This is Maddy’s Rubber Band-jo (her name for it). She made it today, when a couple of pieces of stuff that came to hand tweaked her interest and inclined her to try something out. First she put bands on a the box and came to show me that some of them made an approximation of a tune. And so i showed her that by changing the length and stretch of the bands, she could ‘tune’ it and produce everything she wanted for the whole tune. Being Maddy, she then went off and made it exactly as she wanted it to be, tuning it as closely as she could and practising until she was ready to record the finished result.
So was this Music? Science? CDT? Art and Craft? Or all of them – i’d say all. But she doesn’t know it and it didn’t need planning or evaluating or a learning outcome assessment. Maddy saw the point, she enjoyed it, she equated it to her guitar and she worked hard, with precision and her own plan, her own motivation and her own learning outcomes. She did a project. When Max came home he talked to her about soundwaves and frequencies and i daresay we’ll get to the science museum at some point, or somewhere similar – and it will all fall into place along side something she sees and recognises.
This reminds me of a couple of other instances recently. Both happened at the dinner table. In the first, some question or other about history launched Fran off into a description of the sons of William the Conqueror and their personalities, royal responsibilities, rivalries and more. Max and i gaped a bit, because although we know she likes history and although i’ve done this period with her recently in various ways, the knowledge that came out was not what i’d put in. She’d been away and read and remembered and she was telling me things i didn’t know. She was displaying the one learning outcome that has ever been important to me, that she learns to learn and learns to love to learn.
Similarly, we had a bizarre conversation about the sea on another day. Not being remotely scientific, i suddenly pondered whether the sea froze at a lower temperature than non salty water. I had no idea really, though in another moment i wondered whether in fact only the water part froze, leaving the salt unfrozen. (I do think, just mostly a bit slowly and you can hear the cogs!) Max said (it isn’t just me!) that he wondered if the snow at the poles was salty then and Fran promptly piped up that really it must be that only the water froze and the snow couldn’t be salty because when Captain Cook ran out of drinking water, one of his crew thought of melting the ice and that didn’t have salt in it.
And we kind of gaped again. Because of course Max and i could have thought our way through it, we just didn’t really have our brains in gear, but she pulled out a piece of information i didn’t know she knew, from something she chose to read about – and solved the puzzle well enough to convince both of us!
And that’s home educating. Not what you put in, but what comes out.