Friday, November 13, 2009

Educational Pwnage

My younger daughter (Thing 2) is in Pre-K (pre-Kindergarten, the year before going to elementary school....throughout the US, pre-K programs basically prepare kids for starting Kindergarten by getting them to be able to identify letters, numbers, shapes, etc, so they can start Kindergarten already knowing how to write their name, and even read a few words in some cases). She is in a private pre-K program and goes 4 days a week, 9AM to 1PM (state pre-K programs are from 8-2:15, full day basically).

One of her best friends is a year older than she is. That girl is in Kindergarten, and was in a state pre-K program last year.

As many of you know, a lot of education is taught through song. We learn the ABC's by putting it to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (thus, when we're adults and pulled over at a DWI checkpoint, when asked to recite the ABC's without singing, it's a guaranteed fail). We also learn the history of the universe from The Barenaked Ladies "Big Bang" (trust me, it's a lot more fun than 4 years of physical science at a university).

Apparently, someone decided that learning the months of the year is a lot easier if you put it to a tune. Of course, the number of tunes whose length matches that of the months of the year is somewhat limited. So limited, in fact, that apparently "The Macarena" is the ONLY one. I know this, because if there was another one, don't you think they would have used that one instead of "The Macarena"? So, the new thing is to now teach the months of the year, to the tune of "The Macarena," complete with the dance moves that go along with it (if you live in a part of this planet where "The Macarena" never hit pop culture, count yourself lucky).

Because the Months Song is taught in both pre-K and Kindergarten, Thing 2 and her friend both know it, and both sing it. Recently, they did this in front of me. Thing 2 started it, doing the hand gestures, singing perfectly, and got all 12 months, in their right order, and stuck the landing. By that, I mean she took a bow. Literally. Her friend then made an attempt at it. The wheels fell of that bus by the time she hit April. Next thing you know, December is in the Summer, August is in Winter, and a couple months got counted twice, and some not at all. Naturally, I had to really stifle the snickering and potential guffaws that wanted to break free. I certainly didn't want to hurt this poor girl's feelings.

Please make no mistake, this is not an argument for private school. I was educated in a public school system, as were my brothers, and most of us turned out OK. My kids will go through the public school system, and probably attend public universities. This is me simply being very proud that my kid is smarter than another kid a full year older than her.


  1. Are they learning the months in Spanish? That is the real question.

  2. Thing 2 might be, because there is a Spanish teacher at her pre-school and they take a Spanish class twice a week.

    But mostly, they just learn colors, hello/goodbye, and how to order the help around.

  3. That will be helpful when reminding them to dust all of her gold items before saying goodbye on her way to a soccer match.

  4. Oh shit. Now I can't start stop singing the months in Macarena-esque. Damn brain worm.

    And yes...teaching the alphabet via Twinkle is indeed ubiquitous. I used to laugh my guts out when Sam used to stumble over the L-M-N-O-P. In her garbled way it would come out sounding like soapy water up the arse.

  5. Richard Branson's f**king Australasian airline has reworked the Macarena into their new ads. It's God f**king awful and makes me want to kill people. Mostly ad agency 'creatives'. Maybe put Draino crystals in their lines of coke or something.

    And because I enjoy inflicting pain on other people, here's the bastard of a thing

  6. Regarding private vs state education, there is no contest. It’s not just a matter of higher paid, better qualified teachers, it’s down to the fact that those who can afford private tuition are far more likely to teach and discipline their children themselves, making things a lot easier for the teachers.

    The result of this is that kids going to private schools (yes, I know you’re talking about a younger age here, but it still applies) will mix with kids from similar families, and even the dunces will do better than kids going to state schools.

    Anyway, thumbs up to Thing 2. I’m sure she’ll do well.

  7. Education's like most other endeavors in life-the more anyone puts into it, the more they'll get out of it. The public system did OK by a lot of people, including yours truly.

    However, now I too have The Macarena bouncing around my head. Thanks. But it does drive the Bears game out of my head. Yikes! I heard Cutler threw his used towel at the locker room supervisor after the game and the waterboy intercepted it.

  8. Now you just have to teach her to talk smack so she can maintain her position at the top of the month recital tree!

  9. Simon, if you were a sarcastic man, I would almost read your last sentence to be something similar to the rest of South America telling Argentina, in 1982, "You're going to war against Great Britain? Umm, good luck with that!"

  10. That war reference reminds me of when my sister was praying at the time and asked God to help "South America" in the war. My father had to explain to her first and foremost that we were not in any danger from this war and secondly that we were actually friends with Great Britain and not as much with "South America" in this instance. I think the "America" part threw her off.