Monday is piano lesson day; during each half-hour lesson I sit on the lovely front porch of the piano teacher with one child and read or do some kind of schoolwork while the other has a lesson. Then, we swap.
Today I wanted to go over some math stuff with my boy but when we were trying to dash out of the house we couldn't find the book; funny how that is, in particular since when we got home I found the book immediately, in the exact place it is supposed to be, and where I swear I looked twice before we left.
So we talked about the election. He wanted some history; who had run in the last election, and how Senator Obama came to be known well enough to be running for President. We just talked about how all that worked out, and somehow came to talking about Obama as the first black man to be a candidate and how this would be a historic election. He went on to comment that either way it would be, because McCain would be the oldest (surely not a feature for most people) and of course there's Palin.
We talked a bit about the fact that it was historic for a black man to reach this point. This boy does not really get that. Surely he notices that most people around him are white; he also notices that when we drive through the really rundown part of town to the orthodontist, most people are black. But he doesn't really get why that is or why it should be that way. He doesn't see any real difference between black, white, Asian... isn't that the way it's supposed to be? I don't get into a lot of discussion of race except to say that some people might not vote for Obama because they don't want a black President, and some will vote for him simply because he is black, but that people should vote based on what a person has done in the past and how that compares with what they say they will do in the future.
We talked about other parties and he asked if the Communists had a candidate in this election. He is fascinated with the Soviet Union and the Cold War; the idea of communism really disgusts him. We talked a bit more about taxes and what taxpayer money (I try not to use the term "government money") should be used for. Of course the first thing he brought up was the military. As always we got on the topic of "poor people" and welfare and how some people do need help; he said something about "also needing to help people who don't want to work" - whoa, where did that come from? No, I said, we should not help people who don't want to work.
He always seems vaguely dissatisfied with these discussions, as if there is more to talk about but he doesn't know what it is. In a few days or weeks some unanswered question that has been percolating in his brain will come out, and we'll start all over again.
He is taking a series of standardizes tests this week; unfortunately none of the topics of this discussion will be covered. Still, I guess the way we spent our time was at least as useful as going over fractions, and much less frustrating than working on finding the lowest common denominator.