Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review

A friend of mine recently recommended this book to me - The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. She was using this book in her decision to keep her daughter (who turns 5 in June) in preschool for the Fall and wait until the next year to start her in Kindergarten.

Now since my son turned 5 in July 2008 and started Kindergarten that same year, I guess I was feeling a little defensive. Also, I was a "young" first grader (they didn't have mandatory Kindergarten when I started the school system).

I don't really know where her child is in the "readiness", but it seemed in her e-mail that she was using this book to make her decision for her. She didn't mention her daughter at all in why she made her decision. Also, I don't normally "read" non-fiction. I don't know why I decided to read it.

I loved it! It's actually more about why certain people are successful and why others aren't. Only one example is given about age in starting Kindergarten being an unfair advantage to the older ones. All the stories though, were riveting, at least to me.

Actually, I kind of came away feeling that a home where the emphasis is on learning would be an advantage to any child, regardless of age. And it also gave me some things to be on the look-out for in helping Samuel be as "successful" as he wants to be, in whatever that might be.

So, I'm going to recommend it too, but for a totally different reason than my friend. And isn't that the mark of a really good book, anyway, that it can be different things to different people?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spelling Bee!

Samuel's school is out for "Spring Break". The reason for the quotation marks should be obvious as, not only is it not even officially Spring yet, it's extremely cold outside. Really, it should be called "Trimester" break, since the second trimester just ended. He's doing great in every area except timed math fact drills. He is fairly motion-oriented and that doesn't make for quick work.

Normally they have a spelling test every Tuesday, but since they would be gone for a whole week, his teacher decided to have a class spelling bee yesterday on their words for the week. Whenever we do "bee" type studying, he makes lots of mistakes while he dances around to the tune of "The Spelling Song" or whatever he hears in his head.

So, I'm trying to get him to act like a real bee, spelling the words while standing mistakes. I point this out to him and it's like a light bulb in his head. He actually won the class bee yesterday, and if you ask him, he is very surprised because he thought either Meg or Tristan were the best spellers in the class.

So, now I'm going to work on translating that to the timed math drills - 21 problems in 1 minute. And he thought he wasn't going to have any school next week!