I don't go looking for "teachable moments." Learning just happens. It's an organic thing. However, those big learning moments seem to happen most often...
in the car.
Today we were on our way home from M1's swim team practice. M1 asked if we had to go anywhere else today (no) and then asked if he could earn some electronics time by doing a chore for me. "Yes," I said. "You can wash the dishes."
M2 wanted to earn electronics time of her own by drying the dishes, and I agreed to that, too.
"Awesome!" M1 chirped. "I'm finally learning! Good things have good consequences and bad things have bad consequences!"
About bloody time... I've been trying to teach him that for years. Then M2 piped up again. "Mom? Can you even have good consequences? I thought consequences meant bad things, like getting electronics taken away, not earning them."
Clearly the girl has been paying attention to what most often happens to her brother and electronics. I'm cautiously optimistic that we can return his electronics to him after we move and he won't abuse the privileges. Fingers crossed.
"Not quite," I replied. "A consequence is anything that happens because of something else. But the word often has a negative connotation."
I love using big words with my kids. I love that they don't even try to pretend they know what they mean; they just ask. "What's connotation?" were the next words out of M2's mouth, echoed shortly after by M1.
After I explained what connotation meant, they had a lot of fun coming up with words on the way home. Fluffy has a positive connotation; ugly has a negative connotation. After a few minutes, they asked why connotations were important.
"A lot of it has to do with writing and speaking. Connotation helps you pick just the right words for what you're trying to say. It's just one of those literature terms."
"What's literature?" M2 wanted to know. I explained. She was still curious. Awesomeness. "So are all books literature?"
"Well, no," I admitted. "Some books just aren't. And there are things that can separate brain-candy books from literature. All books have some elements of literature, though. Like the parts of a story."
M1's eyes lit up. "I remember the parts of a story!" At that point, he launched into an explanation of problem, rising action, climax, and denouement/resolution and even broke the book "The Chocolate Touch" into all those parts. I was proud as punch.
Literature? Why, yes. We do that here. Sort of.