I’ve heard a lot of people say this school year is a “lost year”. I get it, we are not doing what we typically do, so we will not see the typical results. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This is a unique opportunity. Think about it, we have been forced to slow down and change just about every aspect of our lives. When else are you going to have the chance to learn about your kiddos with no judgements, no expectations, and no worries about grades or the future? Whether we like it or not, we are where we are. Why not use it to our advantage?
How to Start: Whether your kiddos are attending in-person, virtual, or home school, things aren’t the same. Most of us have been forced to slow down (Kudos to you front-line workers who are bearing the burden of keeping the country going. Thank you!). Since we have more time at home, and with our families, why not use it to learn about each other? Start by sharing something about yourself and you’ll be amazed at how your kiddos will jump in. Some topics to start a conversation are:
What was your favorite game as a kid? What toy did your friend have that you loved? What was your favorite song growing up? What is it now? If you could learn more about anything, what would it be?
If your kiddos still won’t talk, ask them. But you may have to be a little more subtle with your questions. Try re-wording it into an “I wonder…” question. For example, you could try “I wonder, if we could travel anywhere in the world, where would we go?”, or “I wonder, if we wrote a story about our family, what would it say?”, or (I think this is my favorite) “I wonder, if we were in the circus, what would we do?”
What to do next: Now that you’ve learned about each other, try learning with each other. Education can be a family event. Never taught anything? No problem! You don’t need to. You don’t have to be an expert on a topic to help your kiddos learn. All you have to do is explore together. Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions:
- Continue with your discussion. Research the area of the world you want to travel to, start writing your family story, or look into what it takes to be in the circus.
- Investigate a topic everyone in the family is interested in, but no one knows much about. What do you want to know? How will you find it out? How will you work together?
- You are an expert at many things. You wouldn’t have gotten where you are otherwise. Teach your kiddos something you know. Let them see your passion and excitement. Success in life requires more than success in traditional classroom learning.
- Your kiddos are experts at many things. Don’t believe me, just ask! Have them teach you. You may just learn something new and, let’s face it, wouldn’t it be fun to be the one misbehaving…
What we found: My hubby had a brilliant idea of adding a word of the day to our dinnertime discussion. His plan was to expose them to new words, new concepts, and reinforcing ideas important to our family. We did it for two nights, and then and amazing thing happened. On night three one of my kiddos started the discussion! We were presented with a familiar word and took turns saying what that word meant to us. We were amazed by the discussion that followed.
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
It is up to you and your kiddos how you want to expand on what you’ve learned. Follow wherever the discussion takes you.
Once you find topics that you and your kiddos want to explore further, do it together. Work as a team to find resources. There are no rules, no requirements. Just exploration for exploration’s sake.