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Learning Outside the Box

Now that we are settled into this new learning environment, with parents taking on the role of teacher, it's time to take a step back and bring creativity to our daily schedules. While I can't stress enough the importance of a routine and predictable schedule each day, I also believe that this unique "family time" creates an incredible opportunity for making memories. When thinking back at your own childhood, what are the moments you remember? Was it when you finished an essay, or stepped outside to watch science in action? Was it when you took a spelling test or wrote a song using as many contractions as possible? It is usually those moments of creative learning that make lasting memories and solidify learning. When we learn outside of the box we are more likely to understand and remember the information. Now think about the current situation and how your child may be learning at home. Are they completing worksheets or using the material in a more creative way? I encourage you to brainstorm with your child about ways to make learning more exciting. Include your child in the decision making process and instill a love of learning and motivation to acquire new knowledge. For example, if reading fluency is an area of focus, try staging a coffee shop with a book/poetry reading. Have each person in the family share either an excerpt from a book or a short poem. Praise all attempts at decoding words and provide support if needed. When approaching math, use manipulatives like dolls or toys (or even food) to help visualize

the concept being learned. To reinforce sound awareness (and phonemic awareness), which is a building block of reading, take a walk outside and identify all the objects that begin or end with a certain sound. These activities not only encourage learning, but create moments of bonding and fun interaction. Find the silver lining in this stressful situation and create positive memories that will last forever.

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