Saturday, May 7, 2011

Geographically Challenged

Some people aren't coordinated.  Others are poor spellers.  We have been blessed with a child that has one helluva time recognizing and remembering where places are on the planet.  

We thought this would improve when she took a geography class her freshman year.  However, a young coach taught it...  That coupled with a desire to socialize rather than really apply herself to the class content resulted in her not making any real gains with her geography skills.  She always pulled an A in the class, which can probably be attributed to her turning in work on time and having a positive attitude, which obviously can't be underestimated.  If they started giving out good grades for being a snappy dresser, having a flawlessy made-up face and spending at least an hour on your hair every morning before school, then my oldest daughter would be headed for an ivy league university.  

Based on past experiences, it has become a running joke that the oldest child will make all sorts of geography faux pas.  She's famous for mispronouncing place names, ethnicities, nationalities and languages.  Right after we moved to England, she was talking about a Norwegian girl she had met and asked, "That means she's from Norwegia, right?"  About six weeks ago, one of the younger daughter's friends was spending the night and we were gathered in the kitchen while I was cooking.  We were talking about going to Amsterdam for spring break and the 15-year-old asked me where it was.  The youngest daughter's little 4th grade buddy chimed in to tell her it was in The Netherlands before I had the opportunity to answer.

I wish I had thought to write down all of the geography funnies this child has made over the years.  We've gotten some good laughs out of her questions and blunders, which she always takes in her stride.  She doesn't mind when we chuckle and then correct her.  She realizes she has other subjects or interests where she excels, and isn't bothered by this area of core knowledge that continues to elude her.  Honestly, she's a bright girl that has always made really good grades, so it's not that she doesn't have the IQ to master this information.  I don't know why she's so stymied by geography, but it's a fact.  I wanted to record this latest gaffe before I forget it.

Yesterday when the girls got home from school, I was showing the high schooler her options for October travel week at the new school they'll attend beginning in August.  She can go with her peers to Poland, France or Germany on history tours.  Those sound great to me, but I thought she would get a lot out of the Romania service project - working with orphans.  Acceptance to the service project requires that she write an essay, so I was showing her the requirements for this as well as her options in the other three countries.  As she started to look over the information, my cell phone had an incoming message from her current school.  I opened it up and was skimming the content, murmuring about them giving us a heads-up that the health teacher would be discussing sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia in class next week.  

The oldest daughter heard me and asked, "What?"  I then said chlamydia again since it was the last word I had muttered, and I meant to follow up with an explanation about what I had just read. However, before I could get that far, the geographical genius asked me, "Where's that?"  It was SO very tempting to tell her it was just to the north of Gonorrhea and Syphilis.

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