There’s an old pop song that says, “we don’t need another hero,” but that just doesn’t apply to your kids’ education. Your kids do need a superhero, and guess what: it’s you.
We all know that for better or worse, kids copy our behaviors. They mirror back to us the things we say, the way we act in public, our table manners, the way we handle dogs, money, food, responsibility, and how we treat people. This is a superpower that we have over them, and it’s one we can apply to the way they learn.
In our digital age it’s normal for kids to constantly see us on our computers, phones, and tablets, for productivity and for leisure. The trouble is that when kids see us on a device, they can’t tell if we’re reading something smart or shopping online for flip flops.
If this time spent on devices gets out of balance and we aren’t intentional about reading and writing ourselves, our children are going to get the impression that reading and writing are not things that adults do, at least not by choice, but rather that those are activities that are just part of “school,” separated from day-to-day life. That makes their question of, “why do I need to know this if I’m not going to use it in my life?” a legitimate one, and it’s a question we better think about.
Fortunately, our superhero powers can win the day by making some small changes in the way we do things. We need to read and write for reals. Don’t worry, these little changes are easy to do but they’re long on impact:
- Engage in reading with, or in front of, the kids. Let them catch you reading. It doesn’t matter if we read on a tablet or in an actual book; it just needs to happen. Further, kids need to hear us talk about what we read because kids won’t consider literature as a part of normal life if we don’t make it sound normal.
- Write with them. Sit down with the kids with they’re doing some writing and write something yourself. Show them that writing is relevant, good, and helpful. Invest in some note cards that you can send to a friend, or write in a memory journal. 15 minutes would do it.
Who knew being a superhero was so easy? We’ve had the power to impact our kids’ lives all along, but now we can harness it to influence them in reading and writing by modeling these activities in front of them. After that, we’ll get to watch that superpower work for them for the rest of their lives.
We’re stronger together,
If you would like to simplify your writing program and just teach one skill at a time, in sequential order, check out A Sequence of English Writing Skills.
If you are wrestling with a particular issue in your home school, or if you’d like to work out an affordable education plan that’s just right for your kids, send me a note at email@example.com.
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Cathy was a home school curriculum consultant for 30 years. She’s listened to thousands of parents and kids talk about the issues most important to them, so now she writes to address the topics they discussed the most often. She has taught in their home school (K-12), in a traditional classroom, and currently tutors kids in first grade through college. She is a certified Sign Language Interpreter and has taught kids with various developmental challenges including Aspergers, autism, deaf students, and blind students. She also developed a language program for deafblind students at Georgia School for the Blind. She leads a community Bible study, works with hospice patients, and blogs at the vlcdnetwork.com, where she writes about health and nutrition. You can contact her at her main site, cathycanen.com, where she coordinates her writing and tutoring services.