Thursday, December 6, 2012

Outside the Classroom 

 Lately, I’ve been thinking about how amazing good teachers are, and that I’m pretty sure I’ll never be one.  When I see parents doing the usual things like reading Harry Potter aloud to their kids in a waiting room, or taking day trips to historical sites and actually learning about their significance (not just visiting the gift shop), I feel kind of bad.  But then I think that maybe I'm being too hard on myself.    I think about how my strength as a parent is really more about using everyday situations as learning opportunities.

For example:

Math and Patterns
A few days ago, my five year old said to me “Mommy, a while ago, your hair was gray.  But then it wasn’t gray.  And now it’s gray again.  That’s a pattern!  What comes next?  Gray, not gray, gray, not gray…” Partial credit for this goes to Team Umizoomi (Thanks, Nick Jr.), but partial credit also goes to me, for selecting that fine, fine show.

More Mighty Math Power
On Halloween, my kids collected a considerable amount of loot.  We had to assist them during those final blocks home, so cumbersome were their candy bags.
The first thing the kids did upon returning home was retreat to opposite sides of the family room to dump out the contents of their treat sacks.  They then proceeded to sort each and every piece of candy into matching groups, by type AND size.  A MENSA moment.

But wait.  There’s more.

My younger one is allergic to peanuts, so she had to take it a step further and sort her candy into “peanut” and “no peanut” piles.   I helped.

Fair Trade
And then the trading began.  Because of the peanut allergy, the younger one wished to trade her brother her peanut items for his non-peanut items.  It’s a good thing that child likes Tootsie Rolls.  Both sides were very pleased with this transaction. Until…

So then, my husband comes along and reminds the kids that he took them out to Trick or Treat, therefore, he was entitled to a percentage of each bounty. And so Daddy carefully selected one third (fractions!) of the older one’s candy, as the “no peanut” candy was of zero value to him.  This is also known as higher taxes on the wealthy.

Units of Measurement
Sure, the kids are learning the basics of measurement at school, but real life learning happens outside the classroom, as I’m sure every parent will agree.  My kids know that a case of beer equals twenty-four, except at Costco, where you get thirty (and free lunch).  But a case of wine equals twelve.  That’s pretty tricky.  Also?  A baker’s dozen at the bagel store (donuts too!) is thirteen, which is pretty cool.  Other units of measurement we have learned is that a can of soda is 12 ounces, but a can of whoop ass is much, much bigger.  We have just begun our unit on telling time, as it pertains to travel.  A little while, almost there, and not much longer are all roughly equal to an hour.  Give or take. 

Why, just yesterday, while on a field trip to the local Total Wine retail establishment (notice a theme here?), my daughter wandered up and down the individual beverage aisle, as we browsed all the interesting names and labels.  “George Washington!” she exclaimed.  And lo and behold – there he was on a bottle of Tavern Porter.  Also, she is learning about different dog breeds and I’m proud to say, she also correctly identified a Yellow Lab on Labrador Lager by Thirsty Dog.

Cultural Differences and Foreign Language
Honey Boo Boo.

Science, Nutrition and Health
Beans, beans are good for your heart.  The more you eat, the more you fart.  The more you fart, the better you feel.  So eat your beans at every meal.

Sports Medicine
When you’re sliding into first and you feel something burst…  (You know what comes next).  When you’re climbing up a ladder and you feel something splatter…

So you see – there are book smarts, and there are street smarts.  And then there’s the stuff I teach my kids.  This?  Is why I don’t home school.

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter P and the number two.

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