I read Beth the book “Why” today (the one by Lindsay Camp and Tony Ross), about a little girl who asks “why?” after every statement. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and my brother and I had this theory that if a little kid asked “why” after every question and you tried to honestly answer them, you could generally get back to God in about six steps (usually the fifth being “because God made you/it that way”). A sample conversation in our house:
Me: “It’s time for lunch!”
Me: “Because your body needs food now.”
Me: “Because we usually eat lunch at this time, so your body is accustomed to eating now and is expecting food.”
Beth: “Why?” (See, here, if she were really listening, it would be much more interesting and discussion-provoking for her to ask “what’s accustomed?” But little kids don’t play the why game for answers. They usually don’t even listen to your answers. They just think it’s fun to make adults question the meaning of the universe. “Why?” “Because 42.” And ha, they won’t figure that one out ’til they’re old enough to read Douglas Adams.)
Me: “Our bodies use the food we eat to give us energy to breathe, think, talk, run, and jump. All the wonderful things our bodies do come from energy we get from food.”
Me: “Because that’s how God made us. He made us dependent on food for life, and then he planted food for us and showed us how to find and harvest it.”
Me: (Here, I could go into why our dependent relationship with food mirrors our dependency on God, but since she really isn’t listening…) “Because God made it that way. Now come eat your peanut butter and jelly.”
At least bringing God into the discussion makes it slightly more interesting than the traditional “because it just is,” and gives me a chance to practice how to tell Beth about God.
In separate news, I bought some homeschooling items the other day that should arrive soon, and some French DVDs. I decided to try the Sonlight curriculum, as mentioned in one of my favorite blogs, Blue Yonder (http://blueyonder.typepad.com/ ). I like the idea of doing a curriculum that is somewhat defined, as I’m not really good at making things up as I go along. I’ll, of course, supplement with specific interests and such along the way. But it should be a fun new adventure, homeschooling. She’s on the young side, of course, so I don’t plan to have her sit for hours working, but I do want to gradually start reading some new books and having some time we spend together reading new books, watching French DVDs and practicing words, drawing and writing, etc.
Last time we were at the library, I got out a bunch of books about shapes, and we’ve been gradually picking those up. A few of them are ripped very badly, though, especially one that seems like it was meant to have all sorts of flaps and that sort of thing (I say “seems like it was meant to” because they’re all, every single one, missing). Frustrating, because it looks like it would have been a neat book, but it’s missing half the stuff. It had occurred to me about a week or so ago that we really hadn’t talked about shapes much. We’ve done letters (she knows a good number of those) and counting (she can count to ten solidly and a good ways past that if you don’t mind her skipping some numbers), and we’re starting on seasons, and she knows all the major colors and is starting to learn the contrast between “dark” and “light” as modifiers for color names, but shapes we’d never really spent much time with. My preference in general is to introduce concepts early and go about them slowly so there isn’t a lot of pressure.
As I write I can hear gentle thumpings upstairs. Which are actually not a bad sign, since they’re gentle. Beth has given up napping entirely, to my endless frustration, but we’ve instituted “quiet time” as an adequate substitute. So that’s where she is now. Gives me time to blog, waste time online, but more importantly, get stuff done around the house. So, speaking of getting things done… I’ll write more later!