Sunday, August 5, 2012

Answering Questions With The Wonderwall

Photo from
My boys ask lots of questions.

Here's one from the weekend.

DS6: What are windscreens made out of?
MUM: A type of glass I think.
DS6: Who makes the glass?
MUM: Um, the people in the car factory.
DS6: What is glass made from?
MUM: mmmm.....great question. I'm not sure (meaning I have absolutely NO idea!).

I have to be honest and say I don't always know the answers to my kid's questions. I also sometimes raise my eyebrows at the seeming randomness of when these questions pop out. A question about the moon now? In the middle of piano practice? Really? How...

A friend of mine who is a great source of wisdom (and also a school teacher) suggested we create a "wonderwall" which can be anything from a blank piece of paper stuck on a wall to a fancy laminated poster. For us, we had one of those big chalkboard wall stickers which we turned into DS6's wonderwall.

So, what is a wonderwall?

It's a place for DS6 to write questions that we need to find out answers to.

I am constantly saying "That's a great question - but I don't know" but now I can say "I don't know - write it on the wonderwall and we will find out together!"

We allocate some time we call "individual inquiry" which is really just teacher speak for answering questions or following a topic that interests a child. DS6 directs what we do in the this time and often times it will be finding the answer to a question.

After our recent trip to Alice Springs and a look at Australian Aboriginal history his question for the wonderwall was: Why did the white people take the Aboriginal man (who we met) away from his mummy and daddy? I did know the answer to that one so we sat and I explained it the best way I could.

Some other questions we've looked at have been.

What are the olympic games?

What is God's plan for my life? 

Now, that was fun!

What are toys made out of and where are they made? 

Oh what a good question! I took a little detour here to explain about how many companies use child labour and unethical practices using very poor people in very poor countries. I horrified myself actually.

Thankfully, the boys didn't quite seem ready to grasp this concept and I realised I was probably taking the question a little too far and perhaps they weren't yet ready (at 6 & 4) to grasp how our Western greed and consumerism impacts some of the poorest people in the world.

The Wonderwall has been a fantastic addition to our homeschooling day and helps me feel that I'm not just brushing off the difficult questions but doing my best to help DS6 find the answers!

1 comment:

  1. I am going to make a wonder wall today!Such a good idea.Thanks :-) Jess from Let the Wildflowers Grow.


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