I trust the public schools and I trust my kid and their spouse, but I also feel a grandparental duty to help the kids learn new interests. While I hear them reciting state capitols, multiplication tables, American History, etc, I seldom hear them excited about a new area of learning.
It took a long time and lots of searching to find each kid an exciting field – but we got there. One day on a trip to the Field Museum, Stephanie (at about the age of 7) became entranced by the gem hall. It’s hard not to be dazzled by the sparkles, but she was interested in a deeper way. She wanted to know where the stones come from, what they’re used for, what they’re for and who wears them, etc.
Despite being in a literal hall of lit up gems, the brightest element in the room was Stephanie’s eyes. I noticed immediately and kept Eric busy for TWO HOURS while she made her way through the gem hall.
Ever since then, I’ve found ways to sneakily encourage the continued digging (wink) into the field. I found her an at-home gem kit, books about gems, and she has a very cute bedside collection of crystals.
I’ll note – we make a point to discuss the genesis of gems, where they come from, who works to dig them out, and some of the woo woo powers they are believed to possess. We shy away from discussing jewelry and the class structures relating to gems and gold – that’s a conversation for when she’s a little older but we at least want to build the foundation for those discussions so that she understands all that goes into what ultimately can become a fashion and status symbol.