Thursday, March 23, 2006

What Did We Do Today?

At the end of each day, after I've read to the kids from our chapter book, when we're all nice and snuggled up together, we have a special ritual. I ask "What did we do today?" and we start with waking up and talk through our entire day. Each person puts in parts that they remember, or talks about their most favorite things. It never ceases to amaze me. Even on days when I might think "We hardly did anything at all today", this wealth of living pours out: the joyful interwoven fabric of our lives together.

The connections made through living often seem small and insignifigant in the moment, but when viewed from above they weave a tapestry that ties all life and learning together. Yesterday, we sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in Latin. Today, we're watching a movie in which someone falls to their knees in a church and crosses themselves. The kids ask me what they are doing and I tell them it is called "genuflecting" and explain a bit about the Catholic tradition. My daughter pipes up that "genuflect" probably comes from the Latin "genu" for "knee", which we learned in the song from yesterday. That's a connection I have never made before, it's a small but exciting discovery - a tying together of knowledge, the history of our language. That morphed into a discussion of how the Catholic church kept Latin alive long after people stopped speaking it conversationally.

Another connection: the side of a Gatorade bottle lists ingredients using their elemental names: K, Na, H2O, CHO. The kids are curious and so we print out a periodic table of the elements and put it on the wall. We look up the elements in Gatorade and also try to find all the elements that we recognize. The kids are especially amused that Krypton is real, they thought it was invented in the Superman comics.

How yeast works, what makes sourdough sour, baking our own bread, looking at formulas for generating electricity from a wind turbine, what does E=Mc2 mean, how do you spell "pirate" and why isn't it pronounced to rhyme with "irate", playing music together, reading, watching the movie Zorro, discussing Santa Anna and how California became a state, tying him in to the other stories we know about him like the Alamo, and how Texas became a state, looking up the order in which the states joined the Union... these are some of the many things we did today, a day in which it could be said "we just hung out at home together, nothing much happened."

Out of such days, such moments, the threads of learning are woven through our lives together. A connection here, a connection there - a book, a movie, a puzzle, a game, a comment, a song. Knowledge of the world that comes through joyous interaction with life itself.

What will we do today?

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