After 26 years in education, my wife convinced me to retire and move to Cordova to become full-time grandparents to three wonderful kids. I was the principal of a historic little elementary school with 375 students and 50 staff members. Leaving them has been harder than I could have ever imagined.
Move ahead less than a year and one pandemic, and I find myself in the unique position of homeschooling one first grade grandson. For years, I have worked with teachers in developing rigor into their lessons. Now I am trying to learn from myself. Cordova teachers have done such a great job at teaching our students to love learning in all its diversity. I’m certainly not going to deviate from that in the precious few moments that I have to take on the teaching role at home. I’m going to try to continue to provide a rich educational experience for Henry.
We are going to play games, games and more games, secretly embedded with math skills. We are going to research areas of interest and write a research paper. It doesn’t matter if the books we read together are goofy, fun and silly. Variety within routines will serve him well. Henry’s mom took him exploring on the tide flats during a low tide. They discovered halibut, bird and moose bones. What a fun experience.
Will we make mistakes? Of course we will, but Henry doesn’t mind. We forgot that play time and recess aren’t the same. Play time is inside, recess is outside — silly us. The key to this challenging time is to stay lighthearted. Don’t drag the kids down with doomsday news intended for grownups. Keep the schoolwork fun. You can’t read enough “Fly Guy” books. And please remember to say, “I love you,” to your student as often as possible.