Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First Lapbook

Yesterday I learned something important. Part of homeschooling is learning to let go. When L was crabby and needed time to just hang out and relax, I gave it to her. Part of me was screaming “what about science, what about the Mozart webcast I wanted to listen to, what about our schedule??” Another smaller part of me said “just wait”. And so I did. I gave her the time to lay down on the couch with her Barbie dolls and snuggle with her two dogs, Jake and Daphne. Having Daphne curl up on your lap is a sure fire cure to any bad mood. It did not take long, about a half hour before she said, okay mom, I’m ready. And ready she was. I pulled up a YouTube video of a boy, perhaps 5 years old, sharing his All About Me lapbook. There were samples of his writing, stickers, things he liked, things he learned about God and his religion and samples of his art. I have been trying to get L to work on a lapbook to document her learning about squirrels, the first animal she choose in her animal classification study. Apparently, I was not doing a good job communicating the concept of a lapbook because after watching the 5 minute video, she looked at me and said incredulously, “I can do that?” All it took was a smile from me for encouragement and off she went. Two hours into her lapbook, she wanted to go to Staples for supplies. After we returned, she spent another hour or so on her project, bringing her time invested in this project to close to three hours. Three hours. Her project is meaningful. It is relevant to her learning. She answered the five questions I demanded of her research (what family does the animal belong to, where does it live, what does it eat, what does it look like and what do you find interesting about this animal). I reflected on how this project compared to the numerous others she has worked on in public school, where her emotional investment was minimal. It does not compare. This is something she is proud of. This is not busy work. This is important. This is learning.

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