Wracking my brain, trying to think of something prominent about this past week, I kept coming up short, it seemed like all Elizabeth and I did was talk. I mean, we did do school work, and it was fun, but our in-depth conversations are what really stick out in my mind. It seemed especially prominent to me one night at dinner in which Chepe and I hardly said a word together, but for the life of me, I swear, Elizabeth did not shut up the entire half an hour we sat at the table; which is great – it’s great that she feels comfortable enough to speak and to ask questions and to give directions and tell stories and be as creative as she wishes – just sometimes it’s hard to get a word in edge-wise. 🙂 As Chepe and I continue with our marital problems and really need to be communicating, it just makes me laugh a little that after spending all day with Elizabeth answering her questions and listening to her ramblings, that at the dinner table, it continues to be her and I conversing rather than him and I.
The first conversation that sticks out in my mind was an “Oops, I didn’t explain that correctly” conversation. It starts with our February Holidays unit, in which the week we came back from our break we delved back into checking out President’s Day/presidents and Black History Month. For Black History Month, we read about Booker T. Washington and watched a video link through Moving Beyond The Page about Martin Luther King, Jr. The Martin Luther King, Jr. video was full of vocabulary that was most definitely unfamiliar to Elizabeth: about segregation, inequality and injustice; she didn’t even have a good grasp on what slaves were. I tried to explain about the history of slavery and segregation here in the US, in addition to Martin Luther King, Jr., I also focused on Rosa Parks and blacks having to sit in the backs of buses. I wasn’t sure how much of it Elizabeth took in, but after a few minutes, felt that I had run out of examples for explanation, and we moved onto something else.
But, apparently my explanation was a little off course, because we were reading Cool Down and Work Through Anger by Cheri J. Meiners, M.Ed. before bed one night this week, in which one situation in the book is that a boy is told he can’t play cars with some other kids, and the child who tells him “no” is black. Well, Elizabeth pointed to the black girl and said, “That’s wrong, she can’t play, she has to sit at the back of the bus.” Oooooops! I quickly explained again that that was in the past; though I think that the past is a little bit of an abstract idea to grasp for a 5-year-old who lives very much in the present. But, it has come up again since this incident, and she seems to get it now.
Elizabeth has also been really interested in music of late, and every morning after she gets up (and we are still in bed for another hour or so), she gets down the iPod and listens to music. Most of what is on it is appropriate for her, though not necessarily children’s music. We have also been continuing to enjoy the Red Grammer children’s CD I purchased off Amazon, Teaching Peace. After I first got it, she asked for the Disney Frozen CD instead, but I loved the album so much that I kept putting it in (and I sometimes listen to it all by myself), and now she knows the words. She has obviously been putting effort into listening and learning what the songs say, and often asks about the lyrics.
In one particular song, Mr. Grammar is singing that he is one wing while a woman singer is saying that she is the other and that only together they can fly. Elizabeth asked about the message of this particular song. Wanting to avoid talking specifically about women and men and marriage (because I accept all walks of life that might be chosen), I preferred to instead use the example of friendship and working together. I’m glad that I did, because not much later, she asked me about the message of a song on the iPod, an adult song (I think Rolling In the Deep by Adele, but I’m not entirely sure now), and so I was able to use the same example, except to say that the people had not worked together and so the singer was lamenting that their friendship had died.
I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to homeschool Elizabeth. I think that if I had sent her to public school, I would have assumed that some of these things would have just been taken care of there, or else I may have just been obligated into doing daily damage control of potty mouth and bad behavior learned at school, rather than actively taking the time to help develop her values and character. As it is, organizing our lesson plans and really delving deeply into deciding what is important to me that Elizabeth learn – such as math and language arts but also peace, values and service learning – has helped me to open the door to these conversations and begin to incorporate them into our daily language.
Share your thoughts: What are some deep conversations you’ve had with your child that you cherish?