Thursday, June 12, 2014

education on their own terms

So often I feel that my kids are not learning anything, and so often they remind me, in most unexpected ways, that they are learning...

We were finishing the story of Yosef and Potifar's wife. I asked Shmuli what he thought of Yosef ending up in jail and becoming in charge of prisoners. He said: "I think he got that Scandinavian syndrome. Stockholm syndrome. He now takes his captors' side, and he is even working for them. He is in a good position to tattle on the other prisoners, just like he tattled on his brothers." Hm, what an interesting reading! Yosef must have been trusted by authorities, or he would not be put into position of power. Having juts finished Natan Sharansky's biography, I have an acute sense that only people cooperating with authorities were promoted to easier jobs. I was quite impressed with this analysis.

I ordered caterpillars. They came in a little container without instructions. 10 yo hypothesized that since it is a refill, the assumption is that we have instructions. Previously, when I ordered them, I felt an urge to make a lesson, draw a diagram, fill in a chart, DO SOMETHING! This time, we just sat around the jar, observing them and making sure they are all alive. The baby is very curios about them, so our job has been to make sure that he cannot reach them. The kids immediately noticed the silk that the caterpillars were leaving everywhere. After each one asked me about the silk (and I did not know the answer), I finally googled it. The silk is to attach caterpillars to the leaves in the trees.

By today, all of the caterpillars made cocoons. They liquefy, literally, you can see caterpillar suspend itself and then turn shiny and fluid before becoming a hard chrysalis. I was talking to 10 yo how I wondered whether anyone know exactly what is going on inside, as I am not sure whether it is possible to know without killing the butterfly. later I caught him on the computer watching videos explaining what is going on. He told me how X-ray and UV studies were done, and it is a good thing that insects are impervious to UV damage. I recalled how years ago, in my X-ray crystallography days, a paper came out on using X-rays to study the insides of grasshoppers. Since the exoskeleton is so strong, the grasshoppers survived and minute detail of their breathing was studied. (If I was still type A, I would insert a link to the article here, but I am not type A any more).

Maybe, just maybe, they are learning, on their own terms.

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