Inventor Class

Little Man wants to be an inventor when he grows up and has wanted this for at least a few years. If it is robot related in any way, his answer is “Yes, Please!” Now take that bit of information and store it away for a minute while I explain some homeschooling stuff. It won’t take long I promise. Our overall philosophy for homeschooling follows the ideas of Oliver and Rachel DeMille and their book “A Thomas Jefferson Education.” One thing they discuss is how kids (well, all people) move through developmental phases of learning which actually build on each other. The first is “Core” phase and then “Love of Learning” and so on. So even if one is in “love of learning” they never leave “Core”, if that makes sense? So in light of the fact that Garyn is moving beyond “Core” to “Love of Learning,” I realized that he is ready for a bit more structure in his education. One principle in the book that is considered a Key to helping a kid get themselves a great education is “Structure time, not content.” Ok back to him wanting to be an inventor…We started doing “Inventor Class.” Every week on Wednesday nights he gets an hour to work with his dad on stuff. We structured the time, and he is choosing the content to fill that time, and here is some of that stuff.

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A for real model airplane. This will be finished and hung from his ceiling, because too many hours have gone into it for it to be blasted to smithereens when it crashes on its maiden flight. And before you think we are mean parents, we got him a cheaper version that he has already flown to death.

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Random bins of “usable” parts are scattered around the house. They have so far dismantled our old cd player and car stereo (hence the speaker next to Winnie the Pooh), various Nerf guns, and an old camera is on the docket.

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The current project is sooo cool! He has been saving his money for a Lego MindStorm set. They are very nifty and very expensive. Well, he got a robotics book at the library that had projects for another robot platform that uses a real breadboard and real electronic circuitry. You also use a real programming language to program the robot instead of a fake one developed only for Lego stuff. It is also half the price which means he could get it now. Needless to say the “NOW” part sold him pretty quick. There was much rejoicing over his choice. It’s called a BOE Bot and he loves it!

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I’ll have better pictures later but already I’m so impressed with the stuff he is learning while he plays with his robot. His face just lit up today when he programmed the LED lights to blink in a certain way. He was so proud of himself. It’s also fun to see him and his dad head to head, totally engrossed in something (I married really good stuff). Makes my homeschooling mom heart go pitter-patter.

And just for fun, more random Garyn updates:

– He is now missing all 4 lateral incisors and has a big fat gap between his two front teeth. Incidentally, since I am the worst tooth fairy known to mankind…I had to level with him about the whole thing and so now he is very clear where he places his teeth and reminds me about 12 times before bed that the tooth is there and waiting. Sigh.

– He loves reading. Like I can’t keep up with his voracious appetite for books. Recent devoured titles include, Any book from the How to Train your Dragon series, the Dinotopia series, the Redwall series, anything by Roald Dahl, The Hobbit, The Life of Fred series, and My Little Ponies anything. With three little sisters, his feminine side has been firmly embraced.

– His still says pistachio, atom, avalanche, and banana like a snobby British school boy but only the last word is intentional.

– He has a blue stuffed dog named “Blue Puppy” that he sleeps with every night and has since he was a wee little one. Also he has probably 18 imaginary pets, and a rubber mouse named “Maximus.”

The way his mind works and his enthusiasm for life make me smile in a big way.

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