Friday, July 18, 2008

Planets and Play

These “homeschool moments” are actually rather rare, so I thought I would memorialize one : ).

I was digging through old stuff and found a National Geographic planet diagram that I thought Aidan would like, because he has been in love with Saturn for the longest time. So I put it on the floor next to the flannelboard planets he had been playing with earlier.

As soon as he saw the diagram on the floor, he decided to “match” them to the felts, muttering to himself the names of the planets as he did so:



He was the one that requested that I take a picture.

I left it out on the floor and the next day Paddy saw it and remarked “Those must be the gas giants, right?”

That was unexpected. But I have been reading him The Magic Schoolbus and the Solar System again and again at his request and he must have been assimilating more than just the cute dialogue.

“The true object of all human life is play.”

GK Chesterton

“don’t use force (bia) in training the children (paidas) in the subjects, but rather play (paidzontas). In that way you can better discern what each is naturally directed toward.”

Socrates. (Play and Education in Plato’s Republic)

I have been reading through old articles I printed out in the last year or so and found this one: Voices on the Green. It is a Waldorf article on the value of play. The author writes:

Children need substance upon which to put their culture to work in order to transform and remake the world in their own way. In our media-drenched society - a world of simulacra and superficiality where the characters of Neighbours are as real, or in some cases more real, than the people who live next door - our offerings to the child are not always beautiful, good or true and often fall short of being worthy of imitation. Children aren’t conscious learners like adults; the faculty of discrimination develops later and signals the child’s ability to hold back, whereas imitation has its roots in trust and total openness to the world. Knowledge of the young child is caught rather than taught (the acquisition of our native language being the prime example): just what the ‘catch’ of those early years will be depends on us.

I’ve written about the value of play here.

Science is not formal logic–it needs the free play of the mind in as great a degree as any other creative art. It is true that this is a gift which can hardly be taught, but its growth can be encouraged in those who already possess it.

Max Born. more science quotes here.