School Daze

I was looking over my grandson’s homework (third grade) on Tuesday and discovered the little rug rats are dissecting sentences. Now, this might be cute if it were frogs, rats, or blocks of Limburger cheese. But sentences? Gross!

These poor nine-year-olds are expected to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and prepositions. Stuff I didn’t learn until my third year at writers critique group (age fifty-four). Maybe they’re trying to teach these children the evils of writing at an early age, but one thing’s for certain, no good can come of it.

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Queen of Pronouns, who has more aliases than the entire cast of America’s Most Wanted, is Ann Fisher Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To view the writers on a wire in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Sandra Crook
copyright – Sandra Crook

“Well, Stephen, I bet you’re glad to be back in school with all your little friends.”

“I’m in Junior High now, Grandma. We’re considered young adults.”

Oohh, I see. What courses are they teaching these days?”

“Mostly boring stuff like calculus, problem solving, and innovative thinking. But I did sign up for one elective.”

“You mean like art, music, or sports?”

“No, it’s a retro class that deals with basic domestic skills.”

“That sounds interesting. How do you like it so far?”

“The instructor is nice, but right now the class is just sew, sew.”

Welcome to Home Economics 101. This week your instructor, Mr. C.E. Ayr, will be teaching the class how to deal with unwanted guests.


33 thoughts on “School Daze

  1. I like the idea of sewing being a ‘retro’ skill. Next thing they’ll be adding reading to the list of ‘retro’ courses. Nice one Russell, I’m off to file my subordinates claws now.


    1. Ah, you should write a novel about that, “Confessions of Sentence Diagramer” (maybe change the last word to Designer). Maybe even turn it into a romance between a couple of grammarians.

      Don’t forget me when you sell the movie rights.


  2. Dear Stephen,

    I found dissecting sentences to be a more grisly endeavor than dissecting frogs. When it came to sewing however, my pulse was always found to be thready. I believe the next retro elective will be cursive writing. Don’t even get me started on that. Oh…your story… well, what can I say? It was sew, sew. (said Little Miss Echo.)




    1. Dear Ann,

      Who needs grammar? I thought that’s what editor were for. Ennways, will you be the instructor for the cursive writing class? Mr. Ayr tends to use the pen as a weapon, and don’t get me started on his use of scissors.

      Happy Calligraphy,


      1. Dear Stephen,

        I would be happy to teach the cursive writing class. As for Mr. Ayr we’ll have to make sure not to let him have any sharp objects. 😉 Only plastic scissors with rounded tip. Grammar Shmammar. I couldn’t diagram my way out of a paper sentence.

        Shalom again,



  3. The girls will love Stephen if he can sew. No sew sew about that. And maybe he’ll make a career in fashion. Fun story. I’m currently taking an online course (but I’m very slow) where I dissect sentences and learn to put names to the parts. Verbal phrases and phrasal verbs, who knew?


  4. Dissecting sentences is very difficult because they can run long and go on forever and ever and then you don’t know how it all began and how it’s going to end and maybe if it’s time to stop 🙂

    ha ha. I like your sew sew story.


  5. So, we got almost all our bases covered in sentence diagrams, sharpened subordinate claws and poison penmanship.

    Now … who’s teaching conjugation? Don’t say it’s Perry. He may volunteer every time, but he’s better (read: more familiar?) with dangling participles.


  6. I’m a bit dismayed that they’d push sentence diagraming down to the 3rd Grade. Just one more thing for the poor teacher to try and explain while the kids stare glassy-eyed. I don’t think these educators who plan curriculum have a clue what ages kids are ready for certain ideas. The New Math was a total flop and American children are poor at math. I had to hire a math tutor for my kids. She criticized the schools. Now they’re ruining English. I read they’re thinking of stopping the teaching of cursive writing. The children then won’t be able to sign their names. It’s a good think audio is they soon won’t be able to read. Funny post regardless of my opinions, Russell. 🙂 — Suzanne


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