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Friday, February 17, 2017

The Nervous System

I am happy to share that my nervous system plan which I mentioned here is a success. I am going to interrupt my narrative with questions that I anticipated while writing this post, because I feel so giddy at the moment and the questions are coming up. I brought up the topic of the nervous system along with 2 books for with my 13 year old 3rd daughter and my 8 year old son.

We sprawled ourselves on the floor to learn about the nervous system after lunch, around 2:30 on Wednesday. Within 10 minutes, we were on "daldalan" (talkative, see Tagalog dictionary) mode.
Question 1: There is daldalan during academic lessons? 
Yes, I know it was bawal (forbidden) in the school I attended. I recall the heart palpitations and teary eyes and rage I experienced when I first saw my name on the blackboard under the heading most talkative. But I grew up and gained perspective, forgave everyone including myself, so that's behind me now. Yes, there is interruption and daldalan as we learn about the nervous system. We pause and segue a bit for connections, comments, suggestions and reactions. Example:
When I read this, “The midbrain and the hindbrain are considered the primitive brain because all organisms have them- or atlas the ones with a brain- from worm..." my 3rd daughter said, “Ew I don't like to think of a worm's brain” and my son said,  "Worms think..." And this prompted questions like Do worms think? What would they think about? Is the brain just for thinking? Etc. etc.

Sometimes I am the one needing the pause to make an exciting connection, examlple: When we were going through the parts of the brain and I read about the cerebellum and cerebrum scenes from the movie and the cartoon series Xmen flashed by with Professor X going to and being inside cerebro. I think that thought should be shared! Cerebro Cerebellum Cerebrum, cool right?

Question 2: If there are interruptions, am I not concerned that my children won't develop good listening skills? 
For me, the best guarantee that my 8 year old is listening is when he is excitedly participating. I used to be a bit more formal and asked my older kids to raise their hand or let me finish the sentence before asking but I now know and accept that at age 8, the joy of saying, " Hey I know that," is so genuine and urgent that my older children probably did not here the last few words of the sentence I was reading while signalling me that they have something to say. It does not mean that I never ask this two younger ones to raise their hand and let me finish the sentence. From time to time the need does arise but I no longer see interruptions as unnecessary or a sign of some future tragedy.

Question 3: So whats going to happen to my children when they go school and join the real world? 
They are in the real world. They are not in school and both are not likely going to go to school soon. They are at home with me, their mother and my son who at the moment is, Mr Aha I know That, is not going to be 8 forever. He is going to be 9 soon. There is time to improve. 

Going back to our afternoon, by 3:00 pm we have identified and coloured all the parts of the brain and we were moving on to the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system. My son lost interest somewhere between the brain stem and the spinal cord so he was not mentally with us by the time we were reading up on reflex. He was still in the room but he was playing with his lego.

Question 4: Am I not worried/ annoyed that he is missing out on the topic/ subject?
Yup he is missing out! And I suppose he is saturated already. I am sure we will have another opportunity to tackle this and I would rather give my full attention to my third daughter who is interested. What a waste of momentum if I have to stop and reel in my son who has moved on to another activity on his own. I am highlighting what he has done like; coloring parts of the brain and connecting new information with what he knows rather than fret on the fact that he is missing on the  rest of the nervous system topic I prepared for. 

Question 5: Don't I feel bad that I prepared and he is not interested?
As Budhist monks can just throw away their sand art so I too can let go of my nervous system preparation. He participated long enough to give me a chance to work with my 3rd daughter better. 

I was able to demonstrate to my third daughter how one avoids and reacts to pain and how one's anticipation of pain can magnify pain itself. I got to show her how she can work with her breathing to cope with pain: sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system etc. I am very pleased with this.

Finally, time is up bu 4:00 and my third daughter requested for a quiz and time to read the book by herself when she comes home for swimming so she can have another quiz the next day!

Question 6: Did I give a quiz to my son too? Wouldn't a quiz be a perfect opportunity to show him what happens if he does not listen to the lesson?
Heck no! He is 8 and can hardly read on his own why would I give him a quiz? What's to gain? There is more to loose if I give him a quiz, like my hair that I might start pulling out while waiting for him to finish the quiz that I created (waste of my time) and he does not care about (waste of his time). 

I am going to make another nervous system quiz by request for Monday and because my 3rd daughter requested it, then it is not a waste of time but a challenge to partake in. I want to push things further by having a return demo of the breathing technique we did. She was not so into it last time, but I am and maybe my son will join in again...

 The human body topic/ unit study is in high gear now and by next week we should be able to move on to the skeletal system and maybe visit the bone museum or we can learn about the circulatory system and get a blood test done. I will ask them if they know their blood type.

Have a happy weekend!

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