In which our young hero, The Golfer, learns what a Biography is.
George Bingham, “Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap”*
Last winter, when I was in the thick of Mono and could do little more than sit up in bed and read, we began reading the Heroes of America series about Daniel Boone. (Which we found at Michaels for $1.00, so don’t get it from Amazon!) It was quite an exciting biography and had the kids and I hooked from the first chapter. I don’t think it was coincidental that we made the leap to unschooling after reading the biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Daniel Boone. As Daniel put it:
Curiosity is natural to the soul of man and interesting objects have a powerful influence on our affections.
So, we read all about Daniel’s early life; we each responded to his passion for exploration and adventure and his love of the outdoors. None more so than the Naturalist! We also read about how he explored through Tenessee and into Kentucky, how he dealt with Indians, and how he lost beloved family members and saved his daughter. Our favorite quote was this one:
can’t say as ever I was lost,
but I was bewildered once for three days.
We then finished by learning about his last great adventure with his grandson to Yellowstone Valley. At 80-some years old! I finished the book with the account of his burial next to his wife, Rebecca.
The Golfer looks at me.
He huffs his disapproval.
He says, in an exasperated tone, “Well, that is THE WORST book I’ve ever read. He DIED in the end.”
“Golfer, it’s a biography. It’s the story of his life! Every biography ends with the person dying at the end!” And then I thought about how depressing that is…I’d never realized it before. It’s kinda like dating…after a while, you realize every relationship is doomed to fail until you meet the right one. That’s a lot of break-ups!
The Golfer was pretty disgusted by the whole thing. He had enjoyed the book so much, and wanted the stories to go on and on and never end. We started up with the George Washington biography after this, but he stopped me before I got to the end. He’s not ready to read it yet. I gently reminded him that every story has an ending, and for people that ending is death. But it’s not the death that matters, it’s what happens between the first and last page.
He still likes me to read biographies, but is pretty dissapointed that everyone keeps dying in the end.
*Take note that in Bingham’s painting, Daniel is wearing a proper gentleman’s hat. This is correct! Anytime you see Daniel in a coonskin cap, that is incorrect! That wrong detail is a pet peeve of The Naturalist.
Filed under: Homeschool/Unschool, The Golfer | Tagged: Biographies, Daniel Boone, George Bingham, unschooling | 1 Comment »