Sometimes, We Learn What We Need to Learn
Yesterday was a particularly awesome day of being a homeschooling family. I was so high on the day's awesomeness, that by 1:30pm, I had pronounced the day a screaming success. Rick, in a very Glass Is Half Empty And Probably Has A Crack In It fashion, kindly reminded me that there was plenty of daytime left for things to go haywire. I countered that no matter what happened next, this day was already in the books as awesome, end of story.
So why was it a Pinnacle of Awesomeness?
This was a day where I had just enough ideas for things for the kids to do: not too many and not too few, and no expectations about what they would do with my suggestions.
I had a couple non-negotiables. Chores. Reading. And for my oldest, who would play Wii all day long if I let him, I actually made a list of things I wanted him to do. One of those was that I wanted him to look at an Anatomy website I have heard about. Getting savvy, instead of telling him I wanted him to learn something, I told him I needed him to check it out and tell me if it was any good. Brilliant. He spent about 20 minutes on this site, with his brother, and they both grossed out over muscles, bones, and bodies in general. Afterwards, Sam told me: "That site was totally gross." I mentioned, casually, "So, not a good one then? You might not want to use it anymore." "I didn't say that! I totally want to use it more!" Score.
Anyway, the kids did a handful of other cool things: the girls drew pictures of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. They all read their books. Sam practiced guitar. Lady E played a typing game. Lola built a hut out of popsicle sticks. The boys watched the Math Doodling videos I wrote about yesterday, during which, my suspicious and reluctant 10 year-old kept up a running commentary about how stupid they were the entire first time through them. I say "first time," because lo and behold, he wanted to go back to them twice more during the day, and try his hand at recreating the math doodles. Score again. I totally knew he would dig it. He loved it. He told me that he didn't think the site was teaching him any math, which is evidence to me of the skewed attitude towards learning and education we have all gotten used to. I told him I didn't suggest that they watch those videos in order to learn math, but because I thought he'd like the doodles. So there. Someday, somewhere, he'll remember something about vectors, angles, and severed heads (you'll have to watch the one on Binary Trees to get that), and voila! math will have been learned while he wasn't paying attention.
They played wii games after their chores and "schoolwork" were done. We continued our love affair with Just Dance II.
The afternoon was all about being outside, skateboarding, scootering, tric riding, tree climbing. We spent almost three hours at a park, enjoying the cool sunshine. We finished the day at a tacqueria, where everyone filled their young and growing bodies with good, delicious food.
And when we were finally in the car, bound for home, my 8 year-old closed her own head in the sliding door of the van. Hard. I watched the entire thing happen, paranoid as I am about the kids closing their fingers in the door: I watch nearly every time to make sure their fingers are in a safe position. Guess I need to add heads to that watch list. It was bad, people. Ouch, OUCH, OUCH!
After I tended to her for awhile, we finally headed home. She asked us to help keep her mind off how much her head was hurting, so Vincenzo and I peppered her with questions: What is your name? What is not your name? Have you ever climbed Mt. Everest? Have you ever eaten an ice cream cone? What's your favorite ice cream flavor? And then I asked her what she learned today, a day I had proclaimed the Pinnacle of Homeschooling Awesomeness.
"Not to close my head in the van door."
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