Last week, my Spicy child asked me a good question:
“Mom, why are some words starting with a big letter, and other times, the same word doesn’t have a big letter?”
Aha! While we don’t spend a lot of time naming out formal grammar and usage rules in the elementary years, this was a perfect chance to explain capitalization of nouns, and the beginnings of sentences. We chatted informally for perhaps three minutes, Spicy was satisfied, and off she went about her day.
This morning, as I lay drowsing and elevating a sprained knee, I heard Spicy in the kitchen with the Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow who sired her.
“This note is for you, Daddy. I wrote Dad with a cadibull… cab… capidull D, because you are a special Dad, not just any dad, and special people get cabidullized. So I did that.”
For me, that’s a snapshot of our learning lifestyle: short, informal conversations that answer the needs of the child, right in that moment, when they are most likely to absorbed, remembered, and utilized forever. There’s no test that can tell me more precisely that my Rising Seven-year-old understands the capitalization of nouns. I don’t need to evaluate her, or quiz her. I’m privileged to be intimately connected to her exploration and understanding of everything around her, and it’s a grand way to start a new year!