Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Teaching at Home

While our girls are in daycare all day, getting the quality, structured activities and learning that centers offer (cough cough, ahem), I always feel a tinge of guilt that I don't reinforce the learning at home. I get to see the girls for 3 hours every evening, two days on the weekends, assuming that I don't have to run errands or have other things going on weekends. So bottom line, when I see them I just want to enjoy my time with them, not drill them on ABCs, etc.

It wasn't until my mother-in-law and other family members were visiting that I realized how much I actually taught my girls...without trying to teach them.

I was making dinner and Lindsey was drawing with markers. She would draw a part of an object with one color, then pick another color and draw the next part, etc, often overlapping the colors. She started talking about how blue and red make purple (her favorite color), red and white make pink (her other favorite color) blue and yellow make green, etc. Millie asked if she learned that at daycare, and I realized that she had learned it with me, in working with fingerpaints and blending them together to see what colors they made.

Then at bathtime we pulled out the old bath letters that we had put away some time ago, and Lindsey had to pick out which letter went with which phonic sound. I would say, "Show me the letter that goes "va va va" and she would pick out the "V." Sure enough, that teaches, too!

Marissa can count to three, because at the end of three is usually some activity -- jumping, being tossed into the air or thrown onto the bed. I guess that's a good thing, too.

And, as expected, "toot" and "poop" are currently Marissa's favorite words.

Thank Daddy for that one!


  1. Everything you do at home is teaching. It is the one place children can feel secure and comforted. You don't have to play education games to teach, letting them explore colors, letting them draw outside of the lines, letting them be able to act out their feelings are all invaluable lessons. Your mother was good at that. Me, not so much, but I have always felt you were raised in a home that allowed you to expand your capabilities. You and Kristi have done well. I am proud of the outcome. Both of you exhibit independence and draw on your capabilities in day to day living. Each of you have a vastly different styles and coping mechanisms, but you've both come a long way baby!

    I am sure as long as you allow Lindsey and Marrissa the freedom to be their own person and don't preselect all of the paths of growth they will become elegant worthwhile participants in this life just as you, Wayne, Kris and Ned are.



  2. Its weird to realize just how much you teach kids by just doing everyday common things too.
    Little sponges they are.
    But not like that icky sponge thats sitting on the kitchen sink. The good clean kind.

  3. I have been thinking this morning about my Dad, Uncle Earl and my grandmother Toot. It is easy to think of them as bumpkins raised in the remote areas of the Upper Peninsula without the advantage of great cultural activities and education centers. They were not bumpkins, they had lively, keen minds and were very creative in their use of words, making up phrases and nonsensical words to fit a situation.

    One thing however, that I think is a necessity to teach your children is curiosity. My grandmother was good at this. When I was in elementary school I spent a lot of time with Toot when my parents were at social events. I would buy old school books at the end of the year for a nickel, or a few pennies and give them to her. The books were Geography books. When I was with her there were numerous times she would pull those books out and we would look at the pictures and she would speculate about what those people were doing, how did they get along, what did they do for fun.

    I don't know if her musing struck a nerve with me, but I am curious about things. I have an almost insatiable need to know how everything works, interacts, gets along. If you can teach that to your children you will teach them to have a lively, creative mind. For God's sake don't force them to view the world as the round pegs go in round holes, etc.

    I have often been viewed as somewhat of a character at work coming up with all kinds of nonsensical ideas. What they don't get is I walk outside the box. It just makes life that much more fun.