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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
...yes, usually I am.

I've been watching "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader" with my family. You probably know this if you caught my blog entry back in March where I got a little pissy about comments that Scott Adams had made about what a 5th grader really should learn in school.

Ok, I was more than a little pissy. I was livid. But let us put that aside for the moment, because I want to talk about the show. I want to talk about the quiz questions that they're giving the contestants and the reaction that my family seems to have to this show.

We actually like watching it, even though we know that some of the kids on the show have more than one credit to their names in IMDB (and yes, we think that the timing and editing could still use some work). I think it's the combo of Jeff Foxworthy (who has been a favorite of ours for years) and the antics of the contestants when they answer the questions.

So DH and I started watching this with the kids to see if the resident 5th grader could actually answer the questions. Then it became a bit of a competition between the 4th and 5th graders in the house against DH and I. The kids aren't doing too bad answering the questions, but I have had maybe a handful that I wasn't able to answer. DH is doing a little worse than I am in terms of answering questions. And at least one that I've wanted to argue with them over (how many teaspoons to a tablespoon - they say 3, I say 2.5 and I have a conversion chart to prove it).

There was one situation recently where DH and I stared at each other for a question (what state was named after a king of England), and the 5th grader turned around and said the answer (Georgia) and who it was named for (King George the 3rd) and I believed her. Good thing too because she was spot on correct. The 4th grader knew a more specific answer to something. They asked during what decade did James Marshall discover gold nuggets sparking the California gold rush and she piped up and said he found gold on January 24, 1848.

My kids are actually paying attention in school! Not that I doubted that before, but at least they're retaining the information that they're supposed to be learning. My daughters know about states named after kings. They know about the California gold rush (which is significant for California students to learn, natch), how to do long division, and other useful stuff that could get them to be the kids in the panel on this show.

Well, I don't expect them to aspire to be on this show. I'm not sure I'd even want to be on the show, but considering my record for answering the questions I would have walked away with the million dollars at least twice now. And several hundred thousand dollars several times over. That's because I remember the things that I learned when I was in school, even if some of them aren't so useful now, and I've been paying attention when my kids talk about their homework (or I'm helping them with their homework)...

...and people wonder what they're teaching kids in school these days.