Now there was the math curriculum to be dealt with.
It was deemed logical to introduce a subject, work on it for three days, and then introduce a new subject that had NO BEARING ON THE PREVIOUS SUBJECT!
Not: Count by 10's, then Count by dimes, then count by 5's, count by nickels, etc. More like: Count by 10's; fractions; addition facts of 3 and 4. In the space of ten days. Huh?
So MeiWei is getting farther and farther behind. And developing that all too familiar song of "I hate math." Who wouldn't?
Another peeve was the introduction of Spelling. This was, after all, first grade. These kids were still learning how to FORM THEIR LETTERS! What is the sense of cramming spelling down the throats of little kids who barely know how to write? So every night there would be spelling homework. Always the same rote lesson too. Monday: copy all the words; Tuesday: alphabetize; Wednesday: use in a sentence; and on and on. You knew what day of the week it was by the spelling homework. If any of those kids was blissfully thankful the following month that she was able to remember how to correctly spell a word she was using in her "journal", I'll eat her report card.
Speaking of the journal, what's the point of that?? Well, it would be fine if they had been allowed to write whatever they wanted (scrawl would have been a better description). But there was a Format! (All hail the Educational Powers-That-Be.)
The Format was, on Monday, to write a sentence stating whether they had a good or bad weekend, another sentence stating what they did, and then a concluding sentence. This consisted of summarizing that they had had either a good or bad weekend. How's that for creativity? And being persuasive?
So when MeiWei, the reluctant, left-handed writer, was finally inspired, in February, to write about a subject dear to her--horseback riding--she acknowledged that it had been a "bad" weekend. She explained that she had been riding. She further explained that it was bad because she had fallen off her horse. Then the expected summary.
THIS entry was lambasted. Why? Because--gasp--she had given a supporting argument (that dreadful extra sentence about falling off the horse) for her declaration that it had been a bad weekend! The teacher actually drew a big line through it and marked "Follow the FORMAT."
So from then until the end of the year she only churned out Formatted entries. And boy were they boring.