Friday, February 21, 2014


In a recent Facebook thread, a teacher wrote about kids not having Valentine boxes at school. It touched my heart and I wrote that next year I shall make boxes to take to school for those kids who don't have the boxes; I actually marked my next-year's calendar for February 13 to take boxes to schools! A friend posted about my "bleeding-heart Liberal" tendencies! A comment was made that it would only condone the parents not doing their jobs. So what? The kids can't help it; why make them feel left out?

I mentioned that when I was in elementary school, my shoeboxes wrapped in Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil and adorned with construction-paper hearts did not stand a chance in the competition against the fancy-schmancy, elaborate ones made with paper doilies and Cupids, wrapped in red cellophane. I commented, sarcastically, that my teachers at the time obviously did not recognize ones made by parents! I understand that there are kits available now! The winning boxes of my school days pale in comparison to the ones of today (see example).

This led to a larger discussion of the pitfalls of parents doing school work for their kids. My mother would help with homework and my brothers and I would help each other, but nobody ever did the work for me.

However, my brother Norman needed to have some drawings for school and he's not artistically adept and he had our sister-in-law Jan do the drawings. They were so good he kept having her do the drawings and receiving A-pluses for the work. Imagine--when it came time for art work to be assigned for the school ANNUAL--it was a natural assumption that such a talented artist as Norman would accept the assignment! UH-OH! I remember when a friend had been helping her son and had done so well that they wanted to place him in Advanced classes. UH-OH!

My leaf collection and insect collection were used by my two younger brothers. I honestly do not see anything wrong with that; exactly WHAT did the collecting of those specimens have to do with actual learning? It was merely about "collecting"! For myself, I love trees and leaves, so I enjoyed it. I can still remember going to my grandparents' place near Potts Hill in Ross County and finding unusual leaves accompanied by the scents of autumn, and the smell of shellac used in preserving those leaves. As a young woman, I shellacked leaves and made them part of a coffee table-top for my first apartment. Who would have thought that leaf-shellacking would be beneficial in life? I can't think of any other way leaf collecting has benefited me except I can usually impress people by knowing trees by their leaves.

Insects? By my brothers using the insects I'd collected, it meant that only ONE each of the butterflies was killed; what was the sense of killing more butterflies? I still know the difference between butterflies and moths and cocoons and chrysalises, but other than being able to answer on Jeopardy!, I can't fathom what other benefit it has been to me or to my brothers!

A term paper of mine Aaron Burr And The Blennerhassett Conspiracy was successfully palmed off by my brother as his work, although the teacher did ask who helped him and he said his sister. I loved history and still do; he had no interest; what would a large research project have benefited him?

My brother is an autodidact and to describe him, I always think of the quote attributed to Mark Twain: "I never let my schooling interfere with my education."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll save my heart box from this year for your project! ML