Friday, August 28, 2009

Since When are There Five Oceans, and Other Facts I Should Have Known

I found out today that they added an ocean to the four I learned about in school. Called the Southern Ocean and located near Antarctica, it was officially added to the list of oceans on earth in 2000. First they take away Pluto reducing the number of planets to eight, and now they add a fifth ocean. I am an avid newspaper reader, but somehow news of the fifth ocean escaped my view.

I bring this up because I realize now that my kids are older, I’m missing out on some of the current events we studied together when they were young. When our children are young, we study with them. I learned all of the countries in Africa when they needed help memorizing them. I learned about the metric system and how to do the Macarena.

Now that my youngest is a high school sophomore, I’m clinging to the scraps of studying time he’s willing to share with me. I’ve learned a little Spanish when we study vocabulary although he’s merciless when making fun of my accent. His math skills surpassed my abilities long ago, and apparently I’m too critical when reviewing his writing so he rarely lets me read anything he’s written. My curse for being a writer, I guess.

I miss the time I spent doing homework with my kids when they were young, but I hadn’t realized until today that I’m also missing out on learning. When they declared that Pluto was no longer a planet in 2006, I was shocked. My kids had learned the planets through the saying My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) In fact, my daughter got an answer wrong because wrote the word pizza instead of Pluto!

So, to all you parents out there with young kids who haven’t started homework yet, think of what you have to look forward to. To those of you who wish summer would never end because you dread helping your children with homework, there is a silver lining. Think about all of the things that you are learning. Maybe you knew them at some point in your life, or maybe they are brand new. Who would have imagined that they’d discover another ocean?!

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