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Life Learning — Page 2

Life Learning

Pensive Winter-Snow2 Emma-Jeane-Love-you Winter-Snow Observation9 Observation8 Observation1 The River Observation5 Observation4 Observation3 Observation6 Observation2 Observation7

Emma Jeanne turned 8 months old yesterday. 8 months, where did the time go? We celebrated as we have every month, with more snuggles, and cuddles and smiles. She holds her own in this crazy life of ours. She isn’t one for riding quietly on mama’s back, or sitting and playing with a small toy. Oh no, she wants to be where the action is. I suppose that is a normal part of having three older brothers, and having them always by her side. I can tell she has a beautifully wild nature, and she is not going to let any of this life pass her by.

 The snow is still coming and going in these final days of winter. A beautiful snow shower here, followed by golden light and a warm breeze. I can’t complain, this winter has treated everyone in these parts beautifully. My older boys continually inform me that the snow in the high country is “epic mom, seriously epic!”, and they have gotten more days skiing than any other year since they began. I know that as much as they love their winter adventures, they are so excited to break free and get their legs moving. Reading books in the trees, that is where they want to be.

The other day we found our way down to the river, in search of mud. If there is even a small patch of mud anywhere near by, my kids will find it. On this particular visit, it wasn’t just mud that they were searching for, but river water as well. We have a new science lesson coming up that focuses on different organisms in the water, and our river is certainly full enough to be home to a lot of life. The field trip sparked some interesting conversation, as I asked the boys to please bring their field journals and sketch materials with them. This was, as so often happens, met with a strange look.

I ask my children to sketch, a lot. Some teachers make their kiddos write a certain sentence over and over, I make my kids draw the same insect, or flower, or tree over and over. Up until now we haven’t discussed why in detail. Both of my older boys are simply convinced that they will be scientists when they grow up, and there has always been the attitude of “why would I need to draw if I am going to outer space?”. Fair question.

While we were collecting river water, taking photos of the growth of certain plants, etc. I asked them what the similarity was between the artist and the scientist. For once, there weren’t a lot of answers. They gave me their best guesses, and thought that perhaps it was a trick question, but there was nothing concrete that they could think of. “They are both observers of their environment”, I replied.

If you think about it, there is so much similarity between the artist and the scientist. Both are fascinated with the world around them, and both seek to explain it’s complexity, beauty, and function. I have an engineer and physicist for a father, and I can promise you that he sees the world as an artist would. Having the ability to artistically render what is in front of you; the shapes, forms, lines, and color, those are imperative for a scientist to be able to do. Yes, understanding math and scientific principles is clearly necessary as well, but art should not be over looked. Our schools, our society increasingly tell us that art and music are not important, that they do not give our children anything of value in today’s science and math focused world. I beg to differ. Art gives everyone, but especially scientists, a medium to explain what they see, what they are trying to prove, and what is happening in the world that they are studying. When we look at the scientific journals of some of the world’s most renowned scientists, art is everywhere.

Art and science are two incredible fields of study, and sometimes letting them dance together brings about a whole new way to look at the world of education. Children need to know that life is not singular. They need to be good at many different things in order to be great at one thing. They need to understand the way that things work, move, function, appear, and live.  They need to take apart, and piece back together, get dirty, experiment, explore, and create. Through it all, they need to find a way to convey what they are observing, and art is as great as a medium as any.

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