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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What's In A Name?

The reason I titled this blog The Family Learning Factor is because that is the element that I think is the key component of promoting life long learning with your child.  As a teacher, I am obviously an ardent advocate of our schools.  I believe that the magic that can occur in the classroom can shape a child's whole landscape- academically, emotionally, socially.  That being said, I have also seen first hand that when a child's family is a family of learners the skies are the limit for the child! 

So what is family learning? Family learning is the idea that a child learns more deeply when the whole family is involved.  You've seen it- a father that is obsessed with motorcycles and what is the child into? Motorcycles! In a lot of ways this is what I would like to advocate more of, family learning together.  However, I'd like family to foster learning in areas that will complement the academic learning that is expected of our children in today's world.  

For you it may be science, math, building things, etc.  For me it is in 2 areas literacy and cultures.  Now granted this is totally biased.  As a primary school teacher I see literacy as the vehicle that can drive all good learning.  Then as part of my personality profile, travel and cultural studies are my passion.  But I think as parents it is only natural to make biased decisions.  To better explain what I mean let me share some background.  I am a bit of a travel addict.  I love traveling to other countries and learning about different cultures.  When I think about where I got this interest I don't think it came from my school projects.  I believe it came from a few really amazing family trips.  I'll never forget climbing the pyramids of Chichen-Itza with my family  OR the request for analysis that my dad threw at us over dinner that night. I'll always be grateful to my own Latin background which always kept minority interests close to my heart.  Now these were the power behind my passion.  However, boy did it complement my academic road! I'm a proud holder of a Master's degree in International Education.  I think at the end of the day you have to BE THE DREAM for your child, not just want it for them.  (Somewhere my big sis is rolling her eyes at me!) But what I mean is- if you want your child to be a reader, they have to see you read.  If you want your child to have an interest in science, they have to see you read about science, try a small science experiment together, go to a science expo.  If you want your child to be artistic they have to see you emerged in artistic expression.  If you want your child to be ______ they have to see you live and be _____.  I know this is easier said than done but our kids are worth a try!

So I ask:
What kind of family learning do you think is important for your family? I am curious if you also feel passionate about learning together as a family in a particular area. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Getting Real ...

In high school I remember connecting to a quote: "No one can do everything, but everyone can DO something."  While this may be an overused sentiment it is often what I use to inform my actions...then truthfully get into trouble as I try to "DO everyTHING" at the same time.  Parenthood is definitely turning out to be this scramble for me.  As an educator I have so many aspirations I'd like to help my child reach; as a neurotic individual I have so many "perfectly candid and natural" moments I'd like to manufacture.  However, my baby is already showing me that I can't plan or guarantee very much, if anything.  If I could my 15 month old son would already be walking! So in midst of trying to do it all, I'm trying to remind myself of that high school saying....

This brings me to think, if I can't do it ALL what do I want to do?!  Here is the takeaway for all parents- I think we need to ask ourselves "what are our core values that we'd like to instill?" Sure we'd like to do it ALL, you know mold the perfect child: well-rounded without even trying.  That mythical child that is well-mannered, yet cleverly mischievous; academically smart and artistically creative and a natural athlete; a child in an eternal good mood.  But we can't necessarily control outcomes, particularly in the lives of our children.  We can however, think about small things we can do to cushion their worlds with some of our core values.

For me, aside from the obvious happy and healthy, I'd really like my child to be a voracious life long learner.  I really want them to LIVE their life and I truly believe this can only happen if I surround my child in learning experiences that ignite curiosity in this crazy world of ours.  There you go- this blog is my attempt to share my experiences in this ambitious journey- things that work and things that have not worked for me! Also, I'm hoping that all of you care givers out there will share all your interesting learning experiences with me as well.  I'd love to hear about the things you are doing as a family that ignite your child's imagination and desire to continue their own learning.