Friday, June 15, 2012

Intentionality... or not

Sometimes I feel a twinge of guilt.  Ok, often I feel a twinge of guilt.  This twinge of guilt is in direct relation to hearing other parents talk about intentionally teaching their children things.  I have a twinge of guilt because I am rarely intentional about this sort of thing.

I don't intentionally set out to teach my daughter the sounds that animals make but if we pick up a book that is full of farm animals I will end up teaching her the sounds they make.  I don't intentionally set out to teach my children to count but when we pick up a book that has 5 monkeys or 5 ducks or 10 in a bed we are undoubtedly going to count monkeys, ducks, whatever is in the bed, flowers in the garden, bees in the sky, whatever we see on a page that has multiple we tend to count.  I have been especially horrible at intentionally working with Sawyer on his letter and number recognition and while he doesn't know them all he knows half or more of each just from life, watching his brothers learn, watching educational shows on tv, and the like. 

So once in a while I feel a twinge that in the busy-ness of finishing out first grade with Kayd and learning to read with Colton that I have neglected to be intentional about teaching my other two specific things toddlers should know.  But then I ask Sierra where her ears, eyes. nose, head, button, and toes are and amazingly - whether the learning was intentional or not - she points to each and every one.  Sometimes it's ok to learn on accident.  I think a LOT of time it's ok to learn on accident.

My children have no concept of summer.  To them summer means learning about the cycle of water, kinds of trees and insects, animals being exhibited at the fair, and lots of water play.  I'm intentional about not making every little learning experience into something formal and for that my children love to learn "on accident".

So when I feel that twinge of guilt I tell it to be quiet because we're busy intentionally being unintentional in studying the house centipede we found in the toy bucket.  Hey maybe next time I'll think to have the kids count it's legs. hahaha

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