Monday, May 31, 2010

Nothing Makes Me Prouder

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing makes me prouder.

In honor of my amazing husband and all who went before and after him, who selflessly give their time and all too often their life for freedom's sake, we solute you.

And today we are thankful for those brave and noble souls who have died so we could be free. Never forget that the freedom we take for granted is certainly not free.

"All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago."
Rudyard Kipling

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13
Hunter is 5 years, 2 months old

Monday, May 10, 2010

Egg Division (Not-so Mathematical Monday)

Anyone remember Piaget's experiments on children in the "preoperational stage" (2-6) where he theorized that children of this age couldn't yet understand quantity?

The idea of "number conservation" - that is, that the actual number or quantity stays the same even if the items are rearranged, spread apart, or moved - was something that Piaget believed was too advanced for a child until about the age of seven.

Hunter hasn't really ever had a problem with this since, ever since he was pretty young we were doing the Doman math program. But today's little episode reminded me of good old Piaget and the later debunking of this particular theory of young children, while Hunter and I were doing a little math with today's lunch.

You see, it's true that most little kids without much math instruction will tell you there are "more" marbles if you spread them apart and make the pile "bigger", even though you didn't add any actual marbles. However, more recent experiments to mimic Piaget's original show that little kids do indeed have more math smarts than once thought. One experiment, not listed in the above link, showed that when the set of rearranged objects was something desirable (say, M&M candies instead of marbles), little kids would consistently pick the pile that had more actual candies versus the pile that was just spread out more. Maybe we were just asking the question wrong.

Hunter wasn't picking from a pile of candies, but he reminded me of that little experiment today when we were playing around with our lunch, finding the possible dividends for the number six.

We made six hard boiled eggs to eat, three for him and three for me. "What's six divided by two?" I enquired.

"Three" he figures.

"Ok, well what would we do if we wanted to divide these six eggs for three people?"

After staring at the three bowls and thinking for quite some time about his much beloved eggs, he finally offers,

"Cook some more eggs."

Guess when it's something you want, the math doesn't matter so much, does it?

"And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another..."
Genesis 10:15
Hunter is 5 years, 1 month old

Doman Video of the Month

"You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do."
Exodus 4:15

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers and Glenn Doman: A Photo Journal

“Every baby arrives equipped with a mother—there is good reason for that.” 
“We believe that mothers make the best mothers and fathers make the best fathers.”  
"Children are the greatest gift that we will ever receive. The world over, we cherish our children. Mothers have performed heroic acts and displayed incredible physical strength to protect their children from physical harm. Universally, parents want their children to accomplish more in life than they ever accomplished." 
“From the moment a baby is born, a struggle begins. Mother does her best to keep her baby close to her, and the world does its best to separate mother from baby. This is a mistake because mothers are the best teachers in the world for their babies. It starts with the well-meaning hospital staff who often whisks the baby away to a nursery far from mother. Later, there are the professionals who are certain that a two-year-old is better off in a day care center than home with mother. On their heels comes the school system where the child will spend the better part of his life to age 18. Educators now say they want the child at the age of five, four, or even three. There are strong forces at work to separate mother from child, and most people have come to regard each of these encroachments on mother’s domain as normal. It is as if that is the way it has always been.”  
"She looks into the eyes of her baby and to her utter astonishment and her amazement she sees an intelligence for which no one has prepared  her. Father sees it too. For a moment they are stunned. They are overwhelmed by the potential they sense in the baby, and by the responsibility they have undertaken. They make a thousand unspoken promises to their new baby." 
"Professional mothers are fulltime mother who approach their work with the same passion and dedication that other top-flight professionals devote to being engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. If you are a fulltime mother, you are a member of the oldest and most honorable profession in the world... You have the most important job in the world - protect it."  
"They love their children very much (as do almost all parents). They respect their children and their innate potential to be magnificent. They enjoy their children immensely. They have given their children a higher priority in their lives in terms of time and energy than have most families. They do not feel this to be a sacrifice of themselves but rather a high privilege. They think that it is more fun to teach their kids than it is to bowl or go to the movies. They are more interested in their kids than the are in the latest craze in television shows... They are lively, bright, aware, happy, effective people who are less involved in worrying about the world and a good deal more involved in doing something about it by raising happier, more effective kids." 
"Every mother who embarks upon this adventure expects to expand her tiny child's ability. She does this with such vim and vigor that she hardly takes the time to assess the changes that are taking palce in her own abilities and viewpoint, until one day when she finds herself happily preparing to teach her child calculus or nuclear physics and is brought up short by her own bravado. She is startled, but not for long. 'I always secrety knew I could learn anything' she says to herself and gets back to work teaching her child."  
"...we have the thrill and honor of taking this superb learner and gently lifting him onto our shoulders. What broad shoulders our professional parents have and what a panoramic view they provide for our tiny kids." 
"Mother have known more about babies than anyone else since the world began. It is mothers who have successfully brought us from prehistoric caves to the present." 
“After almost half a century of nose-to-nose experience with mothers, we have learned that parents should never do anything with their babies that they do not understand and agree with one hundred percent. If parents do something with a child that they do not understand fully, it could actually be dangerous for the child. If parents do something with their child that they do not agree with completely, they will not do it well. If someone must decide what is best for children, thank heaven it is parents who have that right. Parents, and only parents, should decide what is best for their children. They make the best decisions.”  
“Mothers are the very best teachers. They know their children better than anyone else, and they love their children better than anyone else. And it turns out that kids are pretty crazy about their mothers too.”  
"It must by now be obvious to the reader, as it is to all those who know the staff of The Institutes, that we have for all babies' ability to learn and all parents' ability to teach, a respect that borders on reverence."  
“Is it a revolutionary idea that parents and children belong together? Children don’t think so. If every baby had his way, he would have mother or father by his side every minute of every day.” 
“In contrast to [the] patterns of modern society, all mothers know intuitively that the first six years of a child’s life are the most important. In this they are absolutely correct.”  
“Every mother, whether she is new to the job or highly experienced, has a marvelous ability and opportunity to observe her baby, and then to act intuitively based on her observations. On her worst day she will do this better with her own baby than most others would do on their best days.”  
"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." 

Happy Mother's Day, to all the amazing mothers in the world who often go unnoticed or unappreciated for all you do. You are your child's best teacher and more important than you will ever know. Don't let anyone try and convince you otherwise.

"And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thouwalkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." 
Deuteronomy 11:19

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Making a Sandwich: Mark of a Genius?

Everyone seems to be pretty amazed at Hunter's fantastic skills.

I had an childcare inspector come in the other day and comment, jokingly (yet still seriously awe-struck), that "He's just about ready for college!"

One parent I interviewed went on about how, she has a friend with a four year old and, for only being five, Hunter was really smart.

The repair man had his two cents to put in, too, commenting how bright Hunter was.

Their cause for amazement?

His intense sandwich making skills.

I did not think spreading peanut butter and honey on a piece of bread was that much of a rocket science. Seriously.

And while they might have thought he's bright, I just call it lazy parenting.

You see, at three years old, when I was making lunches for three kids under three, Hunter was kept busy making his own sandwich. And setting the table and doing other little things like that that toddlers love to do and keeps them out of trouble (while learning a thing or two, it wasn't all selfish). And now he has extended his culinary skills to helping himself to a significantly wide variety of lunch and breakfast materials, with the exception of those which require flames or intensely sharp blades. Although most of the time, he just ops for a sandwich.

I guess one person's laziness is another person's genius.

"Thou preparest a table before me..."
Psalm 23:5
Hunter is 5 years, 1 month old

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Eat a Watermelon

"...and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household"
Deuteronomy 14:26
Hunter is 5 years, 1 month old

Monday, May 3, 2010

Calculator (Mathematical Mondays)

cal·cu·la·tor [kal-kyuh-ley-ter]
1. a small electronic or mechanical device that performs calculations, requiring manual action for each individual operation.

Hunter has a new toy.

I never imagined it would go so well, this long-awaited introduction to the mechanical computing machine.

Glenn Doman, in the same way he recommends introducing goggles to the swimming child in his book on swimming, says to give your little mathematician a good, scientific calculator later on in your program and see what discoveries he makes with it.

The point, of course, isn't to abandon mental arithmetic by any means. I definitely don't condon the whole idea of spending the first five to six years of formal education just teaching a child addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and then spending the last years of their formal education telling them that they don't really need to be able to do that so just use a calculator.

The key word here is, making discoveries. Not crutch or mental laziness.

So, how has Hunter made use of this little machine?

Well, first of all, he thinks it's a toy. A game, if you will.

I did not tell him this. In fact, unlike so many other things, I didn't even make a big fanfare about it, just left it down on his math shelf with the intention of introducing him to it and making a big fanfare out of it later.

But he got a hold of it before I could, and has been carrying it around all day (think convenience store, to friend's house, to the exchange [department store], even to T-ball pictures).

His caculations mostly consist of adding together two different three-digit numbers (i.e. 728+728). He has been showing it off to pretty much everyone he comes in contact with, telling them "It's my calculator". And I can't tell you how many times he has brought it to me showing me what he has just mechanically computed.

I can certainly see the potential. Think place value, seeing the way different numbers behave and how they come together and the different ways you can manipulate them. And the buttons. Oh, all those wonderful little function buttons. To be completely honest I don't even remember what half those buttons on that thing mean. But I guess that's the beauty of homeschooling, learning along with your child?

We will see what he discovers, it's looking bright already.

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
Matthew 11:25
Hunter is 5 years, 1 month old