Monday, December 07, 2009

12/7/09 Homework pests

How is a kid supposed to get any homework done around here? Katrina wanted to sit with Gabriel (who sat right down when he got home and started his homework!), but Julian wanted to pester Katrina, making for a lot of chaos. She's in high demand around here.

Katrina and Julian play a lot more together -- they spent the whole evening chasing each other (mostly) joyfully -- and are tightly bonded as siblings, but there is an unmistakable, unique synergy between Gabriel and Katrina. Gabriel took great pride in showing Katrina his homework.

He quizzes her on the math problems!

This is cute now, but it tickles my curiosity about how older siblings affect the younger ones. Will he help her with math homework when she needs it? I think both my younger siblings will agree with complete certainty that I had no effect -- or interest -- whatsoever in their education.

Of course, every family has its own dynamic.

"Boy Mom, you sure know a lot about military!" Julian exclaimed tonight. I beamed internally, though I did have to correct him. "No, I know a very little about one war," though I was glad that it wasn't as much of a reach to talk about Pearl Harbor today than it used to be.

Julian even remembered that Pearl Harbor was what got us into WWII from previous discussions. We also talked again about the Doolittle Raid, the first aggression the USA was able to return by bombing Tokyo in 1942, something we've talked about before (because of the coolness of launching land-based bombers from a carrier, and because I just watched the movie "30 Seconds Over Tokyo"). This meant so much more when I told them that the bombers were launched from the USS Hornet -- the aircraft carrier we visited. (Actually we visited its successor, as the actual Hornet used in the raid was sunk later -- but there's no need to dilute the point with history!!) I told them we'll definitely go see Pearl Harbor in real life someday. As an incentive to quick getting ready for bed, we watched some vintage footage of the attack on YouTube.

I love these moments with the boys...they're so engaged and fascinated, and look to me for so much information. It's really a big responsibility...what I tell them, and how, could have a tremendous impact on shaping their attitudes. I hope I do it in a mind-opening, informative way; sticking to the facts. Their primary interest is technical though: how fast planes fly, how big missiles are, how much stuff gets blown up by a bomb. They want to find bad guys and enemies, and they want to root for a team. It's a tricky balance; it's interesting and arguably important to talk about war, but the natural softening one uses to describe horrific things to kids risks glorifying it. How can war be so awful when there are so many cool aircraft involved? I sure look forward to having support from the schools to teach history, 'cause I surely am underqualified!


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