We all want to have brilliant kids that are “ahead of the curve”. They say you should implement learning in every thing you do. Every meal should become a lesson in counting and color identifying. Every walk outside can be a lesson in science. A mother that is ahead of the curve herself can combine these elements into one lesson.
You will see that I do not really have to contribute much in order to qualify as “ahead of the curve”. A nice blessing of having so many kids is that I am often outnumbered and can not be heard over the rumble of so many small voices fighting for attention.
On one occasion we were having our daily math lesson. I said, “Let’s count the yellow cars that we pass.” I patted myself on the back and smiled. That will show the teachers that I really do care. I have combined color recognition with counting.
“There’s one!” an excited voice declares. My plan is in motion. I checked my rear view mirror and sighed in happiness. All I have to do is… my thoughts are interrupted. My smile fades.
“I’ve seen 114! I win!” Wait, we’ve barely made it out of the neighborhood. We could have only passed at most 50 cars, and we are supposed to count 1-2-3-4-5.
Before I can address the miscount the next one hollers, “NO! I’m winning! I’ve seen 234 so far!” Did I mention this was not a competition but merely a counting on our way to the doctor’s office?
What was meant to be a simple math lesson combined with color recognition quickly develops into a lesson in honesty and good sportsmanship. Before that lesson is fully developed we move on to item differentiation and classifying living and non-living items.
“I win! I am counting all the cars AND animals that I’ve ever seen in my entire life!”
While the kids are discussing the differences between cars and animals, I make a mental note. Add exaggeration to the list of things to cover in the “learning moment”. Things are getting louder by the second. They also recommend breaking learning moments into small manageable minutes. Does 35 seconds count? While I am debating with myself over how long a learning moment needs to be to qualify I consider the topics covered. Numbers, colors, character, teamwork, hmmm… we didn’t cover much by way of science.
“You can’t count everything you’ve seen your entire life! That’s not fair because you’ve lived longer!”
Does that count as covering exaggeration? Siblings are so nice to take care of that for me. As the voices turn to anger I think it’s time to change the subject to music and voice training. I know when I can’t win. This has progressed too far.
Sometimes I am the one who needs a lesson. Today it is a lesson in listening, being happy together, and using your imagination. Just before I succumb to a lesson in music and turn on the radio, my son shouts out a statement that ends it all.
“Well, I’m going to count water vapor pieces! I got to a billion! I WIN!”
Ah, ha! Science has been covered now too! Mom wins!