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Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader

October 1, 2014

If you ask me, I’m going to be honest with you and say

“Nope.”

It must be because I play too much during my years in Pearl Bank Primary School.  I don’t blame my primary 5 form teacher Mr. Lee.

My daughter joins the CYBER school of Pennsylvania and every once a week, I will teach her.  Some evenings when I returned from work, I will go through some of the things she learned.  According to her birthday (and in America it’s not just the year you were born, it matters which month and in some cases, even which day) she is supposed to be a 4th grader but some years ago she finished two grades worth of school work and so she’s now ahead and is screaming “Are you smarter that a fifth grader?”

I don’t remember learning about Mesopotamia, Assyrian and Chaldean.  I only vague remember somewhere in Gan Eng Seng Secondary School when I encountered the word Mesopotamia.  I have never learned about the nervous system or the circulatory system of the body, and certainly not about pistils and stigmas.  Either they were taught and I was goofing off, or I completely forgot what I learned.  Almost every thing in Biology Science, History and Art History sounded like Greek to me.  For that reason, I enjoy reading and learning what she is learning now.  It just amazes me how any fifth grader is going to pack all those info/facts into that small little brain.  I admit also that I will fail all my test, if I were a fifth grader in her school now.  And I am not afraid to admit that in public, I don’t even need to do that in a game show!  Fortunately for me, my daughter never have to sweat about those things.  She fit into those learning environment like a hand in a glove.  And of course, I am not expecting her to A in everything ( even though she did).

Fun facts (quizzes and actual questions) about “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” are available everywhere on the internet.  I don’t even have to take them to know I’ll do badly.  I readily surrender even before the battle starts.  The vocabularies expected of a fifth and sixth grader here is really, really high.  No wonder the GRE non-analytical non-math test is so very difficult for foreigners.  I took that test, and you can say  I failed although there is no pass or fail for GRE-general test.  I must also admit that my daughter’s vocabulary has far exceeded mine.  It is true, I know words more through my experience than through the schools or textbook.  But because my daughter reads 5 to 10 times what I am reading each week, her vocabulary builds up at a very fast rate.

But despite what I saw in my daughter and how successfully her knowledge and language improves, I still see many students in my Math class showing a less than satisfactory level.  And I’m not talking about math, their English is terrible, their spelling is horrible and most don’t even like to read their textbooks!  So I sometime wonder how school teachers managed to keep up with the syllabus in the book (or teaching manuals) when my daughter spent numerous hours to perfect what’s required in her curriculum.  I am just lucky she really, really love learning, and didn’t mind us squeezing school hours into her waking hours otherwise, I don’t see how any parents can do it.

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