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So, we have found ourselves in the unforeseen situation where the baton of our child’s education has just been handed off from teachers to parents! Social media is buzzing with moms and dads posting their level of overwhelm, and in some cases, their hilarious outcries. Schools across the country were filled with shocked teachers who heard the news the day of their closure. The scrambling began to figure out what could possibly be sent home that would be an adequate replacement for what had been planned.
From someone who is both a parent and teacher, I’m right there with you experiencing the flood of emotions and uncertainty. But, what if we take a step back and look at this “distance learning” thing differently. This might just be exactly what our kids need. Hear me out…
What if we take this time to really connect with our children over reading? There is nothing more valuable than the true, organic learning that happens when a child discovers the perfect book. Fiction, non-fiction, chapter books, or picture books, it doesn’t matter. Find the book that will spark something in your child. No one knows your child better than you so no one is better equipped for this task. It doesn’t matter if your child is in kindergarten or high school. What I’m purposing can be life-changing and you will be there for it.
For our avid readers, this may be simple. Let them browse Amazon or look at the numerous free online library resources like Epic! or Scholastic. Local libraries also have many online and audiobooks. For our less enthusiastic readers, this is where you come in. Do some research. Remember the book you read as a child that hooked you. Look at book recommendations by age level online. Email your child’s teacher. Ask your child what they would like to learn about or read!
Now, this is the most important part. Are you ready? You are not going to send your child to their room to do their required 20 minutes of reading each day. Instead, you are going to be right there. You are going to be reading aloud, turning pages, talking about all the fascinating, shocking, incredible things that are happening in this book. You are going to research the author together. You are going to look up and discover more about this topic together. You are going to ask questions and find the answers.
Two things are going to happen. Your child is going to build positive, brain-based connections to this book and all the real learning that will take place. (No flashcards or worksheets can do that!) And, your child is going to never forget the strange spring when school was canceled, but they spent time reading and spending time with their incredible parent.
Now, for a quick reality check. Lots of parents are working remotely and still need to be productive. Some parents don’t know what book to pick or don’t really enjoy reading themselves. Or, [insert here the other hundred concerns, questions, excuses running through your head]. The truth is it doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s okay if the first book you choose isn’t awesome. It’s okay if your pre-teen is less than enthusiastic in the beginning. Just know that this small amount of time and effort you dedicate to your children over the next few weeks can have a massive impact. The only requirement is that you and your child read and connect. It’s what our kids desperately need, and it’s going to be so worth it.