Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eggplant


Eggplant, my Eggplant. Eggplant really thrives learning at home. Besides having the impulse control of an 8, almost 9, year old boy (what with him being an 8, almost 9, year old boy), Eggplant asks about 478 questions per hour -- and he wants answers NOW! Eggplant also learns best by engaging with other people and by doing. For Eggplant, the idea of sitting at a desk and listening to someone teach is akin to being dragged belly down on the sidewalk by his feet so that his nose chalks a curvy line the whole way. Seriously, that’s how mortifying that thought is to Eggplant.

As I write this, Eggplant is reading Tom Sawyer. What this REALLY means is that Eggplant is pausing about every 4 lines to tell me what has happened, why it interests him, and what memory this has triggered for him (This is slightly less unnerving than when Rhubarb read the entire Harry Potter series, pausing every page to tell me what she just read). Later, he will most likely spend a good chunk of time drawing, either from the book or from the triggered memory or from an idea triggered by the triggered memory (that’s just how his brain works). There are those who have suggested that Eggplant could doodle while listening in a classroom setting. They have clearly never met Eggplant, who also pauses about every 3 or 4 pen strokes to explain what he is drawing and get a little feedback.

Ah Eggplant, my Eggplant.

For history this year, Eggplant is reading (while simultaneously listening on CD) The Story of the World, Volume 1, Ancient Times. After each chapter, he creates a summary comic strip. Drawing, along with the accompanying discussion, makes the history meaningful to him. It also gives him writing practice in a way he enjoys (He also does dictation with Rhubarb, who, much like Tom Sawyer, has talked it up so much that he now believes it is fun too). He is rather enjoying the Ancient Times as he is somewhat drawn to the nomadic lifestyle. Perhaps he will be an explorer someday?

As mentioned, Eggplant is currently reading Tom Sawyer, a book he is enjoying. We have a shelf full of abbreviated versions of the classics. Rhubarb enjoyed reading them and then choosing which ones she wanted to read in full. Eggplant is thoroughly enjoying the antics of Tom Sawyer so we shall see if he’d like to read more later. My guess is that he will draw what he read and move on. For Rhubarb, literature IS her very soul. For Eggplant, literature is a stepping-stone to art and best enjoyed with brevity. His soul is filled with pictures waiting to appear on a page or canvas.

Math comes naturally to Eggplant, though as a visual-spatial learner, he can’t explain how he comes up with the answers. He would not fair well were he required to “show his work”. A teacher, on the other hand, might find it incredibly entertaining to see his doodles and drawings all over the page, little remnants of his mind working through the problems -- though there might appear to be no trace of math in the doodles to the jaded eye of an adult. Once, I went into check on him late at night and he was awake at his work table, looking over a very complicated math puzzle that belongs to HotNerd. He looked, well, puzzled, shaking his head back and forth over the correctly completed puzzle. “Mamma,” he moaned, “I can’t figure out how I did it!”

His math this year focusses on patterns and puzzles, brain-teasers and word problems, with a good dose of the basics intertwined. He is also taking a challenging Lego class that will fulfill both his love of puzzles and building.

Besides living in a home with a science-obsessed little sister (more about her later), Eggplant is taking a science class that focusses on the ecology of the Great Lakes. He is also hoping to have more chances to volunteer at our local ecology center, where he and a friend fed the animals this summer.

Eggplant's physical fitness all happens naturally. He plays tennis with a lovely grandfatherly man from our building, rides his bike everywhere, has taken up soccer in the field for fun, and generally moves every chance he gets (including bouncing on a giant exercise ball while, yes, drawing). My little man does not have a competitive bone in his body so the idea of an organized sports team simply does not interest him right now.

Finally, Eggplant is playing the part of Homer Zuckerman in our local homeschool theatre group’s Charlotte’s Web this fall.

And that’s Eggplant, my sweet Eggplant. Stay tuned for Blueberry.

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