Friday, August 10, 2012

Clever Children

Tonight I determined that either Munchkin and I can finish working through the Hay Wingo Primer by the end of this month, or one or the other of us is going to need to relocate to the Arctic Circle. I'm flexible on the options, really. I'll even volunteer to be the one to relocate. It looks quiet up there.

I read an article that said that parents must not tell their children that their children are so terribly smart, as this makes the children insecure and thus depresses the children's performance. It is fortunate that I am rarely spurred to tell my children how clever they are when we are doing school work. In fact, my most-said phrases do not concern cleverness at all:
  1. If you don't do this page properly, we'll go back and review and this entire episode will take longer.
  2. Yes, of course you have to do it. In your entire life, I have never told you to do something that you do not have to do. Why would this be the first time?
  3.  If you hadn't spent so much time whining, you'd be done by now.
Oh, life with me is such fun.

Today, Munchkin practiced page 83 (adding -ing), 87 (r-controlled verbs), and 89 (adding -er). Then, I put everyone to bed. Then, I threw up. 

I also looked up other copies of the Hay Wingo Primer. The 1954 edition has a frightening clown on the cover. I am envious. I have two copies and a teacher's edition, and the cover is just maroon.

When I was in school, we were using the Ginn 720 Basal Readers. I kind of want a copy of a few of these, but I think they might bring back trauma. Later I learned that I am a poor speller because of these readers. My mother would object, and say that any child who in second grade is still spelling "of," "uv" is a congenitally poor speller. I prefer to blame the Ginn 720s. They were awful and deserve disrepute.

The Ginn 720s were published in the late seventies and early eighties (and thus quite out of date by the time I attended school). I have no idea why children reading in 1990 were using a reader published in 1976. Yes, I'm teaching my daughter with a primer published for the first time in 1948 and reprinted in 1967. But in my defence, basal readers and primers produced before 1948 were often pretty good. They were generally collections of actual stories, the type someone might read for their own interest. By 1976, the field was pretty much a wasteland. If anything in Helicopters and Gingerbread was an actual story marketed at actual readers, then both the readers and the writer should be summarily shot. The only excuse for stories so poor is the misplaced notion that they might be in some way educational.

The Ginn 720s were not nearly cool enough to feature a freaky, nightmare-inducing clown on the cover.

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