Letters to My Kids! As some of you may have noticed I took a break from personal blogging and choose to focus on Microsoft, Google, conferences and guest blogging. But after a good year of taking time to learn about myself; how I learn; how I teach and how I view school I am ready to start this journey into sharing my personal reflections via letters to my own children.
This is a vulnerable place, but I feel like after 3 years of working on my website, I have come to a place where sharing my personal approach to life, teaching and technology is important for those to see me. Also when I choose to share my personal philosophy and approach to teaching and my classroom with others in the last year, many encouragements came from colleagues and friends who told me I need to blog about my thoughts. So here I go!
Dear Sarah and James,
Thank you for the most amazing summer! I know you were tired by the end of June (see photo below), however your enthusiasm for life and how you inspire others to love learning is amazing. You taught me so much this summer, but here are five things that stood out!
You Can Innovate and Create Through YouTube
This Summer you both jumped into watching YouTube tutorials. Now, I would to make a mention here that there are many parents out there that feel very sensitive about letting their kids go on YouTube. We believe that if children have the right assistance, then it can be a powerful tool. So for example James, I started to see you grow in your love for building, by building with Lego mystery boxes, gum ball machines, and eventually learned how to use elastic bans to build shooting Lego gadgets. And Sarah you used YouTube to design and build dresses for her Barbie dolls. You now have a sewing machine in your bedroom and has designed a house with sewn curtains, bed sheets and a decorated cardboard kitchen. What are you going to build and create next? Maybe both of you will eventually create YouTube videos to inspire other children?
Do you want to check out some of the YouTubes my son used? Here are a few:
Free Time is a Good Thing
I heard a long time ago that it takes a good 45 minutes of play for kids to get fully engaged in play. I have come to value the importance of play in childhood. I am sure the person I heard this from was just paraphrasing someone, but I do think there is a point to this. In schools, I find we chunk our curriculum and often there are many interruptions. This summer we took the time to just play with free time. It was amazing. Perhaps we need to try this more?
Maybe Simplicity is the Solution
James, when I asked you this summer what was your favourite part about camping, you said, “Staying up at night and watching the stars.” It is amazing how it wasn’t the really expense parts, but the simplicity of just sitting and watching the stars. We hope to sit and watch clouds more, if the stars are not out in the future. Thanks James for reminding me of just watching. Maybe this coming school year, we need to just sit more, rather than just doing?
Maybe it is More than Just Reading?
If you are reading this far, you will come to know something that I don’t talk about openly. I struggled with Reading as a child. Sarah and James we know both of you struggle with reading, and your teachers agree. See, I struggled with Reading when I was your age. I lovingly shared with both of you that I can empathize when both of you.
I see how you both read and read, and I know you just don’t feel very good about your reading. I know how that feels. I felt and (sometimes still do) feel like “why do I have to struggle with reading and no one else seems to”. I have seen both of you cry, but we want you to know that you can use this as a stepping stone, rather than a stumbling block. This struggle, just means you need to persevere, and more time to spend time with Mom and Dad reading together and working on some strategies. I love reading with both of you, and sitting down with you to read is such an awesome pleasure. I know you don’t feel good “enough”, but I don’t either. We are proud of who you are and what this struggle can mean for you in your life because it will make you a stronger person. Do you think this is an opportunity to build resilience, our relationship and help others through empathy?
Life is So Important
As a teacher, I find that my life gets busy working my way through the curriculum. I find it frustrating that I forget to dance and listen to music. I am too busy looking at where my next step is or my next meeting, that I forget to enjoy myself. This summer you both really brought me back to enjoying the simple pleasure of just laughing and smiling. You both are beautiful and I am grateful that you remind me to dance and listen. Here is a video that resonates with me and the importance of being a child. Are you choosing to dance and enjoy music? I am trying to, and hopefully you will too?
Why Your Life is Not a Journey
Well kids, this is my first letter to you. I hope you enjoyed it. There will be more to come!