Monday, January 24, 2011

so many questions

There are so many questions flying through our house!

If they were critters, they'd be tiny, irridescent fireflies, zooming through the air, ricocheting off the walls, filling the rooms with laser light.

They come and buzz me, do fly-bys like in Top Gun, or those airshows people go stand in fields to see.

Coloured smoke trails through the house. It's an amazing show! Did you see that one? That one? And that question's doing loop-the-loops!!


Why do cows have iron?
Does anything eat humans?
How do they make computer games?
What does this cartoon mean?
How does the battery get in there?
What does supple mean?
How does your phone store so much information?!
What do bats eat?
What's quilling?

Each question gets some kind of answer, or an attempt at one. Sometimes we go straight to the mighty Google, from which all answers come :) Sometimes we look it up in a book. And sometimes—often times—I have a go at explaining first.

So why do cows have iron?

I say, "Cows have iron because animals have iron in their blood (even us!). Red meat has iron 'cos it has blood in it and therefore, people who eat red meat get iron. Ta Da!"
"I don't want to eat red meat," says my girl.
"Well, me neither. So you should probably eat your broccoli. That's got iron in it too."

Then my daughter asks, "So, we have iron in us?"
"Yes," I say.
"Does anything eat humans?"
"Sure! Sharks eat us," chimes in my boy.
"And polar bears do," says I.

Which leads to a long talk about polar bears and how my kids would hide from one if it chased them, and how polar bears are maybe endangered because the whole climate change, melting-polar-icecap thing is affecting their habitat.

"Mum?" says my girl.
…"What's a habitat?"

This is just one of our typical dinner conversations!

None of it was Googled or verified with a secondary source (and I know my red meat theory could've done with some serious fact checking!). But sometimes our talking is just that—we're exploring ideas, and my random and haphazard answers are enough.

But the other night, when my son asked about the Theory of Relativity, and I started to come up with some garbled explanation, I realised almost immediately that I was…gasp!…WRONG.

So I doubled back quicktime.

I said, "Actually, I don't think that's right AT ALL."

I said, "Shall we look it up, and see what it really is?"

My son's one question led to an awesome exploration of Einstein's Theory, watching youtube videos, talking talking talking—even days later—about motion and light and time. It was very cool.

Now sometimes,
maybe, just maybe…

I over-explain. Don't know why I think that. Just a hunch.

Like, when my son asked recently what a cartoon meant, I didn't have to Google it; I already knew the answer. So, I went into a long, long explanation. I got right into it!  Because the cartoon touched on lots of issues—all Meaning of Life, Big Picture stuff—and I love stuff like that. I totally rambled on.

I'm not sure if my son actually listened to the whole answer, but I sure had a great time!

Later that night, my son asked me what a word meant in his book. I told him the meaning, then went on this lovely talk-walk, where I gave examples, said sentences with the word in it, and so on and so forth.

My boy nodded politely and when I was done, he thanked me. Then he said, "Mum,  sometimes when I ask what a word means and you tell me, I get the meaning really quickly. Like you explain a little bit, and then I get the rest of the meaning from the sentence in the book."

"Oh, yeah?" I said. "That's great!"

"But, Mum, then you keep talking." He smiled a little apologetically. "You actually explain it a lot more than you need to."

"Oh. Huh." I paused, reflected. Then smiled. "Well, I guess that's 'cos I just love words!"

"Yeah, you do. I think you're like a Living Dictionary." Big grin.

"Cool!" Big grin back. "I love dictionaries!"

Which led to me talking about how much I loved dictionaries. :)

I'm not sure how long my son listened. He's very polite, but at some point, I think he returned to his book.


We have so many questions flying through our house!

I love them. I love their little zippy selves. I love how they come flying at me, any time, any where, any how.

They build our homeschool, build our conversations, build who we are as a family.

Ah…where would we be without them?

Which is another question!

For another time, perhaps? I should probably let you get back to your reading!


  1. I love, love, love tornado days!
    And it is like zipping fireflies!
    We operate (learn) through questions around here, so we spend a lot of time with "let's look it up!" :) I love that it so often leads to another idea or question...

  2. I love days like this too. Helena, another way we are alike. I too, love words and find myself over explaining at times. There is just so much I want to tell her, teach her, make her see.

    I laughed about the "I was wrong" statement. When Kei was younger I wasn't as concerned about telling her something that maybe wasn't 100% accurate but I look things up now.

    It has always amazed me how much power we have over our kids, especially when they are younger. They spout our views and opinions and facts. I just smile when I hear a small child talk about an issue that I KNOW comes from their parents ideals.

    Kei was THRILLED with your comment on her blog. She was saying over and over, "I got a comment from Helena in Australia!". :)

    PS My verification word for this comment was "dummi" LOL

  3. Stephanie, this whole blog post was triggered by one of yours—when you wrote the other day about Trev seeking answers on his computer (I loved that story). In fact, the opening words of this post were in my comment to you…Then I went, Oh, I think this'll be a REALLY big comment—I should probably write it where there's room! So, thanks, again, for making my own brain whirr with ideas :)

    And Karen, yes we ARE so alike! And it is amazing how powerful we can be. In fact, if my kids ask me something that hasn't got a clear cut answer, something about politics, religion, art, etc, I ALWAYS say, "Now, this is just my opinion. You mightn't agree with me. Other people feel differently about this." Or, if they ask me something I don't know enough about to believe or have an opinion on, I say, "Some people feel…" and "Some people believe," and "I'm not sure what I think, but maybe…" It's amazing when I leave it open like that…so many thoughts and ideas pour out of my kids! And it often leads to searching for more understanding. It's beautiful, isn't it?

    I'm so glad Kei loved her comment! So glad you are both my friends!

  4. Hey!
    Love getting comments from new folks! Especially ones across the other side of the world!
    I just watched a fascinating bio on Einstein that I DVR'd from History channel. I bet you could get it on netflix or some such. It was all about the theory of relativity, and other smart stuff! But it was weird too cause he wound up leaving his wife for his cousin! Which for a genius was not a very smart thing to do!
    Fascinating stuff.
    I am so glad you enjoyed the Hawaii photos.
    How I lon to be there right now.
    Ho hummm,,,, I will be adding you to my blog list! Glad we found each other.

  5. I just LOVE your enthusiasm lovely lady! You remind me of myself a few years back. I am currently trying to get my mojo back and get these lazy boys to self inspire in a sneaky mama kind of way! LOL! Hugs and smoochies xoxox


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.