We recently took on a major overhaul of the kids’ rooms. It involved moving things around, dumping out toy boxes, sorting, purging, dusting, moving, folding and sighing a breath of delightful relief when it was all over. It happened one weekday morning (before our summer schedule). It happened on a day when we would have normally been stuck with our noses in books but it was perfectly acceptable to me to use that day as a teaching opportunity. So that’s exactly what we did.
In addition to teaching the kids some great life skills, there were many opportunities for growth. Here are just a few that I particularly enjoyed:
Teaching Moment #1: Basic Life Skills
Kids need life skills and they aren’t always being educated in this area. My kids can make a wicked omelet, scrub a toilet (even though it requires touch ups from Mom), and plant a garden. Apparently they can also sort their books, tackle the dust under beds and pick up smelly old socks that get shoved into corners. And there are jobs for all ages. Did you see that nicely sorted Lego in a big old under bed storage basket? (I took that picture today, many weeks after our clean up day, so it seems to be a tool that stuck! It’s so nice to push the whole thing under the bed when they’re done.)
Teaching Moment #2: Time Management
It always looks so much worse before it looks better. Thankfully, the kids were mostly okay in delaying their gratification (play time) in favour of working through the massive clean up. Keeping our focus helped to push us through the day. It was a lot of work, but it went by very quickly and we were all very happy with the way it went. We had snack breaks and a lunch break and were otherwise pretty great about sticking to the challenge.
Teaching Moment #3: Stewardship
We have far more ‘stuff’ than we use, need, or want for that matter. It’s taken a very long time to accumulate all the ‘stuff’ so I anticipate it taking a fair chunk of time to sort through it all as well. That day, I heard a few comments that went something like: “We don’t need this Mom, and someone else might really like it.” Perfect!
Teaching Moment #4: Math
We had two big bins of large Duplo blocks that were well-loved and still frequently used (even by the older kids), but took up lots of space. We also had two drawers under Eden’s bed that would have been perfect for said Duplo. But would it fit? I tasked Caleb with figuring it out mathematically. I loved this one as it was a great way for him to apply his skills in real-time. There was quite a lot of math involved (calculating volume in inches for both the bins and the drawers, 2×2 digit and 3×2 digit multiplication, followed by addition and subtraction). The end result? They would just fit. Barely. So we made the switch. Caleb high-fived me upon completion of that little task. It was my favourite teaching moment of the day, mainly because he was beside himself with the practicality of math.
Real life word problems provide way better learning than any book.
Teaching Moment #5: Reward
There is satisfaction to be had in doing a job well. We all stood back and admired our work. No explanation necessary.
Now if I could just get them to learn about upkeep, we’d be golden!
This post has been liked to Finer Things Friday.