The gap between his reading comprehension (95%) and spelling (35%) probably results from insufficient rigor in spelling drill. Note also his low 47% in mathematical computation, likely resulting from the same sort of insufficiency.
Some things simply must be drilled, and cannot really be learned in any other way. Before we blame maternal indulgence for Bob's shortcomings, however, we must first credit Mrs. Other McCain for his academic excellence. (And good looks.)
When she saw Bob's reading comprehension score, my wife said proudly, "I taught him to read!"
Indeed, he was homeschooled from childhood until he entered church school two years ago. I remember when Mrs. Other McCain convened her first homeschool class in our little house down in Georgia, with Kennedy, 8, and the twins, Bob and Jim, then 5. The curriculum was eclectic which is not necessarily a synonym for "improvised," "ad hoc" or "a hodge-podge of workbooks, flash cards and whatever else came to hand."
Despite every imagined obstacle -- my wife's claim to educational expertise consists of a high-school diploma -- our oldest graduated from Highland View Academy with honors at age 16. Having finished Phi Theta Kappa at Hagerstown Community College, and spent a year abroad in Argentina, Kennedy is now making straight A's as a junior at Frostburg (Md.) State University. And, oh yeah, she's working her way through school and paying rent for her own apartment.
Last month, when Jim was basking in the glory of his field-trip expedition with me to cover the Orlando Tea Party (and learning scuba) his brother Bob was hurt that I hadn't published photos of his performance with the school orchestra.
Sibling rivalry between these boys is intense. They are fraternal, not identical, twins but look so much alike that when they were little -- before they insisted on different haircuts, etc. -- most people couldn't tell them apart.
Both are musical, but Bob's fanatical devotion (he plays guitar and several other instruments) had the effect of encouraging Jim to seek other pursuits, including mechanics (Jim will be replacing the brakes on the family car this evening).
Their differences of personality are interesting, and raise the inevitable question of nature vs. nurture. Raised simultaneously in the same environment by the same parents, it's hard to see how nurture could be credited with their differences. How could we have shown favoritism or partiality, when it was so hard to tell which was which? (We've sometimes called them "JimBob" or usually just "the boys.")
Well, let's leave such theoretical speculation to the experts, shall we? Instead we will celebrate Bob's achievements -- and the widely acknowledged wonderfulness of all six of our children -- as proof of what Sir Francis Galton described as Hereditary Genius.
P.S.: Sending their Dad to Pasadena? Genius!
UPDATE: Another reason to homeschool:
(Via Instapundit.) This phenomenon is not new -- busy work and "group projects" were around even when I was in school -- but it's gotten much worse, because of the alarming decline of the teaching profession. (Fact: Education majors, on average, have the lowest SAT scores among college students.)
Mediocre teachers are more likely to resent intelligence, rather than to admire or encourage it. In this manner, professions of egalitarian concern for "fairness" mask the mediocrity's envious resentment of excellence.
Why parents are so easily convinced to surrender their children to the custody of government bureaucrats -- notice that, even in their architecture, public schools are now barely indistinguiable from Youth Detention Centers -- is a great mystery.