Thursday, October 25, 2007

Questions, Questions, Questions

Today we started school late. I overslept. Thomas will oversleep every day if I let him. I made my coffee, got him breakfast, and we both tried to wake up.

Thomas decided to work on his nonfiction reading book first. He loves this and will be finishing it very soon. He really learns a lot of things from this book. The other day he read about Koko the kitten-loving, signing gorilla. When he finished, we had to pause in our routine to google Koko. And let me just say, that was an experience. We first went to YouTube to search for videos. We clicked on one and realized it was a spoof. I shut it off because there was a woman talking to the fake gorilla and repeating what it was telling her in sign language. It was about nipples.

We then Googled, and found that there was a lawsuit filed by two former employees who stated that Penny Patterson, the president of the foundation that owns Koko, had requested that the women bare their breasts to Koko because Koko has a fascination with nipples. The suit was settled, but terms were not disclosed.

We then saw a photo of some man who modified a special transportation vehicle for Koko. Koko had her hand down the man's shirt, apparently fondling his nipples.

Okay, so you don't get that kind of education in public school.


Kind of took deflated our tires a bit. We were just hoping to see photos or clips of Koko with his live kittens.

So today Thomas is reading about Anne Frank. We don't have her book, but I do have some books on Anne Frank. Thomas and I spent some time last year at the official website, and he has looked at my Europe photo albums with tons of pictures and postcards from the Anne Frank Haus.

And then he started. He does this on occasion. It drives me nuts. A million questions. Rapid fire. I answer, boom, there's another. Question after question after question. And he doesn't ask easy questions, either. "Mom, I heard that Hitler's mother was Jewish. Is that true?" I don't know, I've heard that, but never confirmed it. Go look it up. "Mom, why did people join up with Hitler?" We discussed that in a lot of detail.

I don't know the answers to some of his questions! I don't know good answers. I think I know the answers, but I really started doubting myself.

Then he started asking questions about concentration camps. Then back to Hitler. Then about the country of Holland. Then about Anne Frank. Then about Germany. "Is Germany a good country today?"

"Why did the people not think for themselves and allow this to happen? Why did they not stand up and protest?" "What mental illness did Hitler have?"

This went on for an hour. He just doesn't stop. Curiosity.

It drives me crazy! I made him laugh because toward the end, I started banging my head on the table. He thought that was funny.

When he was done with his "session", I was worried about our schedule and all the things we were supposed to learn this morning. Then I voiced that concern. Then I started laughing and told him to heck with the schedule, aren't you glad you are in an environment that you are allowed to ask questions? To think for yourself? To form your own opinions?

So to heck with our scheduled history this week and next, we're going off on a tangent. It's off to the library tonight to get Anne Frank for him to read, and for me to search for age-appropriate books on the topic.

At his age, I was ahead of him in school by one year. When I was in the seventh grade, the made-for-TV movie Holocaust aired. (That's when I fell in love with Meryl Streep.) We watched it all. I was fascinated with the topic. Sickened, but fascinated. I think my fascination made me a more compassionate person.

I think it's hard to imagine such sickening cruelty and madness when you live in a fairly safe world.


Heather said...

Weird about Koko. Bet you won't see that on Sesame Street.

My son does (and has pretty much always done) the same thing with questions. By then end of his questioning, I'm the emotional equivalent of huddling in a fetal position mumbling, "I don't know" over and over. It's one thing to ask a question *I* personally don't know the answer to (What else is Google for if not for that?).. but he tends to ask questions *nobody* knows the answer to.

Frankie said...

Heather, it's the best of both worlds, isn't it? You want them to question--but good grief, some of the questions.

I love your description of huddling in a fetal position mumbling I don't know. SOOOO true!

samuel said...

Talking about Thomas' nonfiction reading made me think of a story from this past weekend. We went to a local aquarium, and our oldest kept knowing all this information about so many of the fish we were seeing, and nearly all of it came from this book about animals that he has, which he's probably read completely about ten times. It's one of the books that he will randomly pull out when he doesn't already have something else to read, then he'll read it for a couple of days until he decides on something else.

audrey said...

The wisdom of children... it's too bad more adults don't have that.

My T always asks questions when we are going through our SOTW. There are so many wars. He always says, "If they would just look and see that they're killing PEOPLE they would stop having wars." And, when I tell him that some people don't care that they're killing other people he asks, "Why didn't their moms teach them how to love other people?"

Really good question.

I have no answer.