Wednesday, February 09, 2011


In all her 7 and a half years, Leila has not really learned to tell time properly. I thought this was something they would be taught in school, but apparently, they are not. She said something about not being able to remember what she'd learned in first grade without reviewing it, but I don't think she ever really learned this properly then, either. Therefore, last night I decided it was time for her to learn it. We were working on her math homework anyway- (she has to do 5 minutes of math every day and I push her to do more.) I started off drawing a circle, on a pizza box (yes, we had pizza for supper) but soon realized that it would be easier to actually use a clock, so I got down the kitchen clock and brought it to the sofa where we were working.
Leila has a hard time learning from me- she doesn't really like me to tell her things and she goofs off, getting sidetracked by the idea of pumpkin pie when I start talking about dividing the clock face into pieces like a pie. Finally, however, I think she mostly got it. This morning she told me it was 12: 64, though, so I made her go back and figure it out again. After some resistance, she came back with the answer 12:07.
The thing about time, however, is that it's really complicated! First, there are 60 minutes in an hour, but 12 numbers on the clock. When the minute hand is on the 1, it's 5 minutes, not 1 minute. So you have to understand division and multiplication to tell time. Then, when we start to talk about half an hour, or a quarter to, you have to undersatnd fractions. Since Leila has now been introduced to all of these things at school, she's got the framework for understanding time telling. I reminded her of Ramona the Pest who was late to school because her mother told her to leave at a quarter after 8, and the only quarter she knew was 25c. She got that.
This morning I went online to figure out where the idea for time came from. There was lots of information about clocks, but little about basic time. (All sorts of deep scientific time information, though.) What information I did find, however, pointed out that having 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute, and 24 hours in a day, all have to do with division and multiplication and math. 12, for example, can be easily divided into half and quarters, unlike the number 10 which is only easily divided into half.  60 is handy that way, too. I guess I shouldn't be too suprised then that Leila was having so much trouble with learning time when she hadn't even learned all these complicated mathematical processes.
Speaking of time, it was after 6:00  this morning when the call came that the kids' school was closed for the day. I had already gotten out of bed and decided to steal H's warmest pants before the text came that my work was closed. And it wasn't till I had woken up for the second time that I saw on Facebook that my grad class after lunch  was canceled for the second week in a row  Bad weather has hit us again this week, and I'm happy not be out in 17 degree weather.
Updated: Tonight Leila told me 7:35 easily. By golly, I think she's got it!


jo(e) said...

So many clocks are digital now that I think most kids are pretty old before they learn to tell time on an old-school clock.

Lomagirl said...

I talked to Leila's old kinder teacher, now her brother's today about this. She said they don't really teach it until 2nd grade, and then they do it super fast. I think you are right about the digital bit, but I feel like the kdis don't really have a sense of time itself- like how long an hour is or a minute.