We live a very blended life of work, school, family, and adventure. It’s been this way since before our first son started Kindergarten.
Even so, it’s easy to lose focus on the big picture sometimes. What is the goal of it all? As most parents, we are trying to prepare our kids as best we can to impact the world around them. Who they are, what they love, and what they do are all being shaped right now.
As Don and I were talking about how this school year could be even more meaningful for our kids, we knew we wanted to make it easy for them to really own their educational experience. They’ve got the basics down of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But what next?
We don’t want them to just go through the motions of “schoolwork”.
So, as we were discussing, Don shared about how he wants to prepare them for the working environment they will likely enter. Work gets done virtually and collaboratively. It is typically project-based, using available online systems, driving to a goal and sharing value with others.
He named his own specific process as he gets through a full work-week: Plan. Do. Share.
Bingo! He nailed it. This is exactly what I wanted for our kids, as they are growing older. They need context and purpose for what they are learning. They need to own it all, for it really to be effective.
With this method, the “doing” is the easy part, Don says. Rather than the battle ground. The other parts, planning and sharing require much thinking and creativity. For kids, hopefully they will find those parts motivating and inspiring.
Each week, they will look at what they have to accomplish that week and make sure their task list is set up well. They each use “Go Tasks” which syncs up with each of their devices, so they can manage easily. Then, each day, they get to plan and choose the order of assignments they want to do.
We try to remove as much friction as possible for them to do their work. They have their own shelf of books and know where to find paper and pens/pencils. Things must go back when they are done. It’s their responsibility to keep their iPads charged.
It’s great when they get in a groove of executing, without the distractions of looking for misplaced items.
We’ve always made a huge priority of “narrating” everything that they read. The expectation has been out there for years – “So, tell me what I read in your own words.” There’s much evidence that shows we only retain things that we retell in some way. “To teach is to learn again,” is a known mantra.
But this year, we want them to think of how they can specifically share their new knowledge with others outside of our family. Sometimes it might be an email to a unique person. Or they could write about their ideas on their blog. Hopefully, their curiosity could also lead to new research and a project of which they could share results.
This year, we’d like them to think about a new level of impact. And gain habits that could ideally last a lifetime.