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One of the ways I try to sneak in extra learning for my son Bruce(7) is through lunchbox notes. Full confession—he’s not very thrilled. But I know that even if he chooses to crumple up the note each day, that he is still learning. How do I know this? because he usually tells me something sassy like “I’m not going to learn about Dwit Eisehow and you can’t make me!” With apologies to President Eisenhower, that garbled educational moment was coming from the US Presidents pack I picked up at the Target Dollar spot. I also deal from a Spanish and a musical instrument pack, pictured above.
Recently I read a great blog post written by a former SAT tutor on Explolring More that talked about the importance of building your child’s vocabulary starting from a young age. I’ve been trying to do this for both of my kids through Magic Word, our daily vocabulary calendar, and reading Building Language with Bruce. Another way to peck away at this is through lunchbox notes.
The only catch is that we have to go over the word thoroughly at breakfast, before Bruce heads off to school. That way, when he gets to lunch and takes the word out, he already knows what it means. Hopefully, the other kids at the table will learn the word too. Either that, or they’ll find this whole idea really soporific.
I picked up this pack of president flashcards in the Dollar Spot at Target a couple of months ago, but haven’t found an effective way to use them until now… Lunchbox Notes!
I’m putting the cards into Bruce(6)’s lunch one president at a time. The unexpected outcome of this is that not only Bruce, but the other kids at his table are learning from the notes I put in his lunch, because he shows them to other kids. I know this because he told me once that his friend A—- knew who King Henry VIII was. That was the day that I had put a note that said “Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded Survived…. what happened to King Henry VIII’s wives” in Bruce’s lunchbox. (We had just listened to that part of history in Story of the World III.)
Imagine what would happen if every parent was putting random bits of information in their children’s lunches. The kids probably wouldn’t have time to eat!
Last week my friend Stephanie mentioned to me how much her son loves reading the notes she writes for him in his lunchbox each day. Stephanie really puts some thought into what she writes, and uses the notes as a way to sneak in some extra reading practice for her son. I expressed to her what a great idea that was, and she looked at me kind of funny and said: “You were the one who suggested it to me, Jenny.” –Oh. I have totally forgotten that conversation, but I’ll take credit for it anyway! 🙂
The truth be told, I have been rather sporadic in my lunchbox writing this Fall. When Bruce was in Kindergarten, I was much better. Here’s one of my favorite lunchbox notes from last year. I’m thinking that first grade is time to up my ante. Spelling words, vocabulary words, jokes in code… Please stay tuned for what I come up with.