Homework in kindergarten. I will just leave that out there for you to think about for a moment. For now let me just say that my opinion on it changed Wednesday night.
The assignment was to identify shapes and then make a pattern out of them. No more specific than that, and the simplest he has had thus far. I figured it would be easy enough, considering that Benjamin had known at least five shapes for quite some time.
I dug through a plastic container of wafer-thin foam shapes and picked four each of circles, squares, and triangles of various sizes. Two of the squares, still attached to one another, served as the rectangle.
Quick, related sidenote. The other night when Benjamin said he didn’t know how to read yet, I said, “There’s at least one word you’ve known for a while.”
“It’s on a sign that has eight sides.”
I had forgot that he knew that shape. “Yes. Do you remember the word?”
“Can you spell it?”
“See, you can read that word.”
That shape was something we had taught him, so while it still impressed me, I wasn’t surprised at all.
Back to Wednesday night.
At the kitchen island, where he always does his homework, I presented the shapes to Benjamin. He quickly identified the three (what I call) most basic shapes: triangle, square, circle.
I slid the rectangle toward him and said, “What is this shape?”
“Two squares,” he said.
“Yes, but together, what do they make?”
Building on that same line of thinking, I combined two triangles. They didn’t make a square as I had hoped they would, because they were equilateral (look it up, I had to). They made a rhombus, which I didn’t have to look up but which I wasn’t going to ask Benjamin to identify.
Instead, I turned the shape slightly and presented something simpler for his consideration. “What’s that shape?”
Figuring he wasn’t going to pull that one out of his hat, I blurted, “It’s a diamond.”
Benjamin reached out his tiny fingers and turned the shape slightly.
“It’s a rhombus,” he said.
(Note: I composed this post, resized the photo, and posted both using Puppy Linux 4.00 (“Dingo”) on a Toshiba Portege 7020CT with a Pentium II and 192 MB RAM)