Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twain of Thought





I helped my 10-year old study for his history test over the weekend. It was big test, the end of the semester. It was to be open book, so my son thought it would be easy. His logic was wrong, as my wife and I explained to him. “‘Open book’ doesn’t mean you can look up every answer,” we told him. “You won’t have time. You still need to know most of the answers without the book, checking only when you’re unsure.” Despite his protests, he worked with me all weekend. When he came home yesterday, he was happy and said he’d done well on his test.

During his studies over the weekend, one of the items he had trouble remembering was the identity of Mark Twain.

When I first asked him about it, he stared back at me. “Who?”

“Mark Twain. He’s a famous author. He wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.”

“What’s that?”

I expressed shock at that point. I quizzed him further. Nothing. Given how mischievous my son is, I would have thought he’d have heard of Tom Sawyer, indentifying with him almost as easily as the first time he’d watched Ferris Bueller. No recognition.

A quick poll of my friends on Facebook revealed that it may be too early for Tom Sawyer. My son was only in fifth grade. Several of my friends suggested that my son wouldn’t see Tom Sawyer until middle school. Some said high school. Still, I was surprised that he hadn’t heard of Twain.

I plan to rectify that. I downloaded Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to my e-Reader. He’s already started on the first one. I plan to read it with him a bit over the holidays…as I wonder what else he may be missing in his education.

Readers, how about you? I’ve always found myself surprised at the amount of things my kids are studying at a younger age than I did. It’s why I count myself more surprised when I hear of things that aren’t there. Do you feel the same way?

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