We haven’t been so creative here at the Treehouse, except for the coughing. Chris has the cold. He sleeps propped up. Ben has the cold, but only at night, apparently. I have the cold, but I feel whiny when I mention it. (Don’t point out, please, that I am currently telling billions of people that very thing.)
So we’ve not had a whole lot of creativity around here, except for let’s-not-have-kharold-go-crazy-during-quiet-time kind of creativity. We’re listening to Little Women on Librivox a lot. (The first 10 chapters, minus 7 and 9, over and over…) Reading a lot. Gardening. And I’m practicing subliminal teaching.
Subliminal teaching is where I pretend I’m not teaching something, but I really am. He asks a question and I answer it. I try not to give a whole lot of extra information. He’s 6 and I want him to not be flooded with facts yet. So at one point, having spent the last week answering specific questions that would then lead him to the ability to tell time on a clock, I reminded him that he knows how to count by 5s and left it at that.
Today, we ran errands and I treated him to lunch at the Lotus Cafe in Encinitas. As we ate our blue-corn tortilla chips, I read some of our finds from the library. He’d found a copy of Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?: All About Weather.* One page has a blurb that indicates that you can determine how far away a storm is by seeing the lightning, counting, and when you hear the thunder, divide your number by 5 to find out how far away it is in miles.
So I told him a story, how you are driving home from your friend’s house in your convertible but the top is down, and broken. Do you risk driving home, or do you stay with your friend? I made a wiggly-hand kind of lightning flash, then he began counting. Somewhere along the way I’d say, “BOOM!” and he’d look startled (first time that happened I wanted to apologize, he looked so scared) but then somewhere from the recesses of the Boy brain, without fingers or working it, he’d say the number. Not, “15 divided by 5 is three,” but a shouted, joyful, “THREE!” And he kept it up. I never let him count higher than thirty, but he got it even when the number wasn’t divisible by 5–16, for instance, was “a little more than 3.” See? Subliminal. Never once in our discussion did the word “divide” come from me. Of course, every so often I would need to bring the convertible into the conversation. (“Do you think two miles is too close for trying to drive home?”)
Oh, and I think I broke my toe. You never know how things will go.
*Yes, I realize this could be construed as “flooding him with facts.” It’s got a shiny cover and he found it in the children’s room and chose it. It was one of 26 books we checked out and this is the one he brought into the restaurant. I promise I’m not pushing, really!