Friday Sprog Blogging: what is Friday Sprog Blogging about?

Aug 06 2010 Published by under [Education&Careers], Kids and science

Back in January 2006, when my blog moved to ScienceBlogs, I put up a post the first Friday that I thought was going to be a one-off, a reconstruction of a conversation I had with my kids (then 4.5 and 6.5 years of age) that struck me as having a distinctly science-y nature. As it happened, almost every Friday since then, we have posted a conversation (or artwork, or something along those lines) that we have had about science.

This week, the tradition moves to Scientopia.

Dr. Free-Ride: Because the blog just moved from ScienceBlogs to Scientopia, I wanted you to explain what the Friday Sprog Blogging is about.

Younger offspring: Friday Sprog Blogging is mostly about talking about stuff scientific, and typing it down on the blog, so other people could give feedback and learn about stuff that they didn't really learn about before.

Dr. Free-Ride: What do you think, elder offspring? What's the Friday Sprog Blogging about?

Elder offspring: Well, it's about you talking to your kids about something science-y, and then you type it, and then people give feedback like, "Oh my gosh, this is so cute!" or "Oh my gosh, your kids are so smart!" or one of those things.

Dr. Free-Ride: You think that's what it's about, an affirmation of how cute you are or how smart you are?

Elder offspring: Yes.

Dr. Free-Ride: You think that's the only value people get out of the Friday Sprog Blog?

Elder offspring: Yes.

Younger offspring: I think that's really wrong. I think that's off.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, what other kind of value do you think people get from the Friday Sprog Blog?

Younger offspring: Well, they could feed back like, "I didn't know this was true! Can you tell me more about it in the next blog?" Or something like that.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, you think it actually gets people interested in particular scientific questions or particular areas of science that they might explore further?

Younger offspring: Uh huh.

Dr. Free-Ride: Do you think it might also be of interest to people who maybe have sprogs of their own and are trying to figure out how to talk with them about stuff as their little kids are learning stuff?

Younger offspring: Uh huh.

Elder offspring: First of all, I'm not a little kid.

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, you're not anymore, but when we started this four-and-a-half years ago, you were. You were just six-and-a-half.

Younger offspring: Can I say something?

Dr. Free-Ride: Sure.

Younger offspring: Hi, Little Isis! Hi Minnow! Hi PharmKid! Hi PalKid!

Dr. Free-Ride: OK, your shout-outs* are noted. Anyway, elder offspring, you used to be little when we started this. You were in kindergarten --

Elder offspring: First grade.

Dr. Free-Ride: Still, in January of 2006, arguably, you were littler than you are now.

Elder offspring: "Smaller" is the correct grammar.

Dr. Free-Ride: Fine, smaller. But, don't you think that parents sometimes might have questions about whether they can really talk to their young kids about science? Don't you think sometimes parents might be anxious and think, "Oooh, I might get this wrong. Oooh, I should probably just wait until my kid is in school and the science teachers in school can teach them all they need to know"?

Younger offspring: No, I don't think people should do that. I think kids should start learning about science when they're young and before they go on to science classes, like in third grade.

Dr. Free-Ride: Why do you think kids should learn while they're young?

Younger offspring: Well, while they're really young, and they learn more than just third grade science, then they'll get smarter, and if you learn something when you're older, it's hard, 'cause you don't have much time to get better at it.

Dr. Free-Ride: OK, I hadn't really thought of it that way. What I was thinking -- and maybe it was just because you two were my kids -- my sense was that little kids seem to want to learn about everything in their world, about how everything works, and about how to figure out stuff that they don't know yet.

Younger offspring: Well, we learned how to talk. And that's because we've been listening to you, right?

Dr. Free-Ride: That's part of it. I think there's probably more to it than that. But elder offspring, you don't think the Friday Sprog Blog is at all interesting or useful to people who are trying to figure out how to interact with their kids' questions about the world and how it works?

Elder offspring: Well, we all know we can let the adults make their own decisions because, as we all know, adults are perfect and they do everything correctly and they are the supreme idols for everybody.

Dr. Free-Ride: You know what, even I can tell that that's your sarcastic voice.

Younger offspring: Yes, mother, I'll follow your command!

Dr. Free-Ride: I think something you guys might not realize so much is that, a lot of times adults, and especially parents, feel really nervous -- feel like they're supposed to know stuff that they don't actually know.

Younger offspring: Is that you and [Dr. Free-Ride's better half]?

Dr. Free-Ride: I think that's everyone. And I think sometimes especially parents trying to figure out how to deal with really young kids, and trying to help those kids figure out the world that they're in, those parents sometimes feel nervous about having to make it up as they go. And I guess one of the things that happened with the Friday Sprog Blog that I didn't expect would happen is it seemed like it ended up being a little bit of a "meta" conversation about , here's how to talk to your kids without necessarily teaching them -- but here's how to keep the conversation going about how to figure out your world. And you guys are still figuring out your world, right? Even though you know it a lot better than you did in January of 2006?

Elder offspring: I know that when I'm an adult I will know everything, and there will be no need to study now when I'm young and foolish.

Dr. Free-Ride: Again with the sarcastic voice!

Younger offspring: Hee!

Dr. Free-Ride: So, we're going to keep up the Friday Sprog Blogging on Scientopia?

Elder offspring: Yes.

Younger offspring: Yes! But is there any other place on Scientopia for kids?

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, there's a whole blog called Child's Play devoted to how kids' brains develop.

Elder offspring: As kids get to puberty, their brains grow huge, soaking up knowledge.

Dr. Free-Ride: You know what else they're soaking up besides knowledge at puberty, kiddo? They're soaking up the hormones that make the brain a little bit unpredictable for a few years. That's something that we have to look forward to, and I guess the Friday Sprog Blogs might start getting into the adolescent at puberty brain chemistry wacky stage soon.
*Or should that be shouts-out?

12 responses so far

  • Bob O'H says:

    Can Melody or Jason write a post about the development of sarcasm in children, please.

  • ginger says:

    Some people who aren't parents (but who teach science to young adults) follow the Sprog Blogging because Sprog questions, and Dr. Free-Ride answers are representative of the kinds of questions people have about how the world works. So looking at how the Doc answers you guys helps us learn how to answer adults' questions better.

    And, yeah, it kind of sounds like puberty is putting an appearance. I gather it goes with the territory of parenting.

    "Littler" is correct - it's just hard to say aloud. And I think the plural of shout-out is "shouts-out" but what do I know?

  • Carrie says:

    I'd go with "shout-outs," since it's a compound noun. Think "week-ends" vs. "weeks-end" (before we dropped the hyphen altogether and made one new word). This one is goofy, as the modifier actually follows the original noun, but I'm sticking with the notion that the entire becomes a noun once the hyphen is added. One day we might expect to lose the hyphen and have "shoutout," at which time, no one will be confused about where to put the "s" to pluralize.

    This is my first reading of a Friday Sprog-Blog, but I found it quite interesting in terms of the whole issue of what belongs in a blog and what doesn't and the various means by which we might meet reader needs with stories from personal experience.

    Glad I didn't lose you in the transfer to the new host. Cheers!

  • $0.01 says:

    "...knowledge at puberty, kiddo? They’re soaking up the hormones that make the brain a little bit unpredictable for a few years. "
    This is exactly when they start realizing they _don't_ know everything and won't admit it. It's all downhill from there...Well, it was for me. I am infinitely less-knowledgable at 34 than I was at 14. However, I am slightly wiser, no matter what my sprogs say.
    Huzzah for the continuation of Friday Sprog-Blogging!
    And thank you for the mention of prog blogs about sprogs and other infinitely interesting things. I already glommed onto Child's Play and was glad to see the others mentioned as well!

  • I, for one, love the Friday Sprog Blogs, even though I'm an unrepentant lurker. Elder offspring is getting sassy, watch out.

    You've probably addressed this before (or maybe you haven't, on purpose), but what are the genders of your sprogs? I always tend to read them as both female, for some reason, without actually knowing off-hand.

  • Rick Pikul says:

    The rule of thumb with things like shouts out v. shout outs is to see if they still make sense if you remove the second part. If the first part alone would be correct, then you pluralize the first part, if it doesn't make sense you pluralize at the end. So you have sergeants major, (as they are sergeants), but major generals, (as they are not majors).

    So, with "shout out": Does it make sense to call them shouts? Nope, so it's "shout outs".

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I KNEW IT! I knew that younger one was trying to organize a world takeover via blogger offspring! That's why we block all electronic communication from your neck of the woods with the nanny filter at my house ....

  • Candid Engineer says:

    I heart your Sprog posts. 🙂

  • jillian says:

    I think the Sprog Blogging is great for people like me that would rather find a way to tell their kids the truth (ie, teach) in an age-appropriate way rather than just LIE, which seems to be what a lot of parents do. And who would rather help (slightly older) kids find answers in their own ways, rather than just telling them the "correct" answer, which they will never internalize.