Stitches and numbers

Distractions abound! After the holidays go by, it is really hard to settle down and focus, even with all the resolutions and goal setting. Among the things on my mind:

Our late-spring vacation across the ocean. SO looking forward to new experiences and new sights for all of us. Man, I hope I don’t get seasick!

Destination Imagination. Helping out with Kiki’s team is absolutely nuts. The kids are crackers (in a good way), and trying to get them to focus feels like herding cats. This is why I never went into teaching. But I can’t wait to see how their solution turns out, and I have high hopes for their tournament day.

Needlework. I don’t know why, but I’ve had the crazy urge to learn how to knit and crochet. I’ve tried to learn both from family members before. I remember getting as far as a chain in crochet – a few times. And I once tried knitting. Usually I can learn with books, but not with anything that has to do with string or yarn or shoelaces. My eyes just can’t follow those diagrams no matter how many arrows they stick in there.

Thank goodness for YouTube! So many tutorials for beginners – and quite a few good ones. The best part is that there’s a pause button. There’s also the fact that I don’t have to feel self-conscious about taking forever to learn a simple stitch like I do when I’m trying to learn in person.

Oh, and there are also tons of videos for the Rainbow Loom that Kiki got for Christmas. I don’t know which of us is having more fun with it – Kiki, The Boo (who just sticks rubber bands on the pegs and calls them bracelets) or me.

Math, specifically on Khan Academy: Video tutorials aren’t just for crafty things. I’m also relearning the math I forgot right after I went to college (yeah, I never had to do much math there, aside from figuring out whether or not I had any money left on my dining hall credit account – yay for English majors). Now that I’m trying to teach math, albeit elementary school math, I’m finding that I need a refresher. In some cases, I need a complete reboot, since math seems to be taught a lot differently nowadays. What the heck are partial products, anyway?

I’m addicted to Khan Academy, actually, and I’ve tried to make sure I get on for at least a few minutes every day. I started out working through what they consider to be fourth-grade work. As I master each level, I tackle the next one. I’m currently in sixth grade, relearning how to divide fractions by fractions and make whisker box plots (I don’t remember EVER┬ádoing that before).

Now, what does all this have to do with teaching Kiki? Well, there’s math, of course. But what I really hope she picks up on: Learning doesn’t stop when you grow up, and it isn’t all about what you’re “supposed to” learn; it can be simply following through on the desire to create – or even just the desire to have fun.

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