May 2, 2005

Teachable Moments

5/02/2005 — cori
What type of teacher would I be if I didn't continue to be teachable. I bequethed this lesson on my young subjects this very past week. You see, we went for a little outing to a retired battleship. It was amazing, huge, big, massive, old, and full of any and all types of cannons and guns you could imagine...did I mention how big it was? Anyways, we were practically the only people touring the ship this particular day. I was extremely grateful for this due to my large mouth that had my foot inserted into it most of the day.

I kept asking the boys if they could imagine how big the bullets must be in order to fit into such a huge cannon. Little did I know until the unveiling of the video of our field trip to the grandparents that the correct terminology would be 'shell casing' - not bullet. That would be my first teachable moment. I ever so humbly explained that I was just trying to use terminology my children might understand. I don't think anyone bought it.

I then saw it fitting to announce, rather loudly, "Isn't this ship great for protection?" Here, I thought, was another great teachable moment for my children. That guns are best used to protect us not harm others. I was aghast to see and hear Chuck laughing at me as I was teaching such a profound thought. What in the world could have been so funny about this lesson I was trying to instill into my vulnerable children's heads? Apparently, Chuck feels battleships are for attacking, not protecting. I guess its a 'guy thing'.

As we were transcending the depths of this massive ship we came upon a long row of what appeared to be more large 'bullets'. I told the boys that these were even bigger than the last ones we saw, so in all my wisdom, I deduced for everyone that they must fit into even bigger cannons. The boys seemed to be spell bound by my infinite wisdom. That was until, Chuck, who was our videographer for the day's event, ever so subtly (while the film was rolling, mind you) tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to a very small sign right above these alleged 'big bullets'. The sign, to my shigrin, informed us that what we were looking at was in fact oxygen and acetylene tanks, not 'bullets' (I couldn't even pronounce the second one properly, I had to resort to my phonetic training).

Well, well, how do I wiggle out of this one? I'm beginning to question why in the world I chose to homeschool. My children are going to grow up thinking that all oxygen tanks are really 'large bullets' you put in cannons on really old battleships. Great, I'm ruining them for life and they're only 6 and 3 - thankfully, Chloe wasn't paying attention so I don't think I ruined her concept of bullets vs. shells vs. oxygen tanks.

But that's not all, it gets worse. Now, I decide to explain to my eager audience how these "chemicals" work. Where in the world I got the word "chemicals" from is beyond me. I explained that they attach these tanks to this really big welder thingy and it fixes the metal on the boat if the boat gets hit from an enemy attack. This spawned a new thought in Gavin's ever deductive reasoning mind. He then asked me, "What if the ship got hit underwater?" Well, I'm already in too deep and don't see any harm in just going all the way, so I draw on all my experience in fixing broken boats from all the wartime material I've read over the course of my life and inform him that they just put on diving gear and do it under water. That answer seemed to suffice for the time being.

I know all this WILL come back to haunt me in the future being that we have it on tape for all posterity to witness. Next time, I'll let Chuck be our 'tour guide' and I'll volunteer to hold the camera and keep my mouth shut. Ahhh, teachable moments, you've gotta love 'em.

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