Our First Coaches

They say parenting is not for sissys’ nor is it for those who aren’t in it for the long haul. It is probably the most important job any of us will ever have, and it is lifelong. “My Parents, My Teachers” talks about the importance of enriching our child from birth through reading, music, play, communicating and that it needs to be done daily. (Attached is transcript of video)

In the “Matrix”, parents (or guardians) are a learner’s first mentor and probably one of the best coaches they will ever have. But we must be careful or this piece of the Matrix may disappear as parents are finding less and less time between jobs. In an excellent article, “Parents: Start Mentoring Your Kids”, the author reminds us of what our job is as our child’s mentor and its importance. “Compared to 50 years ago, today’s parents have generally abdicated their mentorship stature with children.” As an elementary teacher myself in 1979, I witnessed this problem first-hand. Every year, as more families loss the struggle to keep a parent home because of economics, the greater the increase in poor behaviors and decrease in learning readiness the children demonstrated. A coincidence?

And now parents have an added challenge, that of trying to coach and nurture the digital native. In a Glogster, Parents of the Digital World, I put together a number of items to explore about being a parent in this day and age.

USAToday reports that according to 2010 U.S. Census data, 4.9 million American children are being raised solely by their grandparents. Can you imagine? And this is five years ago just in the United States!

Center for Mentoring and Learning: Empire State College site with resources to facilitate college level learners.
The Great Idea Finder: The Great Idea Finder is a place to explore the exciting world of innovation. Whether you’re a student, teacher, writer, inventor, history buff, or just looking for innovative consumer products, you’ll find things you can use there.
Teachers First: Resources for parents of ESL (English as a second language) children although I believe they work well for all types of learners.
US Department of Education:

  1. Early Learning Resources
  2. Helping Your Child Become a Reader
  3. Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics

PBS Parents: A wealth of information and links to activites, games, articles and more.
Jumpstart Educational Resources: “Readily available educational resources for parents, teachers and students make the process of learning and teaching a lot easier and more fun for everyone. “
SmartTutor Educational Resource: *Although NGGE does not support grade levels as they are restrictive to learning, most sites are oriented by grade. If using this or any other similar site with you learner, explore all applicable levels together and let them make choices.
Discovery Education: “Discovery Education offers a wide variety of free family resources that you can trust to provide high quality, relevant material for you and your children.”

Valerie Wood-Gaiger started a group called Learn with Grandma. “There are now 27 groups and we hope to spread this along with the Matrix over the world promoting intergenerational & e-learning and sharing ideas & best practice across the generations & across the World!”

In a recent correspondence she told me about her idea. “I just had an idea that we could use ICT as a bridge to reunite the generations. I put the idea on facebook & kept on talking about it – following my Granny’s advice – ‘ great things are achieved by DOING a little thing Today – Just do it!”

“As individuals we may feel that we are insignificant but – with the power of the internet to help – we can spread ideas round the world and we can encourage people to take action. It really is working!!!”