I was up until 2:00 this morning doing homework, so I slept in. Mama’s gotta do what mama’s gotta do! Josh had gotten them started reading quietly before he left for work, and we officially started the day at 10:00am.
Amelie mentioned to me that she would like to study multiplication. Sera heard her and offered to quiz her. So there they were, the two of them practicing multiplication together. It was such a gift to me after such a rough night and morning!
Sera remembered a multiplication website she had used in the classroom last year, so she showed it to Amelie and taught her how to play the games. The activity also helped Sera brush up on her multiplication, much of which she has forgotten since last year.
Imagine. All of those hours spent in the classroom tediously reciting and memorizing and preparing for state testing, and she really only remembers up to the 3s. The revelation made me really sad.
Up through 2nd grade we had a great experience in public school and our teachers were amazing, truly. But 3rd grade brought state testing, and it was rough. It was the year that sent Sera to bed every night with a stomach ache and anxiety. It was the year that I said to my fearful daughter, “This test has no meaning in your life–you will not remember it in 10 years. Don’t worry.” And then I walked into her classroom to hear her teacher tell the class, in fact, how important this test was and that for some it would mean the difference between 3rd and 4th grade.
When it was time to study long division my sweet girl was so upset because she couldn’t “get it” as quickly as she thought she was supposed to. She called herself stupid.
I told her about when she learned to walk. She was an insanely early mover; she was crawling at 5 months and walking at 9 months. But had all of her friends learned to walk at the same time? No. Can all of her friends walk now? Yes!
I told her about how she learned to talk. She didn’t even try to make the sounds “mama” until she was over a year old. I remember, because the first time she said the word it was mother’s day–two months after her first birthday. Had she learned to talk as early as some of the other babies? No. Can she talk now? Oh yes. And she writes, and creates, and tells us all about her elaborate plans.
How did all of our little babes learn to walk, to talk, or to use the bathroom? Did we give them flashcards or tests or deadlines?
We gave them all the same thing: Time.
And love, and grace, and assurances.
I don’t regret our time in school–but I do wish I could take that last year back. All of those hours memorizing math facts that she would forget (because, just maybe, she wasn’t really ready to memorize them) I would fill with reading in the fresh air and making forts in the woods. Or visiting the library and reading our books under a warm blanket at home. Or simply, being together.
After “math time,” Sera went outside to check the mail. On her way back in she spotted this crazy looking guy in the doorway:
We decided to look him up. I tried a bunch of search terms including “stick bug cricket” and Sera kept saying, “Just google ‘weird looking green bug.’” Wouldn’t you know it, she found it on the iPad before I found it on the laptop.
We found out that he is a “Snowy Cricket” or a “Thermometer Cricket” because you can determine the outside temperature by the frequency of his chirps. Amazing! You can read all about it here. One website suggested doing a science experiment and graphing the chirps.
I’ve been imagining doing this with the girls: One night soon I’ll wrap them up and we’ll sit under the stars in the chilly fall air. We’ll watch our breath swirl up to the dark sky while we count cricket chirps. We’ll come inside and have cocoa while we warm up and graph the data.
I hope that when she is older, Sera will forget her brief exposure to the stress of testing and anxiety. I hope she will remember our chattering teeth in the cold and the rosy warm of her cheeks after coming inside. I hope she will remember the wonder of God’s creation and the ordered rhythm of one cricket’s chirp. I hope she remembers that numbers can tell a story, and that sometimes the answer to the hardest problem is simply time. This is my favorite kind of math.
Subjects covered today: Math, Reading, Nature