Amy Haskell, M.A., M.Ed., Founder, Total Writing Enrichment Services
You’ve probably spent the past few weeks worrying about the quality of education for your kids, especially if you have college-bound teens. I get it. I worried too.
We scrolled through our social media feeds and at first smiled at pictures of our friends’ sons and daughters sprawled across the family room floor with Air Pods filling their minds with music from Louis the Child or doing headstands on their bedroom floors as they watch Grey’s Anatomy on one screen while Snapchatting their friends on another. However, now, many of us hear a little voice in the back of our minds that whispers, “Is my child actually learning anything during our time at home?” and some of us with high school kids might even begin to think, “How will my son or daughter stay in the game for college acceptance if learning has come to a slow crawl?”
We know schools and teachers continue to do their best to adapt to this new online learning and strive to maintain high-quality lessons and learning for our children but let’s face it: the transition to effective virtual communication and crystal clear instructions on assignments, as well as the ability to learn from your teen’s perspective have shifted and the curve to reaching optimal teaching and learning remains a challenge. For us all.
As we move into even more time spent at home and realize how quickly time marches on, as we recognize how many more hours we are spending online in hopes of gaining a fresh, new perspective on life in uncertain times with teenagers, I wanted to share some education topics I find helpful, enlightening, and thought-provoking regarding enhancing the learning of our children in reading and the language arts.
How much attention are you giving to those old friends your books politely waiting on your dusty shelves for you to touch, open, and read? Now is a great time for not only your child to open up the front cover of that fourth book in The Harry Potter series or to jump into their Aunt Glady’s Christmas gifts of books from the past three years but for you too!
My teenage and pre-teen daughters enjoy Wendy Mass books, like The Candymakers, 11 Birthdays, and A Mango Shaped Space, and my 12-year-old son, for the past couple of years has really loved anything written by Alan Gratz, like The Brooklyn Nine and Code of Honor. My ten-year-old daughter recalls how she loves all the Sister’s Grimm books, and Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House currently has captured my attention as well as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and my husband Rick, the best reader of us all, quickly devoured Brad Thor’s Spymaster.
Reading in all forms proves to connect synopses in our brains by pushing our critical thinking, expanding our vocabulary and helping us enjoy the world beyond our daily routine. We appreciate Dr. Seuss as he wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
I think you and I would both agree to the positive impact of engaging, mind-expanding books on our daily lives, especially now during times of uncertainty. As our peace and happiness often time depend on the growth and development of our children, why not turn our worry about their learning right now into pleasantly shaping, even if just a little bit, the content and material they use to fill their brains while home from school? Enjoy your books, embrace all the good, and happy reading.