How Simon Learns

Screen shot of Simon’s desktop

This is how Simon learns: I watch him as he discovers a new math resource on YouTube (the Blackpenredpen channel). Then his math tutor (a high school teacher Simon has become huge friends with) comes. Simon stops watching the Calculus video on Blackpenredpen and starts showing his math tutor all the new toys he got from St.Nickolas (a Dutch tradition in November-December) and invites him to join him for a set of splashy Physics demos involving water, funnels and beakers. An hour later, Simon is completely wet but gleaming with joy. He didn’t get to do any Khan Academy practice with the tutor and I don’t mind. The same evening I notice Simon get completely absorbed by the Calculus tutorials on Blackpenredpen. He is watching the videos and simultaneously reading up on Integration Rules on the Mathsisfun website, because integration is not yet his forte. He spends about an hour or an hour or two completely engaged. I don’t rush him to go to bed because he has this flow going on. At some point I see him switch to an “easier” physics video. That’s the moment for me to say: “Should we go read in bed now?” And off we go, to take another dive into our current bedtime book, “17 Equations that Changed the World” by Ian Stewart. We are reading about the wave equation now, and thus about how Hooke’s Law has influenced Western music harmony. Simon fetches his elastic bands and string to do one more demo before going to sleep.

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