When good means bad

Sackgirl is 7 years old. I love listening to her working things out and discovering the way her mind picks up an idea or thought. Children have a unique way of looking at the world. It’s so refreshing – and so challenging.

For example – yesterdays random conversation went something like this –

SG: You know the word ‘good’ is like a really nice word, because it means you are doing things well. Like when you call me a good girl.

Me: Yep.

SG: Well sometimes it’s a really bad word too isn’t it? It’s naughty.

Me: Um. I’m not sure what you mean?

SG: Well, on cartoons and stuff, the baddie rubs his hands together and says “My evil plan is working, good.” So, in that case, it’s a bad word, isn’t it. Cos he’s bad.

How amazing is that for a concept!

From the mind of a 7 year old, the intention behind the word dictates the meaning of it.

When Sackgirl started school it felt like we, Mr G and I, also had to start again from scratch. It’s been a long time since I had to write down maths problems and show the workings, instead of doing them in my head or with a calculator.

Of course I remember how to ‘carry the one’ in addition but can you remember how to write out division puzzles? It took me a while.

It doesn’t help that they use these new-fangled methods called number lines or other similar devices. I could not get to grips with that, so I taught Sackgirl column addition, the way we were taught way back in history! Apparently that was the wrong thing to do, as they don’t learn that for another 2 years. Who knew?

When we got to English, I felt on much firmer ground. After all, words are my life. I have a degree in literature for goodness sake. I can so do this! Right?


Can you recall being taught rules about how to create an adverb? If the word ends in a silent ‘e’, you add ‘ly’. If the word ends in a ‘y’, you change it to ‘ily’.

The problem is, I know how to spell these words, so I don’t need to remember the rules. Trying to explain something I can’t clearly remember myself is really quite hard.

For example – can you tell me the difference between an adjective and an adverb – in words a 7 year old can understand? I dread the day she starts asking me about past participles.

So, I got a book to help and I’m back at school right there beside Sackgirl, trying to get to grips with the way she thinks. Only, in this I’m learning as much from her as I am teaching her.

I think that’s the way it should be!


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When good means bad — 8 Comments

  1. I am not looking forward to my two bringing me homework for help, I think I’ll be sending them daddy’s way! The way they do things seems to have changed so much, especially maths.

    • It’s been a learning curve! Mr G and I share the homework – when one reaches boiling point we swap over to calm down – it’s a frustrating exercise!

  2. This was so cool to read! You are doing great! The thing is, those kids are sponges, and they pick things up quick. SG appears to have an analytical mind.

    Our son used to make me crazy with his mental gyrations in math. He rarely followed “the rules.” By the time we got to algebra, it was taking me longer to relearn something so I could teach him, than it was for him to learn it on his own. He used to say, “Mom! You’re supposed to be teaching me. I shouldn’t have to teach you.”

    If your daughter likes silly things, she might get a kick out of Dan Crow’s Word Factory. He sings silly songs about words, and our kid liked it a lot when he was young. I still have our copy. http://amzn.to/1hzCdwI

    • Yay Maddie – good to see you. Kids are amazing in what they learn and remember, even when it seems they are not paying you any attention. I’ll take a look at that link you gave me.

    • I teach them the old school ways! After all, that’s what they will do when they are 20 – none of this long winded number line rubbish!

  3. I’m a primary school teacher and I’ve never taught about past participles so don’t worry about that 😉 I love her logic, it makes perfect sense to me.

    Nipping over from the blogsRus share thread.

    • I had to look up something in her homework this week – adverbial somethings . . . *sigh*. Getting left behind by the kids.

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