I originally thought that it would be most impressive to teach my sister the most advanced topics possible. I was planning on evolution, projectile motion, algebra, The Constitution, and classical archetypes in literature. I figured that she could be filled in on any of the smaller things that I missed along the way. I recently decided that it would be much more beneficial for her to master age appropriate topics.
My first formal lesson started with figuring out what she knew. There was some resistance, “I don’t know what I know. You’ll have to ask me questions and I’ll tell you if I know them.” she said. Luckily, I have a lot of experience delegating responsibility to people who are not used to having control of their work. Fifteen minutes after my apathetic stare and a sarcastic comment or two she had her whiteboard full of math to show me. She originally forgot about negative values on her graph and thought it was perfectly fine to have (3,3) refer to spots in multiple quadrants. I decided to draw her a picture of money vs. time in the (+,+) quadrant and then asked her why we might add another quadrant. “For things that happened last week or if you have less than zero dollars.” Then her face lit up and she explained to me how she forgot about negative values so we corrected her graph and we drew pictures of graphs for losing money over time, gaining money, losing then gaining, losing a lot then losing only a little and so on and all with only a few road blocks.
It was apparent that she still needs a lot of practice with graphs because she was having trouble with the worksheet that I created for her later in the day. We will re – visit graphs and charts tomorrow morning, but until then I’ll get back to my usual routine of teasing. I still have a little while before she goes to bed and she will go crazy if I lock my door and tell her that I am eating candy without her.