Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Which one are you: A Mediated Learning Parent or Insane?

A great way to help our children develop thinking skills and model problem solving skills is to talk out loud while you do activities.
Now, since talking to yourself is a sign that shows your insane let me clarify what I am saying.
What I am saying is that you need to talk to yourself....
and your kids.
Basically, you need to model your thought processes for your children. This helps them understand how to tackle a problem, the various solutions you come up with to these problems and the different activities involved in the execution of those solutions.

To illustrate my point, here is a real-life scenario from my house.
Not far-fetched at all. ;)

The kids are colouring at the table and I am cleaning the counters.
Mom: "Ok, so I'm just going to clean up this counter and wipe it down so that it's clean. I want to put everything that's on the counter back where it belongs so that later when we make dinner, we can do it easily without having to be frustrated with a mess on the counter."
Eldest: "Mom, who are you talking to?"
Mom: "You guys...and myself. I'm trying to tell you about how I clean off the counters so that one day you, too, can clean off the counters!"
Eldest: "You aren't trying to give me another chore are you?"
Mom: "Just go back to you colouring."
Colouring and cleaning resumes.
Mom: "First, I see our plants need some water. 'Hey Polka (that's our polka dot plant), looks like you are needing some water today. Let's give you a little bit of love.' I'm going to give Polka some water and take off some dead leaves so that she's healthy. I'll put her back on top of the counter now and position her differently so that she gets some sun. 'Is that better, polka? I thought so.' "
Four year old: Mom, why are you talking to the plants?
Mom: How's that colouring coming?
Colouring and cleaning resumes.
Mom: I'm going to put these art supplies in the art closet. Actually, come here, you guys can put this back in the art closet. I asked you to do that earlier. Here, take this."
Kids put art stuff away.
Mom: Thanks girls. Now I'm going to take this box off the counter because it's blocking the window and...GET OUT OF MY YARD! "
I open the window and yell at the neighbour's cat who is trying once again to forage through my garbage.
Mom:"GIT! Yes, I'm talking to you, cat. Out of my yard!"
I shut the window with force which makes enough noise to scare the cat away.
Girls: Was that Pluto again?
Mom: "Yes, but don't worry about it. He's gone now. What was I doing? Oh right, modeling for you. ( A momentary thought on how yelling at the neighbour's cat might not be something I should be modeling). I spot a sock on the counter, "How did you get here? You aren't supposed to be up here. You should be in the laundry room! You know, I don't understand how it is that you can be here."
I put my hand into the sock and make it respond.
Sock:"Well, you see, I've gone travelling. I was supposed to be in the laundry room but I decided to stop here."
Mom:"Oh really?" Why was that?"
Sock:"Because one of the girls put me here. It seems that they got distracted from their chore and decided to put me here for awhile."
Girls: Mommy! You are being silly!
Sock: No, I think it was silly that you forgot to bring me all the way to the washing machine.
Mom: Would you like to go there now, Mr. Sock?
Sock: Yes. Yes, I would.
Mom: Who wants to help Mr. Sock go home?
Girls: I do! I will!
The sock is returned to it's rightful place and I finish up.
Mom: So now, I'm going to wipe down the counter and get rid of any germs that would be left on the counter.
I silently tell myself that I need to make more homemade cleaners. Which then leads to the need to put baking soda on my grocery list. Which then leads to the need to make time to meal plan today so that I can go grocery shopping tonight. Which then leads to the struggle of grocery shopping vs. blogging that I hoped to do and spend time with my husband and call my Mom and soak flax seed for the morning and call cousin Darla for a recipe and write a birthday card for someone and, and, and.....ahhhhh! ENOUGH! I say to all the voices in my head.

Wait...voices in my head.?
Is not that the sign of insanity?
Have I just lived through questions 1-10 in the Insanity Test?
All from trying to be a good Mediating Parent who role models thinking strategies?

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