Yes, of course Im dreaming. Reality, as we know, is more like, "Wait, Mom! I have to finish this tower before the cat knocks it over!" "My gerbil just got loose and hes eating the sofa!" "The baby just squeezed toothpaste all over the cat!"
Or the dreaded "This is so boring! Can I go watch TV?"
No, you cant, unless its "Mythbusters" or "Bill Nye the Science Guy." After that, you can watch while Mommy tries to glue back in the hair she just pulled out!
But I have found a few ways to lure in the most reluctant and squirmy learners...at least some of the time.
Over the years, Ive observed that bored children dont hear you anyway. If they have the least bit of imagination, they are mentally off at the beach when you start 'discussing' the anatomy of flatworms, unless flatworms fall within their areas of interest. So all those lectures are really just an exercise for you...and not a very exciting one at that.
I tried having them take notes, but that doesnt seem to work well or comfortably until they are in their teens. Before then, they just seem to get so wrapped up in what they are writing that they lose track of what else is being said. Once they reach thirteen or fourteen, I do encourage them to try note-taking now and then as preparation for college.
One day I was so frustrated that nothing was getting done that I sat on the couch and began to read A Childs History of the World while Renee (then age 6) and Claire (age 3) played in the living room with Legos. I read several chapters, and we discussed them as I read...all while elaborate castles and forts grew on the floor. The surprising thing was that they remembered far better than when I attempted to make them sit still and pay attention, and their recall was better the next days and weeks. Even little Claire began naming her Lego people after historical characters.
And so began my experiments with things that keep their hands busy while allowing their minds to focus on what they hear. So far, our family favorites are:
- A floor full of Legos
- Mathematics manipulatives, like Cuisenaire Rods
- Drawing and coloring supplies
They do grow out of it and learn to sit still. My daughter didnt take Legos to play with during her lectures at college, though Im sure she continued her habit of doodling on the margins of her notes!