Friday, May 22, 2009

Love times 100

Jack went over to Olga's this morning to learn Russian. He'd decided to bring his shark toy, and we'd had earlier conversations (weeks ago) about whether a toy might be too distracting. I didn't care about whether he came home having learned anything, I just didn't want him to ignore Olga and possibly be too wrapped up in the toy. It was about etiquette, not education.

He said to me in the car: "Even if I bring my shark, nothing can distract me from Russian. I love it so much. I love it as big as outer space. I love it times 100. I will never stop learning it."

I wanted to memorialize this for his future self, no matter what happens to Russian. Because in 20 years, his adult-self will either read this and think (A) What the heck? Russian?...or (B) He'll be living in Kiev and fluent and will think this was sweetly insightful of his true path in life.

I read recently that the more over-involved you get in a child's education, the less personal responsibility they'll take for it. Nagging about homework, etc. I know I rebelled against my mom checking in on my work by not doing math homework for weeks on end, so I believe it. ;) I was a stinker. It took getting to late college and grad school before I fell in love with education and learning, and I think that's because it was finally "my own."

Along the same lines, Steve was just saying that he thought the best thing he could do for his kids' love for athletics (if they happen to have them) is not to say anything. Nothing from the sidelines, not being their coach. Just let them figure things out and develop on their own. If they have the interest, it will find itself. If they don't love athletics enough to be self-driven, then what was the point?

Jack has developed so much love for Russian that could pretty easily extinguish if we started to care about it too much. I mean, making it our goal instead of his. Occasionally, I'll ask him something out of the blue. "Hey, do you know the word for 'forest'?" And he'll tell me. He put on bunny ears the other day, and I asked if he knew how to say "rabbit" in Russian. Matter-of-factly, he told me. Like it was no big deal that he has this vocabulary bank in another language. Or that he labels his doodles of a house in the Cyrillic version.

There's this strange sensation about how he's moving into this phase of life where he'll have entire passageways of knowledge that I don't share. I love it and it excites me so much, but it's odd. When they're tiny, you see all the things they learn and they pull from you. When Jack sounded out his first word in reading, I was blown away with joy about watching him learn - but it was still within my own realm of knowledge. When they get older, they stumble across their interests and run with them. That part of parenting is a bit daunting, in terms of fostering a love we don't know...but exciting too. I love how everyone in the family will pull in their own gifts and interests into this melting pot of dinner table conversations.

Some of it, especially science, I'm learning too. He asked me about gravity on Mars this morning, so we Googled together and I learned the equation for calculating gravitational pull. I thought the whole thing was fascinating. I realize that I actually love this stuff, and wished I'd asked more questions of my Chemist father growing up. Although I make up for lost time by calling regularly with questions about cars or constellations or mass. =)

I didn't realize how much I loved science. My love for words overrode, I'm not sure that passion can be found through science class at school. The other day we were discussing cells and Jack called them "microscopic legos that make our body." Yes! They are! When I see it through this new perspective, I realize that my natural inclinations might have had interests and passions I haven't tapped into yet. Maybe I did get more of Dad's science DNA than I thought. ;) I'm pouring over books that discuss bone names and mitochondria and feel this hunger to learn more. Too bad Mr. Washburn sucked the life out of chemistry in high school. =)

It appears I'll be homeschooling myself throughout life. And Jack will take care of his own learnings, too, it appears.

I loved this article that Lisa wrote. She makes great points, regardless of how a child is schooled.

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