“No daddy, that’s not how you do it,” said Helen as she pressed ahead with her mathematics homework.
I looked on, stunned as she did some complicated thing with a bunch of numbers. She told me the answer.
Well, it was an answer. I wasn’t convinced it was correct so I checked on my phone.
I should not have doubted her. It was the correct answer. Despite attending all the ‘curriculum evenings’ organised by the school, what Helen had just done defied explanation to me.
The dreadful thing is, this scenario has played out in our house many, many times. It’s not a one off.
It doesn’t simply involve mathematics either. Both Helen and Izzy have some astounding general knowledge. It’s often knowledge they’ve either learned at school, or the school curriculum has introduced them to and they’ve gone off and learned more about it.
The solar system is one such example. Helen knows the order of every planet, it’s size, whether it has rings, whether a planet even is a planet. Did you know Pluto is actually a dwarf planet and not a planet? No, neither did I until my eldest daughter told me.
Yes, yes, okay, this kind of knowledge is largely useless. I probably knew it all as a kid but forgot it over the years as my head filled up with information about careers, jobs, paying bills, Brexit, Game of Thrones and so on.
This knowledge though, is interesting and inspiring. On the odd occasion the kids are ill and can’t go to school, I encourage them to watch YouTube videos created by NASA. This kind of video is, after all, better than videos of toys being unboxed and I enjoy watching them too!
Anyone who has a kid at primary school has no doubt been totally bamboozled by their kid returning home talking about digraphs, trigraphs, conjunctives and so on. I have to be quite frank, I left secondary school unable to identify a noun or adjective. My kids know the lot, plus some considerably more complicated concepts.
It seems that being a parent in the 21st century involves one uncomfortable aspect: Your kids can show you up. I can’t tell you the education system is perfect, but wow, my kids can make me feel stupid sometimes.
Do you ever feel like this? Do your kids successfully make you feel stupid? Mine do it time and again.
Best thing is, they’re both at primary school. Goodness knows what it’ll be like when they start secondary school. Most teenagers like to think they know everything. I think the forthcoming generation might be able to make that claim with a great deal of accuracy.