Mar 31

Keeping up to date…routines and technology

I read an article last week (can’t find it now Im afraid!) but it was about developing indepencece in our children, from a young age. Not physical independence. I don’t mean letting 5 year olds off on their own in strange city!

It was more about helping our kids to take responsiblity for their ativities and events.

In this article, the children were aged 9 and 10, so about grades 3 or 4 in the Aussie school system.
Their parents had taught them how to use the family calendar in the kitchen to schedule plans with friends. These kids were quoted as commenting that they like that they could make these decisions themselves. And parents said they liked that their kids asked them if they could have a lift to the friends house or wherever. Less taxi-driver and more parent-like!

I wonder if your kids could manage this? My step-kids were put onto our digital family calendar when they were about 14 and 16. They used it to see if they could ask for a lift somewhere, or whether we’d be home to cook them dinner!

Obviously there’s a big difference between a 10-year-old and a 16-year-old…

But I do like the idea of starting children off with some responsiblity and decision-making power at a primary school age – as long as they are still supervised and supported of course!

What do you think? Could your kids cope with making their own appointments with friends, with the dentist, with Grandma?

Mar 28

Going paperless? Is it possible at home?

A paperless world might be more environmentally-friendly, but is it possible at home?

I think so, but I also think that sometimes paper is still the best option for some things…

Paper is good for working with groups of people – especially if you want everyone to be able to write or draw at the same time.

If you use paper to make lists or leave notes then it’s hard to ignore them! I could text my kids to empty the bin – but if there’s a note on the kitchen bench, then its harder to say they didn’t see it!

Paper is now used for ‘special occasions’. Wedding invitations, thank you notes, postcards…these are lovely ways to keep in touch and to show you have some effort!

When it comes to school notices, band camp reminders, soccer payment forms though – do they need to be kept in paper?

If your children get lots of notes, try these tips to keep on top of all their commitments!

1. Have dedicated space at home for you and your family to put notes/letters that need ACTION taken – an ‘in-box’
It’s important that these are only those things you need to decide about or complete a form or pay for…Thank you notes or reminders for things you’ve already done can go elsewhere (I’d say in the bin, but up to you!)

2. Once a week (or more often at the beginning of school term!). Open your computer and take each item from the ‘in-box’ and add the date and details to your shared family calendar (you do have one don’t you? See here for more info).

3. Make any online payments you can – schedule them to be paid when they are due if you like.

4. Any other info that you need to keep that can’t be added to your calendar -> take a photo of the paper and add it to Evernote (learn more about Evernote here). There’s a great app called ‘Scannable’ that you open, it takes a photo, turns it into a pdf and then saves it straight to Evernote – worth having a look at :0)

5. Recycle the papers!

6. Rejoice in your paper-free living/hallway/kitchen bench/wherever papers usually accumulate!

So even if those around you aren’t paperless – you can be. It just takes a bit of a routine and practice!

The bonus of this system is that you now have all the details you need with you wherever you are. SO as you leave footy practice and are heading to Guides, you can check if you were supposed to bring painting clothes this week or next – and cry/smile accordingly !

Mar 23

Those annoying, endless questions…

Thought I’d share this meme briefly because I totally agree. Old-style schooling seems to me to have been a sort of delivery method – sit there and I’ll tell you what you need to know, kids!

That’s not enough these days though, is it?! Our children can find answers online in a way we never could. Even the library wasn’t as efficient or up-to-date as our favourite search engine today. So finding answers can’t be the entire goal of education.

We need to help our childrne ask ‘non-google-able’ questions, and then help them develop strategies to find the answers.

Those strategies might be working with others, developing hypotheses or trialling possible solutions. But all of these will require our children being able to ask good questions.

So although it can get a little much at times (!), we need to be sure our children can ask lots of questions and seek out lots of answers!

If we steal away their ability to ask good questions by answering ‘because I said so’ or ‘stop asking so many questions!’ then we might be limiting them in the long run.

Not saying that a million questions a day isn’t hardwork – it is! – but it’s also important learning and growth :0)

Mar 12

What’s on the Horizon for our kids in schools?

There’s a great report that gets released every year called the ‘Horizon Report‘. It focuses on technology use in education and makes predictions – that are often incredibly accurate.

The 2016 K-12 Report makes predictions for the short, medium and longer term.

Here’s the overview from here:

 

So, if this is accurate, by 2020, our children in schools could be learning with and through ‘Wearable Technology’ and ‘Artifical Intelligence’. I wonder what that will look like!

 

Mar 10

Navigating online – skills our kids need

I’ve been thinking a lot about holidays this week – partly because we are now (in Australia) well into Term 1 of the school year, but also because I use a holiday analogy when I work with parents and teachers.

The online world is like a new country. And we wouldn’t send our kids off to, say, Paris if they didn’t speak the language, know how to ask for help, understand customs and the culture or even how to navigate their way around.

Why is it that sometimes parents do exactly that with the online ‘world’?

I think we need to recognise that the virtual, online world is full of people who together have developed different cultures, language and process.

Perhaps it’s because we can see our kids working online from the kitchen or family (hopefully not in the bedroom! Maybe we think they are safe and can’t come to any harm.

Of course, we don’t always know everything that goes on in their virtual spaces. We can ask questions, we can offer support but we need them to be prepared to manage situations themselves.

So I talk a lot about preparing kids to work online as if we were sending them off to a foreign land, inlcuding the way to behave, the way to talk and interact and to understand that things are done differently…and then I get to thinking about holidays!