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September 21, 2003

Times Tables and Tears

Kelly is enduring the times tables. She's got to know them for the state tests by the end of the school year, and so the teacher is asking parents to help. So far, Kelly hasn't broken out in tears over the ordeal. No, she is much better at passive resistance, audible sighs, and frustrated subvocalized monologues.

She's got my sympathy. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my maternal grandmother's bedroom in Washington, D.C. while my mother grilled me with flashcards, over and over. I remember the sunlight streaming through the curtains with a subdued light. And I remember wishing I was outside climbing trees with Junior, my friend from across the street. I certainly cried. It was deeply frustrating to me, and felt like an inquisition, rather than a learning experience. Rote memorization is sometimes necessary, sometimes helpful, but rarely enjoyable.

But Kelly seems to get it more quickly than I did, so I'm heartened that she won't suffer too much. Retention is a problem, though, which means that she'll keep getting periodic quizzes long into the school year. Good luck, kid!

Posted by dpwakefield at September 21, 2003 11:00 AM