Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anatomy 101

I like to think of myself as someone who can adapt easily to change (stop laughing, Hon), which is a good thing or else I'd be going stark raving mad, especially at work. I'm open for new systems, techniques, routines, etc. as long as they make sense, make the job easier, or guard against a full system blackout. The same goes for the girls' education. I'm less interested in how they learn than that they learn. I learned in a system where there was a teacher, a blackboard, and a group of desks. We sat and the teacher taught and some of us learned and some of us didn't and those that learned made fun of those that didn't. Simple as that. Any questions?

Now I'm sure that today's educational system is, by and large, fairly similar to the one that I grew up with. There are still teachers and blackboards and desks, though they all have evolved over the years. The teachers sometimes wear jeans and are accompanied by teacher's aides, the blackboards are green, and desks, at least in the girls' classes, don't face forward, but are grouped together so that students are facing each other! HERESY! All this is to say that over time, research has shown that different people learn in different ways, and today's educational system has evolved to employ new pedagogies and teaching methods in order to maximize the learning potential of each student.

I've always embraced a "learning should be fun" philosophy, and I do what I can to contribute to the girls' educational development. I'd like to say that I created this fun exercise for the purpose of expanding the girls' knowledge, but in reality it started as something more puerile. It's a little game I like to call "Do This Or I'll Kick You In The _______." It's not that difficult of a game, but I'll try to explain it to the best of my ability.

I usually begin the game with a statement like this: "Hey Kailey, pick up your toys in the family room or I'll kick you in the throat."

She'll laugh then retort, "Oh yeah, well I'll kick you in the butt!" (Their first two responses are usually "butt" or "pee pee", which are infinitely hilarious to 7 and 8 year-olds...OK, me too.)

I'll kick it up a notch as we go back and forth, with offerings such as "spleen", "esophagus", or "medulla oblongata". They'll get a puzzled look on their faces and ask "What's that?" which I take as an educational opportunity to show them the different components of their anatomy. It's pure genius in my humble opinion. The girls will be in class one day where they're discussing the pituitary gland and they'll be able to yawn and say, "Yeah, I know all about that. My Dad threatened to kick me there the other night." But sometimes my little game backfires.

The other night Kyra and I were volleying over cleaning off the table when I threatened to kick her in the "Eustachian tubes". When I explained to her that they were canals that connected her ears to her throat, she freaked. "Mommy!" she cried as she ran from the room. "Daddy said he was going to kick me in the EUSTACHIAN TUBES!"

She might not appreciate it now, but in fifteen years, when she's breezing through medical school, she'll thank me.

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