Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Dad Involved


My son has been obsessed with Minecraft for a few months now.  It's not a bad thing to be obsessed with, as it has many creative aspects as well as technical computer knowledge that my husband tells me is a form of basic simple programming.

But ...

I still don't like to see him get totally swept out of the real world and into the virtual.  He told me at one point that "when I'm playing Minecraft it's hard to remember that's not the real world".

So I was trying to think of a way to inspire him to be that creative and inventive, but in the Real World. I thought - maybe a unit study on Inventors.  Hence, the Thomas Edison for Kids book.  I've been impressed before with the For Kids series, which all incorporate non-fiction text with lots of hands-on activities.

The best part so far has been getting his dad involved.  I'm realizing more and more how important it is to recruit the Dad (or the less-involved parental-unit) into the homeschooling enterprise.  The kids love when he does homework with them.

This weekend, he built a steamboat with Carbon, based on directions in Edison for Kids.  It was a bit frustrating at times, and took them far more time and far more money on copper tubing than it should have, but they got it to work. And it was cool - it even made a little "putt, putt, putt" noise as it moved about the bathtub.

A great father-son experience. A great way to get the less-involved parent in on the homeschooling adventure.  A great way to show our son that creative invention could happen in the real world.  And a great way to delegate some of the homeschooling to another adult and ease up this Mama's work-load.


Tonight I set him to working on a Real Science Odyssey lab about the water cycle with Hypatia.  And they made up a silly song about the water-cycle together to help her remember it, and she loved getting to do that with her dad.

Don't shut the other parent out of the adventure, just because this is "your job" or your primary task.  Don't be a gatekeeper, or insist on being the expert to such an extent that the other parent can't do anything right.  You're in this together, and you should let them help you, let them participate as much as they can.

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