View Full Version : MouHaHA, Poor DD

03-22-2011, 05:40 PM
I just realized today I have effectively taught DD the metric (SI) system so well, that she cant computer inches, feet, and yards in her mind.

I purposely and with forethought did NOT teach her more than a quick skim over of the inches, feet, and yards concepts. Her entire math life. It has always seemed to me that the ONLY way to get rid of that system was to raise children that dont use it or understand it well.
While this may be a disservice to her (and I am aware that it is), it is one of the very few ways American children will really get away from it. She can mentally picture mm, cm, m, cL, L, g, Kg etc... she cannot mentally picture 13 ft. though! She has to convert it.

There will never be a national change over. Not a real one. This change will only happen child by child. There are prices I will (ultimately) make my daughter pay in the realm of education. This is one of them. I decided this many years ago, Its just now while we were talking that i ACTUALLY realized it worked 100%.

Those with young ones... will you?? Do you dare??

Stella M
03-22-2011, 05:46 PM
Strangely enough, the only imperial measurement I can picture is when we are at the hairdressers and I tell them to 'cut an inch off'. I know an inch of hair! Feet ? No idea really...what I really can't work out is the temps you all talk about.

03-22-2011, 05:49 PM
Hahahah those she can do both C and F, she prefers using C though. If its hard for you imagine in your mind try this. 28C is about 82F and you can sort of compare from there.

03-22-2011, 05:50 PM
I agree with you.

Ben Franklin encountered a very similar situation except that is was with the alphabet. He home taught his children (like everyone else at the time) and thought that the English language spelling quite odd. He created a much simpler alphabet that was phonetic that standardize every sound to just one letter (character or symbol because he created new letters), one sound = one letter. Everyone else balked at it when he presented it to them including Jefferson. So now that's why we have to teach spelling. If we went with the Franklin Alphabet 200 years ago then no American would need spelling lessons because everything would be spelled exactly as it sounds.

03-22-2011, 06:25 PM
I love, for some reason, the fact that my husband has no idea how many cups in a gallon or tsps in a TB or whatever.

03-22-2011, 06:48 PM
From my experience, Canadians use both metric and the American system and often mix them. Certainly that's the case where we live; we are just as likely to encounter pricing at the grocery for kgs or pounds and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. Fahrenheit isn't well known here though. Our trick to remember Celsius is a simplistic rhyme but it works: 30's hot, 20's nice, 10 is cold, 0's ice. Works well enough for us! :)

DS is learning both systems at once; he prefers metric because it's more systematic (and it's what scientists use) and so far he hasn't been confused by either. I don't use metric around the house though; I accidentally bought a cookbook online that uses metric measurements and it's totally useless to me. I think it's actually Australian--any of our Aussie friends here want a brand new copy of Apples to Jam (http://www.amazon.com/Apples-Jam-Colorful-Tessa-Kiros/dp/0740769715/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300834019&sr=8-1)?

Stella M
03-22-2011, 06:57 PM
Ooh yes!! :)

I put a conversion chart on the fridge for converting back the other way, as I have recipe books that use imperial. That might help with your recipe book ?

03-22-2011, 07:11 PM
That's a good idea, Melissa. Sometimes the recipes try to include conversions but instead of measurements I'm accustomed to, ie: 3 cups flour, they'll have the amount listed in pounds or ounces. Seriously, I'm supposed to weigh my flour or butter? I think I'm extra annoyed because I was SO looking forward to it and I never splurge on cookbooks for myself, and then it's set up kind of weird (by color of the foods!) and it's hard to figure out. When I want to bake a cake, I just want to bake a cake, you know? I don't want to think about what color it is or getting out my scale and trying to weigh my ingredients! That said, if you want it, the recipes look yummy and I'll happily send it to you! :)

03-22-2011, 07:28 PM
One of the best things that ever happened to me and metric baking was a few months after I arrived in Sweden. I went to a tupperware party of all things (this is not something i would ever normally consider doing but it was a close friend). I ended up winning a bunch of the little prizes they give out. haha metric Dl cups, a new set of metric measuring spoons, and a roll out cutting board pad thing that had circles in metric for measuring pie crust diameters etc.. it totally fixed any problem I had with mental conversions back and forth. ExCEPT for baking, I mostly now just measure in my palm for spices and/or "about a cup/dL" hehehe...

It is so much more difficult to change the mental images and measuring when a person is an adult. It really really is. The USA needs to join the rest of the world with the SI system. hmmm though... Maybe the christian masses have been avoiding this for decades because of all that one unit then armageddon stuff? MAYBE!

03-23-2011, 01:20 AM
Lol Melissa the good old inch of hair..isn't a foot roughly a ruler length?

03-23-2011, 01:28 AM
1 ft=12 inches= ca 30 cm yes.. a ruler :D

03-23-2011, 02:50 AM
That's all that's been taught in our K12 lesson so far. I have no idea if it switches. I failed anything at all to do with the metric system in school. I am not keen on teaching it now. In fact, sad as I am to say this, I am in fact learning the system for the first time along side my first grader. Honestly though, as great as it is to know it, it's equally (if not more) important to know inches, feet, degrees and so on. As the OP said, there will never be a change and most of us will never in our lives have to use the metric system (I don't bake unless it comes out of a box so no problems there). But my dd is looking towards a life of science where it would matter to her. So I'm not sure. I would like to teach them both and see no reason why she couldn't learn them.

03-23-2011, 03:02 AM
There will never be a change unless it is done child by child is what I meant in the OP..and really.. the American system of measures ..well.. it just sucks and needs to find its grave. So I am doing my part to get rid of it. It will never change on the school and govt. level is what I meant, unless it is done child by child. Unfortunately it is the exact mindset that youre expressing about yourself that I am trying to change. The rest of the world (for the most part) uses metric and all of science uses it as well. Its an excellent system. Alas... most adults are unwillingly to learn it as they dont "need" it. Its kind of a sad shame. Please dont feel like I am picking on you.. I am really not. You have only expressed the opinion of the majority of American adults is all.

03-23-2011, 05:56 AM
My ds is just now learning metric through his science lessons. I never really thought about whether or not to teach him one or the other as a 'purposeful' choice. I've lived about nine (adult) years overseas using metric and just learned it all kind of like a person learns a second language. When I'm using metric it just comes to me, don't have to really think about converting. Of course when you go to England you have to know both--with some stones thrown in! :)


Mom to dd (24), dd (21), homeschooled ds (9), and gd (1)

03-23-2011, 01:36 PM
But the English system helps you understand base 12!


Actually, I have no strong opinions about it. We've already taught both.

03-23-2011, 02:55 PM
[Tongue firmly in cheek here, but...] What is all the whining about SI and standard units? You really don't think *if you tried* an adult can learn 2 units for 4 measures? (length, weight, volume, temp)

Try being an engineer. My thermodynamics text had 2 pages of units and conversions that had to be memorized to the point of comfort. Energy might be in Joules (1000 Newton-meters), kW-hours, or calories (all SI), but also btu's, lb-ft. Pressure may be given in psi or Pascals, or mmHg, or atmospheres, and who got the bright idea to "standardize" english mass by using both the lbm (pound mass which is not a pound weight) and the SLUG (yes, there is a unit of mass called a slug). Thermal conductivity has units of Btu per hour per foot per degree F. Try to envision what that means physically! Sure it was a year of suffering (and when in doubt dividing test answers by 12 or 144), but eventually you get to the point you have a sense of them all.

So if your kid balks just tell them, "It could be worse. You could be an engineer." [And for the record, most scientists have to maneuver both systems as well.]

Ok, rant over and tongue out of cheek -- SI would be a much easier system, but I believe we all get comfortable with what we use (and what we have to). I, for example never could grasp pints. My mom just recently pointed out, "that's just 2 cups". I think I finally got it now. :D

[That all said, I admit I do LOVE when our counter-culture plans work and our kids are properly warped. :) ]

03-23-2011, 07:50 PM
I love metric and we use it almost exlcusively. When we get English/American measurements we convert. We too picture things in metric. I'm glad we aren't the only ones.