Three Lessons from 4th Grade (Alternate Title: The Macarena is Stupid)

When I was in fourth grade and my brother was in first grade, my parents enrolled us in elementary school. My two older sisters were also entering school (eighth grade) for the first time. The twins wanted to go because they were very interested in science, which is hard to teach at home as things get more advanced. My parents were likely not crazy about the idea of having a chemistry lab in the house at the same time as my brother and me – lame.  While my sisters did eventually graduate from public school, it didn’t go quite that way for my brother and I. We were homeschooled again by early October. I learned exactly three things in my brief stint in public school.

First, I was saying large numbers incorrectly. Like I thought 1,111 was “one thousand and one hundred and eleven,” not “one thousand one hundred and eleven.” My fourth grade teacher set me straight on that one pretty fast. I remember having to read an extra, substantially long series of numbers out loud in front of the class to demonstrate I got it.

I care zero thousand and zero hundred and zero much.

Second, fourth graders are jerks. I had my first ever crush on a red-headed kid named Patrick. Patrick laughed when I got my numbers wrong. Asshole! We are so over, Patrick!

Third, the Macarena is the worst dance of all the dances. Do not argue with me. My first gym class experience involved everyone having to learn and perform the Macarena individually. I was told this would be “fun.” Do the math: no social skills + two dozen strangers + one Patrick + one terrible gym teacher + four gangly limbs + dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena. Answer: lots thousand and lots hundred and lots formative trauma. Thanks for that one, 1996!

Ultimately, my parents decided to homeschool us again because the public school material was too easy. My mother taught us all to read at a significantly younger age than the other kids. When the others were reading The Boxcar Children, we were reading The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Turns out that when all the other homeschooled kids think you’re too weird EVEN FOR A HOMESCHOOLED KID, you read even more to keep yourself company. You might think I’m bragging, but consider that whole big number thing. It’s not like things didn’t fall through the cracks in my education.

I’m socially crippled and can’t get up.

Another reason they pulled us out is that my poor little brother was being bullied quite a bit. The other first graders would throw sand at him during recess. Recess was separate per grade, so I wasn’t there. I wasn’t a nice little girl, so it’s a good thing for those first graders. Bonus fourth thing I learned by extension: first graders are assholes, too!

Next time on Anna Goes To School, we’ve got a brief fifth grade experience in Christian school. Fun times were had! (Fun times were not had.)

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