This Is Why We Do It

Best homeschool day ever!

Today I found out that Sam has been paying attention. I still have no idea what she understands, but at least I now know that her mind is engaged and she is taking things in in some form.

Sam finished math with the problem you see at the top of the page in the picture below. She started doodling so I told her to let me know when she was done. As I did other things at my desk, I heard her making up a story, while drawing the pictures and words to go with it. She did two of them. Her stories were like a summary of the past nine months of school. She included math, astronomy, physics, literature, history, grammar, penmanship, spelling, and wow, just everything. It’s like all of her knowledge came pouring out of her in this form, and it was completely unplanned. It was definitely a stream of consciousness thing – not any kind of true integration – but I was impressed that she actually had all of these thing in her consciousness at all.

Here is the best I can do at summarizing her stories. It’s hard to see the drawings, I know.


Once upon a time, there was a Mr. Sun Robot and a Mrs. Moon Robot. Mr. Sun Robot made it light, and Mrs. Moon Robot made it dark. [you can see the robots labeled with their names on the left, but the interesting part is that she started the drawings first by drawing the squares and rectangles on the graph paper, which is something straight from math lessons. The shapes must have made her think of robots. I don't know why she thought of the sun and moon, but you can see that she has drawn those objects as the robots' heads.]

…Mr. Sun Robot would always make it light and Mrs. Moon Robot would always make it dark, so they were always fighting. [This is directly inspired by all of the myths we've been reading...she is beginning to get a sense of the structure of these stories!] And there were a lot of people on the earth [see the people she drew all in a row at the bottom right?], and some of them liked it dark and some liked it light, so they were always fighting. [There was much more about all of this, but most of it was repetitive. There was no real resolution to the fighting, though.]

And there was the earth [see drawing above the row of people...the sun and moon made her think about the earth], and there were many people on it [the little circles along the edge of the big circle are the people] and the light shined down on them, straight down, down down down on the earth [she is recalling her lessons about gravity now...a little bit misapplied, but we've talked about the earth's gravity a lot lately so I know that is what she was thinking about] and the people liked it, but then it was cloudy [see all the clouds around the earth?] but that’s okay, the people still liked it–it was still light. And the earth went around the sun and the sun went around the moon [I wasn't about to correct her at this moment!] And the sun shined on the earth [see the ball on the curved stick...that is the sun. And there was much more about all of this that I can't recall.]

The end. [written above]

[Name and date at the bottom.]

I managed to keep my mouth shut the whole time, except when she asked me to remind her how to write Mr. and Mrs. (We’ve been working on abbreviations!) When she was done, I told her that she had just made up her own myth. I told her that when she could write words faster, she could write down all the words of the story (she said, “just like YOU do!”), along with the pictures, and that way she would never ever forget it. I told her I would love to read her stories, but right now, I just loved to hear them. She said she wanted to do another.

Once upon a time, there was the sun and the moon. The sun was lite [sic] and the moon was dark. And the moon went all the way up to the sun [see the arrow?] and it got BURNED [one of our upcoming science lessons involves burning things. Also, the fact that she knows the sun gives light and heat is not something I could have guaranteed Sam knew before today - we've talked about it and read about it a million times, but I bet if I had asked if the sun was hot or cold, she would have said, "cold" just to piss me off or keep me guessing, or whatever her unfathomable reason is for never allowing anyone to see into her mind].

[Skip down to the pictures under the word "crash".]  And there was a road, and there were people going this way [she drew lines showing motion from left to right at the bottom of the road] and there were people going the other way [she drew lines showing motion from right to left at the top of the road... she even got the sides we drive on correct!] and they were going FAST and they went CRASH into each other [she drew the vertical line in the road to represent where the cars met, then she wrote "crash" which she sounded out phonetically in a very deliberate manner.]

[Then she basically repeated this story and drew another road.]

And then there was a circus [the big rectangle near the top middle, which remained empty for this part of the story]. See, it’s a rectangle. And there were animals in the circus [she did not draw the animals or any of this part]. They were wild animals, cats and dogs and wolves, and they were big animals. But the people kept them in their homes and made them their pets [Egyptian history lessons...domesticating cats] so it was okay. [This part went  on for a while.]

And there were houses. [The three squares below the circus]. They were connected together like this [drawing]. [My only interjection happened now, I said "like townhouses?"]  Yes, townhouses. And there were windows for the people to see out, and stairs [and more and more about houses]. And the people went to the circus, and there were three tents [the three black spots at the bottom of the circus], and you see, the people went from here to there [the lines with arrows connecting the houses to the tents...she is drawing a lot of lines connecting things in her workbooks right now...I'm making her practice workbooks so she can take standardized tests and I know the lines come straight from that skill because she has never drawn lines connecting things like that before]. And the people stayed in the tents!

And then the person found…[doodling]…the person found [draws a circle]…the person found…a dollar [draws a dollar sign inside the circle; we've been working on money lately]. And he put it in his pocket. And then he found another dollar and another and another. And he put them all in his pocket [good girl!].

And then there was a car [left, middle]. And he put all the dollars in the trunk of the car [the thing that looks like a flame on the left side of the car was the trunk and the lines were the dollars he put in]. And the car looked like a rocket ship! [Yes, it did end up looking like a rocket, didn't it? I don't remember what the circles with crosses in them were.]

And then he found…[back to the circus...the big circle with dollar sign] a really, really, really big dollar! And it was so heavy, he could not pick it up. He needed more force to move it [yes, she said that, and it is straight from our science lessons]. He was thinking and he decided to build a box on top of the dollar [see the square on top of the big dollar?]. But that didn’t work.

So, he invented [yes, she used that word] a giant to pick up the dollar. [See the smiling figure with a dollar at the bottom left?] The giant was nice. He was a good giant.

The end.

I have never seen Sammy do anything quite like this before. It was just beautiful. And I’m so proud that I was able to mostly keep my mouth shut. The whole process must have taken about a half hour. (There was much more talking that I could possibly write here.) When you have a child like Sam, who rebels against giving any feedback at all about what she understands, this kind of thing is a miracle.