Friday, January 16, 2009

Are You Smarter than a Second Grader?

I don’t claim to be very bright. But I thought my children would graduate from elementary school before surpassing my IQ. My son’s in the second grade, and he’s quickly becoming the forerunner for smartest-in-the-house. My reign was short-lived.

It doesn’t help that a lot of the stuff I learned in school is outdated. Yes, I’m that old. Like Pluto. A couple years ago it received an interstellar demotion and is no longer a planet. So, "My Very Excellent Mother Just Made Us Nine Pizzas," no longer applies.

And neither does Roy G. Biv. Remember that one? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet: the color sequence of the rainbow. Well apparently, “indigo” was fired because it was unable to adequately distinguish itself from Blue and Violet. And there was no press release for that one. I only found out after missing the question while playing Cranium. I lost, by the way, in Cranium. The irony in that does not escape even me.

All this makes me highly unqualified to help my children with their homework. Unless, of course, the new definition of “help” is nag until it’s done. If that's the case then someone please crown me Queen Homework Helper, because that is an arena in which I excel. In fact, is there were a board game for nagging, I’d challenge anyone of you people. Bring it.

But alas, even with my sub-par intellect, I know that helping my children with their homework requires just as much guidance as it does, ahem, encouragement. But what kind of tutor am I? I can barely remember my multiplication tables without the help of a Pee Chee folder (and they don’t even sell those anymore).

My son’s taken to asking me obscure questions like, “Is an otter a mammal?” or “What plants come from spores?” or, my personal favorite, “How does a whale go to the bathroom?” This is where I must be honest and acknowledge that my master’s degree is in creative writing. So I could answer all my son’s questions with stunning brilliance that includes unforgettable details and perhaps a Greek hero with a tragic flaw, but I’m sure it would eventually land the poor kid in the principal’s office. So my typical answer always includes, “Let’s Google that one later, okay?” My kids think Google is like Einstein or something.

So there you have it. Apparently I am not smarter than a second grader. Now wiser, that’s another question. Okay, so it’s not, people. Do I get brownie points for being old?

Anyone, anyone?


jen said...

What?!! there is no more indigo!! I just graduated from college and I have to say that I too and not smarter than a second grader. loved the post.

Gustogirl said...

I have actually had the mammal question, just with another animal. I answer the same way, "let's google it!"

Linda @electric breast pump said...

I am certainly not smarter than the second grader, really kids of the modern age are very sharp minded!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

My children are all smarter than I, and they have realized it earlier and earlier. My oldest stopped letting me "help" with homework when she was a high school sophomore, my second, when he was an 8th grader, my youngest daughter, when she was in 7th grade, and my youngest cut me off in 5th grade, I recently received a reprieve and was allowed to help him edit a 6th grade literature paper. It was hell waiting to find out if I had helped or hurt his grade.

And when, by the way, did sixth graders start having literature?!