Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baseball, snakes, and negative numbers

Woody is starting baseball next week, his first team sport. We went together to pick out his glove during Daddy Honey's lunch break today. We hit balls this afternoon and Woody came up with a game where the batter got positive and negative points based on hits and misses. He tallied both our scores throughout the game in his head, sliding up and down the number line without knowing what a number line is or how it's represented. I've read that unschooled kids' math is like that, that they pick up concepts as they need them, and then later, when they want or need to do math on paper, it's more a matter of recognition of that concept in a new form rather than learning it for the first time out of context. We ended the game 17 to 49. I lost.

It was one of those days that got colder as the day wore on. By sundown, it was too chilly to be outside without a jacket. We were turning over stones and bricks looking for crickets and found this little guy. He let us get a good look at him before he slowly made his way back to the shelter of the thick mat of brown grass.  Fox was curious about him and asked to see more snakes, so we looked online and found this Fish and Wildlife Commission publication on the snakes of Arkansas. We looked through together and he stopped me at snakes he wanted me to read about--Copperheads, Timber Rattlers, Ribbon Snakes, and these Ringnecks. We learned that this was the start of the Ringneck's active and mating season, that they're often found under rocks and logs, and that they eat earthworms.

The rest of the day was made up of Magformer subs and Snapcube aircrafts, curry and rice, Phineas and Ferb, a neighborhood cat, Playmobil pirates, computer games, hammering, fixing the bird feeder, checking the mail, watering the strawberry plants, and doing puzzles.

We were unhurried. The day was gentle. Discovery and learning was steady with small surprises.