, I'd stop it. Watching an hour-long show three sentences at a time, by the way, takes an inordinate amount of time. I eventually gave up entirely. ANYWAY, at one point, the "radical unschoolers" asserted that their children study whatever is of interest to them. The good doctor flipped out. "If my parents had done that, I'd be a vegetable!" he twanged at them. Really, Dr. Phil? I find that extremely difficult to believe, given what you've accomplished as an adult. Nothing was interesting to you when you were a child? And you came into the world completely without gumption? I think the point, which you chose to miss for whatever reason, was that the world around us is interesting. Unschooling works when your home is a rich environment of learning opportunities. Two days ago, William learned a good bit about mammals while we were brushing the dog. Pigs are mammals, too, but birds aren't, and neither are reptiles. My children--who I think are about average question-askers for their ages--ask around eight thousand questions a day. If nothing else, I want to keep that curiosity alive.

1 comment:

Mama Nirvana said...

I TiVo Dr. Phil every day (I erase most every episode, but some I watch), and for some reason I didn't catch that episode. I think homeschooling success totally depends on the teacher -- usually the mother -- and I have seen such wonderful things come out of it.

I also like having an "A" last name -- I come to the first of most any list, but don't like that no one can spell or pronounce it. Although, now that I think of it, it does serve as a nice ice-breaker in that everyone I meet asks about it.

I really enjoyed your writing tonight. Thanks.

Love, Amy