I said the words "historical disaster" -- and my kitchen erupted into a frenzy of baking soda and vinegar, clay and cardboard.
Our homeschool group is hosting a Historical Disaster Fair on some yet-to-be-determined date. (Cool idea, eh? I got it here.) Today, I figured, was as good a day as any to tell the boys.
Somewhat surprisingly, they were ALL excited. (I think the word "disaster" had something to do with it.) Within minutes, they had selected their topics: a volcanic eruption for Boy #2 (think Pompeii), an asteroid impact for Boy #3 and either Hiroshima or Gettysburg for Boy #1.
Pleased with our little conversation, I headed to the basement to start a load of laundry. I returned a few minutes later to find a cookie sheet covered in vinegar and cardboard boxes in various states of deconstruction.
The boys were in the zone. Boy #3 sketched his plans for an asteroid impact model while Boy #2 experimented with different "volcanoes." (He ultimately settled on a water bottle, lid off.) Boy #4 watched with glee while Boy #2 tested various concentrations of baking soda and vinegar. #3 sliced shapes out of extra cardboard boxes and colored them, just right -- 2 shades of blue for the ocean and a blank, deforested area on planet Earth. Boys #1 and 2 cleaned out an old fish tank/new home for a volcano. #2 microwaved modeling clay to soften it, then crafted a volcano-shaped shell around his water bottle. He also made a building out of a small cardboard box.
My kitchen was a mess, but the energy in that room was inspiring! This was not learning for learning's sake; this was creation. These were boys who were applying knowledge, boys who were free to pursue a project in whatever way felt best for them. There were no rules -- "each project must contain a timeline" or "all reports must be double-spaced" -- to interfere with their visions. No bells sounded, artificially ending the energy. The boys worked and worked and worked -- because they wanted to, not because someone told them they must.
I love it! It's so cool to watch kids when they're allowed to learn in a creative way, without being told the "right" way to do it. And what a cool mom to let your kitchen get taken over by 3 boys :DReplyDelete
These are my favorite kinds of home projects. Love it!ReplyDelete
I love it! Sometimes when I get a little nervous about the mess that is being created, I think of my hero, the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and try and imagine how excited HE would have been! He would have been right in there helping the process, not worried about the clean-up.ReplyDelete
When I read your posts, sometimes I wish my kids were young again--so I could experience these things all over, or in a different way. You make parenting sound like so much fun--and teaching sound so easy!ReplyDelete
This is SUCH an incredibly COOL idea! I'm sure the boys LOVED it! I know mine would. They're such "hands on" learners.ReplyDelete
Hey, that's our school group that you linked to (here in NC) that's doing that! My worlds are colliding! Glad it's gaining momentum -- fun stuff!ReplyDelete
Wow, Kate, who would have thought?!? What projects are your kids doing?ReplyDelete
My patriotic son: 9/11. My environmentalist son: Exxon Valdez.ReplyDelete
I remember studying Pompeii when I was a kid -- we read "The Dog of Pompeii" by Louis Untermeyer and oh! did I cry and cry...I can only imagine what my dog-loving childhood self would have created out of THAT!
Excellent projects! I'd love to see pics when they're done, if you feel like sharing.ReplyDelete
I'm going to look up The Dog of Pompeii. So far, my son's been more interested in the logistics of making a volcano explode!