Ever since L. started kindergarten it's been our quest to get him to reveal some tidbit of information he learned at school. Every now and then he'll surprise us with an interesting fact ("did you know that a light second is 186,000 miles?") and we'll utter an exclamation of amazement and follow-up with our standard "did you learn that at school?"
But the answer is always, no. No, he learned it on such-and-such website, or in such-and-such book he read during math class when he was supposed to be learning about long division.
Does it matter, really, where he learns his information? Maybe it doesn't in the long run. But still we ache to hear some report of something worthwhile (according to L.) that he learned at school--because we know there is plenty of worthwhile stuff going on. Maybe we need that validation, maybe we need to feel the six and half hours spent there and the school-related headaches and pain we put up with every afternoon all school year are worth it. But mostly we want him to see school as a valuable place to learn, because it is. We want--maybe selfishly?--that vision of what school could be for him, and what it is for other kids. We want to bask in the knowledge that we've done the right thing, made the right choices.
Have you ever, as a parent, been torn between wanting to burst out laughing at the hilarious, mind-boggling, wonderful, quirky, resourceful creativity of your kids, or feeling obligated to sit them down and give them a good talking to? Have you ever been torn between your instincts (to laugh) and what you think you should do (scold and reprimand)?
I had the following conversation with L. in the car the other day.
Me: Did you learn anything interesting at school today?
L.: Well, actually, I taught myself a new technique to keep myself occupied during lessons.
Me: Hmmm. That doesn't sound right (occupied during lessons? What?). What do you mean, new technique?
L.: I taught myself a way to play my Nintendo DS without actually having my DS with me.
L.: Yes, I just think about my favorite game in Lego Star Wars and move my fingers like I would when I play the game. Then I get a picture of the game in my head and it's like I'm REALLY playing.
L.: And you know what's EVEN better?
L.: I taught A. [his friend] this technique and now we can play in multi-player mode together RIGHT THERE IN THE CLASSROOM!