Thursday, August 17, 2006

A morning in the life...

Thank you for listening to these words from our sponsor, pregnancy. Now back to our regularly scheduled program, "unschooling".

Matthew just interrupted me to ask if we could make a cardboard dagger. "You know, a dagger." He swings his arms in the air as if holding a dagger. "And could you please find my cardboard box? And get the craft glue. And scissors. And I really need you, Rose, to get your craft scissors! Mommy, I need craft scissors. Cardboard scissors, I mean." Looks like it'll be an interesting project. He decided on a Pirate theme for his birthday party and it looks like we're starting already. Now, where did I put those dagger schematics??

Rose comes running up to me this morning, in tears, over, "Matthew hurt my feelings!" and Jade is right on her heels, standing next to her, fake crying. Yes, my 17 month old who mostly refuses to talk, is fake crying with her sister. She's got her face all scrunched up and doing the whining cry and trying to crawl into my lap. What am I gonna do with them?

So the real reason of my post today...
Two days ago, Matthew decided he wanted to make a science experiment. He was very secretive but asked if he could use a few items from the kitchen. But he didn't want any help at all. "Sure, just clean up whatever messes you make." See, he's old enough now to actually be able to clean up after himself. MAJOR accomplishment ranking right up there with using the toilet, walking and talking, in my book. ;)

["Mommy, where is my cardboard box with the blue paper on it that I made into a plane?" "Check the garage." "I'm scared to go in there by myself. Rose, will you go with me?" "Yeah!"]

He asked me to set out some ingredients for him...salt, sugar and colored sugar crystals. So I did and I left. After a while, he comes to show me his experiment. It's those three items and water that have been stirred up. "Awesome, Matthew! What is it?" "It's my experiment!" He and Rose studied it for a long time and poured more into it and complained that not all of the sugar crystals dissolved.

["We couldn't find the box Mommy." "Well, go in the basement and see if you can find an empty cardboard box." "Okay."]

That evening, when Hubby got home, Matthew and Rose were very excited to show him the experiment. I was on the couch, trying to contain the contents of my stomach so I'm a little fuzzy on the details but after a while, Matthew and Rose each came in and showed me their official experiment. They each had a container (one a mason jar, one an empty clean soda bottle) with the experiment inside.

["We can use our old bird blind," said bird blind being hauled up the stairs behind her. "OK, if you want to." "Mommy, I still need craft scissors. I mean cardboard scissors!" "Just a second, hunny." "And some glue!"]

On the outside of their experiments is written:
Hypothesis: It will might grow mold.
Started: 8-15-2006
Apparently he wanted to leave himself a little wiggle room on the hypothesis.

["This is the final piece. This will be the handle. Rose, the scissors, please. OK, we have all the stuff we need. This is Grammy's glue - it's better than yours because it's washable." He glues his dagger together, complete with handle. Rose hurries over with her pieces. "Mommy, me too, me too!!" (her favorite phrase) I help her glue her pieces together.]

Now I could be one of those over-achieving homeschooling moms who wants my kid to learn something and I could say, 'Honey, that won't grow mold very fast, if ever. You should try a piece of bread instead." But I don't. Why? Because the result isn't important. What is important is that he came up with this idea on his own, he now knows what a hypothesis is, he is following through on a project and he's having FUN learning.

["Mine is better than hers." "Hey!" "I mean, 'Wow Rose - that's a great dagger! It's even better than mine!'." My heart melts a little. Commence the swashbuckling dagger fights. "A dagger is a type of sword, Rose." "Oh."]

So we sit and wait for the experiment to grow mold. I don't know how long it will take for them to lose interest, if any. But for now they eye them suspiciously every day and compare their containers, looking for signs of mold.

["Mommy, I want to make a better one." "But yours is already better than mine, Rose!" "Oh...yeah." The finished products:
Matthew's dagger:

Rose's dagger:

You might think that Rose doesn't get as much blog time as Matthew does. To some, this might seem unfair. And it could be, if the following weren't true... Rose wants to do whatever Matthew is doing. The phrase, "Me too" is heard 534,297 times a day in our home. While I see her own personality emerging, I'm sure she'll get much more screen time in the near future. ;)

[Grammy just called and Matthew said, "Please tell whoever it is that me and Rose just made daggers out of cardboard!" I relayed the news to Grammy and she said, "Oh, we were discussing swords yesterday. He said he could make one and I told him I could just buy him one. He said he could make one out of cardboard and I told him that it probably wouldn't last very long and I could just get him a nice plastic one. He told me that it would be cheaper and more fun to make one."]

What will we get into next?

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