March 04, 2006

Children Pass Up Their Parent

Father of Eleven recently posted an article about how his family's homeschooling demonstrates that history is written by the winners.

Reading it got me to thinking about how much I'm learning from our homeschooling history lessons. It's a little frightening to think that our kids are in kindergarten and first grade, and already I am learning content from the lessons Camille is teaching them.

I'm learning content from their lessons. That is, I'm not just learning how kids learn, or child psychology, or teaching strategies. I am learning science in order to teach them science, and I'm learning history from what they study with my wife.

After spending a couple of weeks working on Native Americans, Camille assembled a little test for the kids. (The children are still young enough to think fill-in-the-blank tests are great fun. They serve as reinforcement tools instead of assessments.)

The test compared Algonquin, Cherokee, Navajo, and Sioux cultures and histories.

I hadn't been present during the lessons, and I couldn't pass it. Not only was I unable to keep the tribes straight, but there were actually events and practices on the test that I can't recall ever hearing of: hogans and the Treaty of 1868 (I must have studied it but forgot) and wattle mats and sand-paintings as medicine.

I know I have a particular ignorance in this area, but even so I'm surprised and delighted to see the children already outdistancing me.

Homeschooling is also a great way to learn new things about my wife, the sort of person who has lots of unflaunted knowledge. How else would I learn after ten years of marriage that Camille knew so much about the Trail of Tears?

This moment feels like the start of something wonderful. May they continue to surpass my knowledge!