The Re-Occurring Atom

The book on atoms that I mentioned in last Friday’s post has really gotten Emily to thinking. Several times on Thursday she mentioned it – and I followed it up with another book in the series…

Solids, Liquids and Gases

We baked some chocolate chip cookies last Thursday, using the brown sugar I had crafted from white sugar and molasses – it was quite heavy on the molasses and strong tasting…maybe I’ll use less molasses next time.

We took the plate of cookies and our ice-cold glasses of milk into the living room and I grabbed three books. “Take a look at this, Emily.” I said, pointing to a book in the same series as What Are Atoms? (Rookie Read-About Science). “Remember how we talked about atoms and how they make up everything around us, from the air we breathe to the food we eat and even us? Well this book talks about the different states of matter – solids, liquids and gases.”

The mention of atoms had her intrigued yet again, and this was a subject we had covered before, just in the course of daily life. Emily especially likes the middle ground, where she knows something, but not all of a subject. It is that perfect comfort zone – where she “gets” it, but isn’t completely knowledgeable in it – and her interest was palpable.

As I read the book to her, she bounced excitedly up and down, cookies and milk forgotten as she shouted the answers to the questions posed in the book. Watching her I realize how completely unsuited to a schoolroom she is currently. Sit still? Legs crossed and no bouncing? Heck, she’d never learn a thing if she had to sit still.

In Interesting Balance

Thursday was an interesting balance of priorities for me, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Despite some initial family-related stress, and a lousy headache, we managed to:

  • Start the day off with yoga – before breakfast, bathroom, or even getting dressed, we sat down on mats on the living room floor and played Emily’s Yoga Kids, Vol. 2: ABC’s for Ages 3-6. It was a great start to the day.
  • After breakfast Emily played with the next door neighbors until shortly before lunch and I managed to get some writing done and get a TDN post done.
  • After lunch was our weekly trip to the grocery store where she hunts for Clifford the Chicken and scores herself a nice supply of free microwave popcorn in the deal. While there she pointed out (for the 5th time) that there were “dinosaur eggs” (foam dinosaurs in gelatinized capsules). I allow her one request per visit – so this was it. She happily hugged her dinosaur eggs to her and then ran off to hatch the eggs as soon as we got home.
  • She played with Play-Doh – while I handled some financial updates – I ended up “eating” quite a few “cookies” in the process.
  • After engaging her help in baking the aforementioned cookies (which involved following directions, carefully measuring, and mixing) we sat down with the cookies and books, one of which was on dinosaurs.

    We talked about the different stages of continents on earth in the ancient past, and how big the comet (6 miles across) versus crater (115 miles across) were. We looked at pictures of dinosaurs and talked about how birds were the only “dinosaurs” left and discussed how different the earth was during the time of the dinosaurs (no recognizable trees, no flowering plants, and only small mammals).

  • She tried listening to some Native American stories (a book with accompanying CD) and was not excited about it. I’m learning to let these things go – and instead find a different book or set of stories that will interest her. She likes the way I read to her, so maybe I’ll try reading the story later, instead of having her listen to the CD.
  • While she took a bath I cleaned both of our bathrooms – knocking out a little bit of housekeeping and keeping a nice balance to my priorities.

In the end we covered – physical education, science, more science, life skills, personal hygiene, fun, creative play, and shared plenty of laughs and hugs. I also managed to get errands done, meals prepped, homeschool subjects along with plenty of positive fun time with the kiddo.

I’m noticing a sea change in Emily as well – she has reacted most favorably to my change in behavior and my approach to homeschooling. I leave it in her court – nearly 100% of the time – to participate or not in a learning opportunity. I may ask her to count with me, “C’mon, count with me by 5s,” but I don’t order her to do so. Like me, she bristles at the thought of anyone forcing her to do anything – and I leave “have to” in the domain of trying new food, following the rules of the house, and being kind to others. Her education, and what she chooses to learn on a specific day, is in her control. I think that she has recognized this change and likes it – and I’ve learned to distract, encourage and persuade in more subtle ways in order to get and keep her interest long enough for her to learn a fact or two, and then decide if she would like to learn more. And that is working VERY well for us.

It is days like these that give me strength for the ones that don’t go as smoothly. They remind me of my priorities – home, writing, food, homeschool, and enjoying these moments with this very important young woman.

My life is full…and complete.

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