Thursday, February 7, 2013

Freedom to learn

One of the best things about homeschooling is the freedom to learn in the real world anytime we feel inclined.
So, the sizzler has been learning about trains. He especially likes the old steam trains. He first became interested in the "iron horses" after finding a book called "Death of the Iron Horse" by Paul Goble. His new interests are often sparked by books. He studied the picture of the steam locomotive. He drew pictures of it. He thought about it. Why does he like them so much? He says he likes the way they look. Now, you must know that he tends to like "old" things. Model T's, phonographs and old typewriters are some of his favorite things. He is drawn to the style of things past. I do love this about him. When we visit museums, the old timers who are docents are taken with his interest in things from their era.

Back to trains. Today we went to the train museum in Sacramento. What a gem! The sizzler and his friend D had a blast. There were many steam locomotives (with the balloon smoke stack) for my son to drool over. He taught D and I about the sand dome. In case you don't know it's on top of the locomotive and drops sand down tubes onto the tracks in icy conditions. This helps the driving wheels to grip the track. Huh! Never knew that! He had all sorts of encyclopedic knowledge that he shared with us. We also got to go inside vintage rail cars. The mail car, sleeper and dining cars were a trip back in time. Of course in each car there is a volunteer train history buff. When they see two young ones that are interested boy do they go to town sharing pearls of wisdom. The sizzler will usually share some of his too. The old timers get so tickled when he does that. They sort of look at me like "how does he know this?" He just does.



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