I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter written by Oliver and Rachel DeMille co-creators of TJED, ‘Thomas Jefferson Education’. They often post thought-provoking articles. This one was especially nice for parents on a budget (most of us). Oliver asks”What are some small things that would build better memories for your family and students this spring and summer?
Can you tone down some of the bigger projects you have in mind to make room for these smaller options?
Seriously, the little things will probably do a lot more for relationships and learning than you might think.
Again, do you have big plans?
How can you replace them with little things that will be even better?
This is real.
It doesn’t mean you have to cancel all your big projects, but at least consider it.
If a smaller event, tradition or activity will accomplish more, don’t reject it just because it isn’t extravagant.
You want your students to learn as much as possible, fall and stay in love with learning, and feel the happiness that comes with improved relationships.
That’s what the activities are really about, after all.
A relaxed mom enjoying a fun event at the park is usually a lot more worthwhile than a harried mom giving orders for a week-long vacation to Sea World.”
And, “Agitation and irritation are seldom very inspiring.
The truth is, less is often better—because in learning and especially in families, less is frequently more.”
I like this sentiment. I do a pretty good job of focusing on family time but I could think of it more productively – as an opportunity for making lasting memories just as it is, without the addition of trips to see Ancient Egypt or Ottoman heritage in Turkey! However, one of the most ‘organized’, “big project”, trips we ever took was the biggest ever success for my son. It was a historical re-enactment place, called ‘Archeon’ which is in the Netherlands, where we spent last summer. My son hasn’t stopped talking about it and it really inspired a love of Roman-times for him. I’m not surprised. Actors dressed up as Roman soldiers and kids got a chance to train to be one! Many a boy’s idea of bliss! We read a bit about Vikings recently, he remembered there was a Viking section at ‘Archeon’ which we didn’t had time, in two long visits, to see and now he wants to go back even more than before! Despite DeMille’s correct, I think, comment that, “Agitation and irritation are seldom very inspiring”, Edward’s enjoyment was not impacted by his father’s reluctance to spend hours and hours there! Although that might say something about an 8 year old boy’s lack of empathy than the truth of DeMille’s assertion! So, I suppose, small things are best as long as big good ones are thrown in now and then and Disneyland, despite my son’s desire to go there, does NOT qualify as far as I’m concerned!! And anyway, I loved visiting Ancient Egypt and I’d love to see Ottoman history in Turkey with the kids.I think my enthusiasm and passion on these sorts of ‘big project’ trips do rub off. So, perhaps something important to consider, when you think about your ‘big projects’ is what YOU’LL enjoy too!