We are fortunate to have a community that supports our homeschooling endeavors in a great many ways. Our friends, our library, our local Maker’s Space, our favorite market, a local farm, an art studio, and more. They all come together to expose our boys to a wide array of information and experiences that we wouldn’t be able to easily provide on our own.
Among these amazing assets is our favorite Natural History Museum. Not only is the museum’s director one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet, she’s on a first-name basis with my kids. And, wonderfully, she is a treasure trove of great resources – particularly kid-level science books – based on their current interests.
This week while at the museum, my boys joined in on the construction of a public art installation. It’s a sculpture depicting microtubules, subcellular structures that help maintain the inner structure of cells and are involved in a variety of cellular processes. Once completed, the piece will be displayed in the museum.
We spent a fantastic, hands-on morning bending wire, cutting paper, gluing, and working on the assembly of the project (which still has a ways to go before completion). We also got to experiment with the programmed sensors that control the color and blinking duration of the sculpture’s lights. My 8-year-old even designed a support structure out of a cardboard tube when one of the longer arms collapsed under the weight of the paper.
Beyond this, a couple of the graduate students working with on this project were cellular biologists. They interspersed the art making with all sorts of detailed and interesting bits of information about cell structures in general and microtubules in particular. We all left with a greater understanding of the inner workings of a cell.
I am constantly thankful for the number of people we encounter who will take the time to share their passions with interested children (and adults! I love that I get to ask questions and learn, too).
Whether or not you homeschool your children, there are a wide array of opportunities for kids to meet and engage with people who love what they do. Instead of yawning when presented with information in a textbook, kids can learn from people who are excited to share their knowledge.
Every topic is interesting if presented from the right angle. Hearing why other people find a particular subject fascinating is one of the best ways to experience this first hand.
As my boys explore and develop their own passions, I want them to know that the world is an infinitely interesting place. There are always new things to learn about and discover. I encourage you to seek out such opportunities for your own kids (and yourself!).
Not every child will get to help build a public art installation (though, if (s)he really wants to, I’m sure the opportunity exists or you can create the chance yourself – after all, this isn’t our first public art experience), but there are people everywhere who are willing to share their knowledge and excitement. There’s no reason for anyone to think that learning about something new is boring.
May we all look at the world with wonder, and be open to the learning and growth this affords.
Have you ever encountered a person who helped you to reframe and become excited about a topic you once perceived as boring?