Monday, April 27, 2015

Unit Studies are Born!

Ever since Mad Natter was a bitty infant, we've been driving long-haul multiple times per year. Eight hours each way kind of long haul, from when he'd sleep through the entire drive, right on until he got his MobiGo, then Innotab, now his 2DS. This is the first time we've come out of a trip with plans for unit studies.

Now, this isn't for lack of trying. I keep trying to encourage Mad Natter to help me find library books and such on whatever topic he's going on about. He asked me the speed of Earth's rotation around the sun, and I told him we could look it up when we got where we were going, or look it up in a book, and he said "Yeah... I guess.  You can do it, mom."  No interest.

On our way to Hammie and Buppa's house early this month, Mad Natter decided he wanted a pet wolf. But, he wanted to keep the wolf in his bedroom.  So we had a quick chat about keeping wild animals in the house, and how even if they didn't eat us, they would certainly eat the cats. So the house was out. But then, why not keep them in the yard? Or, we could get a cabin in the woods and keep our wolf there!  And so I said, "Tell you what. We'll go to the library and get a book on wolves. We can look up how much space they need to run, and we can find out from there if we can get a cabin with enough space for a wolf to live a good life." His reply?  "Okay! Do you think I can get one on Willow, too?"  Willow is my darling PupNiece, a Jack Russel Terrier. Mad Natter decided he needed to know if we could have Willow to visit with our wolf, and he needed to know how big she would get (she's fully grown), and if the wolf would eat her.

Two studies in five minutes?!? Be still my bibliophile heart!

But then... We were in Chicagoland for over a week, and during the spring, besides. Hanging out in the general vicinity of Tornado Alley in the spring is normal for me. Really, for most folks in the midwest - tornado drills, sirens, watches, warnings, these are all routine annual occurrences. But Mad Natter is definitively NOT from Tornado Alley. When we saw the weather, and then the tornado watches... and that evening the home video and the news out of Fairdale and Cherry Valley, he was shocked. That the wind could do the kinds of damage he saw... How could anyone live through that? What do you need to do? What happened?!? Since we've gotten home, it has been end-to-end tornado research. There hasn't been time for wolves or terriers, he's been focusing entirely on tornadoes and hurricanes. And so, a unit study has been born, driven by a combination of need to understand, and need to prepare, with a good splash of "This is what we do" to help him understand without terrifying him.  And he's picked up more in the last week than I think I've managed to grok in the last 30+ years.