Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On Educating 6-Year-Olds And The Challenge Of 1st Grade

6-year-old boy to an adult: "Where did the ark land?"

Adult: "Ummmmm...." *racking brain feriously trying not to look stupid trying to help young child discover the answers to life's deep secrets*

Boy: "Where is the ark?"

Adult: "Well, um... ahem... why do you want to know?" (there, the balls in his court. The most clever design of human nature is to retaliate a hard question with an even harder question.)

Boy: "Because I want to go there when I grow up."

Adult: "Oh! Why do you want to go there?" (maybe he has an answer to why he wants to know where it is but as to the WHY he wants to actually go there, well, this'll make him think.)

Boy: "So that I can do what God tells me if there's a flood again."

Adult makes mental note to research the flood, ark location and how to teach child that the earth will never flood again... a reality said child has yet to grasp everytime he hears the story of Noah's Ark.

I'm almost positive this topic isn't included in 1st grade curriculum so why is my "First Grader" exploring these questions? Oh yeah, that's the nice thing about homeschooling; you can learn about anything you want even before you learn phonics. I get it now.

Adult: *goes to to obtain necessary information in order to educate young child on the dynamics of Noah's ark* (actually, I went to this site instead since it's my favorite search engine.)

Later that day, the boy began to inform the adult and anyone and everyone who would listen HOW he was going to search for and retrieve Noah's ark.

He figured he could just go to wherever the ark was, look at it and bring it back. On a rope of course. But when I explained that the place where the ark is, the people there are very protective of their country and their government would put him in jail, he realized he had a challenge.

So he asked me what I thought he could do.

I told him he could fly to a country by the country where the ark is. And then when it's dark, either crawl over the boarder into the ark's country, or maybe ride a camel.

Hearing he'd be put in jail if he was caught, he decided to bring an American policeman along. Of course, policemen always are the best way to handle emergency situations. Even on the other side of the world. And if one policeman wasn't enough, he decided he'd just bring them all.

Understanding that especially Americans aren't welcomed in Arabic places, he thought he could disguise himself and speak Spanish.

He had some hard questions. "So the ark landed where the people are still very wicked?" was one of them.

If the flood was to cleanse the earth from sin, it seems strange that the people around the ark were STILL wicked. As if one flood wasn't enough, right? (obviously, he's been listening to his Bible stories.)

And he had one more question.... "Why couldn't the ark just land here?" (like, what a waste-of-an-ark that it had to land around "wicked people.")

So he began thinking up plans...

He could dig a hole underground and literally "go under cover."

He could fly in a rocket that didn't go into space.

He could go in a jet and go into space, hang a rope down over "that world" and catch Noah's ark. And of course, bring it home. And then he could set it up in America so other people could see it and he'd start building a whole bunch of arks for people to see.

He could just fly in a jet and not put English words on the outside of the aircraft. Spanish would work, he explained.

He wouldn't let the "wicked people" see his passport.

He wouldn't speak English so they wouldn't think he was American. "I'd have to learn a lot a lot a lot of Spanish though."

And finally he decided he'd just build an ark by himself. But when I told him it wouldn't be Noah's ark but rather Landon's ark, he didn't like that idea.

"So it wouldn't be Noah's ark?" he asked. "Nope," I told him.

It's just not the authentic thing if it's not THE Noah's Ark. So he went back to figuring out how to get Noah's actual Ark. And knowing him, he'll stew over this for weeks and months until he either comes up with a plan or rocket ship or something or moves on to something more challenging. Like world peace.

After having this conversation, I can imagine what's in our school curriculum this year. And here I thought First Grade was going to be, you know, elementary. And I thought the most difficult thing I'd have to teach him this year, was how to read. Boy, was I wrong.

Not wanting to be outdone by his big brother (after overhearing every word about this whole Noah's Ark Plan), Alex declared randomly, "I need to go into the cont'wee and fwy my space wocket some time."

It's so fun not having normal kids..

Monday, August 02, 2010

A Day In My Life

So there was this time I had a son. Actually, I had two of them. And as I remember now, I had a daughter too. They were a lively bunch... always living life to the fullest and making the most of every situation. Now that I think about it, they were great motivators in inspiring a "Live To The Hilt" mentality in life. They really should write a book someday. Or at least start a website where they can share all their experiences, concepts and deep thoughts.

(In this fast-food-couch-potato-culture we live in, I'm sure it be a big hit.)

Anyway, one day in particular, I woke up one morning to lemon juice spilled all over the kitchen floor. And two small children busily wiping it up with sticky, sopping wet towels. It was a sticky situation. Trying to embrace their vibrant outlook on life, I utilized the situation and actually mopped my kitchen floor that day. It worked out great.

And then later that day, their industrious and ever entrepreneur brother (who was also my son, of course), took on the task of scraping the chipping Robin's Egg Blue paint off our picnic table. This was a task I had put off for several months using the excuse I didn't have the right "tools" to do the job with.

But as I observed this son of mine who barely stood past my knee, it impressed me to see his "think-out-of-the-box" mannerisms as I watched him work. Instead of using a paint scraper and a toxic paint-stripping chemical, he dug into the fading wood with a wired dog brush and dye-free, Green Works Natural Surface cleaner. His chubby little arm boasted a growing bi-cep: proof he was putting a good amount of elbow grease into this neglected project.

Not wanting to be out-done by her career oriented younger brother who seemed to already have a degree in Environmentally Friendly Picnic Table Maintenance, the sister of that boy took on a Photography Photo Challenge and created interesting snapshots of household items. Using her hand to shield light in such a way, she tipped and angled the camera in front of all kinds of rare specimens. Like the dolphin bath toy. And her ink-stained purse. And the lamp she had broken during a very fast expedition on her feet through the living room one day.

As the day progressed, so did my children's pursuits in life. During an artistic plunge in the Lego bin, they commenced to having an Apologetic and Debate class. Two of the alpha male children (which would actually be both of my sons), discussed in depth over whether their maternal aunt was both of theirs or just one of theirs. "She's MY aunt," could be heard from one knowledgeable son and then "No, she's MY aunt," was heard from the other equally as smart son. They seemed to finally agree-to-disagree since they both had such fundamentally sound view points. And of course, they were BOTH equally right.

When lunch time rolled around on this particular day, the First Born Son had an idea for lunch. Instead of him just making lunch meat sandwiches, we would both take turns putting ingredients on the bread. He had a regular system designed in his educated head and I believe that some day he just might run his own growing business making gourmet sandwiches in a factory line. Oh wait; I guess Subway already does that. Well, maybe his specialty can be Lots Of Extra Mustard That Oozes Sloppily Down Your Hands And On Your Shirt since that seems to be a popular hit as seen in our laundry pile on the personally created sandwiches this son of mine made.

And so the day continued, one adventure after another.

The end.