October 13, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if I would be a different person if I had learned history as a child. At least a little more open-minded, aware, sensitive… something. I still can’t get over the fact that I managed to graduate #1 in a class of 300 and I have no understanding of history.

book cover: Who Was Albert Einstein?I just learned today that Einstein helped raise funds and gather support for the creation of the state of Israel. He was even asked to be their second president! I read this by reading my eldest boy’s* library book, “Who Was Albert Einstein?” by Jeff Brallier. (The whole Who Was? series seems quite good and I highly recommend them for 1st-3rd graders.)

Anyway, the fact that I am constantly shocked by the things I don’t know gives me another reason to appreciate custom schooling. (I think I am going to call it “custom-schooling” for awhile. Because homeschooling is not inherently superior to any other education if it is done in the same assembly-line, one-size-fits-all way as government schooling.)

I recall that I did not care one bit about history while I was in school. Although the binders full of notes copied from Mr. Hayhurst’s overheads are still packed away in my basement, that is all I did with this information. I transferred it straight from the teacher to my notebooks and safely tucked it away for posterity. None of it escaped from the page into my brain. If only I could have learned history through literature.

Last month, I shared some new knowledge with my husband and he replied, “Sometimes I am amazed at the things you don’t know.” I wasn’t offended. It’s true… for a smart person, I am often terribly ignorant.

All I know is that if I ever catch little Prince Charles reading Les Miserables while I am trying to discuss economic systems, I hope my response will not be to scold him and move on. Imagine if someone had take an interest in 14 year old me and talked to me about the French Revolution because I was reading Les Mis.

So I am making up for lost time by reading children’s biographies, and talking to #1 about his Magic Treehouse books. I am sad for what I have missed, but glad that little Poseidon is getting a 29 year head start.

*Bloggers often give their loved ones cool nicknames like Zeus, Munchkin#2, or Hellraiser to protect their anonymity and innocence. Sometimes I find them cute; sometimes I find them slightly patronizing. I will probably give my own spawn pseudonyms at some point as well, but I am not ready to commit to that yet. It’s a big decision. Maybe I will name them after the Royal family… yeah. I like that. Subtle, but memorable. Let me think on that one for a bit.


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