Friday, March 24, 2006

A discussion of Boyle's Law over lunch, with Calvin the Genius

Who needs public school?

Calvin has been home the last two days with a slight, but aggravating, virus. I grew up thinking that fizzy lime drinks e.g. 7up are good for such ailments. Who knows. Anyway, as we were having lunch, staring at a 2 liter bottle of Sierra Mist, he says to me:

"If you went diving way deep, and you came up too fast, would you die?"

"Well, you'd have some serious problems." I was certified for scuba diving many years ago. I started explaining about gases in the blood, and how they responded to changes in pressure.

"What would happen if I took this bottle way up in the atmosphere in a helicopter and threw it out the window?"

" would explode, I guess." I could see the light bulb in the imaginary cloud above his head.

For a certain mass of an ideal gas at constant temperature, pressure*volume=constant. Boyle's law. Calvin gets it already. This is high school physics here!

By the way, Starflower brought his report card home for him. Straight A's. Of course. The trick is to keep him interested.

And, speaking of Starflower, what do you do when your 6 year old daughter remembers more of "The Big Lebowski" than you do, and implores you to watch it again tonight? She says: "Other parents don't let their kids watch movies with swear words, but you do!" I explain to her that the words are not there to tell people how to talk, but to accentuate the characters that are portrayed. I think she understands. I read somewhere the F-word is used like 278 times or something in that movie, dude. ;)


madcapmum said...

I'm with you on the title, Deb-me-dear!

And I LOVE the chicken shots below, too - I've been trying to get my head around how to start with birds. Runner-Bean says, "Mum, all you need is a coop and a run and some nesting boxes. Don't worry. I'll take care of it." Mmm. I suppose if we had enough Lego he could build it all by himself, but that's kind of out of our budget. :-0!

And how the heck does he know all this stuff anyway? Because our "homeschooling" means we go hang out at the local small-time greenhouse where they keep fowl, and my kids got to know the owner's daughters, and they chase chickens around while I drool. I mean, shop. Who needs public school indeed!

Floridacracker said...

Thinking like that in one so young is a combination of good genes (luck) and great parenting (not luck, but WORK/LOVE/TIME). He's simply rising to your expectations, it's what kids do. If we set the bar high and motivate, they will reach it. I know this is true, I have 3 polite, creative, smart teens to prove it. They are set to succeed at anything they try in life. It's all about getting them off to a great start in those first 5 years and then guiding and challenging them through the rest, and's always about love.

As for the F* word. If it's clear that that word is totally unacceptable at home, a movie won't warp them. Personal experience there too. Try watching "Pitch Black", it must be in every sentence spoken.

Of course, you may want to ignore all this free advice...I am a public school teacher after all.


Deb said...

madcap- that's why I'm so attracted to your style of homeschooling!

FC- I suppose I should have said "formal education" instead of singling out public school; I certainly am not against the concept of public school per se. I just believe sometimes the best learning takes place informally. I walked into Calvin's classroom the other day to get his jacket and backpack when he went home sick, and the class was practicing math problems for the upcoming MCA standardized least he didn't miss anything worthwhile.

Yes: it's always about love. I believe if love is the main foundation of a family, the rest will fall into place.

I don't believe in censoring books or movies for my kids; but neither do I believe in not paying attention to what they are reading or watching; just this morning there was a cartoon in which one character was whining about how boring his town was. I commented "He sure complains a lot, doesn't he!" The kids nodded in agreement; they know I have a low tolerance for whining.

In ten years or so, if I can look at my kids and think "they're a lot like Floridacracker's family!" I will have succeeded. :)

Rexroth's Daughter said...

When I was first around the pirate's kids I was very concerned about my language. I use the "F" word a lot. So, I cleaned up my language when I was around them. One day, we were visiting some friends who have three wonderful bright kids. The mom (who has been a friend of pirate's for over 30 years) was using rather colorful language in front of her kids, and in front of my step-daughters. They didn't cringe or even bat an eye. From that day forward, I let them hear me as I really was. We talked about it, about the "F" word. We talked about appropriate word use in public. We just talked about everything. It was great. They grew up into wonderful adults. They use the "F" word, but always in the appropriate places, and in the right context!

Your kids are growing up with so much love, Deb. You can see it in their faces, especially those magnificent smiles. Whatever you are doing, it's fantastic!