Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mixed messages

A few years ago, I spray-painted one of the cupboard doors in my kitchen with black chalk paint so I could use it as a message board. It became a handy place to write notes, and also a useful surface for demonstrating lessons during homeschool, such as how to spell A-N-O-N-Y-M-O-U-S or something. Because ANONYMOUS is a tricky word.

After a while, I wrote the words "Ask Me About" in big letters at the top of the board. Then, I would write down subjects that we discussed during school so that when Andy came home from work, he could see what the kids had been up to. I might write something like "Galileo" or "three types of rocks" or "nouns and verbs." Then Andy will come home and say, "Hey, Simon, what are the three types of rock?" Or "Hey, Michael, what is the difference between a noun and a verb?"

It's been a great way to keep Andy involved in the learning process, and also a great way to reinforce lessons learned in school by making the kids review them at the end of the day. But the board is used for a lot of other messages as well. At any given time, it might have phone messages (like "Larry called"), reminders (like "return library books), and school notes all written on it at once. I'm usually in a hurry when I write things down, so the messages are often in shorthand. But usually the point comes across. Usually.

This year for school Simon got a really cool Astronomy book that he loves. Something about the immensity of space and the fact that a lot of celestial objects are made of gas appeals to him. We've completed the chapters on most of the planets already and when I write the name of the planet on the board Andy will ask Simon about it. Simon will eagerly explain everything he's learned. Often dramatic hand gestures are involved as well as explosions, whether they are relevant or not. Because Simon can't describe anything without an explosion.

Anyway, last week Andy ordered some metal pieces from Bridger Steel, which he needed to complete the new eave on one side of our house. When a nice lady from Bridger Steel called to say the eave pieces were ready, I wrote a quick note on the board so I wouldn't forget to tell Andy. Then, in school, Simon and I finished the chapter on a certain planet.

And so it was that when Andy came home, the board read:

Ask Me About:
the eaves in
You might have to read it out loud to get the full effect.

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