Things That Make Me Go Hmm...
My son learned to tie his shoes by himself about 1 ½ weeks ago. This was after our practicing together for a very long time, with me showing him over and over where the loop goes, pinch its bottom (giggle) and take the other lace around, under and through. My big hands were always in the way, my big head blocking his view, he unable to bring his foot up close enough to see properly…oh it was so frustrating for us both!
Then last week, older son was waiting outside to ride bikes, and mum was busy (Just a MINUTE! I called…a few times) He went quiet…older brother came in…and they both started cheering from the next room. Hurray! He’s done it!
He’s tied his shoes by himself at least once a day since, and he’s is so proud he learned at a younger age than I did. Good to have a chance to lord it over your mum. Indeed :-)
Now I wonder…maybe I should have been too busy to ‘help’ sooner. I think I was confusing him. Gah.
We sit together daily working our way through our maths book. He seems to find maths easy for the most part. But. There is something fishy going on…
Our math books follow the state guidelines for curriculum. They have a set way of teaching things. It seems the goal is to teach the simplest addition and subtraction problems by rote memory, then build on that to move upwards to using two and three digit numbers. Problem is, my son doesn’t seem to add and subtract that way, and strangest of all is that he is following the same path of thought with his maths that I did at his age. Say you’re adding 5 and 7…take 5 from the seven leaving 2, add the two 5’s quickly, put the ten in front of the two. I didn’t teach this to him, and in fact didn’t realise he was doing it until a couple of months ago, when I overheard him whispering to himself while working a problem.
It’s not so amazing that he does this as it amazes me that I did the same thing at his age.
Which wouldn’t be so strange if there were all there was to that...for example there's
I was reading quite well in kindergarten. He was also reading at that age, not quite so well, but better than average.
Didn’t understand what the fuss was about when I was little. Neither did he.
But as soon as I went to first grade and the teachers insisted I read fone-et-ickly I lost the ability to read ANY thing, and didn’t regain the skill until 3rd grade.
My first grade teachers insisted I’d never known how to read, that I’d only learned to memorise a few Dr. Seuss books; my kindie teacher, parents and most importantly *I* knew different.
Phonics were my downfall.
They seem to be his as well. He hasn’t had the same dramatic loss of skills I experienced, perhaps because I’m not forcing him to SOUND OUT EVERY SINGLE WORD letter by letter as they did in my day and on failing phonetic reading he’s not being sent to remedial reading class after school as they did me (that was so humiliating after having been rewarded for reading in kindergarten).
But I know that he can read a word by sight quickly and easily, or struggle with it and more often than not fail to read it if I ask him to sound it out. We discuss and practice phonics but I don’t push it. Starfall.com has been a godsend in this area, it's a relatively pain free place to practice phonetic reading rules. Still, he relies most heavily on using beginning sound + context to help him work out new words, though I am seeing more use of chunking words into syllables, etc.
I wonder why we both had such similar strengths and weaknesses in this area.
Son and I were discussing different classifications of animals the other day. He likes this sort of thing and the discussion was going into new areas as they so often do.
We were discussing herbivores, omnivores, carnivores when he asked “Mum, what would you call a plant?”
So we talked about why plants and animals were broken into two different classifications…that plants make their own food, but everything an animal eats comes from another living being, either plant or animal.
He sat and tapped his pursed lips…I love it when he does that. It’s a sign something good is coming soon.
“Mum, if plants could think would animals look like monsters to them?”
Hm. Good question.
Maybe a stalk of celery would view us as ravenous beasts, horrid in our need to consume the energy of other living things. What a thought! So we discussed how plants have come to rely on animals in many ways, and in fact many plants would die out if there were no animal life on earth. (Just don’t try to explain that to a tree that’s been chopped down, I think, but don’t say.)
It really was a fantastical conversation, the kind you sit and think about after the kids are snug in bed at night. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes home education can be frustrating, tiring or boring, but there are moments when it’s just magic.