Enthusiastic Learning

“I hate math!”

This is what Violet loudly and proudly told my mom on her last visit. I admit, I should have ignored this totally, but I had to get some clarification. “What math don’t you like?”

“Long division . . . but I like fractions and angles and geometry and stuff.”

Of course she does. Especially geometry–she gets excited every time we do it.

And this morning during breakfast she asked, “Are we doing decimals again today?” Yes “Yay!”

I told her we’d be working on decimals for a few weeks. Is that good? “Oh yes! I like decimals!”

Who knew this was possible? Math is not her favorite or her best subject, but how cool that she can still approach (most of) it with enthusiasm.

Right now she’s doing her piano practice — I am gradually backing off being part of that, apart from reminders to do the less fun stuff. As I went about my own business I told her to do her scales. She’s reviewing major and minor scales, playing them in various ways, in three different keys per week, but she said to me today, “I’m going to play all my scales!”

I know this isn’t because my child is unusual. I mean, I know she’s unusual, but I don’t think her enthusiasm is necessarily unusual. I think this is why many homeschooling families loosen up over time, even if they don’t become full-time unschoolers. Curiosity will out, even when mom is not the trusting, wait-and-see type.

Violet usually has lots of enthusiasm for wild and crazy schemes that seem impossible to make work — sort of like her mom. This is why you have to work hard and get into a position of some semblance of power (access to staff, budget, and office equipment is nice too), so that you can get others to go along with your schemes. (Our schemes usually require a fairly large cast of characters, which is not so easy to scare up given our more retiring natures.)

But I think we’ve hit on a winner. When I told her I thought we’d make a time line this summer to summarize our history this year, she suddenly had brainstorm after brainstorm about making our house a kind of time machine, where we start upstairs with Lucy and move through the middle ages and Renaissance on the main floor, then end up in the basement/future. Violet will play Queen Elizabeth, of course (“I have the perfect dress!”) Stairways will feature the timelines. Oh, and we will make paper mache time travel helmets.

Around state fair time we usually have lots of people coming by, so by the end of the summer we’ll have the “history house” ready (“for young kids, so they can get really smart about history”) for friends and family’s guided tours. What she really wants to do is make this into Children’s Museum exhibit. (Ay! I cannot keep up with this kid sometimes. Last visit to the children’s museum (with Nanny) she organized several children and some of the staff into a club of Troublemakers of varying ranks, everyone with his/her own badge. Violet’s read “Chief Troublemaker.”)

And for more on enthusiastic learning (dig that segue!) go to Melissa’s Lilting House for a very nicely done Carnival of Homeschooling. (No, I don’t have a post in this time. I just think she’s done a nice job.)



Filed under Gifted Ed, Our Philosophy (such as it is), Schoolday Doings

2 responses to “Enthusiastic Learning

  1. Kitty has this same enthusiasm. I TRY to match it. I think being able to do so is the secret of success in homeschooling, because as you say most kids will be enthusiastic about their learning.

  2. This is a great post.

    Violet has grand ideas and I love how she has the confidence to express herself in so many different medias.

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