Tuesday, February 14, 2012

behavioral analysis

Homeschooling takes a lot of shapes at our house. Sometimes it looks a lot like nothing at all educational is happening. Everyone is stumbling around in their pajamas late in the day, a non-inspiring movie might be on, or parent and child are squabbling. Sometimes, we sit in one place and plow through a pile of math problems after making beds, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and even cleaning teeth. Sometimes, we dance through the day from one magical moment to the next of spontaneous inspiration and creativity.

Although the Boy Builder is 8 years old and in the second grade, we're still figuring out our rhythm with homeschooling, still working out what works for all of us and feels right.

Today mostly felt like a homeschooling mess. With Papa still gone, I put off day's beginning this morning and invited Eden into bed for some morning snuggling and story-reading while I avoided getting out of the warm bed to confront the cold fireplace. Then, we proceeded to mess around. I did a little bit of work, got unreasonably distracted by the news of my new niece's birth (a new baby!), nursed and pottied the baby, and didn't get around to feeding us a proper meal until dinner time. I was vaguely aware of the Boy's exploits, but, honestly, pretty distracted. I tried working through a stack of library books with him, but wound up falling asleep in the middle with baby in my arms.

At the end of a day like today, I was tickled to find on the living room floor evidence of the magical, spontaneous kind of learning that reflects the bright mind of my Boy.
He was tallying something. After a little inquiry, I learned he was tallying left-handed and right-handed baby hand gestures while the baby played under his little baby gym.
He had heard Papa speculating about whether baby was left- or right-handed. So, to gather data on the question, he devised his own science experiment. And his experimental design was fairly sophisticated!

He divided a sheet of paper in half and marked one half L for left and one half R for right. He watched his brother play and made a marks each time the baby reached for the right or left ring in the appropriate column. He then aggregated his results.

The tally sheet shows 40 times baby grabbed the left ring and 16 times baby grabbed the right ring.

So proud of my Boy and his curiosity that shines so bright.


  1. That is super cool! Maybe if you do plots like that over time you'll see the "handedness" start to express itself more and more. Or not. But mostly I'm impressed that E thought to do it!

  2. Love that idea of extending the experiment, Stephanie!

  3. Very cool!

    We thought Kyan was left handed for the longest time, but it appears he is right handed, as far as writing is concerned anyway. Damek started calling him "ambidextrous" when he was around 2, so Kyan also calls himself that now:) He does appear to be able to throw balls and do other things just as well with left or right hands, so the title seems to fit.