Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Everyone Can Write Right

Why is it that whenever I make fun of other people, it always comes back and bites me in the butt? It really takes the fun out of mockery and any form of smugness.

My latest slice of humble pie started with the classes I've been taking online through my local community college. They've really made me feel secure about our family homeschooling for the long haul. This isn't because I am suddenly feeling more well educated and capable of teaching than I was a few months ago. Although I am certainly learning some interesting things, and enjoying the process, what has boosted my confidence is seeing first hand the wide variety of abilities from people who have had a typical education. To think that we can probably accomplish something in this range is not really all that intimidating, at all. A person can graduate high school, and probably even pass college classes with really bad spelling and grammar. Lots of people don't follow written instructions, or work within timelines well. While these skills would certainly be helpful to them, and they will hopefully be attaining them in college, there are plenty of people over the age of 18 who never learned them in traditional schools. While I'm definitely shooting for my offspring to be equipped to be academically competitive before they reach college, if there is an area that they struggle in, they surely won't be the only ones.

As homeschoolers, we always get the question, “How long are you planning on homeschooling? What about high school?” People act like it's rocket science or something that we should be terrified to even consider attempting. I feel like if I really learned anything while I was in high school, I should be somewhat capable of passing it on to my kids. Actually, there are plenty of things I learned in high school that I don't want to pass on to my kids, but that's another story. There's always the “What about chemistry?” type of questions too- as if most people really need to know chemistry in everyday life- as if most people who took chemistry didn't forget all of it within a year anyway. I think if my kids want or need chemistry, or any other class I am not “qualified” to teach, that is what the local college is for.

Back to my humble moment... when I started noticing chronic errors in other college students' work- errors that my 6th grader was able to find, and correct- I got a bit cocky, and may have even made a few jokes about it (being the cynical and sarcastic person that I am, it is hard for me not to joke about things.) Well, within a very short time, I found myself making embarrassing typos in public forums. They were all mistakes that I could glaringly see were wrong after I hit “enter,” but had missed in my hurry to go on with my life. I did this on multiple occasions too; I actually considered that I might be losing my mind, getting some form of early dementia in my 30's. Then, I realized that it was probably just one of life's little lessons teaching me humility. I am just hoping I won't have 5,000,000 more public typos here to reinforce the lesson. So, in order to not jinx myself any further, I want to be clear that I'm not making fun of anyone here. I'm just noting that the idea that everyone comes away from their formal (and in many cases forced) education with the same abilities and knowledge is false. Maybe most of them were exposed to similar ideas, but what they absorbed and retained varies a great deal.

As my husband pointed out, writing is not everyone's strong point, and it doesn't need to be. I agree completely. I may be good at spotting other people's typos, but I am painfully remedial when it comes to mechanical things. In real life, the ability to fix a broken car or washer might actually be more useful than the ability to spell well. In the end, everyone has their own gifts. I am just very glad that my kids have the opportunity and time to explore and develop their own strengths, as well as their weaknesses, on their own timeline. They can bloom into what they are meant to be, when they are ready, and that is something to be grateful for.


  1. Hear, hear!

    What a lovely post - I have often bitten my lip when getting the 'what about high school' question, thinking as you did that it's not rocket science! I do feel a tiny bit smug because my young boys just finished up a real rocket science class (free through our public library), during which they built and launched 2-liter bottle rockets more than 200 feet into the air. So, I guess they are 'rocket scientists' :-)

    I just want to say, too, that I LOVE the name of your blog.


  2. Great post! My 6th grader has turned into a regular Grammar Queen...which is annoying. The only thing more annoying is my sister making fun of her because of her "perfect" grammar.

    What you said about people having different strengths is true - every one of our three children have different strengths.

  3. Thanks ladies!
    Mykids would love a rocket class Karen... although I'm in trouble with our library at the moment. Details on todays post "Library Woes"
    MiaZagora, My 11 year old corrects my grammar as well- especially annoying when I KNOW what I was supposed to say, but sometimes when having 12 million things I am trying to do at the same time, the words get a bit bumbled on delivery.

  4. Great post - yes we need to watch ourselves. I am also a great one for spotting typos, but am mortified if anyone ever sees any I've written.
    Mind you, my daughter's school doesn't seem to correct spelling mistakes at all (it "stifles creativity" groan) and I find that very painful.


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