Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Time is it?

I don't wear a watch or have a real cell-phone. So, wherever I go, I have to ask people what time it is. I recently had to ask a guy what day it was. Sometimes, just for a second, I don't know what season we're in. Like, when I see colorful flags in the schoolyard behind my house I think, "Is it field days again?" Then I pause, and think, "No, no, it's fall, not spring." And I gather from one of the neighborhood kids that the school has been having some sort of physical fitness challenge. He thought it sounded fun until he found out it was actually just a fun name for torture.

Field days at school were always an enigma to me. Suddenly, with no apparent warning, we were all outside the whole day participating in activities I didn't understand or know how to do. I wonder if the other kids felt as out of place as I did. And as for the physical fitness challenges, they were sprung on us just as cruelly. My family, on all sides, is as un-ripped as they come. My son, who is in the Army, has bemoaned the fact that he can work out like crazy and never ever get a muscular physique like his best friend seems to be born with. Not that we're not strong--you'd just never guess it from looking at us. Well, I mean, if by strong you're not talking chin-ups.

So, it's early fall, and the kids were furiously trying to create a leaf pile out of the meager droppings thus far. Only a few skimpy ash, the maples have yet to descend. The boys are still small enough that they had fun backing up about 30 yards and running full speed to jump into a little pile about two and-a-half feet across and one foot high. Brings to mind the old cartoon where the guy is supposed to jump from a ridiculously high ladder into a bucket of water.

Anyway, time. I have said that I read music, and that is mostly true, but I really don't read time very well. That's where the playing-by-ear part comes in. I guess it's the same for my mother, and she's really good. So I get frustrated in trying to teach reading time to my son; and I wonder where that "those who can't do, teach" saying came from. Time is math, and it is fascinating to me but somehow just beyond my mental grasp. There may have been a time when I would have understood time (and some other things) but I think I lost the window.

My eight-year-old son and I are studying World War II. I'm letting him pick the history topics this year and so far it's been Vikings and this. I used to be way too intimidated to even try to learn about such a complicated subject. Fortunately, I have somehow discovered that you actually can learn about these things, piece-by-piece. That a subject like WWII need not always be considered of infinite complexity (well, at least not to get a bit of a grasp of the happenings there.) So far it is coming together interestingly. Strange how we can look back at what was going on, all over the world, over a period of time. It's like having a bird's-eye view, somewhat, of how that war all came together. Duh, I know, but remember I went to public school.

So, to sum all this up: I don't really care what time it is, or I would have a watch. I guess I never much listened to what they were saying in school because I was too busy watching the clock. I now, finally, can love and appreciate fall because I don't have the "time to go back to school" stomachache. I would love to have the brain of my youth now that I know how to actually learn things. I hope all my sons appreciate the time and freedom they have/have had as homeschoolers, but I doubt it. I have now used up all the time I had in avoiding making dinner. Until next time--peace out.

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