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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. 


  1. This made me chuckle because I think it goes both way as your child ages. I like trains. I live in NYC and enjoy the subway. But I don't LOVE trains like my son. Through him, we've learned more than we'd ever want to know about trains.

    That said, I've also noticed my son knows nothing about sports to a comical level. And why? Because my husband and I don't enjoy sports. What do we enjoy? Nerdy things! Like science festivals etc. I find myself incapable of calling a flower just a flower to my son - it's always the proper name (well, not latin, but you get the idea). So I guess I'm trying to say...we teach each other. I learn about trains because he loves them on an insane level. And my son learns what interests me because it means he's getting my full attention!

    1. You are SO right that this goes both ways. My little guy is into "sports" or at least kicking, throwing, and chasing balls. I have NO IDEA where he gets it from but he actually inspires ME to develop *some* sports knowledge. You point about building learning relationships that is collaborative is well taken.

  2. I think this is such a great conversation because learning as a family is about so much more than setting a child up for academic success. These practices shape a family's culture, build norms that tie families together, create a sense if who we are and what we value, and help shape the things we find important and worthwhile. I love to read and I know my love for books is directly tied to my father - who is the ultimate life long learner. I'm proud that we share that interest and grateful that he taught me - by showing me - that libraries are like treasure chests and under no circumstances can they go unexplored!

    1. Elizabeth- when we look at the places that some of our passions are rooted we can often find patterns embedded in our youth. This interests me so much as both an educator and mom!