Saturday, March 6, 2010

Half Past Christmas

How do you teach the 'concept' of time?

Beth understands the months of the year. She can tell you her birthday. She likes the end of the month, when we flip our calendar pages. Lots of things happen for her when we flip our calendars; the biggest is, she gets paid which means a mom and daughter shopping day! She does well with January, February, March, etc. It's the smaller incriments of time that confuse her.

I love my kitchen timer. I've used it for years; when cooking, when the girls were fighting over their time on the trampoline, when they needed to know how much longer until they had to go to bed. It was 'time' that could be seen and heard.

We have always had an analog clock in their bedroom. It was hard to avoid a digital clock, but we made sure there was an 'old fashioned' one as well. Sharaya and Diana learned how to tell time in school, but Beth just never caught on. Her teachers taught it to her for years, we reinforced it here at home, but her mind never grasped the concept.

When we tell her she has 10 minutes until her bus arrives, she has no idea what we mean. So she continues at her same slow speed. Reminding her that we need to hurry because church starts in a half hour means nothing to her. I write her a note each morning, telling her what time she needs to be ready to catch her bus. She 'reads' 'Be ready at 9:30.' But most of the time she's not. She's still putting on her socks at 9:40. And when I explain that her bus will be here any second, there is no response.

She can tell you the time. She looks at her digital clock, or even her cell phone and will read, "10:45" but she has no idea what it means. She doesn't know how 10:45 affects her life. Interestingly, she does know what 2:30 means. It means lunch time. I don't know where she learned that. She would call me from work, or art class, "Mom, is 2:30. I nee my lunch." It took many months until she mentally comprehended the fact she couldn't eat lunch at 2:30 every single day. If we're out shopping or doing whatever and 2:30 rolls around? You can bet Beth will pop open her phone and remind you of the time!

But... she doesn't understand it.

And I don't know how to teach her to undertand it.


Anonymous said...

have you tried seeing if the timer would work?

Cindy said...

Thanks for your idea. I have tried the timer. I will set it for ten minutes, telling her that she needs to start putting on her shoes right now and have them on by the time it goes off. But when it goes off, I check her and she is only beginning to put on her shoes. I don't think she understands how long it takes her to put on her shoes vs ten minutes. (Or maybe she does and just doesn't want to comply?) Non understanding or disobedience - is this the title of a new post?! :)