Month: January 2011

The wurld changd an nobodey tole me bout it.?

My eight year old just started school in a new community. We moved from the city to a rural school system, and their teaching methods are something to be desired. My son, who excelled at spelling in his old school, is now being told that spelling is not important, and that he simply has to spell words the way they sound.  A few years back, my spouse was part of an experimental method of teaching that was called “Inventive Spelling”. This new method of spelling consisted of students spelling words to the best of their abilities. It was supposed to enhance the way in which a student writes, and to ensure that their creativity was not hampered by incorrect spelling. This method worked fine in grade school, but when she attended university, she did poorly on reports that required accurate spelling. While the inventive spelling method allowed teachers to guess what the student was writing, professors had little time for poor spelling, and she almost failed her studies.

We were horrified when our child came home with his first in school assignment and seen that he wrote words he had known in some language that was foreign to us. In a conversation with his teacher, she argued that this ‘new’ teaching method is very successful. My response was that since schools no longer fail students, how can they be sure that the program is working? I believe that we, as parents must fight the school system to ensure that our children receive the same education as other students in other school systems, and that they are prepared for universities when they grow up.

Aspirin bottles, Bubbers and Plastic Cows

Raising a child allows me to use the lessons I have learned as a child.  Being accident prone, I learned lots of lessons. To say that I was an accident prone kid would be actually be quite an understatement.  Being a kid, I tripped, stumbled, and fell like most kids, but there was something more that caused me grief. I always blamed it on bad luck. It had to be bad luck when I got a glass Aspirin bottle stuck on my finger. I still remember that day, and my dad’s answer to the problem. We were getting ready for our evening prayer, (yes, we were THAT religious back then) and mom looked over to see a very worried look on my face.  I still remember struggling to get the damn thing off my finger, but yet, I cannot remember putting it on my finger…wonder how it happened?? Mom giggled as she seen the bottle on my finger, and she calmly left the room to get some hot water. While she was gone, my dad had a better plan (well, He thought it was a better plan), he came into the room with his trusty hammer and told me to put my bottle covered finger on the table.

Nervously, I did what he said, and just before he could swing the hammer, mom came to my rescue. “Hon” she hollered, “If you hit the bottle with a hammer, you will drive glass into his finger”. My dad looked dumbfounded as he realized what he would have done if she had not stopped him. Mom soaked my now swollen finger in a glass of hot water, and in no time, the bottle slipped off easily. This was a day for learning lessons. My dad learned that by hitting a glass covered finger with a hammer, he would cause more pain than we started with, and I learned that you should never put things like tiny bottles on your fingers. Dad also learned that Mom’s calm thinking was the way to go.

My brother also made the same bad decisions as a child. I remember him coming into the kitchen, with the same look  on his face, and muttering the words “Mom, I have a bubber in my nose.” He had been sticking pencils in his nose to imitate a walrus, when he noticed that one of the pencils came out without the eraser, or ‘rubber’ as we called them. Again, mom stayed calm and told him to blow, and pwef…out came the eraser.

For some reason, both my brother and I had the same fondness for chewing on plastic things. I remember once, I was chewing on the legs of a small plastic cow, when my dad looked over and yelled. I got such a fright,  I swallowed the toy. That little critter tore it’s way down my throat, to my stomach, and you guessed it, to a painful exit later that week. It was so painful, I later ended up at the doctor, and then back home with ointment that had to be applied directly to the injured area twice daily. Not sure how I can use this lesson with my son, but if I see him chewing on a plastic cow, I will be sure to warn him of the dangers. My butt still hurts just thinking of that day.