Oh, I know it's been a long time.
But I'm inspired tonight to return.
Yesterday, I saw the new documentary Race to Nowhere and, of course, I cried. Tears of sadness for the experiences that we have come to accept as normal for children in school these days. Tears of gratitude for the experiences my own children are having.
Sophie is a 13 year old seventh grader who regularly has no homework. For the past week or so, her school has been hosting some kind of Geo-bee-- you know, the spelling bee kind of thing only for geography trivia. And, over the week, I've noticed in her a mild but growing discontent with her own lack of knowledge of these facts. You see, she has been losing. And what's possibly worse, she's been noticing that some other kids have an account in this bank of geography information that are quite a bit more flush than her own.
No homework has meant that she's had time to nurture some deposits in her new account. We've turned an orange into the Earth and a lemon into the sun and talked about hemispheres, poles, direction, the equator, climate and weather. (Oh, and I only had to ask if she was paying attention once!) She's pulled out puzzles and put the United States together. And tonight she poured over The New Comparative World Atlas considering land mass and population, literacy rates and infant mortality. She matched photos in our old DK First Atlas with the maps in the World Atlas, making connections with articles she's read in her New York Times Upfront magazine, and future travel plans.
She knew when she wanted the information, and she knew how to get it.
We got home late tonight, after a long day and violin lesson. We ate dinner together, dreamed a little about a trip to Ashland to see a play, listened to Stella's school story, and Max's, too. And Sophie still had time to play a game, help clean up, and read for an hour before she closed her eyes for a full night's sleep. She'll get up in the morning looking forward to another day at school.
I'm so grateful that we were able to navigate this evening on our own terms. I hope Sophie will find the company of adult friends when she grows up who have had this kind of time as well.
Will she find company that know how to be happy?