We’ve had a busy few weeks, with lots of social stuff, groups going on etc. I decided we needed a project for the week. I needed to see that we had achieved something…yes this was all me, no child-directed learning at all. Bad idea!
I decided we could all learn to tell the time. Something H had been doing from a digital clock, but we had never looked at analogue clocks before. We had some friends coming over and I thought it would be ‘fun’ to cut out some cardboard circles to make into clocks, write the numbers on, attach hands etc. H and her friend took one look at this and decided it did not look fun at all, and scarpered! E was interested, so our other friend sat down with her mum and we made the clocks and started to use them to look at some o’clock times. It was about this time that E had enough and was about to launch the whole lot at me, so I asked her if she had a better idea for doing this. She of course did!
E came back with a handful of marshmallows and some spaghetti. She connected them together so there was a bit of marshmallow over every number on her clock, and hands made from spaghetti with marshmallows on the ends. We had a go at making different o’clock and half-past times, using some Usbourne flashcards to give us some examples. That was as far as we got that day.
I kept some of the flashcards in my bag, and brought them out a couple of times during the week when we had a bored moment, and E got them with a bit of prompting.
Today, a week later, I thought we could all have a go with our clocks, and used E’s idea of marshmallows. E couldn’t even do any o’clock times. I thought it would be good to bring H up to speed, and explained o’clock times, no problem, then half-pasts, again no problem, then went on to quarter-past’s and quarter-to’s, again no problem. H could then do a mix of times from each of these 4.
E is now beside herself as H, who is 4, can read a clock, and she, who is 7, can’t. I don’t know why this is. It’s just the way they are. H just absorbs everything like a sponge, she already knew all the terms, but she just hadn’t seen them on a clock. E can’t absorb anything she hasn’t decided she’s ready to learn. It is very frustrating. All her learning is self-directed. This is great in some respects, we’ve learned some amazing things just by following the path of her interests. Unfortunately she has never shown any interest in reading or doing much maths at all. If I ever mention anything about reading, E just picks up her Peter and Jane book 1a, and reads it beautifully, then with a satisfied nod feels that the reading box is ticked!
The problem is getting worse, now H is getting older, and their differences in learning strategies are becoming more obvious. Reading is not going to be a problem for H, she is already doing amazing things all by herself. She is always either looking at books, or asking me to read books for her.
I need a new strategy.
I also need a stiff drink and a cake or three.
All ideas welcomed!