With back-to-school day right around the corner, we've been trying to get #1 Son to read up on some of the classics that he might encounter in school (e.g., Greek and Roman history and mythology) or that he might just enjoy for their content (e.g., Frankenstein). But he hasn't seemed terribly excited about them, calling the latter book "boring." Now, knowing the book and being the irritatingly dedicated problem-solvers that we are, The Man and I decided to quiz him on the content to see whether he was having comprehension problems despite the boy's assertion that he does totally understand, it's just really dull.
[TM reads a passage from the explorer's narrative, which mentions sending a letter on a merchantman headed the right way.]
#1 Son looks bored.
I ask: "So, what's a merchantman?"
#1 Son: "Umm... a man who's a merchant?"
Me: "Hmmm, no." But I have to admit it's a reasonably logical deduction. Turning to Pirate Boy, we pose the question again: "What's a merchantman"?
Pirate Boy: "It's a type of ship!" Of course.
So the conversation went on like this and we determined that yes, #1 Son was having some comprehension issues that could probably be resolved by the judicious use of a dictionary. Or they could if he realized that he doesn't understand the words. School is starting up none too soon, I'm afraid. In another recent episode, #1 Son kept insisting that 6 + 6 = 14 and got irate when I suggested he might want a slight review before classes begin.
On a similar topic, Pirate Boy informed #1 Son and me the other day that "in the War of 1812, the British were trying to gain control of the Mississippi River, so Jean Lafitte and I helped the Americans defeat them." There was something about the comparative casualty rate and a letter he'd sent to the British commander. He ended with a knowing nod: "Then the British retreated."
Dear heavens, school is starting none too soon... I wonder if they cover the War of 1812 in 1st grade?