PBS Parents Blog – Why Parents Don’t Need to Have All the Answers

Asalaam ‘Alaikum,

I recently read the following blog post on PBS Parents. I really liked what it said – and it fits our homeschool environment pretty well.

I can’t tell you the number of times we have looked things up in Wikipedia – in Encyclopedias online or did extensive searches in the library for more information, masha’Allah. My favorite quote is “I don’t know, but I know where I can find out!” I am very thankful that my kiddos are quite inquisitive all on their own, masha’Allah – with all their “why” “what” “when” “how” “who” questions all the time. A while ago while doing regular schoolwork, we watched a documentary called The Human Footprint. By the way, that site has a lot of good documentaries on it – but there are materials that I personally do not approve of – so step carefully! Anyway, the kids were surprised at how much of an impact people have on their environment and they felt they needed to do something about it. I promised them that we would research that topic once the summer came around. Well, we have now finished school and it is officially summer!

Another interesting video that we watched during school was William Kamkwamba on building a windmill. It was amazing to see how one person can make such a difference – and how important it is to educate yourself. The kids were really amazed at this story. After we watched that video earlier in the year, we recently found the follow-up video entitled: William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind. These videos were really inspirational to the girls and motivated them to learn more about things like renewable energy. Today we started our first experiment using a science kit we purchased at a local resale shop (yes, I am frugal – and it was completely new for $3.00, so I can’t complain). Anyway, we were able to hook up a small light bulb using wires to a battery. We then were able to hook up two batteries together and noticed the difference in light output. We also wired a home-made switch using a piece of cardboard, two paper fasteners and a paperclip. The kids were amazed and want to do the experiment again and again, masha’Allah.

We also went to the library this past week and got a load of books on the Green Movement and another load of books about things like renewable energy. We are hoping to first learn a bit about electricity and renewable energy and then see if we can create our own (even if it’s on a small scale) – just to learn more about what’s involved. After we learn a bit about those topics – I am also hoping to learn more about recycling and other methods of living more gently upon the earth. Then we are going to try to find out what types of recycling are available in our own area – and what we can do to help out.

Throughout the year – we often come up with things like this that strikes the kids as something they want to learn. I am so glad that the summer has finally come so we can start to branch out into our other interests, insha’Allah. I hate to say it – but while the kids are excited about this – I truly can’t wait until we get started tomorrow on this quest for knowledge – it is exciting for me as well!

Another thing we have been wondering about is kites. We went to the local park recently to fly our new kite (we bought it last year) and found it to be broken (no, I did not buy it at a resale shop 🙂 ). We looked at it sadly and then wondered if there was anything we could do about it. We are going to repair the kite AND we have also found some new books at the library on the topic of kites. One exciting one we found was entitled “Kites on the Wind” by Emery J. Kelly. It is a really interesting book, masha’Allah! It teaches you to make your own kites – without the use of sticks. It actually has several different styles of kites you can make with a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I told the kids we might do an experiment where we make a few of the kites and see which ones fly best. Then, we might make some other kites on a different occasion and try them out – it seems like it will be fun, masha’Allah.

Anyway – let’s get to the blog posting that started all this . . .

Why Parents Don’t Need to Have All the Answers

by Kimberly Brenneman

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Kimberly BrennemanKimberly Brenneman is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University and a consultant to PBS KIDS’ Sid the Science Kid. Read more »

They say that knowledge is power. I’d suggest that recognizing when you don’t know something is pretty important, too, and knowing how to find out is where the real power lies. In our ever-changing world, with more and more information to locate, sift through, evaluate, and apply to solve problems and make decisions, knowing when you don’t know, and understanding what to do about it, is just as important as knowing “facts.” After all, when I was in elementary school, it was a fact that Pluto was the ninth planet, and we all know how that turned out!

Let’s take a moment to marvel at your amazing preschool kids. Think about how much they don’t know. Now think about how that never stops them. They don’t pull the covers up over their heads and say, “I just can’t do it today. There’s too much to know, too much to do. I can’t possibly finish it all.” Instead, they wake up way earlier than you want them to, eager to get out there and explore, observe, notice, touch, taste, sniff, and ask question after question after question. So, once you’ve rubbed the sleep out of your eyes, maybe downed a mug or three of coffee, and heard the pressing question(s) of the moment, how do you respond? Of course, it depends on the question.

To read the rest of this blog post, please click here.

Asalaam’ Alaikum,

Sumayyah Umm SAA

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