When you ask Calvin what he wants to be when he grows up, he ALWAYS says Scientist. More often than not, he declares his future career will be a paleontologist. So, it’s no surprise that for Christmas, many of his gifts were science related. My sister got Calvin a box of dinosaur ‘eggs’ for excavation. Here’s my account of our first dinosaur excavation!
While Cal was playing by himself in his room, I snuck into the backyard to ‘hide’ one egg. I ran upstairs to tell Calvin about the dinosaur that I just saw run across the back yard. While he knows that dinosaurs are ‘stinkt’ (extinct), there are few things that my child loves more than dramatic play (except maybe digging in the dirt and dinosaurs)! So we rushed downstairs and out the door we went to hunt for the egg that the dinosaur dropped!
He easily found the egg, and he spent the following 15-20 minutes exploring a variety of tools to excavate this egg. (Trial and error is a fundamental method of problem solving.) Calvin demonstrated patience during this activity, a skill that can counteract impulsivity and acting out behaviors. (A skill we desperately need to develop) It didn’t hurt those fine motor skills either! 😉
But, we still haven’t gotten to my favorite part of the activity. The teachable moment that just kept going.
Upon retrieving the dinosaur, Calvin said “It’s a Spinosaurus!”, to which I said “It looks more like a Stegosaurus to me.” My inquisitive son who is growing up in the age of technology said “Let’s look it up!” So, we did. It was a stegosaurus. In our pursuit of learning about the Stegosaurus, we began learning about the Spinosaurus too (Did you know they were bigger than the T-Rex?). While googling, we stumbled upon a video simulation of a Spinosaurus and Stegosaurus fighting. During this fight, we both learned quite a bit about these dinosaurs. After the video ended, Calvin ran upstairs. He came back down with a Spinosaurus that he had found in his toys. We recreated the fight that we had just watched on Youtube.
While all of this was happening, I just kept thinking: “THIS is what education is supposed to be like! We get to spend an hour delving deeper into a subject that he is interested in when he is interested in it! By homeschooling him, I get to provide an education tailored to my child’s interests, capabilities, and personality. Today is a great day!“