A friend had me wait a minute before I left her house because she had something for me. She dug around her garage and pulled out a five disk CD player and handed it over. I was more than a little confused. She smiled and told me that after hearing about my son's robotics camp, she thought he might enjoy dismantling some broken electronics. I was very grateful.
Ever since his camp, my son has been reading about electronics, wiring simple motors, and looking up robot videos. He's been very hungry to learn about anything having to do with robotics and engineering. Meanwhile, I've been keeping an eye on the toaster. I figured it was only a matter of time before he began to see it as more of a project than an appliance.
As you can probably guess, he devoured CD player. An hour after giving it to him, I came back to find: 1. a very sizable pile of small screws. 2. A motor carefully placed to the side. 3. The circuit boards stacked next to the motor. 4. the rest of the CD player being worked over carefully by a happy boy chattering on about what he was discovering.
Mom! This motor is basically the same as the other one I saw, and that (the circuit board) looks a lot like my snap circuits only smaller and with more parts. Do you think any of this will work?
The best and most lasting learning comes when someone is excited and experiencing new things. I've learned that at least half of my job as a homeschooling mom is to find out how to ignite their interest. I don't always have them so enthusiastic, but it is what I aim for. Moments like these are priceless because he becomes so fired up about learning. Without that fire, learning is boring and difficult, but with it, all learning is magical.
By the way, I'm still keeping an eye on my toaster.