Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Learning and Play

For the more educationally traditional among you, this post may cause you to break out in hives. Just be forewarned.

It was bill paying day. I probably don't need to say anything other than that. But I wanted to share what kept the younger people busy for quite a good portion of the day. The current obsession du jour around here is tops. What they (and when I say 'they', what I really mean are the middle boys), would really like are Beyblades. (Yeah, I didn't know what they were either.) It turns out they are fancy battling tops. Which, I'm told are really, really cool.

But I'm not running out and purchasing said cool item, and since my Christmas shopping has been done for a while, they won't be appearing then either. And I have informed my boys of this. I have been impressed, though. Instead of whining and moping around that this very cool item will not be appearing in our home any time soon, they have come up with an acceptable substitute.

Enter Legos to the rescue. For much of the past day or two, nearly everyone 12 and under have been busy constructing Lego tops. The different types and sizes and the various abilities to spin have impressive. The Legos have also been put to use building various arenas to have these tops battle each other. And judging by  the fact that my calculator was missing earlier today, an elaborate scoring system has been designed as well.

Having just written an article of the power of play for a magazine (it will be out later this month, I'll let you know when), I have been more than happy to let them entertain themselves in this way. I really don't think it's a bad thing to have unschooling periods of time. Shall I translate this extensive top game into education-ese?

Well, these children have been experimenting in the true sense of the word. They have created hypotheses about what combinations of shapes and attributes will spin the best and longest and have used visual-spacial skills to create their prototypes. Based on results, the tops have become increasingly elaborate and better able to spin. I'm sure there are basics physics principles being intuited on a deep level.

We also have real life math skills going on. Which scoring system will work best to show the results of the battles? Scores must be kept and added together. Revisions in the scoring system must be made as they fine tune how it works. And I took my calculator back, so basic arithmetic is also being practiced.

And let's not forget social interaction and imagination, the often overlooked skills which are learned during play. I have listened to the give and take and play is created and stories imagined. There have been relatively few moments of not getting along. They have reached that moment of play where the world around them dissolves and they are totally absorbed in what they are doing.

This is good, healthy, developmentally appropriate stuff. There's no way I'm interrupting it to open a text book. What they learn from textbooks can happen anytime. The window of time when a child can lose themselves in play for extended periods of time is fleeting. And in my opinion, far more valuable.

Tuesday is Garnet's day. Please do not forget this little one who is the same age as TM and H.

Continuing to advocate for the children in Bulgaria. Their files were sent back which means that they cannot be advocated for on Reese's Rainbow or have any funds donated towards their adoptions. It means they are essentially invisible and unwanted. It tells the government and the agencies that yes, indeed, their initial assumptions were correct. No one wants a child like these. They are not worth it.

But they are! They are created by God in His image and we are called to care for them. They are truly the least of these. I cannot let them go; I think about them in nearly every free moment that I have. I'm going to post one of their pictures here at the bottom of each of my posts each day. Would you join me in praying for each of these children? Pray that a family would come forward who is willing to adopt them. Love them. Pray that they will know they are not forgotten. There is still hope for these little ones as their files can be specially asked for, it just adds time to the process.

This is Garnet. She is 10. Ten years old and lying in a crib. It's all she's ever known. How can we let this happen? How can we leave her there knowing now that she is there? Despite what she has lived through, she still looks as though she has life in her eyes. Imagine what she would look like with the love of a family.

1 comment:

Dana@DeathbyGreatWall said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I agree with everything you said, but often feel guilty if we don't do enough textbook stuff. (Believe me, we do a lot.) But I love that all my kids have vivid imaginations and can play and create. I might borrow the Lego top idea. : )

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