Making connections

Yesterday #1 passed a geography exam and he didn’t even know it. It wasn’t an exam I had prepared, either. He’s only 5 and homeschooled, so he doesn’t even know what an exam IS. And even if he did, I’m quite sure he would complain, run, hide or play dumb if I ever tried to give him one. This exam was quite simple but thrilling for this teacher-mother. Here are the details:

What: Exam on coral reefs
Where: in the bathroom for the exam prep, in the kitchen for the oral, at the map for the practical
Materials used: Time magazine, world map, brain
How: While in the bathroom, doing the needful, #1 had been flipping through a Time magazine. He came to an article about coral reefs and looked at the pictures as well as the world map with coral reefs highlighted in red. After finishing his business, he had another look at the pictures and the map then came ambling into the kitchen.
“Mommy…I think I figured out something about coral reefs.”
“Oh? What is it?” I replied, wondering what he was about to say.
“You know I was looking at that map and you can only find coral reefs in the middle of the earth,” he pronounced with confidence.
“That’s right. Do you know why that is?” (okay, Mom, don’t blow this learning opportunity..)

“Maybe because that’s where the shallowest water is?” (He proceeded with a detailed explanation about how he thought the deepest waters were at the north and south ends of the globe and everything sloped toward the middle where it was shallowest. )

“Well, it’s not all shallow in the middle of the earth….but it’s the something-est….” (control, control, don’t tell him the answer…)
(pause) “Oh,” (eyes light up) “because it’s the warmest!”

Amazing. It was then perfectly natural to go over to the map and talk about why the middle of the earth is the warmest, to remember where the equator was and to show him the tropics of cancer and capricorn. AND he also realized that’s the same area where rain forests are found.

I was just so pleased to see his mind at work–analyzing information, putting things together and taking initiative to report on what he’d figured out on his own. He can’t read yet and he hates to even try most days but I’ll take a thinking child over an early reader any day.

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