August 30, 2007

You Can Dress Her Up, But Don't Take Her to School

It is the first full week of school and I’m in the process of passing 3rd grade for the fourth time.

I’ve already caused a bit of a ruckus in Grammar.

Bones came home from school with homework to determine complete sentences and fragments. I was checking his homework when I came upon a ‘phrase’ that read:

pick the apples

He put fragment next to it.

Now I realize when I blog, I don’t use complete sentences, I will occasionally use run-ons, and my punctuation is shot, but I do actually know how to speak and write correctly. In blogging, to convey a thought, I will write as it would sound, so that the reader can hear it as I would say it.

So I looked and said, “Bones, this is a sentence. It’s a command. The implied subject is YOU.”

He looked it and replied, “No, it’s not. It’s a fragment.”

And now I was thinking to myself, “Holy crap. Is this supposed to be a trick question? How much do they know? This is NOT a fragment…”, but I started to doubt so I said to Bones, “We’ll call Big Daddy.”

TGOO is a grammar FREAK. Just how freaky is TGOO about grammar? So freaky that when my mother found her old love letters that she had written to him, he had corrected the grammar errors in red ink.

I’m sorry, but that’s pretty damn hard core.

So I called TGOO and skipping the formalities of “Hi, Dad, its me, your favorite daughter!” or “Hey, its me, the daughter who loves you most (heh). How are you?” as he picked up the phone I blurted out, “Pick an apple” is that a fragment or complete sentence?”

TGOO: Complete sentence. The implied subject is YOU.

Me: OK. That’s what I thought… it’s Bones’ work…

TGOO: Well, that’s the correct answer, unless of course they’ve changed how they teach grammar since I was in school.

Me: OK thanks. Bye. *click*

Nice military families. Straight to the point.

Both of those are fragments.

Anyway, Bones changed it to complete sentence, corrected the capitalization and punctuation and turned it in.

The next day, he got it back and it had an X next to it. He took it up to his teacher and said, ‘That’s not a fragment! That’s a command. My Mom told me and she EVEN CALLED someone!”

The teacher looked at it and said, “You are right”, marked it correctly and put a smiley next to it for him. But even though she knew it was right, the book is wrong. The teachers’ key to the workbook is incorrect and that is not sitting right with me.

(In her defense, these are new workbooks never used before. This is the first year. This caught both teachers off guard.)

My husband is along the lines of ‘Know your audience’, as in they’re only in 3rd grade, actually doing 2nd grade review homework, it was a bad example, but they don’t understand the ‘implied subject’. And he is right, they haven’t learned that, but the example was terrible.

Meanwhile, the two third grade teachers have been talking to each other, and the other walked up to me this morning and said, “Take out the trash!” I stood there for a second and she said, “Complete or fragment?” and I replied, “Complete! It has an implied subject… YOU. It’s a command!” and she said, “Right!”

And then she added, “I hear you even used your Phone-a-friend lifeline on this one!”


But I am wondering… why am I the only parent who caught that? Or am I the only one who happened to look at the homework like we’re SUPPOSED to, that caught it? I get the teachers. It is a new workbook and I don’t think they’d reviewed it before and if they did, it would have been quick.

But the parents… we have a LONG TIME we can look at this stuff. What is up with that? That’s been what’s been on my mind all day… Hey, I’m not working. I have to think of something…

Posted by Boudicca at August 30, 2007 08:53 PM | TrackBack

Yep. it is an imperative sentence.

If you are ever in need of sleep, I would be happy to explain why such a sentence is not, and can never be, hearsay.

Posted by: Jimbo - PRS at August 30, 2007 09:24 PM

Oh, Jimbo, you don't have to. My father has sent me links on imperative sentences. I really get it. ;-) Heh.

Posted by: Bou at August 30, 2007 09:30 PM

My kids won't tell the teacher the teacher is wrong. My kids will bring the paper home and say, "See, Mom. You were WRONG! And now I didn't get a hundred percent. And it's all. your. fault."

I read and reread so much of my kids' homework, and too much of it sounds like a trick question.

Very often the husband and I finally throw up our hands and say, "Just do it the way your teacher says."

Posted by: Roses at August 30, 2007 10:03 PM

Oh, Bou! I have the best damned grammar book for you! I am so pleased with my 7th grade son's book that I am going to buy a clone of it before we have to give it back to the school. It is: English Communication Skills in the New Millenium by Senn and Skinner. It is a "BK Language Handbook", whatever that means ... must be more than one? I strongly recommend this book.

Posted by: Peggy U at August 31, 2007 02:16 AM

Roses- I think that he wouldn't have believed me until I did the 'phone the grandfather' and then suddenly I must've been right. If not for calling "Big Daddy" who the boys view as the all time expert on EVERYTHING, he'd not have believed me.

Peggy- I'll have to look up that book. For now, its been easy to handle their homework. I actually remember just about everything, but I doubted myself. It was just knowing what was right and wrong and looking at the workbook and thinking, "would they REALLY put the WRONG stuff in a kids grammar book?" I'm writing the company.

Posted by: Bou at August 31, 2007 06:19 AM

If you have that much time, how 'bout updating my blog?
I'll leave you a voice mail each day and you can type it up?


Posted by: _Jon at August 31, 2007 10:47 AM

I'm guessing she was simply reading the answer and marking as right or wrong. I would think, with a new workbook, they would go through each lesson to be sure there aren't any issues with the answers. Especially since they are teaching the kids new concepts. Then again I might be wrong and there might not be time for that. I just wonder how many kids will always get this particular point of grammar wrong from now on. (and I know my grammar sucks. *grin*)

Posted by: Teresa at August 31, 2007 11:12 AM

Bou: They wouldn't probably print it if they knew it was wrong. Even the best proofers sometimes miss things, though. I am very pleased with my 7th-grade son's online lessons, but on two occasions I have found errors in the answers to math questions. The publishers appreciate it if you bring their attention to these so they can publish errata sheets.

The worst book I have ever seen is my daughter's calculus book - not the one she had in high school (Stewart), but her college text! I think it was $125 for a PAPERBACK book (not well bound, either, I might add). The book only covered single variable calculus and was authored by several different writers. The notation varied from unit to unit, depending on the preference of the particular writer. So where one author might use f'(x) to show the first derivative of a function, the next might use y', or dy/dx. There were other notational variations as well. Not a problem if you are comfortable with the math, I suppose, but if this is the first time you've seen calculus I can see where it could get confusing. Husband and I looked through the book and hated it. Individually, the sections were fine, but as a whole it was very disjointed. Pisses me off that we spent that kind of money on that text book. It fell apart, so she didn't even get to sell it back.

By the way, I liked her high school calculus book so much I went and got a copy to add to my collection. However, I got the international edition. It has a big "Not For Sale in US" warning on the front of it. What would be the difference, I wonder? Hoping you could shed some light on this mystery for me.

Posted by: Peggy U at August 31, 2007 03:09 PM


Freaking loved this post!!! First visit, and loved it! Another good reason for us to home school. Made me think... "yeah, that's complete." all fragments...scary.

Posted by: Jay at August 31, 2007 04:18 PM

I can't begin to tell you how many corrections I have made in my TEs (Teacher Editions).

And by the way, thank you for taking the time to go over the kids' homework. It's part of the learning experience, and if the kid doesn't know whether or not he's doing it right, it's wasted time.

Some parents just don't care.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at August 31, 2007 04:47 PM