Let's Get Back To School, But At Home!
School is back in session and if you’ve decided to keep your kids home you’re gonna want to make sure you’ve got the tools to tackle the trade. It’s a new world, and although teachers have obviously done the lion’s share of the work to facilitate this new learning dynamic, you can make it easier on your kid, and you, by making sure you’re prepared.
1. Get A Tablet
Herding cats doesn’t begin to describe the feat of trying to get my son to stay seated in front of a pc. He’s hungry. He forgot he had to show me something. He’s bored in the profound and paralyzing way that only a five year old forced to sit still can be. Oh, and do I remember that one puppy we saw last year that was eating garbage?
His teacher would be seeing more of me than him if I hadn’t picked up a tablet (and seemingly indestructible case) for class. This way he’s walking around, hanging upside down off the couch, checking the garden for worms, and still engaged…mostly.
I have a huge storage container filled with autographed, single-lined drawings my kids have made. That’s it. One line across a full page of construction paper. I get them to at least write their names on it so if David Suzuki kicks my door down and accuses me of being an eco-terrorist I can throw them under the solar powered bus.
But what am I going to say? My art critic aspirations died on a fateful day in 8th grade when a voice from a passing car informed me in no uncertain terms that I was in fact ‘not’ pulling off the beret I’d chosen to wear to school.
I can only hope that these minimalist expressions prove priceless once they paint their masterpieces.
I’ve always overpacked my kids’ lunches for fear that they wouldn’t have enough to eat at school. It turns out that even then I was grossly underestimating the bottomless pits that are my ever-grazing spawn. In my mind they’re gnawing on the countertops as I’m trapped in a Sisyphean loop of washing and chopping fruit, only to find that nothing can satisfy their hunger.
“Pear!” they cry.
“This banana has weird strings on it!”
I wash. I chop. I serve.
So, yeah, make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand. Maybe pre-cut and store to save yourself.
I caught a frog today. Like, with my hands. My kids’ minds were blown. My mind was blown. Once we spotted it (mid-sized, athletic, shimmering forest green, the blase confidence of an amphibian rarely snatched) the instincts honed by childhood summers took the wheel of this weathered dad bod and delivered.
Take your kids outside. Go hiking. Go to the park.
Go. Catch. Your. Frog.
Next time I’m bringing a net and a bucket. You’ve been warned, family of unassuming, and likely illiterate, river frogs.
You’ve been warned.
I can still remember the unrivaled joy I felt as a kid when a paper returned by my teacher was adorned with the smiling face of some cartoon woodland creature. Stickers were what it was all about. Wealth was measured in scratch & sniff and raised, fuzzy detailing. Pride was a puffy sticker, its white-edged outline pleading to be plucked from your 18/20 spelling test. Stars were all fine and good but the real gravy was the full-sized, cartoon critter.
A scholarly fox maybe? Graduation cap and all?
A studious bee grinning from behind an open book?
A bear holding a pencil despite its clear lack of opposable thumbs?
What I’m saying is don’t underestimate the power of the sticker. Reward your kids and you’ll have them adding, spelling, and excelling in no time.