My daugher(9) has always been interested in clocks. She taught herself
to tell time at the age of 6 1/2 by staring at the analog clock for
long periods of time, looking at the analog clock and then looking at
the digital clock on the microwave, and by asking me what time it is (a
lot!). One day she came up to me and said, "Mommy, I can tell time."
At first I didn't believe it because I had never "taught" her much
about the clock (pre unschooling days). She told me the time on the
clock and she was correct. She's been able to tell time to the minute
since then.

This morning the clock on my nightstand said 7:00 a.m. My daughter cme
in to wake me because she was concerned because Curious George was not
on and it ALWAYS comes on at 7:00 a.m. I said, "Maybe my clock is
wrong." She checked the clock on the vcr and it was 4 minutes behind
my clock. She was confused as to why the clocks were different. She
said that maybe the clock on the vcr was wrong and that Curious George
was just not going to come on anymore. We had a discussion about how
clocks can be wrong (human error, malfunctions, etc.). I told her that
the clock on the vcr was probably more accurate than my alarm clock
because it receives a signal and sets the time automatically.

That lead to her wondering how people know what time it is in the first
place -- how they know what time to set their clocks to. I got online
and found a coule of sites for kids that talk about the history of
clocks (obelisks, sundials, waterclocks, etc.) She looked at some of
the animated clocks on the computer and said she wanted a sundial
(she's made this request before). She got curious about the Obelisk
and wondered how people could tell time if it was so high up in the
air. I told her we could make a sort of obelisk by using a stick or
something and marking the time with chalk on our sidewalk. I noticed
the paper towel holder which is on a stand so I grabbed that and we
headed outside. She is excited about marking the time each hour.

The problem is that she wants to know more about how we know nowadays
how to set our clock. I googled Greenwich but I just couldn't come up
with anything that would show pictures (we found pictures of the
outside of The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London but no pictures
of the inside or anything to do with any kind of Main Clock or
something that everyone sets their clocks and watches to) or
information that would be good for a kid.

This is, of course, leading to the Prime Meridian and I'm not sure how
to go about helping her understand this. Help! I checked our library
website and couldn't find any books or videos on this subject. Does
anyone have any links or ideas to help me help my daugher?



I just found a book at the library book sale called "It's About Time."
It's by Marilyn Burns, from the Brown Paper School series. It is
copyright 1978 (which was a good year, for some of us), but still has
lots of useful information about time that I imagine is, ahem, timeless-
-history of time and time zones, circadian rhythms in people and
animals, stuff like that. I notice that copies are available on Amazon
starting at 26 cents.