Parent Tip & Enrichment - 2020 May
From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
I had a wonderful call with a dad this week that illuminated some of the challenges in Home Learning. More and more what we come to realize is that it’s not the content but the presentation of that content that matters. That’s true for great teachers too. Some can be incredibly smart, but lose children because they're not interesting or engaging or kind enough. Because information is fixed, I always find that children prefer the latter. They’ll get to their multiplication tables… the real question is did they retain and enjoy the learning along the way.
Here are some additional suggestions as we round out our last month of Home Learning.
A. If you have two children, settle the older one first. If your older child is 7 for instance, engage them in a work they can do independently. For my 8 year old, I’ve made multiplication cards for him since Ms. Jade assures me this is one of the most vital things going into 4th grade! Because all of our children have been at TSH, they are relatively independent (boy, are we lucky if you’ve been reading any of the horror stories out there!) He can go through his cards and write down the answers and check himself along the way. Remember, do not give them something you’ve created. Let them create their own cards. One of the changes to the AEC that has come out of the pandemic (see good things are there!) is that I’ll suggest that our Educators no longer use pre-fabricated work plans in the coming year. Each child should create their own, with their own drawings and intentions.
While your older is working, turn to the younger one. The younger one may or may not be able to work at the same table… separate them if you need to “because their individual work is so important”. If the sibling is 4 let’s say, give them sorting. A new sorting box as I’ve mentioned before is an awesome way to start your morning. Simply put different things in each morning… leaves, rocks, coins, bobby pins, pasta… and give them a cupcake tray. If they are practicing letters, they can label the items. They can count these items, make a pattern with them, put them in groups of two. Literally, there are dozens of “academic” uses for these objects.
B. Understand that the AEC curriculum means you are following the child - a tenant of Montessori and Reggio (and PBL for that matter). If you start with addition in the morning and they want to move into geography, don’t force them to finish addition. Ms. Christine is a genius at this and she often reminds us: you can always, always reintroduce something. If you force learning, they won’t retain it… they are just going through the motions.
C. If I don’t get dressed in the morning, put on my earrings and set my day, my Home Learning is not as fruitful. This past week, I simply had too much to do to be a good Home Educator. At one point, I just didn’t have the energy. I caught myself playing solitaire as they were doing math problems. The whole energy of our day (and week) changed. When I mentioned to big John how they were all over the place, John looked at me and said… and what about their Educator? Ha… love that man.
Two words: PAINTERS TAPE. Painters Tape can be used to measure on your floor anything and everything. When Duke was doing a research project on rabbits, he discovered their ears can grow up to 2 feet. We measured that with painters tape and whoa(!) big ears. This lead to an hour of research on how big things can get and what those sizes look like in real life!