Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Love, Shakespeare, and Sex With Slaves

Recently I posted about what my kids were learning in school and a bit of explanation may be necessary.

Fifth grader learned that Thomas Jefferson had children with his slave Sally Hemmings.  We read this in the biography Who Was Thomas Jefferson? by Dennis Fradin, which can be purchased at your school's Scholastic Book Fair!!!!

To be honest, it's a wonderful book.  



I just wasn't  prepared to explain, nor could I ever, how a man could have children with his servant and then raise them as slaves.

When I tried to change the subject by asking Tenth grader what he was studying in school, I was at bit shocked when he replied, "I learned that Shakespeare molested little boys."  

This piece of information came out in a classroom discussion headed by Teen's Unitarian English Teacher, a man after my own left wing, the same teacher who had the students write an essay (with in-text citations and full bibliography) about the path to enlightenment, comparing the differences in the Eastern and Western traditions, using five sources, including the required Siddhartha, Genesis, Beowulf and two others.

Back to our 3rd president.  I was helping Ten-year old write a timeline and mentioned to him that after Jefferson's wife died, he never remarried.

Yes, he did.  He married Sally Hemmings, he said.

No, honey.  He didn't marry her.

Yes, he did.  It said so in the book.

No, sorry.  They didn't marry.

But it said so. They had children together.  How else could they do that if they weren't married?



Now being a Liberal Hippie Mom I have no problem explaining this.

But I kept quiet.

There are worse things in the world than thinking you have to be married to have children, right?


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PS  I knew there was a movement to put Christ back into Christmas.  But I had no idea there was one to put God into St. Valentine's Day.  Buying Valentines at the last minute, these were the only ones left at Rite Aid:



  

I guess I should have spent less time writing helping Teen with that paper on the path to enlightenment.



More tales of love and sex at Humor-Blogs.

15 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's an interesting challenge navigating school curriculum these days.

And they don't actually have proof on the Shakespeare thing.


They do on Sally Hemmings, though, obviously.

Chris Wood said...

Interesting conundrum there. To be honest I think you did the right thing. Kids should be allowed to stay (fairly) innocent for as long as possible. Also, how do you explain that Lincoln kept slaves, much less raised his own kids as such?

There's a thorny one ...

Suzie said...

Its all a slippery slope of questions better just to keep the kids in the closet where we cant be bothered by such questions ;)

for a different kind of girl said...

We never learned anything about Shakespeare in school. All we did was read Romeo and Juliet and such. Probably because there was already a lot of giggling in the seventh-grade classroom when there was kissing involved.

Angry Max said...

It's better than all the lies they teach little kids about Thanksgiving. I prefer telling kids the horrible truth than pleasant lies. I also don't have any kids, so that probably makes it easier.

The Self-Deprechaun said...

I like a trashier history. If US weekly taught a history class, I would totally ace it and major in it. Give me the drama, the sex scandals and illegitimate children.

Sounds like a great college course...hmmm. Maybe i can teach garbage.

sage said...

At some point, you'll have some explaining to do :)

The Hussy Housewife said...

Great Scotch w/ ice!

Never seen those valentines before. I guess as my new as Jesus in pancakes...I better get my quotes on valentines next year!

Wow, our political leaders of the past were horny and sick.

Nooter said...

oh you can bet underdog would have taken care of that shake-spear molester for sure!

*Just Jen* said...

I gave you an award! :-)

Father Muskrat said...

At least he didn't say interracial marriages were illegal in Virginia until recently, right?

A Free Man said...

Well, I guess it is St. Valentine's Day...

Kevin John said...

My Baptist (ex) friends would love those cards...

Chas said...

I have a feeling that if someone put the effort into writing a book, 'History, how it really was', it would probably be a best seller?

Laura said...

When my daughter told me that you have to be married to have babies I thought at first that it was a good thing. But maybe that's where the whole not needing condoms philosophy comes in. Maybe she thinks that your body just won't do it without the ring. Ugh. Now I need to have another sex talk with her.