Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time...

The school year is drawing to a close once again (hallelujah!), and for the most part, things have been chugging along pretty smoothly for the boys. Every day they go off on the bus; they presumably learn some useful things for several hours; then they come home ready to eat a wholesome snack while regaling Mom with stories about their day (or maybe I'm just dreaming that last part--in reality they grab a cereal bar, possibly yell "hi Mom", and slam back out the door to sprint around the yard and burn off their pent-up educational energy). Eventually they stumble in, sweaty and tired, to face their daily dose of Reading and Math homework. And herein lies our little scholastic wrinkle:  up to 4th grade, reading material had always been sent home for each week's activities. But this year, for the first time, Derek has the responsibility of choosing an appropriate-level book for himself.

This was all well and good--I thought--until his teacher recently informed him that he ought to be reading more challenging text. As in 6th or 7th-grade level.  Um, really? This poses some definite issues, as you can imagine...a 10-year old boy, whose maturity level encompasses potty humor, sports, and cartoon-video-games, is suddenly supposed to be delving into books written for Middle Schoolers? There are just SO many possibilities for disaster. I mean, there could be kissing! (gag) Or bad language! (although he coolly informed me that he's seen curse words in books before, and it's "no big deal". well, thank goodness for that!) Not to mention in-depth treatment of concepts like morality, interpersonal relationships, death...Oy.

Where to begin on this journey fraught with peril? One recommendation--according to Derek--that Teacher gave him was Sherlock Holmes. This was surprising to me, but I dutifully checked it out of the library  for Parental Perusal.  And here's an excerpt from page 1 of A Scandal in Bohemia: "He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer--excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions.  But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results." Yeah, I'll just hand that right over to him for a little light reading before bed.

Maybe there's a comic book version somewhere out there; until then, I think we'll hightail it back to the safe world of Percy Jackson and mythical Greek monsters, thank you very much!

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