Thinking Thursday

Daughter Dear (DD) is dancing in a ballet in ten days’ time, which means rehearsals and hours spent in dance studio waiting rooms which are overheated, smelly, noisy and panic-inducing. In between rehearsals & school, throw in castings for other odds & sods, and you have the recipe for exhaustion and/or febrile fits (read my old post here to see why I worry about these). When DD finally surfaced this morning, she decided we were doing ‘home school’ today. Happy days, she is recognising her physical limitations on her own and I don’t have to be the bad guy any more. Well, at least for today.

Her topic at school this term is the Stone Age, so I had to stretch my imagination this morning to come up with Mesolithically-appropriate challenges: if Croog hunts down a bison, and it weighs so much, and he devours so much per day, will he make it through the winter? Will he need to supplement his diet? I could feel my synapses short-circuiting and dreaded the next segment.

Image from Pixabay

Thankfully, by the time we got to the English part of our entertainment learning, she just wanted to continue reading Anne Frank’s Diary. Great, let’s discuss fascism & genocide for a change. The last time I read Anne’s diary was more than 20 years ago, and I forgot how wonderful Anne is at describing the people in the Annexe and observing life within and without. It’s truly magical to rediscover one of my childhood favourites through my daughter’s eyes. DD has innocence & curiosity in spades, and is a budding writer with a strong voice of her own. She loves dissecting characters, understanding their motivations and challenges. We swept through several diary entries fairly quickly, until Anne starts describing the forced marches through the streets of Jews being deported to Westerbork. “Why, mummy, why?”

Damn you, books! How do I explain to my 9-year-old that this genocide was based on abstract, non-pragmatic ideology—which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means? How do I explain how decent human beings had to subvert their goodness, their humanity, to keep their own loved ones safe from the Nazi machine? How do I explain the desperation, the pack mentality? While I’m mulling this over, trying to find the right words, she says, “You think I could watch Annie till you figure out an age-appropriate answer?”

YES! Let’s watch Annie. And give husband a heads up that he might be in for an interesting discussion over dinner.


  1. Ah yes, the ringing of that interminable question in the air. Why? In some respects I miss those days my kids were inquisitive. Now that my baby will soon be 20, ack, neither child says much of anything, but LOL, ROFL, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had similar feelings while watching The Book Thief with Owen, who is 8. I was able to explain to his satisfaction the Krystalnacht and even the book burning, but the genocide of the Jews was much more difficult to explain in his terms. How does one explain that kind of behavior? Then he happened to wander in during the “why we fight” episode of Band of Brothers which was far more graphic, as the soldiers were liberating a camp. Then I had to attempt to explain how people were complicit in the actions of the Nazis and how nationalism contributed and the role of sympathizers. That is a lot for an 8 year old to take in!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man, that’s tough. Your little one is so precocious, though, picking up on how difficult that was to answer. As much as I enjoyed reading that, it’s really one of those books that steals away some of that childhood innocence. Along with some of the books that are set pre-Civil Rights era.

    Do yall get to have homeschool days as often as you want without it counting against you at school?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, ‘home school’ is something we made up. Private schools are more tolerant of home schools days, assuming we are doing something cultural/educational. State schools take a dim view of home school days and one too many will result in a visit from a social worker (we’ve been at state school for less than 2 years so I’m guessing here!). K would like to be schooled at home because I am so ‘fun’ but I think she needs to keep her friends & social life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh okay. I was thinking it would be lovely to take a homeschool day whenever you want. LM has a tough time sleeping sometimes (go figure!) and it would be awesome to let him sleep instead of sending him in tired without it counting against us.

        It’s the opposite for us–I want to homeschool LM but he enjoys the social stuff too much.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As an elementary school teacher, the kids always require more than the facts. It is the “why” that drives the discussion and the issues surrounding these factual stories. And do I struggle with this? OMG, yes! Especially when you have a whole bunch of 8 year olds sitting in front of you looking for the answer.. .and you know that answer or a version thereof is going home with them that afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you have a far greater burden! Though I did once have an interesting discussion with a teacher when I had to explain that my 4yo was NOT watching intergalactic porn called Star Whores, but the rather tamer, Star Wars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha Ha! too funny. I just wish there was a script to answer all their “Whys”.. especially when they are not my own children. If they are my own and I screw up the answer at least I can run and revise on the spot without losing too much face!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha! That’s amazing:)

    We’re about to enter the dance show craziness… many rehearsals!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone



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