Lincoln and Random Knowledge

We belong to Amazon Prime, and we often use Prime to watch videos on our Playstation.  It’s a pretty nice program.  We enjoy being able to stream Mythbusters, Phineas and Ferb or Dora whenever the mood strikes.

Every time we turn on the Amazon Instant Video program on our Playstation we see an advertisement for a new movie or television show.  Of course, we don’t often get to watch those as they are usually not “Prime.”

Lately, one of the movies that is often advertised is Lincoln.  We’ve seen the advertisement several times.  Yesterday, as the ad popped up, Rose came up to me and said, “Is that Abraham Lincoln?”

I replied, “Yes.  How did you know that?”  (I had my finders crossed that maybe she had read the word “Lincoln.”)

She told me, “Because he had a really tall hat, and he has a beard.”

She proceeded to go and get a five dollar bill out of her special drawer.  She asked me, “Is this Abraham Lincoln too?”

I replied, “Yes, and how did you get a $5 bill?”

She said, “The tooth fairy.”

I have to pause here and tell you that our tooth fairy only gives out $1, so I still don’t know where the $5 came from.  Hubby teased her about having a “rich tooth fairy,” and the subject changed.

I was thinking in my head that I was shocked that Rose had made a connection to Abraham Lincoln.  We haven’t talked much about the men on the money.  Firecracker knows a little about it, and he even throws out Abraham Lincoln as one of the presidential names he knows.

We’ve done no US History this year, and Rose is only 6 years old.  She may have talked about Abraham Lincoln a little at preschool, over a year ago now, but not enough that she’d be able to go and pull out a bill with his pictures on it in 5 seconds flat.

In fact, the only reference to Lincoln that we’ve made all year long was when we read  Civil War On Sunday.  She’s got a pretty good memory, and I was amazed at the way that she filed away a connection.

Since we are committed to an interest-led educational pathway, I often don’t know how the children are making connections as they add new knowledge into their knowledge bank until it comes out in the way that Rose’s knowledge about Abraham Lincoln came out yesterday.

However, I will say that I believe strongly in allowing those connections to form.  I think it was when I was reading Charlotte Mason that I learned that you can’t judge the connections that children make as they learn.  Instead you have to trust that those connections are made.

A friend of mine said a couple of months ago, “I believe that if you teach it, they will learn it.”  Can’ I take a minute and tell you that I believe exactly the opposite?  There’s no point in teaching a child somethings that they aren’t ready for or don’t see the value in.  You’re just wasting your time and your energy.

I’m always surprised and thrilled at the connections that the children make, and I’m always standing by, ready to add to their connections, ready to scaffold their learning to a new level.

These bits of knowledge that may seem random are really priceless to me.  They’re the evidence that the children are thinking and processing the things that we read, discuss and experience.  They are the proof that my children are learning how to learn.


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