Sackgirl is 7 years old. I love listening to her working things out and discovering the way her mind picks up an idea or thought. Children have a unique way of looking at the world. It’s so refreshing – and so challenging.
For example – yesterdays random conversation went something like this –
SG: You know the word ‘good’ is like a really nice word, because it means you are doing things well. Like when you call me a good girl.
SG: Well sometimes it’s a really bad word too isn’t it? It’s naughty.
Me: Um. I’m not sure what you mean?
SG: Well, on cartoons and stuff, the baddie rubs his hands together and says “My evil plan is working, good.” So, in that case, it’s a bad word, isn’t it. Cos he’s bad.
How amazing is that for a concept!
From the mind of a 7 year old, the intention behind the word dictates the meaning of it.
When Sackgirl started school it felt like we, Mr G and I, also had to start again from scratch. It’s been a long time since I had to write down maths problems and show the workings, instead of doing them in my head or with a calculator.
Of course I remember how to ‘carry the one’ in addition but can you remember how to write out division puzzles? It took me a while.
It doesn’t help that they use these new-fangled methods called number lines or other similar devices. I could not get to grips with that, so I taught Sackgirl column addition, the way we were taught way back in history! Apparently that was the wrong thing to do, as they don’t learn that for another 2 years. Who knew?
When we got to English, I felt on much firmer ground. After all, words are my life. I have a degree in literature for goodness sake. I can so do this! Right?
Can you recall being taught rules about how to create an adverb? If the word ends in a silent ‘e’, you add ‘ly’. If the word ends in a ‘y’, you change it to ‘ily’.
The problem is, I know how to spell these words, so I don’t need to remember the rules. Trying to explain something I can’t clearly remember myself is really quite hard.
For example – can you tell me the difference between an adjective and an adverb – in words a 7 year old can understand? I dread the day she starts asking me about past participles.
So, I got a book to help and I’m back at school right there beside Sackgirl, trying to get to grips with the way she thinks. Only, in this I’m learning as much from her as I am teaching her.
I think that’s the way it should be!