Sunday, January 22, 2006

Teach Your Children Well

I will save you some trouble in educating your children. Don't bring them to an historical place, hoping they will develop some interest and want to learn about it. That does happen, but it is so serendipitous as to be unreliable.

Have them learn first, and then go, painful as that is for you.

We take a family trip in honor of each boy's highschool graduation -- their choice. In 1997, Jonathan chose England and Scotland. Note that Braveheart came out in 1995. Jonathan was very taken with being descended from William Wallace, and all things Scots in general. Our first two sons had grown up in a family oriented toward the medieval. We had gone to SCA events in elaborate costume, had read them dozens of stories with knights and dragons, visited Hammond Castle and the armor museum in Worcester, and made padded swords for them to engage in mock combat. I thought that the second son, Benjamin, would pick up enough history on the trip to aid him in subsequent history classes.

Fast forward four years. "How did the history test go, Ben?" Not bad. I think I got almost everything, except there was a question about Hadrian's Wall (disdainful voice) which of course only Doug knew about. My eyebrows went up, my eyes widened, and I shook in anger, remember the approximately $6K we'd spent on the trip. "You were ON IT! It's the border between Scotland and England and you and Jonathan played on it! Don't you remember?" Oh. Yeah. Sort of.

Two weeks later. Y'know, I think I'd like to see Versailles when we go on my trip.

Spend your money on the movie first, the academic lesson second, and the trip third.

4 comments:

Solomon2 said...

Very important, thank you.

Jerub-Baal said...

'Our first two sons had grown up in a family oriented toward the medieval. We had gone to SCA events in elaborate costume, had read them dozens of stories with knights and dragons, visited Hammond Castle and the armor museum in Worcester....'

We've done the costume thing, we're plotting a Medieval feast, we're going to the armor museum in the next couple of weeks, and are looking into joining the SCA. My wife's (next) big dream is to spend a year in Scotland. I'm typing this on my laptop as I sit behind a pile of books, most of which are on medieval art or literature.

I knew I liked you for some reason...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Excellent. I will post my directions for padded swords sometime in the near future.

We were actually in an informal SCA group run by a guy who went on to turn the field into a paintball park. Great for combat. I loved medieval events, but I do have some caveats.

We had a sudden preponderance of witches, which I gather is a mildly common problem. I had a monk costume and huge rosary at my belt; one of these neopagans sneered "Ah, tis a fine rosary ye hav there Fahther. We youster tie 'em around the necks o' the sheep to keep the evil spirits away." I remember thinking "Didn't work, did it."

I like eccentricity, but you will find some seriously odd people there.

I recommend the music of Steeleye Span to you. Most of their stuff is actually from 1600-1800, but it will do.

At the Higgins Armory, your kids will remember the dog.

Jonathan Wyman said...

Oh yeah, the dog! Almost as good as the swimming pool at Hammond Castle. Though my favorite at Hammond was Maxmillian's suit of armor. Even as a 10 year old boy it looked small enough to wear.