I also try to support my son's interests, but new ones are constantly popping up.
(Insatiable curiosity. Are you familiar with it?)
How do I meet both our needs?
So how exactly does that work, you ask?
It works differently for everyone.
It takes trial and error to figure out how to make it work for you, and it will constantly change.
Below, I've typed out what flexibility looked like at our house today.
I began the day with the following list written on my small dry-erase board; once we start lessons, I generally start at the top and move down in order:
- Burgess Bird Book
- Child's History of the World
- Math Fact Master
- On the Shores of Silver Lake
- quiet reading
I had to work on our budget, write out some bills, and do some other paperwork this morning. I usually do this type thing on the weekends, but it slipped through the cracks. I had to do it today. While I worked, Gerrick amused himself by...
- pretending to be Harry Potter and Hagrid (occasionally I played the role of a goblin at Gringotts, Mr. Olivander, or Professor McGonagell as he walked by and included me in his play).
- cleaning out the litter box and carrying some recycling out to the garage. (I did ask him to do these two things.)
- looking through one of our book baskets and quietly reading from several books: Inside the Hindenberg, Starting Chess, and Maps and Mapping.
- drawing a map of his mind's image of a forest from the book The Fellowship of the Ring.
During lunch he told me he needed to learn everything he could about crows. Apparently, Saruman uses black birds that make a hideous caw as spies. Gerrick thinks they may be crows. He also asked me to read his library book about earthquakes later.
After lunch, he dropped a glass of ice water in the kitchen and it shattered into half a million pieces. I had to spend some time cleaning it, of course, so he continued to work on his map.
At 1:15 we sat down for lessons, with Gerrick listening while still working on his map. This is what my original list plus flexibility morphed into:
Burgess Bird BookRead about crows in The Handbook of Nature Study and read about, listened to, and watched crows online at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (At this point he decided he was already ready for a snack, so while he ate I got online and reserved a couple of library books about crows for him.)
- Read about houseflies in The Handbook of Nature Study (He saw one on the window and wanted to know if there was any information about them in this book.)
handwriting(Since he worked on his map so long, I knew his hand was probably tired, so I didn't ask him to write anything.)
- Xtra Math (I put the laundry in the dryer.)
- Child's History of the World & virtual tour of Versailles (The history chapter was about Louis XIV, so after reading I asked him if he'd like to see some pictures of the palace; he did and we happened upon the really cool tour. He spent a good deal of time navigating through the palace--so long that I got bored watching and unloaded the dishwasher and straightened up a bit.)
- Read the requested book about earthquakes.
- Math Fact Master (I folded the dry laundry.)
- By the Shores of Silver Lake (I had actually marked this off my list because it was getting so late, but he requested I still read a chapter, so after we put the laundry away together, I did.)
quiet reading(By now it was 4:15. We usually read silently together, but he had already read so much earlier, I didn't ask him to read more. Instead we went outside and jumped on the trampoline together. When we came in about 20 minutes later we rinsed the clothes we had tie-dyed the day before and put them in the wash. I started dinner and he picked up the iPod to play.)
Flexibility allows us to truly be co-learners!