Example of learning style in children – The Spencer Sparks

by Mary Ann on November 11, 2010

kids playing in water mud picture

Little spencers playing in water

The Spencer “Sparks”

WOW!!! I am going to share a fabulous and fun letter that I received. I haven’t changed a word. You can tell that the writer was excited as she wrote and couldn’t get the words on paper fast enough. You are gonna LOVE this!

I have been meaning to email you about some spark type fun [ encouraging children to learn ] we have been having since JUNE! I had been beginning to use The Spark Station this summer, getting familiar with the concepts of sparks, taking your webinars, learning about engaging with the kids, and of course learning to ‘let go’ when the kids began making a mess and not using things in the “right way’. We had such a perfect example of this and every week I have just been in awe at how much this spark affected all of us so much!

kids playing outside picture

It began with simply digging around the boulders in my front yard – I was getting the area ready to plant dahlia’s in June. We went on vacation and I didn’t have time to plant – so I left the area dug up for a few weeks. Well – when you have a house full of boys, leaving dirt unaccompanied is like a blinking neon sign to them. These boys quickly discovered the joy of this little area as they lovingly named it the “water game”.

They used hoses to create waterfalls and floods at first – learning concepts of water pressure, erosion and such. It seemed harmless (other than a little bit of mud on their bums). This quickly transformed into a 4 hour + a day adventure. They would beg to go to the water game each afternoon. Every day was a new creation. Every time we learned something new during Structured learning time, it would quickly transform and be reenacted somehow in the “water game”.

kids playing outside mud picture

Trying out hieroglyphics

Army men began to make camp there, asteroids were making impact craters, there was infrastructure being built (including a monetary system, lashing of boats and TP’s, houses built (and of course demolished by whatever natural disaster we had read about that week), there were temples built, there were wars between ‘God’s army and Satan’s army’, finding and playing with all manner of wildlife, gladiator type arenas built for huge male wolf spider fights!, the hole transformed into wet season and dry season, it became the Kennecott copper mine at one point (where excavation was imitated just like at the mine). They brought out paint and did volcanoes and hieroglyphics, they tried to dig to the inner core of the earth….there were so many amazingly fun learning opportunities that I can’t even begin to remember them (let alone list them all).

kid studying insect picture

Learning about insects

The biggest thing was ME. I let go of my preconceived notions of having to keep the yard looking nice, I let the boys just have at it. It is (and continues to be) some of the most valuable lessons and time we had all summer. Neighbors would comment with delight after watching these boys “go to work” every day (and not playing video games all day) – even though my neighbors could have complained at the sheer disaster my yard turned into. The boys were a real inspiration to a lot of people and other kids.

kid with snake picture

Learning about snakes

I am so grateful for the shift in my thought process [ Parenting education article ] (mostly through your tutoring Mary Ann) – or I would have missed out on an incredibly magical learning summer (and fall). Now I have a hole so deep that they can stand in to their chests (apparently against Osha regulations). The crater in my yard will only last a few months, whereas the memories and the sheer exploration that came from that will last forever. Many of the sparks are still going strong that started from a simple muddy area and a hose. This is love of learning at its best!

Leah Spencer

Possibly Related Posts:

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: