Monday, December 12, 2011

We Never Learned Anything, We've Always Known That!

So I've been teaching the children home school for almost 4 months now and some days I feel real good about how it's going. The children are learning lots of cool things. The type of curriculum I selected is a circular type where they will learn a little bit about a lot of things. And then as time goes on they will learn more about each of those subjects. I like this style because it helps keep us interested and we don't have many dead horses to beat.

However, other days I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall because my children don't understand what I'm asking. Sometimes I find myself frustrated and angry and other times I find the children frustrated and angry. I think to myself, "why is this so hard?? He should know how to _________." When I catch myself thinking this I take a moment to remember back to the first moment I realized I was going to have to teach my children.

Alexander was not even a year old and was in the bath and he wasn't ready to get out of the tub. I was patient back then, so I happily waited as the water drained. He realized the water was going away and then made his way to the drain. He was very puzzled by the drain and then made attempts to catch the water to keep it from going away. He was confused and looked at us with his baby babble, questioning what was happening and why. I giggled, but Jason was there and he looked at that moment and said, "wow, we are going to have to teach him everything!" I was impressed by that thought. At the time, Alexander didn't know what the drain was or why and how it worked. He didn't know where water came from and where it went. He just knew that bath time was fun and something was happening to end it.

Since then it's been many interesting interactions with him learning about how the world works. And I realize now, though the burden of teaching him does lie with us, he has abundant opportunities to learn from others and the world around him about how it is. It's impressive to see how he deduces 'facts' based on information he has seen or read all the while trying to learn how to separate the fantasy from reality. He has grown SO much!

A later moment that taught me about teaching my children was on Alexander's 3rd birthday, we had a big party and it seemed to me that all his 4 year old friends had signed their name on the birthday card. I was blown away impressed and then I had a slight moment of panic. Alexander knew his letters but how was I going to teach him to combine the correct nine letters in the proper order to write his name? Well, later that week while bathing him we opened his new soap crayons. Naturally, I spelled his name out on the wall, figuring he ought to get used to seeing his name since he had about 360 days to learn how to write it. Well, the boy picked up a crayon and wrote his name. That was it. I took a photo since I couldn't remove the tile to save the first writing. I thought, wow this child is quick, but then I spent the next two years teaching him about his last and middle names. He had no concept of why he would need more than Alexander for a name and down right refused the others... for years! And thinking back, I never explained to him why he would have a middle or last name or why it would be important to know what they are or how to write them. In my big, practically grown up brain the idea of having three or more names was perfectly normal and in fact expected. But to a child, it was ridiculous.

Do you ever wonder how you learned some things? Like learning to ride a bike was probably a big deal so you have a good memory of it, but what about things like how a story is organized, why multiplication works, how to chew gum or how to do jumping jacks? There are so many things we take for granted because we never remember learning them. Then we expect others in the world, our children included, to naturally have that information and capability. It's crazy talk I know. But I'll leave you with this thought (in regards to teaching my children specifically as I really know nothing about anything)

It's equally nice as it is frustrating to already know it all.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny the things we take for granted that we "just know"?