School projects, that is. Friday was R's due date for her Hobbit book report. Her power point slides were finished in time and an oral presentation made for Daddy that evening. She did a good job, content was good, and she handled questions well. All in all, between learning book report format, character studies, and power point slide creation, it was good academics. The oral presentation was good practice for the next project, the Historica fair. Research continues on that one and it is great to see R at 10 years old gaining appreciation for history as she learns about D-Day and the contributions of Canadian soldiers in the war. It's certainly more than I had at her age, or even older.
In 1999 D and I went to France for a conference for his work, then added an extra week for ourselves. We decided to go to the Normandy area and went to Vimy Ridge. It was a Canadian site, after all. Neither of us knew much of anything about it and being there changed out outlook. After going through the very well-done interpretive center that described the action from 1917, we walked out toward the monument - two huge spires of white stone leaping straight up to the sky, perched on the ridge itself. Statues display moving emotion, showing grief and sacrifice. And the sides - adorned with the names of some 60,000 who fell no one knows where. Then the cemetery, tidy rows of identical white stones bearing the names of the men, the boys who fell. And every so often, 'A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God'. The tunnels and trenches, testament to the stormy past of the now-quiet fields. We asked each other if we had learned about this place; neither of us had. I think part of our decision to homeschool was made that day as we realized some of the gaps in our own educations. There is something, too, about being in a place where they have had wars literally in their own backyards that makes me thankful to live where - and when - I do.