Seeing Things To Scale

My children have been leaning about their city and its environs as part of their homeschooling, so today we sat down with google maps to help them locate where they are in relation to the world. My hope was that that they would get a better sense of scale, of how big our city is in comparison with our county, our province, our country, our continent, and our world. We started at the broadest level and narrowed our scope, step by step, until we were at our street. Then I clicked on the street view to let them see their own house.

Up until that final click, they were interested and, I think, grasping the idea of scale that was the purpose of the exercize for me, but after that final click, they were beyond excited. The possibility of seeing an image of what had, until then, only been a map, of moving between map and image with a click, suddenly made everything real to them. From then on, nothing would do but that we had to follow along the streets on the map to find the houses of their friends, their church, their favourite stores, their parks, everything they could think of, to see it on the map. It was as if the idea of scale became concrete for them all at once, as if they could finally understand that the lines on the paper represented, not only the idea of things, but the actual places that they knew.

It was amazing, one of those moments that makes homeschooling my kids so wonderful.

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2 comments
  1. Lauren said:

    I think maybe I should come be homeschooled at your house, because that whole translate-a-map-into-reality is a skill I am lacking, in spite of many patient lessons by people who can actually look at a map and picture what that means. Or even look at a map and *understand* what it means, in terms of the relationships between and relative sizes of various countries or regions. I think I have some issues with spatial reasoning.

    I think you mentioned once that you were going to homeschool the boys until the time (if it comes) that they ask to go to regular school. (Am I remembering that right?) Have either of them expressed an interest? Is that still the plan? Such as there even is a plan, I guess, since I have been told that not everybody plans their lives down to the same level of detail that I do.

  2. Lauren,

    You are always welcome to join us. Our homeschool has no admissions policy, no attendance requirements, no curriculum, and no grades, so you can come and go as you please.

    Our plan still remains to let the kids choose which way they would like to learn, though I am less and less pleased with our local school and would probably encourage the boys toward homeschool at this point. Ethan has never showed any sustained interest in formal school, and I suspect that he will homeschool for some time. Marlon has asked if he can go to school next fall (Grade 1), and we have told him that he may, but it remains to be seen whether he will actually be interested when the time grows closer.

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