“Sneaky” Learning At Its Best

Well, honestly, I don’t know if it was particularly sneaky…

Remember the other day when I posted about When Kids Drive the Learning?

Well, I got to thinking about Anthony, our ten-year-old neighbor, and how much he had helped make the homeschool room into…well…a cool room to be in. I thought about his reaction to the science experiments on the shelves. He was excited, truly excited, to get to try them out.

Anthony strikes me as a natural learner. He’s motivated to learn, enthusiastic about it, no one has to lead him to it. And it rubs off on Emily and everyone else around him.

And thinking about his love of science I resolved to get a microscope again. We had one for Dee, but I dimly recall selling it at a garage sale or something years and years ago. So yesterday I pulled up Craigslist and began searching for a microscope that would be affordable and fun.

Bingo…a few posts in and I found one, in its original box with the stains, slides and everything included – $10. That and some interesting magnets were thrown in as well. I contacted the seller, drove over and picked it all up, and waited for Anthony to arrive.

At ten, he often works for his uncle during the summer days at construction and home repair projects. They don’t pay him much, but he works hard and is proud of his earnings. I sent Emily over to see if he was at home and she returned, dejected.

A few hours later, after we returned from dinner, he rang our doorbell. I met him at the door, “I’ve got something you are going to like, Anthony.”

When I showed him the box with the microscope he grinned, huge and wide. “Aww man, this is sooo cool!” But the money to buy the two baby meat chicks was burning a hole in his pocket and he reluctantly walked away from the microscope – after a week and a half of fixing up a coop, he was ready for his two chicks. Dave set him up with the feed, the waterer, and the chicks and we got them safely in their new coop.

After that though, there was nothing stopping him from being drawn like a magnet to the microscope. Dave came upstairs and laughed, “I told them it’s 8:30 and we all need to go to bed soon. Anthony said, ‘Just one more experiment,’ and really what could I say? How do you say ‘no’ to a kid wanting to do just one more science experiment?!”

And Emily, who at nearly seven years of age looks up to Anthony’s full ten years, was right beside him, examining a leaf they had stained with blue, oohing and aahing over the tiny world opened up before them.

I really like it when they teach themselves…

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