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Back when Syd was little and my full-time job, someone asked me if I thought I was wasting my education. Presumably, whoever was asking thought I was and because my brain is faulty as well as merciful, I don’t remember who it was and so can’t embarrass him or her publicly. Since virtually no one I knew at that time had kids (or a spouse for that matter), I am pretty sure that the question came from complete lack of experience.

Yesterday I got to review fifth grade math. You’d think that having completed it once, I could rest in peace. I’ve already revisited it once with Syd and now I get to do it again with T.R. I am happy to say that the habits of algebra are strong and I can demonstrate how to manipulate the formula for computing the circumference of a circle. I can even draw a diagram of a circle indicating which parts are which for those who may occasionally forget the difference between a radius and a diameter. (God help me when he gets to trigonometry, however! My own favorite version of Cookie Monster’s favorite song is “C is for Calculus. That’s good enough for me…”)

This morning, T.R. got to see education in action as we continue to read The Once and Future King. Arthur has decided on the idea of a round table for his knights. Kay says it is impossible to get a table big enough. Merlyn offers the formula for the circumference, which is, as we suspected, 2πr. It is not often that the universe so kindly reinforces T.’s homework, but I am truly grateful.

I also got to review French 1 this morning while Syd was filling in his workbook. M. Prosek and Mme. Kulstein would be proud to know that I remember my past participles and that I am passing them on to future generations.

So, no, I don’t think my education has been wasted. In fact, I wish I had more so that I could answer questions about obscure European leaders, the workings of telephones, and the films Marlon Brando. I have to refer the kids to their dad, Brent, Wikipedia, and IMDB more than I would like.

I hope the person who asked that question long ago did not waste his or her education.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of a book Connor and I read a couple of years ago, about a Knight of the Round Table named Sir Cumference. :D It's aimed at much younger children than Syd (we read it when Connor was in 2nd grade), but it was cute and there are others in the series (I don't know if they're for different age groups, though):


Also, are you enjoying "The Once and Future King?" A couple of days ago, I asked Connor something about King Arthur and he said he didn't know who that is. *jaw drops* Obviously, I have failed in my duties as a parent. (Although I know he's seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," so I haven't failed TOO terribly :D). I thought that OaFK would be a good introduction to the legend for us to read together . . . even though I've never read it myself. (What can I say, I'm a doofus). I got a copy yesterday, but we haven't started it yet. I'm guessing that since you're reading it with your fifth grader, it is appropriate for children. :)
May. 29th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
I might have to check out Sir Cumference myself, since I have my own collection of picture books that are MINE!

I love OAFK myself and have read it more than once. It's too hard for T. to read himself. He's learned words like anathema and anachronism from it so far and it is only because we've also read Wrinkle in Time that he already knew what fewmets were. He loved the first part in which Merlyn transforms The Wart into various animals in the course of his education. Today's reading, in spite of the math, was not his favorite part because Gawaine and his brothers kill a unicorn. There are definitely adult themes in the book and I hesitate to make a categorical statement on the appropriateness for kids; however, in my experience, most of what is inappropriate in other books and movies that T. has encountered has gone right over his head without impacting him.

It's a tough question, really, because I want T. to be challenged by what he's reading and interested. I hope that because I am reading to him (except for the first page of every chapter), I can explain and mitigate and console as necessary. I guess that didn't really answer the question, but maybe seeing my thinking helps?

As far as first introductions to Arthur, Monty Python is pretty awesome (although I managed to forget the part where the women yell "Oral sex!" over and over...). T. got into it through this book, which is pretty straightforward. Personally, I'm tempted to read him Malory next. It's never to early to start on medieval English, right?
May. 29th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmmm...
That definitely does answer my question. :) Seeing your thinking is helpful, and I get the feeling that you and I are very much on the same page in the way we approach this subject (of wanting them to be challenged, but not overwhelmed). Like you're doing, I'm planning to read it aloud to him, so we can discuss both vocabulary and concepts which might be a bit beyond him right now, so I think we'll be okay with the level of adult themes that you've described above. That's kind of how I've handled other things, like when we read "Where the Red Fern Grows." I was afraid he'd be really upset when the dogs died, so I warned him about it and made sure he knew that we didn't have to read it, if it was making him too upset. He wanted to finish the book, though, and really enjoyed it (I think I was more upset than he was, in fact. That book always makes me cry).

Also, LOL about the oral sex. Right now, Connor runs screaming from even the mention of kissing (GIRLS ARE GRODY), so probably he didn't even notice that, or have any sort of clue what it might mean (other than the fact that SEX has something to do with GIRLS who are GRODY). The book you linked looks really good, btw. I'll probably pick it up (or something similar, depending on what I find at Borders; I'm going there today anyway). It would probably be good for him to have a general framework for the story before we dive in to OAFK.

(Also, I'm ashamed to admit I've never read Malory, either. Pretty much I stuck to "Mists of Avalon" and figured I knew all I needed to know about King Arthur. Well, that plus Monty Python. :D :D :D). Oh, and having your own collection of picture books is AWESOME! I have a few of my own, too. :)
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