Information Night

G and I dutifully went off to the Middle School Information night. An evening which provides an opportunity to revisit memories you thought you’d left behind long ago. You’re back with a timetable in your hand desperately trying to find your way to class. That familiar feeling of being lost in the corridors returns with a hint of desperation in your voice “Do you now where American History with Mrs R is?”

As you move from math class to PE to listen to a ten minute spiel on what your child will (hopefully) be learning this year, you realize that you drifted off for five or six minutes in Science and didn’t quite catch where the homework was listed. And what was the bit about pre algebra and honors biology?

I walked away from History class sincerely jealous that I wasn’t able to take part. The teacher was engaging and her passion for the subject oozed out of every Martin Luther revolutionary statement. With a sign behind her that read “Think Like A Historian”  I felt inspired to know more about what Lizzie, our first little traveller, was going to write and learn this year.

As our first child, like all first children, she is our experiment. I was a confident baby rocker, a master of mooshed dietary requirements and a keen toddler dresser. By the time she was four I figured we’d done okay. She was still alive, we hadn’t broken her. And when it came to reciting nursery rhymes and counting to one hundred we could roll her out to friends and relatives to put on a decent show when required. But when school began I got nervous, suddenly I wasn’t doing the grading, someone else had an opinion and was there to offer guidance on what needed to be worked on.

As we moved through the years of spelling tests, report cards and math facts I became more confused. “What do you mean we don’t do one up one down in math any more? You just carry it over don’t you? The math teacher said what? Old people maths?!”

By grade four Lizzie had learnt how to divide G and I to conquer. “How do you spell..?” an instant Mum question. Whereas if it’s square, pie, or requires a piece of graph paper, it’s just best to wait for G to get home. Arts is mine, for G, Science. We were all happy with the arrangement.

So here we were at the Year Eight Information night. How did that happen? Surely it was only two years ago that we practiced holding a pencil while receiving urgent messages about grapes needing to be cut in half? I sat on the edge of my seat in History while the teacher explained why my child had to read one non fiction history book to match each fictional novel. She talked of vocabulary, contextualizing, supporting ideas with corroborating, and creating an argument by using details. “Your child needs to be able to determine the significance, I want them to connect events in history and ask themselves why does it all matter…” I was just about drooling. I was jealous not to be a part of it. G on the other hand was busy cleaning the back of his Blackberry.

In Science something was said about something when I began to wonder if I had the ingredients at home to make some more spring rolls. I knew I had the pastry in the freezer but did I have chicken? I was sure you could buy bean sprouts by the can if they didn’t have them fresh, and there was plenty of vermicelli noo…..”That’s incredible” I heard G say out loud as the teacher continued through the curriculum. He was in awe of the science surrounding him. I’d kind of missed it.

Math was our second to last subject for the day. Lizzie had already told me that she was in training to be a math ninja, working towards either a yellow, brown or black belt at the end of the year. We were introduced to her Ninja master. I immediately liked her and wondered if I had had math presented in the same way would I have been more interested as a thirteen year old? I looked to the back of the wall, there was a picture of Einstein with the quote “Even Einstein asked questions.”

I began to think of my daily questions. What to write about? Who should I pitch my story idea to? Which magazine audience would relate more? I thought about my post it notes up on the wall. I’d put them there that morning in an effort to get more organized. I’d listed the days of the week with ideas on what I could write about.

And then I realized Math was over. I’d missed it.

When we got home I teased Lizzie with fake conversations I’d had with her teachers. “I told Mrs E you’d like extra Math each night, but only when you weren’t doing extra Science.” She smiled and giggled along with mine and G’s observations of her classroom. As I put my shoes in my cupboard I saw an extra post-it note under the topic of Monday writing that wasn’t mine “Be the best Mum ever – almost too easy”

Year 8 and what has she learned? She’d determined the significance of the post it notes, connected todays event and reminded her mother on why it all matters.

She’d melted my heart while making me smile.

The best piece of information I’d received all night.

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