We recently signed Clara up for Kindergarten with the local home school program. So, school has been a pretty exciting topic around our house for the past few days as we plan and prepare for the lessons and activities she will be doing this coming fall.
Lydia, not wanting to be left out of this grand adventure, has been wandering around proudly announcing all of the great things she will be studying as well, following in her sister’s footsteps. Her older sister of course is quick to correct her and reminds her that she is too young to learn, and that she has to wait till she is a big girl to learn things in school. So, I pulled Clara aside last night and told her that Lydia might be young, but she is going to be able to do things at a younger age than Clara because Lydia has something special that Clara never did. She has an older sister to look up to for guidance and teaching.
Clara seemed to understand, and proudly and seriously accepted her role as teacher to her younger sister. I walked away pondering just how beneficial this will be for Lydia. We will teach Clara, and then Clara will teach her sister. This trickle down education will no doubt lead to Lydia becoming a young savant. She will be brilliant due to her quick mind and the patient instruction of Clara.
I imagined Lydia graduating from a prestigious university at the age of 12. She would stand on a stool and give the graduation address to her fellow students. In her speech she would thank her sister for allowing her to stand on the shoulders of her amazing education. And she would thank us as her parents for designing such a fundamentally solid home schooling system that allowed her to excel so quickly. There would be a standing ovation. They would give her flowers. They would give Clara flowers. They would give me flowers. Then Clara and Lydia would both tearfully give me their flowers. In my dream there was constant cheering and abundant flowers. Someone would pull a cord and a shower of flower petals and balloons would rain down onto my head. And I would bow modestly.
I gave up on this dream today.
We were riding in the car with the girls quietly sitting in the back seat when Lydia decided to make an announcement.
“Hey, guys!” She said suddenly. “Hey, I don’t have any bones!”
I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw her frowning down at her chest.
“What?” Clara asked. “That’s silly.”
“No.” said the little girl. “Look,” She pinched at her arm. “No bones.”
I was about to step in and correct her when Clara, who had recently been given a lesson on human biology and the dietary process, took the initiative and explained to her sister the magic of science.
“Lydia,” she began. “That isn’t how the body is. You have bones.” She smiled condescendingly and rolled her eyes. “Here’s how it works. You see, your body is made out of things that you eat. And you eat bones. So your body is made out of bones.”
Lydia, still squeezing her little arm, turned to stare back out the window. “Oooooh…” She pondered this thought. “That’s right…bones…I eat them…”
I was about to intercept this confusing information, and flag it like a poorly edited Wikipedia article on human anatomy, but I could tell it was already busy being carved into her permanent memory. I pictured what a decade of this skewed education would do to a poor child’s vibrant mind and I quietly shuddered to myself.