How’s this for a surprising realization – my 15 year old daughter doesn’t know where she lives? Okay, she knows her address, but recently when a friend offered to bring her home from an activity, we made a startling discovery.
This particular friend had never been to our home and asked for directions. When she saw Lexi, she said, “Oh, don’t worry about it, I’ll have Lexi tell me how to get there.”
“Great”, I replied, not realizing there was an issue. But then Lexi looked at me like a deer in headlights and said, “I’m not sure I can direct her from there.”
“What?” I thought, “How does she NOT know how to get to our house?” But then I realized she always has her head buried in a book when we’re driving. Of course she doesn’t know how to get home, I thought. Actually, come to think of it, she doesn’t know how to get around most of our city
So, how could I turn this into a project? I wondered. Project-based learning has proved to be the best way for my kids to fully grasp a new skill.
A few days later, we got in the car on our way home from school. I turned to my girls and asked, “Do you know where we live?”
Sydney, my eleven year old, laughed at the absurdity of the question. “Of course we do!”
“Really?” I questioned. “Then direct me home.” Suddenly, I saw two sets of eyes as big as half dollars. They quickly realized that they really didn’t know where we live.
We pulled out of the parking lot, and I began to show them street signs and point out notable landmarks. It’s become a daily habit and a fun game for the girls; they have to tell me how to get where we’re going.
Last week our friend Martha shared something she has incorporated into her car rides. She has her kids guesstimate how long it will take to get from one place to another. On a trip to the mall, for instance, Martha will ask each child how long they think it will take. When they arrive, they compare the actual time with the guesses.
Estimating how long it takes to get from place to place can help kids learn a valuable time management skill. If it takes 20 minutes to get to dance class, for example, and class starts at 3:00, what time will we have to leave our house? Well, we want to be 15 minutes early so that we have time to get in and be ready to start at 3:00. Then there’s 20 minutes of drive time, and we want to tack on 10 minutes in case there’s traffic or another problem. That means we’ll need to leave the house by 2:15.
Needless to say, we have added Guess How Long it Will Take to our car ride trivia. My kids love it!
Leave a comment, and share your ideas for teaching navigation and time management to your kids.