“I am King Tutankhamun”, declared the first grader. I became the Pharaoh when I was nine years old. I died unexpectedly a few days back at the age of nineteen. The priests are going to prepare my body for mummification now.”
The high priest, with his attendant priests proceeded to do just that. Amidst much giggling and elbowing, the first graders took the parents through the process of embalming and mummification.
They washed the body, took out the vital organs and preserved them in a canopic jar.
I consider myself a reasonably well informed person, but I am constantly learning new things from my kids. If it is Ancient Egypt his month, last month, it had been dinosaurs. After realising how ignorant I was about those extinct creatures, I had spent a few hours researching dinosaurs, just so I could keep up with my four-year old. And even after that, I was caught on the back-foot when he asked me “Mamma, what is the name of Triceratop’s bother?” Answer – “A rhinoceros”. Obvious, after you know the answer- they do have similarly placed horns!
They then let the body stay for 40 days, before embalming and wrapping it, preparing it for entombing.
For someone like me, who had only a very sketchy idea about process, it was a learning experience. In fact, the entire "End of the Term Culmination Show" was.
The kids were supposed to show us tiny capsules of what they learnt during the term. Instead, they ended up teaching me more about Ancient Egypt than a lifetime of seeking knowledge has done.
I had heard the names of Ra, Isis and Anubis . But my six-year old’s class introduced me to Horus, Khepri, Osiris, Thoth and Ma’at, and even told me what each of them looked like and what they oversaw.
I distinctly remember being far ahead in mathematics and language when I was in the same class as each of my kids, but I definitely did not know as much about the world as they do. And neither were my lessons brought alive to me through collaborative projects, as is being done in my sons’ school. Primary education these days seems to focus more on developing a love for learning than in actually teaching skills. While I do not deny the need for skills, I do think this is a much better way of doing things, don’t you?
And while on the subject of kids, don't even try reasoning with them- you can never beat them on logic!
This weekend, we realised that both our ATM cards had expired, and while we had been sent new ones, we hadn't initiated the process of activating them. Not having anticipated it, we hadn't drawn money from the bank, and found on Saturday night that we had just enough money to last till Monday.
"Let's go to the cafe and have a milkshake", suggested the older one.
"Yes, lets", said the younger one pulling on his crocs.
"We can, baby", I tried to reason. "Haven't you been listening to Papa and Mamma? We don't have enough money for milkshakes, and the cafe doesn't accept cards."
"No problem, get some money", said the older one.
"Where from? I am telling you, our cards don't work, so we can't get money from the ATM."
"Then just go to a money shop, and buy some money."
Can anybody have an answer to that?