It is amazing what kids are learning these days. The twins are second graders and already memorizing their multiplication tables. Somehow I thought that was a third grade lesson (but maybe I went to the wrong school).
When you finish 13 years of grade school, college and have lived in the real world for a few years, you believe you know a lot. Enter a child and you realize you know NOTHING. When the twins were 4, T2 asked what fog was. T1 said it was teeny tiny raindrops and I agreed. T2 asked again what it really was and how it is only there sometimes. Well I don’t know. So I called an expert, my father. My father has general knowledge about lots of things and while he started to explain all the complexities of fog to me, I interrupted and said – now try explaining it to a four year old. So we settled on fog is a really low cloud that forms when cold air passes over a warm ground. And the T1 said “see, it is really teeny tiny rain drops.”
I thought of this on our trip to the beach when T1 said, “I know how waves form, it is the wind.” I answered, “yes.” I mean how am I going to explain the complexities of gravity and the moon and the earth’s rotation. I’m sure the wind plays a part, so he’s right… sort of. There are times when the simple answer will just not work, and I have to go into great detail about how something works or is made. These times are usually when I find out exactly how SMART I am.
When the twins were 4, while on the way to preschool, T2 asked what roads were built on. I said the road was built on dirt.
This was sufficient for about a day, then they asked again, "How are roads built?" As we passed a construction crew we talked about the smoothing of the dirt, and the asphalt machine, and the machine that makes it smooth. I thought they were satisfied with that answer.
The next morning T2 asked "How are roads built on water?"
“They are not built on water, they are built on dirt”
“But Mommy there is water running under the road!”
“No, there is no water under the road, it is dirt.”
“Then Mommy, what is that?” As Tyler pointed to a fire hydrant.
“Ok, yes there is water in pipes running under the dirt, under the roads that goes to the fire hydrant” (and I am not smarter than a preschooler)
"Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance."