Although I don't have a formal learning time at home, I do spend some time each day teaching Colin new things. Sometimes we learn to count by counting the number of toy cars in his box or how many strawberries on his plate. He has magnetic letters on the fridge through which he has learned his alphabet. We sing songs to learn music or to learn body parts. We talk about how things are big and small, and what colours they are. He has a natural curiosity in him, and always asks "what's this?" for something that is new to him. We pick up toys or household machines and figure out how they work. The other day a singing bear stopped working, and I came into the room to find the bear undressed, turned over, the velcro padding and a zipper undone, the battery lid slid off and the batteries taken out. Colin promptly looked up to me and said "needs new batteries!" (sidenote: we had never taken apart this bear - he just managed to figure out how to get to the route of the problem!)
So today on a long car ride home from a morning trip out, calling started to meow like a cat. I jumped at what I thought would be a great learning opportunity. We have talked about cat's meowing at home before, because we have a pet cat. But animal sounds isn't something I'd covered.
Mommy: What animal says "meow", Colin?
Colin: A cat!
Mommy: And do you know what a dog says?
(Mommy is totally surprised and decides to take this further)
Mommy: And what does a cow say?
Colin: Cow says moo.
Mommy: What does a pig say?
Colin: Pig says oink oink oink. (Apparently pigs are chatty creatures)
Mommy: What does a horse say?
Mommy: And a duck?
Colin: Duck says quack.
I won't bore you with all the animals we went through (you know what they all say!), but I was blown away that somewhere along the way, with no specific learning time, Colin managed to pick all this up. Yet another reminder how quick kids are, and even if you don't think they're learning anything, they are absorbing the environment around them like little sponges.
(Sidenote: The other day James, trying to be funny, turned to Colin and said "Est-ce que to me comprends quand je parle en francais?" [Translation: "Do you understand me when I speak French?"] Without blinking an eye, Colin replied: "Nope." In time, Colin, in time.)