The process of learning the basics of reading, writing, and math do not come easy for some. I was one of the some, but luckier than most. Mom and dad drilled the basics into my head at an early age.
Remarkably, a few of those lessons stuck.
Mom got me started on the alphabet; spelling, and reading. I admit to a heartbreaking shock on my first day of first grade. Our teacher, Miss McNutt (seriously), put all our names on a piece of paper taped to the top of the desk. Except mine.
I looked at every desk in the room. Not once, not twice, but three times. My name was nowhere to be found.
What my mother had failed to do was teach me how to spell Ronald. To me and everyone else in my home town, except Miss McNutt, I was plain old Ronnie. Ronnie I could spell. I had no idea which kid the name Ronald was attached to. It’s a shock to a six year old to find out your name isn’t really your name.
Mom was a forceful agent for instructions, and one of those was the need to read, and she made sure there was plenty to read in our household, including a set of World Book encyclopedias. Unlike the internet, there isn’t much information in an encyclopedia that’s unworthy of reading and learning.
Back then, I would rather read the encyclopedia than do homework, often sacrificing the latter for the former. The value of learning to read and comprehend, and learning to write so others easily comprehend, cannot be overstated.
Too many people have difficulty expressing their thoughts on paper or even in email messages these days. I doubt if instant messaging and chat rooms help people to become more effective communicators.
Math was a different story. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division were drilled into me until the first algebra course in the 8th grade. I failed miserably. Years later I found that I have a learning disorder tied to remembering strings and combinations of letters and numbers. Think about it. From algebra to trigonometry to calculus, what is the basic form?
Strings and combinations of letters and numbers.
No matter how hard I tried, the most numbers I could string together and remember was my home phone number. I still remember that number though it is long since out of service. I do not remember my own cell phone number, our car’s license plate numbers, or any numerical string with a combination of letters and numbers beyond four.
The exception is my master password. Guess that and you will own everything I own.