My 7.5 yo is a voracious learner. She wants to know everything it seems! How do you slow down a child like this? I don't want to hold her back but there are limits. Right now we have 48 books borrowed from the library - all ones she picked on things she wants to learn about. Very few are fiction or "just for fun". (I feel badly saying no to library books because they are free and because she really does enjoy reading them and I know she will read them. But I am sick of walking out of there with 2 adults carrying full armloads of books!)
Right now her interests include: ancient history especially Egypt and Greece; tree identification; rocks and minerals; all sorts of insects and crustaceans - especially isopods and crayfish; the ocean; "all the math there is"; space; mythology... and more.
She never seems to "drop" and interest but only adds it to the rest. We currently have so many small projects going on that I am overwhelmed (she's doing great though lol). We have tanks of crayfish and containers of insects. We have skymaps and history timelines and geologic timelines and bags of rocks and minerals she insists on identifying. And tomorrow she wants to walk around the park and see how many trees she can identify! She was outside until 10:30 tonight figuring out the names of stars. She also asks to do math everyday and writes in a journal. (Today she wrote about "something only I know" and she wrote about 5 sentences about isopods!)
I am grateful she's such a motivated learner but I am burning out. She is thriving and learning so much! Is it right to want to slow her down? Tonight when she told me she wants to make a timeline "for rocks" (geologic time line?) I turned to my dh and said "You can do this one" lol
Any tips on how to get her to enjoy a little down time?
Sounds like the problem is more about how much parental involvement is required? It's hard when they are full of ideas but want/need help. But maybe you can start to ease out a bit from helping so much. Instead of helping her with everything, help her help herself more (organizing things so she can find her own supplies, etc). Get her a library bag and let her take out all the books she can carry. You might want to get your own bag and fill it up with books for yourself so you aren't empty handed. I know my ds would see me with empty arms and think I should be more useful, lol.
That is amazing. Did dh help out with the timeline?
I wouldn't want to ask her to slow down at all ... but I have never been in your shoes. Then again, maybe I have. Reading your post I wonder if I have already slowed dd down by not being able to keep up with her as much as you clearly have with your dd, but are perhaps not able to continue in the same level of intensity.
Not an answer to your question, but just a "hmm ..." and again WOW
Sounds like she never gets bored! I am still pretty inexperienced, but I might agree with 4evermom about trying to work out how she can help herself on some of it, or to get your dh to take on some more if his plate isn't also as full as yours. This might "slow her down" at least visibly, but she will getting more experience setting up her own projects. For example (this I have done) when DD1 has a project in mind (say, "timeline") I'll usually ask her what she needs to make it, what she wants to put on it. Usually I end up more as a sounding board for her ideas and an eager observer. This often happens while I'm busy on something else but I try to stay available and attentive if she seems to need that. I do make a point to rarely do any of my own work during the day that can't be easily interrupted. (Not that I'll just drop everything that second, I mean longer projects like learning about and setting up this new wireless printer, or dh doing his quarterly taxes). My daughter sounds less intense than yours, usually liking to play with her toys and run around most of the day still, so I have it pretty easy right now.
Mainly I wanted to reply because of the library books! We rotate 4 cards (50 check-outs and 25 holds each) and have at least 100 books and videos out and any given time. We are walking distance from the library and use the old jog stroller to carry the books because it's quieter than the red wagon we used to haul them in. (That's not a suggestion, just some sympathy!)
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Thank you. I think the problem IS that I take it on as my own project too much. I just never seem to want to let an opportunity for "learning" slide, it seems. I need to work on that.
It's true that dd is never bored. She also seems to get a bit "obsessive". lol But, I've heard that it's normal at her age - it's the "fact gathering" stage and it's a bit like kids who memorize baseball stats.
I think that's excellent advice about limiting library books to what she can manage on her own. It may mean more trips to the library but that's a fair trade off. Right now it's near 100 degrees and I am thankful we have so many library books because it's too hot to do much more than sit inside and read!
Yesterday she found a beautiful white fuzzy caterpillar. She and her father looked up the name of it and what it eats (Virginia Tiger Moth Caterpillar, and grass and clover), and today she's all about learning everything she can about "Snowball". All day long she's been following me around with facts like , "Did you know that caterpillar poop is called 'frass'? Did you know that Snowball has between 20 and 100 brothers and sisters?" Ayiyi. lol
It really is wonderful, though, I just need to remember that.
This is so funny! My kids are doing this, too, but theirs turns into competitions and fights, not sentences about isopods.
If you are interested in "slowing her down" without really slowing her down, consider the more "passive" form of observation described in wilderness books. Tom Brown Jr., who wrote The Tracker, has an excellent guide book for children, which includes observing the animal and its behaviors. He writes that often kids' inquisitiveness is satiated too early when labels are put to the kids' discoveries. (This doesn't really quite apply to your little girl.) Also, the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, WA (and on line) has some good kid stuff (.....I need caffeine! None for days! "Good kid stuff"? Yikes! I apologize for all present and future brain freezes!) including a book called something like "Coyote Learning". Their style is a bit heavy and structured and I skipped a lot. But amidst their structure was non-structure: advice on what they call a "sit spot" for example. All in an attempt to change how we observe nature around us. To watch, listen, experience, to bring ourselves out of our heads and into our bodies. To experience it in its entirety, with us in the midst of it all. I took notes, skipped the rest once I started falling asleep. They've had a wilderness awareness class at a nearby park for several years, and I hope they will do it again this fall, as my kids are finally old enough and eager.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.