Sunday, May 17, 2020 11:03 am
By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju
One of the joys of sending your child to boarding school in modern age is; freedom from those mind numbing homework. Homework these days are something else. One gets the feeling that schools are conspiring to create junior Professors at age 10. The demands of Knowledge inches higher with every generation.
With pandemic lock down and the resort to online classes, I lost my freedom. I actually went back to high school. My daughter’s subjects are Algebra, Humanities, Environmental Science, French and Virtual Arts. Her Algebra frightens me, that is left for uncle Demi. I am an illiterate in French, she is on her own. She needs no help for virtual arts. That leaves Humanities and Environmental Science.
In those two subjects, I am in complete awe. The way they teach here makes it very clear that any education outside secondary school is a plus. Secondary education is enough to make it for life! That is why we have many company executives without university education. Humanities this term focused on how to write Historical Fiction based on any historical incidence after the middle ages. They are expected to choose a protagonist and an antagonist with their own preferred POV. HM decided to write on the Discovery of Penicillin by Alexander Fleming. She is linking it to the eradication of Yaws in the tropics, with Dr. Adeyemi as Protagonist and Dr. Johnson as antagonist.(Story set between 1950-1970). The things she is learning about fiction writing, are things I did not know until 4years ago. I have gained a lot through directions from her humanities teacher and her way of writing. I have been taught.
The lectures through videos on Environmental Science has been very enlightening. It has been very practical. I got to know the history behind the environmental movement and the book; The Silent Spring. Even though I am not a tree hugging liberal, I care deeply about the environment and what becomes of our planet. My contact with plastics and other dangerous pollutants is severely limited and I stay away from CFC. She has had to chart CO2 levels for April, leading us to see how emissions has gone down due to serious decline in fossil fuel use. Yesterday, as I was going through her answers for her environmental science work, I found out that global warming due to climate change has begun to alter the world’s proportion of male and female newborns. More boys are born in areas with increasing temperatures and fewer boys in areas with more extreme environmental changes, such as drought or wildfire. Biomagnification of chemicals is affecting lesser organisms, and posing dangers up the food chain. Researchers have noticed the feminization of male fishes for example due to leakage of contraceptives into fresh waters.
It has been a discovery and new learning for me, as I watch videos and read notes prepared by my daughter. Apart from learning, I’m also chastened by the digital divide across the socioeconomic strata. In my discussion last week with my sister Ade Animashaun who is an experienced teacher in American public school, I learnt a lot. It is easy to get lost in the cocoon of privilege without appreciation for unequal access to good education even in the United States.
What have you learnt from your children’s curriculum during this pandemic?