Bitterbarn’s Weblog

aka “The Bull” (some content not suitable for children or religous zealots)

Dumb it down please!!!

These kids!, you birth em, you get up in the night, you feed them, change them, you pick up poop of the floor, you scrub the walls when they write on them and now I have to study with them. The Elementary school my daughter goes to is supposed to be this “really good” school. bla bla bla.

Well its so damn hard I couldn’t go there. In first grade she has home work every-night. With spelling words like “dribble” and “handy”, I would have been held back 3 years. What ever happened to “dick and Jane”. She is getting letter grades already. Every day when she gets home we have to sit down and do homework with her until its time for bed. Who is in school here her or us. FIRST GRADE come on!! These teachers must really think highly of themselves put so much stock in what a kid learns in first grade. Hell I couldn’t write an essay until my first year of college. I am starting to think this “no child left behind” thing is not such a good idea. So “when” we move I hope we can find a school with dumber kids; or at least lower expectations. 🙂

February 15, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. I can hardly wait to experience one of those kinds of teachers with my kid. Homework every night. 50 bazillian math problems, all of the same kind. Not actually teaching, just giving a bunch of homework. I’ve been building up this tirade since I was in 3rd grade, and some unlucky teacher is going to get it all.

    “When it begins, you will hear the sound of children screaming – as though from a great distance. A smoking orb of nothing will grow above her/his head, and from it will emerge a thousand starving crows. As I slip through the widening maw in my pure malice, you will catch only a glimpse of my radiance before he/she is incinerated. Then, as tears of bubbling pitch stream down my face, my dark work will begin. I will open one of my six mouths, and I will sing the song that ends the Earth.”
    (with apologies to Tycho for stealing and then warping the greatest thing I’ve ever read.)

    Doing homework from the time you get home until it’s time to go to bed is not going to happen in my house.

    Tell Staley to only do half of each homework assignment (or until she gets what she’s supposed to learn). To hell, with grades at that age.

    Comment by BugHunter | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. WOW !!! where did I go wrong—again. I worked on homework from the time I got home until dinner and studied constantly. My dad helped me alot, when he was in town. With my mom it was always a crying session. She was hard on me about my reading. to this day I am afraid to read in front of anyone. Yes I did hate all the work, but I did not hate my teachers. Maybe the teachers in my day were a different breed. I can see why each of you (Matt and Wes) disliked it and each of you for different reasons. Also you both are caring individuals and expect as much from others and it just doesn’t always happen. You were brought up with the attitude of helping others when in need, you know “drop everything and get there fast never stop to think whats in it for me” kinda stuff. And it is not always returned with the same willingness if at all. Be grateful you have the quality of caring and love that you do. and just keep passing it around even when it doesn’t come back immediately. Love you guys. Yes I did 5 years of 4th grade math. And more than my share of essays and reports. love ya, mom

    Comment by Matts Mom | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. tears of bubbling pitch stream down my face. I like it. whats it from?

    Comment by bitterbarn | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. OK, from a teacher. . . Do I dare??? Yes. No. Yes. Here goes: 1st graders should not have more than 15-20 minutes of homework a night, which should consist of reading and maybe a few (3-4)math problems, left over from the work done in class (so they already know how to do them). Most students should be able to finish their work in class. About two times a year there might be a “project” that mom and dad can help with at home, but the work should be done by the student, not the parent. I really dislike it when parents think they have to do their child’s homework for them.
    I totally agree with Wes about not assigning 30 to 50 identical math problems. It is busy work and a teacher should be able to see that a student has mastered a concept by about 5 well-chosen problems. Practice is important, but 30-50 identical problems is absurd.
    What I see happening is that Staley is going to end up hating school and part of that will come from Mom and Dad’s attitude about all the schoolwork required. (Sorry, but it’s true.) 6 year olds need to be 6 year olds. They can be in a great school and learn advanced concepts without having to do homework from the time they come home until bedtime.
    Have you thought about going and having a calm, unaccusatory conversation with the teacher? I would. Remember there are good teachers and there are not so good teachers. You are the parent and you are the “public” in public education. You have a voice.

    Comment by Kathleen | February 16, 2008 | Reply

    There are a lot of articles online about homework, but this one is pretty good.

    Comment by Kathleen | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  6. two weeks ago Staley got a 54% on her spelling test with the word STUDY in big red letters across the page. I took the message to be directed at me (since first graders probably havn’t been taught HOW to study)

    So this week practiced the words a lot. and cried some. today was the big day she took her test. did she get it back corrected? hmmm right its public school so some weeks she does get it back on Friday and other weeks we wait until Monday. Guess what it is this time. I wonder if I could send a paper with little kid lines on it and write in BIG RED LETTERS CORRECT THE TEST. heh. well this teacher is supposed to be “good”. which I’ve come realize means “structured and strict”. (rather than funny and engaging; which is what I thought) She must realize that all parents put a great deal into the spelling test each week. It seems rather arrogant to keep us all in suspense until Monday. But then again what do I know about early childhood education heaven knows I only made it out cuz they were tired of drugging me. And yet somehow; even though I am not the best speller; and add on my fingers. I can save lives when they get shot at.
    I dont mean to rant directly at you Kathy I am certain you are a fabulous teacher. you’d have to be. to be so internet savy.
    I could make this same passionate song against physicians. I have had unusually many dealings with both “doctors” and “teachers” and by and large found that neither are what we think they are.

    ON the other hand I also know a few in each category that are diamonds.

    Comment by bitterbarn | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  7. well I often need to reroute matt to the more truthful side of reality. My dear daughter has 10 minutes reading four times a week. We(I) have chosen to do it everynight so it becomes habit and I am not trying to remember when and if we did it. She also has 12 spelling words a week and one sentance. They are hard for her and it is like strapping her into the tourture chamber to accomplish the task. she has math once a week on tuesday. Which takes her about 13 seconds. So the whole after school til night is how it seems to my sweet 7 year old and my dear how should I say well you know matt.

    Comment by melissa smith | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  8. hmph.

    Comment by the bull | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. Put her on Ritalin and let the situation take care of itself…

    Just kidding, I hate that stuff, in the end I feel that it made me lazy becuase I could perform without much personal investment. But I also think kids shouldn’t be turned off to learning especially when they are young, we are thinking about sending Braddock to a Montesorri preschool next year, he doesn’t like to sit down and do stuff unless he is interested, the kid is very smart, loves science but we’ll see since private education is $$$$.

    Comment by Cuzin Chris | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  10. first, there is no such thing as ADD,, there is such a thing however as drugs that enhance performance (ask maddox).
    I know you agree. many don’t. many who don’t know much about the economy of medicine.

    second, after breaking my back all week on this stupid spelling test she got a c-. I’ve decided it just doesn’t matter, heaven knows I didn’t get “good grades”. and somehow I am not homeless.

    Comment by the bull | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  11. I hesitate to comment again, but what do you do when you have something to say? I, personally, do not like spelling tests. I don’t think that they test your ability to spell. In most classrooms, you are given a list of words on Monday to take home and memorize for a test on Friday. Practice is writing the word over and over out of context(visual)and/or spelling it orally over and over (and this works well for auditory learners). Then, after you take the test on Friday, you immediately (well, maybe not immediately),but you forget how to spell half of the words.
    I have a different system for spelling and it is in context to writing. It is a good program. It is not a perfect program, but it is a good program. There is also a direct correllation between reading and spelling. If you don’t like to read, then you probably aren’t going to spell well. That is a generalization, but it is pretty right-on. I have yet to find a sure-fire way to motivate students to read that don’t want to read.
    Actually, no more needed to be said after your last comment, it said it all. “heaven knows I didn’t get ‘good grades’ and somehow I am not homeless”

    Comment by Kathleen | February 22, 2008 | Reply

  12. yeah , this week we decided to put more stess on acutally reading the spelling words. so we would have her read down the list.
    she got several 100% at home, she is at school taking it right now.
    also,, they got there “grades” yesterday (whatever that means) and despite having several low scores in spelling; in the category of spelling/reading/language she got a 98% so who knows how this stuff is weighted. you know teachers they just want to make you work harder and “apply yourself”.
    so yeah I am hoping adding the reading component helps cuz she does like to read.

    Comment by the bull | February 22, 2008 | Reply

  13. by way of follow up, Staley has gotten three straight 90%ish grades on her spelling test. seems having her be able to read the list before learning to spell them is key. hmph.

    Comment by bitterbarn | March 11, 2008 | Reply

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