College has started again, which means three of the people in my home aren’t around to help with dishes. Ugh. Why do dishes never end? Oh, right, it’s because I have four teenagers and three of them are boys. Duh.
But that’s not what this post is about. Nope. It’s about this tradition my husband has of asking our progeny what they learned in school today. (Note to readers: this is a bad habit to start if your children have different interests than you do.)
Calvin (husband) to Luke (19 year old son): "What did you learn in school today?"
Luke answers: "Blah, blah, organophosphates, blah, blah, inverted equations, blah, blah, valence electron instability."
Luke is a chemistry major. Everything sounds like gobbledy-goop until he gets to “instability.” I’ve learned to play attention at this point. Instability in chemistry tends to equate to explosions. I like explosions. Luke is a great companion to watch Burn Notice with. He gets very excited at the various bombs and says things like. “That would so work, but how are they going to control the reaction?! It’ll blow the house up.”
Cal to Jacob (16 year old son): "What did you learn?"
Jacob: "Uh, we learned about derivatives (some calculus thingy)." At which point, Luke and Ariel discuss the finer points of derivatives. Jacob could get frustrated, but it gives him more time to eat before his brothers finish off all the food.
Cal to Ariel (18 year old daughter): "What did you learn in school today?"
Ariel: "Well, I completed a proof showing that the square root of five is irrational using whatever, whatever, whatever and whatever." (“Proofs” is an upper division class for math majors. I have no idea what’s she’s talking about.)
Me (who should have learned my lesson last year): "What are you talking about?"
Ariel: "I can show you."
She brings me pages of notebook paper filled with scrawled letters that don’t spell anything. I nod politely and suspect that higher level math isn’t real.
Finally we get around to Matthew, our 14 year old son. Cal says, “What did you learn in school today?”
I’d be relieved, except I’m his teacher.