Yesteryear’s Memories — Was Grandma an Alien?

August 4, 2022

I was talking to some out-of-state friends last week, and their kids came up asking their parents all kinds of questions. They were excited, as fourth and fifth graders can get sometimes. Their parents apologized for the interruption but turned to see what the matter was and why the kids were so stirred up.

“Grandma must have been an alien or something!” the ten year old exclaimed.

“No, she’s French or German or something!” the eleven year old yelled.

The parents were of course puzzled because Grandma grew up in Terre Haute. It seems that they found some of their grandmother’s letters in a box in the closet, and couldn’t make heads or tails of them. I was shocked to learn that those kids were never taught how to read cursive letters, much less write them. Grandma had beautiful and clear cursive handwriting, and it contained family history and stories that can’t be learned anywhere else but her letters. I’ve come to learn that some states don’t require that skill to be taught.

I guess some teachers and some school districts decide to teach it or not. It goes along with the fact that many kids can’t tell time by a clock unless it’s digital, showing each number. I distinctly remember my kindergarten teacher showing us a big clock, and where the big hand and the little hands were. It was actually a little tricky to get the concept for a five year old which made it an even bigger accomplishment when you finally got good at it!

I also remember going to the first day of third grade. I heard through the neighborhood kids that you had to be able to write your name before you graduated that grade. I was nervous that I couldn’t, so I got my dad to write my name on a little piece of paper for the first day of school. I guess I wasn’t sure that they would teach me and I wasn’t taking any chances — so I carried that paper the whole year in my book bag. Of course I learned and of course I graduated Miss Baldridge’s class. The lesson shouldn’t be lost, though.

I decided that there are a few things we should keep in mind for all the kids in the future. Just my opinion, but it’s a list I believe is important.

1 — Find out what they are teaching and what they aren’t.

2 — It’s up to US to make sure our kids learn what they need to know.

3 — Take part in your school district’s decision process. They should never have complete control of what goes into your child’s brain.

4 — Talk to your kids every day about what happened with them. Ask specific questions and don’t be satisfied with a general answer of “it was ok.”

5 — Tell your kids how proud you are of them for reaching a goal. It means something.

6 — Tell the teacher that you appreciate them. They have a hard job and it’s easy to criticize. That way if you do have a concern, they’ll be more willing to really listen.

7 — Don’t pressure kids — almost everyone does better with encouragement instead.

8 — Remember that’s it’s YOUR responsibility to teach your kids, not the government. We just hire teachers to help with that job. Never forget that they work for us. It should be a good relationship.

9 — Show your kids how to do the things they don’t learn in school. It’s still your job.

10 — Have fun. Give those little sponges plenty of good information to soak up and they’ll love you for it sooner or later.

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