Saturday, September 26, 2009

C.P Snow's Two Cultures are battling it out in Suburban Melbourne

I am a scientist by nature and training, while my_reason_for_living is a big brained Ph.D of Humanities.

So we are waged in a constant struggle over where the heart and mind of the nine year old weapon_against_society will lead.

I am pleased to declare that the forces of order and light have won a significant victory.

This week we got the_weapon's results from NAPLAN. The National Assessment Program for literacy and numeracy conducted on every year three student in Australian schools. The_weapon tested high in everything, but it was in numeracy he kicked butt. He did so well we considered getting him tested genetically to see if he is Asian.

There are a lot of things which contributed to this, lots of time on basic numeracy drills, he works a lot on an on-line program called Mathletics and he is learning piano and there is some evidence that it contributes to mathematical ability though there is some question over correlation and causation. Kids who are good at maths do well at music or the learning music helps them do maths.

The final salvo came when the_weapon declared one evening

"I want to be a particle physicist"

I suspect interest in quatum mechanics comes from the same place he learned the song he was singing on a street corner in Brisneyland last week to a friends Ipod

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!

But not to be complacent I am seeking out other ways to brainwash the_weapon. Yes I realise its brainwashing any parent who calls it anything like socialization is deluding themselves, parenting is all about brainwashing and operant conditioning.

The latest tool in my arsenal to get him to join the side of science. The excellent work of the band 'The Might Be Giants' and their CD 'Here Comes Science'. Which has the_weapon singing this song around the house.

I love diggin' in the dirt
With just a pick and brush
Finding fossils is my aim
So I'm never in a rush
The treasures that I seek
Are rare and ancient things
Like velociraptor's jaw
Or archaeopteryx's wing

And all the kids
Who wanna see 'em
Are lining up
At our museum

I am a paleontologist
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am
I am a paleontologist
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am

so any other suggestions for ways to produce a science head?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Waiting for the letter

It was Book Week at the Falcon Academy. Come as a character in a story the notice in the_Weapon's communication journal read.

These things send a chill through my spine as I try to imagine how these events can unfold without the_weapon and I ending up having to meet with the Academy’s Psychologist / Counsellor.

The day comes and the kids are there in the sort of garb you’d expect: pirates; witches; a ninja. I thought there would be more Harry Potters but they were very few on the ground.

So what did my son go as?


He recently read a children’s edition of H.G.Wells ‘The Time Machine’. So he went as A MORLOCK he even had a business card to hand out to anyone that asked:

Apex predator of 8,028th century
“it was a dull white, and had strange large greyish-red eyes; also that there was flaxen hair on its head and down its back”
- H.G Wells The Time Machine

One of his class mates -an odious youth, the sort who presents a charming face to his superiors but beneath dwells a sneer for any he does not consider his circle, asked in a dismissive tone.

"A Morlock, why’d you want to be that"?

The_Weapon, chewing a large chicken drumstick that we had negotiated as a suitable substitute for long pork, turned to look him in the eye and said loud enough for all to hear:

“I’d rather be predator than prey,…..Eloi”.

So here I am waiting for the letter from the principle to attend a meeting to discuss my child's choice of interests,