Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's Google it!

I find it quite amusing that my son uses the word "google" as a verb. "Let's Google it!" , "Just Google it mom" or the basic "google it" are common phrases at Appleby farm school.

In my day it was look it up in the encyclopedia. And I did. Lots. Because when I wanted to know something I knew that the answer was in the World Book. You can get lost in those encyclopedias. One minute you're looking for locomotive and next thing you know you're reading about locusts because it's all right there and so tempting (especially when you see the picture of a swarm of locusts, eew!)
I hear the request "google it" at least once a day if not more. The sizzler has learned if he wants to know something we go to the World Wide Web to find out.
But beware, one can lost out there in cyber space too.
So today it was all about trains, again. He's not tired of them yet so we keep chugging down that "track".
Our ES was visiting today (the teacher who checks in with us to make sure we are actually doing school and not just goofing off) and she wanted to play the Joining of the Rails game with him. This is a file folder game we made that connects to the story of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Now what she didn't know was that the sizzler is quite good at this game. Poor woman. She was humbled by an 8 year old that knew more about this part of American History than she did. I can totally relate.
The sizzler decides to have mercy and help the ES with the questions she doesn't know (show her what you know son!) and she almost wins the game. He beams. She congratulates him. They move on.
Fast forward to the afternoon when all our "must dos" are done. He loves this time because now he can do anything he wants. Well, almost anything.
So, what does he want to do? Make a game like the one he's been playing but it will be based on the Mountain Quarries Railroad that operated near us a long time ago. Brilliant idea! How can I help?
Now, as a homeschooling mama of a sizzler these are golden moments. I want to dance and sing when he has a cool, awesome, even academic project he wants to do. Forget anything else I had to do this afternoon. This is full steam ahead baby!
So, I start with some questions. What will the game look like? How will it work? Do you want to have questions like the other game? Where will you start on the game board? Where will you end up? You get the idea.
Well, we need to start at the limestone crusher and end up at....... Hmmmm, where did they end up?
"Let's Google it!"
I love this part. Researching information and ideas is a hobby for me. My adrenaline is pumping now!
It turns out the railroad ends at Flint Station in Auburn, but we can't find any photos of it. No problem says the sizzler, I'll just draw that part.
Now he is in full fledged board game designing mode. He gets out a Thomas board game to examine it's layout. He gets ideas. He is ready to create the Mountain Quarries Railroad game! Woo hoooo!

Now one thing about sizzlers is they get so excited about what they are doing and they tend to rush things. It's my job to slow that engine down and get him to think about his decisions first, particularly when they involve glue. Luckily for me, he was willing to listen to mama's suggestions today.

Ta da! The track is finished. Now it's time for the details.

Now this makes my mama heart go pitter pat. He is writing. Because he wants to. Because he needs to put the name of the game on the board. There was no bribing or threatening. He wrote. Yay!
We worked together to finish up the game. We used our Google powers again and found interesting facts and turned them into questions for the game. And he let me make water for the river. He's nice that way.
Then we played the game. He won. Of course. All thanks to Google.

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