Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Figuring Out the Clock

I've been teaching Hunter to tell time the Doman way, which says: if you teach a tiny child the facts he will discover the rules that govern them.

For telling time, this translates into showing him clock faces and saying, "This is eight o' clock", "This is eight forty-five", "This is eight ten".

I've met so many kids (and adults) who do not know how to read a clock. My brother said that no one in his fifth grade class know how to read a clock face. These are eleven-year-olds! And a lot of people who do know how to read a clock cannot read it well - like they'll translate "2:55" into "3:55" because the short hand is closer to the 3 than it is to the 2.

So I've been teaching him clock faces. So far he has learned the clock faces for the 8:00's, the 9:00's, the 10:00's, and the 11:00's, learning every five minutes (not stuff like 9:57, just like 9:45, 9:50, 9:55, 10:00). So four weeks of me showing him these little cards with clock faces. I have never taught him "clock addition" where you show the kid where the short hand is, and then the count out where the long hand is, and then put the two together to come up with the time. We just skipped that and went straight to "glance reading" like adults do - just look at the clock (even if it doesn't have any numerals on it) and know what time it is. And, of course, I'm just teaching him the facts and letting him figure out the rules.

And today he made it pretty apparent that he had indeed figured out the rules.

It was bed time, and I informed Hunter that it was nearly nine o' clock and past his bedtime, so he needed to clean up his toys so we could get to bed. To which he climbed up on his plastic book shelf and told me, "No Mommy, I'll just turn the clock back." and promptly did just that.

He has a soccer clock that I got him from Target in the dollar isle, and though we never pay much attention to it, apparently he has figured out that the hands moving means the time changing. So, if you just turn the clock hands back, it'll mean that it won't be bedtime anymore. I guess he figured out the rules from seeing those four sets of clock faces. Too bad those aren't the rules for actual time, just clocks. He was disappointed to discover that it still had to be bedtime.

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old 

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