Monday, March 16, 2020

Identifying with Contagion and Identifying Colours

Andrew and I watched Contagion tonight, which...I'm not sure I recommend. It was...a little intense. I know COVD-19 is a much less aggressive virus than the one in the movie. But still.

Things are getting wild out there: Alberta cancelled school. Period. Like, they don't even get out until the end of June and they just cancelled the rest of the school year. They are trying to put together some at-home curriculum, but they've cancelled Provincial Exams (for grades 3, 6, 9). Diploma examinations will still happen, but no classroom instruction beforehand, so...yikes. My friends up there are (rightly) freaking out a little. I mean, it's one thing to decide to homeschool; it's another thing to have it be thrust upon you.

The CDC today said that no "events" with more than 50 people should take place (for the next eight weeks), but they explicitly said that schools are not classified as an "event." So I guess that means school can go on for us? Rachel will be home all of this week ("digital learning days" for her) and they're going to reevaluate after that (I honestly think they will cancel next week as well, and then there's spring break). But I feel like if Canada (and other countries) are closing schools (and for longer) we really ought to be taking this somewhat seriously.

Norway has urged students living abroad in areas with "poorly developed health services...for example in the USA" to return home, which doesn't speak well of our medical system (but, I mean, we all know how I feel about the medical system down here (I understand Americans think it's pretty great but, like, I mean...I dunno)).

So in other news, I was reading the kids some books the other night and If You Give Your Mouse A Cookie was among the titles in the towering stack they brought to me. Sometimes when we're reading I will ask the kids questions either about what they think is going to happen or what they're seeing in the pictures. If I want a younger child to answer I have to prepare my older children like so, "Zoë, I'm going to ask Alexander a question now. It's a question that I know you know the answer to but I want to see if he knows the answer, so when I ask the question you can answer it in your mind but don't say the answer out loud, okay?" Otherwise they just blurt out the answer or point to the correct thing on the page and, really, can one gauge any sort of comprehension from a toddler who's being fed the answer? Not really.

We happened to be on the page where there's an illustration of Mouse just beginning to draw a portrait of his family. His paper is mostly empty but there are crayons strewn about him. He's holding one crayon, ready to draw.

I gave the previously mentioned speech to Zoë and then said, "Alexander, what colour is Mouse using?"

Alexander started scanning the page wildly, stammering, "Umm, ummm, ummmm, ummmm." Then he pointed triumphantly to Mouse holding the green crayon and said, "BIS ONE!"

Translation: "This one!"

Which, I mean...he's not wrong.


He's not great with his colours yet, which is fine. He can match colours; he'll often bring me two objects and point out that they are the same colour. He just isn't good with colour names. And that's fine—the benchmark is that a child will be able to name at least one colour by age three. We have several months to go before Alexander is three (and a lot can happen in just a few months at this age).

"Yes," I said. "He is using that crayon. Do you know what colour it is?"

"I don't know. Purple?" he tried.

"It's green!" Zoë squealed, unable to contain the answer in her mind any longer.

"IT BEEN!" Alexander screamed.

"It is green!" I said, and then pointing to a different crayon I asked him, "Do you know what colour this crayon is?"

"Bowange?" he guessed.

"It's blue," I said. "Can you point to the yellow crayon?"

"WOWEE!" he said, pointing (miraculously) to the yellow crayon (high probability that was a fluke).

"That's right," I said. "That's the yellow crayon."

And we moved on with our story (and then onto the next story and the next and the next).

I could probably write an If You Give...book about my children but it would be very boring, indeed. If you read my children a story, they will probably ask for another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and...

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