First academic-sounding thread of inquiry
Yesterday Ellie Jo began asking about bones. She’s asked before, but always after one of us has said something like, “Don’t squeeze Rainier all the way down to the bone!” This time she wanted to know if Rainier’s bones were the same as her bones and if I had bones too.
Before I know it we were in full scale inquiry mode. Professor Google was showing pictures of the human skeleton and “the Youtube” was yielding only semi-helpful kid videos about bones. Eej was feeling different bones in her body and then matching them with the skeletons on the computer. She stood up in Rainier’s seat and started scrolling through different skeleton pictures; noticing the difference between human skeletons, elephant skeletons and penguin skeletons (now THOSE look freaky).
I suddenly felt almost breathless. I love to teach. I love to get excited about a topic and research it to death. But I’ve never ever done that with my own child before. Sure, we’ve had in-depth conversations about rockets going to the moon, germs, the physics of gravity, cloud shapes and stuff like that, but we’ve never researched it. We’ve never looked at outside resources for help. We’ve never gone beyond conversing. And here I was, with my daughter, researching something out of the sheer joy of learning.
So I backed off. I don’t want to steamroll her the very first time she shows an interest in something, now do I? I let her look at pictures and ask questions until she moved on to something else. When Robin came home she told him how she learned about her “pevice” bone and today she wanted to look at skeletons again and was especially fascinated by the ribs.
She’s got it, you know? She starting to cross the bridge that takes humans from learning by observing the way simple things happen around them to learning about mysterious things that can only be seen through microscopes and autopsies and experiments and careful, careful research. It’s a glorious new world that will be opening before her. I’m so glad that I get to be here to watch.