Friday, March 11, 2011

Week 23: Digging Deep

This was a week of challenges for us. Last Friday at CC there was a project introduced for the students to build bridges made from straws, rubber bands, and play dough, as part of our physics portion of Cycle 2. The bridges had to be built in class and will be tested at the end of the term to see if they hold weight. The bridge that holds the most weight "wins." Matty and his partner found the task to be somewhat frustrating last week, so we bought materials and invited his friend over and together they built a prototype so that they would have a better idea of what to do in class this week. They worked diligently and after one epic failure built a bridge that ultimately held 16 lbs! Not bad for straws, rubber bands and a bit of determination, but those boys had to dig deep to conquer their frustration, disappointment, and their desire to give up.

Working diligently
The completed design
16 lbs!
In addition to bridge-building, we have been preparing to meet the challenge of Memory Master, so much of our school time is given to reviewing and reciting. It is an excellent opportunity to see just how determined this kid can be, and yet, I wake in the middle of the night with history and Latin songs going through my head! I will be glad to finish the term!

Molly is enjoying Phonics Road, though I confess that I have not worked with her as much as I have wanted to this week, due to the emphasis on memory work for her big brother. Nevertheless we started working through the readers, and while these are very easy for her, they give her a feeling of success because she can read them fluently, and she is always willing to illustrate...anything! She took her time and did a very good job illustrating "The Red Hen."

My diligent artist!

Upon reflection, this week was wonderful. I love watching the children (and especially at this point Matty) meet his challenges head on and overcome them. He is beginning to understand that he can do what he wants to do if he sets his mind firmly to do it, and "digs deep." He is growing more confident with every success, and admitting that he has learned even when he fails. I have struggled with whether or not it was wise to put pressure on him to aim for something that he has a reasonable chance of not achieving, but I have come to the conclusion that failure is just as good a teacher as success, and perhaps better. I have confidence that he is able to do this. The question becomes, however, can I guide my son to lay down his fears, work to the best of his ability, and ultimately throw himself upon the grace of God to help carry him through, win or lose? That last question...there's the rub...and the guiding principle of this whole journey, is it not?


  1. Impressive bridge! I love the artwork on your wall. :)

  2. oh yes...the artwork...the sunflower and the, um, unicorn. :-)

  3. What a great design to hold that much weight! And a great lesson for the kids too :)

  4. I'm searching for straw bridge prototypes for my five-year-old. I don't think it's coming close to your son's, though.

  5. What a great idea! We plan to use some of your tricks! Great perseverance!


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