Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to Be a Kid Again

This past week I attended a home school conference at a small private college in the beautiful, rolling hills of the Shennandoah Valley.  There were several interesting classes, and I met some fascinating people.  Yet for some reason, one of the bits that has most stuck with me was a short children's book I just happened to peruse after a 30 minute presentation on teaching math to children.

I've never been particularly interested in calculaing the circumference of the earth, or even math for that matter (I primarily work in theatre), yet I found myself leafing through "The Librarian Who Measured the Earth."  Not exactly a riveting title, but by the time I got to the end (~16 pages), I was captivated.  Using a well, a long stick and the sun, Eratosthenese (born in North Africa over 2000 years ago) was not only able to measure the distance to the center of the earth, but also accurately calculate the circumference of the earth. 

As technology improved, his calculation held up, and it turns out he was accurate to within 200 miles.  Not a bad margin of error considering the earth's circumference is 25,000 miles.  So why was I so interested?  I guess because this was such elegant thinking.  It showed true ingenuity and resourcefulness; attributes I would like to cultivate in myself and my children.  And I liked the author's dedication:

"To all the children who dare to ask questions and continue to wonder."

It makes me want to be a kid again : )


  1. Good job! Way to be a supportive dad!

    Wayne and Melanie VDG

  2. It was so great being with you at the conference. New location, new friends, and interesting topics all combined to open our hearts and minds a little more. We have to get that book before you spoil the ending for the kids! :)

  3. You're right. I should have included "PLOT SPOILER" in the post :)