March 28, 2007

Magic E's and Zeros

For years my eldest son has poked fun at my middle son about spelling. When Mr. T was learning how to spell in 1st grade, he was always uncertain of himself so he’d add ‘the magic e’ to the end of every word.

So it would go something like this while learning spelling words:


T: B-A-D……E!

There was always a prolonged pause and just when you were about to say, RIGHT!, he’d say… E!!!

Every time… nearly every word… L-I-C-K….E! D-O-G….E!

And so my eldest still likes to tease him, now the wonderful 4th grade speller, than he always had to add the E.

But no more. My eldest officially can no longer tease my 2nd son.


Because of today.

He did poorly on a math test. It was conversions… metric, US measuring, minutes to hours, etc. I never get angry when he does poorly, I just want to make sure he understands what he did wrong. It’s not that the grades are not important, its just more important that he not be afraid to tell me he’s not done well so we can review the information. I don’t want him to fall behind.

So that’s our deal. You make a bad grade in math, just tell me so we can review it. No yelling, no punishment, no nothing… except going over it one on one so he gets the concepts.

And he’s really great about it. He got in the car yesterday and said, “Mom. I got a D on my math test. Can we go over it when we get home so I get an A on the next one?” He was really bummed. Usually he truly thinks he understood the concepts.

He brought it to me tonight and we went over every problem he missed, as he perpetually did the ‘Ah! Ha!’ realizing what stupid thing he’d done.

And then we got to a conversion from milligrams to grams and he had an extra zero.

I said, “Wow. You were off a zero. Where did that one come from? Look at this… you have a few problems that are short or have too many zeroes…”

Quietly he said, “I know. Mom. I have something to tell you. If I don’t really know an answer… if I don’t think it looks right, I… just add a Zero. Sometimes I take one away, if I think the answer looks too big, but mostly… I just add a Zero.”

Me: *Blink*

Ringo: It’s true…

Me: wow. First… you need to have a little faith in yourself that you know what you’re doing. No more adding zeros. Second… holy crap, you aren’t allowed to make fun of Mr. T and the magic E any… more…

Posted by Boudicca at March 28, 2007 08:58 PM | TrackBack

That's too cute.

Posted by: Sissy at March 28, 2007 09:45 PM

Heh. Now, if I was Danforth Quayle, I'd be trying to teach your sons how to build a potatoe gun.

Posted by: Velociman at March 28, 2007 10:51 PM

Wait a sec - weren't you saying you didn't have anything to blog about?

With all the magic zero stuff, I think you have a government accountant in the making!

Posted by: Bob at March 29, 2007 11:43 AM

i think i have clients who do math the same with their financial info. it is way cuter when a kid does it!

Posted by: shoe at March 29, 2007 03:15 PM

It's like guessing a woman's age. Take your best estimate, subtract the magic decade, THEN open your mouth.

I've never gotten a D :-)

Posted by: Harvey at April 2, 2007 01:57 PM