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Friday, October 7, 2011

Learning Against Her Will

Batman riding a rainbow unicorn over a purple dolphin sea.
Emma is reluctant to study anything other than what she knows is going to be on her tests.  She will fight with me, for example, if I attempt to get her to give me the meaning of something that she knows she will not be tested on.  

Last night we were going over definitions for a Social Studies test.  The teacher had placed an asterisk by all the terms on a list that would be on the test but there were maybe fifteen or so additional terms and I forced Emma to review those too.

"Daddy, Mrs. G said that's not going to be on the test."

"I know honey, I still think you should know it."

"But she said we don't have to."

"But I said you do."

"But Daddeeeeeee. . . "

And so on.  She fought me and got all sullen because I made her tell me what a savannah was. . . or a mesa. . . when all she really needed to know for the test was grassland or prairie or plateau.  But ultimately she got them and we moved on with our evening and she went to bed.  I think she might have been a little tired, having just finished a 3 hour softball game the hour before.

So this morning after breakfast, I was giving her a practice spelling test and "rainbow" was on the list of words.  It was number 19 of 20, but before I gave her the last word (scrape) I said "unicorn" instead.  Because really, you can't have rainbows without unicorns.  I think that's pretty much understood.

But it was not on her list of words.  I waited for the protest.  This time I was going to immediately capitulate since i was really only teasing her, but she spelled it out on the paper correctly, quietly concentrating as she wrote it out. . . and then looked up as if I'd just slapped her and did some sort of weird double-take, saying, "Wait, what did you just say?"


She scowled in confusion.  "Was that on the list?"

"No sweetie," I smiled in reply.

She was just on autopilot, too sleepy to notice or too in-the-zone. She got mock angry with me for tricking her into learning something; scowling unconvincingly before smiling and laughing with me when I pointed out that she spelled it right in spite of herself.


  1. Ohhh that was good, tricking her into spelling a word. I may have to try that. My son protests the same way when the words are not on the have to know list. Sigh.

    PS--which blog are you writing on more? I'm following here but like them both.

  2. The other one, I suspect.

    I'll still post to both, but this will always be a little fluffier/snarkier and the other one will be a little autistic-ier. I've been posting about three to one on the other blog (since I started it in September), and really trying to focus on it specifically.