Monday, October 11, 2010

Simple Joys, Simple Machines

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today was one of those days that I realized just how much I love to homeschool. Beautiful weather, achieved milestones, and a flexible schedule combined to make it an almost perfect day. True, we spent most of the morning inside working on our workbooks like usual. You have to get the hard work done some time. My third-grade daughter didn't have to sit at the table too long, though. Her assignment for science this morning was to find "simple machines" we use around the house. After a brief walk around the house, writing down a few items, and some time in the kitchen with me showing her different gadgets (she was only moderately interested), she lost herself in the garage. Dad's workshop - now THERE is a place to study science! I lost track of how much time she spent out there studying the garage door opener pulleys, the various tools that use levers or inclined planes, and the bicycles. She has a pretty good understanding now of how the simple machines work by themselves, and how they work together in more complex machines.

The really exciting "aha!" moments for me, though, are when I see things suddenly click in my children's brains, and they start doing things that they weren't doing before. I still remember the day my other daughter, then in preschool, suddenly realized that she could transform her "scribble writing" into the letters of the alphabet that she had been tracing. She was so excited! My 4-year-old son had one of those days today. He enjoys drawing, colors between the lines, and often enjoys doing his own thing while the other kids do "real schoolwork." Today, though, art class caught his interest. We were talking about how you could use different kinds of straight lines - horizontal, vertical, diagonal, long, short, or broken - for shading in your drawings. This fascinated him. Instead of scribbling on his paper, he could copy the simple lines I was showing them how to make and actually draw a picture. Different kinds of lines made roads, water, or the fur on a teddy bear look real. This was the first time he had ever actually followed the directions in art class and made the same kind of picture that we were making. I could see the concentration in his eyes as he drew a tree, a teddy bear, then a man with hair, mustache, & a beard. I'm not saying he's the next great Rembrandt, or even Picasso. But he learned a skill and applied it. And took pride in doing so!

The afternoon brought our reading-out-loud time, which we decided to do outdoors today, since the weather is so beautiful. I sat in the swing under the oak trees and read to my children in God's positively beautiful creation. This is the most fun I've ever had in school!

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