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Monday, September 1, 2014

THE KING TUT PUZZLE - a cranky re-run

Being the start of a new school year, I thought this would be an appropriate post for re-run Monday.  This re-run is from September 2012. 

Lou at “Sunnyside” recently ranted about homework for grade school children.  It reminded me of this story.
At seven years old, Spencer was bringing home a boatload of homework every night.  Much of it was “busy” work and some didn’t make sense even to his parents.  My favorite was a math question designed (I guess) to make the kids think:
“Two and two equals four…explain.”
I mulled over this question for about 20 minutes.  I had no idea what the teacher was looking for and it was 8:30, 30 minutes past Spencer’s bed time and 2 ½ hours into a seven year olds homework.  I finally scribbled on his paper:
“Because if he told me two and two equals anything else I would think he was an idiot and you were the worst math teacher in the USA.”
Mr. Hagy

That was the last “thinking question” homework we received that year.

The killer assignment of all assignments was a “King Tut” puzzle.
Spencer came home one night with an envelope.  Inside were 11 pieces of white paper cut into puzzle pieces.  The assignment was to put the pieces together and then tell three things about the person the puzzle formed.
Plain white pieces are difficult to figure out, especially when cut by scissors and even more especially when one piece was missing.  We (did any teacher really think a 7 year old was going to do this without help) started at 7:00.  At 7:45 I still did not know who this puzzle was supposed to be until I asked Spencer what they were studying in this class. 
Ah ha!  The puzzle without a piece now started to look like King Tut.
The puzzle finally solved, we now had to tell three things about King Tut.
It was eight o’clock and I was borderline crazed about this stupid assignment.  Couldn’t the teacher just have asked “Tell three things about King Tut?”  No, she had to send home a stupid freaking all white puzzle with a missing piece.  What fun!!
“Get your book Spence and we’ll look up King Tut.”  His book did not have a section on King Tut.  I guess we were expected to look him up on the internet.  My internet access at the time was via a slow modem (remember modems?)  My patience was now zero.
“Write this down Spence.”

1.     King Tut was called the child king…because he was a child.  (That was the extent of my King Tut knowledge.) 

2.    King Tut was left handed.  (Prove me wrong.)

3.    It is now nine o’clock; my father says it is well known that King Tut was unable to solve puzzles with all white scissor cut pieces especially when one piece was missing.  So I guess King Tut was also an idiot.

That was the last puzzle project of the year.


  1. oh, i can imagine the teacher's horror at your retorts. but i loved 'em. :)

  2. Life at your house is never dull. The teacher is, but not you. Bwahahahahahahahaha.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  3. LOL! Just when I thought grandparent bloggers had revisited every last topic from the nostalgic past!
    I often sent my daughters to bed while I stayed up to complete "word searches" and color inane pictures. The best rebuttal from a parent was the highly technical "Invention Convention" entry submitted by a patent attorney "on behalf" of his 5th grade kid.
    Now, I wouldn't go quite that far, but I read his "frustration with homework" statement loud and clear.
    For heaven's sake, teachers! Let the kids go home and PLAY after school! Teaching them is YOUR job - during the DAY!

  4. About all I remember from my kid's early school days: When our oldest son, Matt, was in the first or second grade he came home from school almost every day with something pinned to his shirt by his teacher, such as a notice for a bake sale or something I had to sign & return. I got so tired of this that one day I pinned a note on his shirt myself & sent him to school. It said, "Post No Bills". It didn't work.

  5. When our son was in the second grade his mother and I went to parent teacher night. Our son's teacher, an extremely pleasant and good-looking young fellow, told us no books would be going home with the kids and there would be no homework. This struck us as odd and we mentioned it to the principal, who informed us that Mr. Dodd was new and there would indeed be homework. But there wasn't. Of course Mr. Dodd was our son's favorite teacher, but he fortunately/unfortunately, didn't make it through the first semester. Two years later we were surprised to see Mr. Dodd on TV one night doing the local weather.

  6. Whenever my kids asked with help for their homework, I told them I had already been to and completed second grade (or whatever grade they happened to be in). Sometimes I would give them some guidance or ideas for their homework, but this parental involvement in the kids' homework always seemed unusual too me, something very American. I know my parents had no clue about my homework - that was my job to take care of.

  7. I do all word finds.

  8. Fortunately (?) my grandkids live in the low income half of the school district. They are the first picked up, the last off, and spend an hour each way two times a day. They are savvy little girls, they do their homework on the bus.

  9. Sorry. I would be gone from that homework-giving principal's school. I give about 15 minutes of class time after the lesson so my students can do their assignment. It's their chance to ask ME stuff they don't understand. Most get done and don't have homework. Let the record show that the standardized test scores in my subject are well above the state average. So it's not like they're being deprived of a learning experience.

    I never understood how sometimes my kids had 36 math problems every night. If you don't understand the concept in 10 problems, you're not going to understand it in 36. Seems to me you'd just keep doing them wrong.


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