Friday, September 12, 2008

random thought

It just occurred to me that most public schools today send out very mixed messages. At least in our district they do. The more I think about it, the more confused I get.

at school:

-You memorize sight words.

-You memorize a list of spelling of words each week.

-You DON'T need to memorize your math facts. That is rote memorization and rote memorization is a very bad thing.

On what planet does that make sense? It's completely backward and the opposite of what grows strong readers, able spellers, and competent mathematicians.

In sharp contrast:

+My youngest DOESN'T memorize sight words. She's learning to read phonetically (no guessing!).

+None of my children is memorizing spelling words because they're learning the rules of spelling instead. (We do Spelling Mastery)

+All of my children have been/will be expected to learn their math facts to mastery. Memorizing those math facts develops the automaticity that will serve them well.

I guess what bothers me most is the double standard. Either educators should be against any kind of memorization work or they shouldn't be entitled to say memorizing stuff is bad or useless. You just can't have it both ways. You just can't.

*end of rant*

post script: Now that I am having the benefit of calm quietness, I realize I was unfair to many of the teachers in my district who see right through this craziness. To all those teachers who run daily math drills, have the children do "holey cards" and such to build that mastery despite whatever Everyday Math tells them is best for the children, I must say "Thank You!"