Here is my "proof" that you can't "teach" kids

We just bought the game Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader

I was playing it with my 8 and 10 year old. When a social studies question came up they were both excided and said they love social studies. I was wondering how they even knew what social studies were. I've never mentioned it and as far as I knew, since they are always with me, that they had never been around anyone else discussing social studies. They said they play it on their turbo twists. And they were right, they knew all the social studies questions. I had no idea they knew all that stuff!

Then we get to a science question and it is about rocks. We are working on a rock project right now where we exchange rocks with others from the US and Canada to learn about and collect different types of rocks. So we have been studying rocks. I "taught" the kids the different types of rocks. Just last week they "learned" about sedimentary rocks, so when the question came up, I was sure that they would know. Well, they hadn't "learned" it.............and neither had I! I missed the question too!

Then my husband came into the room (he is the one against homeschooling) and he said that I should have missed it, but the kids should have been right. I was very confused. He said that adults have learned to weed out the information in their brains that they don't need. I asked why he thinks kids don't do that too. He said that kids need to know it. ?????????????????????????? WHAT?????
That was the end of our discussion.

I just thought it was neat to see what kind of things kids really pick up on and remember. They have a reason to know all the social studies so that the next time it comes up on turbo twist they will get it right. They don't need to know the types of rocks, nor do I, because we are more interested in how they look than how they were created.

And if anyone doesnt have it, Are you smarter than a fifth grader is a really fun game.


Sandra Dodd

-=-He said that adults have learned to weed out the information in
their brains that they don't need.-=-

I don't think he's right.
I think some adults have trauma about school and the block out LOTS
of that (including the "learning material"). It makes it harder for
them to think, in general, but it makes it easier for them not to
dwell on the hurts.

Those with fewer hurts remember more. That's good to remember with
parenting, too! If you want your children to be able to access lots
of information, keep them happy.

Adults who consciously play with ideas and connections won't "learn
to weed out" information, they'll learn to USE it, all of it, all
kinds of new ways.

When my kids were little we played a game I called "gambling." I
wouldn't say "Do you want to play that thing?" I'd say "Let's gamble."

They had to have money to gamble, and so they'd bring pennies and
nickles and I would too, and we'd have wooden bowls or some
containers, and we'd always play on my bed. I'd get those sets of
cards that are by grade and have school categories, and I'd go to the
next page every time (they're bound with one rivet/screw thing on one
end) and choose one that would be a little hard but not impossible.
We'd go through all the kids, usually oldest to youngest, but
sometimes we'd rotate, or I'd offer it to the kid who hadn't won
lately or who might know it because of some recent thing.

If the kid knew it, he got a penny. If not, I got a penny. If it
was unknowable because they'd never ever heard of it, no pennies were
exchanged. Great answers got two pennies. Pointing out a flaw in
the question got a penny.

We just played fast and for fun and there was a lot of laughter.
Often there would be a globe on the bed, and a map and maybe a
calculator or something else by the end of it, and when it stopped
being fun for someone, we'd all quit.

They always won.
And I always found out some things they knew that surprised me, and I
was able to discover some things I might want to make more available
to them. That's part of how I knew what to strew. I haven't told
this story for a long time, maybe since before I was collecting web
pages. <g> I should put it out there...

We didn't go with the subject categories, but just randomized it all
and treated it all like one giant category, mostly. I remember
avoiding the spelling stuff, because even when they knew LOTS of math
and geography and history, they still couldn't spell. When I was in
school it was the other way for me.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Sandra Dodd

I made an error in that account of our gambling game. I meant
youngest to oldest. And I thought of some other things, and I know I
have described that game, probably on discussion lists I can still
get to, and will look for other stories of it.

I put that, with some additions (and more to come) here:


I looked and saw how very old my page on testing was (one of the
first web pages I ever made) and have cleaned it up a bit and started
a section on testing. If any of you have anything you've already
written or remember old discussions on lists or want to write
anything about natural assessment or reassurances about how you know
kids are learning, I can fill that in some more.

http://sandradodd.com/testing (and it's still rough and new... like
ten minutes new <g>)