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  • Kimberly Tyskiewicz ED.D.

"School Shopping" in the age of virtual learning

2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, the good, the bad and the ugly in some cases. But creating a "new normal" has never been more important. As parents we want to provide for our kids, ensure safety, and encourage growth in healthy, supported ways.


But the research makes it clear that one of the biggest contributors to a healthy life is fun. Yes fun! Laughter helps in so many ways. Smiling is contagious. Joy heals and lightens the loads we carry.


So I propose a new kind of "school shopping".


1. Have your child pick a topic or subject they are dreading. For me as a high school student it was math because math frightened me. It was "hard" in my opinion and so I avoided it.


2. Do a little bit of research and find videos or movies or youtube that are done in comical and easily understood ways. I tell students to google the topic and add the words "for dummies" after it and then click on "videos" and then find the shortest cartoon videos they can to get started.


3. Ask your child pick something from the topic that would be interesting to them. (If they don't have any ideas, don't push it, ask them what they don't like about it and go from there.)

Also ask them what they would want for school shopping this year (you make those part of the fun later)


4. Go to a parent forum like https://www.greenwaysacademyportal.com/ask-a-teacher.html

and tell them the topic, they will help you get some ideas to make this work. For example, you can take them on a "treasure hunt" to get them thinking about the subject in a different way. This is how you could do it.


Your "shopping" list might include a pirate costume and a used trunk. You fill it with "prizes" that they can earn as they demonstrate learning. Start with small things like fun pencils or notebooks, decks of cards or nerf balls and work your way up to a very fun thing they would really like. Keep a lock on it and have the items wrapped in maps from different places and numbered in order of the map so the prizes get better and better.


Watch a pirate movie of some kind with your child and toward the end go put on the costume and come out with a "treasure map" at the end of the movie. Act like a pirate and tell them there is a treasure out there waiting for them. Give them the map with a series of clues. All of the things they find would be online like a video about the solar system or the pyramids and pictures of important people or historic places etc. But all the clues would need to require that they do some guessing to figure out when where and what to look for. Once they found the information they need to show you and tell you why it was important in history. Once they found the first thing, then you open the trunk and pull out the least "cool" prize from the trunk and hand it to them and then lock the trunk up again. Tell them after each thing they find they will get each new item.


After the last thing you have a big party and bring out the final prize. They have to share the map and the journey with everyone at the table to get the last thing.


5. Whatever it is make it FUN!


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