Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We Don't Need No Education

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I was reminded of various crafts that you are forced to create as a child in order to reflect the season. A cornucopia made out of a construction paper cone, a cornucopia made from a paper plate, a cornucopia colored with crayons....

And yet how important have cornucopias been in my Thanksgiving festivities? How prevalent in holiday decor? Table settings? Memories?

Cornucopias are nothing. Nada. No one cares about them. They're void of this world, appearing only in Target's dollar deal aisle and coloring books.

And that is why I include The Lie of the Cornucopia within a compelling list of lies told us by textbooks, teachers and the educational system. It is the worlds biggest letdown list, and the top 5 are below:

The Top 5 Lies I Learned in Grade School

1) Animals hibernate during winter. I will never forget the moment I realized that 1) it was winter, 2) there was snow on the ground, and 3) squirrels were NOT sleeping. They were scurrying. It was at this point I realized that hibernation is not a winter-long sleepfest, but rather an off and on slumber party. Tisk Tisk.
2) Birds fly south for the winter. Upon realizing that animals do NOT hibernate all winter long, I turned my attention to birds and found many of them to be tweeting and cawing well into winter. Thus, disproving the teacher lie that all birds migrate south for the winter.
3) Columbus discovered America. It is common knowledge by middle school that Columbus didn't actually discover America as much as he discovered the Americas, so why lead little children to believe as such? Why not stress the difference between the two?
4) Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. He did not discover electricity. He found it to exist within lightning. His result was not a light bulb or a spark. It was a lightning rod. This means nothing to children. So, instead of the classic (and potentially dangerous) key and a kite story, teacher should instead speak of Edison 10,000th try. Much more inspiring.
5) Everything ever said in math class. Once out of elementary school, it seems everything you ever knew to be true concerning numbers has a condition. Even the number 'zero'. You think it's the smallest number possible, right? WRONG! There are in fact an infinite number of smaller numbers, provided they are proceeded by a negative sign.

Bottom line: Though it may sound cool in the classroom, make for an interesting lesson plan and translate well into a handy craft project, teachers should ask themselves, one ultimate question:

Is it worth it?


  1. Excellent post amanda. Infact this is the exact reason why people where homeschooled :) ( i was was one of them before I entered 1st grade. The california Educational system is terrible IL is very good.......

    you for got two more

    1) Caterpillars make cocoons (WRONG! they are indeed called Crysilists) (moths are what cocoons are for (Very Hungry Caterpillar was wrong when i was young followed by teachers is its only flaw in this book

    2) Hamster sleep in 15 hours drifts (Wrong they only sleep for 5 (i had to do a report on it on 4th grade)

    hope that helps :)

  2. Ha...I teach none of these things in my classroom. We talk about how the Native Americans/Indians (whatever the current PC term is) helped the pilgrims survive their first years. That's why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Then we talk about how the white man stole their land. Of course in Kid friendly language. You will be proud to know, I have never ever made a cornucopia in my classroom. We talk about negative numbers in third grade, and about which birds fly south (mainly the geese). Bears hibernate and some other animals, but not all. You'd be proud (I hope)

  3. Brande, I wish you would have been there to clear up the hibernation/migration debacle!! And thank you for avoiding cornucopias!!