Friday, October 24, 2008

Origami brilliance and learning styles

Sophie really enjoys origami. It's been an on-and-off interest, but when it's on she's self-taught and self-motivated. For her birthday last year we gave her some really nice origami paper and a fantastic (though very challenging!) book of instructions. She hasn't done a whole lot with it, but she's tried a few. And lately she's been experimenting.

Today she showed me the creations in this photo. "Neat!" I said. A hollow square-pyramidal base and a cap to match. Pretty nifty. I figured she'd followed instructions out of that book.

Then she explained that she made up these folded shapes herself. My jaw dropped. From what? I asked. Out of her head, she said. I told her I was especially impressed with the base. She said that actually it was the top that had taken her the most time to work out. So that's what she'd been doing quietly in a corner of the living room for an hour or more.

I have such a hard time figuring out learning styles. Neither I nor my kids seem to fit neatly into any particular category. I did a long, involved right-brain/left-brain quiz on-line a few years ago and came out totally evenly matched. Maybe my kids take after me somewhat. Gradually I've figured that Erin is a strong visual learner (even though she lagged for a long long time in her music reading ability, learns music incredibly easily by ear and loved readalouds well into the tween years). And Noah is on balance a visual-spatial guy (even though he claims to dislike higher math and has an incredible ear for music). But Sophie is especially puzzling. So much about her seems auditory-sequential ... but then she blows me away with something like this, or with her amazing facility with understanding diagrammatic instructions for string figures or figuring out how knitting instructions create a 3-dimensional product.

So I give up. Maybe my family defies organization into categorical boxes of any sort. Oh well, we get along okay anyway.

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