October 14, 2014

Today I learned just how important it is for young learners to have the time and freedom to go deeper into information in which they have been introduced. Our day started with Matthew and Arianna writing with quills and ink. They loved it. We had picked this lovely set of parchment with the Gettysburg address written on it in Abes hand, the ink, and the feather quill on our trip to Springfield this past weekend. Arianna sat in front of me in dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder from bonnet to boot, writing intensely on the extra parchment. Matthew also focused writing legal type jargon his paper and practicing his signature. They were noticing how different quills are from pens (they both liked it better because it looked way fancier and official). Then a question “where did they get the ink from back in the olden days?” My response, “good question, go look it up.” The findings were incredibly different depending on era and geography. They learned about ink all the way up to today’s printer inks. As the kids were researching this topic, and learning more about the evolution of ink, they also learned that parchment wasn’t really paper, but animal hides. They learned which birds had the best quill feathers. That those feather quills needed to be hardened before cutting for use, and they didn’t last long.  I watched and wondered as they found new and exciting facts that spun off one simple question, how can limiting education to ‘staying on topic’ ever really be good for anyone?  

My kids are living the lessons from costumes to writing the documents to exploring more information. It is the tactile learning experience of becoming the era that will further their understanding. I am sure they will not forget this information.