Daily I drive to and from school with my carpool counterpart. Both educators, we share our opinions on education and life; I grew up in a very liberal-Democrat home while he was an immigrant to the United States at a very young age which his family’s ideals were conservative. Even though our upbringing was much different, we share a couple commonalities which we agreed are non-negotiable — parents are a child’s first teacher.
However, many days I like patients!
Many days, I only want to come home and crash on the couch. However, I have an even greater responsibility peering up through the glass door with a devilish smirk waiting to play with me. My two year old is nothing less than a handful, but she wants attention because she is curious. I am reminded of blog post by colleague Jon Harper from this summer about his son exploring the amazing world of the light in the refrigerator or an Eric Sheninger presentation about his son’s YouTube channel. Regardless of the level of flash, the simplest moments can be a learning opportunities for a young child.
This weekend, I did the most challenging task I could do to focus on those learning opportunities — I shut off my iPhone.
No, the world did not end.
Yes, I was a little behind on my college football scores, but I managed to still survive. My wife scoured Pinterest and other ideas we had brewing to do with our daughter. Some of those great ideas resulted in paint on the coffee table and finding all the square shaped books in the ice chest.
We began with a makeshift graphic organizer for shape — circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. Like most lessons, my wife and I modeled and modeled and modeled and modeled … I bet you can imagine how long this took for a two year old. However, throughout the weekend my daughter got better at placing the different objects in the correct section of the organizer. To make sure she wasn’t merely memorizing, we constantly moved the organizer around and added different household like shapes to the game.
Next, feeling a little confident, I went onto the challenge of Wi-Sports.
Yes, every kid loves technology and mine is no different. Tennis was not as successful, but she enjoyed the family time with Mom and Dad.
Our initial experience was not going the way we planned, but try, try again … with Wi-Bowling! The concept of the game didn’t require as much hand-eye coordination.
In summary, turning my own technology off and focusing on some of the basic learning opportunities brings the greatest joys. Unfortunately, the daily grind takes away from the joys we have in our own home, and we do not even notice it. Sometimes we must take a step back and realize the treasures that are in the home, family time.
Some of these early learning opportunities are too valuable to dismiss.