Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How to teach your kids to have a questioning mind

My kids question everything they hear. They challenge facts, test theories and ask for proof. Teachers think they're marvellous and a joy to teach.

How did I raise such marvellous joy-to-teach children? Well, I come from a long line of jokers; my kids have learned not to take anything at face value.

My grandma, before she died, managed to convince the kids next door that she was really a fairy. My grandma was 88 and a size 26. She was so convincing that the kids used to leave her little gifts and write wishes to her.

My dad, one April Fool's Day, told his next door neighbour that the UK would be changing to the continental way of driving, and that our little town had been chosen as a pilot town. He told the neighbour that the council were sending workmen out through the night to change all the signs and road markings. The neighbour was up in arms and after a good 20 minutes ranting with my dad stormed inside to write a stern letter to the local paper.

So you see, my kids didn't stand a chance really. Jokes are swimming around in their gene pool, freaking out the life guards by pretending to drown and telling other genes that the waters are shark infested.

Here are a few of my favourite jokes. Feel free to try them out on your own children, for educational purposes of course...

1. Driving past Stone Henge Peter commented on what a shame it was that people couldn't go up to the stones anymore.

Me: Do you remember those little pebbles in jars you can get from the sweet shops by the seaside? Well, that's what Stone Henge is made of.

Peter: Oh, so that's why people aren't allowed near it anymore. People kept taking bites from the stones.

Me: Well, not biting them, but licking them. They were getting very sticky and attracting wasps. Health and safety- you know.

Peter: Stupid health and safety. It spoils all our fun.

2. On the wedding of Prince William and Kate:

Phyllis: Mummy, when you and daddy got married, were there things in the shops with your picture on them, like tea towels and things?

Me (never one to miss an opportunity): Of course, darling.

Phyllis: Well where are they now then?

Me: Well, mummy looked soooo beautiful that everything sold out in seconds.

Phyllis: Oh, ok.
(I love that my daughter thinks this is possible!)

3. At school, arriving an hour late because of a hospital appointment:

Child: Miss, where were you this morning?

Me: Well you see I'm actually not just a teacher, I'm also a spy for the government. This morning I had to fly out to see the president in America for a meeting. The meeting overran a bit.

Child (already starting to question): How did you get back so quick?

Me: In a helicopter of course!

4. On a school trip:

Child: It's not fair. That coach is going faster than our coach.

Me: It's because of the design. If you look on the side of each coach, the faster one has straight lines which makes it more aerodynamic. Our coach has wavy lines which slow it down.

Other members of staff couldn't understand why, on the return journey, all the kids were clamouring to get on the 'fast' coach. Oops!

Today: An inspirational genius
I read recently of a teacher who convinced a whole class of Year 10 pupils (that's the 4th year to anyone over the age of 25) that you could change your star sign by going to the post office and filling out a form. I don't know this teacher, but whoever you are, I salute you!

Mama Jax

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