Teaching Time

Cassie can tell time. On a real clock, not a digital one. Most people would read that statement and say “no big deal, isn’t this a basic that all kindergartner’s can do?” Truth is, it hasn’t been something I have thought to teach her formally. Whenever she asks what time it is, I’ll do one of two things, depending on what I’m doing at the time. When busy doing something else, I’ll just glance at the time and say “it’s two fifteen” or maybe I’ll say “it’s quarter after two”.

Most of the time an answer like that really has no meaning for a child. What she really wants to know is When is dad coming home, or how much longer before I can eat something again? I

f I have time I may look at the clock and say “well the little hand is on the two so that means it’s two something. The big hand tells us how many minutes past two o’clock it is. Each number represents 5 minutes, so if the big hand is on the 3, then we count 5, 10, 15 so it is 2:15.” If I’m really in the mood to impart some wisdom I’ll take it a step further and go through the quadrants on the clock face to explain why 2:15 is the same as quarter after two.

Little lessons like that happen in our daily conversation and I don’t think of them as “school” but more like “life lessons”. I see no need to sit with her and do worksheets of clock faces, having her draw hands and numbers to depict different times.  I’ve seen entire math workbooks delegated to teaching time. She listens to my 5 minute “lectures” and goes about her daily business. Next time she wants to know the time, she’ll look at the clock and see if she can figure it out, then ask me “is it five thirty now?” to see if she is correct. And yup, she is!

posted under |


Heather said...

My son did the same thing (learned analog but not digital) for the same reason. He is 8 now and is only just learning digital (we don't have many digital clocks in the house and some of those are military time which is confusing.) My girls both learned to tell time from watching Veggietales. :) 1 Veggietales is 15 minutes long (on video) and 2 make 1/2 hour so I would use Veggietales as a frame of reference when they asked how long and then point out what that would be on the clock. Both could "tell time" by the time they were 3 and quickly picked up the other increments from regular discussion. (Didn't work for the boy because he wasn't obsessed with Veggietales. :)) I think it is awesome that they all learned to tell time without workbooks because telling time was something I seriously struggled with until I was nearly 10 which meant hours and hours of workbooks.

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home


We have decided to start this journal to keep track of our children's life lessons learned in our homeschool journey. We believe that as parents we are accountable for our own children's education. It is up to us to make sure we prepare them to be active and responsible citizens, not a drain on society. So this blog will be a place where we can share our daily lessons and activities that we incorporate into our homeschool.

About Me

Mother to 9 children, 5 on earth and 4 in heaven.
View my complete profile
Christian Unschoolers
Unschooling is learning as you live life. All of life involves learning. This is what we "teach" our children.


Recent Comments