There is really no better way for a child to learn at a young age then through the art of playing. Try as you might to instruct an almost three year old child to learn their left from their right and you are bound to pull a few hairs from your head. Now slightly alter your approach and there will be laughter replacing those tears of frustration.
My first attempt at teaching Myra her left from her right was a huge flop. Just when I thought she was finally understanding, I would ask her to show me her left hand and she’d hold up her right. I’m not quite sure why my shoulders sank so low or the reasons behind me feeling like I had just wasted my time. After all, she is still under the age of three and comprehending the differences between one side of the body from the other is not that huge of an ordeal. Is it?
Before I lost my temper over something completely and utterly ridiculous, I thought, why not turn this into a game. Meanwhile, teaching the Reidster his colours. Two birds with one stone! What a clever idea. And thus, I brought out an ancient of days game. One that I had not played since a young child myself:
Right hand yellow.
Reid finding the yellow.
Left foot yellow.
Hmm.. lots of yellow.
The spinner gets stuck on occasion and likes to stop in the same spots. Which is great for little man, he’s beginning to recognize yellow.
So now they are having lots of fun, laughing, falling all over each other and being silly while learning their left from their right as well as colours. I’m happy, their happy, it’s a good arrangement.
I was being quite childish in my reaction to Myra confusing her right with her left. Sometimes I feel as if we spend a significant amount of time “studying” something and it seems to be going well - then the next day the knowledge vanishes and I wonder can I really do this? Thinking long term, there are going to be subjects that will drain them, push them, push me, but through it all I must remember to keep my temper. Life is not a competition. Who says that a three year old should be able to distinguish her left from right? Or that a five year old should be reading? A fifteen year old should be a wiz at calculus and by the age of 21 everyone should have the capability of winning a noble peace prize.
One step at a time. That is, after all, how little man learned to walk only a few short months ago. Why the need to push them? I need to have more confidence in myself, and believe that I have what it takes to teach my own children. As their mother I know them better than anyone else, so in theory I should be the best teacher for them, no?
Do you ever revert to "non traditional" methods to help your children learn new material? Is there ever a time when you feel as if others are comparing your children to theirs? Do you feel that others hold you to a higher standard? Or that you are constantly being watched?