Friday, February 21, 2014

they will surprise you

I was all organized, staying up late, writing up the plan for today.

In the morning, 4 yo decided to do water experiments in the sink.

She filled a few different containers, used a funnel to pour water from one to another, and dumped and measured and poured. She even made vacuum. When I protested about the mess, she calmly informed me that it is just water and it is only in the sink (true). The only inconvenience was walking around her chair and inability to use the sink, although she gleefully accepted any dirty dishes we put in there.

It rained last night, so giant, foot-long earthworms came out. 7 yo and 4 yo went to take a look. I did not have science on my agenda at all, but they were quite happy holding slippery worms, placing them from one area to another. 7 yo asked how he can tell which end is the worm's head, and I showed him the thickened part towards that end. I also said that he can just observe which way the worm is crawling, and that is the head end.

We have a book about worms, high school and college biology includes dissection of worms, but it take a personal close experience with one to actually wonder which end is the head. AT the end. the kids made a new home for the worms, where I hope they crawled happily ever after.

I heard Rebecca Masinter speak last night about homeschooling, and she reminded me how homeschooling is a movie, not a snapshot. She also brought up parsha and Shabbos d'var Torah. Ours have not been going too well, and last week I promised boys that I will write up parsha questions to ask on Shabbos, so they better come prepared. I figured that 9 yo will read Chumash (in English) and 7 yo will either read, ask me to read to him, listen to Rabbi Juravel, read a simple parsha book or refuse to participate. 7 yo did get all nervous about it, but his suggestion was for him to read from Artscroll Chumash and for me to write down a summary of what he reads. He wanted it to be very detailed, so that he would not miss anything. I said that he could just open Chumash and look things up, on Shabbos, but in his mind that would be cheating. Apparently, looking on a prepared sheet is not cheating, but using original material is. Mercifully, the baby took a giant morning nap, so we were able to sit on the couch, snuggling, and work our way through Vayakhel. To tell the truth, I never found Vayakhel to be quite so interesting until I had to slow down to the pace of summarizing. At some point, 7 yo gave me a bear hug and said how he likes doing parsha with me. If I would have chosen to enforce my original plan, we would have missed out on this great bonding and learning opportunity, not to mention that he did it on much higher level than I expected.

That's the devil with being flexible in homeschooling: you plan, they subvert your plans, and you have a choice: take a direction in which the kids are leading their learning, or enforce your original expectation.

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