Most kids dawdle and daydream and get distracted sometimes, but G is like an absent-minded professor -- if you leave her to her own devices, she'll never get anything done. This wasn't a big problem when she was younger because she and P stayed home all day, every day, and she didn't have to be anywhere at a particular time. Now that she has school and activities to get to, it's an ongoing struggle.
To help her stay on track and manage her time a little better, we borrowed an idea from her kindergarten teacher and got her a timer a few months ago. P has been stricter about using it than I have, but even I have to admit that it works. In fact, it works so well that our original timer actually broke from constant use. So, yesterday I went to the Lakeshore Learning store at lunch to get a replacement.
I usually have a hard time restraining myself when I'm at the store and all the shiny charts and cards and tubs and art materials and unsharpened pencils are calling to me in dulcet and seductive tones. (Perhaps this is the point where I should confess my secret thirty-year love affair with school supplies of all kinds. Oh, the dorky shame!) But today I was good and only bought the timer ... well, the timer and a Totally Tut math game. Hey, I said she needed help with math, didn't I? And she likes Egypt, so ...
Anyway, we played a round of the game before she went to bed last night, and it was a lot more fun than you might think. It's definitely more challenging than worksheets because instead of giving you a problem, it gives you an answer and makes you figure out what combination of two, three or four numbers you can add and subtract to get that answer. G has done some of that in school, but never with more than two numbers, so I gave her tons of help this time. I hope she'll catch on and do more of the work herself next time, though. I've heard dominoes are also good for math, so there'll be domino games in our future as well. (I don't know how to play, but P does and says he'll teach us.) Anything's got to be better than Sorry -- or as P dubbed it, Sorry This Game Sucks -- which was the last game we tried.
On the topic of games, P has been talking about having a regular family game night to go along with our wildly successful family movie night. I instituted the movie ritual right after kindergarten started, when I realized that we all needed a reward for making it through a week of school and work. A year and a half later, G still gets up on Friday mornings singing, "Tonight is Friday Family Movie Night!" All we usually do is make popcorn and put on a DVD, and maybe bake some of those refrigerated insta-cookies if we're really feeling ambitious, but she looks forward to it all week long. The only rule is that she has to choose a movie we all can enjoy (i.e., no sappy cartoons about pastel ponies). I wonder what we'll be watching tomorrow.
(P.S. Am I the only person who remembers where the quote in the subject line came from? Please tell me I'm not.)