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I am blessed with children who are very similar to me. I love new information, I eat it up. I don't want the 'Unwashed masses' account of something... I want the stuff written for the experts: the scholarly papers, the complex analysis. Don't tell me something is BECAUSE it IS- tell me WHY that theory was created. Include a bibliography, and be forewarned that I'll be checking up on the sources. That's my kids, too. Age appropriate material results in this: my 9yo daughter, already knowing everything there is to know about our life cycle unit before we'd read a single page, educated me on the 'mating dance' of seahorses. My 11yo son, asking (in exasperation), "Why do we only learn a tiny bit when there is so much more to know?" Yep. They hate 'age appropriate' material as much as I do. Somehow, over-immersion works here. And nope, maybe it doesn't make sense. Shouldn't I be giving them a bit this year, a bit more next year, ad nauseaum? Shouldn't I be teaching them the basics, so I can build on it later? I know exactly what you are saying. The part of me that is still trapped in the paradigm of public school thinks that, too. But when I try- when I threaten to slow down the learning, or I reign myself in drastically, my kids complain. Not enough information! They cry. School is too easy! they wail.
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Science is all around us. Rain is science, dogs are science, cleaners are science, cooking is science. Science affects us in a way we, perhaps, don't even think about. I'm always surprised (horrified?) when someone tells me they don't like science: we are the products of that very process! There is no separating ordinary life from science. Even thinking involves science! Kids are learning science all the time, on their own. Even a baby, dropping toys from a highchair, is involved in scientific experimentation and reasoning: what happens if, they might wonder. Hypothesis, theory, results. They might not know the term 'science', but they are engaged in it, nonetheless. So if babies can do it, why do we expect our kids to need it spoonfed in tiny tiny doses?
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Yes it's an overload. I'm not suggesting you do it unless you think your kids can handle it. We love science, and that makes a difference here. So I give them what they want, I feed the masses as full as they can handle. I respect their intellectual capabilities, and I foster that to the very best of my ability. Someday, they will remember all of this information that I've given them. Someday, I see them greeting something obscure I said, lost in the mists of memory, like a childhood friend, "Hey, I remember you!" It won't be foreign, strange, convoluted, or complex. It will just be one piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The first time, they saw it in the box, looked at it, and put it back. But later... later they will see it and know exactly where it goes.
Kids are young, they aren't stupid. I abhor half-explanations for the same reason I hate kiddy versions
of 'adult' things. A kid's telescope is awful, and no... you can't see anything overly important. Kid coloring sets have dried up, useless markers. Scribble pads are nice... unless you want to paint a watercolor or something to keep. Giving my kids real tools- grown up (but safe!) tools, is much much better. Glue sticks are horrible.. they are the root of all evil (yep, hyperbole.. but have your ever tried to really stick something you'll look at, or handle, later on? What a waste of time!!), but glue.. glue works. Encourage the mess and the learning will come... let it be silly, crazy, voluminous, wonderful. Let them experiment with the real thing- in this case the REAL knowledge. You will be building a lasting foundation- laying framework they won't even realize they have- for later. No kiddy versions.
So I overload my kids with science. I teach it in a way that contradicts everything I've ever read about teaching, and kids, and is the exact opposite of how I teach math, writing, or reading. It's a disastrous way to teach a complex subject. And it works.
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