Our home school officially opened for business in Nanjing. So far we have been very heavy on the social studies, pretty light on the science (but for a lecture on centripetal force and friction as they pertain to lazy susans found on many Chinese tables). We visited the tomb of the first Ming emperor Hong Wu. We also visited a very powerful memorial exhibit on “The Rape of Nanjing” – documenting the atrocities committed by the Japanese against China and specifically the city of Nanjing in 1937. The boys have been learning about dynasties, imperialism, the Opium Wars, the Asian involvement in World War I and II. They also read “The Red Scarf Girl” which documents the life of a girl growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. It’s so much more interesting than spelling and cursive, moderately more interesting than Algebra, which I have secretly found to be really, really fun.
Also fun was wandering around Nanjing University where Coalter studied in college. It was barely recognizable to him given the immense changes in China over these years. While he experienced bicycles everywhere and total darkness and silence after 8 pm since there was little electricity in the city, we experienced a city with skyscrapers and neon which felt like Times Square as we were driving in at night. One of the kids, “It’s like New York with Chinese letters.”
As an aside, I will point out that Coalter’s Chinese is really good, even after 20 years. He would contest this. But we thought he was only able to show off ordering Dim Sum in New York and to flirt with waitresses. Turns out he is able to converse quite comfortably and was able to get us out of a few scrapes, albeit ones he got us into in the first place 🙂