Friday, September 30, 2011

No Offense, But...


Even though going to and from my son's school every day takes effort, time, and gas, so far I have found it to be a source of pleasure and bonding. Yes, I could carpool with someone else, but since my hindsight as a mother of 20-somethings shows that some of our best talks happened on the road, I consider it an investment in a relationship.

Anyhoo, yesterday I was once again touched and amused by my fourth grader's perspective. He loves school, even though he has been sent to the prinicipal's office a number of times in the first month already. Oy. This Christian school has high standards for conduct and academics, but the teachers and principal have been full of grace, using scripture to counsel the children--and appropriate consequences. For each day they display good behavior all day, they get a stamp. If they don't, they get their stamp taken away.

Me: So how was your day?
Him: Good.
Me: Good?
Him: Yeah, Mom. Every day is good.
Me: Really? Even the days you've gotten in trouble and had your stamp taken away?
Him: Well, yeah. Kinda.

Now, you might find it hard to tell what he meant by that unless you're his mother who knows him very well. The way you know your own child. They can say three simple, vague words, but you know what they mean. My son meant, "Even though I've gotten in trouble, I know the teacher likes me and the principal isn't mean. She encourages me to be more like Jesus." He also means that he loves having a new batch of boys to play football with at recess, and translating Latin paragraphs like it's a secret code. (I've told him that's why I like foreign languages; you're a kind of detective when you decode words that aren't English.)

The other snippet was about math.

Him: Mom? I don't really understand math the way Mrs. Reider teaches.
Me: Oh, really? Singapore Math?
Him: Yeah. I mean, she makes us go through eight steps. I don't need eight steps.
Me: How many do you need?
Him: Just 3. Read the problem. Think about the problem. Do the problem.
Me: (smiling at his succint "guy" way of putting things)
Him: No offense to Mrs. Reider, but I think I can figure out problems faster than she can.
Me: (trying not to giggle) Well, God HAS given you a brain for math, but Mrs. Reider is pretty smart, too. She is teaching other kids how to break math problems down in their head. You think through the problem so fast you don't even realize there are a lot of steps your brain is taking.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Well, for example. What is 20 times 12?
Him: 240.
Me; Right. How'd you figure that out?
Him: 12 times 2 is 24, and then add a zero. Or 20 times 10 is 200, plus 2 more 20's is 40.
Me: (trying to follow his fast-talk) . Right. See, you just figured out the problem in two ways at once and you broke those two down into steps.
Him: Yeah, I guess so. But it wasn't 8 steps.
Me: I bet if you thought about it, you'd find out there are probably steps you don't count. Plus, you work with money a lot, so you're used to thinking in terms of how a hundred is broken down.
Him: Yep. 100 pennies, or 20 nickels, or 10 dimes, or two half-dollars.
Me: See? That was quick!
Him: But I don't like to carry change. I prefer dollars!
Me: Me, too.
Him: Do you have dollar so we can get a sweet tea at McDonald's?
Me: Yes, but I can save a dollar by going home for some.
Him: Okay,

Linking up at Home Sanctuary today. (Get link from sidebar. My linker is being a stinker today.)


Anonymous said...

Love it!! One of the reasons why I (mostly) like talking to kids more than adults. =p

Janice C Johnson said...

I'm with your son... math came easily to me and I never bothered to "show my work" unless forced to do so! Thanks for a fun post.

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Priceless! brought a smile to my face this evening. "Out of the mouths of babes........."

I do hope you are feeling better and that you will have a great weekend with your family.

Thanks for stopping by earlier today with your words of encouragement. Blessings my friend!

Laurie said...

"Just 3." Easy as pi!
I like his thinking. And I enjoyed this story!
I am relieved that some people just "get" math!

(word verification is "hoidomm". Does "hoidumm" sound Yiddish?

Jennibell said...

This is great! My son "gets" math too and as a math teacher it drives me nuts that he doesn't show his work!!! I just want to "see" what they are doing in their minds :)
I love the pick-up time in the car too. . .it's really the best time of the day. . .sometimes the kids get in the car and want to turn their book on tape on right away and I just want to talk to them!!