Updated: Jun 29
Last spring, when all schools were shut down, my perspective as a parent changed. Not dramatically, just a nominal, beautiful shift that reinforced to me that I play a large role in my children’s education even if they are in school.
I work full-time. And before the shut down, we were pretty busy. So busy in fact, that the sounds and rhythms of our family’s routine drowned out some whispers of ideas I had about my family and my role in my kids’ lives. But when in-person schools shut down, and the sounds of our routines got quieter (even as my house got louder with my three boys!) I could better hear myself think. And I realized I have an inclination and desire to form and expand on my vision of my children’s learning -- of how they may positively impact the world and those around them; of how they can learn to think creatively, and how they follow their interests. And I can do this at home.
Those who know me know that I have kept a journal since I was 8 years old. It’s been my way to process and learn forward. As I flip back across the last few months, a few lines jump out:
May 28, 2020
Beliefs in education - kids can do more, follow their interest, ask good questions, give them a voice
Learn from/alongside my kids (listen)
Raise storytellers - wake up to the truth and reality of racial identity and injustice, pay attention to the way we live life
Imagine creating a process for taking time and space to decide/vision what you want to be true for your children… What strengths do you bring? What have you learned about your children’s interest? What do you wish you knew more about?
And then I captured one image that is what that vision looks like to me in action - my 1st grader’s work, “If I were President, I would make sure black and white people would be treated equal.” This reminds me what 1st grade writing looks like; it reminds me that I want him to believe in change; the coffee stain on school work reminds me that he and I are in this together.
For now, my kids are back in in-person school 4 ½ days a week. And, the beautiful shift that began, almost a year ago, has me on a different path today. One where I’m more clear and confident in the ways I can enhance my child’s learning from home, even as I am busy working, and mom-ing and doing all the things.
And here’s the thing, anyone can do this. At home, alongside virtual learning - or in those seemingly endless spaces of “asynchronous” learning. It’s just a matter of how much time we can realistically find to devote to it.
If you are curious about how you can feel more clear and confident about your vision for at-home learning, here are two simple things I’ve done both then and now to be more involved in my children’s journeys as learners.
Take Note: How often do we spend 5 minutes jotting down what we hope for
with our children as learners -- academic, social, emotional, full people
learners? Or how often do we stop to jot down what we notice about the way
we see our kids learn, create, analyze? Well now, with school at home, we have
this opportunity. I’m a realist -- if your day is like mine it is likely full of logistics,
troubleshooting technology, and answering questions. Oh, and then there is
work, laundry (so. much. laundry.) and general adulting. But how might making
time to spend a few minutes jotting down what you are noticing? Could you
snap a picture of a piece of student work that makes you proud of yourself and
your learner? What clarity would that bring?
Do things that are in line with your vision: One of my favorite shared learning
experiences with my sons over the last year was reading a book, watching the
movie and discussing the similarities and differences. Our family recommends
Holes and Upside Down Magic. Each of these books/series support my vision
above: racial diversity of the main characters; opportunities for discussion; and
books I authentically wanted to read alongside them.
These two practices have been my anchor for the last 10 months. And as I write this, I realize I want to snap photos of creations or work by my other two sons to keep anchoring the vision, because they are all so different!
I believe that all parents can be involved in teaching and learning with their children. All parents have areas of strength they can lean on to help their children learn at home. At Co-Teach we trust you know your kids better than anyone, and work to help identify your areas of strengths and narrow your focus and vision to create more intentional learning experiences for your children, whether your kids are full-time homeschooling, virtual schooling, or in-person schooling.
P.S. If you need a notebook, fill out this form and I’ll send the first 10 respondents a great notebook.
If you’d like help and guidance in adding joy to at-home learning our Co-Teachers would love to help.