Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Yesterday I took my 2nd grader to the local Library. He needed to pick up a book about Rachel Carson for a school project. He has two weeks to make a poster-report on a person who did something important to change the world.

He came home with a list of people to choose from that included: Neil Armstrong, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison & Tecumseh, as well as Ms. Carson. My son chose to do his research on Rachael Carson because I thought she would be a good subject.

A Premier Environmentalist
Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring which help draw attention to our environment being poisoned by the mis-use of pesticides and led to the formation of the EPA. While I never read this book, I remember as a young child, seeing Silent Spring on my parent's book shelf. I was excited to help gather information with my son.

A Trip to The Library

Usually my husband takes the boys to the library but I decided I need to start reading more and had put a few books on reserve for myself. When we reached the Library, I spent the whole time trying to keep up my my 7 year old. He was a whirling dervish of activity. By the time I went to the reserve area to find my books, my son already had them pulled.

Note to self: Must go to library more often so I can keep up with the rest of my family.

Why Not Neil Armstrong?

Shortly after we had returned back home, my husband asked me why I pushed Rachel Carson on my son. I explained that I thought Colin's interest in birds and nature made this a good fit.
Hubby:"Why not Neil Armstrong?"
Me: "Why, Neil Armstrong?"
Hubby: "Colin is into the stars and astronomy"
Me: "What's wrong with Rachel Carson?"
Hubby: "Your son doesn't know who she is and only picked her because you told him to"
Me: "Mmmmm. I better talk to Colin....."

I had a quick chat with my baby to make sure I didn't force him into a topic he didn't really want to learn about. I made sure he knew he could change to another person of influence and I would still be happy to help him. Colin was fine with our original subject.

As we started to read through the biography I could see a lot of common threads.

Rachel as a young girl loved to be out in nature and observe birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. My son loves to look for fossils and when he was 5 years old, memorized a bird guide that I had brought home. We would go for "bird walks" and he would try to identify all the birds we would see.

I remember as a young girl how my mother used to love to help me with projects. (At times a bit too helpful and I had to get her to back off). I am now trying to do the same with my kids (hopefully without the pushy part). I find I am learning right along with them. The trick is to make sure I am only helping to provide guidance and to let them do the work. (even if it is not as polished as I would like).

I realized how much of an influence I have on the choices my kids make. But, they also have had been a good influence on me as well. Going through school the second time around had made me smarter and a better person!


terri said...

I always loved working on school projects with my kids too and had to work really hard not to do too much for them.

Jessica said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Your son seems so bright for 7 years old. I teach 1st grade and can't imagine any of my students doing a project like that. You must be so proud.

Have a great weekend!