Tuesday, October 07, 2008

subversive schoolwork

Choice excerpts of C's spelling classwork below. The underlined word is the spelling word.

Alex P. Keaton strikes again:
Always try to make much more money!
I am saving money now to make a foundation for businesses later.

Reading fantasy to him out loud means he doesn't learn how to spell the REALLY important words:
Ogers are very unpleasant.

Perhaps I should challenge him to make the whole assignment an ongoing dialogue:
When will I start the mission?
Why do you want this mission completed already?

I think assignments like this almost beg for these kinds of random responses, but I do wonder about what free-association world they come from:
Would you like to make some guesses on the stealth of contestant no. 37?
I had some sandwiches for lunch and found a topaz in one.

And we don't even make him listen to them:
Obama and Micane will give many long speeches before the coming election.

And from math class:

I attached 3 plastic fingers to one hand. Then I cut off 7. How many fewer fingers do I have than I started? (I had 10 to begin with.)

He was supposed to come up with a word problem with the numbers 4, 7, and 11. We are indeed disturbed by the finger-chopping bit, but disregarding his sociopathic tendencies, I'm intrigued by the complexity of the problem he came up with. (The answer is 4, for those of you distracted by the blood.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'm a mean actuary

I hope the numbers in this article are wrong. Because if not, the booster seat industry is a big scam.

“About 350 children ages 4-7 die in crashes each year in the United States.... Because half of the fatally injured children in this age group ride unrestrained, the first step is to get them belted.”

So 175 kids wearing seat belts or in carseats/ booster seats die each year.

“A 2006 study by the same authors found that boosters reduce fatality risk among booster-age children by about 28 percent compared with belts alone.”

Let’s pretend none of those 175 were in boosters, so the 28% risk reduction is obtained by all of these kids. That would mean 49 fewer children would die per year if the kids who use seat belts start using boosters.

If we pretend the unrestrained kids started buckling up, boosters would prevent an addition 49 deaths. So we’d be up to 98 fewer deaths per year if every one of the 16 million children aged 4-7 in America used a booster seat. The cheapest booster seat costs about $20. That’s a lot of money for preventing 98 deaths. Worth it, yes, if your kid would be one of them- but imagine if all that money went to, say, children’s health care! Or perhaps promoting public transportation, which would reduce fatalities among all age groups....

gollum's riddles

C reset the clocks in the kitchen before bed with the hope of tricking me into reading to him for longer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I just need to remind myself that other people let their kids play GTA

I decided not to read past the third Harry Potter book with C because they get disturbing after that. But then I somehow thought it was a good idea to read him The Hobbit. Clearly I didn't really think this through. It's not gory, and doesn't delve into "evil" in the same way The Lord of the Rings does, but its casual violence is a bit jarring. I have to wait until A goes to bed before reading it.*

In the period when C's computer was out of commission (thanks for fixing it Dad!) I loaded Gazillionaire and a Doom-ish multiplication game onto our computer. But Dan let C borrow his laptop one day and C found a trial version of Fate . Bad parents that we are, we don't do much monitoring of his computer time so we didn't vet the game at all before he found it and played it. Luckily it appears to be relatively innocuous because he absolutely loves it.

* C is thrilled by the book, however, and I'm enjoying it too- I'm not sure if I've read it since I was 8 myself. The language makes it much more difficult to read out loud than most of the books I choose, and it's too complicated for me to give the characters different voices as I usually do. But that means I have to pay more attention to what I'm saying instead of letting the words bypass my brain.