I remember getting my first ever watch; I was five and I woke up really early and there was a box waiting for me. It was small, important looking, hard for little fingers to open but inside, a delicate Timex watch on a bright blue strap, just the colour of my terribly smart school pinafore, moulded with circles through the strap. I was extremely proud of how grown up it looked, prouder still that I could tell the time and that the infinite pain of clock lessons with Mrs Kenworthy had paid off. I was free to be my own master, know the time, come and go at my own pace and speed.
Or, as it turned out, be constantly dashing to keep up with the demands of time and always, ALWAYS late. The late Miss Taylor, I was known as by one teacher. Ha, ha. Very funny.
Time marked a defining moment in our home educating journey too, the moment where Max and I realised our skill sets when it came to teaching the girls the things they needed to know. As with most maths, I worked on the principle that anything causing grief or stress would cause much less grief and stress in six months time. And one thing I did understand was that a heap of skills were required to tell the time. Max, a man who sees pictures in equations and rhythms in statistics that beat like a musical drum, was baffled and frustrated beyond measure that they couldn’t ‘just do it’.
Learning to tell the time needs a heap of skills; counting, counting in 5’s, 10’s 15’s as well as by the minute. Understanding that our decimal rules are broken by time and it does not beat to the drum of our ordered life of 100’s. Learning to speak in fractions too; half, quarter, three quarters and equating numbers and groups of numbers to each of those. Then there is the ever complicated past and to conundrum and to make things worse, numbers start counting backwards after half past, which is also 30 and also 6. We won’t even mention that the little hand counts big things and the big hand counts little things and sometimes there is a second hand and sometimes there isn’t. Breaking it down into parts, learning time in your own time, when all those skills assemble, is far less painful than marching through a set of rules to learn to tell the time before time needs to be telling you anything at all.
By the time (ha!) a child assimilates all that they need a breather before setting about digital clocks and 24 hour time. I still have moments where I have to think carefully about 17:00 and 19:00.
Despite the world jumping up and down over mobile phones and snazzy gadgets, all of my children have asked for a watch during their early years, perhaps to enjoy the power that time telling gives them and the badge of honour a watch is. I don’t suppose it will be all that long before Bene is choosing his. When he is ready, perhaps we will chose at The Watch Hut. I wonder which one would catch his fancy? Which one do you like?
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post and we have received compensation for writing it.