She was barely off the last step of the bus and she was yelling to me.
Neighborhood kids were scattered all around, some taking in the hugs from mom and dad and others (including my kindergarten son) sprinting straight to their houses to start to raid the pantry for that after-school snack they had been thinking about the whole ride home.
But my 8-year-old in her favorite “sporty” outfit and pink-rimmed glasses could barely contain her excitement as she bounded down the school-bus steps with her backpack falling off her shoulders and something colorful in her hand.
“Mom! Look what I made in art class!”
With one arm around her shoulder and the other holding her masterpiece, I stood with her on the sidewalk as she pointed out the details of her creation — why she picked this color for that and what she was thinking about when she created that design over on the left.
I kissed the top of her head.
“Honey, you should be so proud of this! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!” I said to her.
“You can keep it, Mom! Maybe you can put it in your office,” she said before running off to the house where her little sister and dad were waiting to greet her, too.
Those kinds of exchanges used to be some of my favorite of the day. Sometimes it happened at the bus stop, and sometimes at the dinner table when our kids would take turns sharing the things they talked about at school that day or showing off their work from their take-home folder.
Until these last couple of months, I only got to see the results of what they did at school.
I didn’t fully understand what went into that picture – that activity – that worksheet … before it hit their book bag for the journey back home to us.
But now that the busses are parked and that dinner table where our kids shared about their school day has converted into an at-home classroom — I’m experiencing the learning WITH them.
And throughout all of it – I’m learning a lot too.
And while I truly miss those big hugs from the bus stop and the excitement of sharing about their day … I’ve found a level of gratitude for getting to be so close to their learning process, and the things I’VE learned while doing it.
I’ve learned what subjects bring them joy.
I’ve learned what makes them struggle.
I’ve learned how their mood can flip flop on those things on any given day.
I’ve learned how they celebrate the MINUTE they finally grasp that new concept and I’ve learned how they handle frustration when they can’t.
I’ve learned how one child learns visually and another needs to listen.
I’ve learned how sometimes they want to be independent, and others, they want support at their side.
I’ve also become even more aware of how much learning happens when they’re left to their own imaginations.
Building cup castles.
Creating blanket forts.
Building secret hideouts with sticks in the backyard.
Asking questions about science and nature while out on walks.
In all of this, I’ve learned that no day of learning is the same. No child is the same. There are factors that are constantly affecting the way our kids take in information and because of it, we – and they – are constantly having to adapt.
And while this time has certainly brought that to light – the truth is, this is our reality ALL of the time – and we should always be fighting to put them in the best position to thrive.
Remake Learning is a Pittsburgh-based network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change.
“Tomorrow” – powered by Remake Learning – is a campaign launching TODAY on #143day that calls us to forge a future where each day holds promise for every learner.
The campaign will highlight the ideas of others, elevate our community’s thoughts and questions, and help all of us prepare for whatever the future might bring for our kids… and for those of us who want them to thrive. From May-October 2020, Tomorrow will host a series of virtual meet-ups and workshops, youth documentaries and podcasts, social media chats and exchanges on life lessons. (Virtual event schedules can be found HERE).
The Tomorrow campaign is one that is inspired by Fred Rogers that explores what we can do today to make tomorrow a more promising place for all learners.
And Fred Rogers once said, “Often, when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else“
Friends, I don’t know what that “something else” is right now … but I do know that I want our kids to thrive in it. I want us as parents to take what we’ve learned and be there for our kids as their learning environment evolves. I want us to remember the respect we felt for teachers as we navigated this time and make sure to express that to them. I want us to remember that each child is unique, and we should continue to strive to give each of them a chance to thrive.
I want us to not just do things better, I want us to do better things.
And I hope we will work together to do that.
Friends what is your “something else” that will help #RemakeTomorrow for our kids? Learn more about the Tomorrow campaign powered by Remake Learning here.