4.15.2010

Not Exactly What Newton Had In Mind

We've been casually exploring Newton's Laws of Motion, mostly in the form of dropping marbles from heights, creating marble whirlpools inside a big metal bowl, magically dropping a marble in a bottle without touching the marble. I've also been seeing proof of Newton's Third Law of Motion as I look around the house.

For every action there is an opposite but equal reaction.

red & aqua

I'm caught up on laundry, but behind on dishes.
My bedroom is clean, but my bathroom is not.
The chickens are fed, but the children are hungry.
We've got a little extra money in the bank from overtime pay, but we've hardly seen daddy the past few weeks.

Yeah, I know those examples don't quite fit Newton's equation, but I find it amusing to view my little world as an expression of non-negotiable physical laws.

Here's another example: I haven't blogged or taken any photographs for nearly a week, but we've made incredible progress in Aidan's education. Something has got to give for something else to flourish, and I've gladly set aside my own endeavors to see Aidan skyrocket in his pursuits.

We've been skirting around his math book the past few months, carefully avoiding double digit addition because "it looks too hard!!!". OK, no problem. Let's just move on to simple fractions. Can you color half of this circle? Sure, that's easy.

But earlier this week, he opened up his math book to the first incomplete page and tackled double digit addition. No problem. Easy peasy. The next day he wanted to do more - but this time with regrouping. BAM. He got it. The next unfinished page is double digit subtraction. Hmmm. I wonder if we'll skirt around that page or if he'll decide to tackle it head on.

Then, as if I tackling two big math concepts in one week wasn't enough (at least for a first grader working on a second grade math book), Aidan decided to take a huge leap in reading. On our way out the door yesterday to go fabric shopping with Grandma, I told the kids to grab a book for the road. Aidan chose a chapter book - no pictures, single spacing - and read the entire first chapter. To himself! No help from me! Sorry - I know I'm bragging, but I just can't help myself! Homeschooling moms spend a lot more time worrying about their children's progress than applauding it, but right now, I want to rejoice and revel and jump up and down! So much progress in one week! This elation will keep me from worrying for at least the rest of the school year. (And yes, I've disgusted myself with the number of exclamation marks in this paragraph.)

One of the great joys and benefits of homeschooling can be found between the lines of Newton's First Law of Motion: Inertia. Sometimes a student is at rest, and we let them stay at rest. But other times, a student is in motion and we let them roll on ahead, removing any barriers in their way (physical or imagined), clearing our schedules if need be, stalling our own motion so we can just stand still and watch their incredible movement forward.

And that, my friends, is why I've been absent. Blame it on Sir Isaac Newton and those darned Laws of Motion.

22 comments:

  1. exciting, and not an exclamation mark too many! I can imagine it must be challenging and satisfying and exciting and amazing to home school your kids and watch (and assist) their progress.

    As for that 3rd law of motion, it's AMAZING how many daily examples there are. I marvel at this all the time.

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  2. when you write posts like this is seriously makes me consider homeschooling. you rock in my world.

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  3. yay!!! I love those movements forward. Good to see you, friend.

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  4. sounds like fun and exciting times in your household! yay for aidan, math is scary looking sometimes : )

    that aqua and red? so pretty. love that color combination.

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  5. I totally feel your thrill on the reading breakthrough! My 6.5 year old is finally on the verge, I can just taste it! Congrats to your little/big guy -- that's one giant leap for Aidankind.

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  6. it is so wonderful when our children grasp the joy of reading!

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  7. WOOOOOHOOOO, mama! And Aidan!!!

    (And the aqua and red -- yum!)

    : )

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  8. How exciting for both of you. It's hard for me to watch my kids struggle to learn. This post is a nice reminder that they'll learn when they're good and ready to. And you cannot over-exclaim when writing about what your kids have learned!

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  9. don't apologize for the bragging. I greet each and every learning step forward with the same enthusiasm (even for YOUR children!) And overusage of the exclamation is reserved only for when going on about your kids, obviously (!!!!!!)

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  10. SUPER!!! I know what you mean about skipping around what looks hard in math! I tried that with my oldest's algebra and BOY WAS THAT A MISTAKE!

    I put off the double digit addition too with the younger ones but it wasn't really a problem! sigh.. gotta trust em sometimes!

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  11. i use way more !!! and this is totally worthy! hurrah!

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  12. It sounds like this week has been terrific! My week has been very 'law of motion as well' lots of wonderful times, but the laundry and the dishes! I wouldn't trade those moments for a clean load though. Equal and opposite reactions? I'm ok with them!! I hope you have a great weekend!

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  13. I'm married to a public high school teacher and aunt to 3 home schooled nieces. My sister in law got tired of schooling and stopped leaving the girls with 4th grade skills as teenagers. Even from that perspective Hubby and I realize the genuine benefit of a young student getting the attention and love of an involved parent. Public school doesn't have a lot of quiet. What a gift you give your children-that home is a place of learning. Your post made me so happy for a world where bright inquisitive children are growing. Way to go for you and yours!

    Oh and I love to think of my life and Laws of Motion. I know that the idea of things in motion stay in motion while things at rest stay at rest sure applies to me.

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  14. Thats awesome. The one thing I find sad about having my kids in school is that I miss out on these great moments! And I love all the garden stories. I hope to get ours going soon too...

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  15. a great post. i love 'that somethings got to give in order for something else to flourish! glad Aidan flourished this week, yay. i think we are in limbo here, everything is 'semi'. semi clean, semi done, i think i need to step back for a bit and be still so i can 'move forward'.

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  16. How you do it I don't know. You are amazing and your children incredibly lucky. Keep it up Mama!

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  17. Those little "a-ha!" moments are the best!

    ~~Camie~~

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  18. I don't think it's bragging when homeschooling mamas write about their kids' triumphs. I think it's more about our fascination with the process. School teaches us to think that skills like reading and math happen slowly and incrementally. But in reality, it's often much more magical than that. One day it suddenly clicks! And when you homeschool and you get to witness it, it's a wonder.

    Go Aidan!!!!!! (Such a week deserves many exclamation marks.)

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  19. this post really spoke to me! we don't homeschool, but every time I read a story like this, it clutches my heart. the 'linear' progression of school, passing ever onward to a new topic whether all, or most, kids in the class really 'got' it or not--oy!

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  20. Fabulous news! Way to go, Aidan :)

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  21. Exciting stuff and I hear ya with the somthings got to give....the time is there, I keep reminding myself of that! :)

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  22. well, goodness. i've just stumbled over here, and am tickled pink. this post, most especially, struck me dead center. the opening lines, and the whole message -- the give and take and trade-offs of it all, and the whole huge choice we have in it all, if we choose. nice to meet you. i'll be back.

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