Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Math and a smidgen of politics

Yesterday, I volunteered to help in Miss E's classroom. During the math section I was helping the kids who needed a little extra help and after they had done the first problem I looked up and Miss E was sitting at the carpet reading book. I kind of looked at her with my "what are you doing" face and she looked at me and very clearly said "I'm done." OH. And she was doing the hardest sheet of problems. Then I thought back to all the math worksheets that I have seen coming home, not one of them with a wrong answer or eraser mark on them. Oh.

Her teacher and I briefly chatted about the wide variety of levels in the class and how Miss E was beyond Kindergarten math. Ok then. So I got home and started thinking about it and didn't know what to do. I mean, with books you just read harder and harder books but with math? I don't know. Subtraction? Harder addition? Multiplication? I sent her teacher an e-mail asking what's next and she replied that it would be great if Miss E started on vertical addition (that's the school term for one number stacked on top of another).

Today at work I found a home school website and printed off a bunch of math worksheets and when I got home, explained how to do it to her. And she was off. She did a bunch of worksheets and was so proud of herself.  I love the look she gets on her face when she does something hard. There is such a joy and sense of accomplishment. That is just priceless to me. Next we are on to vertical subtraction and then learning the multiplication tables. She knows how to multiply but only with the "easy" numbers - 1,2, some 3's, 5 and 10.

Ahem. Now to get a little political for a moment. I usually don't do that here because my close family and friends range from uber-conservative right wing Christians to super-liberal left-wing Democrats. Peter and I tend to fall much more on the left, but really try and be respectful of all angles. However. At this point I have to say WTF about a few issues.

First off, while I do respect in some tiny way the Supreme Court allowing church members to protest at funerals ONLY because of free speech issues, I have to ask - how do those people sleep at night? Going to the funeral of a soldier and holding up signs that say 'Thank God for dead soldiers' and many many worse things all in the name of your church? How could a church be so obviously hate-filled? It is absolutely and completely appalling to me. Not surprising, but appalling in it's audacity. Usually I think religious hate is much more subtle.

Secondly, when the heck did we start blaming teachers, firefighters and other civil servants for the economics ills of our society? How about bankers, stock managers and money managers? Does anyone really think teachers are making too much money? Yes, civil servants have good health plans and decent (not fantastic, but decent) retirement plans. You know what they don't get? Huge yearly bonuses, huge pay raises for performance, profit sharing or stock options. Do you really want a firefighter who is 70 coming to your house to rescue you? No? Well, let's have a plan where they can retire a little younger than that. And in the meantime, until bank owners are taking furlough days and defending their benefit packages, let's not make the civil servants go all out defending theirs shall we?

Last, and then I will get off my soap box, let's not cut funding for Planned Parenthood. They don't use federal funding for abortions (although I think they should be able to) but they do use it for contraception, and health care for low income folks. It's a good program. Really.

OK, off the soap box and this is probably the last time this year I will rant on the blog about politics : ) It

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for smart Ella--I LOVE that she's starting out enjoying math! And as for the other 3 issues--I am totally in agreement with you. I do not know any Christians like that, and I know hundreds, literally, and none would behave as such, think hate--and the others are wrong. You KNOW where I stand on the public servant issues--of course. And altho I do not like abortions, I understand--tho don't condone--and Planned Parenthood does good. When I was a teen Peggy and I needed health clinics and health--and did not get it.