What Parenting Teaches You About Learning

what-parenting-teaches-you-about-learning

The curly-haired, bright-eyed little four-year-old bypassed the Maker Station.  He bypassed the wooden blocks station.  He bypassed the hands-on STEM activities. Instead, we spent hours at the tug of war contraption that demonstrated force, the tubes that allowed kids to get lost in the twists and turns of a maze, and built seven foot towers out of huge blocks only to knock them down.

In essence, anything that caused him to slow down, my son was not interested in doing at Science City.  I had to smile and appreciate the lesson in learning.

Let them play.  Learning is not always on a time table.  Are those activities everyone says they “should” be doing, really what they should be doing if there is no interest?

It reminded me of my immense excitement in teaching my own child how to read. I had always looked forward to that.  Jonas, my son, loves to be read to.  We read every night, with very few exceptions. He soaks up knowledge quickly and knows more about sea creatures than I ever have. But, he will not let me teach him how to blend cvc words.  He will not practice any sight words.  There’s no “let’s sit down and learn this.”

Though I’m partly bummed about his unwillingness to let me teach him, I am also amazed at the results of not pushing learning on him.  We have facilitated learning, but not pushed it. (ie, I never make him sit and blend cvc words).

But, his vocabulary is massive, using words like perseverance, hypothesis and consideration.  His ability to pull up facts (that he has an authentic interest in) is amazing. He always reminds me to raise my voice when I read a sentence with an exclamation point.  He carries on a conversation in an adult-like give-and-take manner.  He knows every letter and every sound, with very little teaching from me, but rather through the songs and games on different media he interacts with.

He is learning in authentic ways. Not on my time table.  Not even the skills I would “like” him to know.  But he is soaking up every piece of knowledge he wants to.

I will never know everything about teaching, coaching, or education. But, parenting has taught me a lot. Yes, we have a curriculum.  Yes, there are benchmarks to hit.  But, let us not totally take away authentic learning, play and interest.  The results of those things are immeasurable!  I see it every day in my son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be on the Road that Leads to Awesome

I am sure many of you have seen this video from Kid President, but if you are like me, you could watch it time and again and never tire of it. It brings a sense of motivation, a sense of purpose, team work, work ethic…and a sense that we can do great things.  And that, I believe in.  That is our driving force.

We were made to be awesome

Kid President says “I want to be on the road that leads to awesome.” I can, with no hesitation say that I am seeing that path with my recent employment as an instructional coach in the Liberty Public Schools. Since joining this community of learners, I have encountered so many individuals that are passionate, driven, hard-working and has their focus exactly where it needs to be, which is on kids.

Another line I love from Kid President is “…if life is a game, aren’t we on the same team?” I am honored to be on all the learning teams at LPS from the instructional coaching team, to the teams within my buildings, and the district as a whole, which is also a team, a team that will strive to move forward as a cohesive unit.

And, a final line from Kid President, in reference to taking the road less traveled: “…and it hurt man! Rocks! Thorns! Glass!” I look forward to the challenge that lie ahead of us and embrace them and the “mistakes” we’ll make along the way, because that is how we grow. Success doesn’t come easy. The road to success challenges our thoughts, beliefs and how we’ve always done things. It makes us uncomfortable sometimes, but that discomfort can be temporary if embraced and worked through, using the many talents on your team.

So, let’s go forth and “be on the road that leads to awesome!” I’m honored to be on this path with the students, teachers, parents and all staff at LPS.