Having mastered the intricacies of kindergarten to a good and sufficient level, Athena has been invited back to attempt the rigors of 1st grade. Naturally we here in the Scalzi household wish her all the best in this difficult endeavor.
Yes, of course I’m being ironic. The other day at the school’s open house I got a look at her reading and math workbooks and flipped to the back to see what she was expected to have learned by next June. Been there, done that, wrote the Whatever entry. For a current estimation of where Athena is on the learning scale, here’s a question she asked me yesterday: “Daddy, if black absorbs all the light and warms things up, and white reflects all the light and stays cool, is red somewhere in the middle?” She also complains that she doesn’t know all the planets any more since they found that new one and they haven’t named it yet, flounce, flounce, huff. Having geek parents has its own set of challenges, I suppose. So we let the teacher know Athena might be just a little ahead of the curve there.
But we also let the teacher know Athena is, indeed, six years old, and prone to the usual six-year-old bouts of stubborness, silliness, sulky moments, antic outbursts and general “look! I have toes!”-ness that six year olds have — i.e., no matter what she knows already, she’s still a kid, to be treated as such, and more to the point, allowed to be such. Athena needs socialization as much as any kid her age, and at this point I’d rather she have that than to worry whether she’s learning enough algebra in the first grade to get her into Harvard a little over a decade from now.
The teacher seemed to get what I was asking of her: Try to keep Athena from being academically bored, but also try not to turn her into the class freak while doing so. Athena’s kindergarten teacher did an admirable job striking this balance, so I have high hopes we can do it again. We’ll have to see. Athena no doubt has her own opinions about the matter as well; I expect we’ll learn what they are presently.