Creepy crawlies

L simply adores science. It’s funny, because that is the one subject that I really never developed a deep love for in school. The universe has found so many ways to send me the child that I need (and to send my child to the mom she needs)…

She’s been enamored of dinosaurs for about a year and a half now. For the first year, it was exclusive to dinosaurs. She was unwilling to really read, talk, watch, or play anything else. It was a long but quite instructive year! She tore through every book we could find about dinosaurs, discarding the ones written or illustrated inaccurately (A T-Rex with three fingers? Please!). She even got in her first really good snarky response to not cleaning up based on dinosaurs (she was age 3 years 3 months):

Mom: L, clean up your dinosaurs, please.

(walks away, L reports they’re cleaned up. Mom returns to see dinosaurs on the ground)

Mom: I thought you were done cleaning up your dinosaurs? (pointing at dinosaurs)

L: I AM done. Pteranodons are not dinosaurs.

Oh my. Sweet girl. True information. How about, “Put away anything from the Mesozoic era that you don’t want in the garbage?” Sigh. Also, in retrospect, we didn’t “know” she was gifted at that point. HOW?!?!?! Seems like kind of a clear indicator in retrospect.

In any case, I digress. Dinosaur obsession.

Her project last winter (while she was enrolled in the school that we ended up not returning to) was to construct a dinosaur timeline. Now that it’s complete, it’s about 5 feet tall and 10 feet long. It hangs in our homeschool room but occupied the kitchen for a long while.

Dinosaur timeline

Dinosaur timeline

You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the timeline is divided into the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Dinosaurs (and pterosaurs!) are grouped by family: (from the bottom) sauropods, ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, theropods, pterosaurs, stegosaurs, pachycephalosaurs. She decided which family to do and which dinosaurs she wanted in each family. I went online and found illustrations of them, typed the names under the illustrations, and printed them off. She then cut them out, used the ipad to figure out what period they lived in, and glued them in place. This took weeks of sustained work, but she loved it.

In the past few months, she has added new interests to dinosaurs. The human body, ocean animals, and carnivorous plants, especially. Today, her work was to read a 16-page book on carnivorous plants (guided reading level N ~ 3rd grade). She answered aloud the comprehension questions at the back. I then asked her to write or draw one interesting thing about each of the four types of plants (see pic).

Drawing carnivorous plants

Drawing carnivorous plants

I plan to (tomorrow) help her create a chart that compares the four plants on various characteristics (digestive juice, uses sticky nectar, hairs, etc) to help her think about similarities and differences among items in a category. The nice thing about work like this is that it isn’t “work”! All she knows is that she’s learning about something she wants to know more about. For us, this is the strength of homeschooling right now: She’s not drawn to some subjects the way she’s drawn to others. We can plan around her interests and strengths in a way that is harder to do in a classroom with lots of children with lots of different interests and strengths.

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