'Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results' ~Albert Einstein.
I have my moments ~ like we all do ~ of being absolutely brilliant. And God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me a number of children who do not think the way I do. Not in the least. So I've had practise, you know, in the brilliance department.
In the Long Ago I had a friend who decided to go back to school & get her degree in Environmental Science. I was impressed. It's not just that my friend is very dyslexic, she is very left brained & science carries way more clout in Academia than an Arts degree. I don't even begin to understand what she was learning about but she struck a snag early on. Her course required essay writing, not a lot, but some, & some was dragging her marks way down because she's dyslexic & left brained & writing essays was so not her thing. Not for the first time in my life a friend asked me to look over their work & make some editing suggestions that might help.
I can do this stuff in my sleep. No, I don't do it here. Here is my blog. Personal expression & all that. But I can do it right. Apart from apostrophes, which seem to do in eveyrone's head, commas are one of those things that lots of people seem to get muddled with: you know ~ when you're making a list, when you are inserting a thought, when you are separating clauses. My friend, like my dyslexic husband & my dyslexic kids, was inserting commas randomly ~ which made her work very hard to read if, like me, you use punctuation like you would road directions: Stop; Give Way; Slow; Steep Curve To The Right...
So I went through & cleaned up. She had a nice direct writing style & was very clear once the random grammar was sorted out.
"But how do you know when to do that?" my friend wailed. I will not sidetrack onto the inadequacies of the state education system. I stared at my friend whom I seriously considered much, much cleverer than I am because how could she not see what was so simple & clear to me? And then I had one of those earth shattering revelations. I know. I'm slow sometimes, ok. My friend is one of those left brained mathematical sorts & the usual right~brained explanations were short circuiting. I grinned at her because I love when God illuminates my world with one brilliant flash & I had been coping a fair bit of flack about my inability to deal with Algebra. "It's math", I told her smugly. "Use commas to separate a list, like you would to separate numbers. You use comas like you would in algebra. If you open a bracket, you close a bracket." I left the clause thing alone. I figured we didn't need to go there.
Yes I know there's more to grammar than that but I figure every little bit helps. Then last night I was pottering around on Facebook, a place I'm not overly fond of, & came across one of Star's friends [why do all her friends friend me?] bewailing her English assignment. It makes me so sad to see kids hating a subject I love so much when there is so much richness to be gleaned from persevering through the hard stuff. I can't help myself. I had to ask what she had to do & what her problem was. She has to write a *Who dunnit?*
I'm not sure what happens but somewhere in the great educational mind the teaching fraternity seems to think it no longer necessary to teach kids how to do stuff. That somehow their creativity will be equal to the task. That simply providing a seemingly interesting & challenging task is all that is required. How I wish!!!
I took a punt. A right brained child would have eaten this challenge up. No internal logic. No logic. But they would have churned out a story full of pizazz. Once I could have. Now I'd be having conniptions about all the plot holes I was creating! So I figured I had a left brained child who was strong in the math area & I could give her an Algebraic formula that would make sense to her.: clue + clue (clue - clue) X clue = conclusion. I think I nailed it...
Somewhere out there, there is going to be an English teacher scratching their head.
You know we have the government howling its head of about the state of this country's numeracy & literacy & demanding a National Curriculum so we can all be as ill educated as each other but until someone figures out how to teach math so the right brainers get it & English so the left brainers get it we will remain a people who can do one or the other well & be inadequate in the other area. I do know people who can do both; my mother, for example, but she's an exceptional woman.