Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Looking At The World Through Google-ly Eyes

What would we do without Google? I cringe when I think of the possibilities.

Last night my son came home with some basic English grammar homework and figured he'd ask me for help. Considering the fact that I am a "writer" who has a Masters Degree in Journalism and someone who writes just about every day, he figured this assignment would be a cake walk for me. I would have thought so too.

The assignment was straightforward. The sections on the front and back worksheet were clearly outlined with directions; read the paragraphs and underline the parts of speech. Nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, similes, adverbs, etc. My son then looked to his mother for quick definitions of these every day parts of speech. It was almost as if a loud creaking of the opening of the squeaky door in my brain which houses such information could be heard throughout the house; the cobwebs and the moths nearly visible right there at the kitchen table. I scrambled.

"Uh, conjunctions...," I said.

The School House Rock "Conjunction Junction" anthem began playing quietly in my head. I seemed to remember, through the song, something about hooking up phrases and clauses and cargo trains.

"Conjunctions are words that connect words to other words in the sentence, " I replied.
"Huh?" he said.

His answer, far more decipherable than mine. My brain went into overdrive. I decided to start with the easy ones. Nouns and pronouns. We got through that in about three minutes. Adverbs were next. School House Rock, again, came to my rescue; mostly words ending in LY. After that I was revealed for the fraud that I am. I had no more School House anthems.

So I did what any red-blooded American writer/mother would do. I went to Google. Trusty old Google had all of the definitions we needed just a simple click away. He went right to work, armed with his new and improved conjunction definition, and all the others I was not able to define from memory. He even went back and checked his work, a sure sign he understood the assignment. I thought about how I use these same words every day while composing this blog, yet I never attribute them to their specific parts of speech. Thank God for Google, as I was able to save face in front of my son.

This was not the first time I have gone to Google for homework help, nor will it be the last. I am the first to admit that math is not my strong suit, for I have no degree in computation. Both children have surpassed my basic math skills in school and I am at a self-proclaimed disadvantage when it comes to their math assignments. Google has come to my rescue more than once. Through Google, I have even gone through brief math tutorials which have triggered rusty math skills enough so that I could help my children complete their assignments correctly. I might have even felt a satisfying sense of accomplishment for doing so. Trusty old Google.

What would I do without you?

After we completed my son's English assignment, my son said, "Thanks mom."
To which I replied, "Thank Google."

23 comments:

Sass said...

I'm dreading these assignments...

My 3rd grader is already smarter than I am.

Thank goodness for Google!

Scope said...

837 years ago when I was a senior in high school, I took a college intro computer class. The teacher made every test "open book / open note.". This is in the days pre-internet, but CompuServe was around.

He said that in the real world, "knowing the answer was less useful than knowing how to FIND the answer."

And I use that bit of wison when Google and AllWords.Com help me with the Sunday crossword puzzle. ;-)

Cowguy said...

And to think back in the day before the internet all moms had was a big big bottle of barbiturates to wolf down when queried with homework problems.

Hoo boy... those were the days eh?

yup yup yup. Yesiree.

Joanie M said...

I am so glad I am past all that with my kids! I have forgotten all that stuff I learned in school.

John received his degree in math several years ago (love that GI bill!) When he starts talking about anything mathematical, my eyes just glaze over.

When I was in school, I took the secretarial courses, so I only needed algebra and geometry to graduate. So I know nothing of trig or calculus or even algebra 2!

Good thing John tutors teens a few evenings a week! He gets to talk numbers with people who "get" it. His favorite is teaching kids SAT prep.

boylerpf said...

I home schooled one of my kids for a year in high school and let me tell you, that sure opened the creaky doors of the brain! I was using Google every night just trying to keep up!

B.E. Earl said...

All of those old Grammar Rock episodes from Schoolhouse Rock are available on Youtube. And they really do help.

"Out of the frying pan AND into the fire.
He cut loose the sandbags,
BUT the balloon wouldn't go any higher.
Let's go up to the mountains,
OR down to the seas.
You should always say "thank you",
OR at least say "please"."

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Cowguy-yup, that goes into the Hall of Fame 09 folder fo sho! AHAHAHAHAHA!

Scandalous Housewife said...

Google my ass! School House Rock, rocks! My son had to audition for the school play with a 'political' song, so I got him the sheet music for 'I'm just a Bill'. Remember? I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill! And I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill...
Do you remember the bill's name? Yeah, it's Bill.

Jennifer and Sandi said...

I love Google AND I love chocolate AND I love beer AND I love dogs!

Have a SUPER Tueday!

- Jennifer

Slyde said...

conuntion junction, whats your function?

Cora said...

Oh Candy, I'm sooo in the same boat!! Good Lord. My kid comes home with basic stuff that I know I used to know, but... hmm... nope... can't quite recall it anymore. *embarrassing* And I too fall back on Schoolhouse Rock first and Google second!! You're not alone, my dear. You're definitely in good company. ;-)

SkylersDad said...

You had it easy. When faced with questions, the only music that runs through my head is the theme from Love Boat.

Little or no help at all...

LegalMist said...

I used to love those Schoolhouse Rock vid's. They should play those now for our kids, too!

And, on the bright side, at least it wasn't a Homer Simpson dancing monkeys & jug band tune playing in your brain...

I really *don't* know what we ever did without Google!!

Furtheron said...

One of the things I notice with my children doing homework now is that when I was a kid if you showed that you had just read something in a book, gone to the library, asked someone etc. you got a good grade as probably 50% never bothered and only used whatever they had been told in the lesson and did no more research as it was frankly time consuming and difficult. Now the research capabilities of Google, Wikipedia etc. are a given so I think actually to get good grades is actually more demanding as to stand out you have to do so much more such as actually show some original thought or novel research - the kind of thing that only really used to be at graduate level I see now needed at secondary school.

However you are right it is a lifeline these days. I wanted to know how much a Fender Stratocaster cost in the early 1960s yesterday, I had the answer in seconds. That is impressive.

Elenka said...

Mr. Google and I are best friends! I have been know to hop up from the dinner table to google something that came up in conversation.! I need to know things NOW!

Heff said...

My kid is about to enter Highschool. He's SCREWED because I don't remember ANY of that krap.

Google it IS.

BeckEye said...

I used to be a Yahoo person for the longest time. I finally made the full transition to Google over the last year or so, mostly thanks to how awesome G-mail is.

Scope said...

Yeah, I have Google Mobile on the BlackBerry, so I'm the guy looking thins up while you are wondering what ever became of Bowser from Sha-Na-Na.

(Still going strong, FYI)

Prunella Jones said...

The only reason I bothered getting a site meter for my blog was so I could find out what people were googling when they found me. I'm nosy like that. You have to wonder what's going on in someone's mind when they google things like "Shirley Manson peeing", "Lisa Rhinna worm lips" and "butthole bleach stings."

By the way, my blog came up as the number one result for that last one and I'm very proud of that.

Sassy Britches said...

I wonder if our kids will be resorting to Dora and Sponge Bob jingles (do they even HAVE jingles?!) for remembering facts when THEY have kids? That was the beauty of the "olden days." :)

steenky bee said...

I always think it might be fun to travel back in time and tell people to google stuff before google was even around. It sounds sort of dirty.

As an aside, you know that little map thingy you have on your side bar. Those always make me feel so inferior to everyone else. Because when I clink on your blog, it shows up as SLC, Utah. Boring. I'm nothing compared to your visitors from Europe or Australia. Sigh.

slopmaster said...

YEA!!! Really there is almost no need to actually retain any knowledge, it can all be found on google! We need to be careful though, one day, we could out of jobs because of it, although, nothing can replace a good mom :)

Fancy Schmancy said...

My son doesn't even bother using me as the middle man any longer...

He and the internet outsmarted me a couple of years ago.