Wednesday Learning

As we slide into the new learning year, Emily and I are doing well, and I was ridiculously pleased with how well this past Wednesday’s learning experiences went. Here is a sample of the subjects and experiences from that day.

All About Atoms

“Let’s do a little reading,” I suggested to Emily, three books in my hands.

She glanced at the What Are Atoms? (Rookie Read-About Science) book and groaned, “Oh, not the flower one!” It had a picture of a flower on the front of it, but what she was really objecting to was that she had recognized it was a “learning book.”

“What do you think this book is about?” I asked her.

“Flowers!” she groaned theatrically.

“Well, actually its about something really cool, called an atom. Atoms make up everything around us, the furniture we sit on, the air we breathe, even us.”

She was instantly intrigued. We read the book through, learning about atoms and molecules, talking about how literally billions of molecules are in just one drop of water, and how molecules make up elements and so much more. She bounced with excitement, imagining that everything, every thing, is composed of atoms.

It later led to a discussion with her dad about space – about the only place where there might not be atoms crowding up the place.

An In-Depth Look at the Dollar Bill

I’ve been reading an interesting book, Raising Financially Fit Kids, and I will be implementing most of their suggestions on how to raise a financially fit child into our homeschooling curriculum. One of the books suggested was the The Go-Around Dollar. We picked up the book and read all about the journey of one dollar bill from person to person to person. The book also explains some of the aspects of the dollar bill, like the Great Seal, the serial number, how only dead people can be on the front of U.S. money, and more.

“When I die, I want to be put on a dollar bill,” Emily told me.

“Well, you had better become president then, or do something really big and important with your life.” I told her, “Only important dead people are put onto money.”

One little factoid that bothered me was the explanation of the eagle on the Great Seal. In one claw, the eagle clutches arrows and in the other an olive branch. The book explained that the eagle’s head was turned towards the olive branch, indicating that the United States wanted peace. It seems as if, more often than not, we are at war with someone.

Does anyone know off-hand the years of war versus the years of peace since the United States became a country?

I did an initial search before starting this post, but couldn’t find any specific answers. I felt a bit like I was pushing propaganda by reading that tidbit about the eagle to my child. We may “want peace” but it sure seems like we spend a lot of time at war in this country.

Sometimes Life Isn’t Fair

Every Wednesday we have Homeschool P.E. at the local community center. It is a small group, sometimes just Emily and one other child. However, that’s often enough to get her up and moving, something I’m afraid I only do when I’ve got something to do or somewhere to go. Exercise just for exercise has never been my forte.

The hour went past and I walked into the gym to pick her up. There she sat, against the wall, arms folded against her chest, out of sorts and looking upset.

When I asked her teacher what was going on he explained that the other little boy in the class kept taking her turns and not sharing. To put the icing on the cake, he had managed to step on her foot when they were putting the equipment away.

Sometimes life isn’t fair – people don’t let you have your turn and there isn’t a sense of fair play.

It is a lesson we all need to learn at some point.

“Sid the Science Kid is Teaching Me All About ROT.”

Dave returned home from work. “Where’s Emily?” he asked.

“In the office, I think.” I answered, busily stirring the pasta.

He went to the office, talked with her for a moment and returned. “Well, she says that Sid the Science Kid is teaching her all about rot. We watched a banana rot, then an apple and then an orange.”

Emily’s computer has a large number of learning website links on the browser. Apparently she found Sid the Science Kid and decided to learn about rot…all on her own. Self-directed learning – gotta love it!

“Mama! Praying Mantis Have Wings!”

That evening, after the sun had disappeared and the darkness of night took hold, I turned on the front porch light anticipating my husband’s return from class. Against the screen door, a myriad of insects flitted.

“Emily, look here at this insect.”

She ran over and hollered with glee, “It’s a praying mantis, Mama!” Later she said, “Mama, Mama, you have to see this. The praying mantis has wings!”

Soon after that her dad returned and they examined the praying mantis together. According to my husband, there are two species of praying mantis here in Missouri. One small brown variety, just four inches in length, and then the giant green mantis. This was either a male or the smaller brown variety, we weren’t sure.

It was a great reminder though that learning opportunities are waiting, right outside your front door.

At this point, we are spending about 15-45 minutes per day in actual learning activities or reading. That isn’t much at all – but I’m already seeing a huge difference in her knowledge base, her ways of puzzling out questions, and her thirst for more learning opportunities.

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