I am often asked this question, “What can I do at home to enhance my child’s school experience?” Aside from reading aloud to your child (Yes, even your 9-12 year old!), letting them live life and exposing them to the world is hugely important.
An idea…this month, watch the moon together.
- Set aside a time each night or wake up 15 minutes early to sketch it thorough the month. Make a book of the various stages together. See if your sketches are the same.
- Have discussions about vocabulary (waxing and waning, harvest moon, present, illuminate) Just having discussions around this is valuable.
- See who can ask the most questions about the moon. Answers are pretty ubiquitous in our culture these days. Who are the question askers? They are the ones who guide new knowledge and new understanding. They are our scientists and our musicians. Our artists and our mathematicians. Our Nobel Prize winners and our peace keepers. For what are these people other than those who are willing to ask questions about things that most of us think already have answers?
- Estimate the fraction of the moon that’s visible. “If we divided the moon into 5 pieces, how many of them are visible? 2/5? 4/5?”
Make up stories about the moon. People have done this through the ages. Why not us?
- Get creative. If you didn’t know what it was, what might you think the moon is on various nights? Parenthesis for a giant math problem! A tipped over bowl that spilled star Cheerios! Be creative!
- Wonder if we’ll ever send humans to the moon again. Wonder when that will happen. Wonder how old we’ll each be if it happens. Wonder what it feels like to be on the moon, looking at the earth. Wonder what early humans might have thought or felt when they saw the moon changing. Wonder what it would be like to be on a planet with multiple moons.
- Lay out and look at the moon and brainstorm all the words you can think of that rhyme with moon. Or all the words that also start with M. Or all the words that have double O’s.
- Make a playlist of all the songs you can find that have the word “moon” in them. Here’s a start…Moondance by Van Morrison. Play this while watching the moon.
Notice I didn’t suggest looking it up, finding answers, writing a report, making a presentation…..if a child initiates this, let them go for it. But the important part is living the life that allows this type of interaction, questioning, and expression to happen in a non-academic way and for non-academic reasons. These experiences support the academic work that is done at school.