How do flies poo upwards?

  Being a wonderer I’ve always wondered that! And with the spring sunshine illuminating all the dingy corners neglected all winter I noticed that flies must poo upwards to get the dirt in places they do.

But it’s not just fly poo I wonder about.

I wonder how to be the best parent I can without smothering the poor kids to death. I used to wonder how to enable the kids to learn in ways that didn’t ruin our relationship. I wondered how to keep them switched on to the wonders of the world.

With small kids, you don’t have to. It’s like they’re born with wonder. They want to know about everything, hence the endless ‘why’ questions. But we found with ours that this wonder, this interest in learning about their world, got trashed in school when there were other targets to be met like ticks on charts. It dies a death in many children and that made me wonder; what happened to their interest in this magnificent world? Where did that go? That was the question that started us home schooling. That gave us plenty to wonder about!

The biggest question when you home educate is about education itself. What constitutes an education? Is it exam passes or something broader? Or another way of looking at it; what exactly is an educated person, if it’s more than a just a person with qualifications?

Each of us will probably have different answers to this one. We found our ideas changed over time and we began to see that an educated person evolved as the result of experiences rather than anything they were taught. And the starting point for those experiences was often –  wonder.

Children’s wonder at their world, their inquisitiveness and awe, is a marvellous aspect of childhood that, if we’re careful not to push aside, keeps them interested and motivated to learn. Keeps their education developing.

It’s nurtured by encouraging observation and questions, by posing more (we don’t need to know the answer we can learn together – thanks Google!) I remember their laughter at me asking ‘Why do flies poo on the ceiling?’

But fly poo aside, you and the children can raise questions about everything they see and do. E.g. what makes it rain? How do chickens get eggs inside them? Where does bread come from? What makes our arms bend? Etc. Your conversations about the answers will keep them thinking and begin to develop an educated person.

Besides, there is nothing more enchanting than being with a kid who still has awe about these seemingly insignificant things. They make us dulled-down adults look with fresh eyes at even a mundane job like buying milk. (Where does milk come from – and how?) Wherever you are, whatever you experience, you can use their wonder to encourage learning and keep their mind stimulated and alive.

And this is the best opportunity ever to develop it into something great; an educated mind.


8 thoughts on “How do flies poo upwards?

  1. I think you’ve found the answer to lifelong learning – a curious mind that never stops asking questions! I used to think that when little children asked a lot of questions they were just going through a phase. Now I see that they get to a certain age and stop asking questions because either no one answers them any more, they are told they are stupid, or too many adults place their agendas ahead of helping children find answers to their own questions, or children don’t have any time to find the answers to their own questions.

  2. I wonder who was the first person to drink milk? I expect he wasn’t considered the most intelligent of his time, yet he/she must have asked themselves a whole series of fact finding questions before he took that step to drink the milk of another animal. That, I think, would be an interesting subject for a teacher to cover, as I imagine it would be quite an engaging subject.

  3. I love the title of this. It’s just the sort of thing my son would ask me. You’re so right about education being about experience rather than teaching. A good educator (teacher, parent, mentor…) is one who can help someone experience a range of different things and as a result become educated. ‘Book smarts’ only go so far. A truly educated person is one who has experienced life – including the stuff in books – in all its fulness.

  4. Did you find the answer about fly poo? I think that is what makes children so magical – the fact that the world is truly open to every possibility. I hope I can keep a little if this in myself.

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