overwhelming the senses–curriculum fairs and ‘the right curriculums’

Hannah 361Curriculum fairs. The mere mention of these two words makes my heart skip a beat. Good or bad heartbeat skipping, you ask? Both. Thousands of square feet of books, books, books. The only thing the upcoming weeks’ curriculum fair is missing is a Starbucks kiosk.

I’ve noticed the expectant, yet chiropractic-resistance parents with their empty, rolling luggage after they’ve spent plenty of time writing their lists and checking them twice. These parents anticipate hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars spent. They don’t want to throw out their shoulder as they walk from book to book, flipping, holding a stack, putting a book back, discovering another gem. I should really do that since my chiropractor has seen me too often lately.

Still, I won’t bring that luggage, cause I might buy more. If I must buy it, I have to hold it. The stack can’t become too daunting and heavy, or I’ll have to put it back, or at least, come back after another workshop.

My first curriculum fair, I overheard one mom in tears asking another more experienced mom, what is the right curriculum? It does not exist conscientious parent! We all want it to exist, because it would seem to take the responsibility off our shoulders, require us to think less about what we want to impart. It would fulfill, once again, our fairytale vision of our original intention in parenting…that we could have done everything perfectly. Not gonna happen.

What will we teach our children? Just as all parents across this globe get to decide how to teach their children what to eat, how to speak to their siblings, when or if to go to bed, the parent may choose what the children will be taught. Curriculum fairs show us, the sky’s the limit.

This year, I’m days away from the curriculum fair and I have no list. I’ll bet I put some thoughts together before the end of the week. But if my pattern holds consistent, the list gets shorter and shorter every year.

The fantasy of the right curriculum, the right knowledge base, well, it’s an attempt at feeding our little people’s brain all the right information and hoping to come out with some magical end result. Like inputting data into a computer. Or deciphering the Rosetta Stone…

“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself”.

George Bernard Shaw