The mud provided a great lesson on how tides work…
Parents around the world are finding themselves having to balance work and family in ways that they never imagined. They are now responsible for ensuring that their kids are getting an education. While children in some regions have returned to schools, in others, kids are staying home by choice. It can be daunting for the well-intentioned parent, to say the least.
You may not know that I home-schooled my son, Nick, from grades 3 through 8…five amazing years.
This picture was taken on the shores of the Shubenacadie River in Canada’s Nova Scotia. At the time, we were studying ‘how tides work’. We went to the ocean to experiment and figure it out together. While we waited and he played in the waves, we periodically set rocks at the outer edges of the water, lapping against the beach. Over time, we were able to see the change. However, I have to admit it took a lot of patience and time…it was a bit like watching paint dry.
Without a doubt though, our most impactful tidal experiment was made, waiting at the edge of this tidal river. When we arrived, the entire riverbed was an empty mess of sticky, red mud. Something a 10-year-old would naturally be attracted to. We made a deal: “You have fun in that mud, but when the tide comes in (and remember that the ocean water will be icy cold), you will have to come up onto the shore to watch what happens, and then go back in to get washed off before you can get into the car.” Done. We had a deal. The learning activity worked like a charm and, all these years later, Nick can still explain tides to anyone who asks.
If you are home-schooling your children right now, you too can use things around you to carry out experiential lessons. They are the most impactful ones. In training design, we refer to it as the ERGA Model: provide the learner with an experience; reflect back on what happened; draw some general conclusions about it; and then figure out how you can apply these insights.
And while you may not have access to an ocean, you do have access to the Internet. Both YouTube and TedTalks are amazing sources of ‘experiences’ that you can use as the basis of lessons for your kids.
It will also help you create life-long learners…which has been identified as one of the most important career-success skills of the future.
Nick is now in his last year of high school, but made the decision to ‘self-school’. While he struggles with typical teenager things like ‘getting up in the morning’ and sticking to a schedule, I am confident that he is learning tons. Just the other day, he wanted to introduce me to a history series that he had come across. And thus, the tables had turned. You can imagine the size of my ‘Mum pride’ as I sat with him and he taught me about the history of England.
P.S. If you’d like to consider how you can make your online employee training programs experiential and engaging, reach out. Let’s get together for a virtual coffee and chat.
LearnFest Caribbean 2020 (LFC2020)
Join me at this year’s LearnFest Caribbean virtual conference from November 25 – 27! In addition to WeLoveLearning being a proud sponsor, I will also be speaking about ‘The Future of Learning’ and hosting one of the mentoring sessions.
For registration and more details regarding this conference, click here.
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