Tonawanda News


June 30, 2013

CRIB NOTES: Educating the little astronauts and mathematicians of tomorrow

Tonawanda News — When it comes to the food at Taco Bell, there are innumerable questions one can ask. 

“Do chalupas and gorditas really exist in Mexico?”

“Will this much nacho cheese just coagulate into a blood-stopping barrier in my arteries?”

“How does ‘beef’ get to be this color?”

But the question Penny recently asked me about the eatery was one I was not prepared to answer. We were discussing where to eat one day. I hadn’t even brought up Taco Bell, but she’d seemingly had something on her mind about the place for a while, judging by the urgency with which she blurted out her inquisition:

“Daddy, is Taco Bell a compound word?”

I was able to answer easily enough. But the fact that Penny — who just finished kindergarten — not only knows what a compound word is but is able to cognate that the name of a restaurant might be one (it’s not, in this case) floored me.

The memories I have of kindergarten involve tying my shoes, successfully pulling my pants back up after peeing and trying not to kick another kid upside the head when swinging. There was a focus on basic life skills, but academics weren’t exactly at the forefront of the curriculum.

That’s certainly not the case anymore. Penny spent a good portion of this past year bringing back reading and math homework (she already knows what division is!). She’s already a pro at using the computer (thankfully my generation is already tech-proficient, but if I get stuck I know who can help me).

Forget tying her shoes. Penny is about ready to take on state capitals.

I’d like to take the credit for passing down some truly fantastic genes. But I can’t. I mean, I DID create two wonderful-looking and brilliant children. But I did not create the standards to which they have to live up in the classroom. Nor did I get them to meeting them.

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