When our children were young, I had a friend who told me that it was time for her five-year-old son to go to school—she had taught him everything she could.
I looked at it this way: the teachers could teach my daughter all of that 3-R stuff—I was never good at it anyway. I could teach her about fine literature, art, the history of oriental carpets—and how to make tiny guest soaps in little plastic muffin pans and a microwave.
Okay, so all we did was buy the book with the soap recipes. We never actually got around to making the soap. The book is probably still on a bookshelf somewhere next to the ones on One Hundred Ways to Braid Your Hair and How to Have an Archaeological Dig in Your Own Basement.
When she was about eleven, we reached a point where she had her own ideas, so her father and I invented “mini-scholarships” that we tucked into her Christmas stocking. I think that most of the money went for sheet music, extra flute lessons, and Judy Blume books. Even with the scholarships, she still had plenty of time leftover for camping and fishing trips, cooking lessons, and documentaries on the educational television channels.
There did come a day, when she was a senior in high school, that she said she’d learned all she could from me. It was time for her to move on. From what I could tell, she’d moved on to big hair, frosted eye shadow, and boys...
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