Yesterday, we ventured into a territory I’ve been holding back on for a while. Physics and Chemistry are foreign languages to me. As soon as I could help it, age 13 to be precise, I streamed into Liberal Arts so I’d never have to study them again.
My Sonshine, on the other hand, came out of the womb dressed in a lab coat with microscope in hand. Science was his favourite subject at school and one of the main ways he and his Dad bonded.
So, you can just imagine how nervous I’ve been to introduce our Energy, Forces and Motion curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful into his studies? Name the video or resource, I’ve gone for it.
After an unusually lacklustre Friday morning, I finally I decided to face the dragon. I sent my boy out to play whilst I put on the enchantment. I laid out a feast of books and science experiments, lit a scented candle and put on calm music and garnished it all with his favourite: warm milk and caramel syrup topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. I figured, if the topic flopped, at least I’d win on atmosphere.
I laid out my lovely TGATB topic overview in PowerPoint so we could both look at the inspiring photos as I introduced the topic. After a rather woody and disjointed start, I decided to pause the curriculum talk and go back to the drawing board. I had him pull up definitions of energy from four of the science books we had on the table. I typed these up as he read. Then we discussed each definition and why we preferred the TGATB definition. This approach allowed him the space to correlate our new knowledge with prior knowledge. Gosh, do we need to make space for those rabbit holes!
Then we watched three short “Intro to Energy” YouTube videos, which ushered in the key features, forms and types of energy with humour, song and the right amount of gusto. This left me with the final task of reinforcing the facts using the TGATB curriculum.
I then left him to carry out two energy related experiments whilst I prepped dinner.
At 5am this morning, I woke up suddenly to two bright eyes on a face a with a disturbing look of glee peering at me. “Mum”, he exclaimed, “I can’t stop thinking about science. I’ve been brainstorming with my eyes open. I’m not even dreaming!”
To think the last thing I said to my son as I tucked him in last night was, “Darling, I’m so sorry I couldn’t introduce your favourite topic with more passion and confidence.” Maybe, just maybe the Charlotte Mason method of simply facilitating our children’s learning by laying the feast of good resources is all it takes to whet their appetite to do the work themselves?