Monday, September 16, 2002

Tales from the front pew, Chapter 8

David is a free spirit. One of the things that he was excited about with home-schooling was that he would have some say over what he studied. I think he had the idea that he would be able to do whatever he wanted without any bounds. He has this idea in his head that he wants to do experiments. He has Deb's old chemistry set and he wants very badly to start mixing things together to see if they will blow up. I think we have a future pyrotechnics expert on our hands. Or perhaps just a pyromaniac.

Some of these experiments he does are constructive and I think he learns from them. He has been studying magnetism. There is a bowl of water on his desk in his bedroom. It has some wire wrapped around the rim, several magnets arranged around the rim, one magnet in the bottom, and a nail, slowly rusting away in the water. He discovered that if he stirred the water with the nail, he could get a small reading from a meter connected to the wire and the water. I'm still trying to explain what is actually making the meter move, but he already has visions of large bowls of water used to generate electricity.

Some of those experiments do not go so well. He wanted to experiment this morning before church. He had his new clothes on that Grandma had bought for him just the other day. He went downstairs. He was going to make a drill. He somehow connected an old ink pen to a motor and started the thing turning by connecting it to a battery. Unfortunately, the ink pen still had ink in it. Lots of ink. It is now all over his new clothes. He came upstairs rather sheepishly. "Uhh, Mom," he said. "We have a problem."

All the homeschool books encourage letting your kids discover by experiencing and experimenting. What they don't tell you is how much it will cost.

In church this evening, the pastor started a series of sermons on marriage. David wanted to lie down because it didn't apply to him. I told him to sit up. "You'll probably get married someday, " I told him. "Besides, if you sit up and act like you're listening, everyone behind us will think that we have such good kids." (I think they already know better.)

As the service started David asked me, "Dad, if you're a bachelor, do you have to go to these?"

I guess when you're 9 years old, marriage seems like it's a million years away.