I love having children who love to learn, and that Neil is particularly eager to encourage Kelly towards that end. A few months ago, he used his own hard-earned money to buy an arcade game featuring her favorite character, Snoopy. Neil told Kelly he’d give it to her when she could count to 20 all by herself, add simple sums like 1+2 and 5+5, and correctly understand what a + sign means.
I felt sorry for Kelly. She wanted the game, but try as she might, she couldn’t count to 20. She’d lose the plot somewhere after 12, and then just spout random numbers. And as for adding, sometimes she got it, sometimes she didn’t.
What I think tipped the balance was a game I borrowed from the Santa Clara County Office of Education. They loan out all sorts of educational resources, and they encourage homeschoolers. This month, I checked out a DVD with Chica Chica Boom Boom (about alphabet letters) and a game with 2 flowers, butterflies, and a die. The idea of the game was to roll it and add butterflies to the flower, and then count the number of butterflies altogether. The game came with 24 butterflies, which I counted out for Kelly several times.
Today, at dinner, after spontaneously telling me several words than began with the letter P, Kelly said, “and now I can count to 20.” And she did! I called Neil over and she did the same for him, and afterwards she added successfully.
Neil was probably happier than she was about it, but in any case, he and Kelly played Snoopy vs. The Red Baron for the rest of the evening.