Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Teacher Becomes The Student

I've realized something quite peculiar about Sweetie over the last year or so:

She likes to do age appropriate things.

Huh? What is that you're saying? You don't find that very peculiar? Hmmmpph. Well, I guess you're right. Whatever.

It's just that when, say, Hubby and I are Christmas shopping for her or sitting down to watch something on T.V. with her, he and I tend to look at various kid-related items and say things like:

That's too young for Sweetie... Sweetie would be so bored with that... That show is so babyish.... Sweetie totally already knows how to do all that!... Sweetie could read that book to us and be done with it in 10 seconds flat... Yes, the packaging says it's for her age group but, come on! Our Sweetie is way beyond that!... Kids toys these days: companies sure are aiming for the lowest common denominator here...

And activity books? Forget about it! Sweetie is so much more qualified to work in the 1st grade books than the Kindergarten or Pre-School books. The girl's known how to spell her name since the age of 2! Geesh!

So we tend to pick things for her in the age range right above hers - at least. She's 5 now, so we'll get her this science kit that's for 6-8 year olds.  That's a baby's board book - she doesn't read board books! I'd rather get this picture book about this little girl's adventures and imagination exploration. This Dora cartoon or Blue's Clues episode is so basic! Let's watch Word Girl instead. Or Design Squad! Yeah! Design Squad is great!

And, yes, Sweetie does tend to like the gifts she's given. Not over-the-moon/jumping-out-of-her-skin excited, usually. But very happy nonetheless. 

HOWEVER... given the opportunity to choose things on her own, I've seen her choose the younger child's items over and over again.

We went to the library last week and she picked out an Arthur board book.

She always wants to watch Blue's Clues videos.

And, while she does like to play all sorts of board games, I've seen her opt for Chutes and Ladders or Candyland more often than not. 

And then this activity book arrived in our mailbox:


Uhhh... we've gotten School Zone activity books for her before, and she did enjoy them. But.. an activity book for 3-5 year olds?! About the alphabet?! Oh, no. Sweetie is not going to be interested in this. Uh uh.

Well color me a fool because - guess what?! - Sweetie absolutely devoured this book, seriously attacking each page of her work book with a studiously solemn tone. 

She read all the directions for herself and did what was asked of her.




(Alright, so she didn't really follow the directions very well for the right hand activity above. Moving on....)


(Note Sweetie's crossing out of the instructions which guide her to color the pictures. Sweetie claims coloring to be too boring).



(Sweetie filled in this certificate without any help at all - even her last name - and was very proud to show me her reward for a job well done).

Because Sweetie was able to read this all herself and because many of the activities were a bit tricker than my first impression led me to believe, both Sweetie and I were thoroughly satisfied with all she did and learned in the marathon 3 days it took her to finish the book. 

Sweetie also received a School Zone math workbook suitable for the Pre-School and Kindergarten set, and she's enjoyed doing those activities as well (although, I admit, not with as much gusto as she conquered the above work book).

To top off the whole package, Sweetie got a brand new T-shirt that she absolutely loves and is so excited to wear on her upcoming first day of Kindergarten.

Kindergarten Rocks! Sweetie knows it... Sweetie embraces it.... and, with the help of School Zone activity books and VeriMeri clothing, she's very much prepared for it.

And me? I've learned my lesson too: Let Sweetie be. Let her play at the activities, watch the shows and read the books she's most interested in. Because her enthusiasm for the given item is what's most important. It drives her to strive further, question more, and work more independently to get things done well.

I knew the above to be true as a basic rule for all students, given all the tutoring I've done over the years. I just needed some reminding in terms of how this applies to Sweetie as well. 

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