Trust The Children

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Strategic Displacement of Parts

Gathered around the kitchen table, we were just talking. Most of the family. While we were talking, Ben, age 15, was busily working on the latest disassembly of something that wasn't working right. Cyndy had purchased at the thrift store a plastic sword. It had noises and hidden buttons. Somehow, someone was "playing" with it and broke the blade. So with that much broken it became an obvious candidate for inspection and disassembly.

It was fun to listen as he would comment, "Oh! there is a button here. I couldn't even see it." Then, "Oh! the on/off switch is right here. Amazing." "I wonder if I can make it work if this wire conducted power," or something like that. I said to him, "Ben is there anything in his house, you haven't taken apart at one time or another, or should I say, destroyed? "

We all laughed and then Ben said, "This isn't breaking things. It is "Strategic Displacement of Parts". We all howled in laughter. Strategic Displacement of Parts. I can't tell you how many times, this has been relived in our home. One reason we moved here was so that we could do this kind of learning in a home and yard that allowed for disassembly, destruction and trial and error.

As I have thought about it, I might label it "Strategic Learning by being curious" or "Strategic Learning by doing" or "Strategic Learning by Parents not freaking out when their sons explore" (in acceptable destruction of things that are truly temporal or temporary). Why buy science kits when the thrift store has shelves of "learning projects" for pennies on the dollar?

Today, I remind all of us, that learning doesn't need to be expensive. The resources may be broken things we have right under our noses. There is something wonderfully simple about what Ben calls "Strategic Displacement of Parts".


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