Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Good Day

Although I know it will not always be like this--heck, I've already experienced enough days not like this to know that--today was a good day. Good in that I was able to witness, in a very relaxed way, the ability of my children to dictate what and how they learn. I couldn't help but shake my head when I looked at the clock and realized that by 7:30 a.m., Aidan had already shown me what he knew regarding geography, national and state monuments, and an assortment of math concepts. It was such a fluid and natural course that I had to just step back and watch it go.

Since the time change, we wake up about 6:30ish, which is fine with me because I am a morning person. The house was still quiet so we decided to read on the sofa. August woke up and joined us with his early morning good natured self. We began reading a book titled Z is for Zookeeper by Marie and Roland Smith. This has been a good book to read to both boys at the same time because it has two reading levels included for each letter of the alphabet. An example is the easy verse for the letter P. "P is for Penguins jumping in the pool. A zookeeper's job is keeping them cool." This is sing-song-y in a way that engages August but in the margin they have much more detailed information regarding penguins--their habitats, eating habits, how they care for them in the zoo, etc. that engages Aidan. So in reading this passage about penguins this morning we learned that there are 17 different species of penguins and all of them are found in the southern hemisphere. I casually asked him if he knew what the southern hemisphere was. He said that he didn't. So then I asked him if he remembered how on his globe there was a line that went around the middle of the planet. Yes, he did. So then I explained that everything above that line was in the northern hemisphere and below, in the southern. A moment of silence as everything was assimilated and then Aidan said, "There's a line like that on the globe that goes over where St. Louis is." I wasn't sure where he was going with this so we went and got his little globe (great buy from the Target dollar bin!). He found St. Louis and pointed to what , sure enough, was a line crossing directly over the city horizontally. This led into a discussion about lines of latitude and longitude and other geographical terms. He then asked if we could look up information about the state of Missouri that was on the website that we had looked at a couple of days ago.

So, to make a long story short, I let him explore the website on his own while I went to make breakfast. He kept calling me in to tell him about what he found or to tell me something that he was able to figure out on his own from pictures or symbols. After awhile on that, he then picked up this great book that I got at our neighborhood thrift store for $2 titled Anno's Math Games by Mitsumasa Anno. It is such a fun book. As the writer explains in his notes to parents and teachers, "While many people equate mathematics with arithmetic, its real meaning relates to much more than merely manipulating numbers. Above all, it represents a way of thinking about things."
Aidan totally gets this book and I think it will serve him well as an introduction to the world of math. He "read" through it until his waffle was ready. All of this before breakfast and it was all so natural. This is what this journey is all about and I am loving every minute of it.

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