Summer, learning, and children

For once, I’m posting less about art and more about life. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting back to posting about art soon enough.

I think, looking at my work overall, you can see that I’m influenced by a great many things. I don’t really match any one artist, or one style, and I tend to not really have a style at all. It’s a part of my nature to be interested in everything, and, in turn, to try to create from every angle.

My whole life, I’ve been fascinated by, really, everything, and it’s something that I can see in my children as well. They want to learn, to know all kinds of different things, and are naturally curious. But I’ve noticed that, while their normal education is pretty good really, schools are really lacking in some areas.

I think the schools are okay when it comes to science, but could be better. Social studies falls off some, and history is, really, right out the window. I think it’s important to know these other things, and I try to encourage my own kids to seek that information out. If anything, as an adult it’s far easier to follow conversations and have intelligent discussions when I at least have heard of something before.

Starting last summer, in an effort to continue learning over the easy months, we started an experiment. I gave my son just a real short article to read each weekday, usually about history, important places, even the unusual and paranormal. Then, we just had to have a short discussion about it some time later in the day.

It worked out very well, and during the last school year even several of those ideas came up. He could easily discuss them, or at least know in general where they were coming from. Overall, he approached new ideas differently, and still does with a nice curiosity.

So, this summer, being unemployed and having both kids at home, we’re having both kids learn new things. The 9 year old girl is reading similar short articles that my son did last year. My son is reading more from the web, articles that I find online for him to check out (he normally reads them on his iPod Touch).

It’s been a great success so far, and both of them have piped up when those topics came up. The other day, when the show Gettysburg popped up onscreen, the girl started talking about the Gettysburg Address, what Lincoln was doing, and really just being excited about having that knowledge.

I also try to add in unique ideas as well. That includes the paranormal, unusual places, odd events, and the like. I think that’s something to encourage in children especially, to understand that there are things we can’t explain, and that the mysteries of the world should be embraced and not shunned.

Here are some of the short articles that the girl has read so far:

  • The Gettysburg Address (of course)
  • Stories of fish and frogs raining down
  • Alexander’s Siege of Tyre (which is today’s, and she wants to see the “bridge” in Google Earth now)
  • Telekinesis
  • The Rosetta Stone
  • The Mary Celeste

My son has been reading from various things online, and I’m keeping a list of those on the computer here to show him at the end of the summer. Here are some of those:

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Russell Dickerson has been a lot of things over many years. Author, artist, designer, winner of awards and recognition, pursuer of the truth, leader of the earth after armageddon.