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The Most Important Subject

"Math is important, but it is secondary to language skills. In fact, math is dependent upon language skills. The math teacher teaches the concepts in words, and the mathematical symbols are used in place of words so they can be easily manipulated on paper. You can be pretty lousy at math but still be a truly educated person, because language skills are the measure of the educated person - one who can speak and write with clarity and has power over his native language, English." (Cheryl Lowe, "The Classical Teacher" magazine, Memoria Press. Summer 2011 p. 10)

Ummmkay. Suffice to say that I don't buy my math books from these people. Good grief, how bigoted of them. According to this logic, the most brilliant recently-arrived scientist from India is just some dopey boob because he can't "speak and write" English with clarity. And some very intelligent young men who can build complicated robotics equipment but not write beautiful prose... those people really aren't educated in the classical sense of the word (please sniff and put on your snooty voice whilst reading this line). I buy my Latin books from Memoria Press, and I really enjoy the textbooks and DVD that come with Prima Latina, but I don't agree with this logic. This same person goes on to imply that much of the ADHD "epidemic" is due to "our careless attitude toward written work" in an article about good handwriting (p. 33, same magazine). Which... of course... they sell kits for.

Know what? I have a child who does well in mathematics and chess. By no means am I ignoring the other subjects, but I **do** focus mostly on the subjects in which my son has shown aptitude. Other families may focus on areas of weakness in the hopes of helping their child become more well-rounded.

How about you? Your thoughts?


  1. Until I read your commentary on it, that quote made me feel better about myself! LOL! I stink at math, but I love to read and write. I was giving myself a pat on the back that I was a "truly educated person."

    Thanks for raining on my parade.


  2. I think you can be a "truly educated person" and stink at English, or mathematics, or whatever. Everyone has areas of strength and weakness; I really believe this.

  3. I believe that, too. Just being sarcastic.

  4. Ohhhhh... I didn't catch the sarcasm. Here I was worried that I called you a doofus unintentionally lol. I was going, wow, I didn't mean it that way...

  5. Re your comment on Pepsi: our daughter IS seeing a therspist... only we believe he/she is actually making her worse!
    She comes up with all these 'REMEMBERED' incidents from her past that NEVER REALLY HAPPENED!
    It just makes us shake our head with disgust.
    Some of the things she has decided are true from her past are ludicrous.... and the sad thing is her Dr actually believes it?

    Nothing we can do though but let her work her life out herself. We are always here to pick up the pieces, though luckily there will be no more babies to 'pick up'.

    And yes, it is so sad. But I have gone beyond letting it make ME SAD ... cos there is NOTHING I can do for her now. She won't let us help, according to her she is FINE.

    It's us who have the problem accepting her and her lifestyle according to her!

  6. Well, in their defence they do say *native language* not necessarily English & as a Lit major I will say the math nuts stink at expressing themselves clearly in the written word! So many *math problems* the biggest problem is the way in which it is so poorly written as to be unclear, ambigious, & confusing. It makes me sooo mad. No wonder I suck at problem solving! I sit there going only a math nutter would try & fill something with water where the water is running out faster than it goes in! Know what I mean? I'd get another tub before I started! lol And other things, just can't think of an example off hand, I scratch my head over the possible meanings. Which one am I mean to choose? And that's before we get to the problem solving math bit! So I do actually get her point. I'd probably agree | up to a point! The old Arts/Sciences quandrum! Now I've ranted all over your comments box I'll make a noise like a hoop & roll away. ☺

  7. Chris, BLESS YOU hon!! I can't say if I were a therapist I wouldn't believe her. You know, I'd prolly go, WHY would she make it up and it explains a lot, yk? Doggone it I'm just sorry and angry for what's going on there. :(

    Ganeida, I laughed at your comment because I wouldn't be calculating rates and stuff, either, but would get a new tub myself. Though some word problems are made too language-y. Like this:

    If one spider has eight legs, how many legs do five spiders have?

    Emperor would answer eight, as in, they each have 8 legs. The correct answer is of course 40.

  8. I'm with Elf! lol My point exactly. Poor English.


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