Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blackbody Radiation and other Science Super-Heros

Over a year ago, on a whim, we got a really cool book from the library about physics. I say on a whim because I got it just because I thought it looked so cool, even though we weren't really looking for physics books and it's not really something we were focusing on at the moment. But it turned out that Hunter loved it.

The book was a book in the Simeon Basher series and I am just amazed at this guy at what a great idea this science series was! It started off with his first book, The Periodic Table: Elements with Style, which set out to give each element of the periodic table "character" and "personality" in a fun, memorable way.

He then went and took the same idea at applying personalities to concepts of physics, astronomy, biology and more. And Hunter, of course, thinks the books are all about super-heros.

Take, for example, the super hero "Blackbody Radiation" from the physics book. He is part of the "Hot Stuff" gang and described in this way:
  • A ninjalike shadow who swallows and slays the Light Crew
  • Dark and mysterious, a heat monitor for the universe
  • Produces radiation that depends only on his heat
I am a master of the dark arts. When an object is pure black like me, it absorbs all of the light that hits it and radiates it back as heat. My special heat "signature" makes me easy to spot and has helped scientists learn about energy's strange ways. I am the reason why black things heat up and shiny white objects stay cool.
It hot countries, it's a good idea to wear light colors - black clothes may look hip, but they certainly won't keep you cool! I'm not just about gobbling up energy, though - blackbodies also give off heat much more easily than nonabsorbing white or silvery bodies. This is why hot things, such as car radiators, get painted black.
Date of discovery: 1862
Discoverer: Gustav Kirchhoff
Most unusual blackbodies (BB): hot stars
"Best" BB: carbon (absorbs 97% of light)

The categories in the Physics book are Old School (mass, weight, density, speed, acceleration, force, inertia, friction, and gravity), Hot Stuff (energy, potential energy, kinetic energy, entropy, vacuum, and blackbody radiation), the Wave Gang (water wave, sound, earthquake, frequency, amplitude, laser, analogue, and digital), the Light Crew (radio wave, mirowave, infrared, light, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma ray), the Atom Family (atom, electron, proton, neutron, quark, neutrino, Higgs Boson, strong force, and anitmatter) and Nuclear Heavies (radioactivity, alpha particle, beta particle, photon, Schrodinger's Cat, and weak force)

It is funny how a little imagination and a touch of creativity can make certain concepts so fun, memorable, and easy to understand. Hunter, especially when we first got the book from the library, would squeal with excitement and shout, "Physics!" when he saw the cover of the book. I even remember one time where he had mistaken a cartoon on a book for his beloved physics book, got excited and yelled "physics" and people looked at him in confusion wondering what on earth it was that this little kid was talking about.

We just recently bought some of the books with a gift card we got for Christmas. The ones we got this time around were the ones about Physics, Rocks and Minerals, and Biology. I hope to get all the books in the series and am especially excited about their one about Math (but it doesn't come out until July!) and Earth Science (which comes out in the end up March). I think they're neat, not only because Hunter loves them, but also because, while learning about all the characters in the Physics book and Chemistry book will not exactly leave him with a complete and thorough understanding of those subjects, it will leave him with memorable knowledge of a great deal of vocabulary and concepts and a love of the subject that will make these topics easy and interesting when he is studying them more thoroughly in fifth grade, or college, or whatever (or kindergarten for that matter).

After all, how hard can beta particles and neutrinos be when you have been familiar with them since you were still using training wheels? Or when they are in your mind a quirky little character with all sorts of neat abilities? It is what I like to call "productive playtime" and I am so excited about all the amazing books and tools they have nowadays that make such play so easy and accessible.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 
2 Peter 3:10

Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Friday, January 29, 2010

Understanding Reference Materials

Hunter has been really noticing the phases of the moon lately. We have been casually talking about it every once and a while, and he usually points it out when he takes the dog out before bed.

Tonight he was (again) super excited to show me something, and begged me to come outside and see. He, pointing to the sky, told me that the moon was "moving" and also that it was full. It really was quite a neat sight, as clouds were quickly moving through the sky, giving the moon an appearance of motion. When I told him that the moon wasn't really moving, he tried to debate it with me at first ("But look at it, Mom! It really is!") and then retreated inside to get something.

I went back inside and started doing the dishes, and then saw him back outside, camped out on the lawn chair, flipping through the pages of a book about home childcare, saying, "Hmm, does the moon move... Where can I find out if the moon moves..."

Apparently he has definitely gotten the idea of books as not only sources of information in general but also as a source of a place where we can find answers to questions. After just moments of looking through that book, he jumped back off the chair and ran back to the bookshelf for another book. Seeing what he was doing, I offered some advice that perhaps he should try looking for a book that he thinks might have information about the moon in it. You know, like not just any book but one he thinks might have something about the moon?

He didn't really need much help than that and grabbed an astronomy book from the library and headed back out, sat on the chair again, and stopped when he found a picture of the moon (and explaining to me that there were "holes" in it, which I told him were called craters).

We never really got to finish our little reference book expedition because we got interrupted and he ended up going to bed, but I was excited to see him not only understanding but, more importantly, appreciating and facilitating the concept of books as a place to find things out, answer questions, and make discoveries.

"It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven..." 
Psalm 89:37
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Monday, January 25, 2010

Junior Ranger

This past weekend Hunter earned his status as a Junior Ranger at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. He is now an official Blue Jay level (five to eight years old) Junior Ranger. They let him pass even though he isn't five yet.

We were given a little booklet with different activities for different ages. One of the Jay level requirements is to either hike a trail by yourself or attend a ranger-led hike or cave tour. We went on our own hike and did one of the other requirements, a scavenger hunt.

The first section was all about rocks, and we found all of them:
  • A smooth rock
  • A flat rock
  • A rock bigger than you
  • A rock as small as your fingernail
  • A rock that fits in your hand
  • A rough rock
  • A round rock
There were a couple other activities in the rock section, like finding a rock and labeling all the different colors you see in it. And drawing a picture of your favorite rock (he just drew circles). He was also supposed to give his rock a name that described it. He called it Robert.

We had a lot of fun trying to find everything on the other part of the scavenger hunt too. At one point we sat on the side of the road for five minutes just trying to see if that was really a bird singing that we heard so we could check it off of our list. We kept our eyes on the woods while we were driving trying to find a tree that had been on fire. And we were so excited when we saw a little bug flying out of our car, another check for the list. Of all the things we found were:
  • A giant sequoia cone
  • A tree that fell down
  • An insect
  • An acorn
  • A pine needle
  • A seed
  • Bark of a tree
  • A rock
  • A pine cone
  • A bird
  • An animal track (we found a deer track!)
  • A tree that has been in a fire
  • A bird singing
The things we didn't find on the list were: signs of a squirrel, a squirrel, a mushroom, a deer, a flower, and a feather. We were also asked what was the most fun thing to find and Hunter put "a cave" (we found a real bear's cave!)

While we were scavenger hunting we were also garbage hunting, as you're also supposed to bring in a bag of recyclables or garbage that you find. We found a box, an old board, some cans and bottles, and even a large metal object that appeared to have come off of a car.

He did two activity pages, one where he drew a line from a pile of objects as either "safe for bears" or "goes in a food locker" and learned the importance of keeping food where bears can't get it. The other activity was a picture where he was supposed to circle children were doing good things to help the park (like recycling, observing birds, and storing food safely) and put an x on children who were doing bad things that harm the park (like washing dishes in the river, picking flowers, or carving on trees).

He learned a lot about rocks, wildlife, and the importance of taking care of the park, leaving things where we find them, and respecting the animals, plants, and habitats for future generations.

After we completed all the activities, we went to the ranger station with our recyclables, our filled-out booklet, and Hunter was quizzed on some of the things he learned. 

Hunter was then "sworn in" as a Junior Ranger, promising to protect the park, share his experience with others, and continue to learn more for years to come. He was so proud!

He got a little plastic ranger badge, and we bought him a Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park embroidered badge to put on a jacket we want to give him for all the places he has gone. We are looking forward to exploring many more of the amazing places this beautiful country has to offer!

"The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness... and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory." 
Psalm 29:8-9
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Californians Play in the Snow

How Californians Play in the Snow:

1. Pick one of the many mountain ranges and drive to it.
2. Find some mountains that are really high. You're likely to find snow.

3. Drive up the mountain. Take a lot of pictures, just so long as you aren't the one driving.
4. Find a lookout spot on the side of the road and pull over.

5. Build that mountain snowman that your kid has been talking about ever since he found out that it doesn't snow in our new home.
6. Give the snowman arms. Take pictures.

7. Check out the awesome scenery. Take some more pictures.
8. Initiate snowball fight. Repeat.

9. After a great deal of snowball fighting fun, do a bit of roadside trail trekking.
10. Drive home to the 50-some degree average winter temperatures, glad that you can visit the snow without having to deal with six months of it.

"They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter." 
Job 24:8
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beauty of Refracted Light

Yesterday evening while I was making dinner, Hunter ran in the house and yelled, "Mom! Come and see this!"

He tends to call me to "come see" things a lot so I didn't really think much of it, and as I looked up to tell him "just a minute" I saw the most excited look on his face I knew it was something big. I hadn't seen this much excitement about showing me something since the time he found a book bag with Starry Night on it.

And sure enough, stretching almost the entire horizon visible from our backyard, was a beautiful, full arc, double rainbow.

And Hunter? He was running around saying, "How is this happening?" Which is where the conversation about refracted light came in, and how rainbows are made.

Then he had to show the neighbors.

"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." 
Genesis 9:13
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lincoln Memorial and Questions About God

Hunter in front of Lincoln Memorial, age 2 years, 6 months
Hunter keeps talking about the Lincoln Memorial. It started with the other night when we watched Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian where the giant statue makes an appearance and magically comes to life.

He kept asking about it and saying he wanted to go there, and when I told him that he has already been there, when he was two, he said "But I want to go when I'm a big boy! How about we go tomorrow?"

I'm not quite sure what exactly stood out about the old statue that caused him to be so interested. But it didn't help any when, on Monday, we watched Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which, of course, occurred directly in front of Hunter's new favorite statue.

We talked about Lincoln's emancipation proclamation and then about the civil rights movement, etc. Later on, he brought up Lincoln again, and asked me if he was really real.

Then he had to get all theological on me.

When I told him that, yes, Lincoln was real but he is dead now, he started pouring out all those kinds of questions that aren't exactly easy to answer no matter how old you are.

"Why did he have to die?" "Can he come back?" "If I ask God to bring him back, will he?"

I sort of half-way answered his questions, and then a couple minutes later, came back into the room, when Hunter, quite sincerely, told me, "I prayed and asked God to bring Abraham Lincoln back. Do you think that he will?"

Um, well...

I told him that, God could bring him back if he wanted to, but he probably won't, because Abraham Lincoln's time to be on earth is over. I also told him that Lincoln probably doesn't want to come back because heaven is so much better than here. But I wasn't sure that my answers totally satisfied him or me.

See, I have this horrible fear that maybe my best explanation isn't good enough, maybe I'm not doing the best job, maybe...

But nonetheless, I continue to soldier on, hoping that somehow I am shaping this little boy's view of the world, the universe, and then men and God of it with at least some degree of accuracy. I remember reading an article on NGJ about the spiritual keenness of children, and, just as they are daily making huge strides in sorting out the physical world, they are likewise doing the same on the spiritual level. The right and wrong, the good and evil, and they do this whether or not they have religious training.

He, minutes later, as usual, continued with more questions. "Why did God make us food? Is it because we like it? How did God know that this would be my favorite food? Why did God make people?"

This boy is constantly keeping me on my toes. I just pray that, somehow, I'll be able to have at least some of the answers for him, and, more importantly, I will be able to become that which I want him to become.

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 
Matthew 19:14
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Little Fish in a Big Pond - A Look at the Known Universe

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day was actually a video, called The Known Universe by the American Museum of Natural History.

We started making it an (almost) daily habit to check out the picture of the day, which are generally really, really cool. Sometimes Hunter is fascinated by them, sometimes he's not really interested, which is ok. But today he was totally enthralled, which he had good reason to be. This video was amazing.

All I could do was sit there and think, wow. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Astronomy sure has been a fun thing to study!

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"
Psalm 8:3

Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Monday, January 18, 2010

No Comment

"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things." 
Psalm 45:3-4
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

Friday, January 15, 2010

Teaching Time Management

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
Frederick Douglass

Something that we bought Hunter for the new year is his very own calendar. He has been working with a calendar for almost two years now, first with a simple days of the week calendar, then with a monthly calendar, and also in many activities in telling time. I would say that, at this point, he has a pretty good concept of time, and can (pretty consistently) name the days of the week, the months of the year, units of time (i.e. 60 seconds = minute, 52 weeks = year, etc.), hours of the day (bedtime is at 8:00, etc.), can tell time on a digital and (for the most part) standard clock, and understands concepts like "last night", "afternoon", and "two days from now", etc. with a fair degree of accuracy. This is not something that I shoved down his throat but he simply developed an understanding by doing calendar time (most) mornings and talking about things throughout the day.

But now I think that he's ready (and probably has been for a while) to learn about time management. The monthly calendar we have been using was great for teaching months of the year and days of the month, but was quite limited. He now has a famous landmarks calendar (courtesy of the dollar store) that will be his very own and he can learn to plan his days and see what's coming up next week or next summer.

At first he wasn't too enthused (as the first thing I had him do was write a bunch of stuff on it) but it has now become his very own little treasure and he seriously cherishes it.

It has worked wonders. For one, he wakes up and says, "Mom, today is a school day!" He also counts down the days to the weekend, or when the weekend is over. "Brandon goes to work on the 19th, mom." He has gotten a little messed up on the ordinal numbers sometimes and has told me, "The 21 is a school day you know." "21st, you mean?" I answer.

This has also resulted in him being a lot more aware of when plans don't quite go as expected. He was quite disappointed when his aunt's visit got rescheduled, and kept saying, "But mom, she was supposed to come on Monday!"

I have been having him cross off the day each night before he goes to bed, and even without me reminding him, he rarely forgets. My goal in this, and other things that I am implementing, is not just to teach about time but about how to manage time, because I would say that time management is arguably one of the most important skills one can have. The implications of this are enormous. I want him to master this as young as possible instead of waiting until bad habits are already developed to try and fix it.

Just some of the lessons learned in utilizing your own calendar are, beyond the obvious math and time skills: planning ahead, memory, and mostly, goal setting.

The calendar is just a small part of teaching this, and I have a lot more things that I am beginning to work with him on, including having his own alarm clock, morning and evening routines, unsupervised school work times, and doing his chores without being told.

But more on that later.

"And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail." 
Hebrew 1:12

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Star Map

Would you believe that today was the first time we used a star map?

I'm not quite sure why exactly I was always so confused by the simple thing, but I was.

We actually brought this little plastic one with us when we moved, but the one that my mom had was sturdier and a little easier to understand. Still, this will do, and worked just fine.

All you do is line up the time of day it is with the day of the month it is, and then in the little circular window you will have a picture of "what's in the sky tonight".

We also used a compass to make sure that we were facing the correct way, and then pointed out quite a few fun constellations. We couldn't see all the stars on the map, but we could see the major ones.

This is a pretty cool aid to not only see what constellations are visible at the current time of the year, and where to find them in the sky, but also for teaching the concept of why certain stars are visible at different times of years, and why star maps are different for different hemispheres of the earth (both north/south and east/west).

"Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" 
Job 22:12
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It Started with a Nail Clipper...

It was another one of those "hundred times a day" moments, though this one a little more detailed than most.

Hunter was desperately trying to figure out how to trim his own nails, but had his finger that he was trying to push with far too close to the end, and as such they weren't clipping. He told me that they weren't sharp enough, and when I looked at him and saw the way he was holding them, I explained that the reason they weren't working was because he didn't have enough leverage.

Which lead to a whole discussion on leverage, fulcrums, force, and even inertia. I grabbed a yard stick, a shoe, and a heavy book, slid the yard stick under the book and had Hunter lift it with just one finger right beside the edge of the book. Then, with the fulcrum in place (aka shoe) and us using the far end of the stick, we experienced the power of leverage.

He thought this was pretty cool.

I actually had to get out my handy science homework helper to remember what it was that a fulcrum was called [which I love and use all the time, but sadly discovered that it is out of publication so I can't post a link].

On the same page as different kinds of levers, we talked about how a lever was a kind of machine, and that force was a push or a pull. He wanted to try out his lever (which he had now turned into a seesaw) on one of his toys, flinging it into the air. I then mentioned that the toy didn't have very much inertia, which is how much force it takes to set it into motion. I explained that anything can be set into motion if you apply enough force, and talked about how we could even move the wall or house if we applied the force of a bulldozer.

I asked him what else in the room had a lot of inertia, and he said the table. We categorized a few more things by their amount of inertia, then he went back to flinging his action figure.

I wrote up some vocabulary cards for him (force, machine, lever, motion, fulcrum, and inertia) but, instead of quizzing him on them, I joined in his play and decided to use the words in context."Go ahead and apply force to the lever, if it's a big push the dog will be set in motion really fast." "Let's see what happens if we move the fulcrum this way..." and "Which one to you think has the most inertia: the dog or the man?"

Then it was time to go to bed. When I woke up this morning, there he was, in the living room, experimenting with force and motion and simple machines. And also turning the yard stick into a bridge for his soldiers to attack the bad guys.

"My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD." 
Psalm 26:12
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Nerf Gun - An Unexpected Learning Tool

Hunter loves his nerf gun. He got it for Christmas (actually, two) and after noticing his obsession with it, the other day I came up with a game to introduce the multiplication table (not multiplication itself, just that poster of his that has been hanging in his room for months now).

I got him all worked up and excited about it, then showed him the game - shoot, and then pretty much see what you got.

We talked about columns and rows, and how to find the factors of the product, or answer, you landed on. I showed him how to trace his hand up the column and across the row to find the factors, and then we said the whole equation - for example, if we landed on 63 he would trace up to 9 and across to 7 and then say the whole equation: 7 times 9 equals 63, or vice versa (9 times 7 equals 63).

We did a few rounds and then put it away [always stop before your child wants to stop]. It was fun, and he loved it. I am also thinking about using the same concept for some of our many other posters, such as the periodic table of the elements or the parts of speech poster. We will see, whatever peaks his interest.

"And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark." 
1 Samuel 20:20

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Atmosphere of the Earth

Hunter's depiction of the earth from space. He drew this after looking at one of his flashcards of the earth's atmosphere.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:9

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Doman Quote of the Week/Month

This post began in January 2010 as an archive of "Doman Quotes of the Week".

Originally posting every week, I now post a new quote each month.

This post will be edited each month as sort of an "archive" of past quotes of the month. Enjoy!

November 2010: "At this moment there is a world - a world of great beauty, of great truth, an enchanting, beguiling, thrilling, bewitching, and enriching world of facts - out there in fact land. It is a land of great riches. There are riches for the soul, there are riches for the spirit, there are riches for science. It is a land beyond imagining, but strangely it is very uncrowded. It is crowded only in spots. There are lots of artists looking at great paintings, and there are lots of musicians listening to orchestras, and there are lots of scientists looking at space shuttles, and there are lots of doctors looking at hearts, and there are lots of mathematicians looking at numbers, but very, very few people are seeing it all... They're a group called 'Genius'... True geniuses have always been few in number and immensely curious about everything."

-Glenn Doman

July 4, 2010: "It is a magical instrument, the brain."

-Glenn Doman 

June 27, 2010: 
"Never forget that when you are giving a child visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation with increased frequency, intensity, and duration that you are actually physically growing his brain. We have never met a neurophysiologist who didn'tknow that - as we have rarely met a professional person who actually deals with kids who did."

-Glenn Doman

June 20, 2010:
"If mother decides that [these programs] are not for her, she should not do one iota of it. In such a case no one will support her decision more than we will… If mother decides that she wishes to teach her baby for 10 minutes a day, then she should do so and not have to explain herself to anyone. If she decides she wants to use 30 minutes a day teaching her baby, then she should teach her baby 30 minutes a day and she surely does not need to justify that to anyone. If she decides to teach her baby and finds along the way that she derives honest pleasure in so doing, and therefore wishes to do more, then she should do whatever it is she wishes to do. Parents should do exactly and precisely what the think is best and not one jot more or less."
-Glenn Doman

June 13, 2010: "Is having a huge number of facts, then, all there is to it? Of course not. We all have met somebody in our lives who has a head full of facts and doesn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. But that doesn't alter the fact that the degree of intelligence we have will be limited to the things which can be determined from the number of facts we have."
-Glenn Doman

June 6, 2010: "There are three major areas concerned with the intellectual as compared with the physical side of human intelligence. The first is reading and of all things reading is the most important. Reading is the very basis of all those things that are considered the liberal arts... The second is general knowledge and all human intelligence is based upon the facts that constitute human knowledge. Without facts there can be no intelligence. The third is mathematics and is the basis for all science."
-Glenn Doman

May 30, 2010: "It's you, Mother, who decides what success or failure is. If you want to win in raising your child to be superb then look at the difference between where she is and where you want her to be, don't pound the child's ear about that. That is your problem and mine. Pointing out how far the child has yet to go makes it sound as if how far to go were her fault... If you want your kid to be highly motivated, all you do is arrange for him always to win. You do this by telling him how much he has succeeded by (how far he has moved towards perfection, rather than how far he still has to go.)"
-Glenn Doman

May 23, 2010: "High motivation is a product of success. Low motivation is a product of failure... I continue to avoid the things at which I fail. It's a weakness that I intend to keep. On the other hand there are some things I do well and a few things that I do extremely well, and I know it. Try as I may to avoid it, I find myself doing those things over and over and over again."
-Glenn Doman

May 16, 2010: "How sad it is that we put information into a computer with great skill and great precision and put information into our children's brains in a hit-or-miss, slip-shod, and often untruthful way."
-Glenn Doman

May 9, 2010: "Every child born has a curiosity so intense that he has an absolute rage to learn all there is to know, and he wants to learn it right now. The problem is that he wants to learn about everything on earth with fine impartiality. He has a rage to learn that will never be equaled again in his life, but he has almost no taste or judgment at all. He is prepared to learn what a fly tastes like, or what Gainsborough's painting Blue Boy looks like. He will learn both of those things with equal ease, speed, and enthusiasm. Your job will be to guide him to all the marvelous, true, beautiful, exciting, wise, enduring, human, and scientific things that are in that beguiling land of encyclopedic knowledge."
-Glenn Doman

May 2, 2010: "Once your child's free and running, you will have a thinker on your hands and there will be no stopping him. It seems a little silly to say at this point that math, like reading, is basic to all education, to virtually all learning in the world we know. You will have opened the doors to learning, the greatest treasury that life has to offer except, perhaps, love and respect (that is, emotional response and responsibility), without which nothing is really worthwhile. In the process of teaching your baby math, both of you will have learned more about love and respect."
-Glenn Doman

April 25, 2010: "If indeed knowledge leads to good, surely this world will be a better place when its children are more capable and as a consequence more confident of their own superb abilities and more able to use those abilities to solve the problems that beset us. This is, after all, what the gentle revolution is all about."
-Glenn Doman

April 18, 2010: "Little children do not need other little children to become socialized - they need mother and father. Civilized behavior is learned at home from mother and father. Children learn right from wrong from mother and father and grandmother and grandfather, or they do not learn it at all. The longer a small child spends with his mother each day, the more civilized he will be. The less time he spends with mother each day, the less civilized he will be. All mothers know that."
-Glenn Doman

April 11, 2010: "The means to accomplish this gentle revolution are simple, straightforward, and clear. Parents. Parents are not the problem in the world of kids, they are the answer."
-Glenn Doman

April 4, 2010: "Always stop before he wants to stop. Always stop before he wants to stop. Always stop before he wants to stop. This principle is true for all teaching of all human beings at all stages of development and at any age."
-Glenn Doman

March 28, 2010: "You must at all times be sensitive to your child’s attention, interest, and enthusiasm. These elements when carefully observed by you will be invaluable tools in shaping and reshaping your child’s daily program to suit his needs as he changes and develops.
-Glenn Doman

March 21, 2010: "[Teaching encyclopedic knowledge] should be amusing where it is appropriate. Humor is the most undervalued, underrated, underestimated teaching device that exists... The world is full of amusing facts - use them."
-Glenn Doman

March 14, 2010: "Your child will quickly come to the conclusion that you have all the answers. He will see you as a source of information. He is right. You are the source of information for him. When he trusts you with one of his endless, brilliant, and usually quite difficult-to-answer questions, rise to the occasion. If you know the answer - give it to him on the spot. Don't put him off if you can possibly avoid it. If you do not know the answer, tell him you don't know. Then take the time to find the answer."
-Glenn Doman

March 7, 2010: "When parents take honest pleasure in the company of their children they become the best teachers their children will ever have."
-Glenn Doman

February 28, 2010: "Every child born has, at the instant of birth, an inherent right to be highly intelligent. It is not a right granted by the state, or the law, but is instead granted by the Highest Authority... Besides the right to be intelligent, all other rights fade into insignificance and can be exercised in only a limited way."
-Glenn Doman
February 21, 2010: "When in doubt, bet on your kid. You will always be a winner and, even more important, so will he. The whole world is betting against the little kid; betting he doesn't understand, betting he doesn't remember, betting he doesn't 'get it'. Your child doesn't need one more member on that team!"

-Glenn Doman

February 14, 2010: "Do facts themselves constitute intelligence? No, of course they don't. But they do constitute the base on which all intelligence is built. With no facts there can be no intelligence."
-Glenn Doman

February 7, 2010: "Tiny kids can learn anything that you can present to them in an honest, factual way. If you give them the facts they'll deduce the laws that govern them. That is exactly the same method that scientists use to discover laws. So don't give them theories and abstractions, give them facts, give them reality. From the facts little children are brilliantly able to intuit the laws." 
-Glenn Doman

January 31, 2010: "[Children] are learning every minute of every day and we're teaching them - whether we know it or not. The problem is that it may be bad to be teaching them if we don't know we are. We may be teaching them things we don't actually intend to teach them. Most often we are unintentionally teaching them things that aren't worth learning - or at least aren't as worth learning as the things they could be learning and learning much more quickly and easily."
-Glenn Doman

January 24, 2010: "How does the brain grow? The brain grows by use. There are very few sentences composed of only five words that contain more power to change the world than this one... Just like the biceps, the brain grows by use. Those who use their biceps very little have small, undeveloped, weak biceps. Those who use their biceps an extraordinary amount have extraordinary biceps. There is no other possibility. The same is true of the brain, because the brain grows by use."
-Glenn Doman

January 17, 2010: "We have assumed that children hate to learn essentially because most of us have disliked or even despised school. Again we have mistaken schooling for learning. Not all children in school are learning—just as not all children who are learning are doing so in school... The process of learning should be fun of the highest order, for it is indeed the greatest game in life. Sooner or later all bright people come to this conclusion."
-Glenn Doman 

January 10, 2010: "Consider the three-year-old who asks, 'Daddy, why is the sun hot?' 'How did the little man get into the TV set?' 'What makes the flowers grow, Mommy?' While the child is displaying an electronic, astronomical, and biological curiosity, we too often tell him to run along and play with his toys... It is ironic that when the child is older we will tell him repeatedly how foolish he is for not wanting to learn about astronomy, physics, and biology. Learning, we will tell him, is the most important thing in life, and indeed it is. We have, however, overlooked the other side of the coin. Learning is also the greatest game in life, and the most fun."
-Glenn Doman

January 3, 2010: "The purpose of giving a child encyclopedic knowledge is not to make Nobel Prize winners, or concert violinists, or Olympic stars, or geniuses of any sort. It is to give them unlimited options in life. So few of us have had unlimited options. The purpose of giving a child every possible ability (and the possibilities are endless) is to give him unlimited horizons, to open all possible doors. It is so that he can choose what he is to be, from an endless list of possibilities."
-Glenn Doman

Monday, January 4, 2010

Adventures in the Lithosphere

1. the solid portion of the earth (distinguished from atmospherehydrosphere).
2. the crust and upper mantle of the earth.

The main science topic we have been covering this school year is earth science, which by definition is pretty broad but, for us it least, mainly constitutes the study of astronomy, geology, meteorology, and certain terms of geography.

Today, at random, on a walk to the post office we had a fun little exploration in geology (the study of rocks) and of the pedosphere (the layer of the earth in which soil formation occurs).

It started when, as we were waiting for the post office to open, we were noticing gravel on the side of the road, and started talking about erosion - how rocks break down to smaller and smaller pieces, from the big rocks we saw over in the landscaping to the tiny rocks on the side of the road. We had talked about erosion before, but this was a really good example, especially because of noting the cause of this type of erosion (in this case, mainly the cars breaking it up) and also the size variety was great, highlighting the bigger-to-smaller process. We also learned some new words - asphalt, concrete, and cement - a few words I noticed he didn't know when one of the clues on a birthday party treasure hunt this weekend was "concrete" and he looked at me with a blank stare.

As we continued our walk, another part of the roadside contained an excellent sample of mud, with lots of visible leaves, grass, and rock fragments. Which lead us to talking about what soil is made out of, the little organisms that help decompose organic material such as leaves and grass, and the different kinds of soil.

He, of course, wanted to make a footprint in the mud, which you can see in this picture. He sort of regretted it afterwords because the mud was a little deeper than it appeared.

As we cut across an open field to get to a park, we noticed the many cracks in the dirt, and talked about how the dirt made cracks like that because it dried up, and all the water had gone into the air (picture at top). I reminded him that it was called evaporation, and he said, "Yeah, like on the Magic School Bus!" (a video that my mom has. The dry parts, I said, is the place where water used to be, but now that some of the water is gone there is empty space there. We have been talking a lot about how water is in just about everything, and most things are mainly water (our bodies, food, etc.) even if it doesn't appear to be "wet", so it was fun to see another example of this.

The last thing on our little geology adventure was collecting a few rocks on the way, which were mostly remnants of landscaping rocks that had made their way across the street. I usually don't let him do that, and we talk about the whole concept of this is what would happen if everybody did, but for this time only (and since the base is somewhat deprived of very many nature experiences) we collected a few and are going to add them to our geology collection. (I know, it's bad)

It was a fun walk. I just love it when little homeschool experiences just "come up" like this. Even though it is really happening all the time and this is how a huge proportion of our "school" gets done, this day just happened to be an especially learning-filled little adventure.

"He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing." 
Job 28:10

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old