Day 35: Silverfish

Boy usually has (at least one) something he’s thinking, and talking, about non-stop. Years ago it was his imaginary friend Toggo and the (imaginary) town he lived in: Southwest Little Peak. These days he has ‘My Imaginary World’ which is vaguely medieval,   occupied by a guy named Steve, and also an imaginary pioneer family he likes to talk to, Daniel and Rebecca, and their son Danny. Last year he spent a lot of time imagining an eco-cabin/treehouse he would build in the mountains. Or the eco-villages he will build in deserts all over the world (he totally does not get what a terrible idea that is). He also imagines other things he wants to invent or build. He imagines that he wants to have an engineering firm (like his Grampy) that he will call either Airborne (for planes) or Seaborne (for subs and ships).

For the last week or so, Boy has been talking about a submersible he wants to build. His Grampy helped work on a small research submersible in the 60s, so that kind of a thing is a recurring theme. I got that it was flexible somehow, but nothing he was saying made a lot of sense to me, and he was talking about it a lot, kind of repetitively, so I had been tuning him out a lot. But I’ve been thinking about the ways that we don’t make Boy feel very good sometimes, though we love him so much. I think tuning him out when he’s talking about his ideas is a case in point. Yes, it’s repetitive and sounds kind of crazy, but he is in absolute earnest. And was I trying to design submersibles when I was 7? No, I wasn’t. And neither was his Dad. I want Boy to feel like he’s awesome. Because he truly is. And when he feels good, I think he acts better. When he feels bad, he acts worse.

I had asked Boy a couple of days ago if he thought he could draw his submersible or build a model of it, and he said no, it was too complicated for him to draw, and he didn’t have good materials to build it.

So this morning, the FIRST thing I did when I got a cup of coffee was sit down and tell Boy that I wanted him to tell me ALL ABOUT his sub, and that I would draw it for him. And that’s exactly what we did. Boy was incredibly specific about its features. One thing I can tell you is that it bends like a vacuum hose, and is propelled somehow by its circular fins. It is unmanned, it takes pictures of interesting things, and it attacks other ships by sawing holes in them with the spikes on its fins. Here it is, The Silverfish Submersible:


Now, a swallow does not a summer make, and one drawing is not going to overnight make Boy feel like we value his ideas, and by extension, him. And who knows if that’s really an issue? But I genuinely suspect that it is. And it’s a start.

The other thing is that Boy is starting to feel frustrated that he doesn’t know how things, like car engines, actually work. But it isn’t easy to understand those things. I’m thinking about how I can help him make a start. So this week we are going to begin with car engines. I’ll read to him from The New Way Things Work, but I’ve also got some relevant holds at the library. I may also post on our local homeschooling Facebook group to see if anyone can suggest useful book or video resources. Once we do a little of that, I may see if we can visit his friend’s dad who’s an auto mechanic to ask some questions. I think if we can gain a little understanding of one kind of complicated mechanism, it will assuage Boy’s anxiety that he’ll never really know how to build anything. And we’ll see where things go.

For Girl’s week, we have planned research into the life of Sacagawea. In Daisy scouts, Girl was asked to have her mom tell her the story of a girl or woman who was strong and courageous. I asked Girl first if there was someone she wanted to learn about, and she came up with Sacagawea (!). So I found a Lewis and Clark documentary today, and put some books on hold at the library. Since Boy is very interested in Lewis and Clark I think we will go for learning about all three.

I think those are enough plans for one week.

3 thoughts on “Day 35: Silverfish

  1. Wow! What a beautiful drawing you made. And I love the way you must have made Boy feel. My daughter loved to dictate me her stories, and it gave her power over words. There are youtube videos of how things are made, my A loved them. Taking things apart and looking at them and trying to build them again was a good thing to do for us. Like an old telephone, before all the electronics. And making a small car, with corkwheels, a battery and a small motor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love hearing about the things you’ve done with your kids. We have taken your cue, and today we are taking apart our old iron (which I dropped on the kitchen floor and smashed a while ago). We were able to trace the circuit and look at the little switch mechanism. I’ve never done anything like that before; I think I liked it better than Boy 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great post. My daughter has always loved taking things apart. My husband took her on a field trip to Fry’s Electronics. They bought one of those small robot kits and put it together. That was the best project ever. She also has lots of books about building robots. She loves engineering. Fry’s has lots of starter kits that don’t require soldering. You can find them online. I would also like to suggest the YouTube channel called “Make:”. The episodes are hosted by the cutest little girl. She walks you through building Mousy the Junkbot. My daughter loves the book Junkbots, Bugbots, & Bots on Wheels by David Hrynkiw and Mark Tilden. For great car stuff, check ot


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