Lessons Learned at the Restaurant

With my grandfather's funeral today I didn't plan on getting any schooling done.  Yet, I know that they learned a lot today.

Mainly, I think they learned our cultural rituals of saying good bye to our loved ones that have passed.  A painful, but necessary life lesson we all struggle with.  They amazed me with their behavior and I was so proud of them.  At one point during the ceremony, as I was crying, my oldest son reached over to rub my back and gave me a little hug.  It was so touching! 

 Once the ceremony was over we headed to a local restaurant for a nice dinner.  Next thing I knew, learning erupted all around.

The boys were playing with their straws and their drinks.  They noticed if they placed their finger over the straw the liquid stayed trapped inside.  When I asked "why" Evan shouted because of the air and Alec excitedly explained that it was trapped inside and knew it was because of the pressure.

We watched their cousin try to put a smaller glass inside of a larger one and watched the water rise (almost to over- flowing) and while his mom was a bit upset I took heart with the thought that all kids really are alike.  However, I did ask Alec, who had been watching intently, what science was taking place there and he knew that the water was moving up to make room for the glass and the air trapped inside it.  I told him that it's called displacement.  I was amazed at all the science we found to talk about while just sitting in a restaurant! 
My cousin and his wife came up for the funeral with their boy (who's the same age as my oldest).  They are a wonderful family and since my cousin's wife is from China they have a whole different learning style firmly rooted in her culture.  Their 8 year old boy can speak several languages, play several different instruments, he participates in multiple sports and is basically on task from sun up to sun down most days.

While they are not homeschooling, she will have him read the menu from cover to cover when visiting a restaurant.  I was told she'll ask him how big is the snowball he made- 4 inches or 5 inches.  She carries a list of spelling words around with her and quizzes him anytime they have a moment.  She is extremely involved in many aspects of his learning.   I know many people argue he's just a kid and he needs time to play and rest (and his father works hard to make sure that does happen on occasion), but honestly he's a well- adjusted,  very happy, very smart little boy.  Again, this push for learning is a huge part of their culture and comes very natural to her.  I sat in awe of her today as she ended up  trying to start a few mini- impromptu spelling bees.  It was a great, educational way to keep the kids entertained.

Ian was actively participating but Evan and Alec stayed sitting with us; however it prompted them to spell too.  Alec was trying to spell the words to me that she was giving all the older boys (between the family we have three 8 year old boys), and Evan kept asking "how do you spell...." and would come up with a word.  I even occasionally asked Evan to spell it for me and helped him sound it out.  He was able to spell bat and a few other small words.

Eventually, Alec decided to wander over and ask if he could join and they started another spelling bee.  Things got a little crazy, a little loud and very competitive, but the boys were having so much fun learning.  I kept watching my cousin's wife who also has this gentle, sweet way about her to correct them when they make mistakes and praises them all for their effort.

 I just love her and sat there today thinking "wow! I need to take a page from her book on occasion!"  Talk about getting kids excited about learning. 
Throughout dinner Evan was trying to add, it was totally self- guided.  I'm not sure what prompted him to start but out of the blue he asked me if 2+3 =5 and then went on to tell me that 2 +2=4 and then we started to try and see what 2 +4 was and 5 +5, etc.  It was great.  We even managed to read a few books before bed, something I'm ashamed to admit we've slacked off on lately.  But as I sit here thinking of all we did on our day off I'm so pleased and hope to find some fun projects for us to do tomorrow.


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