If you give an eight year old boy a math lesson, he will sit right down without hesitation, work diligently without interruptions, and accurately complete the lesson in record time.
Maybe that’s how it goes for your kids, but here’s how it occasionally goes at my house:
If you give an eight year old boy a math lesson, he will give you a confused look, then ask you where his math book is. You will tell him that it is (as always) in the basket with all of his other school books and that he needs to run get it quickly.
He will begin to run up the stairs to get the math book, but will see a Nerf bullet on one of the steps on his way up. He will stop, pick up the Nerf bullet, examine it, then fling it toward the glass doors at the top of the stairs. The bullet will miss the door, but will instead hit one of his brothers as he comes around the corner. The bullet will thus be flung back and forth between the brothers until you realize what is happening and remind the eight year old (and his brother) of the jobs they are supposed to be doing.
As the eight year old arrives back in the kitchen with his math book (yay!), you will ask him if he also got a pencil. He will reply by telling you that while he does have his new green pencil sharpener, he has no pencil and that he can not find a pencil anywhere and that we must not have any pencils anymore because they were all, obviously, eaten by aliens.
You will show him where there are (as always) forty two (give or take) pencils ready and waiting to be used. He will proceed to take way too long choosing a pencil and will finally, with much urging from you, find his spot in the kitchen and open his math book (by using “the force”).
He will complete two math problems right away because suddenly he is racing against the clock in true boy “everything is a competition” fashion. But then he will accidentally drop his pencil on the ground, where – look out! – the volcanic lava is about to bubble over. He will warn you to “step back” so that your legs are not engulfed by hot lava, and will then try to dangle from the kitchen stool without touching the floor to retrieve the pencil before anyone or anything is harmed.
Just as he almost rescues the pencil from danger, he will see that there is a bug crawling on the floor. Volcanic lava forgotten, he will grab his green pencil sharpener and work to capture the bug. After three to five attempts at this, he will manage to coax the bug into its new home where it will stay while the eight year old settles down, finds his groove, and finishes his math lesson (while giving his new pet an in-depth explanation of how to “carry the one” while adding double digits).
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